Coiled Serpent

Author: Linda Hoyland

Nominator: Raksha the Demon

2011 Award Category: Drabble: Post-Ring War

Story Type: Drabble  ✧  Length: True Drabble

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: After years of enmity between Gondor and Harad, young Eldarion views the Southrons' symbol with a different eye.(Written for the Tolkien Weekly "Coil" Challenge. 100 words as counted in MS Word)

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Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 10

Linda Hoyland has written a number of tales spotlighting the relationship of King Elessar and his son and heir Eldarion as a child. Here, she uses the youngster's simpler viewpoint and the wider perspective of his father to point out the difference between the Middle-earth of the Third Age and the world of the early Fourth Age, at least a good portion of it. It's fascinating to think of the all the hardship, pain and spilled blood that lie between the distant past of Haradrim/West relationships and the more benign outlook that could prevail during the early Fourth Age. The child Eldarion, himself a scion of bloodlines so legendary and ancient as to be positively mythic, has no personal knowledge of the Battle of the Pelennor or the rest of the long conflict between the men of Southern Middle-earth and the men of the West. Through Eldarion's young eyes, we see the symbols of Gondor, Rohan and Harad that he has drawn, not opposed in battle as they were on the Pelennor, but aligned in friendship. It's a brilliant bit of storytelling. The reader feels the echo of the violence between Gondor and Rohan and Harad on the Pelennor; but the son of Gondor's King does not, at least not yet; he sees all three peoples as [friends]. Whether the child's innocent, trustful outlook foretells the future or will be corrupted by it is left to the reader, though it is obvious that Eldarion's father believes that friendship is far more worthwhile than hatred between allies and former foes.

Reviewed by: Virtuella  ✧  Score: 5

Dear Linda, as you know, I really like the recurring theme in your stories of the developing peace with Harad and of Aragorn’s friendship with Ambassador Tahir. This drabble shows beautifully how easily enmity and prejudice evaporate when they are not passed from one generation to the next. It really makes me wonder just how much conflict is the result of learned behaviours (and how much, on the other hand, is due to genuine conflicts of interest). In the real world, these would be hard to tell apart. It’s great to see the knot resolved in this story.

Reviewed by: Rivergift  ✧  Score: 5

Another wonderful drabble! In just 100 words, you contrasted the conflict of the Third Age with the peace of the Fourth beautifully, and it's fulfilling to see Aragorn's son being so innocent to the fact that, hardly a century ago, Gondor and Harad were such enemies- they are just friends, in his mind, and it is such an obvious fact to him that he sees fit to add the "after all". This, more than anything, is a testimony to Aragorn's work, fights and sacrifices and how much they have achieved. It must be a just reward, to be able to watch his child grow up in the peace he never had!

Reviewed by: Ellynn  ✧  Score: 4

In this drabble, we see Aragorn watching his son draw symbols of Gondor and Harad. When Aragorn remembers the battlefield, I think it was impossible not to remember Halbarad at the same time. I believe this was a tough moment for him, although he is turned towards happier future, without bitterness and revenge. Such a great drabble, with strong emotions and a very wise message.

Reviewed by: Adonnen Estenniel  ✧  Score: 3

Coiled Serpent is a beautiful look at the changing political climate in Middle-earth, though the eyes of a child. That Eldarion would consider those who march under the serpent's banner 'friends' is telling indeed.

Reviewed by: Phyncke  ✧  Score: 3

I really enjoyed this story of changing times and transformation and the post war world. A lot is said in such a little space of writing and with the highlighted aspect of the piece. Enjoyed this.

Reviewed by: Darkover  ✧  Score: 2

Through a child's POV, the author demonstrates how things have changed between the Men of Gondor and of Harad. A comforting drabble that utlizes metaphor well.