In Search of History

Author: annmarwalk

Nominator: Raksha the Demon

2009 Award Category: Races: Cross-Cultural: Drabbles - Second Place

Story Type: Drabble  ✧  Length: True Drabble

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: n/a

Summary: Following in the footsteps of his illustrious kinsman, the historian Barahir, grandson of Faramir, embarks on a lonely quest of his own. (For the "Gone But Not Forgotten" challenge at tolkien_weekly)

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Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger  ✧  Score: 9

When I finished this drabble, I was left with such a wistful feeling of sadness! There was an aching longing for everything that had been lost and everything that echoed with the memories of what had come before. Even the title is sobering. All the glory and grandeur of those that Barahir seeks is nothing more than history. In effect, it's just memories now, and that's a painful thought. I think part of what made this drabble so powerful was the refrain of ["gone"], which was repeated several times. It hearkens back to Legolas's comments in Hollin when he talked about the elves being gone and that even the trees had forgotten them. Only the stones still remembered. There's a sense of that in this story. The landscape remembers, but it's as though it's still in mourning, because all it can tell Barahir is that the elves are ["gone"]. The other beautiful touch that I have to mention is the description of these past voices as being ["dry leaves"]. Again pulling on echoes from canon, Annmarwalk draws a reader's attention to Lothlorien, which the Fellowship saw in the grip of a winter that would have no spring. Not for the elves, at least. A touching and sobering story.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 8

We know very little about Barahir; the only descendant of Faramir and Eowyn who their creator bothered to name in LOTR. Tolkien mentions that he wrote the Tale of Aragorn and Arwen; and from that, fans and fanfiction writers can infer that Barahir was a historian. Annmarwalk brings Barahir of Ithilien to life in this beautiful, melancholy drabble. She shows that he is passionately interested in What Has Gone Before, from his first words to [childish scrawls] to the present of the last paragraph. Ann conveys the sense that Barahir is, in one sense, a man born in the wrong time; he loves the Elves and laments their loss from Middle-earth; loves them enough to journey to Rivendell and find it deserted. Ann ably uses this drabble to make Barahir a sort of intermediary between the world of the Fourth Age, knowing freedom from ancient evils but bereft of ancient beauty, and Tolkien, who will bring the earlier, more dangerous and beautiful world to life in a later era. One of the best drabbles from an expert in the form; and an excellent response to a challenge.

Reviewed by: Elleth  ✧  Score: 6

This was beautiful, I am not sure what else to say. Your drabble is brimming with history and characterisation, and the melancholy that permeates throughout it -- I can't put my finger on it, but -it works- almost like an enchantment, or perhaps it is the way you worked [gone] into the drabble almost like a leitmotif or a recurring echo. At any rate, the reading was effortless and touching (and the writing probably was very hard), and I am sitting here now with goosebumps down my arms after re-reading the story to find something else to say. I still don't, so 'it's beautiful' will have to be sufficient, even though emotional gushing like this doesn't do your ficlet justice at all. Thank you so much for sharing this, and I am glad I clicked the link.

Reviewed by: Larner  ✧  Score: 5

Our mistress of the drabble has written perhaps one of her most poignant in this one. Poor Barahir, grandson of Faramir, Prince of Ithilien. Born too late to truly know most of those who lived through the War of the Ring; able to travel, but always arriving just too late to speak with those he would interview. The frustration that he was born too late is perfectly conveyed in what he finds as he reaches the remains of Imladris, as not even the King and Queen's brothers linger there now. Deeply thoughtful, mourning in its desolate beauty. Well polished and fully recommended. Definitely a must-read.

Reviewed by: Dwimordene  ✧  Score: 5

Ann brings such a beautiful, forlorn, longing to this drabble. She really sets the mood well: the awe and the joy that life among people who have lived a true historical event. Barahir is grounded in that past, and the Fourth Age hopes and confidence that it inspires, and there is, in his desire to be told what has been, a certain desire, I think, to be part of that story. He is already, of course, and the journey north, a perfect complement to his uncle's lengthy journey, makes clear the other side of the triumph over Sauron and the dawning of the Fourth Age: the loss of an entire people who will live only in memory. Beautifully drawn portrait of one of the next generation's leading scholarly lights, Ann!

Reviewed by: Elen Kortirion  ✧  Score: 5

Ann imparts so much more that is unspoken, or is that unwritten, in these slim tales. The discipline of the drabble is 100 words, and to get across a genuinely original thought process, a complete tale and a punchline... all in exactly 100 words is a skill that often seems to be severly under-rated. Read this and read a masterful example of the genre! It is canon and an extention of canon, it breathes life into the thought 'what happened next?' which is surely one of the aims of all fan-fiction writers - we want to know more, and in a few poignant words, Ann extrapolates Tolkien's work a little further.

Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 3

Oh, I can certainly imagine Faramir's grandson making this pilgrimage in particular, seeking to find some trace of the one who went before. It seems like a very plausible thing to happen!

Reviewed by: Cairistiona  ✧  Score: 3

Wonderfully concise look at the thoughts of Barahir as he searches out history, and specifically the lost history of Elves. His thoughts on the now-vacant Rivendell are haunting--how sad it must have been to walk through that valley that will never feel the footsteps of its fair denizens again.

Reviewed by: Tanaqui  ✧  Score: 3

This is a gem of a drabble, from the opening words, where one can hear the imperious demand of a small child for stories through to the closing melancholy of the final words and the historian's sense of what has been lost forever and can never be captured for posterity. Very nice work!

Reviewed by: Nancy Brooke  ✧  Score: 2

The spare richness of this vignette really captures Barahir's experience. Exquisitely sad!

Reviewed by: Virtuella  ✧  Score: 2

This is a beautifully written drabble, melancholy and evocative. With such an approach to history, it is enchanting indeed.