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History Lessons  by Nilmandra 11 Review(s)
Cecilia Aka ThilwenReviewed Chapter: 23 on 9/24/2004
What a chapter, that is both part 1 and part two!
Again, I understood and could see things with much more clarity than when I read The Silmarillion or the appendices of Rotk. I didn't want to read about Elros' choice because I knew I would be in tears. You made it come alive and seem so real, how could anyone help but want to cry.
The only thing I would question is the immediate forgiveness the two brothers experienced. Elros might have been just as angry with Elrond for not choosing to be a man. I can't help but wonder, if Tolkien ever thought about it, if they forgave immediately, or if there was some strain between them for a while. None the less, you told a wonderful story in just this chapter alone!

In God's peace,

Author Reply: Hello Thilwen,

Glad you liked this chapter - I remmber it being a toughie to write. I think I chose Elrond's perspective since we would be following him; but also because it is Elros who made a choice to leave what he had been raised as behind.

Your point about forgiveness is a good one - I think forgiveness is something that is a choice one must make anytime the hurt or offense pains one. They likely had to choose to forgive each other at many different points in the next 400 years...and Elrond probably had to continue to forgive Elros for many years to come. I imagine when he had to sail without Arwen he had to forgive Elros all over again. How hard, I would not wish to be 'immortal', like the elves.

FadesintothewestReviewed Chapter: 23 on 10/26/2003
I knew that this chapter was going to be hard to read. My heart ached along with Elrond's, and that's what is so terribly sad about Tolkien's world, that at some point we are parted from the ones we love. But beyond that is hope and that's what Elrond holds onto.

LKKReviewed Chapter: 23 on 10/22/2003
Very poignant, Nilmandra. My heart ached for Elrond. As a child, he was usually so aware of things, to be caught so unprepared for Elros' decision -- I guess he was in denial regarding his brother's thoughts. Everyone else seemed less surprised. My heart went out to Elros as well. He knew he was going to hurt his brother, and yet he could make no other choice. Galadriel was right. (Again.)

I smiled at little Elladan's comment: Your brother hurt you and brothers should not do that. Ah, little one. Would that decisions were so uncomplicated.

Finally, I loved the final image of Glorfindel and Celeborn pretending to be balrog and dragon! A great Part II to an equally great Part I. :-)


Author Reply: Thanks LKK. As I wrote this story and tried to consider the perspective of each person, and what they knew or what their world-view was at the time, I came to the conclusion that having to make such a decision had to be a shock to all of them. My respect for Elros increased the more I considered how brave he was to leave all he knew for the unknown. The way was prepared for him, so perhaps it wasn't like those who first crossed the ocean or crossed the Rockies to see what was in the West, but it was a huge step nonetheless. He and Elrond will talk more in the next chapter :)

As for those elf-Lords.....all I can say is that elves sure did cherish their children and these days of childhood were precious - so much so that apparently even mighty elf-lords played silly games. Have I mentioned I love Glorfindel?

BejaiReviewed Chapter: 23 on 10/20/2003
Oh, Nilmandra, I don't know how you do it, but this story keeps getting better. I must say that as much as I'm thrilled for this fast and furious updates, they are doing terrible things to my productivity. I read the chapter, and then read it again, and then go read earlier chapters, and read the new chapter again. Work? I'm supposed to work?

Love it all, but especially these bits:

-- "Their passage went unchallenged; shining elves with the light of Valinor gleaming in their eyes and Maiar of great power and might watched them pass with looks that hovered between curiosity and an almost paternal love." What an absolutely wonderful detail. That's one of the things I love best about your stories; the unexpected insights within small details.

-- the description of Elrond's emotion when Elros spoke his fate. What can I say? Wrenching, terrible, beautiful.

-- the idea that Elrond could be healed and find peace in Valinor, but does not go, and will not go for ages.

-- “I am Nienna, son of Eärendil. For the marring of Arda I grieve, and for all that is blemished and lost I mourn. Hearken to me, Elrond,” she commanded gently, “for it is through pity you shall replenish your own soul. You shall find hope through endurance, and in compassion for all who come into your care you shall find strength.” How utterly appropriate that Elrond can find the will to continue through compassion on others.

-- the elf telling Elrond that he would feel young again in Valinor. Poor Elrond, who already carries the griefs of age in a young life!

-- "Your destiny lies in the shared blood of the Secondborn" Ahhgg, remind us that he'll have to go through this AGAIN why don't you?

-- Glorfindel the Balrog and Celeborn the Dragon. Priceless.

Brilliant, brilliant. I'll gladly sit here and wait for the next chapter, even if it does kill my time ;)

Author Reply: Hi Bejai - your words are like music to my heart! Thank you so much - I was concerned about how this chapter would be received. I really wanted an experience to shape Elrond towards compassion and pity - and Nienna seemed perfect. I am glad you liked that - and oh, isn't that foreshadowing terrible?

These updates were quick because these last four chapters were written together - I need to see them together to feel comfortable with them. So it took weeks to get them there - I promise to slow down just a little bit now.

Again, thank you for your words. I was worried I could not pull this off. :)

DollyReviewed Chapter: 23 on 10/20/2003
Wonderful chapter as always. I really felt for Elrond when Elros made his choice and the bond diminished. I love Gil-Galad and Celeborn in this story, so supportive of both the young Elves. More very soon please.

Author Reply: Thank you Dolly :-) I liked the idea that both GG and Celeborn were related to the twins - it gave some great opportunities to throw them together. I am glad you liked it. ~Nilmandra

Antigone_QReviewed Chapter: 23 on 10/19/2003
This chapter again touched on something I left in my previous very-late-at-night-and-slightly-incoherent review. There is the sense that you are finding positive aspects of your characters that were built by loss, hurt, or sacrifice. If you count Elrond's losses as we know them by the time of LotR, they are many: he has lost both his parents, his short-term father figure Malgor, his longer-term father figure Gil-galad, his wife Celebrian, and his brother Elros. And what is he doing? He is hosting strangers and wayfarers and orphaned humans in the peaceful sanctuary he has built in Rivendell. I think saying Elrond has been "tempered and refined into the finest gold by mourning and compassion and hope" is a good way to put it. What I find especially interesting is that you are building backwards from Tolkien's "Kind as summer, wise as something-or-other" Elrond, finding motivations for his compassion from the experiences of his earlier days that Tolkien touches on, but doesn't elaborate much. I can only complement you again, because what you are doing is not only difficult, but beautiful.

Author Reply: I usually respond to reviewers in the next chapter, but you made me jump up and down for joy, and cry - all at the same time! You have picked up on exactly what I am trying to do. Tolkien writes such grand and majestic themes into his works - and the strength and ability to overcome that his characters have does come from sacrific and loss and pain. Elrond is such a great example. And I did exactly what you said - I wrote down almost everything Tolkien said about Elrond (and Cirdan and Gil-Galad and Elros) and then tried to piece detail around it to take the character's growth from point A to point Z.

Thank you so much - you made my day. :)

The KarenatorReviewed Chapter: 23 on 10/19/2003
What a beautifully written chapter. Even though I knew what was coming...the choice given to the half elven...I was still somewhat blindsided by the emotional turmoil. I knew it must have been a difficult decision and it must have been painful for both brothers, but you did me in with the sundering of the bond between the twins. And when Elrond thought about how glad he was that he could still feel the bond, even though it was weak, but that it was the emptiness that would come one day he feared....well, that just got me! Oh my. Elros is such a strong character. He seems to have always known his destiny on some level, but Elrond's innocent nature prevented him from seeing that Elros was led in a different direction than him. It was such a shock for poor Elrond. You have done a terrific job of showing the shaping of the Elrond we know later..all the losses, the pain and the acquisition of the compassion and wisdom he gained throughout the many long years. His fate remains bound to mortal man and it will later come full circle. You have given the twins such distinct personalities. Elros is so directed and sure of himself and while he would never have caused Elrond pain, he followed his heart and made his own destiny. Elrond is a healer at heart and knows the pain of the world so much more readily than his brother. He is almost too tuned in to the weariness of love, loss and separation. He seems more vulnerable. Boy, Nilmandra, this was such a moving chapter. I know other things happened, but the music of these two distinct lives was so engaging that I fell into listening to them. Wow, is about all I can say. I'm eager for the next chapter. :>) Karen

Author Reply: Thank you Karen! I love your reviews - you think so much about the story and to see your thoughts match my intent or what I was thinking is just wonderful. I think you said it well that Elrond was innocent - and Elros's choice shows how much of a pioneer and adventurer he was. He turned from all he knew to forge new roads and paths. I don't think Elrond could have predicted it - but when I think of the love he showed to the heirs of Isildur, it has to stem from the love he had for his twin.

I am glad you are enjoying this - thank you for telling me. ~Nilmandra

TolkienFanReviewed Chapter: 23 on 10/19/2003
Well, this chapter made me cry. From beginning to end. Instead of a two-thumbs-up rating, I give it a five-Kleenex-down. Which is incredible!

Gotta go read it again (*sniffle*) ...

Author Reply: Oh, my,........well, I will take that as a compliment :). Thank you *hands you a box of tissues*. I made myself cry when I wrote it too. ~Nilmandra

Jay of LasgalenReviewed Chapter: 23 on 10/19/2003
I wondered when we would get to the crunch, the moment when Elrond and Elros actually made their separate choices. Poor Elrond! To hear his brother say that must have been such a shock - he had no idea Elros would choose mortality. But I would have thought they would have at least discussed it first! I wonder if Elladan and Elrohir could contemplate different fates?


Author Reply: Hi Jay! Poor Elrond - he really did not see it coming (in my world). I wrote the scene where they talked about it, and it seemed to want to go one of two ways - denial or outright opposition. Denial was no fun to read, so its implied in GG's conversation with Elros. Outright opposition - I was afraid Elros would waver or they would build a wall between them that could not be undone. Isn't it amazing how real these characters become?

I have decided (I call it Nilmandra's proclamation) that Elladan and Elrohir *have* to sail west. I can't have Elrond lose all of his children to mortality. I only wish I had the authority to make it canon!!

ElemmireReviewed Chapter: 23 on 10/19/2003
*sniff* now you've got me crying...poor Elrond.


Author Reply: *hands you tissues*

But I am glad, I guess, since it made me cry too. Thanks for reading :)

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