Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Shadow of Himself

Author: EdorasLass
Nominator: Branwyn
2006 Award Category: Genres: Alternate Universe: Post-Grey Havens - Second Place

Story Type: Other Fiction : Length: Short Story
Rating: PG-13 -- Reason for Rating: Complex themes
Summary: 20 years after the Ring War, Legolas and Gimli uncover a secret in Pelargir Port.

Reviewed by: Anoriath -- Score: 10

Hee! I get to read this *again*. I think I read this first before having gotten to know you more as a person. Reading it again, it strikes me just how effortlessly you are able to create a vivid and complex portrayal of characters and interactions. Sean Bean as Boromir just absolutely LEAPS off the page. He is noble and human and feels things intensely. Gimli is not just gruff, but loyal and determined and feels his attachments deeply. Legolas is as strong as a coil of steel, nothing soft and overly-feminized about him, but incredibly smooth and elegant. And there you are. When first I had encountered this piece, I thought, “Wow, what a carefully crafted work of love.” And surely it is, because I have since come to know more of your fondness for Boromir, but what I didn’t know upon my first reading is that you do this all the time. ALL the time, each one is a carefully crafted piece of work that is turned out in such a way as to look as effortless as a rose coming into bloom. I am sharply reminded of Baryshnikov’s address to Fred Astaire at the Lifetime Achievement Awards. To quote him, [“I have been invited to say something about how dancers feel about Fred Astaire," Baryshnikov said. "It's no secret. We hate him. The problem with Astaire is that he's everywhere -- moving. You know, you give your own performance and receive applause and you think maybe, just maybe, it was successful, and you go home ... and turn on the television to relax and there he is. Making you feel nervous all over again.” ] And so, I pour my heart out in a story, refine and tweak until it won’t bear any more, and then I read pieces like this and think, to paraphrase Baryshnikov, [“I can’t read stories like this and not know that I should have been in another business." ]

Reviewed by: Dwimordene -- Score: 10

That was just devastating, to be perfectly frank right up front. I've seen several variations on the Boromir Lives alternate universe, including one that did go with an amnesiac Boromir. But to play it out to the end (or to one of its possible ends) takes a lot of work, and though this might be the shorter path, it's by no means the easy one. Randir, formerly Boromir, in his new life is a man more at peace perhaps than any of those who came through the Ring War alive and with memories intact. Aside from the occasional nightmare that warns him against delving into his past, he has no connection to anything from his past and after so many years, no longer desires to have anything to do with his old life. Gimli and Legolas are devastated, and Boromir is not unsympathetic to their yearning to have him in their lives again, but he cannot force his own feeling, and he sees in them a reaction he does not wish to see in others. Nor does he wish his life, built up with such effort, destroyed for the sake of something he may never recall. He's a different person, more thoroughly so than any could imagine him to be, and so no longer suited perhaps to the calling he once had in life. What a burden for Legolas and Gimli, to have to decide whether to bring the tale to Minas Tirith and all Boromir's family and friends! The reader really identifies with them, and sympathizes with them, yet Boromir, too, in his new guise as Randir, is also worthy of sympathy. He's an innocent now, in a way that he never was, and who would wish to see his life ruined by the intrusion of past ties he's in a way outgrown? Very well done, EdorasLass! A very poignant story--people who like AUs should read this. Actually, anyone who likes Fellowship stories should enjoy it--highly recommended.

Reviewed by: Isabeau of Greenlea -- Score: 10

I've read a lot of "Boromir Lives" stories, and I'm very fond of the genre, but this is the first one that has approached the idea in quite this way. There is almost an element of fear in Boromir's repudiation of his past, as if the Valar did indeed let him live again, but only with the provision that he never seek to know what he once was, and that somehow he remembers this. I can understand why Legolas and Gimli made the decision they did, but having read the story twice now, I do still question it. Boromir seems to be very sure that his memories will never return, but I think that is more his fear talking than anything else, which brings me back to the idea that he must be under some injunction not to seek to know. Faramir certainly has the right to know that his brother lives, and I suspect that if he and Imrahil and Aragorn were to show up on Randir's doorstep those memories might indeed return. Since Boromir redeemed his fall to the ring with an honorable death in battle, his fear of remembering seems odd to me, which once again makes me think this is the Valar talking here. Of course it could also be my own desire for a more conventional happy ending talking as well... Despite my questions, I really, really liked this story, and the unique premise the author put forward is well delinieated and believable. And it is a happy ending of a sort-Randir is left in peace, and Gimli and Legolas at least know that their companion lived and is happy. The best AU stories always leave questions in your mind.

Reviewed by: annmarwalk -- Score: 6

What a unique take on the “Boromir!Lives” genre, moving and painful but oh, so very plausible. This man is no one’s son, and has created a life for himself entirely by his own skill, wit, and hard work, a life filled with love and contentment, laughing children and the earned respect of his peers. The appearance of Legolas and Gimli, after twenty years, threatens the stability of Erandir’s family; I love the way you’ve taken the road less traveled and chosen to have the Man of Gondor choose his new life, meaningful and familiar, over the uncertainty of a return to the old. For his new family has so much more to lose than his former family would gain. That teasing last line is masterful – how much does Erandir remember, despite what he has said? Tender and bittersweet as well. Wonderfully done.

Reviewed by: Bodkin -- Score: 5

Legolas and Gimli are probably right to bear this one themselves and keep it from everyone else. Water cannot pass twice beneath the same bridge and all that sort of thing. Everybody has grieved for Boromir and moved on. But it's still sad. Boromir has been granted a life - just not his own. Not necessarily worse (except as far as wealth and status go), but still ... Pippin and Merry would have been ecstatic to know that they weren't the cause of their friend's death. A most intriguing tale. I wonder why the fates decided to step in and ensure that Boromir survived - it seems a remarkable ending to his story.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon -- Score: 4

One of the best stories of this type. I love the twist that the author employs, which I don't remember seeing in other stories with the same premise. The female original character is well and credibly written. A haunting story, with no easy solutions to a discovery that perhaps it would have had been better not to make. Good characterisations all around, particularly Legolas and Gimli.

Reviewed by: Imhiriel -- Score: 3

Original premise, well-told. It's a pity the story is so fast-paced and so short. But also appropriate somehow, in keeping with Boromir's request. His character is true to canon, despite all the changes he has undergone. A very comforting AU-story, to have him find a new, peaceful, happy life for himself (even if Gimli & Legolas rightly feel ambiguous).

Reviewed by: Dreamflower -- Score: 3

An interesting and fascinating idea, and well-handled. The emotions and reactions of Legolas and Gimli ring so very true. I like the way the author leaves Boromir's survival a mystery--was he truly dead? Or has he simply been given a new life? Very well thought out.

Reviewed by: Llinos -- Score: 3

The author manages to take an improbable event and weave a very believable tale. This was well thought out and enjoyably written, with rich detail and good dialogue. I liked the ending; though the choices were difficult, I think that Legolas and Gimli did the right thing.

Reviewed by: Marigold -- Score: 3

I found this to be a plausible 'Boromir lives' tale. His reasons not to want to know about his old life seemed reasonable. I would not want to be in Legolas or Gimli's place - what a difficult situation!