Fathers and Sons
Nominator: Kara's Aunty
2011 Award Category: Cross-Cultural: Eriador - Second Place
Story Type: Story ✧ Length: Short Story
Rating: General ✧ Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: What makes a person a father? Estel adjusts to life at Rivendell, as Elrohir remembers Arathorn. Written for a challenge on what happened one year after an event. With many thanks to my excellent betas, Oshun, Adaneth, Jael, Lia and Lucia.
Reviewed by: Marta ✧ Score: 10
Gwynnyd's toy soldiers is a favorite fanon invention of mine. They captured my heart when I first read "Not Without Hope" all those years ago, and every time I realize a story I'm reading will involve them, I always feel a little fannish glee building within me. This time was no exception. The image of Estel ploughing through the lines with his mumak was priceless, as was the brotherly tackle that followed it. I think that is why I love the toy soldiers so much - the way Aragorn relates to them can provide such a nice microcosm of the way Aragorn relates to his heritage, and (as this story shows) that also goes for the adults in Aragorn's life as well. Aragorn in this story is only three, and there's only so much a toddler can to carry a story that is ultimately about adult angst and adult decisions. Luckily, Gwynnyd gives us a fully fleshed-out Elrohir who is more than up to the task. From the physical details of caring for the recently-deceased Arathron (that unmarked grave really tugged at my heart-strings) to the more psychological battle of wills he engages in with his father, I found myself really admiring his character. He obviously knew his own mind and was not afraid to speak it, but he recognized his father's (and lord's!) authority. The way he handled this situation pointed out an interesting thought: even if Elrond was right to hide Estel, I'm less convinced he was right in how he implemented that hiding. All in all, a very well-done and thought-provoking tell. Nice work, Gwynnyd!
Reviewed by: Kara's Aunty ✧ Score: 6
This short story begins with a very sweet picture of Elrond watching his two older sons play with a three-year-old Estel, and his wonder at the fierce love that has sprung up within him for this heir of Isildur among all others. But just as he joins his boys (and I settle down to read what I think is going to be a nice bit of fluff), the story completely changed tack and I find myself almost teary-eyed at Elrohir's grief for the loss of Arathorn. This leads Elrond to contemplate the fates of men - particularly those who are descended from his beloved brother. Elrohir plays devil's advocate and - as Elrond fleshes out the pros of renaming Aragorn - he argues to retain some memory of his dead friend, that Estel may know who his biological father was. More faceted and deeper than appears at first glance, this is a very good read indeed.
Reviewed by: agape4gondor ✧ Score: 4
A seemingly whimsical look into a moment in history. But as with all things Elvish, there are layers to every experience. When one would look for a simple moment in Estel's childhood, one finds twists and turns. Not only do we see Estel, we see a piece of Elrond (still missing his brother), and the deeper sadness of loss that Elrohir is overcoming. Beautifully poignant. I have been away from fanfic for awhile and am delighted to find Gwynnyd still producing such great works.
Reviewed by: Dreamflower ✧ Score: 3
Oh, what a dilemma! I don't believe I've read a story before in which one of the twins objects to the secrecy of Aragorn/Estel's identity. It poses questions I'd not considered before. Yet right now, Estel is only three. Soon enough the memory of "daddy" will fade. A very thought provoking vignette.
Reviewed by: Oshun ✧ Score: 3
This was a blast from the past for me. I remember this story very, very well. There is something universal about the play and imagination involved. It feel so authentic and true to life. But also the story is one of the few interesting examinations I have read in fanfiction about the wisdom of withholding the information about Aragorn's father from him.
Reviewed by: Liadan ✧ Score: 3
This is a poignant and heartbreaking story about Estel's first year in Rivendell. Although he now accepts and refers to Elrond as his father, he still has some faint memories of his 'real' daddy.
Reviewed by: obsidianj ✧ Score: 2
This is a poignant story. The emotional impact is even greater because of the little toy soldier called Daddy.
Reviewed by: Sevilodorf ✧ Score: 2
Leaves me wondering what other disagreements Elrond had with his sons and how they were resolved. Well done characterizations.