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A Spring of Joy  by daw the minstrel 37 Review(s)
BrazgirlReviewed Chapter: 7 on 5/31/2005
Thrilling chapter! I am scared... I know something not good happened there but I don't know each person got hurt: Sinnarn? Emmelin? Loriel? Eilian(!)??? Who? I am just too curious! Very exciting chapter to read!

Author Reply: If I left you uncertain who was hurt, then that's good! I did my work well. :-)

Legolas4meReviewed Chapter: 7 on 5/31/2005
Hey daw its me. is being stubborn and would not let me place a review! How annoying!

Anyway, WHAT A HORRIBLE CLIFF HANGER! You really left us at the edge of our seats! I can not wait until the next update...I am really looking foward to reading it! Your descriptive writing is excellent. I could almost feel the terror that Eilian and Thrnaduil were feeling. Great writing!

Author Reply: is stubborn rather often! Thank you for making the effort and persisting by leaving ghe review here.

I know it was a cliff hanger. I didn't originally intend to make it one, but my beta pointed out that it would make a good one. :-)

The next chapter is nearly finished, I think.

AliceReviewed Chapter: 7 on 5/30/2005
But, but, but what happened?! You and your cliff-hangers! Every single, dagnabbit transition in this story was a cliff-hanger! Fiend.

I'm on the edge of my seat with this chapter Daw. The tension and anxiety just kept building and building and now it's just going to have to sit there until you update. This is a real horror story and while my nerves are all a flutter, I'm loving every minute of it. It's making the darkness before the War of the Ring abundantly clear. The darkness is back and it's stronger than ever.

This story is really well constructed with the order of the scenes by the way. It's all inter-related and every thing ties together. The Royal Family has turned out to be very useful in illustrating everything that's going on at once. I love reading your stories and having moments of "Wow! That's so clever!" I don't get many moments like that in fanfiction.

Oh and it's very scary how much like her father and Uncle Legolas Loriel sounds like. It's a good thing that the family is so large and has so many females in it right now. Speaking of which . . .

Oh no, oh no, oh no, I think I just figured out why Emmelin is on her knees and keening. Daw, tell me you didn't do what I think you did. Please, please don't have done what I think you just did. Ahhhh! How am I possibly supposed to wait for you to update? I think I need to go and have a cookie now to make myself feel better.

Author Reply: LOL. I don't do cliffhangers all that often, it seems to me, but this chapter was made for them. I was trying to cut back and forth like an exciting movie does, so that both parts of the story would come to a crisis at the same moment, and the connection between them would suddenly become clear. Sadly clear, as it happens.

To me, this story has always been about loss and how people react when something important is taken away from them. The peace is a loss for everyone of course. But there are likely to be personal losses connected with that.

Have a cookie.

French PonyReviewed Chapter: 7 on 5/29/2005
I like the parallel you're drawing here of the dangerous nature of the woods. While Eilian and Co. are out in the woods experiencing Very Grave Danger, Loriel and her attendants echo that theme in a smaller, more comprehensible way.

Eilian's story is tense and scary in the way that a really well-done horror movie is scary. There's shadows and hints and suggestions. People traipse bravely through the woods as the audience cries, "Don't go in there!" And you can really tell how Eilian has matured. Before marriage and adahood got to him, he would have been all about following the danger to its source, adrenalin junkie that he is. But, over the course of his life, he seems to have learned that he's not just one person, but that he has people who love him and who he loves. And, since they would all be just devastated if anything happened to him, and he knows that, he's developed the instincts that say, go this far and no further.

In light of everything that was going on in the South, Thranduil's hunt for Loriel seemed very symbolic. It was no great surprise that she would wander off and follow other children. Some kids who have been raised in isolation tend to be shy, but not Eilian's kid. Thranduil does a good job tracking her -- clearly, he keeps up his woodcraft skills, and it's a good thing he does.

I was amused by the picture of the three women. Alfirin and Emmelin are making clothing for a growing child with no source of hand-me-downs, and Celuwen is playing hide-and-seek. Who is the practical one in this situation again?

Author Reply: I wanted both of Thranduil's grandchildren in danger, each in a way that made sense for them, and Tolkien gave me these two things going on in Mirkwood at the same time. So that worked out.

Eilian has matured. He's still a kind of irreverant thinker, but he's always taken being a warrior seriously, and now he has his family to think about. Poor guy. He's meant to just live light-heartedly in the woods.

And I figure Thranduil still hunts occasionally. He's had years of experience as a warrior and there are things he's not going to forget.

Who is the practical one in this situation again?
Good point, Pony!

elliskaReviewed Chapter: 7 on 5/29/2005
Sorry, couldn't resist:

I think I'll just ask you to remember two things: loss is real in Tolkien's world, and I made all these characters up. :-)

The thing is, daw, Tolkien didn't make me love Boromir, Theoden, Halbarad etc as well as you have made me love Sinnarn and the other family you have given Thranduil. Even Siondel--we didn't know him directly very well, but we did know him through Annael. You made the characters all right--you did it very well! Too well! :-)

But regardless, I will still love the story. I'll cry my eyes out and if you ever say 'I can't imagine how I did that' in future reviews (as you do now about Siondel) as will say 'I told you so' with glee. But I'll still love the story. :-)

Already dying for the next update...

Author Reply: I'm very pleased that you love these characters. I'm shamelessly fond of them myself. So the thing about Siondel is that I still think it was right to kill him when I did, but I feel bad about it. I feel so sad for Annael and Elowen.

I wrote on the plane today, but the chapter is still in process.

LOTRFaithReviewed Chapter: 7 on 5/28/2005
You are seriously killing me Daw... Every single worst case scenerio was flashing through my mind at the end of the chapter, and I am rather afraid to even read the next chapter for what it might bring!

Author Reply: Apparently, it's the "killing" part that's worrying readers! Sorry for your pain, Faith. :-)

Brenda G.Reviewed Chapter: 7 on 5/28/2005
I have been following this story and have not yet reviewed, but this Terror in the Woods chapter was so well written, so taut, so fraught with fright that I just had to add my review to all the others. I am having great difficulty remembering anything (and I do mean ANYTHING) I've read in the past that left me in the almost absolute panic that this chapter did at its conclusion. I feel certain that Thranduil is going to lose one of his grandchildren, but which? I'm glad you have decided which one, Daw, because I frankly would not have the heart to send either one of them to Valinor ahead of their parents. Sinnarn has rooted himself inside of me almost as deeply as Eilian or any other of your main OC's. Then you add Loriel to the mix, and not even the most hardened heart can resist this tiny elfling. It is unthinkable to me that Sinnarn should be taken away at this point in time, and yet, Loriel is so precious and innocent and so adored by every life that has crossed her own... Of course, we fans cannot ask you to unwrite what is already in print, and the dream that Thranduil had seems quite conclusive as to its meaning--he will lose a grandchild. When I wrote The Prophecy for my own Legolas story, I knew that I would be trapped within those parameters as the prophecy played itself out. You have placed yourself in that same trap, and now lives must be forfeit to fulfill the dream. But Sinnarn or Loriel - or, Eru forbid! - both? Daw, if you do that, then I will help the others tar and feather you AFTER you have been drawn and quartered! Then I will feed what's left of you to the Orcs!

You are getting wickedly good at cliffhangers, but please don't make them a habit. Old hearts like mine can't take it.

All jesting aside, this last chapter was as good as it gets - better than anything I've ever read by any published author I know. You go, girl!

And update soon--or else!

Author Reply: Wow. That's a very great compliment, Brenda. Thank you. I'm overwhelmed.

Readers have surprised me a little by the strength of their reactions. I hadn't realized that people were so fond of Sinnarn. I haven't written about him much and sometimes just shove him offstage because I have a large cast and don't need him for a particular story. I guess I did too good a job cranking up the tension!

I'm still overwhelmed by your kind words. I'm sitting here reading them again.

elliskaReviewed Chapter: 7 on 5/28/2005
Ok, now I have time to leave a decent review.

I repeat--this chapter is terribly cruel. How can you do this? The whole thing is just tense. We may know that Gollum escapes and Legolas and company must survive the experience of hunting him, but the "he's on the move, we'd better hurry" thing still turns up the tension at the begining of the chapter--especially since we do not know if Gollum is going to to make a victim of anyone else...smaller.

And the scene at Dol Guldur was just awful--poor Eilian, fresh from a peaceful ten years in the settlement, thrown into the Shadow like that. The details here are great--the lack of sounds, Maltanaur staying closer than usual, "Shadow, not night," Maltanaur being tense as well as he stares at the tower. I could go on for a long time but I'll stop and say that "growling voices and graceless feet" was my favorite, right there at the end.

And it doesn't let up--a few seconds of happy elflings at play (that we all know is the calm before the storm) and we are plunged into Thranduil and Celuwen and Emmelin searching frantically. I loved how Thranduil comes across here but his rising fear is never a good sign. Be careful, Celuwen, but waste no time I think I would have panicked if I'd heard him say that.

Poor little Loriel realizing that she wished Ada or Nana were there. That almost made me cry, especially since this is so tense.

But the best part here was the way you managed the Nazgul. As I said before, I hated those things in the movie and I hated them worse here. Darn that was scary, daw!

As for the end, I refuse to believe that you have killed Sinnarn. You may wound him. It can be as nasty as you want. But if you kill him I am simply going to have to make you rewrite it (possibly after I help with the tar and feathering), so don't waste your time. :-) And I have read in the other reviews that Nilmandra is responsible for the cliff hanger but I think someone mentioned somewhere that she is not feeling well--so I will forgive her for that suggestion under the assumption that she is heavily drugged and therefore temporarily insane. :-)

But this is simply too horrible, daw! Not Sinnarn! Please!!

BTW, yes, the switching between scenes was perfectly done and extremely effective at building the tension--stylistically, this is wonderful. From a reader's POV it is just killing me. So I do have tar and feathers.

Author Reply: In many ways, the Legolas part of this has been the most difficult to make interesting because we know the outcome there. Gollum's crossing Mirkwood, being tracked by the Wood-elves, and then getting away is a canon event. So I've had to make do with him meeting Men and thinking about them and Dwarves. And of course, with him on this jaunt are two other people who appear in Question of Duty, so they were safe anyway.

I had to try to figure out how the Nazgul would affect elves. Surely they felt some of the fear it generated, but Legolas could function well enough to shoot one in FOTR. Of course, he might have had experience with them by then and have some idea of how to manage his reaction.

Hm. Tar and feathers? Those would be virtual tar and feathers, right? I think I'll just ask you to remember two things: loss is real in Tolkien's world, and I made all these characters up. :-)

LeraReviewed Chapter: 7 on 5/28/2005
May I remind you, dear minstrel, that this is a spring of joy?! I'm really rather frightened to read the next chapter, but irritatingly enough I'm going to go crazy if I don't and soon!

Ok, I really liked seeing a little from Loriel's point of view. So far I hadn't really felt anything for her, but that little bit did it for me.

Author Reply: The "spring of joy" is a quote from near the end of The Hobbit, where Tolkien says that now the wood elves looked forward to a spring of joy after a long winter. I'm afraid the title is kind of ironic, given how short a time the peace lasted. Ten years is such a tiny slice of time.

Isn't it odd how seeing things from someone's POV draws you in? I've had to do that as an author sometimes, write from someone's POV in order to get to know them at all.

Jay of LasgalenReviewed Chapter: 7 on 5/28/2005
So this is all Nilmandra's fault, is it? Right! Now, where's her e-mail address ...

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