Towards Númenor that was

Author: Raksha the Demon,Linda Hoyland

Nominator: juliaaurelia

2011 Award Category: Drabble: Pre-Ring War - Second Place

Story Type: Drabble  ✧  Length: True Drabble

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: When Isildur's Heir faces West, what does he see?(Written for the Tolkien Weekly)

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Reviewed by: Larner  ✧  Score: 9

I always love it when Linda Hoyland and Raksha the Demon cooperate in their writing, for what comes of it is always well worth the read, as has proved true here as well. How is Aragorn to react the first time he sees the Sea? He is, after all, the Heir of Isildur, the one destined either to renew the heritage of Numenor within Middle Earth or to fall to the greatest depths of defeat. Would it not awaken his own Sea Longing? It is not only the heritage and the elven tales he has been told, but perhaps also the fact he has been raised among Elves who have been beyond the West, and in the end was granted the right to eat lembas as well. He knows that his ada's wife dwells in the Undying Lands and that in the end that is where Elrond will go as well, perhaps after the victory all must hope for or perhaps following death in battle against the Shadow; and perhaps the woman he has glimpsed and lost his heart to will end up there as well. Is his last act a giving a portion of his heart to the Sea he himself cannot cross in life, or is it an act of defiance—or both? As is true of the best of drabbles, this causes our own imaginations to stir! Another perfect gem polished by two hands to our delight!

Reviewed by: Virtuella  ✧  Score: 8

Dear Raksha, dear Linda, the sea is always an amazing sight to behold, and I fancy it must be an overwhelming experience for someone who sees it for the first time and an adult. Jane Austen (in “Persuasion”) speaks of the wonder in which people “gaze on a first return to the sea, who ever deserve to look on it at all,” and I think she is right, if we cannot be impressed by the sea, we do not deserve to look on it. Aragorn clearly deserves, and this particular sea to this particular man has a very particular meaning. The images of both Numenor and Valinor are powerful, and they might tie him to an unchangeable past or an unattainable ideal. He is, at this moment, a man in danger of being lost in the might-have-beens. But he asserts himself and cast away the fantasies as he casts away the stone. In turning his back on the sea, he turns his face towards the Middle-earth that needs him. This is a well-thought-out and smoothly presented drabble that convinces with its very appealing simplicity.

Reviewed by: Elleth  ✧  Score: 5

The imagery in this drabble is lovely, painting a very clear picture of seeing the ocean for the first time. I found it quite surprising to see that a drabble could be co-authored (considering the short form, that never crossed my mind), but obviously it happened here to excellent outcome - no word out of place, clear, concise, and displaying a more than understandable reaction from a (presumably) young Aragorn facing not only the sea, but at once his past in the form of Valinor and Númenor, and his future both in the expectations he will have to live up to and his eventual mortality. Throwing a stone and walking isn't a reaction anyone could fault him for (or at least I can't). I enjoyed this a lot.

Reviewed by: Darkover  ✧  Score: 4

Aragorn was a thoughtful man, and this drabble portrays that well. He is shown to have enough imagination to wonder about what might have been, but he is also sufficiently intelligent and mature to realize that brooding over "what ifs" does no good. I suspect that is the symbolism of throwing the pebble into the sea, and it is even better illustrated by the final line, where Aragorn leaves and does not look back. Well written, and more to the tale than might originally appear. Well done.

Reviewed by: cairistiona  ✧  Score: 4

The ending is what makes the drabble exceptional, I think. It seems very much like Aragorn to allow himself a moment of wondering, of dreaming, of thinking of what was... but then to turn away from that to resume his long and hard road. I like to think he drew hope from that glimpse of the Sea, and wisdom from remembering the painful lessons of history that it brought to his mind.

Author response: Thanks much for the review, Cairistiona; Linda and I appreciate it. I think part of Aragorn's appeal is that his character is a mixture of the visionary and the practical. He and his family and people have lost so much, so that if he allowed himself to stop and contemplate the evidence or reminders of those losses for awhile, he might become distracted from his purpose, which is so difficult and far-reaching that it demands a good deal of his concentration. And I do think that Aragorn is very purposeful. He's also very self-confident, so while he would respect the past and harken back to it on occasion, he thinks mostly of the present and future...

Reviewed by: Levade  ✧  Score: 3

If you ever wanted to capture the essence of Aragorn in a quick moment, this might be it. He is a dreamer and someone who sees the bigger picture, where he has come from, and those sacrifices made. But he uses those to guide his future, not to wish them all back and that makes him a stronger man. The last line is perfect.

Reviewed by: Adonnen Estenniel  ✧  Score: 2

A very contemplative drabble. Aragorn's presence here seems to be but a backdrop to that of the sea and what lies beyond. The imagery here is stunning, simply put. Well done!