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A Matter of Heart  by daw the minstrel 28 Review(s)
ManderlyReviewed Chapter: 2 on 12/12/2004
What a delightful chapter! When I was reading about Alfirin getting dressed for the big date, it dawned on me that we do not get many "girly scenes" in these stories as the main characters are all male. How often do we get to read about pinning flowers in one's hair?

It was interesting seeing the King's household through Alfirin's eyes. So she's already worrying about running the royal household? I don't blame her for being intimidated but we all know she's pretty efficient at slapping some sense into these stubborn males when her time comes.

The little dinner scene with the two servants was hiliarious with Legolas being hysterical and Thranduil trying hard not to be. "Has he no command over his wife?" Uh-oh, wrong words, Ithilden if you value your life. But I suppose he'll come to his senses soon enough once he's bonded.

Author Reply: I think this may be the first scene I've written entirely from Alfirin's POV. And you're right. I don't do too many girly one. This particular girl is considering joining a very male household too, poor thing. She will have her work cut out for her. But she turns out to be really good at it. It might take her a couple of hundred years to get it right, but she does it!

Ithilden needs to step back a little and think about what he's saying. And Thranduil is just afraid he'll never have grandchildren.

sofiaReviewed Chapter: 2 on 12/12/2004
I have to admit that this is one of my favorite chapters in any of your stories. I think its absolutely brilliant! I love the discriptions of the palace from Alfirin point of view and the way her parents are not bothered by having the King's oldest son inviting their daughter for dinner.
Ithilden needs to lighten up more, and Alfirin, of course, is the perfect one to do it. although she doesn't see it yet.

Author Reply: You know, Sofia, as I was writing this, I was thinking that it's a kind of chapter I never could have written a year ago. It's purely domestic. I spend a whole chapter on Alfirin going to dinner at the palace! And I truly enjoyed it. I had fun trying to convey all the emotions of everyone there while staying in her POV. Ithilden definitely needs to lighten up. Truer words were never spoken.

perellethReviewed Chapter: 2 on 12/12/2004
Oh my! I knew there was going to be fun!!!! Poor Ithilden, he definitely lacks this particular skill…or maybe he skipped those pages in the handbook!!

I'm sure Thranduil is going to have the time of his life in this story, were it not for Legolas’ suffering. Poor child, difficult age, fighting for his independence and at the same time so deeply hurt by such a hard experience… and in such need of comfort he doesn't even know how to ask for it...that’s surely a challenge for Thranduil’s parental skills… (Not to mention he will surely have to play mummy’s role too with such a fool of an eldest son!What a busy time for the King of Mirkwood!)

I loved Alfirin’s point of view, and mostly the way you describe their physical awareness of each other; I think that’s a sign for Alfirin: to be so acutely aware of Ithilden’s nearness can only mean that she is already lost! No matter how hard the job seems to be or how frightened she becomes of it all!

I wonder, does Ithilden even suspect he’s acquiring a bride who is almost as bossy as he is? I laughed out while reading her perceptions of the family chambers, the servants, the managing of such a household…. Mmm... I’d pay money to be let inside Thranduil’s mind… Ithilden is going to find his match in more aspects than he expects…

And wow! Such timing! I ask and then you update! I could hardly believe it! ;-)
I expect to get immersed in “Legolas’ begetting day” next weekend… I’m looking forward to it!

Author Reply: Ithilden is such a funny mixture. He is so competent and hard working at his job, that he is seldom wrong there. Thank goodness. But then in his personal life, he doesn't seem to realize that he might not be right all the time! Thranduil is probably deeply amused, except he would like grandchildren and it might look like he's going to have to depend on the stork to bring them if he doesn't straighten out his oldest son.

I don't think Ithilden has the faintest clue that Alfirin is assessing the situation for how she would take charge of it. He's not even terribly aware there's a situation to take charge of!

But she is really hot for him. :-) And he's really aware of her too. In his mind, she should wear her hair down all the time for one thing.

The EE of ROTK comes out in the States this week, so I'm going to spend time with that I hope. And it's final exam week at my university, so I have a bit to do there too, not to mention holiday stuff. Ack. Another chapter will come along eventually.

Jay of LasgalenReviewed Chapter: 2 on 12/12/2004
I've been waiting for this new chapter! It was interesting to see it from Alfirin's POV, especially the description of the family quarters. I'm glad she chose the green dress - it seems more appropriate for dining with the Elvenking.

Legolas seemed very subdued at first, and if Alfirin noticed Thranduil's and Ithilden's concern, others will have as well. He cheered up later, though - the scene at dinner with the quarrelling servants was hilarious! I'm glad he laughed so much. Ithilden's comment was revealing, though: “Has he no command over his wife?” Watch out, Alfirin! I wonder if she's realised that if they marry, and anything was to happen to Thranduil, she would be Queen?

The courting of an ordinary girl by the monarch's son reminds me of the ill-fated marriage between Prince Charles and Princess Diana. At least we know Ithilden and Alfirin won't end in disaster.


Author Reply: Do you know, this was the first time I ever figured out for myself how the family quarters would look? Writing it from Alfirin's POV was interesting for that reason. I had to think of looking at it through the eyes of someone not accustomed to it.

I think that Legolas's distress is strongest when he has to deal with weapons himself or think about others doing so. The scene in the dining room must have been a nice relief for him.

Alfirin is realizing quite of lot of what would be expected of her if she married Ithilden and it's making her pause, even though she does admire his body. :-)

BodkinReviewed Chapter: 2 on 12/12/2004
The head says 'beware', the mouth says 'yes'. She thinks he's just too plain gorgeous to let the difficulties daunt her for too long - and Thranduil's on her side, which is a Good Thing. She's currently at the humble stage of thinking she's too young, immature, inexperienced, etc, to be worthy of the glorious troop commander, but it won't last! She's already noted that he is rather too bossy. (Definitely inexperience on his part - Thranduil's knowing grin is that of a trained husband.) Everyone knows their fate - except, it would seem, Ithilden and Alfirin themselves. (When the would-be squeeze starts courting the younger sibling, you KNOW he's serious!)

Legolas did quite well as substitute host - it helps Alfirin feel at home to have someone Tonduil's age around. Poor wandering lad - his (well-earned) reputation is preventing him from having more of those nights under the stars that he loves so.

I liked the first sight of servants - it must be a job and a half to manage the royal household and the settling of ructions not the least part of it - and I loved the reactions to the spat. Poor Ithilden mortified - Legolas controlled himself well to keep his laughter in until after they had left the room. And Alfirin unable to believe that Thranduil was laughing.

A lovely chapter - including plenty of blushing, but also some coherent speech! And a fair bit of breathlessness and - shall we say - physical awareness. You know, they might actually be ready for that wedding.

Author Reply: You're hitting the nail right on the head, Bodkin! She's really reacting to Ithilden physically, which in Elves is pretty close to the emotions too. She's seeing what a big job she would be taking on in marrying him though. Managing the palace would be a real challenge and managing Ithilden might be tough too. She just needs to get some self-confidence.

I thought Legolas could probably manage social things rather well. He's been exposed to them a lot because of who he is and he knows what should be done.

I think the happy couple has made progress, actually. No one did anything too embarrassing, unless you count Ithilden's bonehead speech!

NilmandraReviewed Chapter: 2 on 12/12/2004
Ah, I forgot to tell you I enjoyed the humor at the dinner table greatly. Ithilden has so much to learn....and because we have seen Alfirin years into the future from this scene, we know who does rule that household and dinner table!

They are smitten with each other too, and they are both very practical. Its a joy to see them lose that self restraint at times. :-)

Author Reply: LOL. Yes, she will definitely take charge eventually and they'll be glad to let her do it. But she's young and this all looks like a big challenge. Thanks for all your help with this.

AliceReviewed Chapter: 2 on 12/12/2004
Oy. Ithilden needs his mother. Or a fairy godmother or somebody! He needs guidance. Desperately. I can just see what Thranduil was thinking after the whole wife obedience crack. "I'm never going to have grandchildren." I have a feeling Thranduil is going to take Ithilden aside and explain to him that elves serious in their pursuit of a maiden do not abandon her to go and take care of some work business and do not make comments about wives being obedient. Like I said, Ithilden needs his mother. He's apparently forgotten that his mother was hardly absolutely obedient to his father. Also, I can just see her coralling Calith and asking him if he wanted her to not have grandchildren and preventing him from dragging Ithilden off to work.

I loved the scene with Alfirin getting ready. It's like the getting ready picture for prom. Hehe. She was so cute getting ready. Alfirin is really sensible. I love how she's baffled as to why her mother thinks her hair should be worn in a way that isn't practical and how she immedietly starts thinking about how things could be run better at the palace. That's our motherly girl!

I loved the line about Tonduil and his father just watching Ithilden and making him nervous. I can totally see them doing that. It was so cute how Tonduil went and showed Ithilden his treehouse. Good old Ithilden. Who later showed off by jumping out of the tree. At least he knows how to impress her.

I look forward to the next chapter. I'd be worried if I didn't know that they got together later. Poor Ithilden. Stop messing up, darn it. He'll change her mind on the walk though. Hopefully. Update soon!

Author Reply: Oh yeah, Lorelling would have been waiting for Ithilden to get back from walking Alfirin home and let him know just how stupid he was! I think Thranduil is mostly amused, although he'd probably be more so if he were sure this would all work out. The thing of it is though, that sometimes Ithilden does need to go to work at night. Anyone who marries him is going to have to know and accept that.

Everyone in that family would benefit by Ithilden marrying her, though. They all need her to take care of them. And Ithilden does love her.

At the moment, she seems most impressed by his body, which isn't so bad either!

French PonyReviewed Chapter: 2 on 12/12/2004
Alfirin has curly hair! I like her even more than I already did. It's so pretty when it's loose, but what a pain in the neck it is to untangle the next day. But it holds braids and elaborate hairstyles so well.

I snortled at the idea of Alfirin getting all worked up over the pink dress versus the green dress, as she's going to dinner in a soldierly household consisting of the King, a teenage boy, and a boyfriend who is so smitten with her that he babbles nonsense in her general direction. None of these people could possibly care less what she's wearing. Assuming, that is, that they even notice.

And Ithilden is thinking that wives can be commanded. Ithilden, honey, you've got this whole thing bass-ackwards. She will be the one commanding you from now on, and you will like it.

At the moment, Ithilden is clearly hotter for Alfirin than she is for him, and my dad would probably say that's a good thing. Alfirin seems to be walking into things with wide-open eyes, noticing every little detail that needs managing right off the bat. Spring peas would have been great. And if you have a cooking staff, nothing says you can't have spring peas and roast vegetables both. Maybe I'll do that some night. Broil up some venison steaks, and cook peas and roasted potatoes to go with them. That doesn't sound too hard.

There does seem to be a communication gap between Alfirin and the rest of The Family. Unless Thranduil is in the habit of addressing all of his sons' girlfriends as "my dear" and kissing them on the forehead (I remain convinced that being King is the only thing that saved him from a swift kick in the shins when he did that), it would seem that Ithilden has decided that Alfirin is The One for him. But Alfirin doesn't seem to have figured out till the end of dinner that Ithilden is really serious about her. Now that he has reached a stage in the romance where he's actually coherent, they have quite a bit of talking to do.

I do hope we get to see Annael in this. The thing I found lacking about Prodigal Sons was Annael's response to the endgame. The Unholy Trinity were always so close that it seemed a little odd to leave Annael out of the end. And in so many ways, Annael is the rock that both Turgon and Legolas lean on, the only one with a really stable family to back him up. I can imagine so many things he might have been thinking about his participation or lack thereof in that excursion.

Legolas likes to wander indeed. The Family knows this about him, but I wonder how surprised they must have been that year that he wandered off to Imladris and didn't come back for such a long time.

Author Reply: Ithilden probably will like being commanded! At least in some things. I think he's just kind of certain that he's always right. She needs to let him know that that's not the case. :-) She's been running her family's house, so she'd have a good eye for what needs doing, but the palace would be a whole different ball game. She has a big job ahead of her and she's pretty young.

I hesitated over that "my dear" thing, but I do think Thranduil is pretty sure this is The One. He just needs to educate his oldest son a bit.

Good point about Annael. If I'd written more before I wrote Prodigal Sons, I'd probably have felt the need to include him, but I was still really feeling my way along there. He grew up faster than the other two, I think. Well, Turgon didn't really grow up at all.

Yes, I thought of that particular act of wandering when I wrote that. Legolas does have a history of this kind of thing.

Thanks for the review, FP.

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