Dol Amroth Dip-tych
2010 Award Category: Races: Cross-Cultural: Friendship
Story Type: Story ✧ Length: Short Story
Rating: General ✧ Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: A paired set of vignettes written for two B2MEM 2009 prompts. Andrahar discovers that friendship will take you where you never - ever - wanted to go... Sketching the bounds of a certain notorious reluctance. A story in the Unabeauverse.
Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger ✧ Score: 10
I have to admit that my favorite Dwimordene stories are the stories about Aragorn. But if you take those away, my next group of favorites would be stories about Dol Amroth. Anything about Dol Amroth, actually, because I love what Dwimordene does with the culture. And that's the thing that impressed me most about this story. There's a very real sense of culture to all of this, both from Andrahar and from Dol Amroth in general. His view of the wet, damp, and ["clammy"] coastal fiefdom brings it to life through a world of contrasts, making it that much more real and accessible, especially to those of us who live hundreds of miles from the nearest coastline. Once you get past the fantastic culture and dig a little deeper into the story, you find a pair of characters who are perfectly matched yet completely at odds. Imrahil and Andrahar are always fun to watch, and Dwimordene portrays them beautifully. The give-and-take of their conversation has a fantastic pace and sense of equality to it. Andrahar may be Imrahil's bond-man, but the relationship between the two transcends that on many levels. Giving the story its frame is a problem that is hilarious in its presentation but also touches upon that culture I talked about earlier. And so the layers are brought full circle as Imrahil, being the shrewd prince he is even at this tender age, works out a way to teach Andrahar how to swim. A wonderful bit of writing!
Reviewed by: Azalais ✧ Score: 7
As ever with Dwim's explorations of cultural mixes and clashes, there's much to enjoy in this perceptive look at Imrahil persuading Andrahar that he simply has to learn to swim. From the broad sweeping differences - on the weather, the climate, views on bodily modesty and dress - to the tiny details such as Andrahar's mental oaths, [burn him and the Giver's bones] - there's a feeling of richness and depth here to both Gondorian and Haradrim culture which brings both to life. And that's before I even start on the enchantment of the character portraits - a young Imrahil who, true to the Unabeauverse vision of him, is both caring and careless, lighthearted, charming and full of energy; and an Andrahar who is the counterweight and the mirror to the young Dol Amroth prince. Let alone the individual lines, such as [Of course, the young prince added, you're also going to have to learn how to fall off a ship's deck with all of it on, which means I'm going to have to toss you overboard so you can practice, but...] which made me laugh out loud. Both entertaining and thought-provoking, as one expects from even the fluffiest of Dwim's fic!
Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon ✧ Score: 6
Poor Andrahar! Just when the young Umbar-bred companion and bodyguard of the equally young Prince Imrahil is enjoying the warmth of Spring in Dol Amroth, Imrahil comes up with a plan to make Andrahar regret the turn of seasons: Imrahil plans to teach Andrahar to swim. The delineation and resolution of Andrahar's horror of swimming makes for an amusing tale of cultural differences. I can't help but find it serio-comic that Andrahar, who has done some morally grisly things in order to survive, blanches at the thought of disrobing in public and finds the Dol Amroth habits - of all classes - of bathing, swimming and diving in various stages of undress, quite unseemly. But it does make sense. Dwimordene borrows Andrahar from Isabeau of Greenlea and handles the OMC beautifully, not to mention the mischievous but determined Imrahil.
Reviewed by: Isabeau of Greenlea ✧ Score: 6
I always enjoy Dwimordene's stories about Andrahar and Imrahil-more goodies about my favorite men that I don't have to write! In these two tales, she expounds upon a couple of facets of Andrahar's character that I've mentioned a time or two in passing-Andra's dislike of the ocean and the greater body modesty practiced by the Haradrim. I established in [B Like a Bathing Boromir] that despite his dislike of the sea, Andra was actually a strong swimmer. In that story, he tells Boromir a little of how Imrahil instructed him. Dwimordene expands upon that here, or at least upon the arguments used by Imrahil to get him to actually agree to the lessons. The descriptions of Andra's dismay at the flagrancy of Swan Knights in their bath houses and the shamelessness of Gondorrim at the beach in general had me laughing out loud. Thanks, Dwim, and keep up the good work!
Reviewed by: Larner ✧ Score: 5
It takes some probing, but at last Imrahil is able to learn the reason why Andrahar has been so reluctant to learn how to swim, a skill that one who follows his lord to sea ought to have mastered. And he's enjoying himself somewhat in anticipating throwing Anda off a ship fully clothed to give him a realistic appreciation for what he might experience were he to fall overboard. A delightful pair of tales featuring wonderful dialogue between these popular characters from the Best Loved Sons series. And I thank Isabeau also for allowing Dwim to play with her story arc!
Reviewed by: Virtuella ✧ Score: 3
Ah, to be forced to swim against one's own wishes! Dwimordene has chosen a delightful subject here, though what impressed me most is the way she makes a detailled description of the weather into something rather dramatic!