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A Matter of Heart  by daw the minstrel 26 Review(s)
elliskaReviewed Chapter: 5 on 1/5/2005
Oh boy! Yeap. Very few things I think would push Legolas to a fight but that comment--one that implies he's untrustworthy--that would do it for certain. Galelas got what he deserved. But I bet Penntalion was floored by it.

Last night, when she had not been thinking about kissing Ithilden, she had reveled in how angry she was at him. This whole thought process for Alfirin was great. I loved this.

Legolas watched him for a few minutes and then leaned his head back against the tree, which was humming happily at his presence. His mouth twisted in a rueful smile. Why was it that pleasing the forest and his horse was so easy, while pleasing everyone else was so hard? Including himself, of course, he added honestly. Also an excellent sequence. I have really enjoyed the introspection in this story. I enjoy that kind of thing.

Ithilden did much better in this interaction with his little brother--maybe he learned something from his future wife. A good sign. And his reaction to Alfirin in her wet clothing was great.

The wonderful thing about reading this late is that I don't have to suffer through the cliffie. I can just click next. Yeah. :)

Author Reply: My beta told me I was not allowed to use orcs, spiders, or bad men in this story. I was supposed to slow down and work on feelings which I tend to rush through. She forgot to forbid falling trees though. :-)

I have to admit that once I got into trying to pictures and explore their feelings fully, this was fun.

Ms. WhatsitReviewed Chapter: 5 on 12/31/2004
Of course Alfirin takes Ithilden's treatment of Legolas rather personally--not only is she the maternal type, but also she's afraid that the same severe attitude Ithilden takes towards Legolas will also be directed at her.

I was waiting for Legolas to throw a punch at Galelas. Poor kid. This refrain of "Poor Legolas!" is getting to be a bit like the "Poor Sinnarn!" chorus from A Tangled Web.

Your descriptions of the woods, and later the storm, are particularly vivid in this chapter. I really liked that, especially since any story set in Mirkwood would have to pay a lot of attention to the surrounding nature.

Author Reply: At her or her offspring, I'd say.

Yeah, the fight was almost inevitable, although it's not the kind of thing that delights a parent. I felt sorry for Galelas too actually. He seems lonely to me.

I'm glad you like the descriptions, such as they were. I don't think of myself as a very descriptive writer, I'm afraid.

French PonyReviewed Chapter: 5 on 12/27/2004
Am home with the parental units, without much time to leave a long and detailed review. So I'll just hit the major points:

I liked it much.
Galelas will eventually have to eat those words.
Ithilden is learning.
If Ithilden and Alfirin are in the wet woods that close to a lightning-hit tree and they didn't even feel a little buzz, they're really lucky.
Legolas is catching it from all sides, isn't he?

Author Reply: Hope you're having a good holiday, FP. What are you doing now that you aren't spending all your time studying?

I'm glad you liked it. I have to admit that I feel sorry for Galelas. His arrival at home is not going to be joyous either.

I never even thought about the lightning buzz for Alfirin and Ithilden. Hm. They were feeling buzz on their own, I guess.

At least Ithilden was nicer to Legolas today. Alfirin will approve.

BodkinReviewed Chapter: 5 on 12/27/2004
This was just such a delight - and so refreshing: not a sprout or parsnip in sight.

I cannot help but pity Galelas - I imagine his parents would have been full of Tinar's perfections and comparing Galelas very unfavourably with superson. It is no wonder Galelas was so aggravating - he saw favouritism all round him every day when at home; he must have been looking for it all the time in other aspects of his life. Annael has the insight (and liking for Legolas) to realise that there is something behind what is going on, but Galelas hasn't. I find myself looking forward to his days with Eilian - at least that gave him some happiness.

On the other hand, Legolas probably didn't need that just now. Although it has given him some forced time off when he can hanker after training - probably being forbidden to train will make it more desirable anyway, in that delightfully contrary way we all (especially when adolescent) have. Hormone poisoning combined with trauma: no wonder the elfling is a mess!

I'm glad to see Ithilden is taking Alfirin's words to heart - it augurs well for their future. A responsive husband is a happy husband. I was glad to see he was responsive to other things, too. A pity that a falling tree seems likely to interrupt a bit of wet elven physical contact. Still - given their current performances to date, that would have been a bit too much to hope for.

Thranduil is a stellar adar (most of the time) - and his lapses from understanding a quite excusable. Legolas can be enough to try the patience of a Vala - as can Eilian, actually. I would rather like to see a moody adolescent Ithiden driving his poor adar insane, too. (Perhaps in memory in conjunction with an intolerable Sinnarn.)

Ithilden did well to remind Legolas that. in Thranduil's eyes, he and Eilian were sometimes worrying elflings of little more sense than their brother. And actually, it doesn't do Legolas any harm to see Ithilden lapse into moonling mode at the sight of Alfirin - he could do with feeling amused and superior at the moment.

It was such a pleasure to read this.

Author Reply: I have a lot of pity for Galelas. He had a really crummy family and then the way he reacted made it harder for him to get the very recognition and respect he craved. I tell myself that he was treated as hero in the Halls of Mandos. He'd like that.

I'm laughing about your analysis of how Legolas will crave training now that it's forbidden to him. You could very well be right!

Ithilden is very disappointed, I want you to know. Having Alfiring in a clingy dress on his lap on a horse is his idea of Valinor right now. But his chance will come, and he'll have centuries to enjoy it.

Was it you who suggested that I needed a story with adolescent Sinnarn driving Ithilden crazy? This addition (memories of his own adolescence)is a wonderful idea! I think I have to do that.

I like it when Ithilden and Eilian are brothers to Legolas. That makes some of my favorite moments in these stories.

perellethReviewed Chapter: 5 on 12/27/2004
Wow! I'm amazed you were able to post through "seasonal mess"! It is great to get back home and find such an amusing chapter again! (apart from that evil cliffhanger, oh my!) Hope you also had time to enjoy yourself through this wonderful yule time!

See, I'm glad things are apparently calm in Mirkwood at this time of the year, and Thranduil can turn his chief commander into chief brother and send him elfling-catching!!! I do pity this King: being a ruler and a parent -or a parent and a ruler- can be such a demanding job...!;-) He is coping greatly, I credit him for that, but then, he seems to have been well trained with his first two sons !!!! He's a great dad, I deem, I liked the cliffhangers he's been through in this chapter, trying to work himself out of worry "he's ok, I know he's ok", only to find the kid's not at home, but then "he's ok, outside, Manwe knows where, but ok..." poor king, I don't want to picture him when he hears the storm and thinks two of his sons are out there... grrr! Such a demanding job indeed!!!

I like the way you're dealing with the emotional upheavals Legolas is experiencing, his guilt mixing with his need for independence ... I think he'll soon be ready to open up wholly and see his family are only trying to suport him. Killing another elf must be something truly shocking for anyone, so no shame to be deeply affected, and at Legolas' age it would be worse... but then, with "friendly" Galelas ready at hand to drive him mad about simple things.. What's going on with that kid? Seems he's dying for a bit of attention, someone to care for him or something... Legolas is truly fortunate with his family, and friends,I'm sure he knows... but it wouldn't hurt if you reminded him of the fact!!!! ;-)

"...he thought that perhaps he needed to take a different approach to preventing it, one Alfirin might be more likely to approve of" That's the trick, my lord, that's the trick, see that you can manage if only you put a little thinking into it?...Now you start to understand what Adar meant when he talked about "making up?"

Belated seasonal greetings and tons of muses to you!

Author Reply: My husband and I were alone on Christmas day, and then yesterday and today, we were in Chicago visiting our son. So I haven't written since I posted this chapter. We're going away for a week on New Year's Day, so I'd like to get this finished before then. It's so close. I think there's only two more chapters.

Contrary to fanfic Evil!Thranduil, I think he's a very good father. I think the Legolas we see in the Fellowship is the best proof of that. And you see him here struggling, as you say. I think balancing his roles has been the hardest for him with Legolas because he wasn't a single parent with the older two. Naneth was around to take up the slack. But on the other hand, he does have the two older brothers to help him, at least when they're around and not busy themselves.

Adolescent Legolas is very interesting to me. He's vulnerable, even as you can see his strengths starting to flower. But his self-assurance is still not well established. And I think he's been over-sheltered in some ways, by a father and brothers who see him as a link to his dead mother.

Galelas has an older brother who is the apple of his parents' eyes. He's always going to be watching for someone else to get favorable treatment, I think. He's seen it at home. He turns out better as an adult than you might expect, once he gets away from home and is valued as a warrior.

I think Ithilden understands quite vividly what Adar meant about "making up." He was so looking forward to the horseback ride!

White WolfReviewed Chapter: 5 on 12/26/2004
Oh my. That kind of cliffhanger is what I usually leave everyone with. I'm wondering if there will be angst ahead or if Legolas and Ithilden will both escape injury.

I liked the way Ithilden and Alfirin made up. Very sweet.

I can't blame Legolas for attacking Galelas. I know Galelas doesn't know what happened to Legolas, but I'm not sure it would have mattered to him. In fact, it probably would have made things worse. He's always been a pushy big mouth. I've always felt it was defensive rather than offensive behavior due to his unhappy home life. Dit I analyze that right? :o)

Author Reply: Ithilden and Alfirin are in love, and at the moment, they're not able to stay mad at one another, especially when they're standing close to one another.

I think you're absolutely right about Galelas. He's an unhappy kid and he's taking it out on others. I don't blame Legolas either. The crack about him being an unreliable fellow warrior must really have stung.

ManderlyReviewed Chapter: 5 on 12/25/2004
You left us there? I think this cliffhanger thing is becoming an epidemic. It always seems to be a convenient and rational spot to end the chapter for writers, but really quite nasty for readers.

But great chapter. What Galelas said to Legolas of being an unrealiable warrior - ouch! No wonder Legolas went ballistic. I would too if I were him, but Galelas doesn't know what happened to Legolas so I guess he can be forgiven, sort of.

So Ithilden and Alfirin have made up. I wonder if they find the making-up as sweet as it has been promised them. They both seem to be enjoying themselves anyway. Then lightning strikes. Must their intimate moments always have to end so dramatically?

I really hope that you update soon.

Author Reply: It was either end the chapter there or go on for pages more. And you should talk! LOL

Yeah, Galelas hit a nerve. He didn't know how sensitive Legolas would be on that topic just now. I feel sorry for Galelas actually. I felt bad as I pictured him walking home alone. I don't think his family is going to be very helpful.

Ithilden was looking forward to a nice horseback ride with Alfirin in his lap in wet clothes, but it just didn't work out that way. They do seem to be having a tough courtship.

I'll be out of town on Sunday and Monday, so the update won't be real quick.

BrazgirlReviewed Chapter: 5 on 12/25/2004
I loved the fight and Thranduil's confrontation between duty and will. Thanks for updating today Daw! It was lovely to read from you, especially read about Ithilden and Alfirin... and Thranduil, of course.

Author Reply: I actually enjoyed writing that fight. I don't think I've ever written one like that before and it was very satisfying to punch Galelas around a little, even though I did feel sorry for him afterwards, walking off alone.

Ithilden and Alfirin were looking forward to a nice horseback ride, but it's not going to happen just yet.

KarriReviewed Chapter: 5 on 12/25/2004
Ai! The elfling is not doing very well psychologically, is he? Of course, now he may not be doing well physically, either. A wonderful story so far, daw. I am greatly looking forward to the next chapter. :-)

Author Reply: Legolas is not well yet, but I think he's very gradually getting better. After all, until this week, he hadn't gone to any weapons training at all, not even archery. And he did handle swords well, even if he hasn't sparred yet. But problems keep cropping up for him, poor baby.

NilmandraReviewed Chapter: 5 on 12/25/2004
I am enjoying seeing the characters with the depth we are seeing this time. I think the masters may need to say something to Galelas - his behavior is a little much for Legolas to deal with in addition to all the other things he is coping with. I admit I perfectly understood Legolas losing it and punching him. The straw that broke the camel's back, as the saying goes.

Author Reply: The problem is that I'm not sure the masters heard what Galelas said. Penntalion probably was close enough to see Legolas throw the first punch though. He surely knows that's uncharacteristic. Any approach to Galelas would have to be careful, or he'd wind up thinking that Legolas was the masters' pet. And really, I think Galelas could use a little realistic reassurance.

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