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A Matter of Heart  by daw the minstrel 167 Review(s)
AliceReviewed Chapter: 1 on 12/9/2004
It was really nice having a new Daw story waiting for me when I got home. I had a trying day and this vastly improved it. I burst into a grin when I read the summary thinking, " Yay! Ithilden and Alfirin romance stuff!" They're both so adorable.

I really enjoyed the scene with Tonduil. Tonduil is nice. I found it amusing to listen to him and Legolas discuss their siblings' romance. I wonder if Ithilden did overhear that bit of the conversation.(grins) I look forward to watching Ithilden and Alfirin finally make some progress. I'm enjoying the teenage elves also. I like Tonduil and it really is good that the training masters convince him to seek another career later. Galelas really was annoying when he was young. I'd forgotten how much so. I have to admit though, I can understand being irritated about Legolas missing classes without knowing the full story. I loved seeing Beliniel. Annael's in love! Well, maybe not yet, but it's just so much fun watching him with his future wife. Annael and Beliniel sitting in a tree . . . Okay, I'm done now.

Have I mentioned how much I like Elowen? She mothers all three of them really. She is just such a nice person. I'm really fond of the entire Annael family actually. All three of them are really shiny.

I look forward to the next chapter greatly. Are we going to see Ithilden embarass himself at dinner? The answer to that is probably yes. I have this image of Eilian(because he's probably the only one who would dare tease the Commander about something like this to his face) saying to Ithilden " Ah, the path of true love never did run smooth." And Ithilden, soaking wet, or wearing singed clothes, or marked by some sort of sign of calamity just going, " Shut up or I'll demote you." Fortunately for Ithilden if a catastrophe does happen, Eilian is not there to make smart remarks.

Author Reply: Ah, Alice, you know how to make me feel good.

I like Tonduil too. It comforts me to know that he eventually find something he's good at and enjoys and is self-confident enough to go do it. I think you're right about Galelas. How's he supposed to know that Legolas isn't just taking advantage of his position? Of course, he might do better not to assume the worst. (As I look at your review, I become aware of how many OCs I have. Wow. This is a thickly populated world. No wonder new readers run away!)

I love Annael's family and I still feel bad about killing his father.

You're so funny about poor Ithilden! Like Legolas, he's doing better now. :-)

DotReviewed Chapter: 1 on 12/9/2004
Right, I’m back. I think I got a bit over-excited earlier – sorry about that!

I really do love a lot about ‘See the Stars’. There’s a wonderful sense of what it was like to live around Thranduil’s stronghold and of their daily lives. The whole place felt really vibrant. I agree with you about Legolas and Thranduil – their relationship is captured perfectly in it. And yes, that flashback to just after Lorellin’s death is amazing. I wouldn’t worry about Ithilden’s characterisation in it. He’s a little more… relaxed and cheery, I suppose, than in stories written later but I like that side of him. Plus it’s largely from Eilian’s POV if I remember correctly, which is going to put a certain spin on things. I always thought there were some fantastic Eilian/Ithilden moments. Often their interactions are restricted to Ithilden’s office or awkward conversations at the table but in that story they’re just *brothers*, you know? Oh, and I think that’s the story that has one of the funniest lines ever… something like “So you escaped the spiders again. You must have run very fast.” That still makes me laugh!

But anyway, enough rambling and back to the story I’m supposed to be reviewing!

I felt so bad for Tonduil. He’s such a really likeable character and I hate to see him struggle. It’s just not in his nature to be a warrior. But at least he does realise that eventually. And Galelas is such a pain in the you-know-what. I have to keep reminding myself that he improves with time and a little help from Eilian.

And poor Legolas! I know he still has problems with knife-work in ‘Prodigal Sons’ but it seems it stretches to the sword as well. My heart goes out to him. I can’t even begin to imagine how horrific it was to him to kill another elf and to be still plagued by such vivid nightmares is just awful. He was always so calm and self-assured when it came to weapons training but self-doubt appears to have crept in now and that must be so difficult to handle. And the thing is, this is his life, not just some hobby. He has to do this. He seems to work himself into a bit of a state but I suppose he just needs time. Everyone can tell him that he did the right thing but he really needs to come to that conclusion himself. Thelion is obviously trying to treat him no differently from the others. The possibility that he genuinely isn’t having any negative thoughts about him doesn’t seem to have dawned on Legolas at all. I’m glad he did well today too, although I imagine it’ll be harder when he actually has to spar with someone. A lot might depend on who he’s partnered with. And I’m just going to believe you when you say that elbow thing makes a difference!!

Good old Annael! He certainly must have wondered about Legolas and it takes a lot not to ask. He’s such a good friend.

I love the bit with Annael, Tonduil and Legolas joking together. I wonder if Ithilden and Alfirin know how much amusement their younger brothers get from them?!

Tonduil’s become a little braver if he’s criticising Galelas in front of the scary troop commander! Alfirin is right that Galelas has “reasons” for his behaviour, although if I had to spend time with him I wouldn’t be too willing to see them either. She’s still “my lord”ing Ithilden – I hope that’s just in public! Actually, she might be a good person for Legolas to talk to because she’s been in a similar situation, but as the hostage, wasn’t she? At the moment, though, anyone wanting to discuss the matter with Legolas would want to tread very carefully.

So Legolas’ family have gone into protective mode? I can’t say I blame them, even though it’s probably just making Legolas paranoid. He is judging others as well as himself but at least he recognises it to some extent. I tend not to talk about things either so I can totally see where he’s coming from.

LOL at Legolas imitating Thranduil! I loved that moment where they both laugh. He has a point, though – if Ithilden is entitled to keep some things private, then surely he is as well. I do love to see Ithilden all embarrassed! But I’m looking forward to some progress between him and Alfirin. They’re so perfect for one another. PLEASE tell me you’ll show us the dinner scene!!

Thranduil must be having such a hard time. It must be really frustrating to see your child suffering but to find yourself shut out. It’s always difficult to see that someone needs help and want to give it but to know that there’s simply nothing you can do but be there and wait until they’re ready. And Legolas is no longer a child so he certainly can’t press the issue. Is that Alfirin’s mother he talks to or a different healer?

Oh, lord. Turgon’s back. So he really has been riding out on patrol. I never believed that actually did happen! I suppose Elowen knew that Legolas wasn’t at training as well. I really liked that moment when she ruffles Turgon’s hair. She’s often been affectionate with Legolas but I don’t think I’ve seen it with Turgon. It’s lovely to know that he has that. “I, for one, am glad you are back safely and hope you do not intend to do anything so dangerous again until you are a few years older.” :-( I’d love to know how Annael and his family react when Turgon dies. I’d imagine Elowen and Siondel would become very protective, even though they know Annael is sensible.

“For a second, Legolas wondered if having Alfirin in his family would be like having Elowen.” Crikey, it must be so odd to have a female presence in the house again. And while the rest of his family remember what that was like, Legolas has never really known it. I can certainly see a comparison between Alfirin and Elowen. They’re both very motherly and have a lot of love to give.

Beliniel is friends with Miriwen too? I suppose all the maidens around the same age would be friendly with each other. Annael and Legolas are just too cute. And I thought Ithilden was awkward! Of course, Legolas is still young… Oh, sudden thought – who was Ithilden’s first kiss??

Turgon hasn’t become aware of the charms of the maidens yet, eh? They’re all at that age where they grow up in different ways and at different rates. I’m feeling sad now that he’ll never get to experience that. I normally don’t think about his future when I read about Turgon but this story is just far too close to the next one not to. Ah well.

Oh, I’m finished. Well, this was certainly a great start! Hopefully I’ll be busy with the EE DVD at the weekend but I’ll be dying for an update of this too!! Thank you so much, daw – you’ve made me really happy today! :-)

Author Reply: You know what? I went back and read "See the Stars" too, and I feel better. I can see Eilian and Ithilden just hanging out together, and Eilian visiting Maltanaur's family and Gelmir's, and it does all seem kind of lively and normal. :-)

I like Legolas's friends, even Turgon. He's basically a sweet kid but he's so undisciplined and misguided. And Legolas needs his friend now. They make him feel normal. But he also needs his family and he's shutting them out. All the adults around him want to help him, but he's just lost. The healer is Alfirin's mother. I don't quite know what to do with that yet, but supposedly elves minds had control of their bodies, so maybe some meditation would be a normal thing for them to do.

French Pony says the elbow thing is about speed, not power, and she's probably right because she fences. I get all my info from the web!

So you think Alfirin might be a good person for Legolas to talk to? Could be!

When Legolas was teasing Ithilden a little, one of the things I was trying to suggest was that he's older in this story than in the last one. He's still a kid to Ithilden, but he can think more like an adult now and see what's going on, like with Ithilden and Alfirin (did he kiss her?). I plan to have the dinner scene in the next chapter. Alfirin is all atwitter!

Turgon is exaggerating what he did on patrol. No surprise there. And I kind of liked seeing Elowen be affectionate with him too. She is so motherly. Imagine what it would be like to have a female come into Thrnaduil's household though. From Alfirin's point of view, it has to be odd. And from Legolas's it's just an unknown.

I don't know who Ithilden's first kiss is. I need to think about him as a young elf someday.

And now for the real part. You have the EE??? How can that be? It doesn't come out here until Dec. 15!! I am so, so jealous.

KarriReviewed Chapter: 1 on 12/9/2004
This looks to be an interesting story. Poor Legolas could do with some proper post-traumatic stress therapy, couldn't he. I am glad you have been aboe to make some progress on this. Very good! :-)

Author Reply: Thank you, Karri. Post-traumatic stress was exactly what I was thinking about. Given the horror of kinslaying among Elves, I thought he might have a hard time with this.

sofiaReviewed Chapter: 1 on 12/9/2004
Good first chapter. Can't wait to read more. Thranduil must feel so helpless while his youngest son is suffering.

Author Reply: Glad you liked it, Sofia. I think Thranduil does feel helpless. He's doing the best he can, but Legolas is old enough that he doesn't turn to his father quite as easily as he did.

esamenReviewed Chapter: 1 on 12/9/2004
Oh, a new Daw! (Reads with happy anticipation.)

Mmm, mmm, mmm. This is one fabulous Christmas present for me, because:

-- My hero is finally getting a little attention. I just love Legolas h/c, even more than Eilian h/c. Love it! Thank you, thank you! Pour it on!

-- Beautifully crafted scenes. Physical sparring, and then a bit of verbal sparring between brothers, too? Nice touch. I love the multifaceted way that you tell a story. So much to see, hear, smell, touch, and think about. It is truly enthralling.

-- And a little romance too. I enjoy romance, especially in the subtle, pointy, nuanced way that you render it. It is still true that most of the excitement lies in the chase. That's something that the post-1960s generations are missing out on--anticipation. I like it that Ithilden, with all his many powers, must still travel this road like any other ordinary guy. (Man? Male? Elf?) It's always a wonderful moment in anyone's life.

Delightful! Can't wait for more! Happy typing!


Author Reply: LOL. I was worried that I'd laid the angst on too thick for Legolas. I tend to like understatement but my beta said readers needed to be able to emphathize and she was right (as always).

Peter Jackson says that the build up to the battle is a site for real drama (and TTT shows that), and I think that's true of romance too. Eilian and Celuwen were fun to write for that reason. He wanted her in the worst way, and she was elusive. The one sex scene I wrote between them was more powerful, I think, because it had been so long in coming. And Ithilden is learning that he's not in command of everything. Poor guy!

lwarrenReviewed Chapter: 1 on 12/9/2004
Yay!! A new story by daw! I sure was glad to see this...was able to put off grading some tests this morning for a bit...would much rather read an elf story by you! LOL

I am glad you went back to this time frame, daw. I wondered how much time and effort it might take a young Legolas to get over killing an elf-maid (even if it was to protect his father and realm, and the other elf woman)at the end of that story. Legolas would be the type to really see it as a "kinslaying", which would cause some very big emotional problems for him, as his Father is even now noticing in this first chapter. Picking up a sharpened sword and swinging it, even at a stick, would be hard, what with the flashbacks he seems to be experiencing.

I'm glad he has Annael and later, good ole' Turgon to reinforce the normality of everything. However, I really wanted to shove Galelas' foot in his...ear. What a jerk! I held my breath, I thought he might push until Legolas exploded or something.

Annael's mom seemed to know something...I really like her (I remember the story of Legolas' fascination with Annael's mother when he was small). Maybe she'll be a big help to him. Great start...can't wait to see how he deals with the pain of all this. (Ah, yes, Ithilden and Alfirin'g courtship continues...dinner with the family...must be on our best behavior and use company manners!!! LOL)


Author Reply: Linda--

I know what you mean about putting off grading!

I originally though about writing in this time frame because I wanted to pick up the romance of Ithilden and Alfirin and get them to the point where they could be betrothed (or at least on the way). But then I thought about what Legolas must have been going through too, so it's nice to have the two stories to play off against one another.

I feel kind of sorry for Galelas actually. I know he's a jerk but Alfirin is right that he has reasons. I'm glad that Eilian was able to help him shape up into a warrior. He was better once he got away from home. I mean, he's Tinar's brother, for pity sake! That has to be a burden.

DotReviewed Chapter: 1 on 12/9/2004
I'm just dropping by before lunchtime ends, even though I won't be able to write a proper review until I get home in another few hours... I can't stop grinning! There's some REALLY great stuff in 'See the Stars' and I'm so, so glad that you went back to this time!! And yay, more Ithilden!!!'ll be back later! :-) (Yay again!)

Author Reply: Legolas was rebellious and driving Thranduil crazy in "See the Stars." That was fun to write. And I also liked the flashback to his mother's death. Ithilden's characterization is not good there, though. He's better now. I think he needs to make some progress here! And then you can go through and strike out all the places where it says "Alfirin" and put in "Dot" if you want to. ;-)

It's just turning 8:00 am here, so I have to get to work too. See you later, Dot.

thechevinReviewed Chapter: 1 on 12/9/2004
What a lovely pre holiday gift a new story
I remember the original story really well and so enjoyed it even back then before I was brave enough to leave reviews so I am eagerly looking forward to seeing how Legolas comes to terms with his feelings as well as Thranduil and Ithilden as well of course
Not only that but a little more romance for Ithilden I do hope the course of true love runs a little more smoothly for him (what am I saying of course I don't it is good to see the so assured Ithilden floundering a little)
Poor Legolas must feel as if he is in a goldfish bowl with all these people watching him or atleast he thinks they are
and why do I get the feeling that Turgon and the others will eventually find out the reason for Legolas' absence and that it will not help
thank you

Author Reply: Isn't it odd now to think of being too shy to leave reviews? I was like that too when I first started reading fanfic. I just didn't think the author would care what I thought, and I thought the reviews had to be profound or something. Then I started writing and boy did I start seeing reviews differently! LOL. If you read "See the Stars," you read the first story I ever wrote. EVER. I was so timid about posting it, but then I looked at the other stories on (SoA didn't exist then) and said, if the 12 years olds can be brave enough to do this, I can do it too.

Anyway, I'm planning to keep Eilian away from home so I can concentrate on Ithilden and Legolas both confronting things that scare the wits out of them, although Ithilden's efforts will have a more pleasant effect on his life, of course. Poor Legolas indeed. I thought that maybe the more people watched him, the less he would want to tell them. He just wants to hide out for a while.

Turgon finds out what happened in "Prodigal Sons/In Mirkwood." And bad things result. :-(

elliskaReviewed Chapter: 1 on 12/9/2004
Oh I am dying. Of course I knew you'd write one over winter break but this is too good and I am going out of town Monday and I won't have Internet access again until after the New Year. I am going to be dying in suspense to know how this works out.

This is a really interesting time period in your history of the family. I often wondered how Legolas came through such a tramatic event. I'll have to go back and reread the two stories that sandwich this one just to have them fresh. You really packed this chapter full of priceless moments though.

I love Legolas' asking Ithilden if Alfirin is finally taking him seriously (impertinent question!) and then raising his eyebrow to Ithilden's response in deliberate imitation of Thranduil. Burst out laughing at the little brat. Great.

And poor Thranduil. I am not a parent but I can't imagine what it would be like when your kids reach that age when they won't accept your help anymore. I remember the hurt look on my dad's face a few times. And I never killed anyone. Thranduil must be beside himself.

When Turgon showed up...oh goodness. Nothing good can happen in this story, especially with him boasting, in this of all times, about riding with patrols. I seem to recall it will not be long until exactly that over confidence leads him to his final disaster.

And Miriwen makes an appearance. I remember reading in a review that you said reviewers hate Legolas' girlfriends. I always liked her (she is the one he kisses at Ithilden's wedding, isn't she? I think I'll go back and read that again too). I hope she has a role in this story.

But it was the details in this chapter that made it great--the curtailing of First Age lessons, the little things Elowen does (mussing hair, pausing to listen to Legolas' reaction), Legolas' various reactions to Miriwen, his wondering if Ithilden kissed Alfirin. Those actions all add such depth and in some cases have so much weight given past or future events. (Don't I remember when Legolas has his first kiss that he benefit's from Ithilden's 'indiscretions' kissing Alfirin? I think that's right. I hope we get a glimpse of that--it's cute) Great job on weaving that in.

I'm not sure if I should hope for one more chapter between now and Monday or not (I know you'll post one). It will probably just leave me dying with curiousity. So glad to see a new story though!

Author Reply: No Internet access for THREE WEEKS? Oh my. I'll be gone for a week after New Year in the same situation, but THREE WEEKS?

I keep cringing at the idea of people reading "See the Stars." It was my first story and I see all its flaws now. I tell too much rather than showing it. I'm probably out of canon with the elf spy. And my characterizations aren't set yet, especially that of Ithilden, who was the hardest of my OCs to pin down. "Prodigal Sons" is a little better but it's still too much telling. As a matter of fact, it was after I wrote that story that my beta explained the whole concept of show/tell to me. What a revelation!

One of the things I was concerned about with this opening chapter was reminding readers that Legolas is older here than he was in "Good Neighbors." He's really an adolescent, not a child any more. So the question to Ithilden was part of conveying that. He's more observant and also cheekier!

Turgon's doom is almost upon him. To me that's the crucial event of this part of Legolas's life, just as the death of his mother was the most significant event of his childhood. Turgon's death sobered Legolas, made him settle down and make some decisions about how disciplined he needed to be. Poor kid. He's made of strong stuff to come through all this I guess.

Miriwen is indeed the one Legolas kisses at Ithilden's wedding, and I always liked her too. She makes mistakes just like he does. She's an adolescent too, for pity sake! I hadn't planned a big role for her. He's just edging toward her a little. And yes, he learns from watching Big Brother. :-)

I hope I post this weekend, but I'm not sure. Next week is final exams and my graduate students are coming to my Ames apartment for a party on Monday night so I have to go to Ames early and cook and clean. How domestic of me!

BodkinReviewed Chapter: 1 on 12/9/2004
Perhaps what's-her-name wasn't an elf - she was an undercover orc, of a kind bred by Sauron to fit unobtrusively into elven society as spies.

Maybe Alfirin will be the one to get through to Legolas here - after all, that man tried to kill her, so she's been the hostage in one of these situations. Or Annael - who knows better than to ask, but whose understanding and acceptance could soothe Legolas more than most things.

Author Reply: Well, that's always a possibility! LOL Maybe Thranduil can suggest that.

Ah, Bodkin. You're always so clever. You and The Karenator always make me go running to my desk to make sure no one's been going through my notes.

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