Valley of Twilight and Stars
Author: Adonnen Estenniel
2011 Award Category: Poetry: General - Honorable Mention
Story Type: Poetry ✧ Length: N/A (Non-Fiction or Poetry)
Rating: General ✧ Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: Under the watchful eyes of Nan Elmoth, two romances unfold, vastly different yet one and the same.
Reviewed by: Dreamflower ✧ Score: 10
This poem contrasts two maidens whose loves made them pivotal characters in the Silmarillion: first, the tale of Melian. In that tale it is she who does the ensnaring, and she who captures Elwe. The imagery of the first part captures not only Melian, as it shows her dancing in the twilight, it evokes the unspoken images of her descendants Luthien and Arwen. When Elwe comes upon her, he is captivated and ensnared by her beauty. There is a quiet joy underlying the first part of this poem. The second part of the poem is briefer and more sinister. Here the maiden concerned is not being openly watched by an admirer, but is being spied upon by ["watchful eyes"], which have a dark and stalkerish implication. We are left to ambiguity as to how mutual the resulting union is, but not to doubt that it is a disturbing one which can only lead to a disaster. I like the structure and rhythm of this poem as well. Although both parts are written in stanzas of triplets, in the first part we have a rhyming couplet followed by a non-rhyming line: AAB. The second part places the non-rhyming line in the middle of the stanza, ABA. The difference subtly alters the rhythm of the lines, making the second part read more slowly and deliberately than the lighter pace of the first part. Yet the brevity of the second one compared to the first also makes it more sinister, as though it was interrupted or cut short. A very skillful poem.
Reviewed by: Larner ✧ Score: 4
Two women are spied, one dancing, one riding, by the Elves who came to love them. The contrast between the two encounters is distinct in spite of the deliberate understatement of the situations so briefly described. A poem in two parts, this look at two First-Age relationships has managed to capture the different tenors of each pairing. Form and rhythms are delicate and well chosen. A wonderful poem to ponder. Adonnen's poetry is always worthwhile!
Reviewed by: Liadan ✧ Score: 3
It is interesting to see how stories can be very dissimilar on the outside but relationships are so complex that if only one small detail is changed, they could easily become the same.
Reviewed by: Dwimordene ✧ Score: 3
I'd forgotten that both of those courtships occurred in Nan Elmoth. Interesting to see them written side by side, as it were: Melian and Aredhel both transfixing the men who would become their husbands without even trying.