Was It For This?

Author: Alawa

Nominator: Dwimordene

2006 Award Category: Genres: Drama: Remembering - Honorable Mention

Story Type: Other Fiction  ✧  Length: Other Fixed-Length Ficlet

Rating: G  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: Aragorn at his father's grave. A short story written for a 'War and Remembrance' Challenge.

Read the Story

Reviewed by: Dwimordene  ✧  Score: 10

I remember reading this when it came out as part of the HA onlist Memorial Day challenge and being blown away. For such a short fic, it covers a huge space, temporally and psychically, and with such elegance! Aragorn's relationship to his father, Arathorn, is a major element in many fics that try to sketch out the making of the man we see in LOTR. As a young man, newly returned to a home he cannot even remember, the weight of the paternal legacy must naturally have inspired questions: who was Arathorn? Why did he leave his young, new family? How should Aragorn view the forces and obligations that drew him away? How should he relate to the formative (if buried) events of his life: the death (and life choices) of his father, which made him an orphan, his mother a widow, uprooted them both, and condemns Aragorn to follow in Arathorn's footsteps as a Ranger? Hence the titular question: for what purpose, all this suffering and confusion? For the scorn of Breelanders? For another life worn out in unseen, unappreciated service? Alawa brings us full circle, from the posing of such questions to an older Aragorn, who has gone searching for answers in Bree, in Rohan, Gondor, and Harad, and returned to his father's grave to discover that it is love that binds them to their common paths. Arwen and Gilraen provide the common reason, ultimately: to love and be loved, which is to say to live, to have a life with someone to return to. Very well done, Alawa!

Reviewed by: dkpalaska  ✧  Score: 8

Alawa has crafted such a lovely story in so few words. Arathorn would seem little more than a name to the son who never knew him. I can easily see Aragorn struggling as a young man with the legacy that his father left him: Descendant of Edain, Eldar and Maia, he seems heir to nothing more than a nomad's life of hardship, and blatant scorn by the very people that he risks his life to protect. So Aragorn sets off on his search for "the meaning of life," and in typical irony finds it only when he turns back home again: Love and family, protecting and caring for those who complete you. I loved that Alawa starts and ends her tale next to Arathorn's grave, with the hint that greater things yet lie beyond (for both father and son, as I took it). Her writing is beautiful, and I thought that this was a very perceptive exploration of Aragorn's need to understand something of the father he never knew. I also loved her characterization of the twins, distant kin by blood and close brothers "by heart,” they were perfect as the wise catalysts for Aragorn’s quest for understanding.

Reviewed by: Rhapsody  ✧  Score: 6

It was hard to find any words when I first read this story, but this re-read has been fantastic, again. Alawa brings us a simple story and in clear language, she moves you deeply with gibing us insight in Aragorn's estranged perception of who his father actually was. In swift pen strokes it becomes clear that Aragorn at first never could place himself in his father's shoes, but slowly and very delicate do we see a character development to a man who knows the dire need of rangers and the almost anonymous sacrifices the rangers brought, led by their magnificent chieftain. The ending is extremely fulfilling and full circle, when you read how Aragorn came to understand the life and sacrifices his father made. Suddenly his father is no longer unknown to him, but a part, which he will never forget. A gem of a story!

Reviewed by: Gandalfs apprentice  ✧  Score: 6

Many of the Arathorn tales in fanfiction are maudlin or poorly thought out or both. This one captures in rather few words one of the main tragedies of Aragorn's life: the unknown father, made so impossibly remote by the forced secrecy of hiding the identity of Isildur's Heir. After all, his son does not even know his father's name until he is a grown man himself, and he would not have grown up hearing tales of his father's life. Elrond, of course, is the best father a man can have. But it is the unknown, lost Arathorn who makes Aragorn what he is: the heir of Elendil. There is a lot of room for storytelling in this dramatic, wrought situation. This one takes us from Aragorn's childhood, to young manhood, to maturity, in an emotional loop with a fully satisfying ending. I would add only one thing: his hope for a son of his own, some day, with Arwen: he can have the son he could not be himself.

Reviewed by: Marta  ✧  Score: 5

What I like about this piece is that it seems to transcend the death that it is describing. Arathorn is still dead but as Aragorn's father would have been more symbol than substance that death is something bigger than a personal loos. For Aragorn it seems to represent all of the men who have died and, on an even larger scale, how Elros's legacy has slipped away to almost nothing. And yet he makes some peace with it and gets a better grasp on what his father sacrificed himself for. And probably even a better, more personal, image of who his father was and is. All in all very touching.

Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 3

A very moving and touching vignette, as Aragorn recalls what he knew of his slain father, as he visits his graveside. His reflections and memories are beautifully conveyed, and the language very appropriate to Middle-earth.

Reviewed by: Imhiriel  ✧  Score: 3

The feeling of loss, of lost memories, missed opportunities, of distance towards this unknown father, comes through very clearly. The ending, Aragorn reconciled to things and at the same time having "found" his father through gained maturity and shared experiences, is a graceful touch.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 3

Sad, and sensitively written. I loved the bit about Aragorn remembering only the scent of pipeweed and soap from Arathorn. We know that Elrond was a good and kindly foster-father to Aragorn, but it was a terribly cruel fate that robbed Arathorn of a chance to see his little son grow up and Aragorn of at least more detailed memories. Good story!

Reviewed by: Isabeau of Greenlea  ✧  Score: 3

There were some good stories that came out of that Memorial Day Challenge and this was one of them. I actually like the images of the Twins best throughout-their gentle insistence that Aragorn visit the grave, the mourning keen for their friend, their matter-of-fact recounting of belongings buried and retrieved. A lovely 500 words.

Reviewed by: Marigold  ✧  Score: 3

A beautiful juxtaposition of emotion, before and after Aragorn came into his own. The small list of his father's things that Aragorn now possessed was so very touching, as were Aragorn's thoughts.

Reviewed by: Bodkin  ✧  Score: 3

Very touching. Both the young Aragorn, who doesn't yet really know enough to understand and the older man, who has learned much that he didn't know. I like the twins, loosing their hair and mourning the man who was their friend.

Reviewed by: Jenn_Calaelen  ✧  Score: 2

An interesting and moving view of Aragorn. This piece is a nice look at the lives of the Rangers and of the way such lives seem to those living them.

Reviewed by: obsidianj  ✧  Score: 2

A nice reflective piece on the worth of the fight against Sauron. Aragorn finally finds a connection to his father.

Reviewed by: Lindelea  ✧  Score: 2

Thoughtful and thought-provoking. Somehow the things that we must fight to preserve are all the more precious for the effort.

Reviewed by: Linda Hoyland  ✧  Score: 1

A moving little story. It is nice to think that Aragorn honours the memory of his father.