Beneath Golden Leaves
2010 Award Category: Races: Cross-Cultural
Story Type: Story ✧ Length: Ficlet
Rating: Teen ✧ Reason for Rating: Honestly, I wasn't sure if it should be G or T, but it does describe the death rites for two people.
Summary: Legolas reflects on two deaths beneath golden leaves. Probably a touch bookverse, a touch movieverse and a touch NZverse.
Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger ✧ Score: 8
In very few words, Avon covers a vast time period and a wealth of character growth. Legolas carries the perspective for this little ficlet, and I can't think of anyone more up to the task. His recounting of Boromir's funeral is a sad and solemn remembrance. There's bitter sympathy in comparing the torn and marred leaves with Lothlorien's gold, and at the time the funeral occurs, Legolas sees the fear and doubt that led Boromir to his death. I particularly enjoyed the insight that one of Boromir's greatest fears was himself. The flash forward to Aragorn's funeral initially seems to be a study in contrasts, and to outward appearances, there is very little that mars the passing of the King. Up until the very end, as Legolas walks forward with a mallorn leaf instead of a tattered beech leaf, it seemed to be a perfect and unbroken picture. But then Avon employs some wonderful characterization that shows growth and insight beyond what Legolas displayed at Boromir's funeral. His wish for a leaf like unto that which Aragorn gave Boromir is very telling, and the story closes on a solemn, wistful note.
Reviewed by: The Lauderdale ✧ Score: 7
I love the way this ficlet curled around, like an ouroboros. Written in the first person from the perspective of Legolas, we see his response to Boromir's death and his thoughts on Boromir's life. As someone who believes that Boromir paid for what he did and redeemed himself in the process, it was bitter to have an Elf's take on the matter: a man claimed by fear and finally broken. The years teach Legolas a different take, though. Aragorn leads good life and dies a good death: few deaths could be more different than those of Boromir and Aragorn, but one man's death has a way of invoking another's, and Legolas wishes for the mottled beech leaves of Amon Hen over the perfect mallorn leaves as a means of paying his respects to a mortal friend. ["I was old enough now to know that all men are marred"] - he is also old enough to love them for their imperfection and to recognize in it the source of their glory. Beautifully written, and a nice character study of Legolas to boot.
Reviewed by: curiouswombat ✧ Score: 6
This is a beautifully crafted piece of writing, which is centred on the deaths of both Boromir and Elessar Telcontar. Both men were so closely bound to Gondor, and yet the one who was born in Minas Tirith died far away from his city in the wild, whilst the one born in the wilder country was, eventually, the one who died, and was laid to rest, in the splendour of the city. Their deaths are also contrasted in other ways here, as they are looked at from the viewpoint of Legolas, and the author allows the wood elf the benefit of her/his own insight into the two men, so similar and yet so different from each other. The leaf motif throughout the story being so suitable for this point-of-view character. A lovely piece, and well worth reading.
Reviewed by: Dwimordene ✧ Score: 4
Mortality is often at the center of Elf-Man relationships. Avon's story is a melancholy story, but tempered against being merely melancholy by the sense of Legolas 'growing up', as it were, and coming at last, perhaps, to terms with the death of Boromir in the death of Aragorn years later. And it's not a question of coming to terms with necessity, blah blah, but of recognizing a subtle flaw in one's own vision. So in a way, he learns to see both Boromir and Aragorn better than he had. Sweet, sad, quiet - I liked it very much!
Reviewed by: Larner ✧ Score: 4
A delicately phrased memorial to two Men Legolas has seen brought to their final resting places. Both he ties in his thoughts to fallen, gilded leaves; both he honors and remembers and mourns fittingly; and he accepts that there were flaws to each, but still much to be honored as well. Most evocative and moving, this ficlet is well written and filled with the melancholy of grief tempered by love and respect. I recommend it fully.
Reviewed by: Virtuella ✧ Score: 3
I enjoyed this ficlet with its measured, calm atmosphere. We see a philosophical Legolas here, one who ponders on the fittingness of little things like a fallen leaf and who remembers such details over time. Very well done indeed.
Reviewed by: Elfique ✧ Score: 2
A very poignant piece, I like the use of symbolism with the leaves and the contrasts between the two deaths.
Reviewed by: Marta ✧ Score: 2
A beautiful view of two marred men - I quite like the parallel nature to it, and that Legolas, though an ageless elf, is able to learn and change through his experiences.