Toys in the Hall

Author: Dawn Felagund

Nominator: Dreamflower

2011 Award Category: First Age and Prior: General - Second Place

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: Young Ereinion once sent his father Fingon to bed for a week with a poorly placed toy and learned much about his father as a result. Now, with Fingon dead, his people at war, and his world upended, Ereinion tries a similar tactic to learn something about his new foster-father, Círdan. Remix of Levade's "This Ereinion," written for the Many Paths to Tread 2010 Remix Challenge.

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Reviewed by: Himring  ✧  Score: 10

Dawn's story takes off from a short scene in a story of Levade's which is written from the perspective of Cirdan who has just taken over the care of Gil-Galad and is struggling to adjust. The scene Dawn has picked for reworking in this remix is a striking one in Levade's story, but quite brief, as Cirdan crosses a hall strewn with Gil-galad's toys. The way Dawn has handled it, the two stories, hers and Levade's are compatible, I think, although where Cirdan envisages by the end of Levade's story that he and Gil-galad will eventually sort themselves out and get used to each other, Gil-galad's expectations by the end of Dawn's version are sadly very low... Levade's story is hardly light-hearted either, with its description of Gil-galad huddling forlornly in Fingon's cloak, but in the end more optimistic. The linchpin of Dawn's version is that the toys that Cirdan thinks are merely a symptom of a childish tendency to chaos and messiness are in fact an arrangement that Gil-galad has made on purpose to test the approach of his new carer both to himself (i.e. Gil-galad) and life in general. I like the way Gil-galad's almost scientific, experimental approach is shown here. Despite his misery, he seems to exhibit the true logic of a child at the same time as, possibly, the instincts of a future ruler. The idea of testing Cirdan in this way derives from his experiences at home, with his family, as Dawn has already shown. Dawn's portrait of Fingon from his son's perspective is very appealing and so more generally are the observations and comparisons Gil-galad makes while still living in Hithlum. A very touching story.

Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 10

This story is so sweet! A remix of Levade's story "This Erienion", it tells us something of Gil-galad's early childhood! Lonely and adrift in Cirdan's household, he remembers a occasion with his father, and tries to recreate the event with his new guardian and father-figure-- who does not react at all in the way the child expects. Little Erienion recalls so clearly his last times with his father, and how he had Fingon's undivided attention for a while when his normally busy father was laid up. I think my favorite part of that memory is a description in the scene where he's trying to sneak up on his father, and is told ["You left your fingers around the door!"] I could just imagine the tiny fingers, low on the doorjamb and pale against the wood, and his father's patient expression. Sadly, the child's experiment on his new foster-father doesn't work the way he expects. Childlike, he's heartbroken, not able to realize that Fingon and Cirdan are two different people who do not react at all the same way to circumstances. He believes Cirdan's lack of reaction is because Cirdan does not care about him, while in actuality, his new foster-father is making an effort to show forbearance because he does care. Dawn has really captured the perspective of a very young child here, and the story is both funny and poignant! I certainly can recommend it, even for those who do not usually enjoy tales of the First Age, this is easily understood and appreciated!

Reviewed by: The Lauderdale  ✧  Score: 7

This is the world of adults as seen through a child's eyes. Ereinion leaves his toys in the hall, measuring people by their reactions. His father Fingon, engrossed and graceful, gives them little heed until the day he skids on a miniature horse and cart. [The servants told that he didn't fall but rather slid to the stairs with well-trained grace and hopped somewhat noisily down the first two steps. The letter didn't even leave his hand. But despite his impressive performance, something twisted in his ankle...] And suddenly Ereinion's father is confined to his bed, where he is able to give his son some rare attention. But the broken cart is never fully repaired, and must finally be left behind, lost and incomplete forever. Later, Ereinion leaves his toys in the hall again to test his new foster-father, Cirdan, but the reaction is not Ereinion might wish. I read [This Ereinion], the story that inspired this fic. It is understandable how Cirdan feels, new keeper of an unexpected (and initially unwanted) child. But presented with a seemingly indifferent guardian, Ereinion's loss is only magnified. A poignant, delicately written story of a sensitive child - who would probably have received a good smack from me, had I been the one to trip on those wretched soldiers.

Reviewed by: Elleth  ✧  Score: 5

It is always interesting to see how a remixed story changes the original one and works with the message given. [Toys in the Hall] is heartwrenching seeing young Ereinion in the aftermath of his father's death, but still shows him as a bright and resourceful child who utilises his toys to learn about the people surrounding him. I'd love to write a more in-depth review as the story definitely deserves more than a few points, but with time running short and a long list yet to go, I'll just say that I very much enjoyed the decent treatment a difficult topic received here while still maintaining a credible child's voice at the same time.

Reviewed by: Oshun  ✧  Score: 4

I like this a lot. I have to admit that I am particularly interested in the characters and the settings--Fingon and Gil-galad and what it must have been like to have been sent away from such a father to dwell among strangers during such dark days. You capture Gil-galad's sense of loss and displacement, but more significantly his will not to be merely a passive survivor, but an active factor in fitting into and engaging with his whole new life.

Reviewed by: Caunedhiel  ✧  Score: 3

I think this is a beautiful piece, your Erienion is wonderful and it's an interesting concept. your portrayal of a little boys emotions is perfect and I really enjoyed reading this :)

Reviewed by: SurgicalSteel  ✧  Score: 3

I really enjoyed this story, in which Dawn paints a picture of a very young Gil-galad, his relationships with his parents, and the beginnings of his relationship with Cirdan. Like all of Dawn's stories, the characters are very human and feel like the sort of person you might meet out in the real world, right down to adults tripping over children's toys.

Reviewed by: Liadan  ✧  Score: 3

The best way to find out a person's true character is to test them and see how they react to the small things. In many cases, that test is often very subtle and is very likely to go unnoticed by the adults but it speaks volumes to the child.

Reviewed by: grey_gazania  ✧  Score: 1

A very touching, sad, and well-done remix. I liked it a lot!