Picking Up the Threads

Author: alex_quine

Nominator: foxrafer (csevans8)

2011 Award Category: Men: Faramir - Third Place

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: Faramir and Eowyn come to their new home in Ithilien, neither quite prepared for what faces them, only to discover that they have been left a puzzle from Faramir's past that will challenge how he remembers his family.

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Reviewed by: The Lauderdale  ✧  Score: 10

[Picking Up the Threads] is a wonderful story. It opens with an Eowyn, a Faramir, and a bevy of household servants out of step with each other and their new digs. When an inexperienced maid accidentally burns part of a tapestry woven by Finduilas, Eowyn thinks to salvage what she may, but the weavers commissioned to repair it discover other, finer silk embroidery beneath, and Eowyn soon finds herself with a mystery on her hands, and decisions to be made. Part of my liking for this story is alex_quine's highly accessible writing about an area outside my own ken: that of textiles and textile workers. Eowyn, for all that she feels out of place in the domestic sphere, at least knows what stump work is (left to my own guesses, I would assume it had something to do with clearing out old timberland) but with her novice point of view and the author's excellent prose to engage me, I could read happily about the business of tapestry construction, cleaning and repair. The unobtrusive, easy way in which it was done put me in mind of another writer, Clodia, and the incorporation of weaving and dye-production in her own stories. alex_quine's opening premise was well-written and interesting enough that, frankly, the process of repairing of an old tapestry was story enough for me. That it should yield to revelation, mystery, and a final dramatic discovery (abetted by a sleuthy Queen Arwen) was cause for open-mouthed delight. But I'm not going to get into that here. You really should read it for yourself.

Reviewed by: agape4gondor  ✧  Score: 10

Rarely have I found such a wondrous tale. I'm awed by it. The beauty of the prose, the obvious attention to detail and the research that must have gone along with it, and the fleshing out of characters. Even a tapestry is a plausible character. I do so love the Men of Gondor. And I love a tale of Finduilas. Though her part in this seems tiny, the thread of her life that runs through it is unbroken. I love the hidden Denethor. The little hints that Finduilas death was mind-numbing. Oh - the joy of the finding of the room. (You'll understand when you read it.) I once wrote of a room Denethor made for Finduilas, sensing that sea-longing was taking her from him. It's fun to see another author's Muse think of a special place for Finduilas. I am sure Denethor knew of its existence, perhaps he even commissioned its making. Faramir and Ewoyn's struggles as new royalty was well written and almost too sad and chaotic to bear. That they both came through it with flying colors is such fun to read. Especially the way they did it. To see them 'grow up' is quite fun. The relationship they have is splendid. I think this is one of my favorite stories - even if Boromir is not in it. And the wee mystery, imbedded in the tale, holds the reader close. Wow.

Reviewed by: foxrafer (csevans8)  ✧  Score: 10

This is one of the loveliest ideas for a story I've ever come across. We see Faramir and Eowyn as they try to learn their new roles, not only settling into married life but the life of a Prince and his Lady and the running of a noble household. Eowyn is the product of her times, having learned about governance rather than the details of how a house is kept in good order. But she knows there is much to get a handle on and tries to surround herself with staff who are willing to not only teach her and Faramir, but also newly hired youth and former soldiers new to service, what is expected of them. (I have to add I adore the touch of an "Upstairs Downstairs" kind of vibe in some of this.) What begins as a simple tale of restoring an old tapestry brought from Minas Tirith turns into a delightful mystery, with Eowyn and Arwen working together to discover the secret to the hidden message left by Finduilas, Faramir's mother. It leads them to uncover a lost connection to Faramir's past, one that is absolutely touching and heart-warming. As always through the beauty of the writer's language and her deft hand for detail she vividly captures scenes from their lives. It feels rich and lush, like the reader is enveloped in the world, a happy observer enjoying these moments playing out before you. I adore this pairing and their love story and she depicts them just as I imagine them: full of love and a strong mutual respect. And this: [Sometimes it seemed to Faramir that he remembered so little; the last of his line and it was as though the span of his years were a series of individual scenes, lit up by the life force of others] is truly one of the finest lines ever; so perfect for Faramir and so very moving. There are so many layers to this story, and all are carefully and beautifully laid out before us. I am blown away with this story, and would recommend it to anyone.

Reviewed by: Darkover  ✧  Score: 9

I loved this story, which has many facets. Partly it is a mystery, partly it is about the development of a friendship (Eowyn and the Queen,) partly it is about adjusting and adapting to a new way of life (Eowyn's becoming lady of the Ithilien manor, Faramir being Elessar's Steward while also ruling as Prince of Ithilien, and both of them learning about living together as a married couple.) The best aspect of all, IMHO, was the romance, the deepening of the marriage bond between Faramir and Eowyn. The author has done an excellent job of portraying both their characters. My favorite part was the passage in which Eowyn, because of a maid's carelessness, has to put out a fire, and afterwards, Faramir's immediate reaction is not to concern himself about what possessions have been spoiled, but he personally checks Eowyn's hands to see if she is burned, and sees to her comfort. How many men do that? I also loved the lines about how he prefers to have his new wife beside him, more than anything else. This is just such a wonderful story, not to be missed! I also loved how they learned more about Finduilas, her work, and what she was like. A great story all around!

Reviewed by: obsidianj  ✧  Score: 4

This is a beautiful story about the early days of Faramir and Eowyn's marriage. I like the idea that They both don't really know how to run the household of a prince and what is expected of them. It is understandable that Eowyn is more trained in statecraft than household chores given her inclination for boyish pursuits. Interwoven in this is the tapestry Finduilas and her women had made and the secrets it holds. I love the gradual discoveries of what is hidden beneath the surface and the finding of her special room.

Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 3

This is an unusual and yet fun and intriguing little story, weaving together such disparate elements as Faramir and Eowyn beginning their home together in Ithilien, backstairs politics among the servants, and a mystery involving a tapestry and Finduilas. There is a hint of sorrow in it, and yet overall it ends on a hopeful note-- much like its protagonists.

Reviewed by: Mysterious Jedi  ✧  Score: 3

This enjoyable story gives a good view of what it would have been like for Eowyn when she was setting up her new household in Ithillien. In addition, there is a a little surprise in store for the two of them concerning Faramir's family.