Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Droplets

Author: Dawn Felagund
Nominator: Isabeau of Greenlea
2007 Award Category: Times: Multi-Age: Fixed-Length Ficlet - Second Place

Story Type: Fixed-Length Ficlet : Length: Fixed-Length Ficlet Series
Rating: Mature -- Reason for Rating: mature themes, heterosexual sexual content
Summary: 200 words per "chapter" The life of Elrond, First Age through Fourth Age, told in double drabbles.


Reviewed by: dkpalaska -- Score: 10

What Dawn has created here is just... stunning. Elrond's characterization just shimmers with complexity and nobility, but all the individuals mentioned (present or not) are well crafted. I love the author's style, too: it is very personal and intimate, and naturally and completely draws me in to her story. The language might be slightly modern but it never feels out of place, and I am captivated at every turn. I could go on raving about each separate drabble, for every one of them is a self-contained chapter, full of gorgeous detail and emotional power, with shining phrases and excellent technical construction. I go through the ringer again and again, as the record of loss in Elrond's life steadily builds and even his joys are bittersweet. The connection of water in each feels right and fitting, a constant thread that links these "droplets" of his life together. The last one is particularly poignant. I love that Elrond seeks out the rain in "perfect" Valinor. In his healing he can see the water as not mocking or painful, but cleansing; and in his wisdom, gained through impossibly hard experience, he knows that joy is not truly realized unless measured against sorrow. Whether it is my recognition of this or something else entirely, the contrast at the end leaves me in tears: Celebrian against the ["grieving sky"]. Brilliant and moving - a superb story, Dawn!

Reviewed by: geek_chick -- Score: 10

[Contains Spoilers] I really like this story! There is so much poignant imagery -- obviously the theme of water in every chapter, but almost every chapter seemed to convey so much with very few words. In Chapter 1, it is sad how Elrond doesn’t realize at first that they are both scared, but also sweet that both twins try to protect the other. In Chapter 2, I thought it was very interesting that Elros was taking out his anger on the seagulls -- it seemed so very sad for a child that young to be so angry! Plus I liked the attention you drew to how Maglor was not their real father, and the mention of the “practical boots” made the reader realize how different their life must be now than how it was in Sirion. The imagery in Chapter 3 of Elros aging and Elrond staying the same has certainly been done before in fan fiction, but you still wrote it well. Chapter 4 was also sad, and it was interesting that in this chapter the rain is “poisonous” but in other chapters, the water seems to have a more positive connotation. In Chapters 5 and 6, it was ironic how you followed the joy of his wedding day with the sadness of Celebrian leaving -- a good example of how Elrond’s life must have been filled both with happy and sad times. Chapter 7 was also sad, but it was nice to see that Elrond had matured enough that he would not be bitter. I like the ending of Chapter 8, with Elrond’s thoughts about Earendil. (Also a good contrast to Elros’s hate for his mother in Chapter 2.) Finally, Chapter 9 gives a nice happy ending -- even though Elrond is still separated from his other loved ones, at least he has his wife now. And I’ve always imagined that Elves born in Middle-Earth who sailed to Valinor would have a very different perspective from Elves who had spent their whole lives in Valinor!

Reviewed by: Tanaqui -- Score: 10

Dawn Felagund has created an extremely impressive sequence of double drabbles for this series about Elrond's life. It's hard to know where to start, because there is so much to praise. For one thing, the motif of water is used throughout the series in so many different, clever and evocative ways: tears, rain, waterfalls, fountains, the sea – each in turn expressive of fear, joy or grief. For another, the language is rich and beautiful and finely turned. It's hard to single out any particular phrases when there are so many lovely notions, although I have to admit being stopped dead by the wonderful description of the sea as [a bolt of cobalt silk unfurled between the Eastern and Western shores]. How did Dawn manage to pack so much beautiful language into just 1800 words? Each drabble is also well structured and paced, carrying the reader forwards. As to the content: again, there is so much that is fresh and thought-provoking. I love the notion of Elros angrily screaming defiance at the seagulls to [“Get gone!”] and carry the message to their mother that ["She left us and we hate her!”]. The chapter about Elros ageing while Elrond remains unchanged is heartbreaking, and yet so subtly conveyed in the image of water wearing at stone. And I laughed at Elrond's thought in the final drabble that [Perhaps I am the only fool in this land who thinks it most beautiful when it rains.] In short: a fabulous series! Bravissimo!

Reviewed by: Rhapsody -- Score: 10

[this has spoilers] [Droplets] written by Dawn is just one of her many master pieces in which she so often manages to crawl under the character’s skin to portray their world and emotions. Elrond’s name is associated with water and this theme is woven into every double drabble within this series in its many forms. It starts with Elrond as a little child and here Dawn sticks marvellously to the child perceptions on what is going on, from there you see Elrond growing in front of your eyes. Throughout the years you can see how the events, losses and weariness of Elrond nearly weighs him down and you wonder how he can hang on, especially when he ponders the using of his ring and how it mocks him so. I am aware that this sounds like a short story, yet every drabble will give every Elrond fangirl something to go back to and enjoy: whether it is for a wedding, or some angst featuring Elros or what to say about his homecoming in Valinor. I find it hard to say which drabble within this series is my favourite, especially since all is so incredibly tied to the other. I just can’t help to think how the rains of Arda helped Elrond shoulder all the responsibilities that came on his path and his homesickness to ME (despite being with his wife again), deeply moved me. What a magnificent series Dawn!

Reviewed by: Imhiriel -- Score: 9

Beautiful, resonating imagery and a rich, lyrical style. The overall theme of ["Droplets"], of water in all its many manifestations - literally and symbolically - is interwoven poignantly into the narrative. The symbolism never feels forced, it is just as much a part of the "normal" description of the scenery or how the protagonists "act" with it, as meaningful on a deeper level of interpretation. There is often the sense that Elrond is semi-aware of what the water might symbolise in their specific situation, be it complementing his own current mood, or providing a contrast to it that might even hurt in its bitter irony. This tension is even carried beyond the final snippet, when it shows the reunion of Elrond with Celebrían - which, one migh suppose, is cause for joy - and closes with her ["displayed against the grieving sky"]. The characterisations are excellent, the emotions are movingly and poignantly conveyed (I appreciate that you show Elrond as not always calm and perfect). I love the way the double-drabbles enable the readers to look into Elrond mind and heart at many different stations of his long life, often crucial turning points in his fate or those close to him.

Reviewed by: Robinka -- Score: 7

“Droplets” is a series of double-drabbles presenting the span of Elrond’s life, from his meeting with his and his twin brother's foster fathers, Maedhros and Maglor, up to his trip overseas to Valinor. Each one takes on an important event and provides a great insight into his state of mind. This is a very emotional and beautiful piece of writing. Elrond appears to be a really tragic figure and symbolizes, in my opinion, the nature of the Firstborn. He had to suffer a lot throughout his life and he lost nearly everyone whom he held dear. And in spite of all, he remained such a wise and almost stoic character, and Dawn subtly points it out in her drabbles. She draws a complete portrayal of a complex character using the main theme of water – the drops of rain, teardrops, and waves, to indicate a few examples of the metaphors she uses. The imagery is vivid and symbolic, and it highlights the most significant turns in Elrond’s life in a stunning way. Awesomely done!

Reviewed by: Elena Tiriel -- Score: 6

(Possible spoilers within:) This is a superb series of nine double-drabbles about Elrond, spanning from when Maglor and Maedhros find him and his brother to after his reunion with Celebrian in the Blessed Land. Each chapter is beautifully wrought, with strongly evocative language. True to the character of Elrond, there is an underlying melancholy about the series, as one important person after another leaves him, including Elros, his own twin brother, ageing before his very eyes. Perhaps the most despairing vignette is after Arwen declares her choice, when he feels that the emptiness of Rivendell and the very song of its fountains mock him, and he even considers abandoning Vilya. But, in the end, his father leads him to Aman, where he reestablishes a life with his beloved wife. Very beautifully done!

Reviewed by: Marigold -- Score: 5

Each one of these was so very sharp and poignant. The language is utterly lovely. I am not generally a huge fan of Elrond but reading these double drabbles really made me feel for him and understand his character in ways that I hadn't considered before. These are really stunning. One thing that struck me in particular was how different Elrond and Elros grew to be, despite their closeness. I could see traits in them that led each to make the choice that he did. And I could easily see how the different events described here shaped Elrond through the ages. My favourite part though was Elrond watching Earendil sail overhead. This is definitely a work to be very proud of.

Reviewed by: Elen Kortirion -- Score: 5

What a delightfully woven series of drabbles, each pin-pointing a moment in Master Elrond's very long life with the metaphor of water - waterfall, sea, fountain, rain... all contribute to the tangibility evoked by the descriptions of his feelings, both emotional and physical. So many delicately delineated moments... his brother's grief turned to anger, his love for his new wife amid foreboding and their heart-wrenching parting, his aching sorrow at Gil-Galad's death - all are beautifully constructed, leading in just the right measure from one to another. A very thought-provoking series of images. I like very much.

Reviewed by: obsidianj -- Score: 4

This series of ficlets highlights the tragic of Elrond's life. Everyone deserts him, whether by choice or not. At least in the end he finds Celebrian again. I always knew that Elrond had lots of losses through the ages, but this ficlet series brings the pertinent stations of his life in sharp relief. I especially liked the good-bye to Celebrian. That was very touching.

Reviewed by: Gandalfs apprentice -- Score: 4

Moments in Elrond's very long life, told in drabbles, from (almost) the beginning to the final reunion with Celebrian in Valinor. Evocative and poignant, especially the scenes with Elros. I would have wished for more, to fill in the huge gaps still left, for example, about Arwen's choice and how Elrond felt about the failure of Vilya after the destruction of the Ring--to name two.

Reviewed by: Larner -- Score: 3

Dawn, what a marvelous series of ficlets focused on Elrond and water, whether the sea or fountains, rain or tears, or more than one of these. Water symbolized fear, loss, love, and finding once again. Our most beloved counselor Peredhel and the gift of water, cleansing or healing. Most poignant.

Reviewed by: Llinos -- Score: 1

Lovely use of metaphors. This is a wonderful characterisation of Elrond.