The Waves' Song

Author: Branwyn

Nominator: annmarwalk

2007 Award Category: Genres: Drama: General Drabble - First Place

Story Type: Fixed-Length Ficlet  ✧  Length: True Drabble

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: Arwen "passed away to the land of Lórien, and dwelt there alone under the fading trees until winter came. " --The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen(100 words, written for the "Change in the Weather" challenge at Tolkien_Weekly, complete)

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Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 7

This drabble is an evocation of Arwen's last days (or hours) that is sumptuous in the richness of its imagery: the metaphors for seaborn things such as vessels and winds and waves mesh with, rather than distract from, the scenery of Arwen's actual woodland location. The seascape exists mostly in the bereaved queen's mind, and the words drive her sorrow home without even mentioning it. Yet the sea-longing makes sense; since Arwen has Elven blood and is a descendant of mariners. The sea as a means, in Arwen's weary mind, of deliverance, to take her beyond the walls of the world and by implication to Aragorn, is also skillfully woven into the narrative. The prose is as beautiful and descriptive as I have come to expect from this talented writer. Haunting and compelling; the drabble is like a painting or a piece of music that just sticks in your mind and takes up residence there; impossible to forget. One of the best tales of Arwen's last days I've ever read.

Reviewed by: Imhiriel  ✧  Score: 7

Highly evocative, atmospheric and creative imagery. The storm and the sea are re-created on the land, as the terms you used to describe the weather are so appropriate to the title and Arwen's wish. It was really thrilling to see the picture of this storm, and it seemed as if I could actually feel and hear the wind, see the trees move and the leaves swirl. And in the midst of it all, the still figure of Arwen, quite arresting in this contrast to the powerful movement all around her, even of hair and mantle. It is a strong focus point, the anchor - to continue the analogy - of the drabble, and the statement that she ["weighed down the hill"], her grief over her husband's death and her longing for release from Middle-earth is made clear without the need to actually write about it. From the fact that this is set in Winter, I surmise the second part of her request was granted soon. But to have it here answered only by silence seemed incredibly sad, and having the drabble end on this open note merely emphasised and increased this feeling.

Reviewed by: annmarwalk  ✧  Score: 5

So very beautiful and sad. I love the way you've used seafarer's terms: [waves, mast, sail] to deftly evoke Arwen's melancholy, the sea-longing of her people superimposed upon her anguish over the loss of her beloved spouse and companion. Your imagery, as always, is extraordinary: the lone elf-woman, the streaming hair, the skittering leaves. There's such an aching, autumnal feeling of loss and desolation. What a heartrending figure she must have presented to any of those who chanced to see her thus. I wonder what stories were told about her by those who watched from the village below.

Reviewed by: Dwimordene  ✧  Score: 5

Elegantly crafted, as is usual with Branwyn's fics and ficlets, this drabble gives a grey, lonely image of Arwen at the end of her life. There's a sense of a return to the elemental, a disintegration as Arwen stands in the face of a storm beneath Lorien's boughs, with her hair streaming out behind her. I love the opening line: ["Winter swept from the north on grey gull wings."] For some reason, authors can basically buy me for a line or two with seagulls in it – I don't know why. But this was lovely, as is the notion that in the winter winds that make the trees sway, there's a hint of the sound of the sea that suggests that Arwen shall soon, as it were, 'go home.'

Reviewed by: Llinos  ✧  Score: 4

This is a beautiful drabble for all its sadness, and it is very sad indeed. And yet there is a sense of quiet strength flowing through it as well. I loved the seafaring terms as Arwen faces her end; the sea theme is exactly right, a stunning way to throw into sharp focus the reality that Arwen will never cross the sea as her kindred did but will make a far different voyage herself. The language and descriptions are haunting and paint a scene that is almost startlingly vivid. This is an excellent drabble!

Reviewed by: EdorasLass  ✧  Score: 4

This is a lovely, heartbreaking drabble - I can almost feel the weight of despair. The imagery is both beautiful and bleak, and it somehow reflects Arwen's regret, as well as the fact that she is perhaps ashamed of regretting her choice. I've always found Arwen's choice to be not only haunting and painful, but terribly unfair as well, and this piece really brings that home.

Reviewed by: Marta  ✧  Score: 3

This brought on a real *sniffle* moment. The writing is so atmospheric, and you can almost feel the ennui and lethargy in your bones. Poor Arwen indeed. Yet as a reader I really liked it; it was very affective.

Reviewed by: Lindelea  ✧  Score: 3

The tragedy of this piece grabs my throat and leaves me shaken. Once again I'm astounded at the power of words to be woven, turning prose into poetry, and that it falls within the scope of a drabble makes it even more of a wonder. [Winter swept from the north on grey gull wings. Chill waves furrowed the grass, while the branches above surged and heaved in a golden tempest of leaves.]

Reviewed by: Tanaqui  ✧  Score: 3

In this drabble, Branwyn shows expert control of vocabulary and rhythm to deliver beautiful imagery that connects sea, wind and tree in order to give a vivid portrait of Arwen's last years. I particularly liked the line [her long cloak flapped like a poorly-trimmed sail]. Highly evocative. Well done!

Reviewed by: Linda hoyland  ✧  Score: 2

A heartrending account of Arwen's desolation and grief as she laments her beloved Aragorn and gazes at the sea she will never now cross.

Reviewed by: Larner  ✧  Score: 2

A most interesting drabble. Arwen in fading Lorien at the end of winter, looking to the return of her Hope? Or another? Delightfully eerie, as is the accompanying picture.

Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 2

Very melancholy, as suits the subject; vivid imagery, it blends the two loves of the Elves--trees, and the sea.

Reviewed by: trikywun  ✧  Score: 2

This is a lovely drabble. I liked the way that the author tied the sea into Arwen's death though she was miles away. It seemed fitting.