Way of the World

Author: Michelle

Nominator: Linda Hoyland

2011 Award Category: Character Study: Aragorn - Second Place

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Ficlet Series

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: In five short scenes, Eldarion looks back on the relationship he had with his father - and in one last he reflects on how time is repeating itself and how life is a cycle. A story of fathers and sons and of gifts given, told in five double drabbles and one drabble.(The story is a series of five double drabbles and one drabble.)

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Reviewed by: The Lauderdale  ✧  Score: 8

A shiver ran through me as I read this story: the good kind of shiver, because it is just so well-observed and beautifully fitted together. Eldarion's memories encompass his full career with the sword, from his innocent beginnings with a wooden practice sword ([the wooden stick], his mother calls it, that he keeps by his side even while he is sleeping), through the time when he realizes why a blade is sharp and what all this practice is really for; through countless matches with his father (still knocking him on his butt into Eldarion's sixties - oh, the joys of being Dúnedain), and, later, bouts with his own son. And now, he realizes, this final pivotal fight. It's a small point of disagreement on my part, but re: part five, I think Eldarion realized there was something special about that day on the occasion of the event itself. I say so because, after all, he has the self-awareness to find [his victory to be bitter], though it makes sense that he wouldn't recognize the moment's full significance until years later, when he has lost his father and raised a son of his own. I loved his own realization at the end. [Losing this fight will be his ultimate victory.]

Reviewed by: Dwimordene  ✧  Score: 6

The five things format is sort of the genre gift that just keeps on giving: it's such a fun rubric to use, and people put it to all sorts of uses. The Aragorn-Eldarion relationship is not as often explored for its own sake. Michelle takes up the challenge, and gives it a very martial spin - not inappropriate, considering who these men are and have been. Although the story could be read as an arc, following Eldarion's growth as a swordsman, until at last, he can actually best Aragorn, it is actually a cyclical story, with both Eldarion and Aragorn following out father-son patterns that, due to the mortality of human beings, will always repeat. But I like the twist at the end, that Michelle brings victory into the very moment of what might otherwise be a kind of final defeat. Nicely done! Fans of Aragorn and his family will enjoy this.

Reviewed by: cairistiona  ✧  Score: 6

This story is why I so love MEFA. Somehow, and I can't imagine how, I missed this one when it was first published, and how grateful am I now that it was nominated! I love the way the story is framed, with five vignettes, each starting with the same phrase. Each is a drabble or double drabble, but in the way of truly excellent writing, the reader soon loses sight of the fact that each section has a set number of words. They're simply moving, emotionally satisfying and poignant reflections on the progress of a son as he grows and eventually surpasses the skills of his father and in that besting discovers that there is a bitterness that underlies the sweet. This tale, like all good tales, touches the heart because it touches on life itself. I finished this with tears in my eyes, but they were satisfied tears.

Reviewed by: Linda Hoyland  ✧  Score: 5

This is a truly beautiful story which was one of the highlights of my reading year.In it Eldarion recalls his first toy sword and learning swordplay and how in earnest his father's skills with the sword helped make Gondor what it is today. As he grows older so does his father until one day he can best him at swordplay.Eldarion, now King and a father himself is seeing the cycle repeated with his own son. I found this story moving and thought provoking as it applies to us all, not just Eldarion. We all begin as children, then watch our parents age and die as we too grow older. Life is an endless cycle with each generation learning anew.

Reviewed by: Rivergift  ✧  Score: 4

Poignant and strangely comforting! This is a beautiful piece of growth and age and love, with an absolutely true last line. Way of the world, indeed. I loved the quiet handing over of the great legacy, how Eldarion is suddenly not so happy to beat his father, and yet bears the new responsibility with grace truly befitting a son of Elessar. I am glad to see, too, Eldarion accepting the final triumph of being a father and drawing deeper an understanding with his own father. Thank you for a wonderful story of fathers and sons!

Reviewed by: Ellynn  ✧  Score: 3

A wonderful, touching story about how the student surpasses the teacher. And so much more - Michelle tells us a wonderful story about the love between a father and a son. The end is especially touching - the last paragraph and the last line brought tears to my eyes. Beautifully written.

Reviewed by: Adonnen Estenniel  ✧  Score: 3

This is a beautiful look at Aragorn's character. Eldarion's memories of his father are touching and sweet, and give a beautiful rose-colored glimpse at this great king. Excellently written!