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Dragons in the Trollshaws  by Bodkin 18 Review(s)
meckinockReviewed Chapter: 1 on 1/7/2007
First off, Happy Birthday, Jay! *waves at Jay*

(sometimes I forget to do that with birthday stories, so figured I should put it right up front.)

Elladan and Elrohir's exchange about their plan cracked me up - if they've gone temporarily insane, which seems to be the case, they're extraordinarily calm, reasoned, and introspective about it.

‘Far be it from either of us to rush into action. No-one would describe us as impetuous.’

‘Not in our hearing, anyway.’


They were definitely looking for trouble. One wonders what grand half-cocked scheme they might have cooked up if a dragon clutch hadn't appeared in their sights. Good thing they realized at the outset Glorfindel was going to have a piece of their hide so it wasn't a surprise at the end! The multiple offspring battling for supremacy was an interesting twist - it makes sense in a creepy sort of way, and E2's presence of mind to gather the dragon scales tipped the scales in their favor (no pun intended.) I'm not sure if they got the daylights scared out of them by the dragon sufficiently to pose much of a deterrent to future outings; so I can only assume it was Glorfindel, after they got back to Imladris. A very enjoyable romp!

Author Reply: They're growing past the worst of their dark phase, I think, and almost looking for ways to come out of it. It's just, when they are in Imladris, they feel suffocated and swamped by reminders of their mother - they know, once they have left, that they have behaved badly, but just haven't worked out how much they are hurting Elrond. It will do them all good to be together away from any reminders of Celebrian - I think they might well manage to move a long way towards reconciliation. Elrond and Glorfindel are seeing the twins at their grown-up best - and Elladan and Elrohir are seeing their elders as vulnerable. Their relationship is likely to shift slightly and improve enormously as a result.

I don't reckon dragons would exactly prize sibling harmony - and I could just see them increasing in power as they fed off each other. A dragon is pretty good at defeating other dragons - so lateral thinking might lead observers to prize the tools they used ... And I could just see the claws - and the arrowheads. (I think I might have to think more about the ancient Silvan elf who was conveniently there to make them ... )

Glorfindel isn't going to let the twins walk free on this - but I think he is beginning to realise that they're not kids any more. And as long as they treat Elrond well and he becomes happier, the twins might survive Glorfindel's irritation. And they have a story they can use against him next time he brings up their childhood errors!

Thank you, meckinock!

French PonyReviewed Chapter: 1 on 1/7/2007
Well, that was exciting!

It looks as though the twins are still in the relatively early stages of missing Celebrían. They want her back so much that they try to go out and capture one of their early childhood dreams. But you can never really go back again, and the reality turns out to be much grittier than they could imagine.

But at least they seem to have regained their heads after initially setting out on their little expedition. They're smart enough to realize when they're in over their heads, and that will get them far in life. I was also glad to see that they thought to collect all the dragon claws once the battle was over. No use letting such a valuable resource go to waste.

Author Reply: Thanks, FP!

They are past the very early self-destructive phase by now. And I think everyone is seeking some kind of solution - they're just not very good at doing it together. The twins find it very hard to go home - Imladris still resonates with Celebrian - Elrond is needing to keep her close and doesn't want anything to change, while E2 cannot endure that. I reckon spending time together out here - where absolutely nothing speaks of their mother - will help all three Es. And Glorfindel, come to that, who is trying to help all of them.

I think, when outside Imladris, the twins revert to cool and capable warriors - their reputation isn't of beserkers, not really - and they have enough sense to know this isn't something they can achieve on their own. I wonder if the dragon claws came in useful at any time ... I was wondering the other day if Bard the Bowman's lucky black arrow could trace its origins back to these.

Jay of LasgalenReviewed Chapter: 1 on 1/7/2007
*Happy sigh*

Thank you, Bodkin! I saw this first thing this morning, but didn't get the opportunity to read it properly, or leave a review. I like this story on so many levels - the simple banter and teasing between the twins, their realisation of how utterly foolish and reckless they have been, and the gradual acceptance that their behaviour towards Elrond and Glorfindel is unacceptable.

The memories of their childhood are good too - the happy recall of bedtime stories about Smudge: ‘I remember,’ his brother said wistfully, ‘how we would bounce with excitement when Naneth told us those stories – and then sit up half the night debating how we could seek out a dragon like Smudge to come and live with us in Imladris and be our companion.’ The comment about Elladan jumping off the stable roof was interesting too - there's another untold tale there!

Despite their reckless behaviour, they know when they are outmatched, and I was very glad to see them wait for reinforcements from Imladris - and Elrond's greeting.

The dragon hunt itself was tense and exciting - if gross in places - and I think the best part was Glorfindel nearly getting crisped :>) I don't think the twins will let him forget that moment of misjudgement in a hurry!

Thank you for this wonderful story - I love it!


Author Reply: Happy Birthday, Jay!

The twins are much more comfortable away from Imladris - and less angry, too, I think. When they go home, they miss Celebrian and everything in Imladris keeps her at the forefront of their minds - to the point where they can't see how unhappy Elrond is. It'll do all of them good to have some time together somewhere more neutral. At least, now that there don't seem to be any dragons around to distract them.

And they did, of course, have a wonderful childhood - with a wonderful mother. (Not more untold stories! Isn't it odd how they appear?)

Glorfindel might be surprised to learn it - he does still tend to think of the twins as kids - but he has done a good job in turning E2 into intelligent strategists and warriors. And Elrond would be very relieved to learn that they value their lives too much to throw them away. Of course, Glorfindel's ... carefully assessed moment of apparent recklessness will give them some small piece of ammunition in the games they play.

I'm glad you liked it, Jay.

NilmandraReviewed Chapter: 1 on 1/7/2007
This was one cool and collected group of warriors - not too much fear and plenty of banter. I think they need to be hired out! They could have taken care of Smaug.

I liked the references to Smudge, the dragon they wanted for a pet. I just heard 'Puff, the magic dragon' the song in the car the other day. Dragons as imaginary friends, that we can control and use only for good - yep, those are the best kind.

I am glad E2 have come to their senses.

Author Reply: They were cool. Hiding their nerves under the banter, maybe. And they weren't too close - not at first, anyway.

Smaug was a whole different degree of dragon, though. Much older and wilier and nowhere near as unaware of the dangers of warriors and arrows. I think these ones were very young and only aware of two types of creature - dragons and food. (And of course the first, when defeated, became the second, too.)

I was musing on Bard the Bowman and his black arrow ... I wonder if that was a special dragon claw arrow ...

People have such a tendency to romanticise animals and turn them into pets - from Bigfoot to Skippy and Flipper - I can just see the twins searching for a dragon to take home with them. But imaginary friends, when it comes to dragons, are definitely safer!

I think the twins probably were, at first, much more ... recovered when they were not in Imladris. Going home to the place where their mother had always been waiting for them might well have made all their emotions surge up and cause them to behave badly. Then they would have felt guilty and probably behave even more like sullen kids. Meeting their father outside Imladris will do them all good. They will always love and miss Celebrian, but her shadow isn't hanging over them out here - and hopefully they can begin to build again.

DotReviewed Chapter: 1 on 1/7/2007
I have to say, I love the title! When you said action, I wasn’t expecting dragons!!

One of my favourite things about this is the dialogue between the twins. It’s so natural, and hysterically funny when they’re not being serious. I love this exchange:
Who else has dragon-slaying in their blood?’ ‘That’s about as rational as saying that we are genetically designed to turn into birds.’ I also really like how you show their developing self-awareness – they know that they’ve been acting like brats and making life difficult for those who love them. Yet that apparently doesn’t stop them going off to defeat a dragon! I was very glad that Glorfindel and Elrond at least knew where they went and they hadn’t just run off. My heart went out, though, to Elrond in his misery and Glorfindel in his frustration.

You had me completely glued to the screen as Elladan and Elrohir watched the dragons. It was tense enough when there was just one! And as tense as it was, at the same time I was grinning at the conversation between the two lads. Well, until that thing started eating the other one. The grin died a bit at that… ick.

I thought you did a fantastic job with Glorfindel in the way you showed how he is caught between memories and the knowledge that experience brings and the desperate desire to save Elrond’s sons. What a relief when they all met up! And I’m guessing Glorfindel would be far more nonplussed by the twins’ admission of stupidity and the extent of the information they had gathered if they hadn’t been so uncomfortably close to such dangerous creatures.

The dragon-claw-arrows is a very clever invention. Ray Mears didn’t teach you that, did he?! I nearly choked laughing at Glorfindel telling Elladan that the dragon was big enough that he had some hope of hitting it – and to try not to accidentally hit his brother. *snort*

The wait was almost unbearable. And there was some great imagery as they took down the dragons. Is it wrong that I really loved this image even if Glorfindel did nearly get himself incinerated?: Glorfindel stepped from concealment, as cool and elegant as if he were at a ball, and took careful aim, releasing a final arrow to penetrate the pale armour of the worm’s throat. Very nice :-)

I love the ending! I’m glad Elladan and Elrohir have learned something of themselves and are willing to start anew – and I suspect that they aren’t the only ones who will return to Imladris with new perspective. This is a great story, Bodkin – highly original, entertaining and very touching too.

Author Reply: I knew from whenever it was that I first mentioned dragons in the Trollshaws that this would be the story I attempted for Jay! But I didn't expect it to turn out quite the way it did. There were more dragons than I expected for a start and they were rather more ... cannibalistic. And rather less observant of the elves approaching them.

I reckon the twins wouldn't indulge much in serious conversation - they wouldn't need to, really - they can see beneath the teasing! They are emerging from the despair that swamped them when their mother sailed and letting go of the rage that fuelled them - but it's hard for them to know how to replace it. And I think it's particularly hard when they are at home. Out in the wild, they don't have Celebrian's presence around them all the time - but in Imladris ... I think it helps Elrond to hold on to everything and keep it unchanged, but it makes it worse for the twins, who've been away and return to a place that just screams Celebrian. They will be able to step past that here, hopefully, and the twins will be able to see that Elrond is hurting even more than they are and offer him the comfort he needs.

Glorfindel is very frustrated - but aware that whatever he does is only likely to make things worse. Including giving the twins a piece of his mind! The presence of dragons might well be disconcerting to him - and remind him uncomfortably of the Fall of Gondolin. And, actually, a bit of vulnerability in Glorfindel might well help the twins to realise that they have a responsibility to others.

Part of me felt that the elves should take a more active role in trying to dispense with the dragons - but surely when facing a foe like that, watching and finding a less dangerous approach would be sensible. And even frenzied twins would recognise that - especially after watching one eat another!

Well - Ray Mears would, I'm sure, be able to turn dragon claws into arrow heads (or at least know a man/tribe of Kalahari bushmen who could), but I haven't seen that episode of 'How to make use of Natural Materials'. Poor Elladan - he'll never live down a single youthful mistake (and neither will Elrohir!) I originally intended Elrohir to shoot the fatal arrow - but I think Elladan was determined to show that he is actually a competent archer and an intelligent opponent.

Glorfindel will tell you that he assessed the dangers and did not risk himself unnecessarily. Others might disagree. I just hope exposure to dragon fire doesn't give him nightmares.

I think the twins have taken a bit step towards becoming part of society again. And seen that their father needs them, which should help them emotionally. But Elrond, too, might find it easier to move on - and Glorfindel has been reminded that the twins are adults and more than just Elrond's sons.

Thank you, Dot - I'm glad you liked it.

daw the minstrelReviewed Chapter: 1 on 1/7/2007
First, happy birthday to Jay! May you thrive this year and write wonderful stories for us to read.

Interesting dragon tale, Bodkin. I liked the way they used the claws as arrowheads. That was clever and novel. I also liked the way the twins inner struggle worked with the outer one. You kept everyone an adult and in character and yet showed their somewhat out-of-their-usual-character reactions to Celebrian's attack.

I particularly liked this image:

the wings beat so that it seemed as if the creature was swimming its way across the air.

Author Reply: Thank you, daw. Dragons are so powerful - it does seem as if the creature best equipped to fight them is another dragon. And dragon claw - I can just picture it ... The twins are beginning to come out of their wild phase - but I think they find it harder when they are in Imladris. They and Elrond are reaching out to each other but don't know quite how to overcome Celebrian's presence in Imladris.

I could see the dragon - tail particularly - flicking from side to side as it flies. I'm pleased you liked the image.

Lady BluejayReviewed Chapter: 1 on 1/7/2007
A lovely story -- you are so productive I can't find time to read everthing but always enjoy what I do.

Dragons are wonderful, mystic creatures -- great to have some of the magic brought back to the tales of ff Middle-earth. LBJ

Author Reply: Thank you! It's good to have you come by when you can!

Dragons are amazing - and quite romantic - at first thought, but they are also very scary to think of taking up residence near you. Big creatures that can fly and breathe fire - and that were created by Morgoth to be almost invincible. Not something you would want as a pet!

lwarrenReviewed Chapter: 1 on 1/7/2007
What a wonderful story of the twins facing and finally coming to terms with their own personal dragons within, as well as dealing with the real thing! A clutch of the beasts! I kept thinking one might escape and go on to become Smaug, but I am glad that all were accounted for and dealt with by the elves of Imladris. Glorfindel certainly was ready to take the twins to task for past behavior, and given Elrond's grief and worry, I don't blame him a bit. It does look as though they have finally worked through the destructive side of their guilt and grief (I had to laugh at the thought of Celebrian waiting to retrieve her two sons from Namo, ready to give them the tongue-lashing they deserved for their recklessness). It is good to know they will go home with their father and continue to heal...all of them. Wonderful story, Bodkin!
And Happy Birthday, Jay!


Author Reply: Thank you, Linda! I did myself wonder if one of the dragons might become Smaug ... but I think he was older and wilier than these. But there was a little epilogue in my head that started -

'High above them, indistinguishable from the grey rock of the pinnacle, it curled motionless, hooded eyes watching. They were dangerous, the small two-legged beasts. It needed to find a place of safety, give itself time to grow and become strong. Wait and learn ... control its hunger. Then - then it would be ready.'

Or something along those lines!

The twins have been really unaware that they were driving those who loved them to the edge, I think, until fairly recently - but they are coming round. (It might be almost worthwhile to imagine an AU where Celebrian gives them a good talking-to - I suppose it could always be a dream ...)

They are all starting to heal - but it will be a slow process. I'm glad you liked the tale.

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