Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Comfort

Author: Bodkin
Nominator: Jay of Lasgalen
2008 Award Category: Races: Elves: House of Elrond - Honorable Mention

Story Type: Story : Length: Short Story
Rating: General -- Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: Elladan attempts to cheer his brother up after his return from a difficult patrol.


Reviewed by: Jay of Lasgalen -- Score: 10

*Happy sigh* Bodkin, this is wonderful. The opening paragraph with Elrohir twirling the knife is full of wonderful imagery, and sets the scene - and his mood - so well. I can really feel Elrohir's distress and guilt over the death of the Ranger (is it Arathorn? It doesn't feel like him.) Elladan is just marvellous in the way he gently cajoles Elrohir out of his dark mood by teasing, reminding him of the finer things in life, and head-on confrontation. I don't think the 'sanitised' versions of death fool anyone, but it's a comforting deceit. Elladan's reminder of Elrohir's possible fate is chilling, and reinforces the message of what *could* have happened. Finally, I love the humour of the image of an orc-maiden running screaming from Elrohir in his current state! The depth of understanding between them is wonderfully portrayed. Elladan is probably the only one who could bring Elrohir out of his dark mood (or at least, do it so quickly) because he knows what it's like, and knows what Elrohir is suffering. He's probably been there himself - and I'm sure Elrohir would have offered him the same comfort. Elladan's also the only one who could get away with some of the things he says - he can tell the harsh truth, knowing Elrohir won't take offence. I'm glad Elrohir allowed himself to listen!

Reviewed by: Isabeau of Greenlea -- Score: 6

I've often wondered why Elladan and Elrohir were considered Half-Elven, when they were in fact mostly Elven and Maia and a bit human. Nonetheless, Tolkien always depicts them, both in LOTR and other works, as straddling both worlds, moving among both Elves and Men. Like their father, they too succor the Dunedain, albeit in a more active fashion, often riding with the Northern Rangers. In this story Bodkin deftly shows that they do in fact feel kinship with their distant mortal cousins, and warmly depicts the loving relationship between two brothers who are closer than most, as Elladan tries to comfort his brother after a patrol gone wrong. The humorous chaffing common to some siblings helps to hide his deeper concern. Though brief, the differences in personality between the two twins are marked in the story, despite their similar appearances.

Reviewed by: Elena Tiriel -- Score: 6

Bodkin's story, "Comfort", shows Elladan at Rivendell trying to cheer up his brother; Elrohir is depressed over the death of yet another Dunedain Ranger with whom they had fought. The opening image is vivid and realistic, as is the humor that Elladan uses to chivvy his brother into cheering up and taking better care of himself. I have myself written of the horrors of the sons of Elrond fighting for centuries alongside the Dunedain, watching them die, taking sad word home to the new-minted widows and children. Bodkin does so with an rare sensitivity to the feelings of these immortal beings who ally themselves so closely with mortals. It is a good thing that these brothers can count on each other, not only in battle but also for emotional support when the demands of protecting their corner of Middle-earth becomes too great. Well done!

Reviewed by: Imhiriel -- Score: 5

I like the round-about way the narrative takes to come to the "meat" of the story. I was kept engaged in trying to figure it out beforehand, collecting hints as they came and slowly completing the picture. Excellent dialogue; and excellent *balance* between this dialogue-heavy story and enough description to anchor the scene in time and place. Every line, every motion, every description of a detail, is designed to not tell, but *show* the emotions of the twins. It was nice to have the humorous touch at the end - for Elrohir as well as for the readers, I'm sure.

Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger -- Score: 5

I tend to approach stories about Elladan and Elrohir with mixed emotions. They've been taken to so many different extremes. The saving grace is the fact that skillful authors still tackle them, which is why I was so excited to find this story by Bodkin. Elladan and Elrohir are brilliantly depicted. They're definitely twins, and the thread of brotherhood runs strongly between them. But they're also individuals who care for one another but are not necessarily willing to surrender to the other's will. Fantastic characterization, and wonderful insight into two of Tolkien's most intriguing characters.

Reviewed by: obsidianj -- Score: 4

Ah, survivor's guilt and the eternal questions what could you have done to change the outcome. There is never a good answer. Elladan is the sensible one, but all rationalizing and logic will not overcome Elrohir's feeling of responsibility. He will just have to learn to live with it. I love the sentence about the bad memories always come back to haunt you more readily than the good ones. How true. The seriousness is nicely balanced with some much needed humor in this little tale.

Reviewed by: Larner -- Score: 4

Accepting that there was nothing to be done in averting the death of a mortal companion--perhaps Arathorn himself, is not easy, Elrohir finds. Yet Elladan will work at it, helping to ease the burden of guilt his brother bears, perhaps remembering the feelings both had when it was their mother they barely rescued. Sad, melancholy, but necessary. The love between the twins is well drawn.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon -- Score: 4

A well-written vignette that really brings home to the reader the stresses and sorrows of the Peredhil's relationship with the northern Dunedain. To befriend each Chieftain, and other Rangers, only to witness their often violent deaths year after year and generation after generation, wearies the sons of Elrond. That they continued to befriend the embattled mortals, and help them when they could, and not withhold their friendship, speaks volumes for the Peredhil's strength and compassion.

Reviewed by: Avon -- Score: 3

Lovely images of the twins comforting each other. I enjoyed the different angle taken on this story - so much less about Arathorn's death and so much more about the twin's feelings of guilt and sorrow. So hard for them to be to be so powerful and so helpless. The story also contains some beautiful word pictures.

Reviewed by: elliska -- Score: 3

Poor Elladan and Elrohir. How many times did each of them have to do this exact same thing. This is one of the times that being an elf would not be so wonderful. Very powerfully emotional. And their banter in this Elladan tries to talk Elrohir out of his mood is very well done. I especially liked the end and the orc-maiden comments. Great vignette.

Reviewed by: nancylea -- Score: 1

warrior to warrior, magnificent