Love's Labours

Author: Alawa

Nominator: Marta

2005 Award Category: Genres: Drama (includes Angst)

Story Type: Vignette  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: G  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: Gilraen and Aragorn hold a newborn Aragorn for the first time. Two interlinked vignettes.

Read the Story

Reviewed by: Azalais  ✧  Score: 10

Not enough LoTR fanfic deals with the concerns of the women of Middle-earth - not the high-profile heroines but those whose business is home and hearth and healing under, sometimes, the most emotionally draining of circumstances - and Alawa fills a gap beautifully here. Gilraen's strong and loving relationship with her husband is evoked with affection and humour as well as moments of deftly handled eroticism, as is the awakening relationship with her new-born son - I particularly like the "one slightly unfocused, but oddly familiar, grey eye", and also the comparison of the weariness and bruising of childbirth with Arathorn's regular travails in the wild! There's poignancy, inevitably, given what we know of the fate of both parents; it's particularly sad to see Arathorn happily contemplating the prospect of more children, a Spare, perhaps daughters; but as the final line neatly reminds us, this is ultimately a piece about Hope. There are little reminders throughout both parts of the piece of who this baby is to be - the cradle, Gilraen's musings on the need to postpone desire for duty, Arathorn's thoughts to his son as Isildur's Heir - and yet it is also absolutely universal, new parents adoringly contemplating their baby. Delicate without ever being over-sentimental, evocative and descriptive, it's a lovely little diptych.

Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger  ✧  Score: 4

I very much enjoyed this, and I loved the dual perspectives from Gilraen and Arathorn. I loved how they both felt an almost immediate urge to spoil Aragorn but also understood the concerns of Morwen about why they should not. Those two are very alike, and it makes me wish that Arathorn had been around longer. He sounds as though he would have made a very good role model for Aragorn, particularly the part about hope. Nice foreshadowing in that.

Reviewed by: Dwimordene  ✧  Score: 4

A set of quiet stories, as Gilraen and Arathorn get to acquainted with their son, and their new titles of "mother" and "father". Wonder and joy come up against labor and hardship, as the two contemplate what lies ahead for their child, and their own marriage, defined by long separations. But overall, warmth prevails over toil and reaffirms them in their love, that keeps them able to do their duty with grace.

Reviewed by: annmarwalk  ✧  Score: 3

An absolutely gorgeous, perfectly realized description of a mother’s love for her newborn child, and a father’s bonding with a long-desired gift. It really doesn’t matter overmuch that the characters are Gilraen and Arathorn, for the surprise, delight, pride, and bittersweet sadness are quite universal and resonant.

Reviewed by: Marta  ✧  Score: 2

These vignettes were well-conceived and masterfully executed. I particularly liked Arathorn's remembrances of his courting of Gilraene, and the impact of the weight of being Isildur's heirs.

Reviewed by: nerwen_calaelen  ✧  Score: 2

A lovely pair of vignettes. I like the way you characterise Gilrean and Arathorn so clearly and interestingly. You give an interesting view of the lives of the rangers in these days.