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A Matter of Heart  by daw the minstrel 167 Review(s)
Tapetum LucidumReviewed Chapter: 2 on 1/13/2005
I like the idea of a little more wrap up for "See the Stars." It must have been extremely traumatic for our soft-hearted hero to kill an elleth like he did.

Sounds like Galelas is still an ass. I have more sympathy for him since I have met his older brother. Legolas' family must be scared to death for him. Unfortunately for them he is at an age where hovering is only going to make things worse. I wish he had confided what happened to Annael, I am sure he could have helped. Obviously the youngest prince is not as well as he wants to be. The quick conversation change between the brothers was cute - obviously Legolas has picked up on some of Thranduil's skill with irony.

Annael's house has always been a refuge for the prince. He must really love it there. Apparently people are a little more aware of the incident than he realizes. I am glad his friends are treating him well. Running into the maidens was very cute. At least some things are always the same.

Reading about a shy Alfirin is a nice change of pace from reading about our confident Celuwen. I like them both a lot and I'm glad you have given both of them a strong, distinct personality. The shy maiden's observance of Ithilden's thigh musculature was hilarious. I may have noticed something like that a time or two myself... say when he was pulling an arrow out of skeleton in Moria and the camera panned up, or standing on a cliff in Rohan when the camera panned up.... Wait! I'm getting a little distracted.

Alfirin's perspective of life in the palace was very fresh. To her sleeping in a flet is something every child does but it is not easy for a princeling. Having guards around is perfectly normal to them but awkward for her. It is a nice contrast. I was glad to see Legolas being a proper host. It must have been a little uncomfortable for both of them. I have no doubt Thranduil's wine is better than most, even when properly watered.

Turgon's return obviously did not thrill Thranduil. At least it gave him an opportunity to comfort his youngest a little... something he must not want from his eldest sibling. Alfirin's musings about the running of the household are a great idea! I would never worry about such things. Apparently it is something at which Alfirin will be quite skilled. Ithilden had trouble learning that the role between brothers was a lot different than the warrior-commander one. I would hope he could learn to use the same knowledge in other aspects of home life. If not, he is going to be in BIG trouble. Alfirin may be a homemaker at heart but she is far from a pushover.

Walking her to the weaving was very sweet and their trip home was pleasant. Your use of her self-doubt was very realistic and it is obvious that Alfirin's heart is a little louder than her head.
Great job!

Author Reply: My beta set this story as a challenge for me: I was not allowed to have any orcs, spiders, or bad men. I had to just deal with people's feelings. And once I got started it was kind of fun. It did seem to me that Legolas might have himself in a double bind almost: he wants his family but doesn't want them; he wants to use weapons but is afraid to. Poor kid.

When I first started writing about the girlfriends, I was really worried that they would merge into a sort of generic, personality-less female, so I made lists of traits and how they were alike and how they were different. Alfirin would never have put up with Eilian, and Celuwen would have sent the troop commander home, thank you very much. But Ithilden needs Alfirin, and they are just as passionate about one another as Eilian and Celuwen are, although they are much more controlled.

Yeah, Alfirin's head said no and her mouth said yes.

AvonReviewed Chapter: 6 on 1/10/2005
Sorry, not really a review - more an answer. I think I would describe myself as an 'elf-person', but I can see why you wouldn't think so. I'm a Legolas fan first and foremost; actually perhaps describing me as a *Legolas* person is more accurate than an elf person. ;-) I normally only read stories with Legolas in them - unless a friend has written them. Oddly enough I don't write much elf, though - I seem to have more of a Boromir and Faramir muse - so I guess I don't seem like an elf fan. Perhaps I'm just a mongrel ;-)

Author Reply: I think I thought that because you write about men, you must read about them too. I write these stories because they're the ones I wish someone else had written so I can read them. I wonder how unusual it is that you read and write about different races? (You don't have to answer that. :-))

elliskaReviewed Chapter: 6 on 1/5/2005
Poor Legolas. He has rather bad luck with trees sometimes. :) But I loved seeing Alfirin protect him from the boar and then turn around to see he was protecting her as well. That shows great progress for Legolas and the type of strength Alfirin needs too. Great job with that. And let me tell you, wild boars are scary. We have them in Florida. A female wild boar treed me when I first moved down here--kept me in that tree for almost eight hours. They are as stubborn as they are viscious. You don't want to mess with one and I would want to face one with a knife. Great job on a scary scene there.

Great Legolas and Ada scene by Legolas' bedside. I loved that. Again, Thranduil was perfect.

And the whole sparing (sp?) scene was too great. I can't even pick a part to cite that I liked the best.

I'm glad we got to see the proposal and acceptance at the end. I always hate to see your stories end. I think I'll go read the reviews now and see if you give us any hints of what you'll do next.

Author Reply: I am a little in a rut about the tree thing, but I needed something to put these three in the woods together and then let Alfirin and Legolas confront one another. You've been treed for EIGHT hours??? wow. That sounds terrifying. Meckinock says there were wild boars in Germany when she was lived there too.

Thranduil came through as the good adar here, thank goodness.

But my favorite part of this chapter was the sparring scene. That was so much fun to write. Ithilden can be wicked and turns out to have a great sense of humor when he's not being in charge.

I have the outline and first chapter of story about young warrior Legolas, set about 30 years after "The Warrior." I hope to post it later this week but I'm sick and I have a ton of stuff to do. We'll see.

elliskaReviewed Chapter: 5 on 1/5/2005
Oh boy! Yeap. Very few things I think would push Legolas to a fight but that comment--one that implies he's untrustworthy--that would do it for certain. Galelas got what he deserved. But I bet Penntalion was floored by it.

Last night, when she had not been thinking about kissing Ithilden, she had reveled in how angry she was at him. This whole thought process for Alfirin was great. I loved this.

Legolas watched him for a few minutes and then leaned his head back against the tree, which was humming happily at his presence. His mouth twisted in a rueful smile. Why was it that pleasing the forest and his horse was so easy, while pleasing everyone else was so hard? Including himself, of course, he added honestly. Also an excellent sequence. I have really enjoyed the introspection in this story. I enjoy that kind of thing.

Ithilden did much better in this interaction with his little brother--maybe he learned something from his future wife. A good sign. And his reaction to Alfirin in her wet clothing was great.

The wonderful thing about reading this late is that I don't have to suffer through the cliffie. I can just click next. Yeah. :)

Author Reply: My beta told me I was not allowed to use orcs, spiders, or bad men in this story. I was supposed to slow down and work on feelings which I tend to rush through. She forgot to forbid falling trees though. :-)

I have to admit that once I got into trying to pictures and explore their feelings fully, this was fun.

elliskaReviewed Chapter: 4 on 1/5/2005
Turgon is a troublemaker and a bad influence but the fact is he was a good friend for Legolas in his own way. He provided a little rebellion, and Legolas needed that little streak in him to go on the Quest, and in situations like this one, he is a good unquestioning companion. I liked that part of this chapter. Poor kid. He's not long for this world and its sad to think about reading this--a big advantage to presenting these out of order. More angsty for your readers.

On top, he found plates, silverware, and two carefully wrapped crystal goblets. He raised his eyebrows. He did not remember such elaborate tableware being used at the picnics on which he had gone with his parents. Very cute. I liked that little touch.

I was enjoying their little picnic almost as much as they were until Legolas and Turgon showed up. That was a nasty little scene and I have to agree with Alfirin on it. It's hard for older brother/troop commander Ithilden to realize that Legolas is older and needs be allowed to made some of his own mistakes. I like that Alfirin states her opinion. Ithilden needs someone that is strong just as his father would. But of course it's a shame to ruin such a pretty day.

Again, Alfirin's interaction with her mum on this was wonderful--definitely captures the perspective of the long married vs they newly in love.

And Thranduil's interactions with both his sons were perfect.

“Yes, she was. She said I should have shown more trust in him and sent him home alone.”

To Thranduil’s ear, Ithilden sounded as much astounded as angry at the maiden’s criticism. A bubble of amusement rose in Thranduil’s chest. He tried to suppress it, but Ithilden’s sharp ears heard the slight sound that Thranduil could not quite contain. Ithilden looked at him sharply. “You find this amusing?”

Relieved of having to dissemble, Thranduil grinned openly. “I do. I have always liked Alfirin, but I am beginning to think she is an even better match for you that I had originally believed.”


Author Reply: I feel so bad about Turgon, I can hardly stand it. He has a few weeks at to live at most. What was I thinking????? I have to write about Legolas in Valinor someday so he can meet Turgon again.

I've been working on making Alfirin pretty deferential but still rock solid about the things that matter to her. I think she'd see Ithilden as the head of their family and would cater to him in most things. But if there was a matter of principle, she'd be absolutely unmoveable. Boy, does he have a lot to learn!

elliskaReviewed Chapter: 3 on 1/5/2005
So nice to come back and find out what happened in this story as I was on vacation. I like Tonduil. Such a good kid. I'd like to see more of him in these.

Alfirin's conversation with her mother was well done. Good motherly advice.

And poor Legolas. He does not need Galelas causing him grief. I liked the part where you described Legolas' knife and its runes. Good angsty introspection there. And I loved his interaction with Alfirin. She could be just what he needs.

But Alfirin and Ithilden were priceless. She tried so hard to take her mother's advice and her reaction to Ithilden/Legolas was great but that 'slip' that she made. You had me there. I read that and I thought, 'Boy, Daw doesn't make typos but when she does, even those are good.' Then I read on. You really got me. That was great! Loved it. And that was a wonderful way to get them to finally admit the obvious to each other. Great!

Author Reply: I was away all this week, hunting for pirates in the Caribbean, so it was nice for me to come home to all these ego-stoking reviews. :-)

I like Tonduil too. He's so good hearted. I have such a large cast of characters now that I tend to lose some of them, although it was Tonduil who was getting married in "Tangled Web" when the dwarves crashed the party. I'm shameless. I'm still laughing at my own funny scenes.

As you probably know by now, Alfirin is just what Legolas needs. She's motherly and concerned, but she hasn't been hovering over him like his family have been doing. And she's female. I think he needs that.

That slip of the tongue did originate in a type I made while writing about these two in a different story. I looked at it and laughed and then decided to save it to use at the right moment. And this was it!

lwarrenReviewed Chapter: 6 on 1/3/2005
Caught on the edge of a tree-fall! At least he wasn't squashed flat! I was so glad to see Ithilden's treatment of Legolas (concerned and tender, as well as take-charge!) and I'm sure Legolas was relieved to feel the strength of his older brother holding him!

A boar! Alfirin with a knife out to protect Legolas, and Legolas draws his own to protect her. A major step there, daw, even if he wonders whether he could have done it or not ('course, her standing in the way would have brought back all manner of memory should he have had to throw the darn thing).

Finally, he confides in Alfirin...and I wasn't surprised she knew just what to say. I would imagine working with her mother in the healing rooms would have shown her different ways to counsel traumatized patients...even if it was only by watching her naneth).

The sparring between Thranduil and Legolas at the end was great! And Ithilden permanently endeared himself to me when he started teasing and distracting his Adar in an effort to help Legolas relax and ultimately, win! What a brother! What an Adar! He was great, too! :-) *BIG ENORMOUS smile*

Yay, Ithilden pops the question and Alfirin says "What took you so long - come here, you gorgeous thing, you!" I only wish this lovely story wasn't over - but I hope you have other equally lovely things in mind! As always, a pleasure to read your work, daw! (Have a wonderful new year!)


Author Reply: I think Ithilden would be a comforting person to have around in a crisis. When Legolas was little, he thought of Ithilden as "someone who made you feel safe," but "he did not like to be bad in front of him." And I think that sums big brother up pretty well.

And Legolas is on his way to healing, mostly through his interaction with Alfirin, which I found interesting to set up. Legolas needs a mother figure, I think, and she's close to the family but not yet part of it, so maybe he doesn't feel as guarded with her.

My favorite part of this chapter to write was the sparring sequence. Who knew Ithilden could be so smart-mouthed? He'd better watch it because "old" Dad could probably still knock him down if he decided that Ithilden needed knocking!

I've been away all this week (in the Caribbean :-)) and have an outline and a draft of a first chapter for a new story but I'm so disoriented from traveling home and going back to work tomorrow, that I don't know when I'll get around to sending it to my beta and posting. Later this week, I hope. It's about 2:30 am here right now and I'm still too wound up to sleep, so I'll have to see how things go!

AvonReviewed Chapter: 6 on 1/3/2005
That was nice. I do like your Mirkwood family (though I miss Elian when he's not there).

Author Reply: I miss Eilian too, but I have to keep him out sometimes because he tends to take over when I let him show up on the screen!

I appreciate the review, Avon, especially since I don't believe you're particularly an "elf person," are you?

MelissaReviewed Chapter: 6 on 1/1/2005
This story is another treat, like all the others. You and Nightwing are my favorite LOTR writers ever.

Author Reply: Thank you, Melissa. As it happens, I'm enjoying Nightwing's story too. I want to see what happens when those townspeople attack!

Ms. WhatsitReviewed Chapter: 6 on 12/31/2004
Oh. Sniff. How romantic.

I rather like ActionHeroine!Alfirin. She doesn't come out very often--that's part of her charm--but when she does, it's great.

And I liked that scene with Ithilden and Legolas and Thranduil a lot. It was very heart-warming--a sweet little family moment, with even the absent Eilian making an impression through Ithilden's story.

Author Reply: Alfirin might not be very good with a knife, but she's brave and I like that. So does Ithilden, I might add.

The sparring scene was the most fun to write. I like Ithilden distracting Thranduil and relaxing Legolas. And it just struck me as funny that he'd call Thranduil "old."

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