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Spring Awakenings  by daw the minstrel 22 Review(s)
DotReviewed Chapter: 8 on 4/8/2004

Great sense of tension between the two parties of elves. Anyr is becoming more annoying by the minute. I mean, it’s fairly hard to deny the fact that men were responsible for the missing food if the tracks are there to prove it. And it’s not like it’s any men in particular that have been accused… Legolas seems to be quickly running out of patience. Still, he lasted a lot longer than I would have. He’s right that things will be awkward between him and Tinar if they are assigned together again as warriors. But then again, Legolas is only doing what he must and respecting people according to their positions is a lesson Tinar really needs to learn. I imagine Ithilden isn’t really in the habit of re-assigning people just because they don’t get on. I would love, though, to see Tinar sent permanently far, far away…maybe he could go and deal with men – or dwarves! – on a regular basis;)

Wow, that conversation between Legolas and Tuilinn was tense. I understand that she is upset that her friends seem to be accused but it makes me wonder just what exactly these settlement elves would have done if Legolas and co. hadn’t taken it upon themselves to get to the bottom of the matter. Would they just have ignored the footprints, presumed the meat would turn up again and then asked the king for more when it didn’t?? I’m telling you, Galivion isn’t the only one rolling eyes at their behaviour!

Your description of the men’s village was just so vivid and heart-breaking. “Legolas saw a child’s cot tangled with the pieces of a wagon.” So sad… I’m glad Legolas and Galivion just jumped right in to help. It seems to have given poor Legolas a chance to work out some of his frustration too and think a bit more clearly. And then, if he was still feeling a little bit of anger, along comes Tinar – the perfect target! My jaw dropped when Legolas launched into his speech – but then I gathered myself and had a cheer! I do love seeing Legolas like that! What a great leader he’d make. There really couldn’t possibly be a better representative for the king.

Yikes, Tuilinn had to do all that on her own? How brave she is, particularly as she tries to save them despite the fact that she is clearly petrified. You really had me on the edge of my seat for the last part of this chapter. This mission has really turned into so much more than Legolas thought it would. Of course, Thranduil obviously wouldn’t have predicted this either. And despite what they’ve just been through, it was a lovely closing image you left us with there! I’m still willing to give Tuilinn a chance...:)

Author Reply: Ithilden actually has a problem trying to decide what to do with Tinar. I worked with a woman like that once. If we let her deal with people in other departments, she alienated them and we all paid the price. But if we kept her doing stuff for us, she drove us bonkers. The trick was to find some situation in which she'd be useful. Like once, another department had permanently appropriated equipment that was supposed to be shared. So we just kind of wound her up and pointed her in the right direction and said "go get 'em!", which she did.

When I was in Texas, a friend who reads my stories (she calls them a 'guilty pleasure') said that my characters needed to occasionally have a bad day in order to be more realistic. They didn't need to be wrong necessarily, just cranky or whatever. And that's what Legolas and both doing here, I think.

I loved writing about Legolas lighting into Tinar. It was so satisfying. Legolas can apparently do the son of the king bit well enough when the occasion arises. It's just that he usually defers to his older brothers. But this mission is a chance to carry out a responsible, adult task.

I actually made myself tense writing about Tuilinn and the children. It was scary! I keep seeing her in the water, holding two children, with a third clinging to her and unable to keep his feet, poor thing.

White WolfReviewed Chapter: 8 on 4/7/2004
I'm certainly glad that Legolas went back to check on Tuilinn, and they were able to save the children and themselves.

Too bad Legolas doesn't have the authority to assign Tinar as a permanent guard for the settlement. On second thought, I don't think even those dippy elves deserve the likes of him. I loved it when Legolas 'imitated' Ithilden.

Author Reply: I tried to imagine how frightening it must have been for Tuilinn with all these little kids to care for and on her own. And I love authoritative Legolas. My inner fangirl sighed happily at that moment.

You have actually hit on something I've considered!

JebbReviewed Chapter: 8 on 4/7/2004
Tell me I am wrong to suspect Tinar had something to do with the thefts?
I just have this awful feeling
Legolas gets to appreciate the full horror of the floods and becomes a hero I hope Thranduil doesn't get to hear of it
This was a glorious chapter full of little pleasures that make your writing so wonderful

Author Reply: Wow, you really do not like Tinar! Set your mind at rest. He's not that bad (obnoxious but not that bad).

I loved writing about heroic Legolas. He seemed to capable, which makes sense given his long years now as a warrior. He's close to being Legolas of the Fellowship now, right down to gaining more respect for Men.

Elena TirielReviewed Chapter: 8 on 4/7/2004
"Anyr told Galivion that it never occurred to him that anyone would steal from them." Aaarrrrgggh! There's "Arda will provide" and then there's Stupidity! After all the "unnecessary fuss" made by the King's representatives about the food supplies and all of Anyr's disappointment that it wasn't as large a shipment as he had asked for, it never occurred to Anyr that the food is valuable and someone might want to steal it? (He's giving hippies a very bad name...)

Poor Legolas. Things just keep getting worse at the settlement! (Well, except for the bright spot named Tuilinn...) And I love how you worked the missing Beliond - or rather, his extensive vocabulary - into the story!

Oh-oh! The dark clouds aren't just on the horizon any more, are they? And rain will wash away footprints, among other problems.

Ah, I just love Annael! At least *someone* truly understands the sacrifice that Legolas made for this misbegotten mission. He is helping to keep Legolas sane...

Harrumph! Tinar has a real knack for making bad situations even worse, doesn't he? I'm beginning to dislike him *almost* as much as Solith. (I wouldn't put it past Tinar to steal the meat himself and frame the Men for the theft -- except it looks like there were two thieves.) Yes! Legolas told Tinar to hold his tongue! Finally! Legolas is learning to use Ithilden's intimidating commander stance! Yay!

Anyr: "I cannot understand it. Perhaps they have just been misplaced." Aaaarrrrgh again!

"Children needed that meat." That's getting right to the heart of the matter. And I am so pleased that he didn't think "Elven children", or "children of Men", just "children".

Oh, please don't let the thieves be Men from the neighboring village... I really liked their sensible leader, Crydus, and desperately want them all to be good guys. I have this gut-level sense that if the respective levels of flood damage had been reversed, the Men would have come to the aid of the Elves to the best of their ability, just as the Elves did for the Men.

Um, Legolas? Don't take your frustrations out on Tuilinn! She's only voicing her opinion! Yeah, you're having a truly rotten day, but... go beat on Tinar instead. At least he *deserves* it, on general principles alone! (Too bad Solith's not handy.)

[Okay, so what kind of weirdo does that make me, giving advice to characters in a fictional story? Um, you don't actually have to answer that. Really.]

Oh, my. The Men's village sounds like a total disaster area. The image of "a child's cot tangled with the pieces of a wagon" is especially evocative of just how dangerous and destructive the previous flood was, and how vulnerable the villagers are still. I'm glad that both Legolas and Galivion understand the proper priorities: help the Men avoid another disaster first, worry about the stolen food later. (I have a lot of respect for Galivion: a voice of both reason and reasonableness.)

Strident: that's a good description of Tinar in full-blown obnoxious mode. I'm so glad Legolas finally read him the riot act! His actions have been nothing less than disrespectful to the neighboring Men, the settlement Elves, and Legolas himself. If Mirkwood didn't need warriors so badly, I'd like to see him dishonorably discharged from the warrior ranks. (That would give his family something to chew on... Doesn't he have a younger brother who's really decent, but neglected by his family because they fawn on Tinar so much?)

You can really see the ever-increasing leadership and sense of responsibility in Legolas: he begins to worry about the safety of Tuilinn and the children in the rising flood waters (when Anyr didn't even give a thought to their protection).

Oh, dear! Poor Tuilinn, struggling to save three Mannish children! That was a long, drawn-out rescue by Legolas and Tuilinn... You really like to keep your readers' nerves taut as bowstrings, don't you? (But I bet she'll be receptive to his apology for being snappish earlier...)

Another great chapter, Daw. And thank you for not leaving your poor readers with children in imminent danger as a cliff-hanger! (Assuming the tree with the children's flet doesn't fall down, of course. You wouldn't do that, would you?)

Do we get to see more of Eilian and Celuwen in the next chapter?

*** A little info about filling sand bags, in case you ever need it in the real world ***
IIRC, these are the instructions we were given during the last flood alert (which was several years ago, so if anyone else contradicts this, they are probably correct...)

You fill the bottom 1/3 of the bag with dry sand, then fold over the top 1/3, and lay the bag down on its side so that the folded-over part is underneath. That way, the sand has room to swell when it becomes wet, and doesn't burst the bag.

(Of course, in your story, it's not clear where they would have found *dry* sand anyway...)
*** End silly real-world stuff ***

Author Reply: Well, as Galivion said, planning ahead is not Anyr's strong point. :-)

Legolas is having a very bad day. He woke up cranky and things went down hill from there. We've all had days like that, I think. One of the things I've been trying to do is make my characters flawed in realistic ways that still don't undermine how good they are. Legolas's peevishness is part of my current attempt at that! He shouldn't have snapped at Tuilinn, but we all occasionally snap when we shouldn't, so that's my excuse there!

Tinar is appalling. I loved writing about Legolas telling him off. I also liked writing about heroic Legolas. [insert long, fangirl sigh]

Cool information about the sandbags. I did not know that!

LeraReviewed Chapter: 8 on 4/6/2004
Wonderful, wonderful chapter. It was so exciting all the way thru. I was surprised Legolas didn't pull every strand of his beautiful blond hair out! The poor guy's day just went from bad to worse! Who made Anyr in charge of the settlement, anyway? Actually, come to think of it, you did! What were you thinking?! Poor Legolas! Just kidding.

That Tinar. *shakes head* After reading about him, I'm pretty much speechless at how awful he is. I'm so glad Legolas wasn't speechless though...he told that bratty elf off good! Ithilden would be proud.

Ok, but I want to know who stole the food. Maybe the men were from another village...surely anyone near the river would be having trouble with flooding, and not everyone's lucky enough to live near elves who will share(even if it's without the King's permission).

I like Tuilinn. I agree with Legolas: she's sweet. She's also smart and brave. I'm a little(alright, a lot!) jealous of her though...I want to be rescued by Legolas! And how absolutely terrifing to be alone with the children completely depending on you and floods are a force that can't really be fought, you can only stay out of the way. It was cute when the little elf said "Tuilinn said even though the other children couldn't climb trees they were good at other things." More points for Tuilinn. I have one question though...where were the other female elves? I understand the males were helping the men in the village, but were the other women elves there too? It seems like if they'd been around they would have helped Tuilinn. Ah, well.

Thranduil will be proud of his son. I know I am! And I think Thranduil will be needing a little good news about one of his children shortly. Eilien, Eilien, how Eilienish of you to take care of the problem this way. Question: when elves sleep together does that mean they've bonded, as in gotten married?

Can't wait for the next chapter!

Author Reply: Re Elven marriages, I usually try to follow what Tolkien says in an essay titled "Laws and Customs of the Eldar (LACE)." It's in one of the volumes of The History of Middle Earth called Morgoth's Ring. Some authors do not use LACE on the grounds that it was not published in Tolkien's lifetime. Rather it was his son who found the essay and published it. I think that's a valid choice too.

Anyway, in LACE, Tolkien says that it's lawful for adult elves to wed at any time without ceremony except for "the blessings" if they are both willing (in other words, they marry by choice, so sex wouldn't necessarily mean marriage unless they wanted it to, although Tolkien also implies that they are usually virgins until they marry). Sexual union is what puts the bonding (the marriage) into effect and the bond lasts until the end of Arda. There is no divorce and elves are still married even if one of them dies.

Usually, elves are fairly decorous about marrying. They ask their parents' advice on the suitability of the match and then are engaged for at least a year. They are married in a gathering of both houses, because family is very important to elves and seems to be the organizing principle of most of their society. A couple can marry without all that ceremony etc, especially if the society is in turmoil, such as in a time of war. But to marry without the ceremonies in a time of peace was considered disrespectful to the families and a violation of the kind of decorous behavior that is valued. Thranduil's realm is not exactly at peace, of course, but there really was no emergency surrounding Celuwen and Eilian, so their impromptu bonding is likely to be read by their parents as defiant or insulting and too driven by passion. Another little wrinkle is that Elves can apparently tell from one another's eyes or voice if someone is married.

As I look at Anyr now, I think I may have made him too irresponsible. I sure wouldn't want him in charge of my town! I think any elf who was old enough to help was at the Men's village, females as well as males. I actually made myself nervous writing about the flood. It would be terrifying to be Tuilinn.

dr_seuss_is_coolReviewed Chapter: 8 on 4/6/2004
I loved how you made us wait to see what happened with Eilian.
I'm just kidding.
I am very proud of Legolas telling Tinar off...he deserved it.
I love the little rescue scene with Legolas and Tuilinn...very well done.
I am very worried about how he will handle the whole stealing of food bit.
I'm sure that he will be as diplomatic as he always has been. It's great to see this side of Legolas. I like it.
Thank you for writing.
Good job!

Au Revoir.

Author Reply: Actually, I have a hard time switching back and forth between Eilian and Legolas too. I just get going on one of them and have to go back to the other. But I liked writing abour heroic Legolas. He rescued a maiden and some children and told off an obnoxious fool. I love him!!

meckinockReviewed Chapter: 8 on 4/6/2004
Good for Legolas to put Tinar in his place! Long overdue. It's sad knowing that this budding little romance of Legolas's is predestined for failure, though. I laughed out loud at your review replies where you said you modeled the settlement elves on hippies. Yes, perfectly!! And even worse; aging hippies. So well-intentioned, as long as someone else is paying the bill. You obviously have the benefit of observing them in their native habitat...

Author Reply: Hey! How do you know I'm not going to marry Legolas off to Tuilinn???? :-)

I had a bad day at work today, and I reread the description of Legolas telling Tinar off with great relish. I wished I could do that to about six people who were all in a meeting with me that had gone on for 45 minutes without getting to either of the two big items on the agenda.

I try to picture Legolas explaining all this to an incredulous Thranduil, but then I remind myself the the Elven king is going to have bigger fish to fry (or possibly gut).

nanethReviewed Chapter: 8 on 4/6/2004
Everyone needs a friend like Annael. Annael's reaction to the language Legolas used was perfect. I'm sure he's not accustomed to such language from Legolas when he is at home!

Tinar's dressing down by Legolas was simply the best ever! Legolas channeling Ithilden and Thranduil at the same time to put Tinar in his place was SO well done. Bravo! I hope that Tinar is around when Legolas gets his promotion to Lt., but he'll probably be clueless as to why Legolas gets a promotion and he doesn't.

Legolas the hero was wonderful. This was a very enjoyable chapter. Good work!

Author Reply: I suspect Legolas watches his mouth when he's at home. Thranduil expects decorum!

Everyone seems to have enjoyed watching Tinar get sand kicked in his face. I laughed to myself when I thought of pulling Tinar out of my desk drawer and sending him on this expedition. He's such a fool.

Heroic Legolas makes me squee like a fangirl.

ANAReviewed Chapter: 8 on 4/6/2004
So many things to cheer for in this chapter that I don't even know where to start. Legolas finally snapped at Tinar - good for him! Now if only he would do the same to Anyr, I'd be even happier. Normally I'm not the violent type, but I think smashing these elves together by their heads might bring some relief to all around even if doesn't smack some senses into them. To be put on equal footing as Ithilden - Legolas must be bursting with pride. I know I was for him. He really is showing maturity far beyond his age. Great chapter!

Author Reply: You made me laugh out loud at the image of knocking Anyr's and Tinar's heads together just because it would feel soooo good to do it. And yes, I think Legolas was enormously flattered at being compared to Ithilden. He's admired his oldest brother for his whole life, after all.

AnyReviewed Chapter: 8 on 4/6/2004
YES! Finally a perfect Legolas-the-hero-saves-the-day-chapter! :) So so so good! :) And Tuillin did very very well, too, saving the children. Thank God she's not bitchy after Legolas snapped at her. While I thought it was a bit uncalled for to be so harsh towards her, I guess I would have done exactly the same thing if I was Legolas. I mean, he's tired, he's exhausted, the settlers make things complicated and show not one bit of thankfulness, his hormones are playing tricks on him, he will face his father's wrath for the settler's sake - and she dares accusing him - even if only slightly - of being unfair towards the humans. Oh, yes, I would have snapped at her, too!!! It would have been totally out of character for Legolas to get all softy around her just because they kissed the night before. Very well done, Daw! :) I like our kinda Macho-Legolas, hehe... :)

You cannot imagine the huge satisfied smirk on my face when Legolas finally made short work of Tinár - at least verbally! I was so proud of the prince! Yay!!! :)

Ah well *content sigh* This chapter was really very good - as it showed a so far well hidden side of Legolas. He keeps his overall view while all around him seem to lose their senses or just cannot do anything: Anyr, apart from making odd deals with a human settlement without informing his king or asking for his liege's approval, seems to be unable to take proper care of his settlement as the situation Tuillin and the kids are in clearly shows (or to put it more nicely: forsight is definitely not his gift!); Tinár is making things difficult as always and Galivion and Annael just don't have the position and authority to sort things out on their own. I really like how Legolas finally - I mean, phew, really, enough is enough! - puts his foot down on everything and takes it all into his very hands - even a shovel to fill bags with sands! There's a true hero!!! Yes! I love it! :)


Author Reply: I *love* heroic, masterful Legolas, even if he is cranky. He woke up in a bad mood and things just got worse from there. He needs a few flaws too. :-) But, Any, I think your inner fangirl is showing!!!

And I enjoyed writing about Legolas slapping Tinar down. It was very satisfying.

Legolas smiles modestly (and in a very princely manner) and says thank you for all your kind words.

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