First Impressions

Author: Bodkin

Nominator: Linda Hoyland

2006 Award Category: Races: Men: Featuring Aragorn - Second Place

Story Type: Other Fiction  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: G  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: Halbarad takes a very young Aragorn to meet the Dunedain in the Angle. Aragorn's impressions.

Read the Story

Reviewed by: Isabeau of Greenlea  ✧  Score: 10

I have often wondered about how Aragorn adapted to life among his mortal kin when he left the almost-paradise that was Rivendell. The Northern Dunedain are so little written of that you can imagine almost anything you like about them. In my mind, they're doing a little better than the way Bodkin depicted them here (perhaps holing up in some of those stone ruins the Numenoreans were so fond of building everywhere), but I can buy into this vision as well. The comparison between Gilraen and her serene, clean beauty and these hard-working, old before their time rural folk brings to mind the hard, brutal and short lives of medieval peasants versus their noble rulers. For obvious reasons, I was rather charmed by this observation of Aragorn's about the young Dunedain women-[There was not a single one he would look at twice – gawky, ungainly, harsh-voiced, plain girls, the lot of them.]. The comparisons with this existence that is his birthright and the one he was brought up in give the idea that the poor fellow is imagining himself in Hell! But underlying the comparisons is also his realization that this is in fact his destiny, and he needs to learn to cope with it. You can also sense something of the dismay with which he realizes that he is the embodiment of all these peoples' hopes. Halbarad is so excellent in this piece, the perfect guide into Aragorn's new world. His voice comes through true and clear. He is matter-of-fact and honest, and the way Bodkin depicts him, you can easily imagine him becoming one of Aragorn's friends and a trusted confidant over time. A most enjoyable story!

Reviewed by: meckinock  ✧  Score: 10

You already know how much I love this story, Bodkin! You had me shivering with poor, sniffling, miserable Aragorn in that chill, hazy room that managed to be cold and stuffy at the same time, wrapped in a blanket and surrounded by people who were most definitely not Elves, wishing he were home in Imladris! It's particularly amusing how he views the Dunedain women - plain, the lot of them, as if anyone wouldn't be next to Arwen Undomiel! His attitude seems to shift when his disdain for ale gets him into an exchange with Halbarad that opens his eyes to the hopes and faith of the Dunedain that hang on him, and he accepts it although he doesn't quite yet fully understand its cost. Halbarad's optimism really shines through here, and it helps Aragorn realize that there must be something good about this place after all. He even begins to realize that as wonderful as Imladris is, his future lies on a far different path, and that someday he will look back on this time with fondness, although he's not ready to quite imagine such a thing yet! It is sad for such a young man to realize he faces a lifetime alone, without even the companionship of the new friends he has just acquired. A very thoughtful piece, managing to be both amusing and soberingl. A wonderful story and a special birthday present.

Reviewed by: Rhapsody  ✧  Score: 8

I really like the impressions Aragorn has of his own people and how he is forced to faced his future: whether he likes it or not. I never expected this to happen, but while I was reading this, I wondered: what is he complaining about and refusing meals the Dunedain, themselves hardly can spare. But as this story unfolds, the reader sees the change in Aragorn and that he indeed realise that he should not take this for granted. The author brings this in a very well written manner: the pros and cons are well described and I loved Halbarad’s reasoning towards Aragorn: [Because it’s what you are – you’d make a mighty poor elf, Aragorn, however much you’ve learned from Elrond’s sons.] I think this was the first eye-opener that Aragorn received combined with Halbarad’s passionate speech about who the Dunedain truly are: hard working but silent hero’s who indeed have every right to be proud of their heritage. This is an excellent character piece where Aragorn learns a lot about himself and who he truly is. This story is greatly written with great narrative, especially the opening paragraph places the reader immediately in the story and from there it simply flows.

Reviewed by: Linda Hoyland  ✧  Score: 6

A delightful little story which shows young Aragorn's reactions to the Rangers when he first goes to live with them. After his upbringing in the luxery and shelter of Rivendell,life with his own people is something of a shock to him.He is cold,wet and miserable after falling in a puddle, finds the accomodation very basic and hates the food. Halbarad attempts to cheer him and makes him eat,as a pretty girl has promised him the time of day if her stew is accepted. As Aragorn talks to Halbarad, he gradually comes to accept that this will be his life in future and these are his people. A nice mixture of quiet humour and more serious themes.

Reviewed by: elliska  ✧  Score: 5

Poor Aragorn. This must have been exactly what he was thinking when he first ventured forth from Imladris. How could the men's villages have looked anything but shabby (at best) compared to what he was used to. And the people! I thought you captured his thoughts and feelings here very well. And of course I loved Halbarad. He was exactly as I would imagine him. Down to earth and straight forward and exactly what Aragorn would need to help ease him into so different a life. Aragorn might have loved the twins like brothers, but he would need Halbarad to help him in this situation. Great story!

Reviewed by: Nienor Niniel  ✧  Score: 5

An unusual take on Aragorn's return to his people, but perhaps closer to the truth than what many of us would like to imagine it to be like. The differences between Rivendell and the life of the Dunédain must be grave indeed, and to know that a destiny forced him to leave his old, comfortable life and go to a strange place must be difficult to accept for such a young man. I like the fact that Aragorn learns something during the fic, but yet isn't suddenly content with his situation. We can guess that he has a long, difficult way before him, which is just realistic. I also like Halbarad having an appearance: I have a soft spot for him, and it is good to see him play an important role for Aragorn.

Reviewed by: Perelleth  ✧  Score: 5

I'm always speechless before your descriptions, Bodkin. Halbarad's home seems so real *and* cold, damp and "unhomely house," compared to Imladris thropugh the house of the newly minted and wet- behind- the- ear chieftain! Poor Estel, he seems ot be suffering the like first day at boarding school or at summer camp effect, missing home and Dad and brothers and Glorfindel, while being shadowed by Halbadrad, nonetheless! Amusing, despite all, the contrast between the disoriented newcomer and the well at ease, mildly sarcasty and and clearly focused on "other" matters Ranger and kin. It seems an appropriate beginning for a long friendship.

Reviewed by: Imhiriel  ✧  Score: 4

Good handling of dialogues and introspection. Your technique of contrasting Aragorn's prior experiences in sheltered Rivendell with what he sees and experiences now bring to light his misery at the cold dose of reality, his insecurities in this new environment he has to make his home, and his reserve towards these, for him, strange people that are HIS people.

Reviewed by: dkpalaska  ✧  Score: 4

Bodkin does a very nice job of showing an unbalanced Aragorn newly arrived among the Dunedain, through beautifully detailed descriptions of both the setting and the people. There is no easy answer or quick acceptance of his situation for Aragorn, but the dialogue between he and Halbarad is well done and I could easily follow how he comes to see things more from Hal's PoV. A nice use of humor and frankness to balance what could have been a rather whiny Aragorn, and who instead comes across as simply very young and very human.

Reviewed by: obsidianj  ✧  Score: 3

Estel's first impression of his new 'home' is not the best and Bodkin does her best to describe the surroundings as unappealing as possible especially compared to Rivendell. I like Halbarad's outlook at the same surroundings. I think he points Aragorn to something very important. Home is not so much where you are, but the people around you.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 3

Credible and smoothly written vignette. Aragorn's culture shock, as a boy raised in a life of ease by the beautiful Elves, when he sees the hardship of those he must live among and lead, is well delineated. Halbarad is portrayed excellently, as a likeable and proud young man whose untutored eloquence helps Aragorn see the strength of his own people.

Reviewed by: Dwimordene  ✧  Score: 3

Halbarad is well drawn: resilient, optimistic, teasing, confident as he confronts a broody, melancholy young Aragorn who is suffering through the adjustment to life among the Dúnedain. Nice understated affirmation of his new Chieftain: [All right? ... He'll do].

Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 3

Aragorn is very young and green in this story, and suffering a bit of culture shock on coming among his parents' people after living his life in Rivendell. Halbarad is wise and comforting in this, but soon helps his young charge to an appreciation of his own people.

Reviewed by: Larner  ✧  Score: 3

For one raised in comfort and even luxury as Estel, to find himself now Aragorn son of Arathorn and having to live a far rougher life must have been quite a challenge. In a conversation with his kinsman Halbarad young Estel begins, however, to accept the need to make the transition.

Reviewed by: Anoriath  ✧  Score: 3

Hmm. Yes, it must have been a bit of a shock for Aragorn when he first came among the Dunedain. He was just young enough to have difficulty seeing below the surface, at least at first. Nicely captured. And LOL! I love your Halbarad. A man of the earth with all its attendant desires and limitations.

Reviewed by: Marigold  ✧  Score: 3

This was definitely culture shock for Aragorn. I liked his eventual acceptance and understanding, especially since we know that this is only another of the places that he will learn to call home in his long wanderings. It is a new experience for him at this time, just the beginning of his becoming adaptable no matter his surroundings.

Reviewed by: Raihon  ✧  Score: 3

This story was really well-written and evocative. It reminded me of my first trip alone to a "less-developed" nation. Spot on with the misery, but young Aragorn is more resilient than I was, as well he should be. The last line is great, too.

Reviewed by: Marta  ✧  Score: 2

What I like most about this is the descriptions, and how you've made me both hate and love the Angle. I could see what Aragorn must have been feeling very well. Well done.