At the Crossroads of the KIng

Author: jan-u-wine

Nominator: Antane

2011 Award Category: Poetry: Character Study - Second Place

Story Type: Poetry  ✧  Length: N/A (Non-Fiction or Poetry)

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: Hope, like light unlooked-for, at times shines from unexpected sources. A long-dead King strengthens the resolve of the Ringbearer. (Note: the secondary URL takes you to Mechtild's LJ, where the poem is a compliment to her screencaps and commentary on "Crossroads of the King" from ROTK).

Read the Story  ✧  Backup Story Link

Reviewed by: Mechtild  ✧  Score: 10

This poem is simply beautiful. Beautiful both in the narrative it tells of the Ring-bearer at the Cross-roads, and beautiful in its telling. It starts with Frodo approaching the Cross-roads, his mind oppressed by the internalized image of the Dark Lord , of the Eye, draining him, bleeding him of hope and energy. Even Frodo's blood seems to stain the road as he plods along. The pace of the poem, the particular choice of words -- the individual words, their order, the larger phrasing -- encourages the reader to plod with Frodo, slower and slower, falling with the protagonist into the downward rhythm of his despond. Then the comes the change. A change not startling or sudden, but one that pricks up the heart's ears -- via the eyes: the light of the Sun breaks through. It breaks through the gloom like sun glittering on water -- just bits of it, but enough bits that together make a sparkling shimmer that illuminates the heart. Or like the small stones that Pippin and Merry bring to Fangorn: the bits, glimpses of light are like the tinkling of rocks that will precipitate a critical change of fortune. It doesn't last, the light shifting the way the tale shifts, but it is enough to refresh and restore the hero to take on and endure the next portion of his Quest. The presence of the ruined King, with his flowering crown, is an unconscious reminder that Frodo is not alone on his high mission, nor is he an isolated speck in an anonymous wasteland, He is a part, however small, of a very long, very Great Tale.

Author response: Dear Linda....somehow I missed this one. What a lovely and beautiful companion-piece to the poem itself. You know, i am seldom aware of any of the...technical aspects as I write. At least, I am not aware of them in my waking mind. So it is a joy to me when you bring them forward. I enjoy writing these, oh, yes, I do. But I enjoy the way *you* hold up the moments, elaborate upon them, magnify them with joy. thank you.

Reviewed by: Antane  ✧  Score: 5

Another powerful piece! The terrible burden that Frodo carries is well done here, causing admiration for his tremendous endurance of torment and despair. First that seems to be reflected in his thoughts about the defeated king but then the sun comes out and I love the way his whole view changes and he gains peace from the sight instead. The ending is so defiantly hopeful with the battered Ring-bearer being cheered on as it were by the long dead and seemingly conquered king. Everything happens for a reason, perhaps the hate-filled violence that caused the beheading served good when it allowed the head to be crowned with flowers when it would not have otherwise and give hope to one who desperately needed it.

Author response: Dear Antane, thank you! Your own passion and love for this character is so much in evidence. I'm so glad that you enjoyed the piece. I have my favorites among the (darn, *hundreds*) of LOTR poems I've written. Although this is not one that I feel about as I would my own child, still, I think it is good and evokes the moment well. This, then, is my sable-haired step-child of a poem, lol! thank you again.....

Reviewed by: Rivergift  ✧  Score: 4

Lovely piece with a touch of sweet hope for Frodo, who needed it so very desperately! I find it very interesting how in fact the King's ancient "defeat" actually led to hope given to the young Ringbearer in the here and now, helping him along his dark path just a little. Beautiful poem! Also, nice observation about "forever" and "for ever", never thought about that before!

Author response: thank you, Rivergift! Now that I am ....older, I think a lot on how everything can be turned to a postive. That ancient king, so defiled by orcs, was certainly once a proud and wise Lord. For Frodo, who Tolkien advised gained an 'education' upon the Road, surely this was a point of hope, although tempered by the knowledge that time has its way with us, be we wise or wicked, proud or perverted. In watching that moment in the movie, where the sun lights and then departs the helm of the downed king so rapidy, it underscored, to me, the admonition, earlier, of Gandalf, that it is up to us to decide what to do with the time given. In the great river of time, Frodo's good deeds might exist for only a *moment*, yet the ripples of them, like the 'ripples' of that proud (and now unknown) King, journey on and touch lives that we cannot see. It's a wonder, isn't it? (and I loved, too, that Tolkien wrote "for ever". However, the construct "forever" might be something of a more modern useage, one either not commonplace in his time, or 'correct' for this particular book. He was such a careful writer that it most certainly was no mistake). thank you, again, Rivergift. I'm glad you enjoyed.

Reviewed by: Darkover  ✧  Score: 3

The imagery is good, the language well chosen, and the author has done a fine job of portraying Frodo's POV in this poem. He feels tortured, but is not without hope, thanks to the image of the long-dead king and his living crown. You are also quite right about the importance of nuances. Well done.

Author response: thank you, Darkover! So very happy that you enjoyed. (I wish that JRRT was around (well, for many reasons) to explain that use of "for ever" vs. "forever". Maybe it simply was the usage of the times...or maybe it was meant to imply something special. I prefer to think the latter). thank you again!