Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Shadows

Author: Bodkin
Nominator: elliska
2008 Award Category: Races: Elves: Family - Second Place

Story Type: Story : Length: Short Story
Rating: General -- Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: Legolas pays a visit a special place on his return to the devastated Greenwood, a place where ghosts of his childhood lingered still.


Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger -- Score: 10

The power of Bodkin's story is that it leaves you guessing. There's a hint of myth and legend buried beneath the ash and soot of the burned forest, and Legolas's attempts to understand it seem to be constantly rebuffed. He truly does not know what he feels in the forest, and that lack of knowledge translates into a haunting journey for the reader. The backstory is effectively told, interspersed through Legolas's segments of mourning and doubt, but what really makes this story shine is Legolas himself. His characterization is layered and complex, depicted by halting words and flashes of memory. He begins as a strong but grieving figure, hale enough to convince the patrol leader that he doesn't need a minder but burdened by enough weight that the patrol leader is reluctant to leave him alone. Then the downward spiral beings, and we see Legolas unravel an inner torment. The narrative is subtle and profound, letting us feel everything he feels without ever overplaying the situation. Thranduil's appearance by the end of the story was both expected and welcomed. He's a stabilizing force that helps wrap the story up, and though there's still a haunting air in the end, there's just enough resolution to satisfy. Fantastic tale!

Reviewed by: Larner -- Score: 10

A fulfilling tale to read again--a tale of a haunting of sorts completed, a binding loosened properly. The mood is solemn and thoughtful as Legolas visits the ashes that mark the grove where his mother died--died protecting him when he was but a child. Always he's come here to visit this grove with a feeling that her awareness lingers here and delights in his visits, perhaps as proof her sacrifice of herself was not in vain. Does her fea remain here in the living lands? If so, he would see her now released. And the tying of this tale into that of the quest is delicately done indeed. A poignantly told story, and the mood is well sustained throughout it. We share Legolas's grief both for the loss both of trees and the spirit they'd protected for so long, as well as his acceptance of that loss as a timely and necessary thing, now that the world has been changed by the victory over Darkness and the Ring is gone, as are the last ones privy to the blasphemous secrets of corrupting the Children of Eru into the orcs who've committed this desecration of one site that had been sacred in the eyes of the son of Thranduil---- Definitely one of Bodkin's best works, although even her least works exceed most of my own. A solemn joy to read.

Reviewed by: Imhiriel -- Score: 7

Beautifully told; I liked the almost languid feel to the language and the mood it evokes. Lyrical descriptions which highten the meaning of the scenes. I could really feel just how deeply wounded and almost shell-shocked Legolas was at seeing so much senseless destruction he was not there to prevent during the War of the Ring (and not recognising there would have been precious little he could have done *had* been present). The slow unfolding memories that connect present grief with past horror are very effectively told, and provide insight into just why Legolas' reaction is so stark. The use of intertwining perspectives of almost, but not quite connecting "protagonists" was a very effective - and affecting - touch. I liked the little bit of uncertainty in it, that Legolas not quite knows - even at the very end - if what he feels is reality or wishful thinking, whereas I as reader am provided with additional insight.

Reviewed by: elliska -- Score: 5

This story still makes me cry when I read it. The burnt forest and Legolas's inevitable guilt is sad enough. But the fact that he goes to that particular place because his mother's spirit lingers there is really sad. And then the fact that he goes there because he understands now, after walking the Paths of the Dead, his father's words...that he goes there in hopes of releasing her if he can...that is just so powerful. But it is when she is welcomed home that I really start to cry. There is something very hopeful that, even after all that time, when she finally can come home, Namo is still there to bring her. This is a really powerful story.

Reviewed by: Beruthiel's Cat -- Score: 4

As is to be expected with Bodkin's tales, there is always incredible depth and ventures into areas of Tolkien's works not usually visited by other authors. Such is true in this one, delightfully refreshing and completely original in its treatment of such familiar canon. Bodkin is exceptional in her insights, skillfully weaving a story that is guaranteed to make the reader sit up and pay attention. Worthy of being included among any reader's list of all-time favorites.

Reviewed by: Neilia -- Score: 3

Bodkin; This is so true to life...is it a real story for you? I wept. I know grief as well...it is hard to let go. Legolas' dear Nana would not have felt free to go until he could let her. *sigh* No wonder this is a nominated piece. Hugs, Neilia

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon -- Score: 3

A haunting story wherein Legolas faces the destruction of the place where his mother died, and is finally able to release her unhoused soul from Middle-earth. The story within the story, of her untimely death, is superbly written, and the whole story resonates with the bittersweetness of death and release and the peculiar sorrow of Legolas' fate.

Reviewed by: picara -- Score: 3

Oh my gosh this is sad! To think that her spirit was still there in the woods! The connection between Legolas seeing the spirits of the dead that fought in the war and then realizing the truth of what his father said so many years before is really a cool idea.

Reviewed by: Ainaechoiriel -- Score: 2

The single-quotes distracted but otherwise, a finely written story. It was interesting getting his mother's spirit's perspective.

Reviewed by: nancylea -- Score: 1

sometimes even the old must grow up someday.