The Flowers of the Forest

Author: Altariel

Nominator: Dwimordene

2005 Award Category: Books/Time: The Lord of The Rings: Gondor - First Place

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: G  ✧  Reason for Rating: none

Summary: Reflections on the war to end all wars.

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Reviewed by: Dwimordene  ✧  Score: 9

Given the jingoistic atmosphere in certain parts of the world, this fic is timely. The war to end all wars must inevitably disappoint its followers, as it is an unrealizable concept. Taking a poem from World War I and using it to frame the central point, we once again find Faramir being put to good use in this reflection on the nature of war and its ideology that calls for one last sacrifice every time. The juxtaposition of the quiet and peace of the farmlands that have been created, and the memory of the forest of Ithilien that had so long been the site of war serve as a powerful reminder of the responsibility of those who send others to war: to uphold the values of peace and to tend it at home. At the same time, the paradox is clear: Gondor had fought its great war—its last war in order that there be a future at all. And yet that future breeds a need or a want for more wars; and so there's always a need to believe that ideals are upheld, that the next war is truly necessary, otherwise, the flowers of the forest—simbelmyne, for memory of those who died for the hope of a peaceful future—would be unbearable, as would the thought of all the sons who will die this time for the sins of their parents.

Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger  ✧  Score: 6

Very sobering piece with some great contrasts to set everything apart. The imagery on the ride north was beautiful, and it was even more beautiful by sunset on the ride back. This, of course, was a superb contrast to the fact that the war still goes on, despite the blossoming of another Age. The idea that this was the first time that sons were being sent forth really hit me hard. It's one thing to go yourself into battle for the sake of the next generation. It's another thing to send that next generation into battle when you'd supposedly done the fighting for them. Loved the words about remaining worthy of their valor. Great introspection and beautiful contrasts.

Reviewed by: ErinRua  ✧  Score: 5

Oh, this brought tears to my eyes, even now on my nth reading! I know the song from which the title is drawn, and it plays in my head each time I read. The imagery of this ficlet is simply beautiful, each color and moment etched in strokes of perfection. I loved Faramir thoughtfully riding the paths of memory, then returning home to the lights of Ithilien - and the shadows of yet new war. And the ending - ah! There the spear drives home, for indeed, now it is the sons who must fight. Beautifully, poignantly done.

Reviewed by: Aliana  ✧  Score: 4

Lovely and chilling. This vignette is essentially a brief prose poem, filled with beautiful images and resonances. It also contains a haunting sense of rhythm, a thing we don't often see in prose: "I sat for a while, and watched; and listened for the beat of the heart, the beat of the drum. The forest was quiet; the forest remembered." The reader is invited to hear both the heartbeat and the silence of the woods as a few more lamps go out in Middle-earth.

Reviewed by: Nancy Brooke  ✧  Score: 3

I liked this - pointed descriptions and strong voice made immersion was immediate. Other aspects were, unfortunately, more vague: I wasn't sure if the narrator with his war-like imagery was Faramir or Eomer, and what 'battle' exactly they were preparing for. The piece seemed both melancholy and hopeful but wasn't sure which was foremost.

Reviewed by: nerwen_calaelen  ✧  Score: 2

A sad little vignette about what happened after the war of the ring. I like the way the quotes are put at the end, although I think it would be appropriate for the second one to be attributed to its speaker.

Reviewed by: Marta  ✧  Score: 2

This is a beautiful vignette, with a penetrating theme. I especially liked the line "Culumalda, simbelmynë – flowers of Ithilien, flowers of Rohan", and the use of Faramir's statement at Henneth Annun at the very end.