Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Sorgbyrðen

Author: Aranel Took
Nominator: Aranel Took
2007 Award Category: Races: Men - Second Place

Story Type: Story : Length: Short Story
Rating: Teen -- Reason for Rating: Some description of war injuries.
Summary: A story of young Éowyn and events that shaped her life.


Reviewed by: Dwimordene -- Score: 10

Eowyn can be a difficult character to write. The mixture of despair and determination and frustration can be hard to balance, as can the brother-sister relationship. For Eomer, that is clearly central; Eowyn, though... it's more complicated. Aranel uses an intertwined set of stories to try to pinpoint the coldness that we see in Eowyn and which we naturally enough attribute to Grima's unwholesome influence. Through this tale of two orc-hunts, Aranel takes the much more interesting tack and shows how the death of Eomund and her brother's taking up his father's sword affect a young girl whose mettle already sets her apart. On the one hand, Eowyn is only thirteen at this point, but as is pointed out, thirteen is a woman in Rohan. She doesn't see herself as a child. But even as a child, she had already taken it upon herself to ask to be trained as with a blade - this is one little girl you don't want to cross. On the other, we see also how the fears of a girl who lost her father to a gruesome death, and her mother to a wasting grief, and who now is terrified of losing her brother, lets the cold in out of a determination that one way or another, ["she wouldn’t be one of those women huddled in the hall."] So she will have no husband or lover out of fear and (I think) also out of a certain pride and native strength turned back on itself - and it will take Faramir to melt her resolve. Nicely done!

Reviewed by: dkpalaska -- Score: 7

The title sets the tone and says so much about this thoughtful and interesting exploration of Eowyn's character. I like the way snapshots from two different events in her life are juxtaposed against each other, and gradually and plausibly lead up to a young woman's final crucial decision. Aranel does a great job of incorporating her personal vision (like Theodred being married and yet without an heir when he dies), along with excellent characterizations of both canon and original individuals. Throughout it all, the author shows us snips of the Rohirric life, some foreshadowing of things to come, and the universal fear of those waiting for the return of their loved ones from danger. This ["burden of sorrow"], borne for parents and brother, steels Eowyn's resolve to not tie her heart to another's, something which will only be hardened by Grima's predations. I can see clearly how it will take a trip through to the other side of absolute despair, and a certain Steward, to wholly thaw such a determined will.

Reviewed by: Imhiriel -- Score: 7

Wonderful characterisations. The readers can really see the brashness of a young Éomer, and Éowyn hiding her fears behind a mask of unconcern and aloofness. The relationship between the siblings was captured very well. Just like in the books, there is evidently a deep bond between them; but just like in the books, Éomer doesn't always see Éowyn's fears and worries. I really liked the sense of family between the four of them you captured in the scenes set in 3002. There is a palpable tension in the narrative, quiet but insidious, fed not only by Éowyn's memories of her parents, but also about what is happening in the present with Gríma and Théodred's wife. I found it remarkable how you achieved this so much between the lines, by what is unsaid, or just stated matter-of-factly. It also captured very well the universal theme of how the families of soldiers feel, having to wait, torn between trying to be brave and worrying about their loved ones in peril.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon -- Score: 4

This is an intriguing juxtaposition of two stressful periods in the life of the young Eowyn - her father's last leavetaking and death and its effects, and Eomer's first ride as a member of an eored. Eomer's likeness to their father, his hope that he will find and slay orcs, frighten Eowyn - this is just one of the Neat Bits in a credible, understated story of a war-scarred brother and sister.

Reviewed by: Nancy Brooke -- Score: 4

I thought this story very well done. Eowyn's transformation from an open-hearted child, absorbing all the depth of grief around her, to an yount woman steeling her spirit and shuttering her heart to such grief is well and most reasonably told. I like that her final decision comes during a time of waiting, not in reaction to the event she fears, but in attempting to forever protect herself from it.

Reviewed by: Larner -- Score: 4

She watched her father ride out, expecting their patrol to be reasonably short and with the promise of a swift return--only when at last the eored came back her father was dead, followed soon by her mother. Now we see how and why Eowyn became a shieldmaiden. The determination to not be found helpless is fully understandable after reading this well written story.

Reviewed by: Marta -- Score: 4

[spoilers] These stories do a really good job of telling several moments from Eomer's and Eowyn's childhood. The moments are thoroughly canonical but with their own unique twist, and the one about their father's death was particularly affective - so much so that it made me feel physically ill. I also liked the detail of Theodred's wife, it was a creative and developed an even more three-dimensional world. This was a good read.

Reviewed by: agape4gondor -- Score: 3

Life in Middle-earth, much as we would like to think differently, was not easy, was filled with pain and sorrow, and was difficult, to say the least. This author really brought out the pain and horror of living during the time immediately before the War of the Rings. Her Eowyn speaks volumes. The Eowyn we meet in The Two Towers is begun in this tale.