Author: Altariel

Nominator: Azalais

2011 Award Category: Drabble Series: Character Study - Honorable Mention

Story Type: Drabble  ✧  Length: Drabble Series

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: Some drabbles about the Prince of Ithilien and his family, on the theme of bequests.(Four drabbles)

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Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 10

More fascinating glimpses into the lives of Faramir and Eowyn and their children, from the end of the Ring War to the marriage of Elboron's son. Each drabble addresses a gift bequeathed or transmitted to someone: Faramir, his older son Elboron, his daughter Morwen, and his younger son Leof. The most quiet drabble is the first one; but it packs a certain punch concealed in a velvet glove. The drabble focusses on Denethor's willed bequests to Faramir. These lines are haunting: [But in between the lines the gifts were given, and while they were not substantial, they were enough – due compensation for coming second, material offerings in place of something more intangible. Grave gifts; meticulous and just.] We know that Denethor was far more generous with his praise and love for Boromir. These bequests seem to encompass all that Faramir got from his father until the last two days of Denethor's life; meticulously given, measured gifts of time, everything restrained, material gifts but not gifts that betoken great love. The other drabbles look forward into the sweeping panorama of the lives of Faramir and Eowyn's children in the Fourth Age. Their daughter inherits Eowyn's remade sword, betokening a call to freedom. Finduilas' starry mantle becomes a bride-gift to the wife of the oldest son, and is a symbol of the love both of Faramir and Eowyn and of the loving welcome Eowyn gives her shy young daughter-in-law. Younger son Leof inherits various qualities from both sides of his family and leads a life rich in adventure. The drabbles are all enchanting. I hope that Altariel continues to write stories long and short about Faramir and his family.

Author response: Thank you for this smashing review, Raksha. I absolutely love writing this family and I'm sure there's more to come.

Reviewed by: Azalais  ✧  Score: 10

'Bequests' is the perfect title for this set of drabbles, which so beautifully use the handing on of physical objects - swords, the starry blue mantle - as illustration and metaphor for the inheritance of other things down the generations; characteristics, personality traits, and family history. Altariel has written the Steward's extended family for so long and so richly that I have trouble, these days, separating out her Fourth Age tales from the canon. The emotions here are so skilfully layered: grief for past losses, bittersweet recollection, hope and love. Every drabble has a moment which makes me catch my breath: Faramir's [due compensation for coming second] (oh, Faramir!); Leof, the Peter Wimsey of the Fourth Age, who [breaks hearts and gathers secrets]; Faramir's sword, like its owner, a [battered thing, bloodied – but unbeaten, in the end]; Eowyn who meets her future daughter-in-law and [cloaks her in the mother-mantle]. So often we think of the Fourth Age as entirely new; but human beings are products of their history and their family histories. What I love about these drabbles (and all Altariel's writing of the Prince of Ithilien and his family) is the sense of continuity they combine with evolution; this Fourth Age has its roots in the Third, yet has learnt, slowly and painfully, to move forward from the traumas and darkness of that Age. Sweet and sad, joyful and beautiful; every fan of Faramir should read and cherish these.

Author response: Thank you for taking these characters to heart, Az. These drabbles popped out of nowhere - I was surprised that they hung together so well.

Reviewed by: Dwimordene  ✧  Score: 6

What a lovely set of drabbles! The theme works well, taking us from the generation we know best into the future in different ways: each son or daughter receives a gift from those who came before, and finds in it special meaning. Or else the giver of the gift does. I like the book-ending of the set with Faramir and Éowyn: the one gifted with symbols standing in place of what he wanted more, and the one who gets to give freely finally in the department of love and life. Faramir's piece feels like closure, like the end of a book, as he puts that relationship where it belongs and gets on with his life; Eowyn's feels like opening a new one, and all the stories in between have a great air of promise about them that sets up that interesting opening-out closure of the series. Beautifully written, Altariel! I'm sure fans of Gondor-based stories will love these!

Author response: Thank you, Dwim! What a lovely reading for Eowyn. I think she would surprise herself by loving her role as matriarch. Fierce, welcoming love. I'm delighted you enjoyed these.

Reviewed by: Larner  ✧  Score: 5

I find I truly love this drabble series as one looks at the special bequests left to the children of the two Stewards of Gondor who had known Aragorn, one as a rival and the other as his liege lord. We learn so much of the relationships between children and their parents, and just how much each inherits! A well constructed series, each a true gem, carefully polished just as drabbles are intended to be! Definitely highly recommended! And I'd love more stories about Faramir's second son and the one who captured him--sounds like a true story to be fully enjoyed!

Author response: Thank you, Larner! Leof hasn't offered me a story yet, but I'm sure there's one waiting to be told!

Reviewed by: Wormwood  ✧  Score: 5

The idea here, I think, is how bequests acquire new meanings in subtle ways as they are being handed down - fitting of a new owner and a different time. Things carry stories, and stories are never entirely fixed. Battle swords become symbols of peace and freedom, and the starry mantle that once belonged to the troubled Finduilas becomes a symbol of life rather than death, when it is handed down from the mother of an adult son to the wife of that son. This is such a heartwarming and optimistic set of drabbles, without a hint of sentimentality. Lovely work.

Author response: Thank you, Wormwood. Yes, I wanted to explore how things change depending on the gift-giver and perhaps the manner of giving. And the progress of the family's story is in a happy direction, making these a joy to write.

Reviewed by: Darkover  ✧  Score: 3

Each drabble is so well-written it is almost a poem in prose. Each touches an emotional chord in the reader as well, and it takes the reader full circle through the life of Faramir. Good writing, and a pleasure to read!

Author response: Thank you so much, Darkover!

Reviewed by: Elleth  ✧  Score: 3

Wonderful writing with clear and very personal images, especially Eowyn's mended sword. I enjoyed the theme itself, but especially the fact that the drabbles followed a more or less temporal progression ending with the promise of Eowyn's mantle being passed on further, so adding a touch of depth to the history. Lovely.

Author response: Thank you very much, Elleth! I'm glad the progression of the piece worked for you!

Reviewed by: Adonnen Estenniel  ✧  Score: 3

What a wonderful glimpse of family life and the cycle of possessions among the Steward and his family. I liked the hints of other, greater goings-on, as it made these drabbles seem to be no more than snapshots of a wider world. Perfect!

Author response: Thank you very much!