Author: Bodkin

Nominator: Larner

2007 Award Category: Races: Cross-Cultural: Gondor - Second Place

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: Legolas develops a curiosity about those who once dwelt in Ithilien and seeks to discover what he can.

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Reviewed by: Fiondil  ✧  Score: 10

This is a haunting tale on several levels. Legolas obviously seems greatly affected by the ruins and what they signify. [“The past should not be forgotten.”] And yet it is. How many of us even contemplate the dust of ages that lie beneath our feet as we go about our daily lives, unaware perhaps that the Dead outnumber the Living? In viewing this one ruin Legolas is able to experience tragedy in the particular rather than in the general, to see in a single human family's death and the loss of even a memory of their existence the fate of all humans over Time: none remember the names of the Dead of civilizations past. Most people are unaware that they even existed. Legolas of course is befuddled not only by the lack of memory among humans but their seeming uncaring that such memories are lacking, yet he little appreciates that this may be a factor in our make-up that Eru has planted within us: we are the Guest, as Finrod tells Andreth, and as such, our thoughts are ever to the future, not to the past. It's not that mortals don't matter, especially to other mortals, but we have not been given the gift (or curse) of Memory. As a race we are always sipping from the waters of Lethe, that we do not bind ourselves unwittingly to a Past that cannot have any hold on us, for we are destined to leave the Circles of Arda and cannot linger. Our only consolation is that, while individuals are forgotten, the Secondborn retain a memory of themselves as a whole which lives through each succeeding generation. The discussion between Legolas and Faramir about the lack of names of people in the records, especially of women and children, struck a chord with me as I have done family research and remember the frustration of not having actual names listed, only notations like "wife" or "child". And I'm sure that Legolas is finding it difficult to understand why Faramir takes such lack of knowledge with equanimity, but again he doesn't quite appreciate the necessity of "genealogical amnesia" with which we mortals suffer. The conversation with Thimbriel is so poignant and full of subtle grief on both sides of the divide. For Legolas... that any Child of Ilúvatar need go unremembered and unmarked as having even lived; for Thimbriel... that the burden of memory must be endured at all. The doll symbolizes all of this for them both. Thimbriel has the right of it when she says, ["They lived, and died and moved on.... The past is past - but Dínen's blood still flows among some of those who would follow the Prince back to Ithilien and we will start again...."] ["I shall never understand men," Legolas admitted, almost shyly. "Not fully."] ["Why would you?.... Indeed why would you want to?"] Thimbriel retorts gently. Indeed. Yet in groping for understanding, if only a little, Legolas (and by extention all the Firstborn who have ever had dealings with the Secondborn) acts as the Keeper of our memories that we mortals by our very nature cannot be for ourselves... and perhaps that is as Eru wills.

Reviewed by: Imhiriel  ✧  Score: 8

A haunting and melancholy tale about the differences in memory and the perception of time between Men and Elves. Written with passion and care in even the smallest gestures. I feel with Legolas: it is sad that people should be forgotten or be deemed unimportant so easily. But I think he does not fully appreciate the (sometimes dubious) advantage Elves have over Mortals - their infallible memory and their longlevity. It is easier to remember if you don't have to rely on written records who might be incomplete or faulty, or on tales passed on which might change with every teller. Your portrayal of Faramir was wonderful, striking for all its subtlety. I had the feeling that he is guiding Legolas for a better understanding of Mortals in that he didn't just tell him of "official records" and "personal memories" and what might be contained and not contained in each form, but in that he let him discover and experience it for himself. And I loved the little reminder of how respected and beloved he is among his men. I loved Thimbriel: with some edges, dignified, wise; patiently teaching Legolas what he sought.

Reviewed by: Larner  ✧  Score: 7

Elves do not experience time precisely the way mortals do, often finding our ephemeral nature difficult to fully appreciate. Yet at times our lack of permanence will strike home, as it did with Legolas when he came upon a farmstead where apparently all or most appear to have died as a result of an attack by Sauron's folk. Now he wishes to know who these were, and finds the lack of desire to know these victims shown by the Men he consults difficult to understand. A most thoughtful consideration of the comparisons and contrasts between the two natures and how the experience of time can lead to different responses to the same situations. As always, Bodkin manages to involve us with her characters most thoroughly, leading us to care as much as does Legolas here. Few have the true feel for Elven nature within the late third and early fourth age as well as does our Bodking, I find, and I'm proud to recommend this story.

Reviewed by: Isabeau of Greenlea  ✧  Score: 5

Legolas' investigation into the fate of one family in Ithilien that didn't leave quickly enough was very touching to me. His folk have endured such horrors as well, but of course Elves die and then get better. His horror that folk could live and die and be forgotten is both an interesting look at the way Elves regard memory and an exploration of their respect for life. Faramir's assistance in the matter-giving him access to the archives, hunting down witnesses that might be able to tell him what he wants to know, is in keeping with the young Steward who loves knowledge so much. Loved the scene with Mablung as well! A beautiful yet somber story, that shows a Legolas who is a caring prince as well as a warrior.

Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 5

I love Bodkin's Legolas. He sees the worth and value of mortals in a way that many of his immortal kindred do not, and even of those who do *see*, he cares more about them. Perhaps it is the legacy of his time in the Fellowship, and the fact that his deepest friendships are to be found among mortals. Here, he shows that caring for a family long dead and gone, whose fate concerns him. It is not the first time I've come across the notion of Elves carrying forward the memory of mortals into immortality, but it is one of the most touching. A beautiful and thought-provoking story.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 4

Unusual and sensitively written story about Legolas' interest in a mortal tragedy. The Elven archer, while exploring Ithilien with Faramir, comes across an old and ruined house, and wonders as to the fate of those who lived there. Legolas' resolve to find the names of the unknown family and its members makes for good juxtaposition of human and Elven attitudes towards mortality and the value of individual life. Faramir is also well-written; as is an OFC.

Reviewed by: Linda hoyland  ✧  Score: 4

[spoilers] A haunting and beautifully written story in which Legolas and Faramir try to find out about a family who were victims of the war. the depth of the story lies in the debate over the shortness of human life and memory.Legolas wants to know who lived in a ruined house that they might not be forgotten as he is imortal and can remember the story. Faramir is wise enough to support the Elf's wish. A moving and perceptive tale which lingers in the mind.

Reviewed by: White Wolf  ✧  Score: 4

What a wonderful story. It's so like Legolas's character for him to believe that it’s important for those who lived and died and left no record to be remembered. Thank goodness for Thimbriel. I really liked her. The fact that Legolas went to great lengths to find out about the people who lived in that abandoned farmhouse spoke clearly of his deep feelings. And the fact that he wanted to keep the doll was poignant and again, so like him. Well done.

Reviewed by: trikywun  ✧  Score: 3

I thought that Legolas was wonderful in this story, so caring, and wondered if perhaps his nature had been changed a bit by the mortals he has grown to love or if he had always been so. The premise is a really interesting one and I found it to really suit Legolas. I felt so sorry for the poor family but at least they will never be forgotten. Lovely writing!