The Clasp Undone

Author: DragonLady7

Nominator: Marta

2005 Award Category: Races/Places: Rohan - First Place

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: PG  ✧  Reason for Rating: adult themes

Summary: A gapfiller, after Theodred's death and before Gandalf frees Theoden, mostly dealing with Eomer's grief for his cousin. Verses stolen from the medieval "Marwnad Llywelyn."

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Reviewed by: ErinRua  ✧  Score: 7

Powerful and wrenching, this tale magnificently tells the untold parts of the story behind Theodred's death and Grima's scheming. I found Eomer and Eowyn both splendidly drawn, their agony in the face of treachery and grief told with unflinching starkness. Nor is angst ever angst for its own sake, but rather part of the passion and pathos that is the Rohirrim nature. Grima is slithering and subtle, the scene where he views Eomer in seeming defeat particularly fascinating, perhaps revealing the duplicity within Grima's own heart. The artful use of the poem "Lament for Llywelyn" is especially good, and since Tolkien borrowed from Saxon poetry himself, (Battle of Maldon most notably) I think it is entirely acceptable that DragonLady continue the tradition with the use of a historic Welsh poem. In all, a terrific gap-filler that gripped from from start to end and wrung my heart at every page.

Reviewed by: Dwimordene  ✧  Score: 6

This is probably the most complete filling of this particular gap that I've read, and the confrontation that sent Éomer to the dungeons in the first place is believably crafted. All the missing pieces are made to fit, and fit very well together. The discussion between Éomer and Éowyn in the dungeons is really the heart of the story, and it is a hard, painful discussion that shows up just how desperate they were, and how determined. Éomer's little ploy in wounding himself was very well-handled and gives him the kind of cunning suited to someone who is not first a politician, but who for all that is hardly stupid, and certainly isn't afraid to give a little (or even all) of his blood to Rohan. A very satisfying story, and one that Rohirrim-lovers will want to read.

Reviewed by: annmarwalk  ✧  Score: 5

A powerful and vivid depiction of Eomer’s imprisonment, through to the machinations of Grima, until Theoden is freed by Gandalf from Saruman’s spell. The Anglo-Saxon style poetry that opens each chapter provides the perfect mood and setting, emphasizing Eomer’s despair. The Rohirrim, unlike the cool and collected Gondorians, wear their emotions quite openly, so it is heartbreaking to share in Eomer’s mourning for his cousin, and his fears for Eowyn and Rohan’s future. A well-told tale.

Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger  ✧  Score: 5

Good gapfiller! I very much enjoyed the part where Eomer forced Wormtongue out of the prison by banging his head against the door. I suspect he hurt himself more than he hurt Grima, but it was a great idea and it probably did wonders for his morale. It also showed him that he wasn't completely powerless, which is something he needed to know over the next few days. It became very dark and there was a very real feeling of desperation until Hama showed up in the end with news that Gandalf had returned. Great characterization, and I love the way that the various threads of canon all wove together in the end.

Reviewed by: Larian Elensar  ✧  Score: 4

Ooohhh...Theodred is one of my favorites of Tolkien's minor characters. I didn't realize there was information about him in Unfinished Tales, thank you for that reference! Great gap-filler. I'm so glad I read it. I always wondered how Theodred reacted while Grima was taking over his father's mind--I know he would have been trying to counteract it, and I guess he was successful enough that they had to kill him to make progress with their plans.

Reviewed by: Werecat  ✧  Score: 2

A haunting tale of an ususually overlooked character in Tolkien's writings. It could very well be true, and I am pretty sure that the professor himself would like it. :)

Reviewed by: Marta  ✧  Score: 2

The language was a bit modern at places in this piece, but I still liked this one. It really fleshed out some emotionally powerful material.