Author: jan-u-wine

Nominator: Antane

2011 Award Category: Poetry: Character Study

Story Type: Poetry  ✧  Length: N/A (Non-Fiction or Poetry)

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: What sorts of things does one pack when leaving home and family behind forever? What fills the 'luggage' of an immigrant to a land so foreign that it cannot even be attained by traveling along the curved face of the earth? At the Grey Havens, Frodo remembers... note: the secondary URL will take you to Mechtild's LJ, where this poem is featured as a companion to her Grey Havens screencap series

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Reviewed by: Mechtild  ✧  Score: 10

Good heavens. Where were the writers of the film's screenplay when this poem was written? Too bad they didn't take their cue from this author. Of course, the poem's author might have said, justly, the filmmakers simply should have read the book -- or read it more attentively, and with greater appreciation. This is the most effective yet least histrionic fanfic portrayal of the Greyhavens farewell I've ever read. The farewell to each hobbit friend is economically described, but the details chosen for each mini-vignette are so telling, anything added to would take away -- from the individual vignettes and from the piece as a whole. The keenness of Frodo's observation of Merry and Pippin, the rightness of the particular memories that are called up for each as he makes his goodbyes, gives the edge to the knife the author drives into the heart each time Frodo reflects that he will never see either of them again. But these goodbyes are not for wallowing. Frodo girds himself, turns his mind towards his mysterious destiny, the Sea beckons. And to the degree Frodo is not blubbering the reader is. The last farewell, to Sam, gives the reader a blessed reprieve. Sam, too, has girded his loins, bearing up under Frodo's assurances of his fortune to come in the Shire without falling apart; in fact Sam summons the strength to be the one to farewell Frodo, gently but purposefully setting his friend and master on the way (such a wonderful touch, having Sam turn his friend, bestow the kiss of benediction and place Frodo's hand on the rail). But perhaps because Sam can't help being who he is, Hope Unquenchable, he is able to do this, or perhaps that he can somehow sense Frodo's unvoiced promise: that this time Frodo will not go where he cannot follow.

Author response: Dear Linda....what i remember most about writing this poem was the great love i felt. And an even more powerful sorrow. I think what always tears me most about Frodo's story is all the doubling of themes. Love and sorrow, sacrifice and redemption (etc). And they are always linked to each other. You dont' find one without the other. It teaches a grand lesson in how human life turns. And I hope you will forgive me for having MY PJ moment, with that little bit with Sam. I was stuck, wondering where to go with the moment. To have Samwise return Frodo's kiss with one of his own, to tell him it was ok to go by putting his hand upon the rail.....well, it seemed so right, to me. Always, it has been a joy and a privilege to write in JRR's world. And always a joy to partner with you, dear Linda. Thank you. (btw, I was listening to the cast commentary and also the director commentary on GH last night. Worth listening to, if you never have, for the reasoning and memories behind this scene)

Reviewed by: Darkover  ✧  Score: 4

This is a poem so beautiful that it would wring tears from a stone statue. As he is about to sail with Gandalf and the Elves, Frodo bids goodbye to his hobbit friends. Tenderly, he recalls the strengths and weaknesses of each friend in turn, and while sailing is something he needs to do, he will miss each of them deeply. Just as Frodo will never forget his friends, the reader will never forget this poem. Very well done.

Author response: Dear Darkover: Wow. Thank you. I remember writing this piece. I'd just lost my mother. The jumble of feelings associated with loss and grief were very present and warring in my heart. I felt very selfish to wish her still here, burdened with pain, and yet I did feel that. I also felt relieved (and guilty!)that she had gone, and was free. Those mixed and equally strong feelings led me to this poem. What might that be like, to *decide* to end the life you have, to leave those whom you love so very dearly? Was this the first "selfish" thing Frodo ever did, or a considered act of self-less-ness? I cannot decide. It resonates with me still, the questions this poem raises, the themes it plays upon. And I am glad to have written it, and glader still that you liked it so.

Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 2

I love scenes of the Grey Havens; the sorrow and grief and the hope as well are beautifully and achingly captured in this one.

Author response: thank you, Dreamflower!