Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Hearts of Stone

Author: Elen Kortirion
Nominator: annmarwalk
2008 Award Category: Races: Men: General Fixed-Length Ficlets - Third Place

Story Type: Fixed-Length Ficlet : Length: Fixed-Length Ficlet Series
Rating: General -- Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: 3 x 100-word drabbles Aragorn collects stones from the different parts of Middle-earth he visits, some to have fashioned into hearts for Arwen's bracelet - but one stone he keeps for himself.

Reviewed by: annmarwalk -- Score: 10

I'm continually amazed and delighted at the way even the most esoteric subjects, in the hands of a skillful writer, can yield tales of surpassing beauty and artistry. These three drabbles, written for a “Rock” challenge, exquisitely convey feelings of love and longing, loneliness and bittersweet memory. The choice of characters for each drabble is extraordinary, too. Arwen's tale focuses on Aragorn's travels during the long years they are apart, each heart-shaped stone a souvenir, a memento of Arda's history captured in the bones of the earth. The descriptions of the stones themselves are marvelously vivid: [“precious Greenstone from Khand, sacred to their rulers... sleek black Obsidian from Rhun, and warm sea-Amber collected from the shores of Lune, the very last remnants of the pine forests that sank beneath the waves two Ages ago”] Aragorn's tale displays his background quite aptly, 'the greatest traveller of his age of the world', collecting stones not only for their military or economic value, but also because, simply, he found their colors and patterns pleasing to the eye. One stone, though, he saves as a keepsake of his own, a memory both joyous and painful, never to be shared. Gimli's tale is quite surprisingly lovely, almost sentimental in its way, as upon his return to Moria he collects a stone to craft as a gift, a remembrance of a fallen companion. The imaginative cultural element – hematite crafted as mourning jewelry [“its dark, liquid shine sombre, yet tactile”] - adds additional depth and richness to an already moving story.

Reviewed by: agape4gondor -- Score: 10

To the author: Oh my goodness. The whole concept took my breath away. I loved the premise. Especially the Boromir one. Unique thought and great perspective. Don't want to give away much - but I absolutely loved these. Forgive my greed, but couldn't you continue.... To readers: A series of three drabbles about precious and not-so precious stones. One thing I would like to mention - I know nothing of stones or precious gems (except perhaps jade and diamonds) but the way the author speaks of each stone - I think the author might be in love with stones and pebbles too! You don't have to be a geologist to love these little pieces - the sentiment overshadows evern the loveliest stone! Each drabble, of course, could stand on its own - but the first about Arwen was so sweet, and the second about Aragorn was almost whimsical, but the third, about Boromir just broke my heart. I also liked the fact that the stones took on a life of their own, as did some of the places where they were found. You almost made them 'human' and that helped the reader enjoy these thoroughly. IMHO. Great writing, Elen... Psst - So you now give us a clue as to what Aragorn did on those long, lonely nights in the wilderness?!? Well (blushes furiously) when he was alone.....

Reviewed by: Imhiriel -- Score: 6

The premise of the drabble series is a wonderful idea, and well-executed. I love the idea of Aragorn fashioning mementos for Arwen of all the many places he travels through, so to give her insight into his travails and show that she is always with him in his heart. I also liked that Aragorn has various reasons for collecting the stones, ranging from curiosity about their properties and uses to simple aesthetic pleasure. The language is elegant, poetic in places, and has a lyrical candence that brings the readers right into the story. The series shows in a very nifty way the extent and magnitude of Aragorn's many travels, criss-crossing Middle-earth from the furthest north to the deepest south, from west to east, a perfect illustration of the reason he is described as the ["greatest traveller ... of this age of the world"]. I especially liked the notion of Aragorn's ["belovéd Arda"].

Reviewed by: Marta -- Score: 4

I love explorations of treasures, relics, and other *things* loved and collected by Arda's residents; and this drabble set certainly meets that description. I loved particularly the second drabble, describing the many uses of the stones Aragorn collected. There's a story in each one, and the way Kortirion hints at it gives Aragorn a truly amazing sense of depth.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon -- Score: 3

I love the notion of Aragorn collecting stones from his travels; and the descriptions of the stones are marvelous indeed. Elen Kortirion invests this series with a lyrical, poetic qualitly - elegant and poignant all at once.

Reviewed by: Súlriel -- Score: 2

I love the thought of Aragon collecting and shaping the souvenirs of his travels, but how heartbreaking to think of the one she'll never hold.

Reviewed by: nancylea -- Score: 1

very moving

Reviewed by: Larner -- Score: 1

A delicately crafted trio of drabbles.