2007 Award Category: Times: Late Third Age: 3018-3022 TA: Gondor Drabble - First Place
Story Type: Fixed-Length Ficlet ✧ Length: True Drabble
Rating: General ✧ Reason for Rating: n/a
Summary: The scent of athelas and the sound of a gentle voice calls Faramir back from the dark. (true drabble)
Reviewed by: EdorasLass ✧ Score: 8
I've been reading this as a handful of instants after Faramir is pulled from the water at Osgiliath, and literally just now realized that it's actually Aragorn healing Faramir. I think it can work both ways, though, for there is a similarity in both situations. It seems very fitting that Faramir, being the Ranger that he is, associates this new scent with the woods : [something with the sharpness of yarrow underlain with the faintest tinge of apple blossom]. And while I personally find it sad that the new scent is [Something he has not ever smelled before], it is, in turn, somehow anticipatory that even in the midst of such darkness, Faramir does realize right away that the scent is hope, which in itself is hopeful. In reading it as after Osgiliath, I wondered if that flash of clarity stayed with Faramir throughout the rest of his tale, buoying him up and giving him strength, which, to me, was prophetic of the triumph over Mordor and the repopulation of Ithilien. And I think it works the same way after Aragorn has brought Faramir back from the brink of death, only then I imagine the scent of hope would be stronger, more realistic and perhaps almost tangible, rather than just the hope of hope.
Reviewed by: Anoriath ✧ Score: 7
Ann has a mastery of the drabble that I often envy. Her narrative is consistently understated but the emotion it evokes is thunderous, all the same; a thin skin of whispered words that barely contain the power of the burgeoning storm beneath it. So it is with Green. In this short piece she calls upon elemental magic, capturing both Faramir's terror and the barely glimpse power of Aragorn's charisma and physical strength. Like the structure of a well-written good haiku, this last words of this drabble hint at a reversal. Usually, in Tolkien's work, the smell of athelas evokes memories of a time and place of peace and safety, but for Faramir, Ann notes that he smells something unfamiliar and yet recognizable. With this simple reversal, she highlights the possibility that Faramir never really knew anything of peace and safety before this, and the idea opens up a whole new understanding of the Prince of Ithilien's life.
Reviewed by: Marta ✧ Score: 5
What I love so much about this drabble is the way it uses sensory details to really pull the reader into the scene. That's not always easy to do within the hundred-word constraints of a drabble, but annmarwalk manages it marvellously. The smells she describe were ones that, while reading, I swore I could smell too, and it's probably one of the most affective descriptions of the scent of athelas that I've ever come across. Juxtaposing that with the description of the scents I assume annmarwalk meant me to associate with the Ringwraiths was a powerful moment, and it made that terror all the more powerful to me. This is a fine example of just how a drabble and a gapfiller should work.
Reviewed by: dkpalaska ✧ Score: 5
I don't think I've ever come across a more evocative and tantalizing description of the scent of athelas. It is said that scent is one of the most powerful of the senses, and the author certainly manipulates my reactions very effectively in this drabble by playing on that. The mere listing of odors that are and aren't associated with the herb in question bring out the horror of the Nazgul and Black Breath, first; and then relax me utterly with the litany that follows (["a green scent, neither fir nor new willow nor fresh-cut hay..."]). The final description of what brings Faramir back is just... sublime. I think I particularly love that even though he has never encountered it before, he ["recognizes at once"] what it is - as though the scent of athelas, of hope, is imprinted on the human subconscious.
Reviewed by: Imhiriel ✧ Score: 5
Very effective use of the sense of smell. The scene the drabble depicts is evoked very clearly and tangibly even without describing what might be visible. The first half, which shows Faramir re-living his last (semi-)conscious memories of the pryre, strenghtens in its stark contrast the impact of the wholesomeness of the pure and untainted athelas. Beautiful description of athelas, a real "bouquet" of scents and smells. Lovely last line, which captures, I think, Faramir's spirit and faith very well: recognising what kingsfoil represents - which "the hands of the king" make effective - without prior knowledge or proof.
Reviewed by: Elen Kortirion ✧ Score: 4
Smell is such a powerful part of our senses yet such a difficult thing to transcribe into words. Ann's vocabulary of scent and just what 'green' actually smells like is very carefully and accurately used to produce a description redolent with what athelas may actually smell like... to me it's always mint-leaves thrown into boiling water... but the tang of yarrow backed by a hint of sweet blossom... I think that is just as appropriate to revive this fallen hero.
Reviewed by: Elena Tiriel ✧ Score: 4
(Possible spoilers within:) This is a beautifully-written vignette describing when Faramir is called back to renewed life by Aragorn in the Houses of Healing. The scents that he notices as he awakens are compelling... first the dead reek of smoke from the funeral pyre when his father tried to murder him, then the living fragrance of the athelas. The last line is an especially compelling climax. Well done!
Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon ✧ Score: 3
Lovely, evocative account of Faramir's awakening to hope...I continue to stand in awe of Annmarwalk's vocabulary; her ability to bring forth physical sensations so vividly in short pieces like this. And the last line is utterly gorgeous.
Reviewed by: Mechtild ✧ Score: 3
Here fine use is made of the sense of smell here, which you made more evocative by bringing in the imagery of colour. Theres the *green* scent, of course, but the things namedfir, willow, new-cut grass, yarrow, apple blossomall conjure up colour as well as scent, the colours and scents of growing things in spring, redolent of new lifeand hope.
Reviewed by: Larner ✧ Score: 3
Saved by Hobbit and Guard and Wizard, called by the King Returnng--how would athelas smell to Faramir son of Denethor? A most evocatively written drabble, and one of my favorites written by Annwarwalk who does ever so well at writing so very much in so few words. So wonderful to think of the scent of hope.
Reviewed by: Linda hoyland ✧ Score: 3
A stunningly beautiful drabble about very favourite moment in LOTR when Aragorn heals Faramir.I love the way the writer descibes the different sensations Faramir experiences as stumbles through his dark dreams then he hears Aragorn's voice and smells the aethelas. Faramir has indeed found hope after a very long wait
Reviewed by: Marigold ✧ Score: 2
A beautiful and evocative description of the scent of athelas. The contrast with Faramir's memory of the smell of burning is very well done.
Reviewed by: Dreamflower ✧ Score: 2
A perfectly executed drabble: the last line filled with double meaning, as we learn the meaning of the scent of athelas to Faramir.