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A Spring of Joy  by daw the minstrel 269 Review(s)
ScarlettPendragonReviewed Chapter: 8 on 6/2/2005
Hi Daw!!

But.. But.. But.. This was supposed to be a happy story!! Remember we talked about how this was going to be a nice change of pace from the unrelenting angst of the last story, remember?!

And then!! Sinnarn!! And Tynd!! And Annael's Naneth and daughter both leaving for the Grey Havens!! And Thranduil's far too many losses!! And Angry!Legolas!!

Aaarrgh!! You have torn my still beating heart from my chest and stomped on it!! You are an EBIL, EBIL WOMAN!! ;>)

OK, now that I've gotten that off my chest, I have to complement you on yet another fantastic story (even if you're EBIL! LOL!) You are truly a great author, and I always look forward to seeing a new story from you!!

I am also writing you to thank you - and I think you'll get a kick out of my day!!

I have been doing documentation on a huge software rollout (which is why I haven't had much of a chance to review lately, btw), and we finished up on Monday (Canadian here, so no long weekend), so I've been catching up on my admin stuff and doing some surfing.
So at lunch today I was merrily reading away your story, and I started to get a bit worried, but then I thought "No, Daw said this would be a happy story (see rant above!)!" and I get into the final chapter. At first I didn't understand what was wrong with Emmelin, and if I'd been a little quicker I would have stopped reading then and there and waited till I got home!! But No, I kept on reading **facepalm**!! And then I thought "This will be a false alarm, and Sinnarn will be wounded but recover!" and I still kept reading!!

Well, of course the inevitable happens, and tears start running down my face, so I grab a bunch of tissues trying to stem the tide and I keep reading!! (Occasionally I'm an idiot!! LOL!)
Pretty soon I'm a complete mess and trying to hide my face and take deep breaths to keep from sobbing out loud, when my Project Manager walks by my cubicle - fortunately I had my email program running so I was able to bring that screen up. So she stops and asks me what's wrong, and the first thing I can think to blurt out is "I just heard that a friend died." She was very sympathetic (and I just kept getting more and more mortified), and wanted to know if there was anything she could do for me, and I said "No, it was more just the shock of finding out than anything." So she insisted I take the rest of the day off!! So I pulled myself together and spent half an hour in the Ladies room redoing my makeup (which I had managed to utterly ruin - no wonder the poor woman thought something was wrong!), and then I went out and had a lovely afternoon of shopping and bought a floaty blouse and some funky sandals!! And I thought "I have to tell Daw what happened today!!" So I do thank you for a great afternoon off, and for such a terribly wonderful poignent story!!

Thank you,
Scarlett

Author Reply: Oh my god, that is one of the funniest stories I have ever read. Your project manager is a very nice person, and I hope she never finds out who the friend was. The blouse sounds very pretty. I need new sandals too.

I'm sorry the story was so sad, but it seemed realistic that one of Thranduil's family might die. I promise there will be no more character deaths for a long while.

I have a single chapter story in mind to do, and then I think I'll spend some time turning one of my stories into a fantasy novel for young adults. Then I can write fanfic while a million agents and publishers send me kiss off letters.

FirnsarnienReviewed Chapter: 8 on 6/2/2005
*sniff, sniff* Oh gawd! I knew something horrible was going to happen, but I didn't know something this horrible would happen! Poor Sinnarn and Ithilden and Emmelin and Legolas and Thranduil and...and...well, just poor everyone! *sob* Their peace coming to an end. How horrible to just have to stand by and watch it happen. 'Cause we all know, no matter how hard they fight and how many of them die, there is no holding back this darkness. This was so sad! I have this huge lump in my throat now and an ache in my chest. I'm beyond coherent words now, so I think I'll stop here.

I look forward to another of your stories. *crawls off to quietly cry in the corner*

Author Reply: When I started counting up all the people who would be affected by Sinnarn's death, I realized it was a long list. The long life of the elves must have been a curse sometimes as they saw evil go and come again. But really, only 60 years down the road, Sauron will be gone, and things will be much better in ME.

Feel better, Firnsarnien. Sinnarn is happy in Valinor.

caz-bazReviewed Chapter: 8 on 6/2/2005
oh my god! you killed Sinnarn you *******! Sorry been watching too much South Park. I can't believe you did that though he was ace. I was crying my eyes out - still am. gotta run and clean up theres someone at the door oh dear this is going to be embarrassing.

Author Reply: I know. It was bad of me. He was just coming into his own. But that's life in Mirkwood.

Legolas4meReviewed Chapter: 8 on 6/2/2005
What a sad, sad chapter. I had a lump in my throat the entire time. I hate death. It is so frightening. I hate to see it come to these good woodland elves who are battling the Shadow. But I really did enjoy reading this story.

I am sorry to see Sinnarn go. I think you are right when you said that he tends to get lost in many stories. It must be very difficult to pay adequate attention when you have such a large cast of characters. I liked him better as an elfling. He was so cute. It struck me odd to see him married. I am sure there will be references to him in other stories. I am going to miss his comic relief and humor. I enjoyed this character.

I often marvel that these elves have such a bond with those they love. It is really neat to see how they know when something is wrong with their loved one when they sense a distrubance with the bond.

I really liked how you wrote Thranduil in this chapter. I love how you make him a very fierce warrior and give him such an intense personality. However, you make him very realistic. I really do believe that Thranduil, no matter how strong that he is, is going to feel weary with the grief and sorrow he feels over losing his father, wife, grandson, comrades, and fighting his never ending battle with Shadow. This was a really nice touch.

I will also be sad to see Elowen go. She has sort of been like surrogate mother to Legolas. Poor Annael will be losinghis mother and daughter when they sail...though it is not nearly the same as death. I wonder if Thranduil would have chosen to do so if he was not king. I think that his duties nad resposibilites prevent him from doing so if he wished.

What an excellent story you have written for us. As always, thank you for sharing it. Do you know what you might write about next?

Until next time
~Legolas4me :-)



Author Reply: I felt bad about Sinnarn too, but it seemed to me to be realistic that at least one member of Thranduil's family would die. I can always go back and write about him as a kid, and in the meantime, he's going to be happy in Valinor.

I think I made up some of that bond between Elven loved ones. There's probably a canon basis for it but I blew it up. And sometimes it's a pain to work with. You can't have surprises. But in this case, it was useful to have Emmelin anticipate Sinnarn's death.

I love Thranduil. He's so tough but devoted to his people. He held that realm with no ring, and in the long term, defeated Sauron's forces in the Battle Under the Trees.

You have to wonder what led various elves to go or stay. Thranduil seems really linked to the woods, but the time of the elves is over and he could have gone.

I have a single chapter fic in mind to do next, and then I was thinking about taking some time to see if I could turn one of my stories into an original young adult novel. Then I can write fan fic while I get turned down by a jillion agents and publishers.

AliceReviewed Chapter: 8 on 6/2/2005
I think a fluffy elfling story is a very good idea. Man, two character death stories right in a row. It's interesting on how different the two stories dealt with death though. The other one was sad because of Legolas's reaction and this one was sad more through it being a beloved character that died. I think we were all a tad bit more fond of Sinnarn than we realized. I like this story better though. I think it may my favorite one that you've written. The scenes are tied together a lot better and the pacing is better too. Also, the suspense and stuff was a lot of fun and really well done. There was definitely building tension through the entire thing that worked really well. I love this story. It all ties together so nicely and it's a very effective gap filler.

So this chapter, oh my god was it sad. I freaked out my brother who was in the room while I was reading it. He got a little concerned until I told him why I was crying at which point he rolled his eyes and had yet another " God my sister's weird" moment. It was just so moving. It really hit home how bad the darkness coming back was. They were all so hopeful and they only got ten years! Sinnarn didn't even get to have kids. It makes me really sad now to think that Legolas started the counting game with Sinnarn who's now dead.

I liked the funeral scene. Beliond was awesome. The old grouch came through. I loved the scene with Elowen. Legolas was sort of adopted by her and he's going to miss her. I feel bad for Annael though because both his mother and his daughter are leaving. Just him and Beliniel now. Poor woodelves. I reread this chapter and get all sad again. They put up with so much.

So excellent, excellent chapter and story. I love it even if it's going to be a while before I reread it, it's so upsetting. I look forward to your next story greatly. Even if it is another tear-jerker.

Author Reply: Yeah, I think we reacted to Tuilinn because of Legolas's pain. But here it turned out readers (and I) were attached to Sinnarn. When I think about him as a child, for instance, I get really sad. But I like to think of him happy in Valinor. I'm comforted by the thought of Elowen and Emmelin being with one another. Elowen will understand what Emmelin is going through.

Pacing is hard for me. I tend to hurry because I'm impatient. My beta helps me but there's only so much she can do.

I thought of Beliond fooling around with Sinnarn, teasing him, and I decided that he needed to be one to speak.

Thanks, Alice. The next story should be a bit lighter.

perellethReviewed Chapter: 8 on 6/2/2005
Wow! You must be drained! If this has been painful to read through, it must have been tenfold worse to write! Now that everything is over, I must confess that I almost gave up reading this particular story in chapter three. ...he said and went on his way back to his own apartment, feeling the satisfaction that came from believing that he had done the right thing.Ē That sentence sounded like death toll to me. Believing.Ooops. Anyway, I chose to read on, so Iím not blaming you for this overly sad ending. Now, your OCs have taken over the scene, and you must have a whole fan fiction community mourning one of them! Thatís something to be proud of, for it means that youíve managed to bring them to life pretty wellÖCongrats there! The narrative device was fantastic, as usual, I like the way you try different approaches in different stories. This one had an almost movie quality, in the way you kept moving from one place to another, following the thread, and slowly giving away small details.

I agree with you that Tolkienís world is one of loss and sacrifice, but then, most deaths he shows under a light of hope, or just glides over, or simply happen to characters we are not all too familiar with, or we hear of them as in a long forgotten tale, as in the Silm... What ff does, and you have particularly mastered this trade, is approaching the characters and the situations, as if through a lens. Focusing on family relationships, as your series does, makes the reader feel closer to the characters, because he/she can relate to their feelings and emotions better.

And then we come to Sinnarn, and you get him killed and the shadow returns, just once again. It is interesting to see changes in your approach. I find that this level of angst and detail is uncharacteristically in other stories of yours. We never get to read what happened to the queen,through a close, inmediate pov, when the shadow returned before and Siondelís Adar was killed we see it through a very young Eilianís eyes, and such. Now, the scene where you describe how Eilian finds the bodies is, as Iíve said, uncharacteristically raw and detailed in your writing (that doesnít mean I donít approve of it!) and painfullyÖ I canít find the word, suggestive? I mean, Tynd must have been hit first, on his back, and as he fell forward, maybe trying to push Sinnarn to the dubious safety of the trench, Sinnarn must have turned around to help him and three arrows hit him. Wow. It says so much, but, then, what is hinted at is doubly painful. Another subtle difference I found in Ithildenís reaction. He was fretful and out of himself in Tangled Web, but here heís so collected that heís almost frightening. The difference between hope and certainty, again greatly conveyed. What I miss here is hope. This is hopeless despair, and no ray of hope can be seen, except the sheer determination of the king and his people (I love your Thranduil, heís great!) Not that you could ever find another, for this was such a bleak moment for them, but... well, letís come to the point, I read fan fiction for evasion, and I fight to find sense in senseless grief and unfair bereavement almost on a daily basis in my professional life, so being confronted with this kind of actual, almost hopeless despair here is kind of, man, thereís no escape! ;-) No, seriously, it is my fault, for I knew at chapter three. I cannot say this is one of my favourite stories of yours, I still prefer Tangled Web, but I do think it is a good one, and a fitting piece in how your story arc is evolving, so congratulations again. Only... may I ask for a fluffy elfling story with a happy Ithilden on it anytime soon? I'm sure you're needing that, too! :-)


Author Reply: may I ask for a fluffy elfling story with a happy Ithilden on it anytime soon? I'm sure you're needing that, too!
You better believe it! I do need something lighter, and that's what I'm planning.

I know what you mean about wanting escape from fanfic, wanting to know that even if bad things happen, the ending will be happy. Most of my stories are like that. I just didn't think it would be realistic for this story to be that way. As you say, the hope lies in the determination of Thranduil and his people. As readers of Tolkien, we know this eventually turns out OK, but at this stage, things look pretty dark.

You're very kind to say nice things even though this story probably left you unhappy. Sorry! I promise the next one will be easier to read.

jlmartReviewed Chapter: 8 on 6/2/2005
I read somewhere that Tolkien hoped to create a universe which other authors, artists etc would want to work in and add to. (Sort of blows objections to fanfic out of the water doesn't it!) You have created a remarkable world within that universe full of fully fleshed out characters that wrap themselves around your heart and make you smile, cheer and cry for and with them. I have read all the stories in chronological order and have enjoyed my visits to your world enormously. Your stories have been happy and sad, funny and poignant, fluffy and dramatic, but never heartbreaking. Lorellin was gone before we met the characters and Turgon's death was almost inevitable given his recklessness. I was most affected by Galelas' death but it aroused pity more than anything. In short, your stories were a safe place to go, where life was exciting but those I was most emotionally vested in were safe. I should have realized that you are far far too good an author to overlook reality. This is a world at war, and in war no one is safe. Tuilin's death brought tears to my eyes because of the effect her loss had on Legolas but Sinnarn's death was truly heartbreaking in that it affected everyone. Still, it was how the other characters reacted that brought tears to my eyes. Eilian's initial numbness and guilt followed by his despair at having to face his father and brother. Thranduil's sudden realization watching Emmelin followed by his visualization of a young Sinnarn frolicking beside them on the way back to the palace, Sinnarn and Tynd's bodies being claimed by their fathers, Ithilden and Alfirin drawing strength from one another and Legolas desperately holding on to the slimmest of hopes as long as he can. The funeral, however, was the killer as Thranduil, the remarkable leader that he is, rises above the last in a lifetime of losses to become the strength and rallying point that his people need in a time of crisis and growing darkness. We see the result as Legolas steadies and continues growing towards the elf who would soon join the Fellowship to try to destroy the destroyer forever. You have done a fabulous job - Bravo! (Now could we have something lighter? I am running out of Klennex!)

Author Reply: I absolutely love hearing from new readers and finding out that they can stumble on my stories and be caught by them.

I don't think I could have killed Turgon if I'd written about him for longer, but that was the third story I ever wrote. Like you, I felt pity for Galelas, whose family had not given him what he needed in life. But Sinnarn was someone I've written a fair amount about. He's still a minor character, but I knew more about things like his struggle to accept his role as the son of the king's heir. Still, as you say, it didn't seem realistic for Thranduil to have all these warriors in his family, to have the world be dangerous, and to have them all come through safely. Sigh.

Thranduil is just wonderful. I love that stubborn, valiant king, who held his realm even though he didn't have a ring. If you admire him, you're on my A list!

I think the next story will have to be something lighter. No more dead characters!

Rose SaredReviewed Chapter: 8 on 6/2/2005
Oh how sad, and how sensitive. You are a story telling genious, my dear. I am too full of sniffs to do your work justice but you have inspired me.
Thank you
Rose

Author Reply: I hope I inspired you to write a story I can read!

Thank you for your kind words, Rose Sared. I hate killing an OC but it seemed realistic here.

emjoReviewed Chapter: 8 on 6/1/2005
Oh Daw sorry I haven't reviewed this story my boyfriend was in an accident and life has been a little crazy, but I've managed to keep up with this story (actually one of the few things that brighten my day right now). I loved this story even though it made me even sadder. Legolas is definatly ready to go help save middle earth, and in my head Sinnarn will be with his family again eventually. Anyway great job. Can't wait to see what the next story will be!


Author Reply: I hope your boyfriend is doing well, emjo. RL can be terrible sometimes.

In my head, Sinnarn will be with his family again eventually too. The idea of reuniting in Valinor must be very comforting for Elves who have lived through so many centuries of loss.

The KarenatorReviewed Chapter: 8 on 6/1/2005
I've had to take a little time to think about my review. Not because I have anything negative to say, but because I have so many things bumping around my head that I wasn't sure how to organize my thoughts.

First off, despite your reservations about this story, I think it's one of your best. As each chapter progressed, the tension just wound tighter and tighter. By the time we got to the last chapter, the coil was wound so tightly that the tension was almost unbearable.

Of course, Tolkien's world is fiction, but I think the plot of the story is so appealing to readers because it's so relevant to the world in his time and in ours now. He created characters who rose above the terror and trials of battling evil by choosing to do the right thing. We have characters who are loyal, brave, self-sacrificing and determined despite overwhelming odds that they will most likely perish.

Your story captures the essence of these qualities in your characters. Mirkwood was unique in that it was the only known Elven realm of that time without the protection of a ring of power, and it's people were constantly under assault. In one of your earlier stories you said that Eilian thought that his father kept the shadow from their door simply by his strength of will. In this story, we see that not only was Thranduil's strength of will the barrier that kept his people safe, but the woodland people themselves were possessed of the same kind of determination as their king. We can easily see why Thranduil was considered the greatest of all Elven kings, but we also see that he was supported by people who helped him reach that height. When Legolas realized how much strength Ithilden drew from Alfirin, Ithilden and Alfirin seemed to parallel the relationship of Thranduil and his people. Both relationships are closely bound in mutual support. The loss of peace and the loss of life go hand in hand.

My favorite line: There before Legolas stood the king of the Woodland Realm, one who would fight the Shadow for every inch of soil, every rock, and every tree, and if by some mischance, an enemy overcame him, he would grasp it by the neck to drag it down with him and spit in its face as he did so. This is a beautiful description of the unmovable determination of the king in the face of such a personal loss. Sinnarn's loss was felt by everyone, and each in their own way held up someone else. Everyone seemed to know that Sinnarn's and Tynd's deaths were symbolic for all the losses that the woodland people had known and would know again in the future. They were markers for the death of peace. Dol Guldur was occupied again, but the people stood firm with resolve. Emmelin and Elowen's leaving didn't seem to be an escape from evil, but a symbolic step toward healing the hurts done to the realm.

Gosh, I know this sounds like a bad high school book report, but the whole story seemed to me to be about so much more than just a couple of scouting trips and the loss of a family member. I could be wrong...:>)

However, I can't tell you enough how wonderful I thought this story was. You outdid yourself.

Karen

Author Reply: Thank you, Karen. Your praise means a lot because you give it with such consideration. I learn about my own stories from reading your reviews. I think this review really articulates what I admire in Tolkien's characters: they've made clear decision to do what's right and they do it no matter what the cost to themselves.

In thinking about Ithilden and Alfirin, it seemed to me that we might assume he was the strong one and she leaned on him. And she probably did. But I think his strength comes partly from her, as Thranduil's strength comes from the woods and the Silvan people. What a determined lot they were! They may not have been particularly disciplined fighters under Gil-galad, but they never lacked for courage.

The idea of Elowen and Emmelin going west together comforted me, I have to say. They would take care of one another. And poor Elowen needed to see Siondel again. I think he'll be waiting for her.

In my head, this story has been about what people do in the face of great loss. The personal loss of Sinnarn is connected to the greater loss of the peace and is set against it.

Thank you for being such thoughtful words, Karen.

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