Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

The Token

Author: Dreamflower
Nominator: j_dav (JDE)
2009 Award Category: Genres: Drama: Elrond and Family - Honorable Mention

Story Type: Story : Length: Ficlet Series
Rating: General -- Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: Three vignettes about Arwen Three vignettes from Arwen's POV, involving the white gem she gave to Frodo.


Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger -- Score: 10

It takes a truly skilled writer to do Arwen justice, and Dreamflower is definitely such a writer. Bound up in a single character, Arwen represents sacrifice, courage, foresight, wisdom, and selflessness, and Dreamflower manages to capture it all. In the first ficlet, we see Arwen's capacity for both grief and understanding. Her sorrow over losing her mother is real and poignant, but her understanding that she cannot yet cross the Sea is profound. Dreamflower brings a balance to Arwen that I'm not sure I've ever seen so convincingly portrayed. In the first ficlet, Arwen does not follow her heart but rather her compassion as she stays with her father and brothers. That shifts by the end of the last ficlet, and it is love and gratitude that moves her final actions. Also evident in the last ficlet is her wisdom and selflessness in giving to Frodo her mother's gem, entrusting him to carry it back for her. But perhaps my favorite story was the second ficlet, in which Dreamflower showcases a rarely seen character relationship between Bilbo and Arwen. And it is here that we find sacrifice and foresight as she prepares to go to Gondor while Bilbo must linger behind. Touchingly but quietly told, this is one of the best character studies of Arwen that I have ever seen. Bravo, Dreamflower!

Reviewed by: Virtuella -- Score: 6

I like this very, very much. It is beautifully written, calm, smooth and elegant. The motif of the jewel is so simple and natural and yet so meaningful. Celebrian had no chance to anticipate how her wish would turn out. The three embraces, too - two that take place and one that doesn't - link the three parts of the story together well. As you know, I always appreciate structural elements like that, they give shape to a story. You description of Frodo's feelings after the quest is very insightful. I hadn't thought about it like this before, but now I read this, it makes perfect sense. Yes, he would feel sullied and to a certain extent as if he hail failed - even if only in front of himself. And that's a lovely scene with Bilbo. What else can I say? It was just a very enjoyable read.

Reviewed by: Larner -- Score: 5

This is a tale of sacrifice, loss, and yet the finding of hope beyond all as we see Arwen accept the Evenstar gem from her mother, grieve with Bilbo that he shall not be able to travel with her to see her wedding, and at last gift the gem to Frodo as she recognizes he is himself fading, although he does not yet appear to realize (or choose to recognize) that this is so. A beautiful piece, and told so delicately and truly! It is so rare for Dreamflower to write the tales of those not Hobbits, yet she has managed to do so so very well here! Gentle and wise, much like Arwen herself! Definitely a story to savor thoughtfully, much as it was written.

Reviewed by: obsidianj -- Score: 4

This is beautiful. I love the recurring theme of the frail, transparency that Arwen sensed in all the people she deals with in these scenes. It is heartbreaking to read the scene between Celebrian and Arwen, when she receives the token, knowing she will not bring it to Elvenhome and then follow Arwen's thoughts as she realizes who will bring the gem back to Valinor.

Reviewed by: Marta -- Score: 4

This series of vignettes has some nice parallels that serve to draw the reader's attention to how Arwen is changing: her growing comfort being around mortals and her relative surety with what she'll do with the Evenstar for instance. It's a nice portrait of how this character would have progressed. I especially liked the bond between Arwen and Bilbo in the second piece; it was believable, and very touching.

Reviewed by: Antane -- Score: 4

Celebrian is indeed right that she will see the gem again, but around the neck of the one who needs it sorely and I love the idea that somehow, even unknowingly, she is involved in Frodo's healing for she would be one who would understand the most what it feels like to be violated by the enemy and how that harms the heart and fea so deeply that both need to go over the Sea to be healed. Love the part with Bilbo too.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon -- Score: 4

An elegantly written story from Arwen's point of view, detailing the connection she has with her mother and eventually Frodo via the jewel that Arwen will give the Ring-bearer. The circular nature of the first vignette and the last, Celebrian's conviction that she will see the jewel again, and Arwen's decision that Frodo will bear it into the West and to Celebrian, is a lovely linkage indeed.

Reviewed by: Linda Hoyland -- Score: 4

I loved these beautiful linked ficlets about Arwen,who has long been a favourite character of mine. Like many readers,I'm certain,I've often wondered where did the gem Arwen gave Frodo come from?, how did Bilbo feel at missing Aragorn's wedding? and why did Arwen choose that gem to give to Frodo? Plausible, satisfying and thought provoking answers to all three questions are provided here.

Reviewed by: Nancy Brooke -- Score: 2

This is a lovely and insightful ficlet cycle. And 'cycle' is appropriate, as it follows Arwen from grief, through doubt, until she comes to a new understanding of where she began.

Reviewed by: SurgicalSteel -- Score: 1

Heartbreakingly lovely.