A Great King

Author: Sandra S

Nominator: cairistiona

2011 Award Category: Drama: Featuring Aragorn - Second Place

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: Teen  ✧  Reason for Rating: Violence

Summary: Greatness has to be achieved and wisdom to be gained. At the start of his great journeys Aragorn visits Mirkwood. And learns a lesson for life.

Read the Story

Reviewed by: cairistiona  ✧  Score: 10

I was astonished by this story the first time I read it, and now, after this second reading to refresh my memory for MEFA, my astonishment really hasn't lessened unless it be to deep-seated pleasure. The characterization is so well done--Aragorn as a young Ranger is done without the childishness that many writers tend to ascribe to him. He is just wide-eyed enough to come across as one who has never been through Mirkwood but he is also wise in woodcraft and more importantly in heeding the warnings he'd been given about staying on the path, even to ["sleeping on the damn thing"], a line that seems so very Aragorn and made me smile. His encounter with the mysterious wounded Elf is suspenseful and filled with drama, made the more so because of the strong attention to detail. The setting of Mirkwood feels as much a character as Aragorn or any of the Elves. And the Elves themselves are so well done--this is by far my favorite rendition of the Mirkwood denizens. They're mysterious, aloof, and yet merry, as evidenced by the marvelous passages about the forest for a moment reverting to its former glory as Greenwood the Great at the sound of an Elf's peals of laughter. It's those little details that root this story deeply in Middle-earth and make it feel like some hidden tale of the Professor's that has only now come to light. Definitely a story that shouldn't be overlooked!

Reviewed by: The Lauderdale  ✧  Score: 9

cairistiona nails it in her review, when she says that Mirkwood is as much of a character as any of the characters themselves. The descriptions of what Aragorn sees and what he intuits create a powerful evocation of place, with its stifling canopy, disembodied eyes, and deathly silence. The forest only becomes more forbidding when Aragorn discovers the body of a dead Orc, then the Elf that killed it…and soon he is following a trail of corpses into a bloody clearing. It seems, at first, the Elves and Orcs had fought and died to a man, until he discovers one warrior as yet alive and watching him. Badly wounded, the Mirkwood Elf is as silent and as dangerous as the forest he dwells in. Strange story, where the forest feels like a character, and a character feels like a place! But it's true, our mysterious Elf is depicted in animistic terms throughout, like a cat sheathing his claws, or a wounded hawk, or a tree, or a vixen, or mist rising from a deep pool. It is remarkable to reach the end of this story and realize that never once has he said a word to Aragorn. Nonetheless he leaves an indelible impression on the young man. A remarkable encounter. Thranduil fans should check this out.

Reviewed by: ziggy  ✧  Score: 7

This story well deserves a nomination and I thoroughly enjoyed the first meeting of Aragorn and Thranduil, although Thrnaduil remains unnamed and htat seems very fitting actually.. The careful writing, beautifully detailed description of the forest and intense study of Thranduil who never speaks but simply looks- is fabulous. I had not picked it up on ffent and I am so gald I read it here. It captures the fey otherworldliness of Mirkwood, not only the Elves but the forest itself. There are gruesome bits in the dead orcs etc but in the description of Aragorn tending the King, there are real glimpses of superb controlled writing, details that make the story visual and rich. The image of the beech tree curling about Thranduil for example. Aragorn too is nicely written and convincing, slightly scared of the strangeness first of the forest and then of the elf-lord. I will be checking out other fics by this writer now. A great read.

Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 4

As a young Ranger, Aragorn makes his first journey to Mirkwood, and tends a wounded Elf there, who is more than he seems. Yet this simple storyline is told in a way that helps us to feel what Aragorn is feeling, his compassion and his wariness, his awe and his fear. But he is not the only character: another one is his patient, who without a single word of dialogue, manages to dominate the story. Wonderful reading.

Reviewed by: Darkover  ✧  Score: 3

This is a good story of one of Aragorn's experiences in his younger days. While I'm not sure I agree that the Elf in question did not "owe" Aragorn, the Man learns the first of many lessons. The writing style of this tale is both descriptive and fast-moving, making the story a pleasure to read. Well written.

Reviewed by: agape4gondor  ✧  Score: 3

A beautifully crafted tale. Right from the start I was drawn in. What a great tale of survival, courage, and righteousness. Well done indeed. The ending was potent. Loved every moment of this short piece.

Reviewed by: Adonnen Estenniel  ✧  Score: 2

A unique glimpse of Aragorn in his wandering days.The scene written here provides a place from which his later greatness can stem from. Very nice, all in all.

Reviewed by: Ellynn  ✧  Score: 1

Beautiful story, with great descriptions and strong atmosphere. Well done.