A Hidden Hope

Author: dancingkatz

Nominator: dancingkatz

2007 Award Category: Genres: Romance: Incomplete - Third Place

Story Type: Incomplete  ✧  Length: Novel

Rating: Mature  ✧  Reason for Rating: Rating due to depiction of malicious actions on the part of a canon character, descriptions of serious injuries that some readers may find disturbing, and eventually consensual intimate relations between a married couple.

Summary: Prince Theodred, long denied his place as First Marshal and Heir of the Riddermark, and at odds with his father, King Theoden, finds happiness and love when he least expects it. This AU story was inspired by a line in Evendim’s wonderful fic “Shield Brothers”: “…I have always known there are two things I never shall do. Scratch a grey head… and hold my first born.” I’ve always hated it that Theodred (in both the book and movie-verses) seemed doomed to a lonely and short life. My muse won't let do much about the shortness of His highness’ span but she (and I) wanted to give him a time of love and happiness that wasn’t just male-bonding. This is my attempt to do that. I promise you, Edlyn, my OFC is NOT a Mary Sue! Written with the assistance of my twin sister Rhyselle, whose commentary and ideas on characterisation and dialogue has made it a much better story than it was initially.(AU (movie-verse) Rohan-centric novel - completed through chapter 10 of approximately 20)

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Reviewed by: rhyselle  ✧  Score: 10

Theodred is an interesting fanfic character. All we have from canon is his name and relationship and a few bare facts, such as the fact that his mother died bringing him into the world and that he died at the Fords of Isen at the hands of Saruman's Uruk-hai. In between the 40 years of his existence there is a blank canvas that can be filled by fanfic. [A Hidden Hope] takes a fanon premise that Grima Wormtongue used his influence to alienate Theoden-King from his son, to the detriment of Rohan as a kingdom as its background and fits it in with film canon. But [A Hidden Hope] goes beyond that premise and proposes that in his exile to the Westfold, Theodred has been blessed with finding love and a wife, whom he has for far too short a time before his life ends. It is based on the movieverse where Theodred dies in Edoras instead of in the Westfold, and in a way is two stories in one, as each episode of Theodred and Edlyn's courtship are framed by the events of the days from the mortally wounded prince's arrival in Edoras to his (yet to be written) death and burial, from the perspective of his cousin Eowyn, who cares for him. The culture of the Riddermark is brilliantly described; the reader can see and smell and hear and feel the things that the characters do and the environment in which they live. One of my favorite parts in the series so far is the Gathermeet, where the Eastfold and Westfold compete against each other in horsemanship and feats of arms--a horse-lord's tournament, as it were. While some might say that it makes no sense for the Rohirrim to waste time with such an event in a time of war, I can see it as a wonderful way to encourage the people, to show them that the Riddermark will not allow the enemy to take away who and what they are. It's ultimately a tragic tale, for Theodred does die too young, and has happiness for such a short span of time, but there is joy, laughter, practical jokes, wistfulness, romance, and, yes, even that hope which is hidden but abides in the end. Edlyn, daughter of Erkenbrand, is an original female character, but she is no Mary Sue. She does stupid things and great things in equal measure. She gets frustrated with her life, and is unbelieving that she is the object of Theodred's love. She has annoying brothers and a doting but firm father. She's not so perfect that we can't stand it, but she's definitely worthy of being Theodred's bride. Hopefully, those individuals who skip over fics who have OFCs in them will give this story a chance, because it really deserves one. I haven't seen any other fics that dare to address Theodred's love life in a het relationship that still follows film or book canon in regards to his death. I look forward to the completion of this tale, even though I know I will weep at the end when Theodred goes to the Halls of his Fathers.

Reviewed by: Lialathuveril  ✧  Score: 7

I have to admit I never before lost much thought on Théodred as he doesn't really play any role in the books and my own favourite is Éomer, but in this story I’ve come to like him. What I really enjoyed about the chapters so far is the framing story involving Éowyn looking after her dying cousin and how it’s interspersed with what happened the year before. It is also a very good device to keep up the tension. The other things I really enjoy are the little sayings and traditions (like the braid) that give it a very Rohirric feeling and the author’s obvious knowledge of horses. Also well done are the relationships between all the principal characters (Théodred, Edlyn, Théoden, Éomer, Éowyn) being developed. Some of it was heartbreaking, like the accord between Théodred and his father being shattered, some was heart-warming. I'm a bit worried that the author hasn't updated for some months. But I hope that real life will ease up on her and she will get round to finishing this very nice tale!

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 4

Intriguing movie-verse story about the late great Theodred and a young woman who he loved. I really like the framing sequence, wherein Eowyn tends her dying cousin, as much as the rest of the tale - we see Eowyn's courage and determination, and the vicious extent of Wormtongue's villainy. The romance is pleasant. I like the careful delineation of various Rohirric customs; and the good use of language in the naming of various Mearas young and old. Looking forward to seeing the rest of the story when it finishes.