2010 Award Category: Genres: Ficlet: The Silmarillion - Third Place
Story Type: Story ✧ Length: Ficlet
Rating: General ✧ Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: An Eärendil vignette which attempts to explain why he was fated to sail the skies. A little strange and a little bleak
Reviewed by: Clodia ✧ Score: 10
This is a lovely, if bleak, ficlet that provides a chilling glimpse into the ultimate fates of Earendil and Elwing, both skybound in their different ways. With perfect economy, Clotho sketches the increasing lack of humanity in both Tuors son and Diors daughter, and the loneliness of their lives. Earendil the Mariner, a man in his heart and bound to give what aid he could to his kin back in Middle-earth, chooses (and that it was his choice is stressed, possibly so that he will avoid falling into self-pity) to be transformed into a celestial sailor wandering the heavens. And Elwing in her tower, who chose immortality [for Lúthiens sake], although Luthien herself had chosen a different course, is now become a strange creature: Earendil loves her, or remembers that he had once loved her, but they are [more star and bird now than man and wife]: they have become legends and lost their own souls in the ascension. The whole piece is beautiful and beautifully chilling, not least because Clotho avoids the easy path of making the Valar into familiar, human(ish) figures, and thereby diminishing them; instead, she sets them at such a remote distance as Powers and that works very well. Earendil and Elwing, somewhere between, seem to take on some of the same pitiless distance. Thank you, Clotho!
Reviewed by: Virtuella ✧ Score: 7
Many Silmarillion stories leave me cold, because the struggles depicted in that book are too epic and sweeping to make me sympathise with any particular character. Clotho123, however, has crafted an amazing exception here. What a powerful character piece this story is! I don't think I've ever read any fic that goes into so much depth regarding the fate of Eärendil, and in such a short space, too. He is a figure reminiscent of Prometheus here, a parallel that I feel was intended by the author, rebelling against the gods for the sake of mankind, and with a sentence pronounced on him that is hardly less cruel than that of his Greek counterpart. Written in immaculate prose, everything fits in very neatly here, the estrangement from Elwing is very convincing and his defiant attitude comes across strongly. I was impressed by the profound simplicity of [More star and bird now than man and wife.] I'm very glad I came across this most interesting fic.
Reviewed by: Dwimordene ✧ Score: 7
During B2MEM 2010, I had had to consider how a mortal would experience being, essentially, a star (or a constellation), and my answer was that it would be pretty darned dehumanizing and leave you rather strange if you resumed a more normal, fleshly existence. So Clotho's treatment of this situation really resonated with me. The slow stripping away of the humanity and even elvenness of Eärendil and Elwing, and the incomprehension of the Valar and perhaps even of the Elves of Valinor, is believable - 'strange fate' indeed! Clotho manages to tell a rather heart-breaking story in very cool terms, mirroring the wearing away of Eärendil in the face of his strange fate, his isolation which will always be only his second (or third) choice. The lack of regret that is emphasized feels slightly desperate, or insistent, as if there is that splinter in him that can't accept this even though he has resigned himself to it. Very well done and an unusual, imaginative perspective! Definitely recommended!
Reviewed by: Larner ✧ Score: 5
When Clotho describes this tale as somewhat bitter, she speaks truly. What would be the reaction of Earendil the Mariner, who is doomed now to sail the Seas of Night, but as a result of his fate cannot even appreciate the night due to the light of the Silmaril he carries ever with him? It is said he had wished to account himself as a Man and thus mortal, but that he acquiesced in the end to his wife's choice to live as one of the Eldar. A bitter fate indeed, yet even as he proclaims he has no regrets, we must wonder where the truth lies. Thought provoking,
Reviewed by: Liadan ✧ Score: 3
Our decisions have far-reaching consequences that we can never hope to imagine and those that make the final say regarding those decisions seldom fully understand our original motivations.
Reviewed by: Anna Wing ✧ Score: 3
A grim, eloquent interpretation of the fate of Earendil and Elwing, and the prices that they both pay for their involvement with the Silmaril. I do rather regret that the debate of the Valar did not include a voice for Yavanna, whose light it originally was.