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Eärendil’s Tale  by Bodkin 5 Review(s)
lwarrenReviewed Chapter: 9 on 6/4/2005
Free at last, and finally recovered enough to put two consecutive thoughts together that make a little bit of sense! :-) *wails loudly* I am so far behind in reviewing, tho'!

I thought to start here and review the last two chapters of Earendil's Tale - oh, yes, Bodkin, I have been reading...just too swamped to review! This chapter was FULL of wonderful lines and images. I love the pictures you paint, Bodkin...starting with that desperate effort to return to Sirion and take revenge on the Kinslayers! How tragic and terrible to the crew must have been the news Elwing brought...and how much worse for them that Ulmo would not let them return to their families! (I liked how Elrond felt better knowing his father had at least tried to come back for him and his brother!) But I suppose my favorite part came when Voronwe told Earendil that loyalty to one's liege lord did not excuse the killings. He was right, too - better to be foresworn than to commit some atrocity which totally goes against your own values. I've always wondered how those following the sons of Feanor were able to stand what was happening? Were they so seduced/dazzled by the promise of the Silmarils that they lost every value they ever believed in? It's a mystery to me...

The trip to the shores of Valinor...the walk into Tirion only to find it empty (a festival, of all things!)...and finally being met and taken to the Valar was all so well done. I love how the light of the Silmaril had become a part of Earendil...and how it all played a part in his ultimate request to the Valar for aid. Just a wonderful chapter, Bodkin!


Author Reply: The first few days are euphoric - and then time just starts rushing past far too quickly.

It was interesting doing this chapter (and the next), because it had to be so closely tied to the actual word of JRRT. Some bits could be - well - interpreted, but where Earendil and Elwing and the Valar speak, their words had to be used. (I thought so, anyway.)

Instinct would take you back, I think, even if you knew it was useless. And even 6000 years or so on, you would be glad to know that your parents had tried.

I'm glad you liked Voronwe's words! After all, Feanor's Noldor do have to take some of the responsibility for what happened. He demanded that they follow him - but what would have happened if they had just put down their swords and said 'no'? It's one of the cries from war crimes trials over the years - 'I was just carrying out orders', but why would elves carry out orders that required them to kill other elves? Although, having taken part in Alqualonde, perhaps the Kinslayers were in despair and felt themselves to be cursed? The Silmarils can't have had that much influence on the common elf, surely. Feanor only brought them out on high days and holidays and he was very jealous of them.

Why make Earendil a star? My answer was that he had borne the Silmaril for so long that it had impinged on his being - and part two of my reasoning was that he had to be willing to surrender it. Possessiveness does not seem to have been a good thing as far as the jewels of Feanor were concerned.

Glad you liked the chapter!

RedheredhReviewed Chapter: 9 on 5/23/2005
I have just now finished reading this chapter. And I will probably read it again after I post this.

But, where to start with a review? Oh dear, I know it is a disgraceful cop-out but I always like what elliska has to say and how eloquently she says it. I find myself nodding and saying 'Yes, brilliantly said!'. There are a only a few other things that I'll add to her remarks on this chapter.

Voronwe is wonderful as usual. Your writing is wonderful as usual. Your telling of this story continues to be wonderful - as usual. You brought out a greater wonder for the Silmaril in me as you described its changing, increasing light.

There was one question raised along with all those of love, sacrifice, justice and revenge I particularly liked. Elrond asks whether the Noldor noticed the difference between Aman and Beleriand. He ponders asking Galadriel and how she might answer him. I loved this being in juxaposition to Celebrian asking Earendil how it felt to become Calaquendi. His answer makes me think the same sort of thing happened with the Noldor Calaquendi's slow dissipation. No one noticed the change in themselves for a long time.

"And if they have the courage to challange Morgoth for the other two jewels, then we can hope that his revenge on them will be long-drawn-out and unpleasant." Aerandir makes a good doomsman too.

Another great part in a marvelous whole.

Author Reply: I'm so glad you are enjoying it!

There are moments when I feel quite sorry for Feanor's sons. And then I think - what on earth made them undertake the Second and Third Kinslayings? But I don't like unending dooms and eternal suffering - even though they should have had enough moral courage to decide that their father was wrong, the oath was wrong and they should simply stop.

A very enjoyable part of telling history through lots of conversation is the opportunity to muse about things for which you don't then have to provide a definitive answer!

I wonder whether long-term Silmaril exposure is partly why the Valar wanted to keep Earendil - and make him a star. (I hadn't until I was writing this chapter.) Not so much his half-elvenness, but more his intense exposure to the light of the Two Trees.

I think there will only be two more chapters. Unless they talk so much it makes three.

Thank you for commenting.

EllieReviewed Chapter: 9 on 5/23/2005
This was excellent! Very full of emotion and very well written. Especailly loved the bit about Elrond secretly being glad that his ada abandoned the fate of Arda to try to save him. Can't wait for more!

Author Reply: Thank you very much! I'm glad you enjoyed it. In some ways the bits where you have to keep the Silmarillion in front of you all the time are more tricky, but in some ways it makes it simpler.

Elrond has had over two ages of being brave and understanding, but it must be heart-warming to know that your world-saving parents are able to feel that you are more important.

More soon. Perhaps two more chapters.

elliskaReviewed Chapter: 9 on 5/22/2005
I had to go back and reread Of the Voyage of Eärendil and the War of Wrath before I left a review. Bodkin this is so incredibly good. In truth, that chapter of the Silm (like too many others) is really just an outine--what you've done to flesh it out really makes it so much better. I read this and reread the chap, as I said, and the Silm really looks very pitiful now compared to this.

Here is where the way you have done this--having Eärendil tell this tale to Elrond and Celebrian--really pays off. I felt so good for poor Elrond when he learns that Eärendil turned back for him. All the effort he had certainly made to justify his father's absence was now no longer necessary. I so loved that.

And I loved the discussion on the ship--especially the part where they discuss why the Silm came to him. Use it well, my lord loved that. And the advice that he be willing to give it up--I remember reading somewhere (one of the letters maybe, I can't think of it right now) Tolkien saying that was exactly the problem--unwillingness to give things up, the evil of hoarding somthing for oneself at the expense of others as opposed to fellowship and being willing to sacrifice for others. That theme was even in the Silm. and you portrayed it really well in that dialogue.

‘No loyalty to liege lord excuses what happened at Alqualondë. What happened in Doriath – in Sirion. There are times when each must make a stand, even should it be at the cost of his own life. Better to be foresworn and offer yourself to your lord’s vengeance than do what you know is wrong.’

That was one of my favorite lines--so true and written with such wonderful language.

But as I said earlier the part of this that amazed me the most was the part that is most directly from the Silm--when they land, leave the ship and Eärendil goes to seek the Valar--that was just so well written. You used some of the dialogue from the Silm and took the two or three sentences Tolkien wrote outside the dialogue (And he went up alone into the land, and came into the Calacirya, and it seemed to him empty and silent; for even as Morgoth and Ungoliant came in ages past, so now Eärendil had come at a time of festival, and wellnigh all the Elvenfolk were gone to Valimar, or were gathered in the halls of Manwë upon Taniquetil, and few were left to keep watch upon the walls of Tirion. not much there) and made them really come to life. I won't be able to read this part of the Silm again without imagining it the way you described it.

And then I read the last line and I just groaned. You and your subtle and just frustrating little cliffhangers that you seem to be getting so good at recently. I am really dying to hear the answer to that question.

You have really done an incredible job with this whole thing--taking the outline Tolkien put in the Silm and really making it come to life. This is one of the best 'gap fillers' that I have ever read. It's really more than a gap filler because it tells a story about which Tolkien only wrote a few lines.

I just love it.

Author Reply: Oh goodness. I'm blushing. I've spent so much time on about three pages of the Silmarillion here - it's great actually, because there is very little said that it give plenty of room for expansion. Some of the difficulty comes with the bits that have to be lifted and used. (There's something Earendil says in the next chapter that really grates. But it has to go in because he said it.) Tolkien's writing has quite a biblical tone here - and I'm trying to avoid sounding too Authorised Version, but it can be tricky to make the actual words slightly less formal.

Tolkien saying that was exactly the problem--unwillingness to give things up, the evil of hoarding somthing for oneself at the expense of others as opposed to fellowship and being willing to sacrifice for others. I didn't know that! But it is what comes out when you think about the characters who dealt with the Silmarils and those who were obsessed by them as opposed to those who weren't.

In a way, the honour and principles thing is what comes into my head when thinking about Finarfin. It must have been incredibly difficult to do what he did - and it required maturity and self-sacrifice - and not minding that he looked a wuss in comparison to the defiant warriors. Just that he felt it was right. If Feanor's Noldor had just told him 'no' when his fury led him into indefensible acts, then so much would never have happened.

The next chapter is more or less done - it just needs a lot of rereading and refining. I'm so pleased you like this. It makes me want to go away and write some more. (If only I didn't have to go to work.)

daw the minstrelReviewed Chapter: 9 on 5/21/2005
Earendil's comments about his mother ("She was a child!") really struck me. The curse of the Valar seems so unjust to me. I wonder if we're supposed to believe they eventually regretted it. They did make the Elves as a race atone for the sins of their relatives for a good long time though.

It's also interesting to think about the Sils. Surely they weren't corrupting in the way that the rings of power were. But they seemed to inspire people to do the most horrible things.

I was smiling to myself as Earendil asked Elwing how it felt to fly. Take a look at your future, star-man!

It never occurred to me before to wonder what because of Earendil's crew, but I'm wondering now.

Author Reply: I'm drowning in chapter 10 and I think the Valar just don't look at time like other people. Even elves are aware of the passage of yeni - but not the Valar. (Sometime they just seem a bit spoilt brattish to me for transcendent beings of omniscient power.) The Doom of the Noldor - if aimed at the guilty, it would seem fair enough, if rather heavy handed, but most of those who followed Fingolfin were guilty of nothing but a desire to move out from under the paternalistic care of uber-beings. (Tolkien's Catholicism shows rather at times, I think.)

I can't admire the Silmarils too whole-heartedly. Not evil, any more than any jewel, but perhaps just too much for most people. Feanor isn't my favourite elf, even before Alqualonde - just too self-centred - but he could have been so much more. I don't know. I feel bad for him. Abandoned by him mother, feeling rejected by his father, heavy-handed treatment by the Valar - he was one crazy, mixed-up elf. And the flipping Silmarils just sat there and scintillated and made themselves objects of desire.

Yes. You, Earendil, will find out how it is to fly. To the point where your little tootsies will crave the opportunity to rest themselves on terra firma.

And as for the crew . . . . . (censored.)

Thank you for commenting!

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