Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Lullaby

Author: Celeritas
Nominator: Thundera Tiger
2011 Award Category: Post-Ring War and Beyond: General - Third Place

Story Type: Story : Length: Short Story
Rating: General -- Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: There’s a song stuck in Elanor’s head and she can’t quite remember what it is, or where it came from, though she's sure she ought to know...


Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger -- Score: 10

Something about this story made me fall in love with it the moment I read it. I'm still trying to work out why, though I think I can pinpoint a few key moments of brilliance that Celeritas pulls off with her usual (and enviable) style. What strikes me most of all is characterization, particularly of Elanor. The story is mostly about her, and Celeritas absolutely nails her. She's such an interesting confluence of traits. Toward the end, her husband teasingly but astutely summarizes them as ["gardener’s daughter, Warden’s wife, living under Elven towers, singing the Ring-bearer’s lost lullaby to our son? It sounds terribly like you, doesn’t it?"]. And Celeritas weaves all these things into the story. I also love Elanor's practicality. She feels like a very grounded character. So does Fastred, and his support and unconditional love of his wife makes him a wonderful foil and a surprisingly perceptive third party to the mystery of the lullaby. Then there's the tone of the story, which has an oddly haunting feel. It's not a bad haunting but rather a wistful haunting. As though something long gone has found one last way to return before fading away forever. That's something I really love about good Fourth Age stories, and it's especially evident in this one. A wonderful look at some wonderful characters brought to life with the just right touch. Well done, Celeritas!

Reviewed by: Dwimordene -- Score: 10

I have loved all of Celeritas's explorations of Elanor - they make me love this girl, now a woman in fictional time, whom otherwise I never had much feeling for from the books. Celeritas really makes shine the crossroads that Elanor represents: a child of two Ages, neither fully of the Third Age nor of the Fourth. She is surrounded by the remnants of all sorts of 'magic' influences that linger over the years and shape her - as Fastred perceives and has occasion to tease his wife about in this story. That helps keep the story light and yet grounded firmly in human relationships, despite the sadness that lingers on from the Third Age. This story fills out a little more the special relationship between Elanor and Frodo (not her brother, but Sam's Frodo), which is probably three fourths imagination and, just because of that, one part truth. Sam and his daughter each have a unique connection to Frodo, and it's both rewarding and saddening, but also uplifting to see how Elanor's unfolding relation to Frodo affects Sam so deeply. One is unsure, at this point, if Elanor's slow taking up of that relationship is connected to Sam's decision eventually to sail, but I have a feeling Sam might not have been talking only about Frodo after the lullaby episode, that that might be a prescient line. All this by way of saying, the story has fantastic atmosphere, and uses it to enter into very delicate, difficult emotional and psychological space, but with grace. Celeritas is a light touch, and never lets the story get heavy-handed. This feels at once very hobbity, and very Fourth-Age standing in the shadows of the Third - it's a bittersweet story of love and survival, love and flourishing in the face of loss. If you like hobbits, the Fourth Age, or just find relational triangles interesting, you'll love this story. Give it a read!

Reviewed by: Virtuella -- Score: 10

Dear Celeritas, this is such an utterly beautiful story. It has a soft and melancholy rhythm, perfectly matching the song of which it tells, and it feels in every aspect just right. Most of us will have been there at some time or other: A half-remembered song can be a terrible itch, one that doesn’t let us rest until we’ve pieced the tune together. And sad songs have a magic and an appeal of their very own that links them, as Sam says, to the heart rather than the brain. For those with a special ear for music, it would not really be such a mystery to remember a tune from very long ago, and it is even conceivable that the memory was triggered by the infant – that the movements and sounds and perhaps most crucially the smell of the baby triggered in Eleanor the memory of her own infancy and thus of the song. However that may be, it feels fundamentally right and proper that Eleanor should remember a song sung by Frodo and should pass it on as a gift to her own children. I also really liked how Fastred characterises Eleanor at the end – it gives me a wonderful image of the very special Hobbit girl. Thank you for a unique and charming story which I read and reread with much enjoyment.

Reviewed by: Ellynn -- Score: 3

This is such a lovely and warm story. For the melody Elanor speaks of - I believe it is some elvish melody... at least, Celeritas' descriptions give that hint. I love how Celeritas wrote this: she gives enough clues, and at the same time she lets enough unsaid, so that readers can imagine the rest. Well done!

Reviewed by: Adonnen Estenniel -- Score: 3

A beautiful family piece. I love how Frodo's legacy still lingers in the Shire; it seems very right somehow. An excellent look at these characters and how loss and renewal affect them. Lovely.

Reviewed by: Inkling -- Score: 3

A lovely, poignant take on the idea of a connection between Frodo and Elanor over all the years and leagues. The blurring of early memory with later tellings of it is especially well expressed. The final exchange with Fastred provides an unexpected, charming touch of humor. Well done!

Reviewed by: Linda Hoyland -- Score: 2

What a lovely idea that Elanor should recall a lullaby that Frodo sang to her and sing it to her baby.A touching bitter sweet story.

Reviewed by: Independence1776 (Crystal113) -- Score: 2

Celeritas’ fic showcases a lovely, unexpected connection between Elanor and Frodo, long after the latter sailed West. Well worth reading.