Ashes and the Flame

Author: Ariel

Nominator: SilverMoonLady

2005 Award Category: Genres: Drama (includes Angst): Fourth Age - Third Place

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: G  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: There are two kinds of legacy.

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Reviewed by: SilverMoonLady  ✧  Score: 7

To say that this piece is beautiful or moving is to short-change this wonderful work of heart - and yes, I do mean a work of 'heart', because the depth of feeling evident in every line, from the author to the characters and the characters to each other, shines past expressing. It is an exquisitely painful thing to look on the memory of what is gone, even if the remembrance is better than forgetfulness, and Ariel brings forth that disquiet in Aragorn's heart and soul at missing Frodo and deploring his absence in a world renewed by his sacrifice. And his comfort in the thought that some part, however distant and diluted, of that light lives yet in Middle-Earth is likewise made so beautifully real as to lighten a weight of tears one had not quite felt build up. A deft and loving touch in relaying mundane detail and heart-deep sentiment marks this as a truly fine piece that I am delighted to have read, and read, and read, with equal pleasure every time.

Reviewed by: Dwimordene  ✧  Score: 6

Very interesting take on what children mean. I am reminded of another story, "Fell Fire", that also looked at how different peoples understand the significance of children. That they are the form of immortality for mortals is a constant, but the viewpoint here is inverted—it is not simply that children continue me, but the world is given what is its due from each couple that bears children. There's an injustice, it seems, in not having children, in denying others a glimpse of someone who has passed on before them, and who would otherwise be unknown to them, and had not Frodo had a child, one might imagine Aragorn getting possessed by the ghost of Shakespeare and writing instead: "Pity the world or else this glutton be,/To eat the world's due, by the grave and thee".

Reviewed by: Inkling  ✧  Score: 6

Heartfelt emotions, graceful prose, and intriguing meditations on mortality combine to make this a truly exceptional story. Aragorn's love for his wife and his friend, his wrenching grief and sense of loss, his relentless guilt, are rendered with such a powerful immediacy as to seem painfully real...I challenge anyone to maintain a sense of detachment while reading it! The idea of mortality as a flame representing the Secondborn's legacy to the world is beautifully expressed, as is the idea that with the passing of Frodo's flame the world had lost something precious and irreplaceable. For all those who mourn this passing, the story's resolution provides a lovely, wistful note of comfort.

Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger  ✧  Score: 5

Something I love about Aragorn from the books is how very aware he is of actions and consequences. That's definitely present in this story. I'm not sure I agree with the idea of Frodo leaving behind an heir, but Aragorn's concern over the matter and his realization of his own future and Frodo's seeming lack thereof definitely made this a worthwhile story to me. Very nice, tender moment in which Aragorn tracks out his thoughts. I can easily imagine him doing this when something weighs too heavily upon him.

Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 2

A bit of AU speculation about what if Frodo had left a child? Aragorn is so wonderfully in character in this. His grief and his missing Frodo are palpable, and his joy in realizing that Frodo's blood was not gone after all is lovely.