In Bitterness and Loss
2010 Award Category: Times: First Age and Prior - Honorable Mention
Story Type: Story ✧ Length: Short Story
Rating: General ✧ Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: Finarfin turned back - but to what kind of reception? Did Earwen welcome back the new King of the Noldor?
Reviewed by: Marta ✧ Score: 10
This story's summary describes it as being about Finarfin's return to Valinor after Alqulonde, and asks "[but to what kind of reception]" did he return? It is ultimately about that, but I think the true genius of "In Bitterness and Loss" is the way it is almost as much about Earwen's return to Alqualonde, as Finarfin's. The story begins with her visiting her kin, and the plot structure focuses on her journey (both geographical and emotional) back toward her husband. The fact that in canon Earwen is a minor character makes this a much more interesting and original story than I think Finarfin's would have been. But the piece is never maudlin, never angsty, as I can imagine it could have been. That's another thing I really enjoy about it. At one point Finarfin and Earwen are discussing the various things that the individuals of their people are suffering through, and Earwen thinks to herself, "[If there were children likely to go hungry, then there were more important matters to tackle.]" That is the heart of this piece's approach. While the affects that the light's destruction and the kinslaying have on various individuals isn't sidestepped, it also does not dominate. If anything, it serves as a microcosm of what the Noldor in general are going through, and that grief is always kept in its proper place. Somehow, that makes this story even more moving than it might be otherwise. A very nice read. A highly recommend it for any fans of this period.
Reviewed by: Larner ✧ Score: 10
I so miss the days when Bodkin posted regularly, and this tale is more than ample illustration of why! Earwen considered remaining in her childhood home after word came that her husband had turned back from the journey across the ice toward Middle Earth. One of her brothers died in Feanor's attack on the Teleri as he sought to steal their ships; her husband and children had chosen to follow Feanor to find anew the lands their people had quitted and to face Morgoth and his evil and seek to bring him down, and only Finarfin had returned on hearing Namo's warnings. But her mother's council is to help heal the wounds inflicted by Morgoth's treachery and Feanor's oath, and that she can only do at her husband's side. A telling look at the state of Tirion in the wake of the destruction of the Trees, and at the reconciliation between the new King of the Noldor and she who is now his Queen--and the first sign of hope given by the Powers in the wake of the rebellion. Bodkin's appreciation for human nature, even as applied to immortal Elves, is full; her ability to express the hope that is at the heart of those who turn to offering such healing as can be found and shared is wonderful. And the image of the first rising of Isil is stirring, as briefly as it is described! A master writer's work is always worth reading.
Reviewed by: Ellie ✧ Score: 4
I enjoyed this story very much. The imagery and symbolism you used to convey the weight of responsibility and guilt upon Finarfin and Earwen was so well done! His despair was palpable and her reaction to him in spite of herself truly shows her love for him. I pitied them both. The symbolic hope rising in the form of the moon at the end was so promising of renewed hope and so right for ending the story. This story of Bodkin's is an excellent endeavor and well worth the read. Well done!
Reviewed by: Elfique ✧ Score: 3
A very in depth and intense view of their reunion. The maturity of this piece speaks volumes, its very fitting for such a 'touchy' subject. Your descriptions are wonderful and for the most this flows perfectly well.
Reviewed by: Ellynn ✧ Score: 1
Beautiful story, with excelently portrayed characters and emotions.