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Eärendil’s Tale  by Bodkin 3 Review(s)
elliskaReviewed Chapter: 11 on 6/5/2005
I love Eärendil and Elrond's reaction as they prepare to share a journey on Vingilot. Poor Elrond--I honestly think I'm with him. I love sailing (as long as someone else is in control of the boat) but sailing on the sky would be right out for me. :-) But I'm glad he got to see his father at its helm and I liked how you portrayed him as a different person there. He would be. Well done.

Another thing that struck me here that I enjoyed was the memory of the War of Wrath. That is something rarely shown and I like it everytime I get to see a glimpse. I especially liked here the change in the elves when they returned--that was very sad.

It makes you aware,’ he said finally, in an attempt to pass on an understanding that it had taken him millennia to develop, ‘that this is only a small part of Elu’s whole. Even the elves, who will live as long as the world exists, are part of this bigger entirety – and our divisions are not for ever.’

‘Perhaps not,’ Elrond mused, ‘although that is little consolation.’

There are so many levels to this interchange as the chapter goes on to show. Between Elrond and his father, and Elrond and his wife, the separation has finally ended. Between Elrond and his daughter, it has really just begun and he has suffered the loss of his brother for millennia. That was really well done the way you showed that. As you very well know, I love exploring the character's emotions and I thought you did an excellent job showing Elrond's feelings after the loss of his father and brother (and even Maglor) and his interaction with Gil-galad. (‘And that circlet that you say is remarkably over-provided with sharp corners considering that it is round. And council meetings.’ --Love the little inserts of humour!) And then you bring that conversation back around at the end with Elrond saying he is 'content' for her--that is really sadder than grief, isn't it. It's easier to grieve or be angry. It's harder to realize what's done is right even though it hurts.

And I really loved how you handled Elrond's desire to find / see / hold hope for Maglor and Eärendil’s response to that.

I honestly think this is the best canon gap filler I have read--certainly so for the Silmarillion. I absolutely adored this and I'm sorry to see it end. Great job, Bodkin!

Author Reply: (Don't you think the twins ought to become co-pilots for Vingilot? It would stop them from becoming bored in the Blessed Realm.)

I think flying the sky-ship is less scary in reality than in imagination. Well, it would have to be. But Earendil has been doing it for a long time and he is at home doing it.

Elrond and Earendil reminisced a bit about the dragon and the battle against Morgoth in the first chapter - so I thought I would focus more on preparation and results here. I can see the elves marching confidently to war - and finding it a far more painful experience than they thought. They will have learned lessons about sacrifice and loss that will have shaken them - and, possibly, given them a greater respect for and understanding of those elves who later sailed west.

Big sigh. Elrond never gets a really happy ending. Well, none of his family do - sacrifice is definitely a big part of their role in the world. And yet they have the courage and discipline to make that sacrifice every time. I think he would work to overcome his grief to try to accept her choice - and see, better than most probably, that it was better for her. (Not for him of course, but his expectations can't have been high.)

And the more characters appear, the more you get fond of - I've really taken to Gil-Galad now. Even Maglor. And I've got myself feeling sorry for Maedhros. I would like to see Maglor brought back - two ages of isolation and regret seem long enough.

I'm flattered that you like this and really appreciate your words. I'm sorry to see it end, too!

RedheredhReviewed Chapter: 11 on 6/4/2005

I liked how this chapter wrapped up some vague things in very practical ways. But then I would. ;)

Elwing's tower being an outpost until other elves were attracted to come there was very interesting. Surely, Elwing herself was what attracted the first visitors. Greenland got colonized faster, but then there was a PR campaign to settle there and not Teleri word-of-mouth. Which when you consider it, probably was just as affective.

Elrond wondering about Maglor with the following discussion of his personality and morals was touching. You make a case for ending his torment. However, Earendil says it best - "It may take some while."

I really like the thought of the Noldor going forth from Aman to free their kin from bondage. I took that to mean their oath and not just Morgoth's grip on their lives. The Valar may have had designs on the Simarils, but did any of the Host, even the Vanyar? I like to think Morgoth was their only target.

Acknowledging that war changed the inexperienced Amanyar and how was well described. It brings up questions about how those that were reborn after the experience handled it and how the people welcomed them back. Did time in Mando alleviate the effect? The resulting isolationism is a familiar declaration that never lasts in our reality, not even for Switzerland. It will take bending the world to make it feasible for the Amanyar.

Nice reference to the fear of being left out again - doubly forsaken - to describe the surge of ME elves sailing to Aman. After the war with Sauron too. It certainly made it easier for edain to colonize the mainland later.

Ah, that delightful time-folding thing again. Just so Earendil could get away once in awhile. That was a nice thing to do for him and Elwing too. ;)

On the closing matter of heroes and husbands -
Once again, Earendil puts something important in perspective: "...being a son or a husband or an adar. That is, indeed, a matter for joy."
And as usual, Elrond puts some common sense into the subject: "- and it is time to be a family."

Then you had that very sweet closing line to this chapter and essentially this story. Thanks, this was a wonderful voyage. And I anxiously await an epilogue.

Author Reply: I reckon whatever was left of Sirion would seek out Elwing and Earendil. Unless they stayed with Tuor and Idril. The whole 'living in a white tower and flying out to meet Earendil' idea gave me the shivers. Yes, romantic. For a while. But isolation of that level for 6000 years? They have to have assembled their own people - how else could they have eaten? And clothed themselves?

What I think about Maglor is that he is one of the less guilty of Feanor's sons, but that he got landed with the worst fate. The others were only killed. And death would take them to Namo's halls - where they could go through the process of redemption. Maglor had to live with his guilt - alone - indefinitely. And there comes a point when that becomes cruelty. I think his case should be brought before the Valar again.

I don't think the Silmarils were first in the minds of the Valar's host. They were obeying the Valar's call - which was more about the defeat of Morgoth. And they would see themselves as an army of Lone Rangers riding to the rescue, I think. A nice bunch of elves on the whole - but some would call them confident (and others arrogant). Those who have never seen war do tend to think it will be a simple case of marching in, winning and going home. (I love the 'not even for Switzerland' line!)

Do you not think the preparation for rebirth might have to include some thought about dealing with how you died? And why? Otherwise none of the kinslayers would come back. (Minor characters rather than SofF.) And then you get thinking about guilt and culpability. Some people blame themselves for outcomes they couldn't possibly help, whereas others feel totally justified in having done terrible things - so if how you feel about things is part of preparing for rebirth, it could allow some big mistakes.

And poor Earendil won't have had any time off in two ages if he can't do a bit of time-folding and place-bending. (I think he needs the twins as substitute Vingilot pilots to give him some time to get away.)

Husbands and heroes - well, they need to get some priorities sorted out in a realm where all the great names could end up living cheek by jowl.

I am glad you have enjoyed the voyage. Epilogue . . . growing. It just needs to tie some bows - but without becoming too much of an epic.

daw the minstrelReviewed Chapter: 11 on 6/4/2005
You take up a lot of questions here that I had never even considered. My experience is that that's one of the things that happens when you try to work out the details that Tolkien left unfinished. Questions pop up all over the place.

How odd it must have been for the Exiles to try to reassimilate. That's one of the things I had never considered.

Author Reply: Tolkien's world is just so huge, isn't it? So many tempting gaps and things left unsaid.

I wonder how those who had never left reacted to the return of cousins / brothers / husbands after an age. And how those who had suffered saw the comfortable secure lives in Aman. Did they end up being treated to the 'well, it was a long time ago and in foreign parts and things like that just don't happen here' attitude? Then there's the whole language issue. Presumably the lingua franca of the Blessed Realm is Quenya - spoken by remarkably few Sindar and possibly no longer the tongue of choice of the younger Noldor. Do you think the elves of Aman would insist on language classes? And laugh at the inability of the immigrants to speak a civilised language? Can't you just see the faces of the non-Noldor elves at having to learn to speak and do business in Elu's banned tongue?

There's so much that you just have to overlook, or the story would never get anywhere.

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