Sweet Woodbine

Author: Bodkin

Nominator: Elena Tiriel

2006 Award Category: Times: Fourth Age and Beyond - Honorable Mention

Story Type: Other Fiction  ✧  Length: Epic

Rating: G  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: Over three centuries passed before Thranduil and the twins joined Legolas in the Blessed Realm. What was he doing with himself in the meantime? Apart from representing the people of Eryn Lasgalen in the councils of the great, that is. And, of course, meeting someone who will be very important in his life - and her parents.

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Reviewed by: Isabeau of Greenlea  ✧  Score: 10

I spent a very pleasant morning recently reading this story at the recommendation of someone whose taste I trust. I don't get as much time to read any more as I would like, but I'm a real sucker for Valinor stories. Legolas' position as a son of a ruler who will in effect never really have to let him succeed to the kingship was deftly explored-I have often wondered how that plays out in the West. Bodkin's Elves, who are certainly not perfect, ethereal beings, react as one might expect to an influx of immigrants who threaten their way of life and possibly their livelihoods (rather timely given current circumstances in real life!). The dilemmna regarding the apportionment of natural resources to two parties who both feel they have a right to them is a very valid one. The Valars' answer to the problem, the creation of a new, wooded land beyond the Pelori fills me with mixed feelings. On the one hand, I think it would be better for all the Elves to address their issues and not have to evade them in this way. On the other hand, it is an expression of love towards Elves who have always been somewhat suspicious of these extreme powers. Legolas' romance with the daughter of a most notorious family, and the way in her family finally resign themselves to the inevitable, is very well depicted. I had to laugh when Thranduil, who had all along been predicted to be an insurmountable, unreasonable object, arrived and immediately gave his blessing to the union.

Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 7

This is a good tale of what Legolas got up to in the Aman in the years between the loss of his best friend, Gimli, and the arrival of his father Thranduil. He grieved of course, and then he looked to find something useful to do--oh, and he fell in love. While none of this author’s tales of Valinor would be complete without complicated politics, this is mostly Legolas’ love story. He meets and falls in love with a wonderful girl, but in true star-crossed lover style, their families are at odds. She is of the Noldor, and her parents-most especially her hide-bound father-think an Elf from across the Sea cannot possibly be good enough for his daughter. The tale of how they resist one another as long as they can, and how Legolas finally breaks down enough of the barriers to gain at least grudging acceptance from her father is epic. And Thranduil’s long-awaited arrival brings with it a most unexpected development. Wonderful story, like all of Bodkin’s!

Reviewed by: elliska  ✧  Score: 6

This is definitely one of my favorite stories of yours. Obviously you know that I love Legolas and Thranduil, so I would naturally love a story about Legolas falling in love. But Legolas's relationship with his father-in-law in your world has always fascinated me, so I really loved this opportunity to see a bit more of it. I also really enjoyed seeing Elerrina before she had fallen for Legolas. I think you did a really great job of building her character in this. And Thranduil is perfect here. I loved his arrival and his complete acceptance. Everything in that scene was perfect in my mind. And the tension you created between Elerrina and Legolas as the waited was delicious. As was the final chapter. A truly perfect story. I loved it.

Reviewed by: Elena Tiriel  ✧  Score: 5

Bodkin writes of familiar Elves from Middle-earth after they have sailed to the Undying Lands and established themselves there. Her characters are complex, and their interactions are always interesting. This story follows the journey of Legolas from drifting newcomer to lord of his people, and also traces the very slow growth of his relationship with Elerinna, the elleth whom he -- eventually -- weds. I am not a huge lover of romances, but this story has much to do with politics and diplomacy, so it is not merely a romance -- though it does have a most satisfying ending. I have re-read this story several times, whenever I needed something to cheer me up, and I have enjoyed it every single time. Nice work, Bodkin!

Reviewed by: Imhiriel  ✧  Score: 5

Beautifully drawn characterisations, each one vivid and believable, no matter if canon or original characters, from the protagonists to the minor characters. Even you minor characters are sketched distinctly, for example Finrod. Although I see society and politics in Aman differently, your picture is consistent, well-devised, and quite persuasive. Chapter 9, with the coming of the ship from Middle-earth, is my favourite. I also liked the observations on Nerdanel and Aulë in Chapter 12, and how the story comes full circle in the glade in the end.

Reviewed by: Larner  ✧  Score: 5

The desires of a wood elf prince seem to be thwarted as the father of his beloved bears no love for him, and all expect him to hold the same prejudices against her for her relationship to Feanor's wife as those who have dwelt in Aman for all their lives tend to know. But Legolas is already accustomed to thwarting Elven conventions. After all, his brothers of the heart have included Men and a pestilential Dwarf, after all. And in the end he will win his fair lady in spite of all else, and will do well by the scattered Sindar across Aman and Tol Eressea. Beautiful writing and very real character sketches, as is always true of Bodkin's work.

Reviewed by: Marigold  ✧  Score: 2

The characterisations in this story are just spot-on, and I found the politics very interesting. I really liked the fact that Legolas found love at last!

Reviewed by: Llinos  ✧  Score: 2

Lots of detail and wonderful character studies in this fic. A very interesting look at Elvish society.