Before the Black Gate, Second Age 3434

Author: Azalais

Nominator: Clodia

2010 Award Category: Genres: Drama: General Mixed Drabbles - Honorable Mention

Story Type: Drabble  ✧  Length: True Drabble

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: As he stands under his father's banner at the Dagorlad, Thranduil has a bittersweet moment of foresight.(Written for the LiveJournal tolkien_weekly drabble community's Movie - Flashforward challenge)

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Reviewed by: Clodia  ✧  Score: 10

This splendid drabble by Azalais sketches a fascinating glimpse of three generations of Eryn Galen’s royalty: Thranduil poised beneath his father Oropher’s standard at Morannon is struck by truesight, granting him a reassuring and yet painful insight into the future of his as yet unborn son, Legolas. This is the battle in which Oropher will die; the waiting Thranduil sees [A lone, fair-headed archer - my son-to-be!] stranded on the same plain, outnumbered and fighting alongside Men. Thranduil must therefore survive the battle in order to produce the son – reassuring – but there can be nothing decisive about the battle itself, since [in another Age, it will all be to do again]. Worse still, since this momentary insight into the future shows nothing of the unborn Legolas’s fate, Thranduil’s son may fall where Thranduil does not, on the plain where Oropher is soon to die. The prediction, then, is two-edged in the best tradition of true-seeings and will hardly help Thranduil to sleep more soundly at night. Azalais packs so much meaning into her hundred words here to produce a deliciously layered jewel of a drabble. Balanced on the edge of battle, Thranduil’s tension and nerves shine through in every word; the description of the wind whipping Oropher’s standard brings the scene vividly to life. Thank you, Azalais!

Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger  ✧  Score: 7

Azalais presents some beautifully double-edged foresight in this drabble. In the books, Elrond stops short of calling the Last Alliance's victory over Mordor ["fruitless"], but he does imply that it was something of a hollow victory. Azalais capitalizes on that but adds a personal touch that makes it even more poignant. Standing before the might of Mordor, Thranduil realizes he will survive to father a son who will have to endure a repeat of history. There might have been some hope and comfort in being assured of his own survival, but at the same time, a victory without substance seems a poor recompense for all the losses suffered, particularly the losses of those who came from Mirkwood. Also hidden within Thranduil's foresight is the fate of the elves, because in that future setting, only one elf is there to oppose Mordor whereas the Last Alliance has many. A lovely but bittersweet look at a victory and a tragedy that spanned two Ages.

Reviewed by: Elleth  ✧  Score: 4

Beautiful phrasing. This snapshot of a poignant moment at the Battle of Dagorlad carries many bittersweet implications for Thranduil as he beholds a vision of his son during the War of the Ring. The fact that the vision ended before Thranduil could see the outcome - defeat or victory, with the former seeming far more likely - speaks volumes about the surly elven king and his later behaviour, while the sequel drabble draws the vision he has seen into reality. Wonderfully done.

Reviewed by: foxrafer (csevans8)  ✧  Score: 4

I really enjoy Azalais' use of language in this and the interpretation of the prompt. It's easy to imagine Thranduil's mixed emotions upon seeing this vision. On the one hand, knowing one survives a battle is a relief, but to know your son will one day fight this same battle against the same enemy must also be disheartening. This drabble gives the reader a lot to think about which I like.

Reviewed by: Larner  ✧  Score: 4

Foresight is not always comfortable or reassuring, and Thranduil's brief glimpse of the future certainly is a disconcerting one, both for when it hits him and for what it tells him of a distant future time when it appears that all shall be almost exactly as it is now. I like drabbles, as they force us to chose our words wisely if they are to have any force to them. This one is simply breathtaking. A somewhat roughly polished gem that still staggers the mind.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 3

Ack! Poor Thranduil! A wonderful treatment of a moment of fore-knowledge during that great and terrible war. Azalais effectively combines Thranduil's relief and horror at the implications of his vision.

Reviewed by: Dwimordene  ✧  Score: 3

Go not to foresight for answers, for it will both elate and depress you. Thranduil stands for every parent who struggles to ensure there will be a future worth living for his or her children - no one wants to hand on the same battle to the next generation. On the other hand, at least he knows there will be one. A bittersweet interval, Az!

Reviewed by: curiouswombat  ✧  Score: 3

A perfect drabble, this. Thranduil is 'blessed' with a moment of foresight that lets him know that he will survive this battle to father a son... But sometime in the future that son will stand in dire peril before the enemy - and this moment of foresight gives Thranduil no inkling whether he will survive it or not. All captured, skilfully, in one hundred words.