By Any Other Name

Author: Linda Hoyland

Nominator: Kara's Aunty

2011 Award Category: Ficlet: Later Age Elves

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Ficlet

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: Gilraen and Aragorn must leave everything familiar behind when seek refuge at Rivendell.

Read the Story  ✧  Backup Story Link

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 10

A sweet short story chronicling the changing of the young Aragorn's name to "Estel". In Linda Hoyland's capable hands, the change of name is poignant, but, coming so soon after Gilraen and her son's arrival in Imladris, not yet tragic. Gilraen is written well here, grateful to be in a safe place but still mourning her slain husband and somewhat bewildered by the speed and intensity of the changes in her life. I particularly like the way Elrond is written here, kind as summer and patient with the weary young woman who has suffered the loss of so much and who he must convince to lose one more thing - her son's very identity. The dialogue between them is credibly and sensitively written. And I loved the cheerful innocence of the very child whose identity, and fate, is of paramount importance to the Master of Imladris and his young Dunadan guest. Little Aragorn happily and normally plays with toys; his preoccupation an effective counterpart to the huge changes in his life, changes he will not understand for many years. A worthy fictional foray into the importance of names, and identity, in Middle-earth and elsewhere. Names will always have power, as will the meanings behind the names.

Reviewed by: Virtuella  ✧  Score: 8

Dear Linda, what’s in a name is a tricky question indeed. Yes, the rose by any other name would smell as sweet, and yet names carry meaning way beyond their phonetic value, and the names of people most particularly so. I could not now imagine my children to have any other names than the ones they have, even though I have once been in a position to give them different names. Gilraen would have felt this much more keenly, because for her, her son’s name was more than just a matter of personal taste, it was what connected him with his heritage, with the history of his people and, most importantly, with his father. To let go of this name then would indeed be painful. Elrond wisely overcomes Gilraen’s resistance by suggesting the one name which the little boy already carries, after a fashion, the name he carries by virtue of his grandmother’s prophesy and by virtue of the role he fulfils for his mother and for his people. If there is any alternative name Gilraen will be able to accept for him, this is the one. A well thought-out, well rounded ficlet which I enjoyed reading.

Reviewed by: Kara's Aunty  ✧  Score: 7

Poor Gilraen. It is tragic enough that she has lost her husband to Sauron's merciless wrath, and that she had to pick up her child and make a desperate dash to the safety of Imladris to spare him the same fate; it is tragic enough that she has to sacrifice all she has known and all she has loved, to live in a place where she will always feel more like a guest than a member of the family. But to lose control over one of the sparse reminders she has left of her former happy life: her son's name? The unhappy injustice of it! Yes, we all know it was done out of kindness, love, and - most of all - necessity, yet still I couldn't help but feel hugely sympathetic to Gilraen, and very indignant on her behalf when Elrond made the request. This ficlet is absorbing, tragic and - above all - hopeful. And it's just plain lovely to read a well-written fic about Gilraen, a character oft neglected in fanfiction. Very well written - in fact, I think it one of Linda Hoyland's best works.

Reviewed by: Adonnen Estenniel  ✧  Score: 3

By Any Other Name is a quick look at the aftermath of Arathorn's death. Like so many of its relatives, it features a compassionate Elrond, a distraught Gilrain, and a happily innocent Aragorn. Sweet and heartwarming.

Author response: Many thanks for all your much appreciated reviews . I am so pleased that you enjoyed my stories.

Reviewed by: Ellynn  ✧  Score: 3

Written for Teitho contest, theme "Names", this touching ficlet tells us how Aragorn got the name Estel. Most of all, I love how Linda portrays Gilraen, describing her pain and sorrow. Beautifully written.

Reviewed by: obsidianj  ✧  Score: 2

That was a big thing for Gilraen to give up her sons name. I like the way Elrond helps her cope with the name change as kind of a nick-name albeit with a much more serious background.