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A Bitter Gift  by Avon 11 Review(s)
PSWReviewed Chapter: 1 on 1/29/2016
This was really amazing. Such a difficult conversation to have with a child -- even if you're not an Elf. ;-) I loved the metaphor w the pine needles and the other tree leaves, what a wonderful explanation. Thanks so much for writing!

Author Reply: Thank you! I was thinking about all parents who have to face the knowledge that their child will die before them due to a medical condition. It was lovely to get a review out od the blue for an old story.

Cadrian CacaoReviewed Chapter: 1 on 1/12/2005
Hullo! I happened to read this lovely little fic and it is now officially on my Favorites list! It was very beautiful, well written, and emotional, too!

I love this line: "There was so little comfort I could offer. This gift of Ilúvatar is a bitter-tasting gift and I who rejected it am the last person to explain it."

It was wonderful, because somebody (you, namely) decided to *finally* write a fic in which Elrond not only wisely speaks of death, but recalls the semi-ironical fate in which he himself has to "explain" or justify it. ^^

Elrond was perfect; he came off as and Elf who trusts Eru and accepts the Gift to the Second Born, but still mourns the passing of his loved ones (i.e. Elros, his fosterlings, etc.). He seemed very wise and I loved his analogy with the trees and leaves; very Elvish-like! I also loved how you gave to Elrond something he would have known: that beyond the "circles of the world," and when the Second Music plays, there shall be a better life; one that is longer lasting and more fulfilling than the first.

Estel was also great. He seemed like a regular, realistic child; perhaps, even, like the little boy down my street. It was refreshing, because in a lot of fan-fics I've read, he seems almost too baby-ish, I think. Yours was spot on, though (in my ever so humble opinion XD).

Kudos to you and keep on writing! ^_~

Author Reply: Dear Cadrain,

Thank you for this very detailed feedback - sorry I didn't manage to reply earlier. I'm really pleased that you liked it. I tried to write this idea a long time ago and couldn't get it to stop being too soppy - or even to keep going - so I was very pleased that this time it worked.

docmonReviewed Chapter: 1 on 10/20/2004
This was wonderful! I loved the interaction b/w Elrond and Estel, and seeing how their relationship worked. Elrond too soppy? Absolutely not! He's Elrond the caring father rather than the powerful Lord. You can see his care for Aragorn, but his responsibilities as who he is are not forgotten either. He is tender and caring, but still strong and determined. He struggles with giving away knowledge that he should not, and chooses the harder path. Estel shows the strength that he has not yet realized he has but will need and use in his adult life, in his mature acceptance of Iluvatar's gift. The example Elrond uses is perfect. Well done!
On snow: for someone not familiar with snow, you did a great job describing it! The only thing I might change is that, since the snow is melting/it's into late spring, it wouldn't really be hard-packed anymore, unless the area was in a place of deep, deep snow/harsh winters. I don't think that would be the case for Rivendell.
On who/whom: that's always a toughy, but you have it right how you wrote it. Whom is used as a object, who for a subject. In the phrase 'who his people were' who refers to 'people,' which is a subject here. At least, this is how I understand this - and I have made a point to understand this grammar rule lately, so I think I've got it, but I have been known to be wrong... ;-)

terrific piece!

insigniaReviewed Chapter: 1 on 5/8/2004
Hi Avon

I don't think that Elrond appears soppy at all, but rather a great deal more caring about "Estel" than as portrayed in movie-verse, which is nice!

And I also think that you got the snow just right - I'm not an expert, but we do have snow from time to time.

As for sustaining the story, OK, there is no substantive plot but there is genuine concern about a growing child's understanding of his eventual fate and a great will to make sure that whilst he understands that he cannot avoid it, he is not overwhelmed by it.

I look forward to your next venture(s).



Author Reply: Thank you, Insignia. I think Elrond would have cared a lot about Estel - he watched him grow up and I'm sure he must see some of his brother in him.



grumpyReviewed Chapter: 1 on 4/17/2004
This is a wonderful story, that days after I read it, parts of it are still on my mind. I love the way you have discribed things and the words you used,
"the hand in mine had still the fine bones of a bird" That is such a great line.
Thanks for the good story

Author Reply: Gosh, I never know what to say to wonderful a review ;-) I guess thank you very much is probably the main thing. I'm really thrilled at the idea that my story might stick in someone's mind like that.



meckinockReviewed Chapter: 1 on 4/15/2004
This is gorgeous. What a bitter irony for Elrond to be forced to explain and indeed glorify the "gift" which he himself rejected. As long as I'm admiring your writing, let me chime in and echo the sentiments expressed by my fellow readers: The esteemed Professor is dead so that makes you as good as anyone left alive, so just do your best, don't show weakness, and when in doubt; bluff.

Author Reply: Gosh, thanks, Meckinock.


LKKReviewed Chapter: 1 on 4/15/2004
No soppy Elrond. How could you even think that? Sometimes I think you are the most self-doubting author I have ever read. You must learn to have more faith in your abilities. There is a difference between a soppy parent and kind, caring, concerned parent. Your Elrond is wholly in the latter category. (Not to mention being a very poetical parent.)

I'm not an expert on Tolkien's underlying mythology either, but I didn't see anything that seemed terribly out of place. Elrond was renowned as a lore-master. I doubt there is much he didn't know. As for the snow .... I'm not qualified to even guess at that.

Beyond what you asked about, I should say that this was a wonderful vignette. Like Estel, I wish Illuvatar had not given this gift to us mortals. But you have provided a way to accept it that eases the bitterness somewhat. Beautiful work.

Author Reply: Hi LKK,
I'm pleased that you don't think it is too soppy. I learnt to write fanfiction in an SF community where wallow (what is now called angst) was absolutely spat upon and I think I'll always write with their ghosts haunting me ;-) As for self-doubt, well, writing is one of my more confident areas! ;-)

Thank you very much for the kind words (as always - you are definitely one of my very favourite reviewers.) Yeah, me, I'm planning on living forever - or dying trying ;-)


snowballjaneReviewed Chapter: 1 on 4/15/2004
A lovely, poignant scene. I love the way you catch the idea of differing perspectives on time - landscape changes, season changes. Elrond doesn't seem too soppy at all - if he were dealing with an adult character this way he might, but he deals with a confused and grief-striken child wisely and sympathetically. And your snow seemed fine to me!

Author Reply: Thanks, snowballjane. Thanks for the reassurance about the soppiness - I don't want to disappear into a morass of 'wallow'.



daw the minstrelReviewed Chapter: 1 on 4/15/2004
This was beautiful. I remember when my own son asked me about death. He couldn't have been more than five. My husband and I had been watching a BBC drama about Queen Victoria and she wasn't in the eposide that night and my son asked where she was. He called her the "mean mommy." I said she had died, and boy did that set off a discussion. I can still hear him: "*I* will die?!!" Didn't seem like much of gift to him either. But to my 85 year old father, it did.

I seem to be rambling. I didn't think that either the story or Elrond was soppy at all, and the imagery of the leaves was lovely.

Author Reply: Thanks a lot, Daw. I have to admit that I have trouble myself seeing death as a gift - and I have strong religious beliefs. I remember talking to a colleague after my mother's death and the colleague believes that we die, we're buried and that's it, no more, finish - and I couldn't understand how you could face life on that basis. Me, I'd want something a bit more solid than Iluvatar has plans for you - we think. ;-)



websteransReviewed Chapter: 1 on 4/15/2004
No, it's definitely who his people were, because who is the subject of the verb were.

Author Reply: Thank you. I thought it was who but though I have a pretty good ear for grammar I lack much formal training in it (child of the 70s, you see) so I felt I had better check when the spell check disagreed with me. Thanks a lot.


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