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Of Red and Green Leaves  by Avon 8 Review(s)
KestrelReviewed Chapter: 1 on 2/5/2008
I enjoyed this very much, I liked the style of narration and the characterization. I don't think either El will ever be able to look at Aragorn and not think of his father and what happened, so their sorrow and despair comes through. Not overwhelming, though. I understood the flashback, and that he was speaking of Arathorn, and of burying him. This has a very good flow, even with the flashback, and the song throughout. The last verse of it was just perfect! Bittersweet. I just wanted to take all three of them and wrap my arms around them for a big hug. XD

CadrianReviewed Chapter: 1 on 1/12/2005
Yet again, your writing skills are amazing, and the fic is full of a bitter sadness, quiet and reminicent. It's beautiful, though. ^_^ A joy to read.

O! Will you be staying,
Or will you be flying?
The moonlight is rising!
The daylight is dying!
To fly would be folly,
To stay would be jolly
And listen and hark
Till the end of the dark
to our tune
Ha! ha.

Hehe. I love that song throughout the story, but esepcially the last part, for some reason or another. ^^

docmonReviewed Chapter: 1 on 10/20/2004
This was such a poignant piece of writing. A look into a moment, when a sibling contemplates his family. Very interesting. I thought the details on the plants was well done, adding something concrete among the abstract parts (by that I mean when you were focusing on his thoughts).

Since you asked...
I liked the use of first person, etc. It made it more personal, immediate.
The ending - you say it just sort of happened, and wondered if more was needed. I'd say... maybe. I could see a bit more communication between Elladan and Elrohir as they prepare to leave. But not necessarily. The song they sing serves to tell much of their thoughts at the moment.
I think the 'non-existent' plot is just fine. It's a picture of a moment, and the thoughts of Elladan.
You mentioned 'twin characterization,' and it prompts me to ask this. You wrote of them, "we who belong entirely to no people, no race," and in another piece, said something similar (I think, I may be mixing it up with another). Is this simply because of Elrond's heritage, or is there something else I'm not remembering?

great job!
monica

meckinockReviewed Chapter: 1 on 10/31/2003
This is a beautiful piece - emotionally poignant and so tactily desciptive - I could almost smell the fallen leaves. Your narrative approach was perfect for opening a window on Elladan's impressions as he watches his brothers and introducing his memories of Arathorn. I loved your description of Estel romping in the woods. I don't think you actually need a plot or an ending for a vignette like this - the reader understands he/she is being allowed passage into a moment in time.

LKKReviewed Chapter: 1 on 10/28/2003
Since you asked about specific issues for feedback, I'll try and address those first.

- The slightly unusual style (1st person but addressing you) did it work?
I've mentioned before that I enjoy the unusual styles you use, Avon. Linguistically, I tripped up once when the You referred to both Elrohir and Estel; I had to go back and reread the opening of the paragraph. I don't see any way around that problem unless you went with the archaic thou for second person singular. Artistically, this style worked for me just as well as the styles in your other stories did.

- The ending it just sort of happened is more needed?
I don't think any more is required at the ending. One of your greatest strengths is your minimalist approach. You leave much to the reader's interpretation. If you were to expand on the ending -- spell things out, so to say -- you would weaken the effect.

- The even more non-existent than usual plot could you see any point to it? If I was going to expand it would you suggest: more in the flashback/more in the beginning/a more solid ending
I agree there wasn't much of a plot, but I wasn't expecting one. From the beginning, I read this more like a tonal poem than a straightforward story. It goes back to the unusual narrative style. The form of address gives the story a poetic, lyrical feel. The title reinforced that. I was expecting a written form of an impressionistic painting. And that is what I felt I had read when I finished.

- Twin characterisation?
This question was the one I had to think hardest about in order to answer. So that's probably a sign that if there is any weakness in this story, it's in this area. However, I definitely feel that each twin has a distinct characterisation albeit not strong one. Elladan came across as more burdened by his grief. That might be the result of his being the narrator, but I don't think that entirely explains it. Elrohir seemed more light-hearted. I don't mean to say Elrohir is callous or light-hearted. But he seemed better able to handle the grief. I believe Elrohir could tell that Elladan was burdened by memories provoked by the collected herbs and intentionally took the baskets from his twin to ease the memories. Then as a final act of caring, Elrohir told Estel to ride Elladan's back thereby giving Elladan hope.

All in all, Avon, this was another example of your fine work. When I received my notification that you had posted a new story, I came here expecting the beautiful sentiments and imagery I associate with your writing. What I read was exactly what I expected.

LKK

Author Reply: Thank you very much for this feedback. You say such lovely things about my writing - I'm sure I don't deserve them but they are very pleasant non-the-less ;-)

I believe Elrohir could tell that Elladan was burdened by memories provoked by the collected herbs and intentionally took the baskets from his twin to ease the memories. Then as a final act of caring, Elrohir told Estel to ride Elladan's back thereby giving Elladan hope.


Yep - that's just what I hope would come across. Good thing I've got such perceptive readers ;-) In this story I did decide to make Elrohir the more resilliant, light hearted by nature twin. He is more able to live in the moment.

Thanks again,

Avon

NilmandraReviewed Chapter: 1 on 10/28/2003
I like the characterization of the twins - giving them the dignity one might expect as elves and also showing their merry side. Elladan's grief is well done as well, and I like how the smells brought back memories.

I didn't pay close enough attention to the summary, I think, and got confused a bit as to who Elladan was thinking of - in particular who they had annointed. I almost thought that they were with Eldarion, and looking back on Estel's death as I had never thought of Arathorn as being a 'brother' to them as well. I guess I thought that although Arathorn and the other chieftains were fostered in Rivendell, their situations were very different from Aragorn's. But, the blood and pain reminded me that this had to be Arathorn. The botany tutor also threw me a bit - as Estel is only six. I guess I thought that Elladan's memories were spanning multiple indiviuals and situations at that point. Interesting that its my preconceptions of the relationship the twins had with Estel that led me down the wrong path! I thought too much and took away from the simplicity of what you were saying.

I like the use of the song - seldom do we see people showing the elves as merry as Tolkien did in The Hobbit. This outing sounds like a fine occasion to use it. I like the ending - ending on the song, with Estel cuddled up on Elladan's back because Elrohir knew that would provide comfort - and hope - to him.

Author Reply: *ouch* I'm nearly five months late on this.... it's half work related and half my overwhelming ability to procrastinate.

I didn't pay close enough attention to the summary, I think, and got confused a bit as to who Elladan was thinking of - in particular who they had annointed.

Mmmm, yes... one thing I have realised from people's comments is that the who is speaking pf whom bit is unclear at times. I haven't found a way to fix it but at least I've realised it ;-)

I guess I thought that although Arathorn and the other chieftains were fostered in Rivendell, their situations were very different from Aragorn's

I've always seen them as being fairly similar - some of the chieftains were probably there for shorter times or went there when they were older - but I still see them as becoming part of Elrond's extended family.

The botany tutor also threw me a bit - as Estel is only six.

Ah, well - this is where you run into the teacher in me. IMO - learning would be lifelong for the Elves and would cover so much we have to leave out and would go at a much more reasonable pace but the depth oh the depth! I don't see formal schools as such - particularly if it is true that children were fairly rare. Instead Elves that had an interest would teach a particular area. A lot of it would be based on fun and play but I think that there still would be a core ethic of hard work and aiming for excellence. Estel wouldn't be writing out pages of definitions or being marked on his disrections or diagrams. He'd be curled up in a comfy lap looking at the most beautiful illustrations you can imagine and exploring his wooded world with someone who can guide his curiosity... erm, don't get me started on education, hey? ;-)

I like the use of the song - seldom do we see people showing the elves as merry as Tolkien did in The Hobbit.

Trying to reconcile Tolkien's various types of Elves fascinates me. Besides the mere fact that majority opinion has Elves being purely solemn, serious, better than everyone in the world creatures makes me contrary enough to want to look at other versions ;-)

Thank you very much for the feedback and I'm sorry it has taken me so long to reply.

Avon







daw the minstrelReviewed Chapter: 1 on 10/28/2003
I liked the unusual point of view. It was as if we were overhearing Elladan speaking to Estel, except, of course, even then he was only thinking and not speaking his thoughts out loud. But it was effective. I felt as if I were being let in on something private.

Also, I had never thought about the fact that Arathorn too might have been like a brother to the twins. I knew he had been fostered at Imladris, but it had never occurred to me that he might be like a foster brother to Elladan and Elrohir.

Author Reply: Thank you for taking the time to leave feedback! Thanks for the reassurance about the POV. As I think I might have explained in the author's notes it was sort of a compromise between wanting to do second person, as for some reason painting myself into a corner helps when I'm stuck on a story, and feeling I should get over that quick smart before I became totally pretentious ;-) I think it did help make it more intimate.

Also, I had never thought about the fact that Arathorn too might have been like a brother to the twins. I knew he had been fostered at Imladris, but it had never occurred to me that he might be like a foster brother to Elladan and Elrohir.

;-) Trust me to not miss any possible angst. No, seriously I mostly assume (I have very few permanent 100% certain theories) that while Aragorn may have been there younger than most each of the heirs who were there would have become sort of family. Why do I think this? Well, firstly I can't see Elves *not* loving any available kids - particularly given if, as seems possible there weren't oodles of Elf babies floating around. Secondly I think that these kids would be very precious to Elrond as being the closest thing he has left to his brother; I guess I've always assumed that they were fostered with Elrond not elsewhere in Rivendell. Thirdly I suspect that one reason (apart from protection issues) why they were fostered at Rivendell for however long was to increase ties between Elves and Men - in the same way it was done (AFAIK) sometimes in real history. Elrond would want both his children to feel ties to the race of Men (if not marraige ties ;-)) and for these leaders of Men to know and understand their Elven heritage. Of course some would stay longer, some - depending on what was happening in M-e - might visit before and after (I imagined this for Arathorn, as it happens) and some would just become closer than others.

Cheers,

Avon
(who really should learn to be BRIEF on day ;-))


Jay of LasgalenReviewed Chapter: 1 on 10/28/2003
I love stories featuring the twins, and this is very well written. I know I've read it somewhere before, but can't recall where. I love the description of leaves and autumn colours, and the characterisations of all three.

Elladan's sorrow as he recalls another 'little brother' is very sad, and I like Elrohir's concern, and his suggestion that Elladan carries Aragorn back!


Jay

Author Reply: Thanks, Jay. You may have read it before - it went up over at HASA members on the 20th, but that was a a bit rough as I was really rushing to post it for a friend's birthday. This is the more edited version ;-)

I love the description of leaves and autumn

I *love* autumn and though you don't get an overwhelming autumn in Sydney I almost always go for a quick trip up the mountains or down the tablelands so I can see more leaves ;-)

Thanks,

Avon

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