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A Darkness Lies behind Us  by Bodkin 11 Review(s)
Agape4GondorReviewed Chapter: 3 on 6/24/2008
Sorry for the delay in continuing the review!

My heart went out to Finarfin... when he knew Finrod did not think him a coward... difficult decision - how terrible for the Noldor king... I like the fact that Finrod's release seemed to his father as a 'promise' to all those who mourn... my heart went out to Earwen - who felt her people's resentment... I shuddered when Finrod remembered the Helcaraxe... My heart cried, 'Yes!' when Finarfin noted that there was not just ONE kinslaying! Why did it continue??? I loved Indis hesitation at the thought of the HUGE project she was taking upon herself. And I loved the meeting with the foresters... gentle...

NilmandraReviewed Chapter: 3 on 5/12/2008
My favorite part about this is the discussion between Indis and Earwen, that the kin being ready to receive them might be important to the reunion as well. And Ingwe, with his very helpfulness, for he had a son long missed that he wished for.

How interesting that Finarfin finds that Finrod is not perhaps, the first. :D

Author Reply: I do think it is important - if the return is to work - that the elves are ready to welcome their lost kin. And they're not, a lot of them, which is why it has been deemed necessary to smooth the way.

And I can't imagine that harmless, accidental uncontroversial deaths in Aman - and there must have been some, elves being as adventurous as they are - wouldn't have merited a swift return. But it must have been a nightmare to work out how - and perhaps the experience only went to prove that a group effort was required if more ... complex ... tortured fear were to be returned.

ImhirielReviewed Chapter: 3 on 6/18/2007
Finarfin's summary of the difficulties and heartache that awaited him when he turned back from the flight, terse and brief as it is, illuminates very clearly his bravery, as well what a struggle it must have been for the Elves of Aman - all Elves - to recover and recoup, and rebuilt peace and frayed relations.

To contrast this with what people reproached him and what names they called him (and which is shared, regrettably, by some writers), this makes if all the more poignant.

"Perhaps the newly-housed fëar of the slain need the... absence of enmity in their carers."

Very intriguing answer to the question of why certain Elves are released when others presumed "more deserving" are not! And it rings certainly true, hard as it is.

"Finrod might walk beside his atar under the trees..."

Oh, I like how you have used here the relevant quote from the Silmarillion - you have certainly brought it to mind in this story!

The plural form of "Elleth" is "Ellith".

I like the back-and-forth of showing Finrod adapting to life and what the women are up to in establishing a "care system".

"It would be ... pleasant, to remember that I am only a small part of the whole."

Very perceptive of you to include this observation. I think it could be difficult to be the centre of attention even if it is all from care and concern of those who love him. To put himself in a more regular perspective in relation to others must be an equally important step towards normalcy.

And what a thought-provoking encounter for Finarfin. How indeed has this "problem" of Reborn Elves been dealt with without coming to the attention of the leaders.

Author Reply: Thank you, Imhiriel. And the chapter titles are all extracted from the Silmarillion, as well. (I have far more than I can possibly use, too.)

Really, the immortality of elves must be incredibly difficult to deal with - fine as long as everything is sweetness and light, but dealing with spite and violence and personal affront and learning to forgive and move past offences that perfect memory can recall in meticulous detail ... Well - I'm only surprised they all manage to get on as well as they do.

It would be difficult for Namo to return to life those whose restored innocence would not protect them from the less pure response of those who lived through the past. I think accepting responsibility might be key in returning - understanding your motives and moving beyond them - and that the more damaged the fea and/or hroa the more difficult the process would be. Those who died in innocence or sacrifice might well have an advantage ... but then guilt and culpability are not the same thing. And following commands cannot be used to justify actions when those commands are carried out slavishly to the active harm of others ... Sorry. Rambling.

I know (these days) that the plural of elleth is ellith - but I just so much prefer the ellyth spelling that I am reluctant to change. Sorry.

NarielReviewed Chapter: 3 on 6/17/2007
I really enjoyed the chapters you've written so far. Will you PLEASE, Por favor, write more chapters.

I've seen so many good stories turn bad because they are/were 'Work in Progresses.' In other words will you please continue the story and hopefully finish it?

Author Reply: I've been sidetracked! Apologies. I do have another chapter done, but the one after that has slowed down terribly. Still - I should have rather more time shortly and perhaps get back to a better schedule.

But, since you're interested, I'll post the next chapter now.

FiondilReviewed Chapter: 3 on 5/16/2007
Hi Bodkin,

Finally got around to reading what you've written of this story to date. You are obviously taking a much more serious look at the problems of the Reborn than I have. *grin* I think my "Elf Interrupted" is something like a Galliard to your Pavane. *lol* You have treated Amarië far kinder than I did, but your portrayals of Finarfin and Finrod are very close to my heart, for that is how I see them. Of course, I did not explore what Finrod experienced once he left Mandos, only describing the effect of his return on others, especially on his family. So this is a nice look at what our favorite First-Age elf was experiencing while our favorite Balrog-slayer was still languishing in Mandos.

Indis is proving to be an intriguing character and I look forward to seeing how she handles her new-found duties as "mother superior" of the (dare I say it?) "Lóriennildi" who will be charged with caring for the Reborn.

I look forward to reading more about Finrod's integration into Amanian society and the plight of the Reborn. I also hope that we will see more of the Valar, especially Námo, Manwë and Irmo, as they struggle to come to a solution to this problem that will actually work.

Author Reply: Umm, not that serious! This story is developing very slowly - I seem to have been distracted of late. Amarie started as the central focus, so I would be kinder to her - but now I'm having to remind myself to return to her ... I don't think Glorfindel will be turning up here at all - there seems to be enough going on without introducing that scene stealer!!

Indis would make a good person to guide towards working on business end of arranging the care of those who have begun to return - after all, she's not going to get Finwe back, so a task that will give her purpose is definitely needed.

I don't think the Valar are going to make that much of an appearance - they turn up very occasionally in my tales of the Blessed Realm, but I prefer them to keep their mystique!

Thank you, Fiondil - I'm sorry to be so long replying.

French PonyReviewed Chapter: 3 on 4/24/2007
Why am I not surprised that Namo has an overcrowding problem . . . ?

There's something very human about the Valar, having seen one fairly successful re-integration, deciding to spring dozens of dead Elves at once, leaving Indis and her loyal gang to pick up the pieces. Especially since Finrod's rehabilitation is only working because Finarfin is taking things slowly and parentally, and this whole industrial-strength approach the Valar seem to be planning is flying in the face of that success.

Author Reply: Good thing fear don't take up much room, or Namo wouldn't be able to turn round!

The thing is ... well, sort of ... that, if it takes loving family and time for elves to return, then there are lots of elves that never will - since their kin are either in Mandos with them, or east of the Sundering Sea. There has to be an alternative - and Indis's gang is intended to take up the slack. I think Namo will start by releasing a trickle of the returned. Probably those who are more straightforward cases and then build on that.

And, while I would hope that the Valar would bear in mind the reaction of those who will be receiving the returned into the society of Aman, sooner or later they will be releasing someone controversial. They all have to know that everyone will cope.

RedheredhReviewed Chapter: 3 on 4/15/2007
I wondered from the end of the last chapter just what Finarfin and his son were going to discover in order for Finrod to recover! The answer was very intriguing! The returnee is not the only one who needs to be ready to leave Mandos. Those who would receive the reborn have to be ready as well. Brilliant idea about who actually chooses when a fea may return to life. Just like with the first time being born, the second time take not one but two. And your examples also follow the parent-child relationship as well. ;)
It is almost a catch-22 of circumstance. Especially when forgiveness is involved.

The ladies' conference in the garden was interesting enough, but your description of the air and plants in the garden participating in their own way set a very elfy scene. Loved it.

"Finrod might walk beside his atar under the trees..." Ha! I am so happy you got that in!

I also loved Ingwe's advice to Indis. ;) Delegate! Now, that is the best skill of a true leader! Ask for help! His advise is even better than the Valar's. Patience! Do not try to do it all at once. The wise see the long view.

Well, like Finarfin, I cannot wait to become better acquainted with their new friend with whom they have so much in common. You indicated in last chapter's replies that there were other returnees before Finrod. I for one am interested how these reborn flew so far under the radar. I get the impression that the coppersmith and his wife 'got the message' to go more west in order to greet their son. The king is right to wonder at the event, but being treated differently?

So, looks like Finarfin has realized the same as Este and the ladies. Something has to be done or society will break.

I am very glad to see you back on this story!

Author Reply: Well - Finarfin and Earwen also received a 'message' to go and greet their son. They are just much higher profile. I think those who returned before him are probably those who were very innocent in their lives and unfortunate in their deaths. Not probably Exiles, battle victims, the tortured, the guilty. And, of course, those with people to greet them, to love them, to lead them patiently through the period of adjustment.

And wouldn't it be frustrating for Namo to have all these fear ready to be released to start their lives again, and feel that he couldn't do it because they would not be welcomed and nurtured as they should be! Finrod would be an excellent test case - one whose kin could actually do something about it all!

Mind you, any time you start a bureaucracy, you're setting up a rod for your own back! But Ingwe, if anyone, should have some pretty good ideas about how to do it while still giving yourself enough time to breathe. And something does have to be done. I would think that, in an immortal society, you would have to crack up the pack ice every now and then and let the icebergs move around a bit - or you would stand in danger of massive trouble in the end!

I am working on this - but it's going tediously slowly. Sorry to be so long replying. Brain on hold.

LarnerReviewed Chapter: 3 on 4/15/2007
And so returned comes to know returned. How wonderful, and how frightening as all find themselves needing to sound the depths of the means of returning? At least both sides know they are not alone, and are ready to talk and share experiences....

And the time comes for the Lost to come forth, slowly, tentatively at first, until more surety comes to all.

How wonderful!

Author Reply: I think it will help Finrod to know that he is not the only returned elf, even if he has, as yet, little former-life experience in common with the returned. Of course, the post-first-life experience is special to all of them! (Although probably Finrod had more for which to atone than most of those who have come back to their family's care.)

It can't be easy to establish a state of mind among those in Aman that will induce Namo to widen the crack in the doors of his halls - slow moves, lots of talking and much education probably. But, if there is one thing that elves have in plenty, it is time.

perellethReviewed Chapter: 3 on 4/15/2007
Of course you know that I almost cheeered at Finarfin's explanation of his return! :-)
I was missing this tale of slow and careful healing. I like it how a single event, an exile returning from Mandos has such rippling effect in whole Amamn, or at least in the way the King and his family saw their own lives.
Indis and Elenwe, Nerdanel's pain, the Teleri still mourning those who would not be returned... The fact that perhaps their return depended on their familiy and friends being ready made me think. Very apt I believe.

But much as I love FInrod's character, it is FInarfin who is shining so birghtly through this wonderful. Glad that it still has your attention.

Author Reply: I think it's easy to overlook Finarfin - and perhaps to think that giving in and returning showed weakness. But the more you think about it, his action showed a tremendous courage - the sort of courage that admits to being wrong and stepping away from those you love who are refusing to see that. And the Aman to which he returned - my goodness, he was dedicating himself to a pretty difficult task.

It's more than the returner who needs to mend, I think. Mostly it's on a much smaller scale, but, Finrod being Finrod, his return would affect Vanyar, Teleri and Noldor.

Maybe Finarfin is better placed than most to understand that those who dwell in Aman still need healing to be ready to accept those released by Namo....

This is going to be a slow production, unfortunately. It's moving, but not throwing itself at me! It will probably end up far too contemplative and dull!

Beruthiels CatReviewed Chapter: 3 on 4/14/2007
I'm so glad you posted this, Bodkin! I've been intrigued by the idea ever since you told me you were writing it... Excellent!!!! I love the way you've portrayed the elves, (with the amazing depth we've come to expect from you!)and have given so much attention to the relationships between Finrod and those he left behind. The appearance of other reborn is a nice twist-am I correct in assuming that Finrod only *thought* he was the first one?


Author Reply: Yes, I think the Valar might have been wrestling with the problem of returning elves for a long time. After all, elves had been arriving in Namo's halls since Cuivienen and he must have been working on what to do with healed fear. While the elf-twisted-to-orc problem has been intriguing me for a long time! And the possibility of their rebirth in Aman. (I liked seeing that element come up in your story!)

This is developing quite slowly - there's another chapter and a bit sort-of written, but it's not flowing as freely as some other things. I'm glad you liked this, though. Sorry to be so long responding, but my brain has been elsewhere!

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