Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Wrought with Love

Author: Linda Hoyland
Nominator: juliaaurelia
2011 Award Category: Drabble: Elves - Honorable Mention

Story Type: Drabble : Length: True Drabble
Rating: General -- Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: Written for the Tolkien Weekly "Embroider" Challenge. 100 words as counted in MS Word Hopes, prayers and love provide strength even against the most powerful enemy.


Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon -- Score: 10

A lovely, smoothly written drabble that explores the foundations of magic in Tolkien's Middle-earth, as well as the power of Love itself. Tolkien has often emphasized the power of the word, and the evocation of the Valar, in the fight against Sauron and many of his agents. This drabble is a look at the creative side of magic, or the magic that goes into the creative arts, as Arwen pours her heart, her blessings and her love, as well as the work of her skilled hands, into the banner she is weaving for Aragorn. It is fitting that Arwen calls upon the stars, so dear to Elven-kind, and to Elbereth, the Star-Kindler herself, as well as the Valar, to protect Aragorn; since both Arwen and Aragorn descend from the man who transcended the bounds of mortality and bears a star across the skies. Aragorn is identified with stars throughout LOTR, as is Arwen herself. Here, Arwen evokes the stars to guide his path and to, in the person of the queen of stars herself, Elbereth, protect Aragorn from harm. But Arwen is also evoking the powers of creative magic; as her kinsman Finrod once sang a song of making in challenge to Sauron, Arwen pours her love and her art into a banner that proclaims Aragorn's right to Elendil's legacy. Love and magic and skill blend and shift in the story and in the banner itself. The penultimate line says it all, and names those intangible things that have sustained Aragorn and his Dunedain ancestors for so many years - dreams and prayers and hopes. Arwen is a woman of skill, who weaves those dreams and prayers and dreams into protective charms sown into the great banner as a labour of love.

Reviewed by: Virtuella -- Score: 6

Dear Linda, I am reminded by this ficlet of Raksha once saying that Arwen does “killer embroidery.” You have certainly used imagery here that gives just this impression. I like how the second part of the piece is written in the conditional, expressing the uncertainty about the future which surrounds the whole endeavour. Of course, it is “only” a banner, but it is a symbol, and symbols carry a power of their very own, in real life as well as, no, particularly in Tolkien’s world. Thus Arwen’s contribution to the victory of good over evil is no trifle, but a crucial and powerful artefact for which, in a way, Halbarad gave his life. You have expressed this importance beautifully in this charming ficlet.

Reviewed by: Levade -- Score: 5

So often writers overlook the Elvish 'magic' in Tolkien's stories. The cloaks woven for the Fellowship that hid them from enemy eyes was one example, and we are told Elves can weave their will into objects. Swords, and other weapons (Sting and Aduril) as well as the most famous Silmarils. Finrod sang songs of power, so it is fitting that Arwen sings her will and prayers for protection into the standard for Aragorn. Arwen is often criticized as "only" sending a standard to Aragorn, but Linda has shown us there was much, much more at work. Great job, Linda!

Reviewed by: Elleth -- Score: 4

Arwen's passivity during Aragorn's quest is often criticized by reviewers of the Lord of the Rings, but Linda Hoyland does a magnificent job of reclaiming her agency without altering the plot of the novel. Reconciling these two aspects in the one work that Arwen does accomplish canonically, sewing Aragorn's banner, it becomes a much more tangible (and pragmatic, too) token of Arwen's love than simply watching over Aragorn from afar. A lovely, thoughtful drabble as testament to the power of love. I enjoyed it very much.

Reviewed by: curiouswombat -- Score: 3

This a lovely drabble - wrought, as is Arwen's banner, with love for the subject. I really do like the image of Arwen working a prayer into every stitch and jewel as she completes the banner that will accompany her beloved into battle.

Reviewed by: Adonnen Estenniel -- Score: 3

Wrought with Love is a much-needed gap-filler to Arwen's thoughts as she made the banner. (It's always seemed to me that there could have been something more useful that she could have been doing). Her thoughts here are lovely and perhaps justify her actions.

Reviewed by: Inzilbeth -- Score: 3

I absolutely love the simplicity of this drabble which is such a contrast to the enmormity of the concept at hand. What thoughts must have gone through Arwen's mind as she sat in her room sewing that great standard? Linda has given us a very eloguent insight. Well done.

Reviewed by: Ellynn -- Score: 3

This is such a wonderful drabble, describing the most important moments of how Arwen made the banner for Aragorn. I especially love the emphasize on love and hope. Beautifully written.

Reviewed by: Darkover -- Score: 1

A very emotional drabble, about Arwen's devotion to Aragorn. Vividly written.