Author: Jael

Nominator: Olorime

2011 Award Category: Modern Times: General - Third Place

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: In a sequel to Out of the Blue, a couple takes a romantic walk in the woods.

Read the Story  ✧  Backup Story Link

Reviewed by: Virtuella  ✧  Score: 10

Dear Jael, I know you consider this a light-weight story, and I suppose it could be considered that in comparison to much of your other work, but it is by no means trivial or negligible. Simplicity of story line and overall shortness do not translate into smallness of merit. What makes this story outstanding is the gentle wisdom and the touching depth of feeling. The forest is a very well chosen setting for conveying a sense of time and for representing the difference of lifespan, it is a world in which tress live very long lives and other, short-lived creatures come and go. Indeed, the foliage itself is symbolic here, as the Elves engage with generation after generation of humans. In Lothlorien, says Haldir, the leaves never fell, and the people, presumably, remained the same. He has learned from his experience with humans that unchanging perfection has a sterility to it that cannot match the intensity of mortal life. And so it has to be. Even slowing down time a little would make it less life-like. That is not to say that the sorrow of aging and death is not a very real one, but – to take this out of the realm of fantasy and into our reality – it is the price at which we have any life at all. Thank you for an insightful and heart-warming story which I enjoyed very much.

Reviewed by: crowdaughter  ✧  Score: 10

I love Jael's Not Fade Away universe, both because I love to read of Elves in modern times, as well as because in these stories, and in the interaction of these Elves with mortal humans, Jael also manages to bring the problems of the interaction between a mortal and non-mortal species to mind - in a most matter-of-factly and no-nonsense kind of way. So it is here. This story is a sequel of sorts of "Out Of the Blue", and it is nice to see the protagonist of the latter, Jane Jankowski, again and to learn she indeed got her Elf. The story starts gentle, as a lovely stroll around the woods - and then it becomes suddenly deeply philosophical when we see the couple settling down and Haldir reflects about the beauty of change in the mortal world, compared to the unchanging perfection of Aman, and how it drove him mad. Reading about Tolkien's Elven paradise, one often wonders how the Elves of Middle earth, the warriors and hunters, are bound to feel there, and Jael finds a striking image: Pacing from wall to wall like in a great cat in a cage, captured and without purpose, is how Haldir describes his and Legolas' feelings of their time in Aman. I thought that image fitting to the point - I can hardly imagine any Elf used to Ennor truly content with a world without any true challenge or change. There is a deeper truth in this, which Jael manages to capture perfectly in this short story: life is changing, and changing means growing old and dying, too. On the other hand, an unchanging world where nothing is allowed to develop is not really alive. While Tolkien has his Elves flee to Aman to avoid the changing of the world and the fading and loss of mortal beauty, these Elves have come beyond that flight and consciously chosen to prefer the ever-changing mortal world; because compared to it, Aman, in all it's unchanging beauty appears to be dead. This message is delivered here in a lovely, by the by way, though, and so it comes not as a sad note, but strangely comfortable when we learn in the end that Jane has left her prime behind and is facing older age. This story is a lovely addition to the whole NFA story arc, and a delight to read. Beautifully written. Applause!

Reviewed by: Russandol  ✧  Score: 5

I've always enjoyed the "Not fade Away" universe, and finding this sequel to "Out of the Blue" browsing through the MEFAs was a great surprise. Paradise as an immutable place devoid of challenge, almost dead in its perfection is a good enough reason for someone like Haldir to return to the normal world, even if everything is sphemeral for him, including the time with his mortal wife. Good to see in this story that this finality didn't cast too strong a shadow on their life together. I also liked the humorous reference to the fellowship walk through Lorien and Gimli's filthy thoughts.

Reviewed by: Fiondil  ✧  Score: 3

A lovely vignette between Haldir and his mortal wife Jane as they celebrate a wedding anniversary. Jael’s “Not Fade Away Universe” stories, however long or short, are always a treat to read.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 3

A nice sequel to an earlier story (and an OFC who I liked very much); with interesting comparisons of the timeless peace of Valinor to the changeable, wild energy of Middle-earth. And what a heartwarming, romantic ending - it's also very true to the rest of the story.

Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 2

I love Jael's "Not Fade Away" universe. This is a lovely vignette, so sweet and romantic.

Reviewed by: Ellynn  ✧  Score: 1

Very lovely, and especially touching end.