That Which Remains Us
2006 Award Category: Genres: Drama: Remembering - Third Place
Story Type: Other Fiction ✧ Length: Short Story
Rating: PG ✧ Reason for Rating: Allusion to very off-screen sex. General melancholy.
Summary: The war is over, but the work of mourning remains. Faramir, a trunk, and an encounter with a side of Denethor that he never knew. Includes the epilogue fic, "The Silence of Things."
Reviewed by: Rhapsody ✧ Score: 10
Ai, poor Faramir who has to sort out the belongings of his father for the new regime in the city. What I so like about this piece is how the protagonist of this story goes through such a development and Dwim does not hesitate to confront Faramir with pain and memories. At the end you can sense that Faramir understands why his father seemingly seemed to clear out the room, but still kept his own memories of his loved ones. It left me wondering if the mantle of Finduilas was one of those things Faramir kept for himself for comfort. Oh and lock-picking Faramir, being taught in that skill by Damrod was a great touch upon Faramirs previous role. Besides that this is a great character piece, I love the way how Dwim describes the room for us, Denethors habits and above all: his love for Finduilas and the manner how the Shadow of the East affected them both. I think that this fact gives the reader another insight on Denethor, who sadly enough is most often seen as just evil, reading that so many factors in his life made him the man he became. This makes this story a beautiful layered story with poetry in it. Did you write that yourself Dwim? I like the way how a poet mused about his own work, considering the appropriate style, striking through words and a firm dosage of self-reflection: simply marvellous.
Reviewed by: Inkling ✧ Score: 10
Dwim captures Denethor's personality so perfectly here--first though the physical description of his well-ordered chambers, then through the book of verse. This is an obsessive perfectionist with no real poetry in his soul, but who tries so very hard... From the tortured form and content of Denethor's poems emerges the tragic portrait of a man who does not learn how to love until it's too late to make a difference. It's sad, and revealing, that these verses clearly were meant for his eyes only; one wonders what might have happened had he ever written, and given, poems to his wife. And yet he most likely never would have felt that they were quite good enough for her. There is something oddly endearing about his efforts to wrestle the creative process into submission as he struggles through various poetic forms, from sonnet to free verse and even haiku: [Finduilas-silence. You would be beautiful if I could tell you so.] I like that there is no easy sentimentality in this story...that Faramir does not discover, for instance, any evidence that his father secretly harbored tender feelings toward him. And I like that Faramir does not need such a discovery, either, in order to finally make peace with Denethor. A thoughtful, nuanced piece and an engrossing read. The coda about the third key is excellent as well.
Reviewed by: Marta ✧ Score: 10
I think one of my favourite things about Dwimordene's writing (and it really is hard to settle on even a short list!) is the sense of historicity that she brings to Middle-earth. Tolkien tells us that "Lord of the Rings" was a translation of a historical memoir of the Ring War; Dwim takes that conceit and runs with it, giving us family heirlooms both canonical and original, and draws a wonderfully convincing psychological portrait of Gondor's last two ruling stewards through the way they dealt with said possessions. There is a quiet grief here as one would expect even a heroic captain to feel after his great personal losses. I really liked the fact that it took an order from his king to get Faramir to deal with this. I have a similar chest that I still have not completely sorted through, and so I can definitely understand Faramir's reluctance. Yet this is not the overwhelming angst that a clumsier writer might have given the situation. Faramir fingers the spines of books, makes a move or two on the chess board that he and his father will never use again -- and moves on. He is used to being (by necessity) a man of action with a backbone as mithril, not prone to over-sentimentality, and that shows through here so well. Yet at the same time he is not unfeeling, and as he writes that last verse I can see an unshed tear gleaming in his eye. What a fine line to walk! This story has inspired me with a story nuzgul that has gripped me the way that "Lord of the Rings" inspired me when I first read it. I'm honestly not sure what higher complement I can give a story, and I really can't recommend this story highly enough. Very, VERY well done, Dwim.
Reviewed by: dkpalaska ✧ Score: 8
This is a concise, powerful story that covers a lot of ground. Faramir has glimpses of all his immediate (and deceased) family, but the centerpiece is his discovery of a side of his father he had never seen before. Like any deep and unexpected revelation about one we think we know, Faramir is left wondering about this new stranger that Denethor has suddenly become, and yet he manages a fragile forgiveness by the end. I have read this story both on its own, and after reading ["Love Sweet as Poison"]. Denethor's poetry was wrenching enough the first time, and doubly so after reading that precursor tale of he and Finduilas' relationship. I felt very sorry for both of them, and speculated about what the poetry actually revealed of those last years they were together. I wondered why Denethor turned specifically to poetry apparently so late into his marriage (although LSaP does provide the likely catalysts), and what exactly was behind the poetical reference to Thorongil in connection to Finduilas. In short, the author made me think on the relationships described long past the point at which the actual story ended.
Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon ✧ Score: 7
A superb, elegantly and intricately written tale of Faramir's last, bittersweet encounter with his father, a few weeks after the coronation of their successor in Gondor's rule. There are so many threads in this tapestry that it's hard to summarize how it works, but the author is a mistress of the multi-faceted, understated, drama, so most of it does work, and quite brilliantly. (the Denethor/Thorongil relationship is also touched upon, and delivers a surprise at the end) The plot device of Faramir's finding Denethor's trunk, and its contents, is employed quite well here. When Faramir discovers those contents, he learns that he and his father were more alike than even he realized, and finds the root of his father's disappointment in him. The line [rue the day that he was born] is particularly haunting, but, as is shown, Faramir is no weakling and can bear its implications. The curious peace he makes with his father is moving, and credible. A must for Faramirists, and a good, thoughtful story for any LOTR fan.
Reviewed by: Jenn_Calaelen ✧ Score: 5
A interesting ide, well written. Your characterisations of Faramir and Denethor are interestingand show many depth of the two characters. However, I found the way that you structured the tale (by having all the poetry in the middle chapter) was quite hard to read, and that maybe it would read better if it had been split up more so as to show more direct responce from Faramir, as at the moment it feels as if you have changed percpective for the second chapter. The epilogue was interesting, however it did not actually seem to answer what the key opened...
Reviewed by: obsidianj ✧ Score: 4
In this reflective, pensive piece Faramir learns a new side of his father he didn't expect when going through his father's effects. I love the language in this story and although poetry usually doesn't speak to me, the bits and pieces of Denethor's efforts are heartbreaking. They tell so much and at the same time so little about the man Denethor was, aside from the public face.
Reviewed by: Imhiriel ✧ Score: 4
Precise, intense characterisation and introspection. Detailed descriptions. I like the fact that not all questions are answered, that there are little details thrown in without explanation (for example Faramir carrying wrist-knifes even inside the Citadel, or why Húrin would appreciate Denethor's chess board). The awkwardness of Denethor's poems and the evidence of his persistent trying are heartbreaking.
Reviewed by: Dreamflower ✧ Score: 4
Faramir goes through the painful ritual of clearing out his late father's things, and comes across something unexpected: poems that Denethor had written for Finduilas. Naturally, he reads them. I have to say, the poems were brilliant: it had to take work to make poems that were *almost*--but not quite--right. It was clear that somehow Denethor was never totally satisfied with them, and they had been hidden away since his wife's death. This is a very insightful and clever piece, and Faramir is left with an unexpected view of his father.
Reviewed by: Bodkin ✧ Score: 4
A task I can see Faramir putting off for as long as he possibly could - but one he would never be able to delegate to another. (I long to know what the key is supposed to open - since Faramir was reduced to breaking and entering.) He is seeing a different Denethor from the father he knew - cultured, more sentimental than he suspected and a poet! I think his new understanding will help Faramir heal. I hope so anyway.
Reviewed by: Marigold ✧ Score: 3
I loved how descriptive this was, and I could easily see Faramir as he went methodically about his task. The last line that he added to Denethor's book was just stunning, and really seemed to me to signify completion and closure to so many things.