And So It Ends
Nominator: Jay of Lasgalen
2009 Award Category: Times: Post-Ring War and Beyond: Gondor - First Place
Story Type: Story ✧ Length: Short Story
Rating: General ✧ Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: Fourth Age: 120. The Age of Men bids farewell to the last legends of the Ring War, as they leave Gondor. One way or another.
Reviewed by: Jedi Sapphire ✧ Score: 10
The one thing I'm really glad about is that the MEFAs have made me read a lot of stories that I might not otherwise have done - I would have been very sorry to miss this lovely piece from Bodkin. It has everything I like in a fic - humour, Elf-angst, friendship, and a beautifully-written Thranduil. I loved everything about this story, right from the opening sentence. Legolas and Arwen were both described perfectly, almost coming to life. Their relationship is very real and believable, showing clearly how close they must have grown - and how much they would have depended on each other for Elven companionship once they left their respective homes to be close to Aragorn. Gimli's role is nicely done, too, but what I liked best about this story was Thranduil's brief appearance. I was delighted that Bodkin gave us a hint that the Elven-king would eventually sail to the Blessed Realm: I have never been able to wrap my mind around the thought that he would elect to stay in Middle-earth and fade, even if it was for the sake of his beloved forest. The end was very Tolkien-ish... It brought a sense of parting from everything, and of sorrow for that parting, but also of hope for the future. It was the perfect way to end a story on a subject like this.
Reviewed by: curiouswombat ✧ Score: 9
I have to admit that Bodkin has always been one of my favourite writers in the Tolkien-verse. I enjoyed this particular piece of writing so much the first time I read it - and just as much now that I come back to it. Eldarion having to deal with the death of his father, the grief of his mother, and becoming King is rarely covered - but done so here so very well. The final meeting between Legolas and Arwen is sorrowful, and yet full of love; I think this is the picture I will think of whenever my thoughts turn to this moment. But the relationship between Legolas and Gimli, at the heart of the story, is delightful - Gimli trying his best to convince Thranduil to sail because it would be best for Legolas, his doubts at Legolas ability to sail them to Valinor... [Are you sure you know how to do this? .... Or will we be washed up, bloated and lifeless and nibbled by fishes, on the shores of Belfalas?] is certainly worthy of quoting! And those wonderful images of the Fellowship, as the two sailors recall what no-one in Middle Earth will now remember, are perfect - I have difficulty now thinking of Aragorn without remembering his habit of picking his teeth with the end of his dagger! All in all a masterful piece about a time of great sorrow, and yet finishing with hope for the future.
Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger ✧ Score: 8
A delicate and wistful story. As I was reading it, I felt as though I was drifting away with Legolas and Gimli. I love the way that Bodkin goes about with final goodbyes and severing ties. Even though some of them will probably follow after a season or two (like Thranduil, Elladan, and Elrohir), there was still a very definite sense of passing. As each section of the story concluded, it was like closing the chapter to each land they visited. The time with Gondor closed, and Eldarion and Arwen were left behind. The time with Greenwood closed, and Thranduil vanished from the story. The ship sailed, and Middle-earth faded. Nor is it just Legolas distancing himself from the land he's about to leave. Gimli does it, too, while at the same time making certain that Legolas will eventually have the company of his father in the Undying Lands. I love the way this story closed on the final scene, with Gimli firmly turning Legolas's attention forward and seeming to sever those last connections, which humanize the Fellowship in ways that myths can't. It really is the stuff of legends now.
Reviewed by: Imhiriel ✧ Score: 6
The grieving was tangible in the characters and even the descriptions of the city. The details highlighted to evoke the sadness are well-chosen and compelling, sometimes saying more with less. I loved the reason for why Eldarion had delayed the tolling of the bells, it was so understandable and deeply sad, and the description of a mourning Arwen was almost painful. The deep bond that bound the entire Fellowship and still binds those surviving and their loved ones is conveyed very movingly, their concern for each other and their attempts to comfort one another. The language was beautiful, including some truly exquisite metaphors; and the dialogue evocative and touching, balanced between shared mourning and touches of bracing humour. I liked the theme of being bound between two worlds (be it death or the Undying Lands), and needing to let go of the old one to embrace the new.
Reviewed by: elliska ✧ Score: 6
Bodkin is a writer who I have enjoyed following for a long time and I admit I looked at the title of this story with a little trepidation, hoping it signified only the theme of the story and not her farewell to Tolkien fanfic. I still hope that! :-) But this is an incredibly powerfully written story. The first part truly captures the grief of Arwen and those around her, but in a way that is better than most such stories, because it leaves no doubt that Arwen ever regretted her choice. The second part of the story, between Legolas and Gimli and Thranduil, that I naturally loved the most. Thranduil's relationship with Gimli is wonderful. But I most like Thranduil's thoughts/observations about his son. By the time a reached the third part, where Legolas and Gimli sail, I was so thankful for the humor Bodkin interjected. This is a great 'end of the Fellowship' story!
Reviewed by: White Wolf ✧ Score: 5
The vision of Legolas as the beginning is lovely. And, his conversation with Arwen is just as I imagine it would have happened. Im glad that Thranduil indicated he would eventually sail. I hate thinking that he stayed and faded, even if it would have been in his beloved forest. Like goes on, as you aptly described when Legolas and Gimli began their journey. I love the touches of humor and Gimlis seeming doubts that Legolas would get them to the West in one piece. You took us on an emotional journey, ending as Im glad it did, with hope for the future. Very well done.
Reviewed by: Larner ✧ Score: 5
No one can do more than Bodkin to bring the dialogue between her characters to a point it says so much more than it does, where the very bickering that has enlivened the discourse between Legolas and Gimli for over a century expresses unvoiced love and reassurance; where concern is expressed and given over as being beyond mending.... This expression of Legolas's grief for Aragorn and Arwen and the life he at last gives over to sail to Tol Eressea is so perfect, and so well done, as is always true of her writings. Once again, I only wish she would write more!
Reviewed by: picara ✧ Score: 5
I really enjoy your stories, though I am really bad at reviewing in general, I always read and enjoy them. This one was particularly emotionally charged. Legolas's farewell to Arwen was really well done and I loved Thranduil's brief appearance and Legolas's interaction with Gimli. My only fear though is in the title of the story. I sincerely would be disappointed if "And so it ends" was refering not only to the Elves' presence in Middle Earth, but also to your writing of fan fiction. You've been writing less lately, which is understandable, because the muse moves on. But I hope you intend to continue dabbling in Lord of the Rings fan fic. Great story.
Reviewed by: Jay of Lasgalen ✧ Score: 4
This is wonderful - beautiful, sad, yet still full of hope. I liked the mention of Eldarion wanting time to grieve before having to take on his public role and lead the mourning ceremonies for his father. I've seen few fics dealing with Aragorn's death that consider his heir. I love your Gimli. He's strong, wise, and a staunch, loyal friend - even if he is still exasperated and sometimes bemused by his elf.
Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon ✧ Score: 4
Bodkin chronicles the last of the Fellowship, Legolas and Gimli, making the decision to leave Middle-earth forever. A delicately and convincingly written transition from the time and places shaped by the events of LOTR to the the unknown future in the West. There is regret, resolution, and gentle humor. Fans of Legolas, Thranduil and Gimli should greatly enjoy this story. My favorite part was the quiet dignity in Arwen's words to Legolas as she defended the choice she had made even while sorrowing over its consequences.
Reviewed by: Scarlet10 ✧ Score: 4
This story left me in tears. It describes the end of an era in a way that makes one feel deeply every scene. The changes, the parting from loved places and people. Although it has one main "hero", whose feelings and thoughts are the ones mostly told, the story was able to draw a picture of love, warmth, laughter and friendship among all the mentioned characters. I love this story. I hope it does well in this contest. Good luck Bodkin.
Reviewed by: Dreamflower ✧ Score: 4
The last two members of the Fellowship take their leave of Middle-earth and sail for the West-- a scenario often covered in fic. But Bodkin's take has her special touch. I love the way Gimli prods Legolas, both covertly and overtly. I also like seeing him prod Thranduil as well. But I think what I liked best was the reminiscence of that journey that had bound the Fellowship in adversity and love-- Boromir's smelly socks and all. Bodkin writes less often than she used to. It's always a joy to see another of her stories.
Reviewed by: sindarelleth ✧ Score: 3
Wow! Talk about a tear-jerker! I actually cried at several places in this. My favorite characters in Tolkien are the Elves, and I loved the Elves in this story, but I was surprised by how much I really loved your Gimli. Both in his interactions with Legolas and especially Thranduil. This story is really well done!
Reviewed by: crowdaughter ✧ Score: 2
Lovely and sad view at the last days of legolas and Gimli in Arda, after Aragorn has passed. I like your Thranduil and the way his relationship to Gimli has developed in this. Nice!