Things that Yet May Be

Author: Marta

Nominator: Larner

2011 Award Category: Elves: Wilderland - Third Place

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: Galadriel warns against using the Mirror as a guide because "the Mirror shows many things, and not all have yet come to pass. Some never come to be, unless those that beheld the visions turn aside from their path to prevent them. The Mirror is dangerous as a guide of deeds." It sounds like Galadriel has had bad experiences with using the Mirror "as a guide of deeds." But when?

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Reviewed by: Larner  ✧  Score: 10

Arwen has had a terrible dream in which she has seen her path home shadowed by flights of Crebain, and her grandparents are rightly concerned by it. Crebain are considered birds of ill omen by those from Doriath, and Celeborn is fearful that this foretells disaster should Arwen now head home from Lorien to Imladris. Would an assault by orcs and other foul creatures lead her to such a fate as was known by their daughter, Arwen’s mother Celebrian? This is something none of them is willing to face. So it is that Galadriel brings her granddaughter to her private garden where she introduces the maiden to her mirror, offering her the same warnings as she later gives Frodo. But what Arwen sees is something that at the time she considers so terrible that she cannot imagine ever dreaming of seeking to embrace it. Celebrian turned aside in her planned route home in response to the evil dream she’d known, taking the road over the Redhorn Pass rather than the route south around the Misty Mountains through Rohan and up the ancient Greenway to her home and her husband, and it had led to disaster. What shall Arwen know should she also change her route, or seek to go elsewhere altogether? Is it possible that the vision shown by the mirror is merely one of those might-have-beens, or will seeking to avoid it only make it happen? A fascinating examination of how it came to be that Galadriel knew that some fates will come to pass only if we seek to avoid them. Marta has wrought well here.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 6

A mesmerizing story of the potential of self-fulfilling prophecy. The Mirror of Galadriel shows things that may be, but some of those things are not yet fixed as inevitable; hence there is an element of free will in the interpretation of and reaction to what the Mirror shows. I really like how Marta shows that in trying to avoid her potential fate, Arwen runs smack into it in the innocent person of young, romantic Aragorn. The connection between this self-willed, passionate and vibrant Arwen with the aged, saddened Arwen shown by the Mirror, alone among the leafless Mallorns of an abandoned Lorien, is heartbreaking and yet it exists. One suspects that Arwen would not be Arwen if she had fled the possibility of mortality by an entanglement with the young human, rather than acknowledging it in her conversation with him. Nicely done!

Reviewed by: Adonnen Estenniel  ✧  Score: 5

Taking a single phrase, Marta has created a wonderful tale that aids in the near-endless exploration of the mysteries of Galadriel's character. Through the vehicle of Arwen, the reader learns of a time when the mirror's visions caused one viewer to turn from their path and attempt to avoid the fate they saw. This turning aside is a common motif, for who, knowing their future, would willing accept it without attempting to alter it in whatever way? As ever, this theme is interesting, and the consequences (understood by the reader, if not the characters), are extremely emotional.

Reviewed by: Ellynn  ✧  Score: 5

Very poignant tale, in which Arwen leaves Lothlorien and returns to Imladris. Just before leaving, she looks into her grandmother's mirror and sees her death in Lothlorien - something we readers know will come true, but she doesn't know it then. Galadriel even says ["You cannot die beneath Lothlórien's eaves if you live far away"]. In the end of the story, when Arwen is back home, she meets Aragorn, and we all know their story. But I am sure of one thing: although the vision surely frightened Arwen, and she wasn't glad to see the hint of her death, I am sure that, much later, she didn't regret her choice. One day, when she will have come to Lothlorien to die, she can go peacefully, knowing that she had a wonderful life full of love.

Reviewed by: obsidianj  ✧  Score: 4

This mirror is creepy. Again it leads the person looking for guidance towards their destiny. After reading this, I think Galadriel should destroy it. Obviously, the interpretation of the pictures is chancy at best, but mostly I have the feeling it is the starting point for events the person looking into the mirror wants to avoid. I love the way this tale has a sense of inevitability once the mirror has come into play.

Reviewed by: Darkover  ✧  Score: 4

This is a skillfully-crafted story with a fine plot idea--do omens and portents show the future, or just imply them, or become self-fulfilling when people try to avoid them? While I did not like the implication that Arwen's tying her fate to Aragorn's was a bad thing, from Galadriel's POV or any other--in canon, Galadriel played matchmaker for them, after all--the story is well written. The characterization is well done. Well worth reading!

Reviewed by: crowdaughter  ✧  Score: 3

This is a lovely tale, and slightly ironic, because, as it was with her mother, the very wish to avoid what she had seen in her dream and the mirror is it what seal Arwen's fate - yet in a very different way than she expected. Nicely done!