Youngest Son

Author: Bodkin

Nominator: Ellie

2007 Award Category: Genres: Romance: Second Age or Earlier - First Place

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: A brief tale of a golden prince, living in a time of (relative) innocence under the light of the Two Trees.

Read the Story

Reviewed by: Elena Tiriel  ✧  Score: 8

(Possible spoilers within:) Bodkin's stories are always a joy to read, and this one is no exception. She writes of the Elves of Aman so thoughtfully that I compare all stories about the Blessed Lands to hers. This one is about Finarfin, the youngest son of Finwe, meeting Earwen, the daughter of Olwe, and the very tentative beginnings of their courtship... facilitated by a younger brother of Earwen's, who is conveniently injured and must be jointly rescued. Bodkin has a talent for dialog that is spare, but sparkles, and so clearly illustrates each of her characters, whether canon or original. And her descriptions are truly extraordinary, making us "see" the landscape in our mind's eye. Just as one example, I thought this passage so beautiful it brought tears to my eyes and inspired me with a drabble that I was struggling to write: [As Telperion turned the water silver, the wind changed and a soft breeze blew off the sea, singing of the endless renewal of the tides and the relentless erosion of barriers, bringing with it the aching cries of a thousand homecoming birds seeking their refuges in the rugged cliffs.] If *I* tried to write something that evocative, it would just sound like so much purple prose. In Bodkin's hands, it is sheer poetry, a paean to beauty. This is a sweet story that leaves readers with love and hope in their hearts. Well done!

Reviewed by: Ellie  ✧  Score: 7

I love this interaction between Finarfin and Earwen. The way Finarfin admires Earwen from afar and the way she looks upon him from the distance, egged on by her amused and highly amusing girlfriends is so cute! I liked it when her friends points out that Finarfin is much more muscular than he first looked after he takes off his shirt and his saving of Earwen's little brother from his unpleasant encounter in the waves was charming. Finarfin handles the annoying little brother very well and tries to be a gentleman toward Earwen especially after the pleasant distraction of her clingy wet dress. The dark foreboding at the end was a nice touch and a reminder of what is to come for them both. I always enjoy your stories and your deep, often clever insight into the characters you portray in them. The settings are so well described that I feel as if I am really present with the characters as they interact. Good work and well done!

Reviewed by: Rhapsody  ✧  Score: 6

This story has a dreamlike quality; it feels as it happened once, far far away. Bodkin tells the story on how Finarfin and Earwen finally agreed on a some sort of courtship, although there is a brother stuck in between. This brother gives a delightful dry commentary which makes me chuckle, but at the end of this piece the feeling of serenity and how Valinor once was is the impression that overrules all. This piece has a strong narrative, although Earwen's change of heart comes a bit abruptly to me and could use perhaps a bit more attention. Then again, both characters do not appear to have reached their majority, so who can tell. The foreshadowing of Finarfin combined with the geographical detail of Alqualondë’s location is very well done. Overall: this is a nice piece!

Reviewed by: Elanor  ✧  Score: 6

I really like this story of Finarfin and Earwen, set in the time of the Trees. This is not a time period, or a people, I am at all familiar with, but I was very taken with this presentation of these two, who eventually became the parents of Galadriel. They are very well-drawn: the serious young prince, determined but unsure of his reception, and the silvery elf-maiden waiting to be dazzled and spoken for. A sunny summer incandescence lights this romantic occasion, and the gently lyrical ending, finely crafted, foreshadows the inevitable end of summer for the Elves. Nicely written, with descriptive skill and witty dialogue, and leaves a lasting impression of an exotic time and place where the shadows are beginning to lengthen.

Reviewed by: NeumeIndil  ✧  Score: 5

Very nice! And a wonderful reminder not to overlook the physique of the "scrawny" lads either. ;) I think, though, that Earwin's change of demeanor seems a little sudden. A bit of insight into her thinking about Finarfin as he deals with her brother's injury and subsequent mischievousness might ease us into the transition along with her. He's ***WONDERFUL*** with the younger boy, and suddenly as smooth and charming as his eldest brother or a couple of his nephews once he relaxes. Funny how that happens in human interactions too. I'd like to see your Finarfin with Amrod and Amras as boys, perhaps a companion piece as they are swept up into the quest for the Silmarils? I'm so glad I clicked that story link. :)

Reviewed by: Imhiriel  ✧  Score: 5

Wonderful setting of scene; the description of the seashore was very lovely. And then to contrast this, and Finarfin's surreptitious admiration of Eärwen, with the ellith, including her, mocking the oblivious Finarfin, and simultaneously admiring his features like fangirls - too funny! I like the obvious yet innocent sensuality the characters notice about each other: it's a fine balance to keep, and you managed it very well. The characterisations and character interactions were believable and engaging. The brief foreboding gave the light-hearted story a feeling of transience that made it all the more precious perhaps.

Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 5

There are not many writers who can infuse First Age Elves with enough warmth of personality to engage my attention, focused on hobbits as it usually is, but Bodkin invariably does. Her young Finarfin is wonderful: vulnerable, yet strong. He feels out of his element in some ways as he visits the home of the Teleri, and yet he envies them as well. And he's clearly been captivated by the lovely Earwen. The brief moments of foreshadowing are just enough to add depth to the story, yet not enough to eclipse the joyful mood of a successful courtship.

Reviewed by: Jay of Lasgalen  ✧  Score: 3

I really liked this story, and I rarely read anything much to do with the Silmarillion! The opening scenes on the seashore were beautiful - I loved your descriptions here. Drowning elflings seem to be a very good way of bringing hesitant couples together!!

Reviewed by: Larner  ✧  Score: 3

He'd been watching her for some time, and she'd been working hard at maintaining indifference; but when Salmer was hurt in a swimming mishap... A wonderful look at how Finarfin and Earwen came to appreciate one another, and at the manipulative nature of younger brothers.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 3

A (literally) frothy tale of romance and some danger; as elf meets she-elf on the shores of the Undying Lands. Good characterisation and dialogue; and a sense of the beauty and power of the First Age Noldor and Teleri.

Reviewed by: Linda hoyland  ✧  Score: 3

A delightful Elven romance. as always from this talented writer,there is a wonderful sense of place,which makes the reader feel as if they are there and can actually see the characters.

Reviewed by: Marta  ✧  Score: 2

This is a fun romp -- I never thought much about these two characters, but this is one fun version of how their relationship might have started. I heartily enjoyed it.