Sometime Ever After

Author: Dwimordene

Nominator: Gandalfs apprentice

2007 Award Category: Times: Fourth Age and Beyond - First Place

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: It is the Fourth Age, and the magic is fading, leaving everything a great deal more ambiguous – sometimes happily so. Aragorn and a very old friend meet up one last time.

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Reviewed by: Gandalfs apprentice  ✧  Score: 10

I wish I could repeat some of what I already said about another Aragorn/Halbarad tale of Dwim's--only this one, here, is not actually AU. And here I go blubbering away like a big baby, crying over dead Halbarad. I will never forgive Tolkien for denying Aragorn BOTH of his best friends just as he becomes king. (Gandalf leaving for Heaven, which I can't but think he will find very dull, being the other one.) Here, Halbarad lives in Aragorn's mind--and we know that it's not just poison that brings him to life in a sick man's dreams. In fact, Halbarad will go on speaking to Aragorn all his life. Why is it that Dwimordene writes such great stories about nightmare states? Do I want to know the answer? The flashbacks to their young manhood work very well, especially the transition from the current battle/wound to the campfire. It's quite a challenge to write something like that well. And of course Halbarad would look after Aragorn's children--I imagine that Aragorn's unmarried, heirless state must have been quite a source of discontent among the Dunedain before the War of the Ring. One of my own ideas for finding some comfort in Halbarad's death is to imagine Eldarion marrying one of his granddaughters.

Reviewed by: dkpalaska  ✧  Score: 10

I love the explanation for why Aragorn had no vision of the coming injury: the destruction of Sauron has opened up Men's future until foresight becomes lost in the vastness of it, returning no echo of what is to come. The counterpoint to this is the loss of Arda's magic with the dawning of the Age of Men; it must have been an interesting transition for a Man who has lived and fought with the Elves, and his wife... The writing, pacing and tone are managed very, very masterfully. Dwimordene deftly incorporates reality and dream, war and peace, and clearly delineates between them. Yet they flow along so smoothly that the reader is completely drawn in; the end scene seems as natural and inevitable for us as it is for the King. Each scene is briefly and eloquently captured with spare but perfect detail; I particularly liked Aragorn's thoughts when wounded, and aged Halbarad. It almost goes without saying in Dwim's Aragorn and Halbarad moments, but their friendship is once again beautifully shown. Their deep affection is evident and very much the kind that "doesn't have to be said" - even their innermost dreams are known to each other. But like Aragorn, I'm glad some things are stated aloud anyway. I thought of the title as a clever twist on the "happily ever after" theme. Aragorn's joy in the future will always be colored somewhat by the pain of what it cost to win the war. But here, ["sometime"], out of time, he has the chance for one final proper leave-taking, to meet a much-missed ghost he can perhaps lay to rest. As for Hal, he points Aragorn back to the glorious reality of the Reunited Kingdom, knowing that the royal line he fought and died for has its own future to revel in. And Arwen's lovely greeting at the end... As Hal waited outside of time for his friend, so Aragorn's love waits for him in Tirith. A beautiful parallel which brought to mind how much Hal and Arwen would have been twin pillars of support for Aragorn in his long years of wandering.

Reviewed by: Aliana  ✧  Score: 10

Of the many things I adore about Dwimordene's writing, one of the most outstanding aspects is the density of her style, the ability to pack in loads of layers, emotions, and allusions into very small spaces--"Sometime Ever After" is no exception. In this brief vignette, she manages to include past, present and future; the abrupt brutality of warfare and the calm sweetness of peacetime; also, as she alludes to in her summary, this piece manages to incorporate the sadness of the end of the Third Age and the departure of magic and legend-making feats--at the same time, however, this loss is counterweighted by the new beginnings of the Fourth Age: the stirrings of new life and promises, when Aragorn, Arwen and the rest of our heroes and heroines begin to grow into their roles as mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, becoming, in a sense, the men and women that they were always meant to be. Except of course, for those who were lost along the way, like Halbarad. Dwimordene's Halbarad has long been one of my favorites, and the way she portrays his relationship with Aragorn (in all its possibilities and incarnations!) brings out depths barely hinted at in the steadfast friendship that Tolkien gives us. I especially liked the bit towards the conclusion in which Aragorn ruminates on the silent understandings of friendship, the things that don't need to be said, but that ought to be given voice anyway. A fine, bittersweet, affectionate and longing farewell between these two. As it should be. Once again, well done, Dwim!

Reviewed by: Marta  ✧  Score: 10

Ai, this was a good read! As with most of Dwim’s stories I find myself completely sucked into her world. Her writing style creates a very vibrant scene, as when she writes [Valar, merciful Valar, someone anyone Niennapleasesomethinginthisworld MUST. KNOW. MERCY, AI ERU--!] -- that was more powerful than any description of what Aragorn was physically feeling could have been, and made me ache for Aragorn. A similar thing happened when she slips into the dreamworld (if it can truly be called that). The scenes felt so genuine and rich, it was like I was seeing them play out before my eyes. Yet Dwim’s beautiful writing isn’t the only thing I liked about this story. The scenes with Aragorn and Halbarad that we see tell the reader about the strong bond Aragorn and Halbarad had, one that even seems to transcend death. It is almost as if Aragorn was living with a ghost, who was just as much a part of his life in the early Fourth Age as Arwen or Faramir were. I know that feeling, and Dwim captures it beautifully. It seems perfectly natural to think of Halbarad baby-sitting Aragorn’s daughter, and I imagine Aragorn in his hallucinating state would be all too willing to accept the authenticity of the moment. It’s a horrible injustice that Halbarad should not have continued on living -- and I think it speaks to Aragorn’s and Halbarad’s closeness that even several years into the Fourth Age, he should dream Halbarad into his life. Really nice writing, Dwim -- as I said, the read was beautiful.

Reviewed by: Anoriath  ✧  Score: 9

Oh, Halbarad. How are we not given more of this man in Lord of the Rings? Seldom does Aragorn's grimness fall from him with such suddenness that his joy at seeing Halbarad upon the plains of Rohan is akin to nothing more than the burst of morning rays upon a sleepless night. Halbarad is an excellent foil to Aragorn. There is a rare intimacy in their relationship that allows Halbarad to mirror Aragorn's depths in a way not even the closeness of the Nine Walkers can rival. So, despite the incongruity of circumstances, or perhaps because of it, Halbarad is an excellent choice of foil in Sometime Ever After. The past and future pass before Aragorn's inner eye, the choices and path of his life illuminated through his relationship with Halbarad. There his kin is, the warmth, companionability, telegraphic speech of long worn parallel grooves of thought, ever the mirror that reflects Aragorn's drive, passion and yearning. Oh my. This piece, among others that you've written Dwim, really make me long for more of Aragorn and Halbarad, just as Aragorn clearly yearns for his kin and grieves the whole his loss left behind.

Reviewed by: Imhiriel  ✧  Score: 8

In this very gripping story, you manage to write from so far within Aragorn's perspective that the readers feel as if they are very directly witnessing his feelings and thoughts, as if they are sitting in his head, almost. The way the episodes weave in and out of focus also help to convey Aragorn's current condition with its hallucinations. These episodes seem to be not completely "there", just a little out of focus. And this is so effectively contrasted with the change in writing style in last paragraphs, with its so much more neutral, observant and reporting voice. And on top of that, the relationship you convey between Aragorn and Halbarad is as fully-realised as ever when you write about them. Just a few brushstrokes, a few well-chosen words in dialogue and description... A realitiy in which Halbarad grows old and is there to know Aragorn's children is a very moving notion, and I wager Aragorn was torn between the grief that it could never be so, and thankfulness that at least in his visions/hallucinations, it could be true.

Reviewed by: Isabeau of Greenlea  ✧  Score: 4

I always enjoy Dwimordene's Halbarad stories. Alive or dead, he is always Aragorn's most faithful friend. In this story, he's a time-traveler as well, visiting Aragorn in present, past and future in the various incarnations appropriate to those times. The disjointed vignettes depict very well a wounded Aragorn's mental state. And Halbarad proves to be fore-sighted as ever about one very important thing. But over all the feeling of the piece is the sense of a friendship that is close enough to transcend death itself.

Reviewed by: obsidianj  ✧  Score: 3

In haunting dreams and nightmares Aragorn 'meets' Halbarad. I like the transitions between the dreams scapes, the not quite knowing where and when he is. Although Halbarad died in the battle on the Pelennor, it seems as if he is still watching over Aragorn.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 3

Dwimordene pens a haunting vignette about a dreamed and dreamlike encounter between Aragorn and Halbarad, some two years after the latter's death. Poignant and effective, with a wonderful ending.

Reviewed by: Marigold  ✧  Score: 3

Poor Aragorn - it must have been so difficult for him to lose Halbarad just as he was coming into his own at last. It makes sense that Halbarad would visit Aragorn in his delirium and likely in other dreams over the years. Nice dreamlike quality and strong writing.

Reviewed by: Linda hoyland  ✧  Score: 3

[spoilers] I loved this beautifully told story,being a fan of both Aragorn and Halbarad. In this haunting tale, a badly wounded Aragorn sees his old friend and is granted a reunion with hm. The reader is left to guess was it real or the product of a fevered mind?

Reviewed by: Larner  ✧  Score: 3

Drugs or hallucinations from the wound itself, or a brief series of meetings with the first Man he'd met toward whom he felt as a brother? Aragorn's not certain. But he was told to look to his daughter--who'd not yet been born. Very moving, and in its way reassuring. An excellent story, Dwimordene!.