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Paths of Memory  by daw the minstrel 74 Review(s)
endorearwenReviewed Chapter: 3 on 7/28/2013
Another excellent story! You've totally captured that abysmal despair that totally overwhelms one in the first stages of grief. I found the end of the story most moving - Ithilden’s realization that his emptiness is the loss of the bond that once existed with his dead parent. It is also perfectly portrayed in that, as the eldest, his immediate response to this comes in the form of recriminations about HIS failure to protect the one he loved so deeply. It is an all-too-human emotion and I hope that in the coming stories we see how he deals with this trial to come out the other end 'whole' again. Eilian is in such pain, however, and I am looking forward to seeing how Thranduil will reach out to his sons - not only to help them deal with the loss - but to also seek their strength to support himself through the grief he endures. Very well written!

Author Reply: It look me a long time to come to grips with Ithilden as a character. I loved Eilian from the moment I created him, but Ithilden was tougher for me to get a handle on. You have him nailed here, though, I think. He holds himself to high standards and thinks he's responsible for everything. Poor baby.

You're making my day with these nice reviews. :-)

Red Squirrel Reviewed Chapter: 3 on 7/16/2013
This chapter was very sad. We can see each person in the family grieving in his own way. Now is the time when they need each other the most. I think I am going to miss reading about Lorellin. I really liked her! Now it is on to the next story!

Author Reply: It's funny because I didn't write in Lorellin's POV until after I'd written a bunch of other stuff. Not until I wrote "Seeds of Time" really. Doing it then taught me a lot about what they all lost when she died.

Red Squirrel Reviewed Chapter: 2 on 7/16/2013
Loved Eilan's essay...very childlike! Most children when they are little think that their ada's are indestructible. But then we learn that they are not just like Dagorlad taught Thranduil that bitter lesson. Eilian's love of adventure and excitement seems to stem from early childhood...I wonder if he was ever jealous of Legolas getting to be part of The Fellowship...though I do suppose that some pretty ghastly and exciting things were happening in Mirkwood at the same time too.

Oats, Apple and Carrot were hilarious!!!! Absolutely adorable! LOL @ Thranduil calling the "ponies" by their pony names. I had to laugh out right at that! So much sweetness in this scene! love it!

LOL After reading "Watch This!" it seems ALL of Thranduil's elflings get into mischief on First Snow! Celede's ada was pretty harsh with Ithilden but then when he gets to the palace he gets to deal with mama bear and she won't take kindly to that. Maybe when Ithilden grows up and he has a Elleth of his own he will understand how Ada's can be sometimes because they love their little ones. I also liked how Thranduil chided Ithilden about his arrogance...I have always thought that the king might have been a little on the arrogant side...but I love him for it! LOL

How sad that Nana died...I do wish Tolkien had remembered to give poor Thranduil a living wife! Celeborn got one so I think Thranduil deserved one too!

Author Reply: I enjoy writing little kids. It's tricky to do it well because the temptation is to sentimentalize them, but I love the way the world looks so different through their eyes.

And IMHO, you are right on about Thranduil's arrogance! But then, again IMHO, he had a right to be a little arrogant. :-) He kept his realm from falling despite having no ring of power.

Red Squirrel Reviewed Chapter: 1 on 7/11/2013
The little leaf scene was so full of sweetness! I love it when children are at this age! Such precious and trusing little creatures!

The Troop Commander needing a bankie is quite an amusing picture! Such a sweet little scene and of course Ada saved the day.

Eilian seemed a little "Turgon-ish" here. You could just feel the excitement radiating from him! LOL

I really enjoyed each scene here...we saw three distinct personalities for each son. Thranduil is such a good ada.

Author Reply: Sometimes I wonder what Thranduil's reaction would have been if Eilian and Turgon were the same age and friends. LOL. But I do think that when Eilian was little, Thranduil was more relaxed with him. He worried more as Eilian grew older.

It was hard to imagine Ithilden as a toddler actually. He had to have been one. It was just hard to picture.

obsidianjReviewed Chapter: 3 on 6/14/2007
Oh, this is so sad. We have heard a lot how Legolas coped with his Nana's death, but this is truly a missing scene. I like it how you have the brother's react slightly differently to Lorellin's death according to their different characters.

Author Reply: This scene kind of reverberated more for me this time because I'd just been writing about Legolas's mother and had got to know her a little better. I could see how much they all needed her and how devastated they'd be at the loss. Poor elves.

Thanks for the review, Obsidianj.

perellethReviewed Chapter: 3 on 6/7/2007
Wow! I cannot believe it! I would have asked for this as well!:-) This is one of the pieces I go back to from time to time, because I always liked most the scene when you only allow us to see that Ithilden takes care of Eilian, and that so briefly through Thranduil´s worried pov. I had always wondered what had happened behind that closed door... I really liked this, and the tension within the piece. Wonderful, despite the subject! :-) And happy birthday to meckinock!

Author Reply: Thanks, Perelleth. I'm finding it interesting to write just scenes. They need some tension and it's kind of hard to do that in such limited words. The fact they're attached to an existing story helps.

I like that glimpse of Ithilden going to Eilian too.

DotReviewed Chapter: 3 on 6/3/2007
Catching up… Sorry, I’m a disgrace these days.

First off, I always loved that Ithilden went into Eilian’s room. Thranduil could only help one son at a time and Legolas needed him badly, not to mention the fact that Legolas’ open distress was probably easier to deal with. Eilian would require much more energy than Thranduil had. I always wondered what happened between the two brothers but never thought we’d get to see such a personal moment. So yay for birthdays!

My heart went out to them from the start when you mentioned the cold – I remember Thranduil knowing Legolas would feel the cold when he lost Tuilinn. And then the reference to the dinner… ugh, what a truly horrible time. No wonder Eilian didn’t stay long. It’s like the light is gone out of their lives and everything is just so strange and difficult now.

Eilian becomes so blunt when he’s bitter. Although, I must say he’s read Ithilden fairly well. And I can understand that Eilian must be feeling frustrated that he’s being told he’s uncontrollable when he’s seen his brother and probably his father turn all their rage towards those orcs. But I suppose at times like this no-one can really know how anyone else is feeling and how can you even begin to help others when you’re floundering in your own loss? I mean, Legolas can wail out his anguish but the other three have to go back to real life when they’re struggling to just survive this. You did a great job showing not only their pain but the rawness and newness of this. They’ll start picking up their lives again but right now they’re lost.

Too late. Too late. The words beat time in Ithilden's head, like the hooves of horses galloping toward disaster. He should have sent the escort sooner. He should have kept the orcs out of his father's realm in the first place. That part is incredible. I could hardly breathe under the weight of his guilt and horror.

He had felt as if he were emptied out, leaving a hollow over which a winter gale howled. And that! Wow, daw. The descriptions in this are amazing. Ithilden’s reaction to the wine splattering was just heart-wrenching. He needs something to focus on to take his mind from such thoughts. It’s just a pity that his way of coping and caring is to put order and structure on things and right now none of his family is fit to be ordered. I think if Eilian was the only one suffering, Ithilden would have been a help in pulling him from the abyss but it’s pretty clear that Ithilden is grasping in desperation at what he knows best and Eilian can see that.

I loved that moment when Ithilden leaves the water there and squeezes Eilian’s shoulder as he leaves. They’re brothers and they love each other – they’re just all in a bad place right now.

The image of Thranduil rocking Legolas and himself, his face dazed and blank is so frightening. Thranduil, who sees everything, who’s always in control, is so lost in grief. As much as I feel for Legolas, I’m glad he’s there to give Thranduil something to focus on. The automatic kiss he gives Legolas was so touching.

Was this chill emptiness what it felt like when a bond to a parent ceased to exist? Oh, lord. I can’t even think about Ithilden and parent-children bonds.

It was too late for his mother, but he could guard the rest of them. I quite like how you gave Ithilden this moment of decision. I mean, it’s in his nature to want to guard and protect but I think it adds a little extra to his character that so many of his later actions stem from this lonely moment in the dark.

He stared at the chilly flames burning on his hearth and waited while the night drifted past him, thick with memories and pain. That’s just so poignantly beautiful. I love the “chilly flames” part – it so movingly shows how he externalises that deep, inner cold.

I loved this, daw. I was thrilled that you let us see such an intimate moment between the brothers and let us into Ithilden’s thoughts at a time when his whole world was falling apart. The exchange between the two brothers was incredible. And the descriptions in this! Just wow!

Author Reply: I have so many friends buried in work these days that it's like an epidemic, a bad one!

It was hard for me to imagine them coming back from the orc hunt and walking around in familiar places, doing familiar things, but all of it so utterly changed they wouldn't know what to do with themselves. I think you're right that Legolas gave them an open need to focus on and that probably helped them. It was so clear what they had to do there.

I'm cringing about Ithilden and parent/child bonds. It seems to me that must feel different from the parental end because the parent felt the bond begin, but for the child it's always been there so they wouldn't necessarily even recognize it.

Bless you for saying nice things about the descriptions. They come hard for me, although I think they're getting easier. I find it easier to work with images than actual descriptions of something. You're very kind, Dot.

NilmandraReviewed Chapter: 3 on 6/3/2007
This made me sad to read - this broken family, torn apart by grief. The fears of a little one fading and older brothers each grieving in his own way - Ithilden becoming more of a rock and Eilian working out his wrath in battle. Not a happy time for this family. :(

Author Reply: None of them is at his best, and while they want to help one another, they're each just barely hanging on, so they don't have a lot left to give. I think Legolas helped them all through because he was young enough to be open about his obvious needs, and they could respond to that.

Thank you as always for beta reading.

pipinheartReviewed Chapter: 3 on 6/1/2007
Very nice...

This is so sad for all of them. Loosing thier naneth, and Legolas being so young. Ithilden trying to be always in control and Eilian as always being out of control. The fight between the two brothers isn't often seen. But you can even see how Ithilden who always wants to fix things, can't always do that. Poor thranduil, he is lost without his wife.

Very nice...

Author Reply: Legolas was really young to have lost his mother. I felt worse because I'd just been writing about her. For all of them, this must have been about as low as they ever felt.

Thanks for the review, pipinheart.

Jay of LasgalenReviewed Chapter: 3 on 5/30/2007
*Sigh* There is so much pain in this story ... Eilian's drinking, and goading his brother. Ithilden's loss of control when he throws the wine cup at the wall - a small thing, but a major breakdown for him. And Thranduil's blank, mindless rocking with Legolas.

Out of it all, I feeel sorriest for Ithilden. The others have some form of outlet for their grief, even if Eilian's is rather self-destructive. Ithilden has no-one but himself - the night drifted past him, thick with memories and pain. That is such a sad, lonely image :(

Sad, but a wonderful addition to the story!

Author Reply: Thanks, Jay. I really do think that Alfirin saved Ithilden from himself. She's about 30 years down the line from here. Too bad he doesn't have her now.

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