The Gates of the Kingdom

Author: Azalais

Nominator: Azalais

2011 Award Category: Post-Ring War and Beyond: Elves or Dwarves - Second Place

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: Some bonds are as strong as mithril or as steel. Twelve years after the defeat of Sauron, Gimli has a project and a deadline... Written for the 2010 3fan_holidays fic exchange at LiveJournal (which had the general theme of "celebrations") for thrihyrne, who particularly requested Dwarves and/or Rohirrim.

Read the Story  ✧  Backup Story Link

Reviewed by: Marta  ✧  Score: 10

This piece was so fun, it is hard to know where to begin! Given that I have apparently acquired a bit of a reputation as a dwarf-writer, perhaps it's not surprising that the bit that *really* captured my imagination was the conflict Legolas nearly sparks off with Fror, and Bifur's description of the politics regarding the return to Khazad-dum. This was actually a perfect example of what Dreamflower talked about in her essay competing in this year's MEFAs about how to extrapolate faithfully from canon - really, this was so convincing, I have a hard time telling where the story begins and canon ends. The other part that really touched me was the way the various cultures worked together. In contrast to the current political debate going on in Europe, I might term this as interculturalism - and it works. You see it in the description of dishes in the final section, and also in the sleeping arrangements Faramir and Aragorn have to navigate. There are general issues that need to be resolved [accommodating the Rohirric horses; Celeborn's refusal to sleep in a stone city] but also there are similarities and those are honored just as much. The final detail (which had me grinning from ear to ear) was the inscription of the gates, so reminiscent of another dwarf-elf friendship. Nice work, Az!

Author response: I'm so glad you enjoyed it - I loved writing it (it was a gift piece for a fic exchange originally). Dwarves other than Gimli aren't my normal territory, so I did do a bit of research (on them and on pre-modern casting methods!) and was relieved when people's feedback suggested that I'd pulled them off. And I love the Legolas-Gimli friendship so much that I couldn't resist using the Celebrimbor-Narvi parallel when I thought of it.

Reviewed by: Darkover  ✧  Score: 6

How often do you get to read such an excellent tale that features Dwarves, Elves, and Men, and does a magnificent job of portraying each? The author has done a brilliant job of portraying everyone and keeping them all in-character, as well as keeping the interaction between the free folk realistic. Gimli and Legolas each keep their own folk in line, and Elessar is very clearly the respected and capable King of his own people. Faramir, as Steward, does a great and sensible job, not only of finding accomodation for all, but by understanding that the guests are more likely to get along if their contact is limited. This is above all a story of friendship. Not just the gate of Minas Tirith is being rebuilt here. Both aspects are summed up by the final line of the story.

Author response: Thank you, Darkover! This ficlet was originally written for a holiday fic exchange and though I don't usually write Dwarves (apart from Gimli) much, once I'd managed to find the idea it was great fun to write, revisiting my beloved characters a few years down the line from RoTK. I'm glad you enjoyed the result.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 5

An outstanding, and Tolkienesque story. I could feel the optimism and industry of the early Fourth Age humming in this short story. The cooperation of different races for the greater good is a favorite Tolkien theme, and Azalais plays that theme so well here; as the Elves and Dwarves and Men unite in the building and bringing of the new gate to Minas Tirith. I loved the characterization of the dwarves; their politics and culture flow right into the narrative without usurping it. And Gimli at the forge - wow; excellent stuff; which must not have been easy to write, but is easy to follow and easy to respect.

Author response: Thank you, Raksha! I did enjoy writing this story (it was for a fic exchange originally); I don't usually write Dwarves much apart from Gimli, so this involved a bit of research (as did the pre-modern casting methods!), and it's very gratifying that reviewers have liked the Dwarven politics and culture.

Reviewed by: Larner  ✧  Score: 5

Out of the friendship of the Dwarf Gimli Gloin’s son and Legolas Thrandulion has come a new wonder for the folk of Middle Earth to marvel at—the new gates of steel cased in mithril once promised Aragorn Elessar by Gimli to replace the great gates of Gondor destroyed by the Witch-king of Angmar during the siege of the city. And even Legolas has to admit to finding unexpected beauty in seeing the gates he helped design being poured into the moulds prepared for them. I love the details given, and the careful thought given to which Elves will be housed where, and the lighthearted comments on where the Galadhrim might choose to spend the night. A lovely tale, well written.

Author response: Thank you so much, Larner! This was a piece for a fic exchange and Dwarves were particularly requested; I really enjoyed writing it once I'd come up with the idea (of course, being me, I couldn't write Gimli without Legolas...) And I enjoyed persuading the Elf that yes, stone and metal can be beautiful too!

Reviewed by: curiouswombat  ✧  Score: 5

A story that tells us not just of Legolas designing the new gates for Minas Tirith, and Gimli and his dwarves casting them, but which looks more deeply into the lives and beliefs of the dwarves, and at life in Middle Earth twelve years after the War of the Ring. I like not just the conversations between Legolas and the dwarves, but all the little glimpses into how life is going on - going on in ways that many of those involved might have thought almost impossible in those dark days. As is always true with Azalais, the story is beautifully written and clearly well researched.

Reviewed by: DrummerWench  ✧  Score: 5

Azalais' lovely 'Verse is the setting for this short story, showcasing Legolas (I love her Legolas!) and Gimli (love her Gimli, also, too!). The making and installation by the Dwarves of the new gates of Aragorn's city must have been a momentous occasion, and likely a possible source of contention among Men, Dwarves, and Elves, as any large and conspicuous public work is apt to be. Azalais knows this well, and shows the interactions among the various persons with confidence and believability. Her dialogue and characterizations are wonderful, and the writing never falters. Also, the story is quite excellent!

Author response: Thank you! I'm so pleased you like the story (and, well, who can't love Legolas-and-Gimli? Not that I am biased...) and that the plot and the characters rang true for you.

Reviewed by: Adonnen Estenniel  ✧  Score: 3

This is an interesting and light-hearted look at a celebratory occasion. I loved the various perspectives offered regarding the event—it gave a more cohesive glimpse at the situation.

Author response: Thank you for the review! I'm glad you enjoyed the piece and all the different cultural perspectives.

Reviewed by: Linda Hoyland  ✧  Score: 3

I'm not usually a fan of tales about Legolas and Gimli, but I greatly enjoyed this story of how together they made Aragorn some some new gates for Minas Tirith to mark the twelfth year of his reign.I was leftwishing I could see the beautiful gates and all the people who were there. I'm glad that Gimli and Eomer made up their quarrel over who was the fairest lady.

Author response: Thank you for the review, Linda - I'm glad you enjoyed the story.

Reviewed by: Ellynn  ✧  Score: 3

A beautiful story about friendship between Legolas and Gimli, as well as describing how new mithrill gate was made for Minas Tirith. I especially liked the sentence said by Legolas ["You were right, Gimli," he whispered after a long moment. "It is beautiful!"], in which we can feel how much he admires the dwarves - people so different than his own kind, and the very end, that is, the inscription on the new gate.

Author response: Thank you so much for reviewing, Ellyn! I'm glad you liked Legolas' reaction to the pouring of the molten steel - I think when I wrote this I had in mind the way Legolas and Gimli learn, at the end of RoTK, to appreciate each other's ideas of beauty/wonder in the Glittering Caves and Fangorn...

Reviewed by: Altariel  ✧  Score: 3

Great Fourth Age fic, Az! Love all the technical detail, the cross-cultural friendships (and tensions) - and the hoo-ha over who should be housed where was very funny. Now I really want to know about Aragorn's ["first expedition to Barad-dur, after the War"] - you can't just mention these things and hope to get away with it, you know!

Reviewed by: Sandra S  ✧  Score: 1

A fine exploration of canon and a beautiful look into Legolas and Gimli's friendship.

Author response: Thank you! I do enjoy writing Gimli and Legolas, so I'm glad you liked this.