A Son of Eärendil

Author: DrummerWench

Nominator: DrummerWench

2010 Award Category: Genres: Adventure - Honorable Mention

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: A weaving together of real world tales and myths with Tolkien's legends into a new fairy story of sea-wandering.

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Reviewed by: The Lauderdale  ✧  Score: 10

DrummerWench's Fairy Tales of Middle-Earth is an amazing series! It's true that Tolkien created an extraordinary legendarium for his created world of Arda, but most of his material is of an epic nature and is firmly knitted into his world's history. The tale of Beren and Luthien is arguably one of his most fairytale-ish in tone, with talking hounds and magic hair, vampires and werewolves, but even Beren and Luthien are historical figures and their adventures are (presumably) taken at face value by the people who know of them. But such a complex world would have had its own fairy tales, fanciful stories of once-upon-a-time told among its inhabitants, and this is the terrain DrummerWench explores, creating the tales that Bilbo and Frodo, Eowyn and Aragorn might have read and told amongst each other. Often these stories employ devices familiar to us in stories and legends from cultures our whole world over. "A Son of Eärendil" borrows elements from Odysseus and the many antecedents of Rip Van Winkle as Garandir, an ill-fated mariner, roams the seas, squandering the years he might have spent with his wife and son, his blessed sail and cursed rudder ever at odds. It can also be likened, within the context of Arda, to the unhappy family drama of Aldarion and Erendis, though the emphasis is on Garandir’s exploits rather than his abandoned and unnamed wife. Recognizing such commonalities, woven into a story that is entirely new and of a piece with Tolkien’s world, is a great source of pleasure. This story is not part of Middle-earth’s history, but it is a story that could only have been told and made sense to the people of that world and to readers from our world fortunate enough to have spent time there. Tolkien famously wrote that he wanted to create a world that would ["leave scope for other minds and hands, wielding paint and music and drama..."] I think he would be very impressed by what DrummerWench has done.

Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger  ✧  Score: 8

This is exactly what I might expect to hear in the late hours up and down the coasts of Middle-earth. There is such a sense of the fantastic in this story. It's tied in with familiar Tolkien mythical/historical elements like Earendil, Numenor, and the Eldar, but then it also draws its source material from our own mythology. The result is a tale that is both familiar and original. It feels familiar because it echoes tales we've heard in our own lives, but it's original in its blending of various mythologies and Tolkien elements. I also love the dualism in this story, brought to life by the blessed sail and the cursed rudder. In that, DrummerWench's story brings to life the tried and true moral that nothing is ever easy but our own actions often make it worse. This child of the Mariner is doomed to a bittersweet life. Certain places he can find at will, certain places he can find only at certain times, and certain places he can linger but not remain. A fantastic tale that embodies the restless and capricious spirit of the Sea.

Reviewed by: Keiliss  ✧  Score: 6

This was really rather amazing. Tolkien meets the Odyssey with a side of the Flying Dutchman, doomed to sail the ocean forever. I am in awe of the imagination and word skill that created this gem. The images are fresh and alive, straight out of myth, true to the language and atmosphere of the fiarytales of my childhood (granted with a few more adult touches). The two that will stay with me longest are the sail of mermaids' hair and that wonderful, lost peak of the Land of the Star with its sweet water and long-deserted ruins. The ending, the bitter with the sweet, is very true to the genre (and often to the good professor himself) A short review for a tale that deserves many more points, but most of what I want to say can be summed up in two words - quite wonderful. Highly recommended.

Reviewed by: Fiondil  ✧  Score: 6

Fairy tales, of course, are never, or rarely, about the inhabitants of Fairie, but rather about Mortals who wander into that perilous realm and the adventures (and often misadventures) which are theirs. Drummerwench gives us a Middle-earth version of the Flying Dutchman, with a bit of Odysseus thrown in for good measure, to give us a glimpse of one Mortal’s chance encounters with Fairie and its denizens as he plies the seas. His wanderlust brings him to strange shores and his own actions doom him to a life of eternal wandering, never calling any place “home”. In many ways, Garandir is the poster child for all those men (and women) throughout the ages who find the call of the sea irresistible and thus doomed never to be happy on land, condemning their loved ones to a lifetime of waiting and hoping for their return. A clever use of well-known fairy tale motifs.

Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 5

What a perfect blend of real-world fairytale traditions and the lore of Arda! I love the way the story proceeds, with Garadir impulsively throwing himself into deeper and deeper trouble. His impatience (perhaps symbolic of his mortality) leads him to wed before he is ready, to betray his wife, and to bind himself to beings who are not of his own people. I love the use of traditional motifs, such as the sail woven of mermaid hair (and the weaver's unweaving) having to serve a year and a day, and the doom he ultimately finds himself caught in! Really well done!

Reviewed by: Larner  ✧  Score: 5

The tale Drummerwench has woven seems partly Celtic and yet could as easily have been one of the tales told in a thousand and one nights in Arabia! This man born with the spirit of Earendil within him must away to sea; but at what a cost in the end! Caught between blessed sail and cursed rudder, he cannot find his way home again until after he's lost all he'd once loved. A perfect fairy tale to be told within Middle Earth! I can so easily imagine Aragorn, Faramir, Frodo, and others reading this tale all enthralled as twilight darkens outside their windows.