2008 Award Category: Races: Men: Minas Tirith - Third Place
Story Type: Story ✧ Length: Short Story
Rating: General ✧ Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: As Gondor's king walks through the streets of the White City, a stranger claims acquaintance.
Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger ✧ Score: 10
What a fascinating encounter Bodkin has created here! I love this look at a newly crowned Aragorn, who is willing and able to face up to his new life but who also yearns for simpler times. And what better way to narrate this than to have someone from those simpler times appear? Enter Pelion. Aragorn's memories are slow to come at first, and in this, I really enjoyed Pelion's characterization. He is apparently still as cheeky now as he was years ago. Not many people would have been brave enough to stop the King and remind him of a scruffy Ranger who guarded wagons through Eriador. Even fewer would sit there and test the King, looking to see if he remembered or if a lack of remembrance could be held over the King's head as a victory of sorts. Little wonder that this trader has done well for himself. The bold usually rise to the top (with a few bobbles along the way). But Aragorn proves that he's not above a little cheekiness himself, and I absolutely loved his thoughts on the name of Strider as well as his insistence that it remain his name after a fashion. His desire to stay and chat with Pelion out of an urge to annoy his youthful escort was also a stroke of brilliance. All in all, excellent snapshot of the King in transition.
Reviewed by: Dwimordene ✧ Score: 10
I love how Bodkin has managed to stitch together Aragorn's Rangering past and his present lofty position as King of the Reunited Realms together through a pair of chance encounters. It's true that the valet and the maid probably have a very different view of the man they serve than most others who live at more of a distance from him. Given Aragorn's past, someone who, as a young lad on the road, shared a wagon, the road, and stories with Aragorn and an injured Halbarad would undoubtedly also have a very different view of the king of Gondor - enough to know that you can always bait this king with curiosity! I love the fact that Aragorn doesn't back down from the challenge, and watching him run through all the possible ways of narrowing down when in Middle-earth (and where) he might have met the man confronting him was very entertaining. And while thumbing one's nose at pretension with some well-applied elvish as cover is one way of taking a distance from circumstance, it can be cynical; it can also be self-deceptive - that he responds to Pelion as he does, however, shows that the Ranger who remembers life on the road remains and is valued still in true. There is a real difference between Aragorn and the image of the king that so many have. Nicely done, Bodkin!
Reviewed by: Larner ✧ Score: 5
I love all of Bodkin's works, but enjoy mightily when she chooses to write Aragorn. Here is an encounter between the High King of the West and a Man he met many years past as a boy, a trader's son who has become a trader in his own right. It is pleasant to be reminded of a simpler time, less complicated relationships, company and a ride for an injured kinsman in return for company and protection instead of facing diplomacy ever. I almost wish Aragorn did give over his regalia for the worn leathers and harsher wools of his youth. Very, very human story, and as always with Bodkin, well told.
Reviewed by: cairistiona ✧ Score: 5
Excellent ficlet ... it has a wistful quality as the Strider that still lives within King Elesser longs to be free. There is a stubborn quality about Elesser that strikes me as very appropriate--King he may be, but he would dearly love to be king on his own terms and dispense with so much of the trappings of court. And yet there is also the pragmatic--as king, he would have to protect himself and his family. And with that comes that wistful resignation. Overall, a very good and detailed glimpse into King Elesser's mindset and circumstances as he encounters an old acquaintance.
Reviewed by: elliska ✧ Score: 5
I love the first person in this story. First person is so hard to write well, especially with such 'larger than life' characters like Aragorn, but you really do a great job of it with this story. Aragorn's voice is perfect, as is the depiction of how it must have been for him to be making the transition between who he was and who he has become. I like that Aragorn wants to get to know this old acquaintance again, but he is still cautious enough to send him through his secretary. It is a really cool way to underscore what Aragorn's life has become. Great glimpse into his new life.
Reviewed by: Linda Hoyland ✧ Score: 4
I just loved this very enjoyable story.You made me feel as if I were there.I love the way you write Aragorn and I am certain he must have missed his freedom to go and have a mug of ale on impulse with an old friend.The reader is left with a sense that Aragorn is almost the prisoner of his guards and at times feels nostalgic for his Strider days.A beautifully written story.
Reviewed by: Nancy Brooke ✧ Score: 3
This is nicely told. The author's restraint matches the story and helps lead the reader along nicely. It also enhances the ambiguity of the last line most effectively. This is an intriguing and fresh perspective.
Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon ✧ Score: 3
A touching story of a chance meeting; where King Elessar encounters a face from a time in his younger days, and the memories of a less burdened existence. Excellent use of flashbacks in thought - just long enough to encompass past experience and not long enough to overwhelm the reader.
Reviewed by: Virtuella ✧ Score: 3
I enjoyed this story very much. Your portrayal of Aragorn is well balanced and believable, and your writing style is crips and elegant. You show the dilemma and the restrictions of being King very well.
Reviewed by: nancylea ✧ Score: 1
a problem not limited to modern celeb's who can recognize whom.