The Persistence of Memory

Author: Robinka

Nominator: Rhapsody

2011 Award Category: Drabble: Elves - Third Place

Story Type: Drabble  ✧  Length: True Drabble

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: A glimpse at the royal family of Doriath, written as a response to my friend Clodia's request, inspired by B2MeM 2011 Day First: "Nan Elmoth".(100-word drabble)

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Reviewed by: Rhapsody  ✧  Score: 10

When writing true drabbles, it is hard to get the balance right and to pack as much as you can to convey your idea. This work goes far beyond that: it portrays a full and lush scene between man and wife who celebrate their unborn in their own realm. This is a truly wonderfully written interlude. Still this is much more than that. It is poetry, a celebration of love, new life and promise. The author has balanced her words with a delicate pacing so carefully to present the reader a description so immensely vivid, making this short work feel that it is more than the 100 words. Every time I go back to this peace I am reminded that it is a true drabble and not much longer (in a very positive way). That is to me pure craftsmanship. Robinka paints a scene that portrays the magical sanctuary to so many Sinddar called Nan Elmoth. A place where magic makes dreams come true for others as well. Is that it? Nay, another layer has been woven in as well. Whereas Melian left a mark on the forest, the firmament and the realm with her Mayarin power, it is Thingol who leaves a mark on his daughter and his people by encouraging her to sing and take up her mother’s craft, a foreboding of what is to come when Luthien’s love enters her life. So much is packed in this work to ponder upon. Well done Binks!

Reviewed by: Clodia  ✧  Score: 8

Robinka has written a beautiful piece for the infant Luthien here and I was (and of course still am!) very honoured to be its recipient. The perspective is unusual: in the forest of Nan Elmoth, long before the raising of the Moon or the Sun, the trees listen, and wait, and afterwards remember a young family growing up in their midst. So Nan Elmoth recalls Queen Melian's voice, which stopped the stars; memorises King Thingol's silence, [seduced into awe]; remembers the unborn Luthien Tinuviel, murmuring in her mother's womb - and then at last observes King Greycloak kissing his queen and talking to his unborn daughter, thus ending the drabble on an utterly charming line. This is a wonderful slice of life from a time when Beleriand was young and the shadows were full of stars. The unusual perspective makes for a thoroughly memorable drabble; it is elegant, touching and the language sparkles; in short, a thoroughly delightful piece. I was glad to see it nominated and immediately sorry I hadn't nominated it myself. Thank you, Robinka!

Reviewed by: The Lauderdale  ✧  Score: 6

[There is no immortality but a tree's love], according to an amorous oak in [The Last Unicorn]. Maybe that's not entirely true for this family: a Maia, an Elf, and the child of their union. But the trees remember anyway, each in their turn: Melian for her song, and Thingol for his silence, and best remembered is Luthien, whose career began even before she was born. I love the image of Thingol speaking to the little life in his wife's belly, telling her to sing and naming her while she is still in the womb. In the end the child of two immortals became mortal, Thingol was slain, Melian passed to Doriath, and Nan Elmoth itself was lost - or so I assume - in the ravage of Doriath or the destruction of Beleriand. When you think about it, it is not this little family that lives on through the memory of this forest; rather, it is the forest that is remembered because of them.

Reviewed by: Elleth  ✧  Score: 5

There are some stories that truly leave me at a loss for words, and that I want to point people toward so everyone can read them on their own in order to just appreciate the beauty of them. [The Persistence of Memory] is one of these stories. From the fact that often-maligned Thingol gets a tender moment and is shown not as the king of Doriath, but as a loving father with his family, to the testament of Luthien's power even before her birth, to the tripartite structure of the drabble with a specific connection to the forest(s) for each Melian, Thingol, and Luthien, this is simply lovely, and with a feeling of mythical depth that rivals Tolkien's original vision.

Reviewed by: Himring  ✧  Score: 5

This short piece conveys a very touching and poetical image of Thingol looking forward to the birth of his daughter. The memory of the trees in Nan Elmoth, her mother Melian's music, her father Thingol's awe--all these come together as background and setting and as decisive formative influences in the birth of Luthien, the nightingale who sings already in her mother's womb. The idea of the importance of the trees as witnesses to the unfolding event is originally inspired by the B2MeM prompt, I guess, but contributes to giving the whole a genuinely Sindarin feel.

Reviewed by: Adonnen Estenniel  ✧  Score: 4

Robinka's title for this is amazing; one of the best I've seen. It conveys so much, and instantly grasps the reader's attention. And once the reader is interested, the drabble itself takes the stage. The Persistence of Memory is a wonderful set of 100 words, and I especially enjoyed how the author made sure to include parallelism, a literary device that isn't used nearly as often as it should be, for it's such an effective technique. Wonderful!

Reviewed by: Oshun  ✧  Score: 4

An interesting look at the love of among members of a family and the ability to influence the aptitudes and tastes of an unborn infant. Of course, in this case it is not just nature, but magic which enters into the equation. There is the concept of the other wordly or extraordinary part of elven nature coupled with a Maia that could give extra special talents. Or maybe just a gifted Elven child, exposed to music and affection even before her birth. Any way it is a quiet, well-crafted read.

Reviewed by: curiouswombat  ✧  Score: 3

I rather like this piece of writing - another thing that I might well have missed without the MEFAs to point me at it. It is positively poetic; a beautifully lyrical and mysterious drabble which has a haunting, almost ethereal, quality to it.