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A Spring of Joy  by daw the minstrel 22 Review(s)
perellethReviewed Chapter: 4 on 5/20/2005
It's so good to have a new chapter waiting for me, after unapcking and the rest of my post trip duties are done...and by the looks of it I might as well be treated to another one before the week end is over! yay!

I had to laugh at this: "but Eilian had argued that they needed them for trips to the stronghold. Celuwen had not said so, but she believed that he simply could not conceive of being without a horse... gosh, it sounds exactly like my "counterpart" speaking of *his* car and *his* motorbike.. I guess it's simply that "males and fast-moving things" syndrome!Sigh!

I loved Annael and Legolas tracking together, it reminded me of how good Annael is at forest lore, and where and who did he get that from... life was quite easier for these two when they were children, wan't it?

Thranduil was great, as usual. I like how you picture the relationship between him and Mithrandir. It looks as if they know and respect each other deeply.

I was wondering at how many times have we seen Legolas meeting Mithradir, and I can only recall two: in Good Neighbours , the first story of yours I ever read, and in Tangled Web, I think. So I'm curious... is there somewhere in that magical plot garden of yours another story with young Legolas and the wizard? I think I would love that!

And with a sigh of relief, now that Loriel is away from windows, in spite of Sólith's "best efforts" (the grandfather in him coming to surface made me pity him.. a bit!) I just await for more...

Author Reply: In truth, chapter 5 is drafted and I'm just waiting for Nilmandra to be available to beta it. So it should be posted some time this weekend, I think. I'm moving VERY slowly on the next one. It don't know why it's so hard to spit out a paragraph sometimes.

Males and fast-moving things indeed! And while Thranduil's sons are far from spoiled, they're used to seeing some things as just a normal part of life - sort of how I feel about hot water and sleeping in a comfy bed.

Life was easier for Annael and Legolas when they were children. They were loved and, as much as possible, sheltered. I've always thought of Annael's parents as sort of the perfect parents and I still feel bad about killing Siondel. I remember my beta's rather horrified message: "Are you really going to do this?" Sigh.

I think that Mithrandir and Thranduil must have had some sort of trusting relationship. There had to be some reason that Mithrandir had Gollum taken there. And that's good, because Thranduil doesn't have a lot of allies. Of course, Tolkien says that one failing of wood-elves was a distrust of strangers.

I think that Gandalf also appeared in "Tide of Times," the story in which Legolas comes of age. I remember having Sinnarn pull his beard and that would about the right age. I've never shown Legolas's first meeting with Gandalf. I'll think about it. :-)

"Good Neighbors" was the first story you read? That story is far enough in the past now that I like it. I never like my stories at first. It takes time.

BrazgirlReviewed Chapter: 4 on 5/19/2005
Hi Daw. It was a lovely chapter. Gandalf's appearance is both comic and worringly and Thranduil know it. I like his letter to Celuwen and how she reactedin front of her father. Wise girl! And speaking of girl... Poor Loriel! She must be thinking she was fooled by nana! Ada wasn't there!!! Just grandfather!! No! We hope Flower Face can be with her ada soon!

Author Reply: Poor Grandfather, to know that his much longed-for granddaughter is crying because it's only him and not Ada. She'll feel better in the morning. I think Grandfather is pretty good at spoiling elflings.

You can hardly blame people who might want to bar the door when Gandalf shows up, can you? Supposedly he turns up where he's most needed, so when he comes to your house, you have to be horrified!

esamenReviewed Chapter: 4 on 5/19/2005
Mithrandir seemed to relax a little. “I knew I could count on the Wood-elves,” he smiled. He set his wine aside. “If you do not mind, Thranduil, I think I would like to wash off the dust of the road before it is time to eat.”

This is a great cameo of Gandalf . . . dusty, charming, sincere, and always a little bit interested in Legolas. I so like it that he and Thranduil are friends. Thranduil shows a lot of sense in that friendship. (Snicker -- does he still like Gandalf when Legolas leaves for the Quest? At least Gandalf is safely off towards Mordor then and doesn't have to face his wrath.)

I love the scenes of Celuwen and her family in the settlement. That poor messenger! The look on his face when Solith suggested disobeying the king was a classic.

And you know what else -- I love Thranduil's written voice. Every time he pens a letter, it's fascinating to read. It's beautiful, different from his spoken voice in a very natural way, but with a controlled sense of power and grace that seems very Wood-elf-kinglike to me.

Congratulations on another wonderful chapter! I'm so glad this story is coming along as fast as it is. Can't wait for the next one . . . and see you Mon 5/30, at 11.

Author Reply: When you look closely at The Hobbit and LOTR, you see that there are several points of contact between Gandalf and Thranduil. They're not always without problems (one thinks of a bunch of dwarves locked up, for instance), but then Gandalf shows up at the Battle of Five Armies; he apparently asked the wood elves to help him track Gollum; and he leaves Gollum in their keeping. It's interesting to speculate on how deep that relationship ran.

I'm glad you like the letter. I always hesitate over them. I want Thranduil to be commanding, and I think his written language would be more formal than his spoken language. But he's often writing to family, so there also has to be affection.

I'm looking forward to seeing you on Memorial Day.

thechevinReviewed Chapter: 4 on 5/19/2005
I definitely feel the tension rising in this chapter and Mithrandir's arrival has done little to make me feel better about it all
I like the way Anneal and Legolas work so well together their friendship and his support is one of those things Legolas can always rely on
It was interesting to see the way the two brothers interacted with each other and their father as well now that they seem finally to have agreed Legolas is all grown up, although I think Thranduil will never quite think that!
As for the order couched as a request why does that not surprise me nor did the reaction to the summons of Celuwyn and her father
I hope I am wrong but there seemed something very final about Celuwyn looking back and her parents being hidden from her view and poor Loriel thinking she would find her father at the stronghold she must have been very disappointed still she will have her grandfather to play with and he can spoil her rotten just as he did Sinnarn
Another lovely chapter to read and re-read so that I can attempt to pick out the salient points and squirrel them away for later in the story I hope!

Author Reply: Oh good! As I was writing along, I thought this might seem dull. Tension is much better. And Mithrandir's arrival almost always coincides with a rise in tension. No wonder everyone cringed and called him Storm Crow.

It's been interesting for me to show these adult relationships too. Legolas, Annael, Ithilden -- they all know one another's strengths now. They've seen it tested and they trust in it. Which is good given what's ahead.

The Battle Under the Trees isn't for 60 years yet or so, but as I was writing this I was thinking about how much of the woods burned. Isn't that awful to think about? I picture them all driven right back to the stronghold.

I hope there are salient points! Today is one of those days when I think my story is boring and without plot or purpose. I think I need to go shopping or something.

LamielReviewed Chapter: 4 on 5/19/2005
I've fallen behind again. I attempted to review on back when you posted chapter 2, but the site crashed and ate my review. And I've just been so swamped with work and fighting a bout of illness that I missed your last couple of updates. I'm sorry! But at the moment I'm waiting for tech support to call me back regarding a software problem at work, so I have a few minutes to review.

So it is Gollum after all - and a vicious little beast he is! Goodness, I guess Tolkien made that pretty clear both in The Hobbit and the trilogy, but somehow I didn't take him so seriously as a threat. Maybe because of the way Bilbo beat him in the riddle game - he seemed more cunning than outright evil. But thinking back over it I don't doubt that he'd steal babies if he could get them.

Once again I have to compliment you on how well you write children. Loriel is absolutely perfect -- just exactly how I would picture a small child who misses her daddy and is overly tired. Wonderfully done. And it's something to see Sinnarn as an adult now - and bonded too! Somehow it seems strange that he bonded before Legolas (I do note the reference you made to Tuilinn regarding that), but I am not in any way suggesting that Legolas bond, ever. We've been over that.

Oops, I have to get back to work. Thank you for another great story, Daw!

Author Reply: I'm so sorry you've been ill, Lamiel. Why is it that illness always seems to strike when we can least afford to take to our beds?

The thing about robbing cradles comes directly from Chapter 2 of FOTR, in which Gandalf tells Frodo about Gollum. The first time I read it, it squicked me out. Then I stuck a note on it in my file of story ideas. It seemed to me that if it was happening in Mirkwood, Thranduil must have known about it.

I enjoy writing children, although it's more challenging than people think sometimes. It's really easy to make them too bratty or too sweet. I'm glad you liked Loriel.

Sinnarn is only 40 years younger than Legolas, so he's old enough to bond. But now I've taken care of that matter for Legolas, you'll be happy to know! No more Legomances from me.

elliskaReviewed Chapter: 4 on 5/19/2005
I saw this notification yesterday morning and I haven't been able to sit down until now to read it. That drove me nuts.

Wow, what a scary opening. You are doing a really good job setting Gollum up as the vicious creature that he indeed is. Poor little deer. And poor woodelves--that is not something they are used to. I loved seeing Annael at work though and Legolas's easy trust in his abilities. I just love seeing those to old friends working so closely together. Also loved the comment about Beliond--he would have had a fit!

But equally enjoyable was seeing Legolas and Ithilden interacting as adults, both in Ithilden's office and later. Now that Legolas is older and has some experience (he's a captain, after all) it is nice seeing them work together.

I was so surprised to see Gandalf! And so pleased. I love him and how you write him. He's tough to do and you manage his character well. Loved Legolas's apprehension. That is too true. And I loved seeing Legolas's belief that Gandalf doesn't lack the capacity for anything--I imagine that he does get that sense of him. And I could help but think about how Legolas must have reacted to the Balrog as I read that. But Gandalf's description of Gollum must have just scared them to death knowing that the nasty thing had been creeping around Loriel's window. That makes me literally shudder. I thought Legolas's "when" we catch him was rather amusing. Confident one, isn't he. He doesn't know what he's facing.

But the whole thing around bringing Celuwen and Loriel back to the stronghold was great from The messenger would probably appreciate having a written message from you to the end. That line cracked me up. So did Celuwen's acceptance of the fact that the letter was phrased as a request but was indeed a command (I love that). I would like to see the incident that finally made her understand that--you know there was one. But everyone's reactions to this situation were so good. I definitely think that Celuwen would come back to the stronghold, no questions asked, garden or no, if Loriel were in danger. How else would anyone react, much less an elf. And Solith was great. I think he would be furious his daughter and granddaughter have to leave, furious to see signs of the Shadow, again. And he is just such a woodelf--he can't stand outside interference. I love it. And Loriel was great. You write children really well--so excited and then so tired and disappointed. Children are completely honest in their emotions. They just don't hide how they are feeling, so her reactions were perfect. I felt so bad for her when she realized Eilian wouldn't be there. Dear little thing.

I imagine it gets scarier from here. I am really looking forward to seeing how you handle this one. Great chapter!

Author Reply: I too like the relationship between Legolas and Annael. They're such old friends, and they know and accept one another so well! And they've run into something scary here. Poor Wood-elves indeed. They're about to lose something that everyone had just come to believe in and value.

Gandalf is tough to do. You are so right about that! I debated with myself about whether he really would have been in Mirkwood at this time. Tolkien tells us that he and Balin visited Bilbo in the Shire two years before this, so I know where he was then, but that didn't help much. But in Chapter 2 of FOTR, he says that the Wood-elves tracked Gollum for him after he came out to search for the ring. He says Gollum crossed Mirkwood twice, and he repeats those rumors he heard from the Woodmen. So I thought he might have gone there, following Gollum and then asked for the Elves' help. Tolkien leaves us a lot of gaps to fill in!

Your comments about the stuff having to do with Celuwen, Loriel, and Solith were very gratifying for me. And they will be for my beta too! Originally, I didn't show any of the stuff in the settlement at all, just Celuwen and Loriel arriving at the stronghold. But my beta suggested I expand that stuff, and I think it turned out well. I feel bad for Eilian and his little family. They were enjoying that life in the settlement.

rgbjReviewed Chapter: 4 on 5/19/2005
Oh icky Gollum is up to his tricksess again.
Annael with his abilities would know if he had seen signs of this creature before and he hasn't. OH OH Legolas got to run of into the woods without Beliond. He's in trouble now. What a hoot. Just like Thranduil, Beliond can find out wherefores and whatnots.
So just like Thranduil, Ithilden keeps things close to his chest. They probably feel more in control that way. Even if control is only an illusion at this point of time.
Mithrandir is here. And the bearer of less than good news. Rohan called him Stormcrow after all. If he could he would love to bring good news. Unfortunately bad news is about all there is these days in Middle Earth.
Yes a letter from the king would be just the thing. This is such a complex family your have created. Celuwen just adds to the mix.
Solith. What is it with him? You would think his first thought would be for the safety of his daughter and grand daughter but if they leave he loses control of them. Control seems to be big in his vocabulary also.
I did like Loriel's reaction though. Happy elfling here. Got to bring everything. I think grandfather king will be glad to provide her with everything she leaves behind.
Celuwen's musings on the horse issue. Elian acting like a king's son. This is a bad thing how exactly. He is a king's son and she is a king's daughter-in-law. I think Eilian does a better job of fitting in than she does when she is in the stronghold. She seems so resistant somehow.
Poor Loriel. She reminds me of Legolas when he wanted things to be the same at the party. That nana would be there and would dance with him and the past would be the present. Little sweetlings. Things aren't going to be the same for her now. He ada is going to have to be a warrior again. She is going to miss him horribly.
Nice chapter to set us up for Legolas' adventure, Eilian's adventure and Loriel's adventure at the stronghold. This will be exciting.

Author Reply: I've always really enjoyed showing Annael as superior at woodcraft. I kind of stumbled on the idea when I was writing "Question of Duty," and I've used it ever since. I think in his quiet way, Annael is a real wood-elf, and I like the idea that Legolas is generous in recognizing Annael's abilities.

You have to sympathize with people like the Rohirrim who were not always happy to see Gandalf. He shows up where he's needed, Tolkien says, which means that if you happen to be where he shows up, it's time to worry!

I think wants control, but I also think he feels a little -- I don't know, "ashamed" isn't quite the right word. But he feels that he should be able to shelter Celuwen and Loriel and he knows that he really can't. That has to be painful. And how do you compete when the "other grandfather" is a king? I think he's worried about losing his daughter and granddaughter to Thranduil's family. Of course, he's also a selfish jerk, so that works too.

That's an interesting thought that Eilian does a better job of fitting into Celuwen's world than she does into his, and I think you're probably right about it. Hm. Why should that be? I guess he's a wood-elf at heart, which is one of his problems in his relationship with his father. So he can live that life. His life as the king's son is unnatural for a wood-elf at some level, so Celuwen has a hard time. And I do think the Silvan were a stubborn, independent lot.

I hope this will be exciting! I'm a little worried that it's going to be flat. Oh well. I'll do the best I can and then let it go.

KristyReviewed Chapter: 4 on 5/18/2005
“The messenger would probably appreciate having a written message from you to give to Celuwen, Adar,”

LOL :) This line just struck me as really funny.

Poor little girl she thought she was going to see her Ada.

And blood drinking, child snatching Gollum is creepy! Can't wait to see what happens next!

Author Reply: LOL. I have this vision of Ithilden and Celuwen clashing at meetings of Thranduil's council. And actually, I think that this family that was originally so male has learned to be careful around the female members it's acquires. I think both Alfirin and Celuwen are pretty formidable. In my head, Emmelin is a little more docile but I haven't worked much with her as a character yet. And I think Loriel will be a force to be reckoned with! Eilian's daring + Celuwen's stubborness. Ouch!

Gollum's been interesting to think about. The passage I've been working from in FOTR is pretty creepy. I think Marta has an essay posted now in which she looks at Gollum a little differently though and that's interesting too. Tolkien left us with so much room to play!

meckinockReviewed Chapter: 4 on 5/18/2005
Poor little girl; she just wants to see her ada. I really like Loriel. For some reason the lining up of the pinecones stuck with me. You do such a great job of coming up with pastimes for children. And I felt so sorry for Celuwen, too. With Eilian gone, I'm sure the last thing she wanted was to have to leave home. At least Solith wasn't too big a jerk this time.

Mithrandir's arrival was a pleasant surprise, and I can't wait to see how are boys are faring in the south.

Author Reply: I'm glad you like Loriel. It's a bit tricky to do children so that they're not bratty but not overly sweet either. Lining up the pine cones came from a memory of my own childhood. I must have been very young -- 5 maybe -- when my family rented a cottage on Lake Huron. There was this little low wall along the sidewalk that ran along the beach. And I remember finding empty cigarette packages in the sand and lining them up on the wall. :-)

Mithrandir tells Bilbo that the Wood-elves hunted Gollum for him, so I figured he must have gone there. He's a hard one to figure out.

moonshineReviewed Chapter: 4 on 5/18/2005
Wow, Loriel is just like my neice(who cried for a while because her mother was gone out). Poor kid. It must be so hard for her to be looking forward at seeing Eilian and realizing that he wasn`t there.
I`m wondering what the next chapter is going to be like. I`m very eager to find out! until then!

Author Reply: Poor Loriel. She just doesn't understand what's happening. Her secure little world is about to change, I'm afraid. And she misses her Ada.

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