Do Not Think Me A Dream
2006 Award Category: Races: Men: Gondor - Second Place
Story Type: Other Fiction ✧ Length: Short Story
Rating: PG ✧ Reason for Rating: Possibly disturbing thoughts
Summary: Late at night, Finduilas wanders the Tower, watching her sleeping children and musing on many things.
Reviewed by: Branwyn ✧ Score: 10
A beautifully-written story that explores the premise that Finduilas' depression and decline in health were caused by the direct influence of Sauron. Certainly, due to Denethor's great love for her, she would be a logical target, and her death would leave the Steward even more isolated (and easier prey for Sauron). In this fic, Finduilas is troubled by disturbing dreams, presumably sent by the Enemy. I like how she keeps the visions secret, partly to protect Denethor and partly out of pride (there are rumors in the City that she is mad). Her jealousy and sorrow that (due to her state duties and her failing health) her children must be raised by another woman are understandable, and her stolen moments with the sleeping children are very touching. She is convinced that they will die in battle (which isn't an unreasonable assumption in that time and place), and when she looks at them, she tries to imagine the warriors they will one day become. Sleeping Boromir reminds her of a fallen soldier--[Boromir sleeps in a sprawl, bedclothes kicked off, arms and legs thrown about as if he collapsed fighting some enemy]--which shows how obsessed she is with fear for her children. I know this is Tolkien's sandbox, but I never bought his vague explanation of Finduilas' death, especially since she had two small children who needed her. However, this fic neatly sidesteps that problem by making the children the cause of her anxiety. All around, a very effective, plausible, and moving fic.
Reviewed by: Anoriath ✧ Score: 8
Such bittersweetness and heart-yearning to this piece. It feels as if Finduilas has made peace with the sacrifice being the Steward's wife will ask of her. In a sense, she is just as much of a warrior as her sons, though in her own way, fighting a battle of overwhelming odds until it has asked all of her. Such are the things that tie the mother to her sons. We know so much about Denethor's influence on Faramir and Denethor, but here you've given us a tantalizing glimpse of what their mother added to their personalities. Instead of a retiring hot-house flower, you portray her as having the patience of a stone tower that stands upon the top of the and though worn, weathers all turbulence to provide shelter for those within. Was it not just Denethor that gave Boromir and Faramir the will to persevere though the cost to them was dear? Or did they learn deep and old lessons about love and what we do for those to whom we are bound? I think this piece asks just as many questions as it answers, which makes it a lovely doorway into a world possibilities and so the best kind of experience for a reader.
Reviewed by: Dwimordene ✧ Score: 7
A sensitive portrait of Finduilas in her decline. The Appendices of course make her health and eventual death a matter of much speculation. Edoraslass turns this into an image of a woman struggling with depression without having the words for it, disturbed by dreams of her own coming demise, victim of mood swings and exhaustion, and weighed down by care for her loved ones, to whom she cannot explain her night time wanderings and poor health. Denethor makes a brief appearance, but nevertheless, gives a strong impression with just that too knowing frown that says he can't believe her excuses, but neither can he question them. Haunting the bedroom of her children at nights, feeling as if ill health and duty are drawing her away from them and into the arms of Nanny, who minds them day and even night, she makes the most of these nocturnal visits. Touching and melancholy, it's a convincing image of Finduilas and her family.
Reviewed by: annmarwalk ✧ Score: 6
What a melancholy tale, so different from your other droll and joyful tales, but perfectly in keeping with the characters. Poor Finduilas she knows she is fading, as do all her loved ones surrounding her, whether they will recognize the truth or not; but are all powerless to speak the words that are utmost in their minds. Nanny could share with Finduilas her vow to stay with the boys until Faramir is grown, raising them with all the love and care a mother would lavish; Denethor could promise to do his utmost, give his life if need be, to keep Gondor safe, and by extension Finduilas sons, brothers, and kin. Finduilas herself could choose to bid farewell to those who love her, passing on in grace and peace, but instead she wanders, wraithlike, waiting for the choice to be taken from her. What a heartwrenching story.
Reviewed by: Bodkin ✧ Score: 6
Poor Finduilas. She seems so lonely. It must be hard for her to fill the role of Gondor's First Lady - to the exclusion of the role of being Boromir and Faramir's mother. If she had been able to spend more time involving herself in the practicalities of caring for them, she might have been less vulnerable to the drag of the dark shadow hanging over the White City. I loved seeing her tuck Boromir into his blankets and kissing him - and I'm glad that he roused enough to notice her. I hope he remembers his mother's occasional nocturnal visit once she has gone from them all. I'm not surprised she is somewhat jealous of Nanny's closeness to the boys, either, but she is lucky to have someone so caring to protect them when she can't - and to be there for themwhen their mother has gone. Very bitter sweet.
Reviewed by: Marta ✧ Score: 5
There is something powerful in the melancholy of this piece. Many drama stories can be so heavy that one cannot imagine anyone bearing up under that kind of stress for any length of time. But Finduilas's ennui here is palpable and just mild enough that it could wear on for years quite easily, wearing her down with it. She looks on her children and envies their nanny the time to give to them -- but then she does not take the easy road of looking only at the external stresses that keep her away from her children, but also examines her perceived internal failings. That to me is at the heart of this honest and frank portrayal of Finduilas. A well-written snapshot of an underexplored character.
Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon ✧ Score: 4
A haunting portrait of a woman fighting a losing battle with internal and external stresses - the homesickness, the desire to spend more time with her sons, and the overwhelming awareness of Sauron's oppressive presence. Finduilas' predicament is well-sketched; she can't get escape Sauron's influence, and though it may not drive her mad, since she is depicted here as a strong woman fighting to remain with the family she loves, it is exhausting her.
Reviewed by: Jenn_Calaelen ✧ Score: 3
A lovely view of Finduilas. It is interesting to see her perspecite on her life and to see how she knows of her fate. It is nice to see her interacting with her family, even in such a passive way. You show her as a clear and interesting character.
Reviewed by: dkpalaska ✧ Score: 3
Finduilas' depression and sense of oppression from the evil to the east are well-portrayed and believable as contributing to her slow decline. The title and her reflections at the end point forward to her death; the sadness I felt was eased a little, however, knowing how much of her would go on to live in her sons.
Reviewed by: Dreamflower ✧ Score: 3
A very touching picture of Finduilas, unable to sleep herself, watching over her sleeping sons, and filled with sorrow and forboding. The description of her feelings of malaise and melancholy are realistic, and it is so sad to realize that she only has about three more years with her children. Very moving and bittersweet.
Reviewed by: Marigold ✧ Score: 3
This is so bittersweet! Poor Finduilas; she is obviously in the grips of depression though she may not realise exactly what is wrong with her. Her matter-of-fact thoughts that someday the Shadow would take both of her sons was just so sad. I hope that Boromir remembers this moment.
Reviewed by: Gandalfs apprentice ✧ Score: 1
A glimpse into Finduilas's life towards its end, bitter-sweet.