The Horses of Eorl

Author: Branwyn

Nominator: Anoriath

2007 Award Category: Races: Cross-Cultural: Drabble - First Place

Story Type: Fixed-Length Ficlet  ✧  Length: True Drabble

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: After the war, some prisoners return from long captivity in Mordor.(100 words, written for the "North" challenge at Tolkien_weekly)

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Reviewed by: annmarwalk  ✧  Score: 9

In this sequel to her startling and unforgettable drabble “Blackest Fate”, Branwyn effectively utilizes a minor canon character to explore the themes of compassion, recovery and renewal. Black steeds, now released from their slavery in Mordor, have been returned to Rohan, but, like their human counterparts, are too badly scarred emotionally to reclaim their place in equine society. Assistance in their care comes from an unexpected source, Radagast the Brown, known and loved throughout Middle-earth for his empathy and skill with all good beasts. With patience and gentleness he wins their trust, until their leader, a great-hearted stallion, seeks Radagast’s healing touch. Exquisite imagery is a hallmark of Branwyn’s writing, and this tale, though simple, provides lovely detail. It’s very easy to visualize the furrowed brow of the young king, concerned for the welfare of all his subjects, both human and equine; Radagast looking like St. Francis in his [tattered brown cloak]; the stableyard scents of hay and dust and horseflesh. Any appearance by Radagast is a cause for rejoicing; his presence in this tale is like a blessing.

Reviewed by: Imhiriel  ✧  Score: 7

A very imaginative gapfiller. I had never thought that it might be possible the horses abducted from Rohan could be recovered after the war. A very hopeful outlook, despite the present difficulties! And yet, it is understandable that these horses would need much time, care and affection after their surely terrible experiences. It shows the particular Rohirric culture and the bond the Rohirrim have with their horses that they are as concerned about them as about the healing of their people and their lands. I like the sudden detail of Éomer being touched by their plight. And Radagast seems a logical choice as a helper and healer for these traumatised horses, as evidenced already by his name: ["tender of beasts"], and the fact that in FotR he is described as having ["much lore of herbs and beasts"]. Reminding the readers of the connection of Radagast living in Rhosgobel and the prior home of the Éothéod in the vicinity gave the drabble an additional layer due to the combination of relatively obscure canon facts.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 5

A sequel to Branwyn's drabble [Blackest Fate], this drabble is more hopeful, dealing as it does with the fate of some of the horses of the Mark, stolen and abused by the forces of Mordor and now freed and back in Rohirric hands. The horses suffer from having been abused, just as humans would. But Radagast, who makes a heckuva horse whisperer, is there to help... A lovely drabble on a subject not often touched on by Tolkien fanfickers. Good work on showing (not telling) Radagast's patience and skill with animals, even stressed ones, and his fundamental humility.

Reviewed by: Marta  ✧  Score: 4

I loved this! The horsenapping of Rohan's black horses is one of my favorite references in canon, it's a subplot that is intriguing in all its implications. This is a nice examination of the aftermath of it. It seems perfectly Rohirric that Eomer would seek help for even the emotional wellbeing of these brave horses, and Radagast is the perfect person to turn to. Add to that the author's knowledge of horses, and it all adds up to a thoroughly enjoyable drabble.

Reviewed by: Súlriel  ✧  Score: 4

I like this a lot, not just because it's about the horses, but because it's unusual in that they don't generally get this kind of attention and it may be a niche that has been missed in the fandom. Horses bond strongly with their people, and can be greatly traumatized by events such as these horses went through. I love the thought of Radagast coming to help heal them. Thank you for sharing this.

Reviewed by: EdorasLass  ✧  Score: 4

I have a sneaking fondness for Radagast, and we certainly don't see enough or know enough about him. This is a lovely way portrayal of him, . I particularly like this:[ The horses listened quietly as he told them tales of their sires, for he had lived in Rhovanion when Eorl rode from the North.] And I find it deeply relieving to think that perhaps some of those horses taken from Rohan were indeed able to find their way home, where they will once again be well-looked after and cared for with respect and love.

Reviewed by: trikywun  ✧  Score: 3

(spoilers) This is a great idea for a drabble. I never thought about the Rohirrim getting any of their stolen horses back and I am so glad that they did here. I liked the gentle feeling that I got from this and that they called in Radagast was perfect.

Reviewed by: Larner  ✧  Score: 2

There is healing for all in the wake of the wars, even for horses. Wonderful to see Radagast helping the horses of the Enemy find their peace once more!

Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 2

What a wonderful thought--that healing would be sought for those horses stolen and enslaved by the Dark Lord--and that Radagast could be the one to offer that healing.

Reviewed by: Lindelea  ✧  Score: 2

I hadn't thought of the horses... but surely they suffered and needed healing too. Radagast was a masterful choice.

Reviewed by: Tanaqui  ✧  Score: 2

Oooh, Radagast the Horse Whisperer! Nice concept, delivered with Branwyn's usual excellent excecution.