After the Fall

Author: clotho123

Nominator: Clodia

2010 Award Category: Genres: Drama: Quenta Silmarillion - Third Place

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Ficlet

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: Some reunions for souls returned from Mandos may be bittersweet. What happened after for Finduilas and Gwindor.

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Reviewed by: Clodia  ✧  Score: 10

This is such a poignant ficlet that it brings a lump to my throat. The love of Gwindor and Finduilas was ill-fated, as were both Elves of Nargothrond; their unhappy endings were particularly undeserved even for characters trapped in the grand and tragic epic that is the Silmarillion. Here Clotho depicts Gwindor emerging from Mandos long after both of their deaths and meeting Finduilas again, singing by the river. Clotho writes so beautifully and treats their complicated history so respectfully: the conversation is muted and wistful, rather than angry, and I can very much believe it as dialogue between two people who have made mistakes and hurt each other terribly, but who ultimately do still love one another. A hint of hope gleams in the final lines. Gwindor has come seeking closure, [“To make an end of the old tale between us”], and Finduilas asks, [“Will you come again?”] – the old tale may be done, but a new tale remains to be told. They have both changed and been changed by the awful events that they, among others, helped to bring about, and any relationship between them now, friendship or perhaps even romance, must be a very different thing from the innocent, uncomplicated love of their youth; but maybe now they can finally help each other heal. I will hope so, anyway. The whole piece is profoundly touching and I was very much moved by it. Thank you, Clotho!

Reviewed by: The Lauderdale  ✧  Score: 8

This is the fascinating implication of Elven re-embodiment: that these "historical," "legendary" figures of the Silmarillion live on in another place and continue their lives, their growth, and their relationships, however fraught those may have been in the mortal realms. There were two men (well, a Man and an Elf) who played important roles in Finduilas’ life, and whom she loved. Death meant she would never see Turin again, but that did not apply to Gwindor. And now they meet again after everything that has passed between them. How do you even begin to know the first thing to say to one another under those circumstances? Gwindor says that he would make "an end of the old tale between us"...but really, there can be no end for two people who are undying. I loved the reunion of these two characters: there is restraint, and no promises are made, but clotho123 leaves it to us what may or may not come of this meeting with further such reunions and with the passage of time. The writing is spare, and I liked the aesthetic and symbolic use of water in the narrative.

Reviewed by: Oshun  ✧  Score: 5

A very interesting take on the aftermath of a grim story from The Silmarillion. I never could manage to muster up a lot of sympathy for Finduilas, but no one deserved her fate any more than Gwindor deserved his. This is a poignant and unromantic look at forgiveness and going forward, with perhaps the tiniest sliver of hope for the two of them. One of the things that I always find so nearly unbearable about a few storylines within the First Age is that Tolkien doesn't spare piling on the tragedy and terrible fates. The story of Turin and anyone who came close to him is one of the worst in that sense. Clotho actually writes a readable ficlet about the aftermath of horrific tragedy. Favorite lines are given to Gwindor: [“There was much to heal,” he said. And little wish to come forth.]

Reviewed by: Dwimordene  ✧  Score: 4

As advertised bittersweet: these two not-quite-lovers seem to be impossibly tied up with an immensely awful history, which is rendered in some sense the more unbearable because Finduilas's love for Gwindor is simply not what Gwindor most wants and perhaps needs it to be, and they both know it. After all the recollections of what had happened and what could have happened, that is the bedrock of their story and what they will have to overcome in their new lives. At least they seem to be making a start at it! Well done, Clotho!

Reviewed by: Larner  ✧  Score: 3

Ah--such a reunion between two who might have loved one another had not one of them not found her heart stirred by a rash and doomed mortal! Apparently not all hurts can be set at naught by awakening reembodied after a time in the Halls of Mandow. Quiet and tentative, and perfect for the two protagonists.

Reviewed by: Anna Wing  ✧  Score: 3

A quiet little ficlet, sad but not unhappy. Finduilas and Gwindor had a particularly hard time of it, and this ficlet shows a possible set of consequences, for both of them. Not all hurts can be healed in the Halls of Waiting, but the elves of Aman have until the End, so the hope of future healing and reconciliation remains a possibility.

Reviewed by: Virtuella  ✧  Score: 2

[even the memory of such fairness did not deserve to be brought into the dark pits] This was a phrase that really touched me. A poignant and melancholy ficlet, yet with a little lining of hope. I enjoyed it.

Reviewed by: Ellynn  ✧  Score: 2

Sad and melancholic, but beautiful ficlet. I like the hint of hope given at the very end, though there are no guarantees. Nicely done!