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The Dwellings of the Dead  by Nilmandra 57 Review(s)
SiorahReviewed Chapter: 3 on 1/16/2007
Bravo Nilmandra...that was a grand story,


Author Reply: Thanks, Kathleen, I am glad you liked it. :D

RedheredhReviewed Chapter: 3 on 1/15/2007
My, this story took an unexpected turn. That the child was convenient bait for a trap, I think most readers could easily anticipate. However, it turned out not to be a trap... but a test. Toman broke Elrohir's heart. And mine.

Your suppositions (alright, call them intelligent conclusions) about spirits in Tolkien's Arda were very insightful and fit so well. Moving the struggle to this plane of action completely changed the mood of this tale for me. Thanks for the uplifting ending.

Now, I have to tell you, I had no problem with Elrohir even considering helping the child make his way through death and on after. A current story I am working on includes that exact thing. But, what you did with the idea was so much better! You explored the character and revealed an even greater truth, to boot. Boy, I like it when that happens! Should have expected this from you.

Always happy to see Namo tell someone what for.

Sadly, it looks like Glorfindel and Elrond were too busy to clear out the Barrow Downs. Hmmm, now you got me wondering, once again, about the nature of Tom Bombadil and his place in that part of Arda.

Great story - and lesson.

Author Reply: I didn't ever think of the child as a trap, but a test is perhaps a good description. Elroihr's sacrifice would have been great and worthy of song, but I am glad that Iluvatar has his own plans in place for dealing with evil!

You explored the character and revealed an even greater truth, to boot.

Thank you for that... I thought I might scare people away with where the story went!

I am not sure the elves could entirely clear out the Barrow Downs. Tom Bombadil though - he might be another matter. Or Gandalf! Gandalf's power was cloaked, but what about Bombadil? I've often wondered that too.

meckinockReviewed Chapter: 3 on 1/15/2007
Elrohir's gentleness, generosity, and courage really shine here. His anguish at not being able to save the little boy was very touching, as was his commitment to helping ease his suffering. His choice to try to escort the child's spirit to its destination, even if it meant his own death, was very brave. Although I'm with Elladan in threatening to bonk him one if he ever tries that again! I liked Mandos's reassurance to Elrohir that Iluvatar makes sure all spirits find their way home. This was a very thoughtful exploration of some rather confusing themes in Tolkien's work.

Author Reply: There are so many themes to explore in Tolkien's world, and this one fit in with my fascination of the peredhil. Coming up with an original plot is always hard, but this one came to me while cleaning bird cages, so the birds have voted that I clean them more often. :D

French PonyReviewed Chapter: 3 on 1/15/2007
Fantastic ending! This chapter was almost a complete sub-story in itself, which is great. I like how you used the very specific characteristics of Elrohir, as a healer and a hybrid, to work the story out. But it does leave one wondering about the particular houseless spirit, and about its reasons for choosing a son of Elrond to work on. What might its intentions have been if it had succeeded? The mind races. . .

Author Reply: LOL at hybrid, but indeed, that is what he is!

I had the ideas worked out in my head for why the kin of Elrond would be chosen, besides the obvious one of finding the hidden valley and getting close to Elrond to do him or his realm harm. That alone is an interesting plot, but it could be taken deeper too. The mind does indeed race.... :D

Silivren TinuReviewed Chapter: 3 on 1/15/2007
The fate of Toman was truly heartbreaking. I can't blame Elrohir for believing the spirit, under such circumstances I would have done the same. As a healer or simply as a compassionate being with a heart, his decision was very understandable. I was quite relieved to learn that the spirit was lying all the time. It makes much more sense both in Tolkien's world and in my own that "Mighty servants of Eru escort them to wherever they go." and will keep such an innocent soul as Toman's safe, if only after death. Since I haven't bought or read HoME yet your explanations were very interesting to me. Spirits are truly a very fascinating and/or frightening aspect of Tolkien's world, though by far not the only one. ;-) I think this experience taught Elrohir a really important lesson, or rather more than one. I enjoyed this story very much, and I loved the last sentence - I have a feeling Glorfindel and Elrohir will continue having that exchange for quite some time. *g*


Author Reply: Elrohir learned a lot, and I'm sure he will find application for this at some point. The circumstances were just right - the plague, the death, the desolation - for evil spirits to take advantage of the surroundings and ultimately of the vulnerability they would cause in any in the situation. I had to pick on Elrohir since I've made him the more sensitive in this way. But it was also good to show Elladan with the strength he has.

Elrohir and Glorfindel do continue with such exchanges, at least until Celebrian sails. Then the elflings are elflings no more. :(

Jay of LasgalenReviewed Chapter: 3 on 1/15/2007
You see? I was right that the child was a trap!

Elrohir should have been more suspicious when the spirit returned that it didn't try to attack him again. When he was considering following Toman to protect him I was shouting at him: 'Don't do it! Don't go! It's a trap!!' - but of course he didn't listen :(

Poor Elladan - what an awful scene for him to arrive and find. He seemed remarkably calm in the circumstances. Thank goodness he knew he was needed and arrived in time!

Author Reply: LOL, no, no trap. That would imply the evil spirits made the child ill and/or put him in Elrohir's path. They did use him though, seeing Elrohir's vulnerability. They couldn't take from Elrohir by force what they wanted, but the spirit thought it might convince him, deceive him, instead and used Toman for that purpose. Poor Elrohir . This was a rough encounter, but he also saw deeper into the spiritual realm and fate of men than he ever had before.

Elena TirielReviewed Chapter: 3 on 1/15/2007
Hi Nilmandra,

I most thoroughly enjoyed this story. It's great how you can weave obscure bits of Tolkien's writings into a coherent whole, while at the same time making nebulous ideas concrete and personal.

Very well done!

- Barbara

Author Reply: Thanks Barbara. Those obscure concepts tend to dance around in my mind, are mulled over long and hard, and when I'm fortunate, they form into a plot for a story. I am so excited when that happens. :D

Thanks for reading.

BMReviewed Chapter: 3 on 1/15/2007
That was great, but you cut me off short! I was hoping to find Elrond's reactions to all and to find out who the dark spirit was that Glorfindel saw! Great story and great writing. I really enjoyed this and your depth of understanding of Tolkien's world is outstanding! Great job and please, share more!

Author Reply: I am l glad you enjoyed it. This was an interesting tale to right, and yet the story still continues. Eventually, Glorfindel will chase the Witch King out of the North and Angmar is defeated. I hope the twins are with him - Elladan at least. I'd like to see him in that battle!

perellethReviewed Chapter: 3 on 1/14/2007
Wow! This was cleverly done! Of course I thought it was only Glorfindel joining in the fray, but thankfully Elladan reached in time to hold him back as well. IT was a frightening moment, and the psirit was only too clever in using his good feelings against him.

I really like your point in this story, that the devastated land was weaker and thus more vulnerable to dark spirits and evil. So accurate, and well expressed with the use that you made in the two previous chapters of nature as a warning sign. This was a very powerful tale, Nilmandra, congratulations.

Author Reply: Thanks, Perelleth. I was thinking on how the houseless ones couldn't evict someone from their body by force... so I tried to show it failing at that, and then trying to lure Elrohir out. And the mix of their heritage was perfect to allow the peredhil to interact with all the kinds of spirits. This was an interesting area to explore. Thanks for the feedback!

daw the minstrelReviewed Chapter: 3 on 1/14/2007
This was so sad. I kept hoping against hope that the child would survive. But like Elrohir, I was comforted by the loving figures who took the little one into their care.

I thought the moment when Elrohir senses Elladan was thrilling because until then I'd assumed he was sensing Glorfindel. Thank goodness Elladan and Erestor arrived when they did.

Author Reply: Exploring Tolkien opens up so many realms to us, doesn't it? I found this story to be a challenge in using Tolkien's creatures and mythology and spinning a new take on it. But alas, I always knew the child would die. :(

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