Ice and Tears

Author: Adonnen Estenniel

Nominator: Elfique

2011 Award Category: Romance: General - First Place

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Ficlet

Rating: Teen  ✧  Reason for Rating: Sexual Content

Summary: Not all marriages are based on love. An unconventional glimpse into the union between Rohan and Dol Amroth.

Read the Story  ✧  Backup Story Link

Reviewed by: pandemonium_213  ✧  Score: 10

Unconventional indeed! WIth the theme of a marriage of state, the author turns the many romantic fandom conventions of Éomer and Lothíriel on their heads. Each drabble is like the drops of water from an icicle, cold jewels gradually succumbing to warmth as Eomer and Lothiriel slowly warm to one another. This is a nuanced story; the final drabble does not give a pat happily-ever-after ending. We are left with ambiguity yet with hope for this couple, too. I applaud Adonnen's skill with the art of the drabble especially. The stylistic approach of well-crafted drabbles falls somewhere in the borderland of prose and poetry. This is an extremely difficult form in my opinion, and to be honest, few succeed at capturing lasting imagery or powerful emotion by employing sparse prose. Not so here. Adonnen's mastery is splendid. The words in each drabble of this series obviously have been chosen with great care and consideration. As a consequence, each drabble is infused with powerful emotion. The point of view is subtle but clear throughout the series as the reader experiences the early days of this marriage of state through Éomer's eyes. This reader would love to see the author address this as a diptych with the matching leaf from Lothíriel's viewpoint. Very well done, Adonnen!

Reviewed by: Marta  ✧  Score: 9

I personally have a hard time imagining Lothiriel/Eomer as anything other than a love-match, if only because of Lothiriel's relatively young age. I mention that not to criticize Adonnen Estenniel (her interpretation is every bit as canonical as mine), but to point out that I was convinced *in spite* of my initially thinking of things another way. In fact, I was swept away by the tale - very hard to do in a drabble series. We are not told just what it is that has Lothiriel so upset. The reader can take a guess, though: a young woman so far from home, forced into a position of rule and an emotionally uninvolved husband with a people who insist on calling her [ice-queen] - I think I would be every bit as distant as she was! All of those details are understandable - the reader does not look down her nose at the Rohirrim or Eomer in particular - but they sure create a stark reality! The complete lack of physical details, sexual or otherwise, make the piece seem so barren. Ironic that Lothiriel should be the ice-queen, when to her it must seem that everything else is frozen and will not warm to her. All in all a very nicely-done drabble series. Nice work, Adonnen!

Reviewed by: The Lauderdale  ✧  Score: 8

I know little about Lothiriel, the woman Eomer married, and little about their marriage, beyond the birth of a son. And so far, all of the fanfiction I have read about the two falls within a romantic scheme: any misunderstandings or misadventures are ultimately overcome as both unite for a mutual love affair. Adonnen Estenniel paints a different portrait, in which glacial Lothiriel moves implacably through her married days and weeps into her pillow at night, witnessed only by a husband who does not know how to respond. The drabble format, a perfect set of four, creates an economical framework with room for questions. Why does Lothiriel come late each night to bed? What is the secret grief that wracks her? Natural inferences are homesickness and regret in a marriage of political convenience, but could there be something else? An overture from Eomer and a delayed response from Lothiriel give promise that there can be room for growth between this unhappy couple. Yet it is clear that it will not come easily: an unyielding, but convincing, note of realism.

Reviewed by: Himring  ✧  Score: 8

An intriguing glimpse of Lothiriel at the beginning of her marriage, in four drabbles. If Lothiriel's marriage was an arranged one, there is more than one reason why she could have very unhappy in its early stages. Homesickness is an obvious possibility (we know that her relative Finduilas was homesick even in Minas Tirith). More than that, she could be suffering from culture shock in Rohan. She might also have left somebody else she was in love with behind, of course. We cannot know because Eomer does not know, and we are looking at her with his eyes. At first, it is not even evident to him that she suffers. It is very moving how out of depth Eomer, king and courageous hero, feels in this situation. Rather than indulging in complaints about any disappointed expectations, he begins to doubt himself. But he manages to make the right move, nevertheless, and, despite his initial horror at her unexpected response, by the end they seem to be on the right track--to trust and friendship at least, if not love. Well drabbled!

Reviewed by: Elfique  ✧  Score: 6

I am a great fan of seeing things done differently and taking a different approach to a long established theme. This is a classic example of the best way to take a different approach and I enjoyed reading this little tale so much. Not only is it very well written, refreshing, plausible and touching, but for me, after reading so many other Eomer/Lothiriel tales, it also seems much more realistic. Who's to say their marriage wasn't merely an arrangement and originally quite loveless (as I imagine most arranged marriages often are to begin with)? Where I've often seen a story of fun and frolics, here we get a very human tale; of doubt, confidence (and the lack of it!), uncertainty and mutual awkwardness - and all written so convincingly its impossible not to relate to them. Really, truly excellent.

Reviewed by: Oshun  ✧  Score: 5

This is a surprising slant on an oft-told story. I have always been a hard person to sell on the concept of arranged marriages in Middle-earth. I guess I have accepted too readily the idea that the legacy of the Elves and Elf-friends of Numenor would have mitigated against marriages of state. That is taking idealism a bit far I suppose. That said, I could not help but notice that the story of Lothiriel and Eomer begged for explanation. How did they meet and fall in love if it were not an arranged marriage. Anyway, it is an interested extrapolation and movingly executed. Thanks for sharing.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 5

Interesting and quite unusual treatment of the beginning of the marriage of Eomer and Lothiriel. I really like the idea that it was arranged; I can see Imrahil wanting to make his daughter a queen; and perhaps Eomer wanting some Belfalas horses to augment the Mearas. At any rate, it is quite different to see them newly married and not only not in love but having trouble communicating. I like to think that love, or at least affection, can begin to flower between them in this version; certainly the ice thaws, quite believably, as Eomer and Lothiriel begin to reach out to each other. Very well written as a drabble series; I wish there were more...

Reviewed by: Nieriel Raina  ✧  Score: 3

What a moving tale. I love Eomer as a character and I've always thought his marriage to Lothiriel was arranged. I think this situation is very plausible as well as both characters reactions and demeanor. Nicely done. I am left hoping they find happiness with each other in time.

Reviewed by: Linda Hoyland  ✧  Score: 3

I found these drabbles powerful and moving. We know so little about Lothiriel and and Eomer's marriage and though I've read many love stories about them, it is equally plausible she was a homesick and unhappy bride.The very sparseness of this drabble series gives it its power.