In The House of Elrond
Nominator: Nieriel Raina
2011 Award Category: Cross-Cultural: Eriador
Story Type: Story ✧ Length: Novel
Rating: General ✧ Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: Very little is known of the life the mother of Aragorn, Gilraen, lived while raising her son in Rivendell. This is her tale.
Reviewed by: The Lauderdale ✧ Score: 9
AeÃ¤rwen's novel follows the life of Gilraen, newly widowed mother of Aragorn, [in the house of Elrond]. She has left her familiar world to abide with a strange and different folk - and she carries some unhappy baggage predating her marriage to Arathorn. This is in line with other stories I have read by AeÃ¤rwen, in which damaged mortal women find refuge and kindness among firm, nurturing male Elves. Also classic AeÃ¤rwen is her ability to provoke strong emotion in the reader, and real anger or embarrassment for her characters. There are more than a few, Elf as well as mortal, that I would have liked tied up and stuffed in a "kick me" sack. I also enjoyed several of the cultural glosses: inferences about Dunedain and Elvish attitudes, and the author-coined concept of the gwaedh-gwend relationship: a touching arrangement of emotional reciprocity between two people who are not married to each other. Permanently monogamous as tradition has them, but often sundered from their life partners by chance or ill fate, this is a compassionate solution for the Elves, though not without risk, as Gilraen ultimately discovers. An interesting read.
Reviewed by: Adonnen Estenniel ✧ Score: 6
In this novel-length piece, the author interestingly and uniquely fills one of the more well-known and widely explored gaps in Tolkien's writing. The tale of Gilraen, as presented in this piece, is light-hearted and caring, not without its ups and downs, but for the most part a plot that uplifts rather than depresses. All the usual Rivendell characters were present in their usual capacities and functions, with all the usual relationships. The author did put a new spin on some things, but for the most part this piece was a just a expansion of several well-known and widely loved fandom tactics. Of course, there is nothing wrong with this, and the overall result was a truly entertaining tale. I very much enjoyed this piece and found it to be a pleasing gap-filler.
Reviewed by: Rivergift ✧ Score: 3
This is an exquisite, gentle tale of the woman whose gift of Hope saved Middle-earth, and a beautiful tribute to a mother. I loved the little details that make a story ring true, and completely brought life in Rivendell "to life", so to speak. I'm so glad to have discovered this piece!
Reviewed by: Liadan ✧ Score: 3
Aragorn's mother Gilraen struggles to adjust to her new life with in Imladris, where various customs and social mores are vastly different and more tolerant from those of her DÃºnedain parents and family.