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History Lessons  by Nilmandra 114 Review(s)
Veritas and AequitasReviewed Chapter: 24 on 9/19/2005
I've been reading through your story for some time now, and, seeing as I've reached the end, I think it's more than time for a review.

To put it quite simply - I find The Silmirillion to be the best of Tolkein's works and your telling enhances it beyond what Tolkein could have imagined. The Third Age characterization, as well, was beautiful; and this I do not say lightly as I cannot stomach most "elfling" stories.

The research that you've obvioulsy done is astounding. The notes at the end of the chapters explaining your sources and assumptions was golden when it came to the authenticity of your tale.

I cannot agree with all your assumptions personally, but no one ever can. I always imagined the Peredhil in the care of Maedhros and Malgor until they were grown (though, I did really enjoy the scene where Celeborn points them out at the end of the war), and, frankly, I cannot imagine Elros not seeing his brother again after departing for Numeneor. Also, creating a whole backstory for Celeborn as some distant uncle was a bit vexing, though I can see why it would be important in a story where characters are telling of happenings of which they would need to have been present for.

The second last chapter, where Elrond and Elros make their final choices was one of the most moving passages I have ever read.

Elrond takes a lot of flak, but I've always liked him. 'Shaped by grief' is a wonderful way to phrase it. I truely appreciate the characterization and explanations in part as to what made him what he is.

Your story was wonderful. And should you decide to tackle the Second and Third Ages, I would be delighted to partake in your writings.

Author Reply: Thank your for your kind words and thoughts. I truly appreciate them. This was an interesting story to write, as I tried to tie little bits and pieces together from what Tolkien wrote. The passage that inspired the whole story was of Elros and Elrond being found in a cave behind a waterfall as young children, left by Maglor. I went with it, but certainly they may have stayed with the Feanorians until the War of Wrath, although that has its own set of complications - how did that type of life shape them? Elrond saw at mimimum the banner of the great hosts in the War of Wrath, as ne noted in the Council of Elrond - what role did the Feanorians and any of those remaining have in it? How did he come to see it and why did he stay with Gil-galad? I considered those things and tried going in that direction, but frankly dealing with the heavy and darkness of the curse was not where I wanted to go. :/ The Celeborn thing comes from a family tree that Tolkien did, showing Celeborn as Nimloth's uncle...but there was so little time to explore that relationship much or this whole story would have been longer than Tolkien's trilogy! Nonetheless, I enjoyed writing this and working out some of these details to make the story work. Sometimes that meant giving up going in a certain direction, or having to choose one version of Tolkien's work over another to fit the pieces together. Yet, that is the joy of writing in his world - he leaves enough big gaps to allow someone to fill them, and enough detail to understand the framework of the world. Thanks for reading. :>)

InarielReviewed Chapter: 14 on 8/1/2005
"He launched himself backward to avoid a collision, landing hard on his backside with a groan.

'Ereinion!' Círdan growled. 'Will you ever give up sliding on polished floors? One would think you were the elfling. A fine example you are to them,' he grumbled."

Well, these lines made me laugh. I sat in front of the computer laughing aloud, much to the consternation of my husband and my daughter who came in to check on me...

Another very evocative chapter. Elrond's care for Elrohir's injury, the interaction between the elflings and Albast, episodes of Elros' and Elrond's life in the care of their relatives... Everything is nicely written.

But I liked most, more even than the lines which made me laugh, the subtle but already visible differences between Elros and Elrond. It's not so much that one is noisy and playful while the other one is quiet, it's the "tantrum" scene that caught my attention. What would Elves know about Human children who do not always stay punished even if the parents take care to explain to them what they did wrong, and for how long they have to endure the punishment and all such "preparatory things"! In my opinion, Elros was not so much ired by the bare fact of being restrained---although that did bother him. He "felt" he was being punished and he simply did not want to accept punishment. Only when Elrond "shared" with him, he got quiet: now he was again "like everybody else", and in this case that meant "like Elrond" since Elrond was the only other child there. You have a very powerful pen...

InarielReviewed Chapter: 11 on 8/1/2005
"Celeborn finished as tears streamed down the faces of both of his grandsons." Tears streamed down MY face, too, when I read this chapter... I cried both when I read about the lives of Elros and Elrond as hostages in Maedhros' and Maglor's hands, and when I read about Elladan and Elrohir's rescue from that cave. This is a very dramatic chapter, well written, with bits of humor thrown in to lessen the tension at the right time.

I read a bit further by now, but then I saw that this chapter had no review and I thought that it deserved one... Clumsy though it may be. (English is obviously not my native language, so please bear with my clumsy expressions when they occur.:-()


Mum's the WordReviewed Chapter: 5 on 7/15/2005
The elflings' drawing Glorfindel into their expemerent is hilarious, as is the realization that the other leaders of Imladris have witnessed the whole thing. Then his approaching poor Istuion was so intimidating, only to end the exchange with this:
'Glorfindel smiled, and reached over and grasped Istuion's wrist in the warrior greeting. "Well done."'

No wonder he's everyone's hero! You've made him so admirable.

As for the rest of the chapter, I must tell you I've wept every time I've read it -- along with many of the other heart-wrenching portions of this tale. Then when I re-read the "Silmarillion," your descriptions help make the story even more real, and there go the tears again.

(I'm truly tempted to print your HE I and II, and insert them into the pages of the Silm, as they would interweave with it so well.)

Thank you again, Nilmandra, for your stories -- and for the hard work of research that you do for each one.


Author Reply: I am glad this seems to help bring the Silmarillion alive for you. Writing the sories made it live for me, just as good historical fiction bring history alive for me. Have you ever read the works of Bodie and Brock Thoene? Their books (in particular the pre WWII to the birth of the nation of Israel) are historically accurate and I learned so much even as I was embroiled with their characters. I admit that their style is one I would like to emulate!

Mum's the WordReviewed Chapter: 4 on 7/15/2005
"But those that we can prevent, we should. A warrior is bound by honor to this."
You've done so well in explaining the honor of noble warriors.

Elrond's explanation of keeping and being released from oaths was at once very deep and very understandable for young ones -- besides being lots of fun.

Have I told you I love your Elves? You've given Glorfindel a wonderful personality -- beauty and innocence, grace and power, and such a sense of humor! I can see a glimpse of the glory of the Valar in him. Excellent job!

Also, hurrah for Istuion:
"Does Lord Glorfindel have any stories that help them learn numbers?" Istuion ventured.

Elrond was right: he will make a good teacher, for he's willing to learn.

Excellent chapter!


Author Reply: This is one of my favorite chapters! It was Glorfindel's idea, of course - and he loves teaching in a rather unforgettable manner. I am glad you liked it.

Mum's the WordReviewed Chapter: 1 on 7/13/2005
Dear Nilmandra,

I'm re-reading this outstanding story for about the fourth time, and I'll follow with HE II, even as I enjoy your most recent installment.

I must say I absolutely love your renditions of Elrond and his family -- his entire household. Your descriptions are the ones to which I compare all other fanfic renditions. The way you fill out the personalities of Celebrian, Glorfindel, Erestor, and a host of others makes them all so much more realistic. And your continued description of each one is so consistent, so believable. Did I tell you I just love your Elves?

I've recommended your stories to many people who complain about not being able to "follow" the Silmarillion. Your "Silmarillion for Elflings" makes the history understandable even to me!

You are an excellent teacher, dear lady, from whom I have learned much by reading your stories.

As I re-read HE I & II, I hope to post more reviews. If I fail, it's because (as was the case in your Legolas stories) I'm too caught up in the interwoven tales to interrupt and review.

Best of blessings on you and your writing,
And thanks for sharing your wonderful talent with us,

Author Reply: Hello Mum,

I cannot think of anything an author would rather hear than that a reader returns to a story over and over again. Tolkien's world does that for me - its a place I wish to visit and its my hope that these stories fit into his vision at least a little. I fell in love with Elrond, for he embodies so many qualities one would hope for in a great leader - mercy, compassion, wisdom, humility and love. He is in all the tales Tolkien has told, and trying to tell his story is a good way to learn history since he lived through so much of it. Learning through stories is a tried and true method of teaching!

I am honored by your kind words and am glad you this rendition and recommend it to others. Many blessings on you too!

EldanarReviewed Chapter: 24 on 3/14/2005
well.. what can i say?..

i sat down to read this having been recommended to by Narvi.. who you know better as OD..and Ada 'Brim..aka Celebrimbor..

despite having read it almost a year ago i still sat spellbound as the story unfolded in front of me in a way that i could almost visualise..

i have both laughed and reached for the tissue box..

thank you for writing such a wonderful story..

in the words of Ada Brims elfling.. ..”tis more better ‘an that ol’ borin’’ it does got nana in too!”

Author Reply: Thank you, Eldanar! I am glad you enjoyed the story and that it could even be reread with some pleasure. And 'Nana' was indeed in it! Good thing he had no idea he would be called that when he was just a little 'un himself.

I have read of Eldanar in some of Master Erestor's tales, and found him quite adorable, but I stopped over there today and read your stories as well. You really do capture the voice of a child well - he is so consistently in character for the character you have given him, and I swear I could hear him speaking aloud. You clearly know children well.

Thank you for your kind words.

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.

Cecilia AKA ThilwenReviewed Chapter: 5 on 8/10/2004
Dear Nilmandra,
I would have written a review in one of the earlier chapters, but I don't usually review every chapter of a story, and this chapter seemed lonely with no reviews done about it. What a wonderful way to retell the history of the First Age! As much as I love the Silmarillion, I find its history somewhat daunting. It's hard to remember all the names and dates and places. However, you are making it a joy to do this. You are helping me to know the characters as real people with feelings and methods to their seeming madness. Glorfendel and Arestor are becoming more dynamic as well. Poor Elrond and Elros! your story makes me feel so sorry for them and the things they lose! Great job!

Author Reply: Hello Cecilia - thanks for friending this chapter! I am glad you are enjoying the story and hope that you keep reading. Telling Elrond's story was fascinating and a joy to write. Thank you!

LindorienReviewed Chapter: 3 on 6/25/2004
You are making this so understandable that this ADD person could cry! I'm having trouble with the names, always my bane with this stuff. I'm not as sharp as those twins. I'll need a few reads to get it. I LOVED the review. And I loved Daddy's hug making his baby feel better. All us parents pass healing energy onto our children. ;) Thanks so much for putting in that mention.

Author Reply: It is interesting to sit back and think of the things a parent does for a child, things the child may never know, much less appreciate, and yet when they feel better or give you that special hug, its all worth while. :D I can send Glorfindel over to drill you on names - I think he probably has some great techniques!

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