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A Creature of Fire  by daw the minstrel 321 Review(s)
erunyauveReviewed Chapter: 11 on 7/1/2006
This is a wonderful example of showing rather than telling - I very much felt what Legolas felt, from the moment Tuilinn arrives at camp through her death and the end of the story. The result is rather painful, but it's very well done.

Author Reply: Thanks, Erunyauve. I struggle with showing vs telling so I'm glad you think this stayed on the showing side. This was also one of the few stories I've written from just one POV, so that was also hard. But I learned a lot, so I enjoyed it.

obsidianjReviewed Chapter: 11 on 6/24/2005

I love this story. During Tuilinn's funeral, you had me in tears. Legolas's grief is very touching. His healing at the end is uplifting. I wish he could have had some years with Tuilinn, or would that have been even worse? Alas Legolas is not married in LOTR, at least that was my impression. But do we know that for sure?

I love this whole series of stories. I came back after having read everything of your stories there was and wanted to reread some of them, only to discover that you wrote some more stories.

I love your characterization of Legolas and the whole family dynamic with your OCs.

Keep writing.

Author Reply: We don't really know if Legolas was married or not, but to me, he looks single. Maybe things are different with elves, but all that running around ME with Gimli suggests to me that he didn't have a wife waiting at home.

I'm so glad you like the stories. Family dynamics is what I enjoy writing about the most.

AliceReviewed Chapter: 11 on 5/16/2005
Wow. I know I'm late in reviewing this, school work sort of hijacked my life for the past few weeks. So anyway I went back to reread this to refresh my memory, and it's still so incredibly moving. (sigh) It's all just so sad! It's a shame you don't like writing angst, because this is some of the finest angst in fanfiction I've ever read. It feels real and its obvious while subtle enough not to make you sick. It's just, oh it's just all so good.

I really love how Legolas essentially does the same thing in the last chapter as he did in the first chapter. It shows how strongly Tuilinn's death has affected him. It's just such a clever way of doing it. I thought the pacing in this last chapter was a lot better than in the first one. The scenes tie together better in this last chapter.

There were also some really nice little scenes with the characters. Like Galelas so needs a hug. And Beliond was awesome. He knows what his boy needs. I loved the last line about going in and letting Alfirin feed him. At certain points, it becomes more like him eating to comfort her rather than her comforting him with food. She's such a fun, motherly character. Oh! And I love Thranduil Ada. He's a good daddy.
"Loss can break us, Legolas, or it can make us stronger, more compassionate, more aware of what is important and what is simply trivia." (happy sigh) That's the wise old king I know and love. Yeah, as you can probably tell, there were a lot of little things I just adored in this chapter. It was a very nice ending. It was a nice change of pace, though I can understand you not wanting to do anymore angst for a while (to be honest, I think your readers need recovery time also, this stuff was so powerful). Once again you've provided me with a reason not to stop reading fanfiction.

Author Reply: Wow, that's a great compliment. And you're right -- writing strong emotion turns out to be hard. You have to show it but not go over the top. And in my experience, most people are just sort of numbed and dazed by tragedy. And then I did this all from Legolas's POV, so I was caught in his head. So now I had to show him numb but also convey what everyone else was doing around him even though he was out of it. So it was fun. :-)

I thought the first chapter or two of this story was a little slow. If I ever write fiction for real, I think I'm going to need to make sure my openings are a little more compelling.

Thranduil was wonderful. He really came through, although so did Beliond. Legolas is lucky to have all these people who love him.

JoeeReviewed Chapter: 11 on 5/13/2005
Even though I sort of knew what was going to happen, it was really depressing to read it. Don't get me wrong, it was a great story, but so sad. At Tuilinn's funeral I figured out what Legolas had in his hand right before he placed it on her body and I was sitting here saying 'please don't let it be a ring, please don't let it be a ring' because I knew if it was one I would get even more upset, and sure enough, it nearly broke my heart.

I couldn't imagine the guilt Legolas must have felt over her death. Even though he had sort of learned that he can't prevent everything and it's not always his fault, he must have felt so horrible over that.

I love that Beliond knew exactly what he needed. It must have been hard for the old grouch to see Legolas going through all of that and not being able to do anything. Beliond is someone who definitely likes to have everything under control and to have a situation where he couldn't protect Legolas must have scared him. But I like how he knew Legolas needed time away to be alone with his thoughts.

It always depresses me now, knowing the fate of Galelas (as well as others), as I have come to like him since his elfling days. It almost seems like some of the animosity he feels towards Legolas might have lessened after this incident, but somehow I don't see it all being gone. But it was nice to see the other side of this warrior, the side where he is helpful in training the younger warriors, rather than just his competitive side.

Just on a side note, does Thranduil ever find out about the colourful language Legolas has probably acquired from his time spent with Beliond? It just strikes me as something that would be ammusing to read.

Great story daw! =)

Author Reply: One of the things I learned in writing this story is that it's hard to write strong emotion, but it sounds as if maybe I succeeded so far as you're concerned, Joee. This story was meant to be my explanation for why Legolas still looks single at the time of the Quest, despite the fact that Tolkien says that marriage is the natural state for Elves and they married young. And now Legolas can look for her in Valinor.

Beliond is someone who definitely likes to have everything under control and to have a situation where he couldn't protect Legolas must have scared him. That's an absolutely great insight into Beliond! I hadn't thought of it in quite those words, but you are so right.

One thing about jumping around in time as I do when I write these stories is that I can always go back and resurrect someone I've killed off -- Turgon, for instance. I miss Turgon and have to write about him once in a while.

And maybe I'll have to let Thranduil hear Legolas cut loose with his new vocabularly some time! That would be funny.

perellethReviewed Chapter: 11 on 4/29/2005
A bad case of RL, here.. but yet in time for the ending, it seems!I think there’s another chapter in another of your stories where Legolas, Sinnarn and Eilian look at others’ lives and reflect upon their own…this time the lesson was more painful, but equally useful for him. He has discovered how many people aorund him are dealing with pain and loss,and it will make him a more understanding person, I believe. Looking at Thranduil, Beliond or Elowen, who have suffered heavier losses than his -they have lost long-time mates or a son and have survived it- he’ll learn that he can overcome his own grief, too.

Beliond was himself, as Thranduil, of course, as everybody else, great, and supportive, but what really made me smile was that short paragraph about what Alfirin had meant for Legolas. That made her justice in such a beautiful way that I believe she’d appreciate being told sometime...

Nice story,daw.

Author Reply: Thank you, Perelleth. Legolas's experience has opened his eyes and given him new understanding. What I want to do now is include some moments in stories that are like that "going to find the sun" moment in FOTR. I'd like to try to suggest that he's become more willing to live in the moment and that this another thing that made him the elf we see in the Fellowship.

I liked writing that bit about Alfirin too. I've gotten to know her only gradually, so it's only recently occurred to me that she was probably good for Legolas, even though he was on the verge of becoming a novice and thus spending less time at home when she and Ithilden married. I think she made good use of the bits of time she had and he drank that up like a thirsty plant.

merReviewed Chapter: 11 on 4/27/2005
I loved this story though I had hoped you included other points of view for these events. Would you ever do another story about this through the eyes of his family or have it pick up where you left off? I, too, would love to see your next story be with Eilian and Celuwen like the last reviewer wrote. But whatever you will decide will be wonderful. How does it feel to have so many people waiting for you to write?!

Author Reply: I think it would try readers' patience to look at the same events again, so I don't think I'll do that. Picking up where I left off is always an option, although it's not on my list right now. So you think Eilian and Celuwen should have elflings? That could be entertaining. Thranduil would be vastly amused.

I am thrilled and flattered and grateful beyond measure that anyone wants to read what I write. :-) That's how it feels.

moonshine44Reviewed Chapter: 11 on 4/27/2005
Hello, and yes I am leaving another review. Not exatcly a review though. I don`t mean to sound rude or pushy or anything, but you said you might consider an Eilian and Celuwen fic. Regardless of what you write, I know it will be great, but could I just put in a request for that Eilian and Celuwen fic? Lol, I can`t help it, I love your Oc`s!

Anyway, I still look forward to whatever you have planned!

Author Reply: You don't sound rude at all, Moonshine! I'd like to do the Eilian and Celuwen fic. I can do some interesting canon things with it too, I think. What makes me hesitate is that it would be set very late in this cycle -- after the Battle of 5 Armies, obviously, because they don't have a child yet when that takes place. And I hesitate a little to do that because it boxes me in with what other things I can have happen. But I still might. I wrote the Battle of 5 Armies story last summer. Maybe it's time to do this one. :-)

EffigyReviewed Chapter: 11 on 4/26/2005
Awww, your stories always put me in a good mood. Even when they are angsty. It was very good, but I bet it was it was depressing to write. Are you constantly writing? It seems like you are always pumping out stories. It amazes me. It seems like never have writers block (knock on wood, I hope I didn't jinx you. - You can blame me if it did)

Anyway - I love Legolas/Thranduil moments. I love all bonding moments. I'm a sucker for that angst/comfort cycle. It was wonderful. Beautifully written.

Author Reply: Thank you, Effigy. I have to admit I was glad to get to this chapter and let Legolas start to heal a little. I was suffering right along with him!

Writing is my major source of amusement. I live away from home for part of the week because of my work, so I'm alone and write a lot then. I seem to have endless ideas for stories -- which is both a blessing and a curse, I guess.

rockyReviewed Chapter: 11 on 4/26/2005
Hello daw! I'm a self-proclaimed lurker but you have driven me to review, (few writers have managed this). This story was AMAZING, as indeed are all your stories. You've managed to create a world within Tolkien's (no mean feat) that is engaging, enchanting and enthralling. You've created characters that are utterly endearing and weave them into exciting plots that manage to maintain the element of reality that allows the readers to relate.

Personally I prefer adult-Legolas stories, but your characters are so captivating that I find myself reading your little-Legolas stories with just as much relish, (something else few writers have managed to make me do).

You've said you found writing this difficult but you've triumphed! I love Legolas angst (is that wrong ;-) ?) but it’s easy to let the angst dominate to the point where the story becomes implausible (not that it stops my enjoyment) but you've maintained that balance of angst and realism. Certainly I could relate to many of the emotional aspects of this story from my own experience of losing someone close to me - the surrealism and disassociation I felt until each time someone or something drove it home like a punch to the stomach, not wanting to burden others with my own grief and that need for "business as usual" because it gave me an imagined sense of purpose amidst the turmoil.

To be honest, when I discovered that this story would be entirely from Legolas' POV, I thought it would be lacking in the insights I would gain from the other characters, but you've managed to convey so much through Legolas that I wasn't disappointed. Although I would love to read about the conversation that Eilian had with Thranduil and Ithilden, telling them what had happened. I imagine it was a shock all round to realise that that their "baby" was old enough to have a serious relationship, let alone had already found and lost one, (I know all about being the “baby”).

I hope you continue to write these stories for a long time to come because I certainly haven’t had my fill of your wonderful characters. I can quite happily drown myself in your imagination time and time again. Truly spellbinding daw!!!

Author Reply: Oh wow. This is very flattering. I'm pathetic. I get all excited when I find someone else who loves these characters nearly as much as I do. I've spent enough time with them in my head that they are almost as real to me as my coworkers are.

I did find this hard to write. It was partly the limited POV. I really enjoy getting into the heads of these characters and I couldn't do that. And then, of course, Legolas was deeply depressing a lot of the time! I'm not a real angst lover. It makes me squirm. So I kind of had to let myself go here. And I learned some stuff about how to try to keep a character's emotions intense and in focus. I'm glad it came through as realistic to you.

It would be fun to eavesdrop on Eilian telling his family about Legolas. They'd be in shock, that's true. I think it's often hard for family members to realize when the family baby has grown up. They're the last to know. :-)

Thank you for taking the time to tell me this.

IthildinReviewed Chapter: 11 on 4/26/2005
Excellent chapter; and a fine ending to another great story. Well done! I did like the way Legolas returns at the end to interact with all the characters he encountered in the beginning of the story. Thranduil was marvelous throughout the chapter, of course! It really got to me when Legolas wondered how his father knew he would be cold. I had thought a lot about how this experience would affect their relationship and I’m glad you included that aspect in their interactions. It was nice to have the brothers and Annael around too.

And Beliond – I just laughed and laughed over him stalking in and ordering Legolas to get his stuff ready to go camping and his acerbic response to Alfirin’s sensible objections.

“Nonsense,” declared Beliond. “He needs to be in the woods.” He turned to glare at Eilian. “Are you going to object too?”
Eilian raised his hands in protest. “I would not dare.”

Ha! Yeah, I loved this part! And I like the idea of the buttons and bumperstickers for the Beliond fan club too… lol! ;) Beliond sharing his quiet place in the woods was just plain wonderful. Somehow when someone that intensely private reaches out and shares with someone else in need it seems especially touching. It shows how deeply he cares for Legolas, in spite of all his gruff mannerisms.

I was wondering, I know Beliond’s son died at Dagorlad. Is there a story that mentions what happened to the rest of his family?

The ending is perfect with Thranduil imparting wise words to his son and the memories of naneth in the garden. (I’ve received a lot of that exasperatingly adorable ‘help I might have been better off without’ myself over the years! :)) And I hope this one clear memory is the first of many that will come back to Legolas as he gradually heals.

Thanks for this very emotional journey through a difficult episode in Legolas’ life. I’m looking forward to the next story, whenever you feel ready to write it.

Ithildin *(

Author Reply: Thank you, Ithildin.

I think Legolas looks at a number of other people in his life differently now, including Elowen, Beliond, and of course, Thranduil. He understands their loss better and just sees better what might have happened to them. And Thranduil comes through! He anticipates that Legolas will be cold; he coaxes him to eat for Alfirin's sake; he listens and after a while he offers advice. I do love the guy.

Beliond may be a nana but he's not the mushy kind of nana. And Legolas needed some time to just be in the woods with someone keeping an eye on him but not hovering over him. And in silence!

I'm thinking that I might have to write more memories of Naneth, but if I do, I might have to edit stories set later. Jumping around in time like I do can create problems. :-)

Author Reply: I forgot to say that Beliond's wife sailed west. I've never given him any other family.

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