A Darkness Lies behind Us
2008 Award Category: Races: Elves: Incomplete - Second Place
Story Type: Incomplete ✧ Length: Novel
Rating: General ✧ Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: Finrod Felagund, it is said, walks with Finarfin his father beneath the trees of Eldamar. But Finarfin is not the only one Finrod left behind him when he chose to take the road east - for Amarie of the Vanyar went not with him into exile. The story of Finrod's return from the Halls of Mandos and his readjustment to life in Aman. (This story is still progressing. Just very slowly. But the next chapter should arrive soon.)(Should be 10 chapters when complete. And, although about 20,000 words now, it should end up around 50,000)
Reviewed by: Imhiriel ✧ Score: 10
Wonderfully nuanced characterisations, elegant prose, and fine, evocative descriptions. A thoughtful exploration of dealing with exiled and reborn Elves vs. those who stayed, the passage of time, in a very nuanced and sensitive way. It shows a credible system of easing the Elves from their release from the Halls of Mandos to a re-entry into society might have begun and developed in its early stages, complete with trial-and-error hick-ups. I particularly liked the idea that not only the Elves, but also the Valar themselves had to find out the hard way what worked and what didn't. To use Finrod as a "testing case" for a system of how to deal with Reborn Elves strikes me as a very neat idea; so very fitting for his exploring, curious and tolerant mind. It was fascinating to read about how he slowly and sometimes painfully integrated his memories and his identity into his "new" self. Apart from the characterisation of Finrod and Finarfin, I particularly love this take on Amarië, the balance between the calm, a bit shy woman with great will, perseverance and steadfastness, and a deep well of love and joy inside her. And also the portrayal of the deep connection between her and Finrod throughout all that happened.
Reviewed by: Dawn Felagund ✧ Score: 10
There is so much about this story that I love. Where to begin? I appreciated Indis's role in rehabilitating the returned fear and, in fact, the treatment of all of the female characters in this story. Women don't always get the fairest treatment in fanfic (if they get written at all), but Bodkin's characters show steadfastness, tenderness, and support that belies all of those stereotypes. They are honest characters: still hurting and bitter and driven to seeing the change they desire. Finarfin is another character where Bodkin breaks type in a most wonderful way, bringing out the strength and courage that one who reunited the Noldor after the Darkening *must* have had. At the same time, his conversation with Finrod about how his desertion of Feanor's quest was perceived was heartbreaking; any who think that Finarfin got the easiest lot of Finwe's sons should consider this story. Finrod's role as an experimental case in re-embodiment makes a lot of sense to me and allows for some wonderful exploration of what this experience would have meant to newly re-embodied Elves. One of my major research interests being Elven "afterlife," I have loved following Bodkin's many thoughts in this story about the relationship between fea and hroa and the restoration of the latter after death. And, through it all, these many brilliant characters and compelling ideas are strung together as only a skilled writer can, with graceful style and breathtaking imagery. I am pleased to have discovered this story through the MEFAs this year and encourage others who like thought-provoking Silmarillion stories to give it a look as well.
Reviewed by: Alquawende ✧ Score: 6
This story goes into the lives of certain Reborn, those who had died and later were released from Mandos. A subplot could be the relationships that Finrod has with others, like his parents and Amarie. The way Bodkin has portrayed the relationship between Finrod and his father is perfect. Finarfin is very kind and understanding towards his son. The interactions between Finrod and Amarie is very well done. They both realize that they both need time to think about how their relationship is going to be and the feelings of the other after an age of seperation. Something else I really enjoyed about this fic was that it made the royal families of Tirion and Alqualonde more vulnerable and realistic. They suffered pain too. Just like the common people. This story, to me, is a must read for any fan of the House of Finarfin.
Reviewed by: Larner ✧ Score: 4
The first publicly to return to life, rehoused much as he'd been before he left Aman to cross the ice bridge, was Finrod. Why one of the exiles rather than those who'd been true to the Valar? is the question of the day. Now Finrod and his family seek to make the return of still others easier, and in doing so to more fully appreciate just the depths of how life had been--out there--beyond the sea that divided Aman and Enorrie. A fascinating examination of each of those who loved Finrod in life. A fascinating premise to this one.
Reviewed by: Elleth ✧ Score: 3
A lovely story about Finrod's return to life in Aman, featuring well-known and well-loved canon characters and some interesting OCs in the Blessed Realm. The story goes to show that not all tales from Valinor after Feanor left need to be eventless, and it is beautifully written, too. I enjoyed reading this very much.
Reviewed by: elliska ✧ Score: 3
This is a classic example of your writing Bodkin. I know next to nothing about the characters in this story, but you are so incredibly good at characterization that it doesn't matter. I can read this and understand them. Another reason this is so classically you is the imagery. Incredible and powerful.