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Reflections from the Paradise of Elves  by Bodkin 9 Review(s)
elliskaReviewed Chapter: 88 on 4/8/2007
Ok, wait. I just saw the part in the summary where it says this is the last chapter! The last! No Bodkin! I love the Reflections! *Sob!*

But I admit, even before I noticed that, one of the things I was going to comment on was how well this chapter seemed to reflect back on the first chapter of this story and a good many of the events in your world.

But this conversation was absolutely fascinating to me. First of all, I thought it was interesting to hear Legolas say that his path was set for him and that Galenthil would not choose to be a warrior. I think a lot of authors take for granted that being warriors was the only thing for these characters and I just don't see that. Before Celebrian was attacked, for example, I imagine E2 fought from obligation and would have preferred to be healers. So I liked seeing that thought.

And the whole conversation about teaching children the arts of war in the Blessed Realm was great! You, in this story and in so many of your others that branched from this one, defined Valinor in my mind. I picture it entirely as you wrote it in these stories. And I can so see these characters struggling with these ideas. Especially now that they have come full circle and adapted to peace after living through so much destruction. The arguments they made are fascinating and they are ones I picture so many fathers, even in Middle Earth, having with themselves before sending their sons to train. Hidden in Imladris, at the time E2 were born, Elrond must have wished he did not have to train his sons even as he knew the peace would not last. Even Thranduil, who never knew much peace in Mirkwood, must have regretted his son's life had to be dominated by war. ‘Peace – harmony – a safe life in a guarded land … Those of us who know what it is to live through conflict treasure it. We prize it so highly that those who come after us have no idea of how easily it can be shattered.’ I love it. Along with the idea that the training need impress the seriousness of the situation upon the young. Too true.

I absolutely loved this. It captured so well so many of the themes that I love in Tolkien.

Wonderful! If only it were not the last!

Author Reply: I strongly suspect I might be starting More Reflections... It's just that when the chapter count becomes ridiculously high, it's a bit of a distraction. Besides, More Reflections might enable me to go back and forward a bit in the timeline ...

I think the twins have realised - finally - that they have come home. That the home of their childhood will always be in their hearts, but that this home of their adult selves, where their children were born and are growing, is now theirs.

And I do feel - very strongly - that the Blessed Realm would not automatically have been a place of unthinking peace. The elves would have to work at it - with dauntless determination - and the elves of Ennor would sometimes have felt that it was easier to confront orcs than deal carefully with others. Plus, much of the history of the elves involves conflict - and that is very difficult to put back into the box once it has been brought out. And war - unfortunately - appears glamorous to those who do not understand what it is really like. And knowing the reality is the very last thing that anyone would want for their children.

Legolas and the twins would have found it very hard not to serve as warriors, I think. It is a duty of lordship - to defend your people. Elrond might have been happy for his sons to be healers - and for Elrohir, at any rate, not to be a warrior, but I think neither twin would let the other fight alone. Legolas - well ... The king's only son. In Mirkwood. He didn't really have the chance to choose another life.

Peace is so easily shattered. It takes everyone's efforts to maintain it - and only a few to rip it apart. You don't want to harp on about it to the point where it is meaningless - but need to ensure that the dangers of war are not forgotten.

Thank you, elliska. I doubt it is entirely the end ... volume 2 will be along, I'm sure.

perellethReviewed Chapter: 88 on 4/7/2007
LOLOL! Figting the battle of learning to live in peace! That is a good one! And not forgetting the female line! They know enough for that!

Author Reply: Learning to live in peace - and maintain ... positively maintain ... peace is hard work. Requiring action rather than inaction.

The female line is very important! And these three know enough to respect it! I suppose their point is that elves are patrilineal and wives become part of their husband's house. More or less. But Galadriel's grandsons should know better than to risk such dangerous comments!

LarnerReviewed Chapter: 88 on 4/6/2007
How horrid the history they have lived through has been, knowing how extraordinarily easily peace and harmony can be shattered.

A necessary conversation for them.

Author Reply: I think the three of them have come to feel that they are part of the Blessed Realm and that their interests now are in ensuring that peace is developed positively and that attitudes are not allowed to stagnate.

Elves are intelligent beings who strive towards improvement - and seeing that their curiosity does not lead them astray would, I think, be important to those who had seen the disasters and triumphs of the past.

ellieReviewed Chapter: 88 on 4/6/2007
Very interesting! A timeless argument for a timeless race with a long memory indeed! I love reading your stories.

Author Reply: Those among the elves who had experienced the wars against Sauron and Morgoth would not forget - and they wouldn't want their children and grandchildren to know the worst of what elf can do to elf. But, on the other hand, to hide too much can be a mistake. The young need to know the price that was paid for their safety.

Thank you, ellie.

ImhirielReviewed Chapter: 88 on 4/6/2007
A very nice conclusion to the collection, Bodkin! It's "message" rings back in time to events in preceding chapters or in some other stories for yours, and it also has meaning for the future.

I had to grin at Legolas mentioning "Blacksmith" as one of the occupations he could not have chosen...

Author Reply: Yes, smithing doesn't come naturally to Legolas! I think he might have gone down the warrior route anyway - although I suppose if he was living in a land of perfect safety, there wouldn't have been the need. The twins might have focused on healing ... but, regardless, they are their fathers' sons and they have duties that direct them in the care of the people who look to them for leadership.

Peace. It seems an absence of war - but really it needs more work to maintain peace than to promulgate war. They will have their work cut out to make sure that no-one forgets and takes their good fortune for granted.

I daresay there will be More Reflections - but this seemed long enough! Thank you, Imhiriel.

RedheredhReviewed Chapter: 88 on 4/6/2007
There are some truly profound questions in this episode. What role does violence play in civilized society? Does it come from culture or evolution? Is there a role (or is it merely a manifastaion?) for deadly sports? I like the guys rhetoric and reasoning for the most part.

I also like thinking this conversation might have happened prior to plannning the memorial pageant in Tirion. :) Maybe, historical re-enactment will engage the younger generation in Aman in the same healthy ways it has people in our times.

A thoughtful chapter.

Author Reply: Tough. Is ignorance more likely to lead to safety or less? Is it better to feed the curiosity of the ignorant or let it fester? Once violence has been unleashed, is it even possible to sweep it under the carpet?

I reckon the young need to know. But whether or not they will absorb the information and truly understand it is another matter entirely.

Thank you, Redheredh.

elliskaReviewed Chapter: 88 on 4/6/2007
I am at work and Big Brother is watching, so I will have to come back after work to leave the review I want--but I just was so impressed with this that I had to comment now that is is fantastic! I can see so many Elven fathers having this conversation at so many times over the Ages. Loved this! Will leave a better review tonight after work.

Author Reply: Thank you, elliska. Big Brother! Such an unreasonable boss.

It must have been a very difficult balance to achieve. The stories are about camaraderie and fun - while the serious pain is hidden. Half-wanting to forget - but knowing that the sacrifice should be known. And as soon as you realise that keeping matters quiet can lead to the young seeing only the glamour and excitement of war. My, but it's tough! Even in the Blessed Realm!

daw the minstrelReviewed Chapter: 88 on 4/6/2007
Nice "conclusion," Bodkin. These three probably had to learn to live all over again in more ways than one. They'd spent so long struggling against Sauron that they'd need to figure out what to do now. (I had a grad student in my office this week saying she didn't know what to do with herself now that her dissertation was finished.)

It's probably a sign I'm a sick person but the reminder that the Sons of Elrond were "in a bad way" made me want to go read about that again. It was appealing.

Author Reply: Their bad way was at its worst (I think) in Ripe for Change. I've sort of lost track a bit! And from being completely lost when they arrived in the Blessed Realm, they have ... healed. And attained a different purpose.

It must be so hard to deal with the Blessed Realm when you have spent millennia fighting an insidious enemy. Much like the end of the dissertation!

(Now me, I think I need to go and read how Legolas dealt with the loss of his Naneth. The flashback story with the pictures appeals right now ...)

Jay of LasgalenReviewed Chapter: 88 on 4/6/2007
It must be odd for these elves who had never really known anything other than fighting to suddenly realise that the need is (hopefully) gone. It's still good for the young to learn the skills though, and gain discipline and respect.

*Grin* Very foolish of Legolas to ignore the female line - I hope Elrohir's daughters never hear of it! I think they'd exact revenge :>)

Author Reply: It took, I would think, quite a long time to adjust to living in peace. (Probably longer than it took the Exiles to get used to constant danger.) And I do feel, quite strongly, that a generation or two after war is over is quite a dangerous time for peace. War has a quite undeserved glamour - and the stories old warriors tell are always the ones of camaraderie and adventure and seem appealing to those who know no better. And even in the Blessed Realm, I can't imagine that elves would sink into a marshmallow contentedness - they are a bright and challenging race, who will always want to know and learn and do. The young need to know the bad as well as the good - and self-discipline, respect, physical control - all these things are good.

And elven females might be more independent and have more right to self-determination than among men - but they still live in a patriarchal society and end up becoming part of their husband's family! (Not that it would stop Elrohir's daughters from making their point!)

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