Was It For This?

Author: Aervir

Nominator: annmarwalk

2006 Award Category: Genres: Drama: General Fixed-Length Ficlet - Second Place

Story Type: Fixed-Length Ficlet  ✧  Length: True Drabble

Rating: PG  ✧  Reason for Rating: Violent character death.

Summary: Musings on the death of a marshal and a captain-general.

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Reviewed by: Branwyn  ✧  Score: 6

This piece is very dark, but I think it is still in the spirit of Tolkien's work (see his play "The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth Beorhthelm's Son," where two ceorls search for the body of their slain lord, for a very sardonic view of glorious death in battle). Aervir shows us the parallels between the deaths of Boromir and Theodred -- both died due to treachery, both were per force given hasty burial (especially for such high-born lords). The language is at the same time beautiful and understated, the meaning brutally incisive. Aervir tells us ["For it's the custom of elegies to lie by omission"] The omission being, of course, to question the futility of their deaths. I loved the closing line; it has the terse, fatalistic tone that permeates much of old English literature and lands like punch to the gut -- [On that, the songs remain silent.] This is the best sort of fanfic--beautifully written and resonating with the truths of our own world.

Reviewed by: Marta  ✧  Score: 6

*whimper* I had never thought about the similarities between the two heirs, but you drew them out so well here that I'm not sure how I ever missed them. And the point of the whole thing, the comparison between how [tall and proud] they were to their [cold death in the mud] was just fantastic. It seemed very Tolkienesque and very in keeping with the idea that Frodo and the halflings and other dark horses did what the heroes could not. I can see how the funereal songs would be kind to Boromir, and I think it is right that he should receive credit for what he did *before* his death. But this drabble made me wonder how that was a kindness to Theodred? For he had nothing to be ashamed of, did he? Unless maybe that he did not act with more decision to rout the Worm earlier. See, you've taken me to new fertile grounds of Tolkien exploration - quite a feat for 100 words.

Reviewed by: EdorasLass  ✧  Score: 5

This is just painful in its expression of bleakness. It's beautifully stark, and echoes a question asked throughout history - why have children and raise them proudly to be strong, honourable men if they will be cut down so effortlessly and quite possibly for no good reason? As you well know, I have quite the soft spot for these two, and it just makes me ache at thinking of Gondor's and Rohan's finest warriors, laid hastily to rest without the rites and full mourning that they should both be entitled to. Not that such things would bring them back, of course - which is the entire point. Ceremony means very little when one's heart is full to bursting with loss and sorrow. Perfectly gorgeous.

Reviewed by: annmarwalk  ✧  Score: 4

What an extraordinarily cool and lovely elegy, with a well-concealed sharp edge. All the pain and despair over the loss of the twin heroes, Boromir and Théodred, is perfectly contained. No graphic description of blood, battle, and fear, no romantic salute to patriotism or heroism, just the carefully restrained bitterness of the question. Thought-provoking and timeless; perfectly appropriate for the Late Fourth Age as well as the Third.

Reviewed by: Tanaqui  ✧  Score: 4

Aervir strikes an appropriately elegaic tone in this drabble about the parallels between the deaths of Boromir and Theodred. The language is well chosen: beautiful and lyrical, with a strong poetic rhythm. The drabble wears the inspiration of both Owen's poetry and Tolkien's tales lightly but recognisably. A lovely tribute to both sources, and a fine piece of work by this author.

Reviewed by: Nancy Brooke  ✧  Score: 3

This fic illuminates very interesting comparisons I had never thought of before. The last paragraph was very insightful in general, but this line I loved: "Was it for this they grew tall and fair and bold ..."

Reviewed by: Dwimordene  ✧  Score: 3

Nice use of Owen, and I liked the first paragraph--the essential reduction of human beings in all the glory their people can heap on them to just a damp patch of ground and an act of treachery that almost obliterates all else that they had been.

Reviewed by: Imhiriel  ✧  Score: 3

Hauntingly beautiful, full of poignant, deeply resonating images, bitter but defiant. The parallels drawn between Boromir and Théodred and their respective deaths never feel forced, they enrich the essence of the drabble.

Reviewed by: Llinos  ✧  Score: 3

Grim and poignant, the style of this drabble is quite fitting for these two fallen young warriors. The word choices are excellent and the content thought provoking and very sad. It leaves me with an empty feeling about needless loss, or if not needless, then filled with regret for what might have been if times were not so harsh. Very well done!

Reviewed by: Bodkin  ✧  Score: 3

I think the fatuous sunbeams had a point, though. A worthy sacrifice from both of them - and a handing on of the torch. Little is useless in Tolkien - and the courage of Theodred and Boromir are golden threads leading to the eventual success against evil.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 2

A thoughtfully elegaic piece, succint and hard-hitting, on the deaths, so close in time, of the heirs of the lords of Gondor and the Mark. Excellent use of Wilfrid Owen's work.

Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 2

Excellent parallels drawn between the deaths of Boromir and Theodred--very thought provoking!

Reviewed by: Marigold  ✧  Score: 2

Wonderful parallels between Boromir and Théodred that I had not considered before. War is such a waste, especially of noble youth, and this is really summed up perfectly here.