An Elegy for Elfhild

Author: Alawa

Nominator: unknown

2004 Award Category: Races: Men: Poetry - Second Place

Story Type: Poetry  ✧  Length: unknown

Rating: G  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: Theoden after the death of his wife in childbirth.

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Review scores are not available for 2004.

Reviewed by: Dwimordene  ✧  Score: N/A

Beautiful and moving. I only wish I had the discipline to attempt something this ambitious!

Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger  ✧  Score: N/A

This poem seems to me to be a turning point in Theoden's life. I love how Alawa has pulled into this the fact that Theoden was born in Gondor, not Rohan. And Theoden has been gifted with a love for Gondor and the stonehouse dwellers that live there. Elfhild's death is marred by his fears that Gondor medicine might have been able to save her, but at the same time, Theoden can't help but remember that Elfhild loved Rohan best. He's at a crossroads of sorts. The ending of the poem is very much the story of someone settling into their mourning, and the language is beautiful. Wonderful poem that keeps in mind the characters, their backgrounds, and the very human feeling of grief.

Reviewed by: Elanor  ✧  Score: N/A

Theoden's feelings after the death of his wife in childbirth are described rather subdued. Well done in rhythm, but too long for me in conventional passages. I miss the poetical old-English kennings. And I would have liked to see more of Theoden's remembrances of Elfhild herself instead of thoughts of Theoden about his feelings for Elfhild. I do not feel that Elfhild was a person of her own. She feels to me only as a prop to Theoden. That could it be what she was for him, but how then she became his wife ? "Then hall-faced I sat stern at table as men filled their cups drank mead to her fame." Umh, do drink men of a comitatus to a queen's fame who died during childbirth ? I think they drink to a peace-weaver if she is present, but rows of beer-rowdy men singing of a just deceased woman seems improbable to me. Hall-faced means stony-faced hiding one's feelings because sitting in view of all in the hall ? Sounds wrong to me for Rohirrim (who would not use this kenning for sitting stony-faced but for sitting merrily) as well as for Gondorians (who should not have such a notion of hiding one's grief). Best passage for me: "in the stable steamed warm breathing as welcome was heard from whickering horses. Softly then she stroked their noses, ran her hand over rump and wither, keen were they to carry her. Wildly we galloped in golden mist-shroud wind whipped hair as horses ran free over fields followed the river spring's melt-water milk between willows."