No Longer Dream
2009 Award Category: Races: Men: Northern Dunedain - Second Place
Story Type: Story ✧ Length: Ficlet
Rating: General ✧ Reason for Rating: n/a
Summary: For a forgotten people, the way to the last adventure lies littered with dreams. (One-shot, complete.)
Reviewed by: Elleth ✧ Score: 10
Dwimordene's vision of the Dunedain before the return of the king seeks to explore the history and beliefs of [a forgotten people], but the whole of this story as much as the details is hardly forgettable or indeed, forgotten. As the title implies, the author means to showcase the notion of dreams, but what is presented is by no means unreal, vain, or restricted to sleep. Rather, the dreams of the Dunedain encompass visions and actions - of betterment, fight, possibility, promise, potential, community and togetherness. In dreaming of their king's return and working for peace, they share a dream not only with their own people but with all the free peoples of Middle-earth: [dwarvish dreams, elven dreams, the dreams of all the torn-up lives of Middle-earth that yearning remember the light of long gone better days]. In acting on these visions they appear to become the embodiment of their collective dreaming [which it is, and they are] and make these a reality despite the omnipresent odds of death that may destroy the individual, but never the community. In essence: They hope. The end of the story in relation to the title made me wonder, because the dreams mentioned do play an essential role in accompanying Aragorn's way to the throne, and in fact he participated in them himself. But then the destruction of Sauron and a Ranger's ascension to the kingship of the Reunited Kingdom also marks an end point to the shadowed existence and wild watch of the Dunedain, and to a custom that initally must have been born from desperation. They were, in a literal sense, given Hope (see Aragorn's childhood name of Estel) and can, instead of dreaming, or maintaining [the old that is strong does not wither] - so often signified by the ruins of the old Dunedain cities - begin to rebuild, fantastically expressed in the last sentence: [Tell me what you need to begin.]. Here Aragorn acts on yet another of his many names, Envinyatar, the Renewer. All in all this is a grand story, with poetic writing, imagery [a hundred swans take flight from the fenlands by drowned Tharbad] and turns of phrase that stay with you. This insightful and thought-provoking piece of writing might easily have smacked of wasted effort and potential on part of the Dunedain, but the author's skill turned it around and made it even better by offering the conclusion that appears. Thank you for one of the best stories in this year's awards, it was a joy to read and comes very highly recommended on my part. Please, do read it.
Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger ✧ Score: 10
In an anthropology class I once took, we discussed how collective hopes and dreams can form an integral part of the culture of a people and how they can dictate whether or not that culture will adapt to change and survive opposition. In this story, I think Dwimordene hits upon exactly what that class was talking about. The Dunedain are more than just the last remnants of the King's line, sworn to service in the North. They are a people of dreamers who pass their dreams along to the next generation. Never mind how often the dream has been shared or how often it hasn't come to fruition. The dream and the hope is still there, and because it's kept alive, the people and their culture are also kept alive. I love the idea that these people keep alive all sorts of dreams, including dwarvish and elven ones. It seems like just the sort of thing that the Rangers would do. There are so few of them left that they have room to take up the lost dreams of others in order to keep themselves company. And in the end, because of all the dreams, there's no question of what to do or how to organize now that there's a King on the throne. Their dreams tell them how it should be, and so all that remains is to let the King know what their dreams need.
Reviewed by: Imhiriel ✧ Score: 8
While the title is ["No Longer Dream"], this story is told like a dream, full of longings and hopes, with beautiful images of what the Dúnedain wish for in their long toils which so often seem endless and futile but which they perform with grace and patience day after day, for all the long centuries. Often, in a story which features such snapshots, there lies a danger of it looking scattershot and chopped, the emotion leached in the desire to get on to the next moment. But this story flows very lovely and evocatively. It paints a surprisingly broad picture of Middle-earth and of the manifold duties of the Dúnedain on the ["Long Watch"]. Even as the PoV is not specific to any one character, it is nonetheless very emotional in a movingingly understated way which fits perfectly with the way the Dúnedain are a hidden people, disregarded, unthanked for their work to protect folk and land around them. The end is full of quiet contentment as it closes with a touching little snapshot of Aragorn - the only specified character - as embodiment of the story's theme and their dreaming; both comrade who dreams as they do, and fulfilment of their dreams.
Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon ✧ Score: 6
This is one of my favorite of Dwimordene's excellent ficlets - homage to the power of dreams, the refusal to give up on dreams, that is so very Tolkienish. Here, Dwim gives us the quiet, stealthy lives, hopes and dreams of the Northern Dunedain, who have learned to live hard lives with a special grace; and manage to keep dreams both small, that can often be cobbled together, and very big, that must be saved for future generations. And the ending is positively magical; when the Dunedain of the North finally do see their dreams come true, and their long waiting is over. Dwim really conveys the strength and toughness of this very special people, who never gave up nor surrendered despite constant fear and privation. Well done!
Reviewed by: Cairistiona ✧ Score: 5
Terrifically evocative ficlet about the Dunedain and the dreams they carry despite being a scattered people in a broken land. The details of the land itself, and the ruins and the way the Dunedain talk of fixing things back up and their half-joking, half-wistful toasts [Aye, we are to the king who will come, lads. Next year we go East, and we will sit in Barad-dûr's own pub and sing the new year!]... a perfect description of a stoic and humorous determination to keep hope alive. Exactly how I see the Dunedain's attitude toward life. And, the lines [Generations of dreams flow in blood that spills out onto the earth like so many promises]... what a lump rose in my throat, until at last my heart absolutely soared at the simple phrase ["and then one day it happens."] A wonderful glimpse of the Dunedain. I'm so glad I found it via the MEFAs.
Reviewed by: Virtuella ✧ Score: 5
I like this ficlet very, very much. The tone is wonderful, so simple, but at the same time melodious and poetic. And the dreams are so appropriate. So much breath is wasted on songs about battle and glory, but what most people want is to build up, isn't it? I can see that: how all they would want would be to build a decent life for themselves and others, the end of their strange exile, the promise of a peaceful future. You're quite right, these would have, or should have been the dreams of all the peoples of Middle-earth - and ours, too. Thanks for a delightful piece of writing.
Reviewed by: MP Brennan ✧ Score: 4
I really enjoyed this little story. You managed to say a lot about the Dunedain and their way of life using very few words. I love the tone of those little snatches of conversation--how they mix big dreams with practicality. Their voices are vivid, even without names or faces or descriptions to go along with them (or perhaps because these details are omitted.) The last two paragraphs were just perfect. Thank you for sharing such a well-written and insightful story.
Reviewed by: Larner ✧ Score: 4
Dwim's stories never fail to excite, what with her facile use of language to build imagery. And this one, of the dreams held by the Rangers of Eriador, is particularly exciting and poignant as we see them hope and jokingly plan--and finally, following their own lord, see the dreams commence, and for others as much as or themselves! It makes me proud to think of myself as belonging to Eriador!
Reviewed by: Linda Hoyland ✧ Score: 3
A beautifully written and thought provoking glimpse of the Ranger's dreams, often such small dreams that meant so much. How wonderful to know that Aragorn can now make those dreams come true now!
Reviewed by: obsidianj ✧ Score: 3
This story has a dreamlike quality. The way the snippets of conversations and jokes are strung together. It tells the longing for a better future, although nobody seems really to believe any longer in it, but they still dream. This reminds me of what-we-would-do-when-we-grow-up conversations we had as teenagers.