Shadows of Nan Elmoth

Author: Malinornë

Nominator: Russandol

2011 Award Category: Character Study: House of Finwë

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: Teen  ✧  Reason for Rating: Mature Language/Themes,Sexual Content

Summary: Aredhel seeks a different life and finds it in the shadows of Eöl's realm.

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Reviewed by: Russandol  ✧  Score: 7

This story expands on the two or three paragraphs Tolkien gave us about how Aredhel met Eöl and how he then seduced her to become his wife. It was only while reading this tale that Nan Elmoth really became a creepy place in my mind, with thorns and shadows lengthening on the path as an omen of Aredhel's future, like a trap closing upon her. The enchantments and the way Eöl lured out of her all the answers he needed to confirm she would not be missed were disturbing, making me uneasy with the feeling of witnessing the elvish version of a drug rape. He does not waste time to take her to bed, awakening a lust which seems to spring out of his sorcery alone. She seems to find contentment, but I can't sense real happiness. At the end, weaving her plans of escaping from her husband's watch with the image of light shining through the banner of Gondolin is a powerful scene to let us know that she has not given up, that there is hope despite the shadows.

Reviewed by: Dwimordene  ✧  Score: 5

I think Malinornë met the requirements of her challenge prompt nicely: Aredhel is neither head over heels in love, nor does she find her husband loathsome. They have problems; Eöl is asocial and domineering, private and moody. Aredhel is finding that one can change climates, but if one is living still with domineering authority figures, life begins to feel caged. But she's hopeful and thinking of a future with her son out from under his father's sway, which gives the story a less confined feeling than it might otherwise have. Well done!

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 4

Interesting look at the courtship and marriage of the ill-starred Eol and Aredhel. I liked the treatment of the sexuality and sensuality between Aredhel and her seducer; it seems obvious that Aredhel does not mind the seduction, though she was taken unawares by it. Theirs was a relationship that would have worked best as a passionate affair; and the author brings this out as Aredhel disapproves of the environment in which her son grows up.

Reviewed by: Adonnen Estenniel  ✧  Score: 3

An excellent gap-filling piece! I really liked the author's depiction of the characters--not with kidskin gloves, certainly. Yet there was a delicacy to the exploration of Aredhel's thoughts that I liked very much. Well done!

Reviewed by: Darkover  ✧  Score: 3

This is a character piece, written from the POV of Aredhel, concerning her life with Eol and her son Maeglin. Insightful, explaining how things came about, and how things were between them. Worth reading.