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The Day Before  by Thundera Tiger 12 Review(s)
InklingReviewed Chapter: 1 on 1/15/2006
What fascinating meditations on time you have crafted in this story and its companion!
There is a kind of “Gift of the Magi” irony in the situation: these two friends, in having so successfully embraced each other’s points of view, are now less able to appreciate their own, natural way of seeing things, and so remain as apart as ever. Or is it that, in moving toward each other’s concepts of time, they have arrived at some strange new meeting-ground between mortal and immortal perception?

This story made me think of Sam’s words to Elanor in the second epilogue in The End of the Third Age: “Before he went Mr. Frodo said that my time maybe would come. I can wait. I think maybe we haven’t said farewell for good. But I can wait. I have learned that much from the Elves at any rate. They are not so troubled about time.” Tolkien seemed to be suggesting that mortals could to some extent benefit from the immortal approach to time. But, perhaps, only up to a point before it becomes harmful…as Legolas fears in your story.

Beautifully written, Thundera, and my favorite kind of fanfic: one that makes me think! And it was nice reading something of yours besides a MEFA post! ;)

Author Reply: Perceptive and right on target. That's essentially what I was trying to portray. No matter how close Legolas and Gimli grow, there is still going to be something between them. Something they never fully understand but also something they never have to understand, which is part of what I find so fascinating about their friendship. But they'll either go too far or not far enough, and the few times they do find balance, I doubt either one of them will recognize it for what it is. Ah well. No one said life was perfect, and that applies to friendship, too. Thank you so much for such an insightful review, and I'm glad the story made you think!

NightwingReviewed Chapter: 1 on 1/13/2006
Ah yes. Using the flow of a river to mark the passing of time and of life itself is the most evocative of metaphors. I have seen professional writers employ it, and you have used it every bit as eloquently as they.

"Life is a journey they cannot survive" is a sentence worthy of meditation sessions, church sermons, and long discussions over bottles of wine. It will stay with me for a good while.

I will give you a gift back, if you like it; a line from Mary Stewart, one of my favorite writers. In it, she also employs the river metaphor to great effect:

"(The purpose of life) runs through the world and past each one of us like a great river, and we cannot check it or turn it, but can only drink from it while living, and commit our bodies to it when we die."

Thank you for writing this.

Author Reply: Beautiful words, and thank you for sharing them. I'll have to remember that quote. As for the rest, please accept my humble thanks but I have to confess that the use of the river metaphor was something of a cheat. I was stymied when trying to express time from Legolas's POV, and in the end, I decided to cloak the entire thing in a metaphor and hope people could draw from it what they needed to. That and given his sea-longing, I liked having his thoughts filled with it. Kind of like something he couldn't escape no matter what he was thinking about. Seems to have worked, but I still feel a bit guilty. It all began as an elaborate dodge. :) Anyway, thank you again for such a complimentary review!

BodkinReviewed Chapter: 1 on 1/12/2006
Lovely pair of bookends. Both Gimli and Legolas worrying about the other - typical of them, really. Yet the change they see is more in themselves than in the other. In a way. I can see how their perceptions have changed, but I don't think either really understands as much as he thinks.

Love the river metaphor.

Author Reply: Good call. You're exactly right in what I was attempting to play with. Neither Gimli nor Legolas fully understands the other, but in the end, that doesn't matter. Their friendship doesn't require complete understanding but rather an agreement that some things don't have to be understood. They just are.

And the biggest changes are within themselves, though their worry for one another makes the other's concerns more valid, I think. Not to the point that they're making them out to be, but valid, nonetheless. Thanks again for the review, and I'm glad you liked the river metaphor.

shireboundReviewed Chapter: 1 on 1/11/2006
But as I once explained to Frodo and Samwise, this river of time is not the same for all. Some brave the center, rushing forward to meet their fate with open arms and reckless speed. Others linger near the shores, tarrying in shaded pools where the currents are slow and quiet. Little choice do we have as to where or how our ship will sail; we can but endure the waters we are given.

I have ventured into currents of time that have no place for me. Because of these efforts, I have tasted the speed and fury of a mortal life.

From the moment of their conception, death shadows their steps. Yet because they know this, they strive all the more to give their lives meaning, learning and growing at a rate that is nothing short of bewildering to the elven mind. They are driven by the very thing that will ruin them, and as a result of this drive, they bring to their world a light and a fire that the elves will never have.

How utterly exquisite. There's a poetry in your writing that makes me thoughtful and... float at the same time.

Author Reply: Thank you VERY much for the compliment. You've highlighted some of my own favorite passages, and thank you for that, too. It lets me know I wasn't too wide of the mark. Thank you, also, for the comment about poetry. I was trying to make this seem soemwhat...ethereal, I guess. Something that mortals really can't touch but that can be seen from a distance. And the poetry feel helps that, I think. Thanks again and I'm glad you got that "floaty" feeling.

perellethReviewed Chapter: 1 on 1/11/2006
And this is what happens when we try to step into someone else's shoes...

Brave, lovely, naive Legolas, for all his elven wisdom, pretending that he can understand -and change- how time flows for mortals...

Beautiful tale of huge misunderstandings and unnecesary angst, when all is given and taken freely in frienship. Good one!

Author Reply: Many thanks for a very insightful review. You've hit upon something I wanted to emphasize, which is that neither Gimli nor Legolas really understands the other. They're close, and in worrying about the other, they're making the other's concerns more real. But they still don't quite get it. And being an elf and a dwarf, they never really will. Which is part of what makes their friendship so fascinating. They don't have to completely understand. Their friendship doesn't require that. Anyway, thanks again and kudos to your perception!

TithenFeredirReviewed Chapter: 1 on 1/11/2006
Oh, poop! Sorry 'bout the extra post. *kicking self*

I have not been allowing myself in here much of late and only lurking at that because of RL issues, but I can't fail to comment on this one. I love the way you continue Legolas' time-as-water imagery from LOTR; it makes the POV all the more effective. I also really liked little comments you put in showing that although Legolas had come to know and care for several mortals, the gulf between mortals and elvenkind in general is still quite intact in him. Your language is beautiful, and the point carefully constructed...then that last sentence!

"And I lift my head toward the stars, hoping the wind will dry my tears."

It's subtle and understated, but in its contcxt it encapsulates your point so well and hits like an arrow to the heart. WOW. Here's another one I'll be thinking about for a long time. ~TF

Author Reply: No problem about the extra post, though I hope you don't mind me getting in a quick ribbing over it. I couldn't resist. Anyway, thank you VERY much for including a review with words, too. ;)

Okay, I'll stop now. Thank you very much for your comments, and I'm glad you liked the water-time-metaphor. I have to confess that I was cheating a bit because I had no idea how to convey an elven view of time when my mind doesn't see things from an elven point of view. The water metaphor was my way of getting around that. Kind of like throwing a cloth over the whole thing and asking people to just look at the shapes beneath. But it seemed to work, and I like the way it ties in with the sea-longing. So many thanks for your compliments. I'm glad you liked it and I'm glad the piece as a whole fit together. I was a bit worried about that, too, especially since there was a tone shift toward the end. Thanks again!

TithenFeredirReviewed Chapter: 1 on 1/11/2006

Author Reply: Oooo...moved to speechlessness! I'm touched! ;)

DreamflowerReviewed Chapter: 1 on 1/10/2006
What a brilliant companion to your other story! And it goes to show, no matter how well two friends know one another, they can sometimes be just off the mark in interpreting what the other may be feeling or thinking at any given point.

And looking at the two stories in concert, it seems that perhaps *both* of them were right to a certain extent.

Author Reply: In the end, you've hit exactly upon the point I was trying to make. There is truth to what both of them are worried about, though not as much as either one thinks. But in worrying about the other, they're adding to the problem while still never completely understanding what is going on. In the end, they know each other too well and yet not enough, which can be both a good and a bad thing.

And I think it's also inevitable, because no matter how long they know each other, they're still an elf and a dwarf. There are still things that one will see and the other won't, and vice versa. So regardless of all their claims that they have overcome the barriers between race, there's still an edge hidden somewhere between them. And that edge is part of the reason their friendship is so fascinating. At least, that's my opinion. MANY thanks for the insightful review.

Estel_Mi_OlorReviewed Chapter: 1 on 1/10/2006
How beautiful. What more can I say? Your insights into Legolas's and Gimli's friendship never cease to amaze me. How selfish of me not think of Gimli. The price of friendship, that is indeed a terrifying thought. I wonder, (I say this because I am dumstruck by your art and have nothing better to say) have you ever read the book (well play actually) called "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead" by Tom Stoppard? If not, then I suggest you read it. It has a lot in it about the nature of time and death. (It is based on Hamlet). Sorry, I don't mean to be ignore me if you've already read it. Back to the point: that was very poignant. This idea will haunt me now, not only when reading your work but also when reading that of others. Speaking of which, I hope that you will update in the near future, some of those cliff-hangers are really quite brutal. Thank you and keep writing.

Author Reply: I haven't read "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead," but I have seen it. Brilliant play. I absolutely love it, though I must confess that my favorite part is not the philosophy on time and death (fascinating though it may be) but rather the question game. For some reason, that really amuses me. As for Hamlet, it's far and away my favorite Shakespeare play and also the inspiration for possibly the best paper I've ever written in my life, so I'm very familiar with that, too.

Anyway, thank you so much for your review and I promise to try and address the cliff hangers in the near future. In the meantime, I'll find you some repelling gear and a sweatshirt. Those cliffs can get cold at night, or so I hear. Thanks again!

LamielReviewed Chapter: 1 on 1/10/2006
This is a flip side that I had not considered before. It is well known the perils of an Elf loving a mortal too much, whether in deep friendship or otherwise. But few think of what impact that friendship might have on the mortal, the Elf-friend. Somehow I don't think that Gimli would fail to live each day to the fullest, despite Legolas' concerns. He just strikes me as a very pragmatic Dwarf who doesn't waste opportunities. But I do not doubt that he would be changed by the experience, and that change might strike fear into an Elven heart, so aware is Legolas of his friends' short time on earth.

I find it curious that you did not mention Legolas' friendship with the other members of the Fellowship in this vignette, particularly Aragorn. In this story do you consider that Legolas did not meet Aragorn until the forming of the Fellowship, and so did not form as close a bond with him as with Gimli? I'm not arguing with that interpretation, as the good Professor certainly never gave us any indications either way (apart from Legolas' willingness to follow a mortal Ranger's lead). But I think that in "While the Ring Went South" you did suggest that Legolas and Aragorn were friends before the Fellowship. In that case I would have expected Legolas to have these same concerns for Aragorn as for Gimli. But perhaps you think that Legolas did not form as close a bond with Aragorn, and so it was less of a concern for him. Plus Aragorn has some small dose of Elvish heritage anyway, and he's got Arwen as well.

Your use of water imagery in this story was nicely done. Such a perfect metaphor for Legolas, given the complex nature of the sea longing. And that last line, "I lift my head toward the stars, hoping the wind will dry my tears." That is beautiful.

It seems to me that both in this vignette and in "Western Dawn" you are exploring Legolas as an individual character, finding his voice alone, as opposed to as a foil for Gimli (and vice versa). Wonderful! They are both fascinating characters in their own right (in my opinion) as well as being fun to play off of each other. I wish that every author put as much care and devotion and hard work into developing her characters as you do. Then again I wish that we all could have even a fraction of your talent. Thank you so much for sharing your gift with us.

Author Reply: You know, your first comment makes me think of Earendil and Elwing when the Valar try to figure out what to do with them and decide to give them the choice of being either Men or Elves. At which point Earendil, whose heart is among Men, lets Elwing choose because he's weary of the entire thing and thus ends up being counted among Elves because that's what Elwing chooses. It's kind of the same idea. Those who love Elves get caught up in their way of thinking and it stretches out their days until they're simply weary. That is, if they live that long. And without war to drive them, this weariness might extend into every day life, such as what Legolas observes in Gimli. At least, that's my reasoning. I could be way off my rocker, though. Back to Gimli, I agree with you in that I don't think Gimli would ever be idle. Legolas himself says as much. But I still think there's a danger of too much change, and that danger goes for both of them. Legolas is very conscious of time, which is something that worries Gimli, and Gimli is very conscious of immortality, which is something that worries Legolas. I don't think they're in as much danger as either of them seem to think, but the possibility still exists.

As for the other members of the Fellowship, you got it in one. My own personal canon (which has a tentative story behind it but is far from being posted) is that Legolas and Aragorn first met when Aragorn went off to hunt for Gollum in Southern Mirkwood. That would put Aragorn at about sixty, and it would be a plausible way for them to meet. I think they met again later when Aragorn brought Gollum to Thranduil's halls. And I think Thranduil (and subsequently Legolas) would have known who and what Aragorn was, so they would have respected him and for Legolas that respect might have grown into what he considered friendship. This also ties into my personal canon for Legolas, which is that he lived a very military life and was primarily concerned with seeing that Mirkwood was not overrun by Dol Guldur. Legolas's idea of a friend is someone who can watch his back and take out the near opponents while he makes use of a ranged weapon and destroys the archers in the rear. And a friend is also someone who can come up with good strategies over a cup of wine. In other words, it's a very limited view, though for him it's been more than adequate. And having lived a lonely life, that type of relationship is fine for Aragorn, too. His closest thing to a friend is Halbarad (and possibly Elladan and Elrohir) and even then, theirs is something of a working partnership rather than a bosum buddy friendship. Necessity and prudence drove their choices in friends, and so those choices were made with logic and practicality.

Enter Gimli. Something about Gimli resonated with Legolas, and the same is true in reverse. Both saw something they needed in the other, and whatever that was, it wasn't founded solely on a need to survive. It was founded on something deeper, and thus was born a TRUE friendship. Both of them needed...I hesitate to say "opposite" because they're very similar, but they needed...a counterpart. Someone who would offset their weaknesses while enhancing their strengths. And for whatever reason, an elf found that in a dwarf while a dwarf found that in an elf.

Sorry to ramble on, but your review made me think (which I should expect, because your stories do the same thing). Anyway, thanks so much for the very insightful review and questions. I'm glad you approved of the water metaphor. It was a bit of cheating on my part to avoid directly tackling an elven view of time, but I think it works. And yes, I think I'm finally getting a feel for what Legolas can be if he decides to stand on his own. Thanks again!

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