Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Burden to Bear

Author: Ellie
Nominator: Fiondil
2010 Award Category: Times: Second and Early Third Age

Story Type: Story : Length: Short Story
Rating: Teen -- Reason for Rating: Description of battle wounds, death of a character
Summary: After a devastating battle, Haldir assumes a burden he never expected to bear.

Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger -- Score: 9

I must freely admit to being completely fooled by Ellie regarding the meaning of the story's title. I think a part of that deception was the way the story immediately pulled me in with visceral and vivid imagery. I could hear and feel the water lapping at Haldir. I could stumble and stagger beneath the weight of the wounded on his back. I could imagine the grim, dark, and dreary slog as they made their way back from a battle that cost them dearly. All of this happens in just a few quick sentences, and I was so lost in the story that I never second guessed the meaning behind the title. I went with my first reaction and saw Handir as the burden that Haldir would not relinquish. It wasn't until the end of the story that I realized the [burden to bear] might refer to something else entirely, at which point I had to go back and read it all over again to watch it fit in. That was no easy task, because this is a grim and gritty story and it was very hard to hold it at arm's length in order to figure out what the title meant. It kept sucking me back in! But there is definitely a layered meaning in the title, and it can be felt on Haldir's back as well as in Handir's dying words. A fantastic play on words and a fantastic story to boot!

Reviewed by: Fiondil -- Score: 6

This is a lovely story, giving us a glimpse into the rich culture of the Galadhrim that we rarely see elsewhere in fanfiction. I saw the water that Haldir crossed as being the border between death on the one side and life on the other with Haldir moving, not from life to death, which is the usual imagery, but just the opposite, with the final implied crossing of the Great Sea as the ultimate image of moving from death (living in the Mortal lands of Middle-earth) to (new) life and resurrection in Valinor. Ellie gives us a powerful image of one of the minor characters from Tolkienís world that has caught the imagination of many writers of fanfiction. This is the Haldir of the books and not the movie, an Elf and a warrior who deserves our respect for all that he has suffered and endured for the sake of his people. A worthy read for any Haldir fan and those who just like a good story.

Reviewed by: Larner -- Score: 5

To have to take on the burden of leadership for an Elven clan should be unnecessary, or so one would think, realizing that the lives of Elves are tied to the life of Arda itself. Haldir has been there and done that, for in spite of Elven immortality, the violence of life in Middle Earth has cost his clan too many of its members, including the father of them all. This collection of three vignettes show Haldir's thoughts on such transitions at three times during his long and eventful life. Some technical problems with spaces between words; the story itself, however, renders such things moot. Definitely thought-provoking.

Reviewed by: Virtuella -- Score: 3

One of the implications of immortality, which I have rarely seen explored in fanfiction, is that many, many generations would live simultaneously. Ellie picks up this aspects and draws a panorama of the Elders of an Elven clan, placing Haldir prominently in the middle of a long chain of sons. Very interesting.