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Great Oaks  by Bodkin 29 Review(s)
lwarrenReviewed Chapter: 2 on 6/17/2007
I DO love Oropher and Idherien! Such good parents and they balance each other perfectly - you can tell they have worked long and hard at making a successful marriage. Idherien especially is so endearing - a strong woman who knows her man and how to deal with his little idiosyncracies (can you spell s-t-u-b-b-o-r-n? LOL) The conversations of each section of the story were so revealing of each character, beginning with Idherien and Thranduil. Oh, she does know her son and he knows it! Then there's Oropher and his doubts, but Idherien helps him see the wisdom in forgetting the fact that this girl is a complete stranger and getting on with the business of knowing her, unless, if course, they wanted to alienate their only son! A wise naneth, indeed! (and I thoroughly enjoyed the little looks at Oropher's courtship of about the grand rush! *g*) Oropher's little talk in the tree with Laerwen (I love the forest's reaction to her) had me giggling - she will hold her own with these two strong-willed guys, I think! And the wedding - I could almost shiver with anticipation right along with the bride, you wrote that sense of waiting and time crawling by so well! All in all, an eye-opening look at Thranduil's immediate family and his new bride - I enjoyed every letter of every word, Bodkin!


Author Reply: Oropher definitely needs a strong-willed wife! And one skilled in managing rather difficult males - of the kind who believe they know what is best for all those around them. It's a good thing Oropher controlled his immediate instinct to interfere - and a good thing that his political sense was, in the end, able to register that his son's bride brought certain advantages with her. (And, of course, Laerwen is as tough as any of them. There could be some very interesting confrontations among them. Talk about irresistible forces and immovable objects.)

I'm glad you liked it, Linda. Thank you.

DotReviewed Chapter: 2 on 3/19/2007
I was so glad you decided to post this! And you expanded it too – hurrah!

This was gorgeous. I loved seeing Thranduil with his Naneth. And I feel quite sorry for her that she has to move again after finding somewhere she could feel is home. I bet there’s been some interesting discussions with Oropher ;-)

Thranduil’s excitement and touch of pride really come through. I love the suggestion of Oropher’s cleverness too in preventing his son feeling the reluctance that Idherien does by having him involved to such an extent.

Ellyn were funny creatures, she thought. Embarrassed by open affection – but quite indifferent to accusations of intemperate behaviour that would mortify a sensible elleth. I’m laughing at that. How right she is!

Another match-making mother. *sigh* Thranduil’s quite good-natured about it, though. And I love his wicked streak.

I liked the little discussion about Oropher. They each see a different side of him and they’re both right in their assessments. Just goes to show, I suppose, what an intriguing, complicated character he is.

I’m thrilled with the addition of the wedding. What a shock it must have been to Thranduil’s parents! I rather suspect that Oropher isn’t exactly used to his son doing anything quite that much beyond his control.

Idherien made me smile at the way she teases her formidable husband. A bewitched son seemed to be a real possibility to Oropher there for a minute!

I love the glimpse of Oropher and Idherien’s courtship! LOL. It’s no wonder Thranduil turned out the way he did…

I was glad to see that Thranduil and Idherien got to have a proper conversation about it all and she had the chance to see how happy, fulfilled and completely in love he is. What a very poignant thought, though, that he’d never be her son in quite the same way again now that he’s giving himself to someone else.

Oropher found her in the arms of an enormous beech only because the joyous murmur of the leaves and the throb of the tree’s pulse revealed an unusual presence. I love that! She’s such a part of the forest.

He did not, after all, want his son to think he had been interfering. ROTFL! Sure. I’m chuckling too at his thoughts that she should be more anxious to explain herself. Poor Oropher. He does like to have at least some control, doesn’t he? I love that he sets out to question the speed of their betrothal and somehow ends up defending it. He did very well, I thought, not to give in to his temper when she shares her grandmother’s feelings. You can really see his impulsiveness and pride but he also manages to rein himself in and see that ultimately they want the same thing.

She would be Thranduil’s equal and stand with him through adversity as surely as in prosperity. That’s a wonderful description of the partnership that they’ll make. And what more could Oropher want? I thought it was really interesting too to think about how their children will be part of that forest in a way that Oropher never could be.

I really like how Oropher tries to do the best thing then once he’s made up his mind – but still really just wants to hand her over to his wife! I imagine he needed a nap after all that effort…

Oropher had been outraged when Thranduil had declared that he, too, would wear leaves in preference to the gleaming circlet that was one of the few treasures that had followed them from Doriath. Oh that’s wonderful! So that’s why he wears crowns of leaves… And I like that Laerwen and Thranduil are starting new traditions as a pair.

I admit I was glad to see that Laerwen was nervous and excited on the day. She had taken so much in her stride that it was good to see her emotions come to the surface like that. And Idherien is a very comforting presence – she knows what’s important on this day and what doesn’t matter at all.

I’m intrigued by this grandmother. And a little scared :-)

The ending was beautiful and very moving. There’s such hope and possibility. In fact, the whole chapter was just wonderful. I loved it.

Author Reply: Sorry to have taken so long getting back to you! I found that, once I started thinking about expanding the excised section, it just naturally expanded - and poor Oropher's rather bemused presence begged to be added. Poor elf. He can confront enemies without a tremor - but wives and daughters-in-law ...

I tend to think that many of those who escaped the perils of the First Age - Doriath, Sirion, the drowning of Beleriand to name but three! - must have yearned for security and a settle place to call their own. But Oropher, I feel, is restless - perhaps doesn't want to feel too attached to the ephemeral. Idherien doesn't fight with Oropher, I think. She manages him more subtly! (But knows there are time when she has to let him have his head.)

The possession of sons and brothers is enough to show any sensible female that the Venus/Mars thing has some basis in truth! And I can't imagine that ellyn are any different! And match-making comes naturally to mothers, I think, once your children have passed their first millennium. Or so. But she's not pushing - she just doesn't want him ignoring the potential that's out there!

No - for all Thranduil's indulgence in wild Wood-elf ways, he is a respectful son and subject! But true love has a way of coming up unexpectedly - and Oropher was completely sideswiped by that. Not that he objects. In fact, his political sense tells him this is a pretty good move - but just not one he wants rushed. (While I can certainly see that, when on the receiving end of such advice, Oropher would be totally defiant and certain that he knew best.)

And, however much you want your children to grow up and be happy, you do lose them as they take up adult lives. The old 'your son is your son 'til he takes him a wife...' saw has a pretty big element of truth in it. Not just because he is more likely to spend time with his wife's family - not a problem in this case - but because he changes. Grows up, I suppose. Becomes a man ... elf ... instead of your boy. But it's as it should be - and he won't stop loving his mother just because he is now Laerwen's husband. And they will all grow used to the change.

Oropher will find it easier to adjust to having Laerwen as a daughter, I think. Idherien and she will negotiate the first few years very carefully until they find out just how to deal with each other, but Oropher will just take her into his heart - now he has decided that she is part of his family. And he can't help but realise it's good on more than one level.

The crown of leaves just inserted itself after I saw Laerwen wearing jewellery of twined honeysuckle - and I went, 'Hah'! What better reason for Thranduil to adopt the custom! While, for all her oneness with the forest, there is something about weddings that can turn a stone into a gibbering wreck. Idherien will find the experience of looking after Laerwen does a lot for the bond between them, I should think!

The grandmother is one of the first to awaken, I think. One who never left the forests and had no intention of following restless ellyn anywhere. An earth mother sort of figure - forest mother, maybe - dwelling to the east, who is safe because she is so deeply bound to the forest that she is almost invisible and unknown, but whose presence is felt. And as the forests separate into different ranges, divided by farmland and plains and ... whatever, they lose contact with her influence a bit and are adopted by different rulers.

Weddings are an expression of hope, really. And the dramatic irony is inherent in that we know how the Second Age will end, and that Laerwen and Thranduil will be divided to meet again in the Blessed Realm. Eventually.

Thank you, Dot. I'm glad you liked the addition!

perellethReviewed Chapter: 2 on 3/17/2007
What a satisfactory conclusion! Although I secretly hope that it continues to evolve. Idherien manouevring between the two wilful males in the house was delightful, and I loved Oropher there. And Laerwen is such a match for the proud king! BUt I really really loved the lichen'grey eyes. A wonderful description!

Author Reply: Idherien knows Oropher very well - and, of course, she is Thranduil's mother. She is pretty good at managing both of them - and pretty good at knowing when she needs to let them have their way. I suspect Oropher is very protective of her, even when she would rather he weren't - but she works round it. Laerwen - I don't know how good she will be at managing ellyn. She might be rather more confrontational - although perhaps purely resilient, like a great oak in the wind. She is a good match for Thranduil - and his understanding of and bond with the forest is just about to increase quite ... stunningly, I suspect. I love lichen-grey for the eyes of Silvan elves. (So many shades of colour are possible!) While the Falathrim - and possibly the Sindar - have sea-grey eyes. And the Noldor all the different shades of grey you find in rock.

Thank you, perelleth!

LarnerReviewed Chapter: 2 on 3/16/2007
Amen, and so may it be.

It is a grief that the two of them did not remain together in Middle Earth throughout, although I rejoice that in your look at Aman they found themselves anew there.

A lovely beginning indeed.

Author Reply: A marriage is ... a triumph of hope. We know some of the tragedies that will face the Greenwood over the Second and Third Ages - and know that Thranduil will face the end of the Third Age and as much of the Fourth as he spends east of the sea without his parent and wife - but he will continue to battle on - because he knows what he does it right.

And they will be reunited. When the time is right.

lwarrenReviewed Chapter: 1 on 3/16/2007
*sighs with the delight of it all* Oh Bodkin, ever since you introduced 'the Lady' in Far Horizons, I have been fascinated by her character. Mystical, magical, fey, powerful...Laerwen is something else and a perfect match for Thranduil! Although, I think maybe they both grew into that power that seems to emanate from them in later stories...hmmmmm.

Well, anyway I loved this first meeting between these two. LOVE at first sight indeed! :-) I loved Faroth, the tree flyer - you could sense his excitement and joy and freedom in flying through the trees and his patient horse following below LOL was just a perfect touch. Laerwen's grandmother - wow! No wonder Faroth almost fell off that branch...the whispered stories of his people come to life! I loved that she was checking out this 'Sinda boy' that has caught her granddaughter's eye (and heart). Then that meeting between the two, when Laerwen steps out of the trees and becomes real. *sighs again* I am pea-green with envy at the way you are able to describe the forest and the way the elves interact with it, Bodkin - you paint such marvelous pictures with your words and the forest becomes a character all its own. The whole story is just great - we get little glimpses of Oropher and his wife and hints of great events to come! Wonderful...absolutely wonderful!


Author Reply: Oh yes, I think the power took time to twine itself round their essential personalities. Although their marriage alone probably exposed them both to different strengths and brought out elements in themselves they were barely aware of up until that point. And - having the Lady already in my head - Laerwen had to be more than a simple elleth! She was the heir of a Silvan culture and power that the Sindar barely touched. Even Oropher doesn't work at quite such an instinctive level, I think.

Faroth - just announced himself and then refused to take anything very seriously. Except, that it, an unexpected meeting with an elf who was more myth than reality, even to her own people. I have a feeling that she generally dwells in vast forests to the east - and made an unusual journey west to check out these Sindar princes who ruled the Greenwood and see whether Thranduil was suitable as a match for her granddaughter.

One of the things I love about writing elves is the possibilities inherent in the relationship they have with the living world - they interact on a level that is just not there when dealing with other species.

I'm glad you enjoyed it, Linda, and I'm so pleased to hear from you. I hope the kiddies aren't putting you off your own writing, because I'm still looking forward to hearing more about Legolas and his beautiful golden mare! And the delightful family they found on their adventures.

elliskaReviewed Chapter: 2 on 3/15/2007
I totally did not expect to see another episode of this, so that was a fun surprise and I loved it. Thranduil with his mother was wonderful. And Oropher's reaction to Thranduil's betrothed! Hehehe. I bet Oropher doesn't like surprises that infringe on his control. But I thoroughly enjoyed seeing him interact with her. And the wedding scene was wonderful--indeed a little sad that Laerwen had no close family there. But beautiful.

(This could certainly be even further expanded--hint, hint. I love reading these characters from you.) :-)

Author Reply: The first section of the second chapter started life as the first section of the first chapter - but it just didn't fit! And having spent so long deciding on Mrs Oropher's name, it seemed a shame not to use it - and then it developed, as things have a way of doing!

Oropher would have, doubtless, found it a great deal easier to deal with an ellon - but I think he has a very gentle streak when it comes to ellyth and Laerwen is, after all, Silvan. But he doesn't like feeling that he's not in charge - probably dates back to his earlier Doriath-related trauma!

And the trouble with introducing close family for Laerwen is that there's a whole other history demanding to be told! I suspect that her grandmother lives far to the east, much nearer Cuivienen. And that, at some time, when the forests stretched unbroken across the world, the Greenwood was also part of her ... sphere of influence. But she's happy to let Oropher rule there. As long as he looks after it properly.

It might grow. Things do. Especially little acorns. Thank you, elliska.

RedheredhReviewed Chapter: 2 on 3/15/2007
Oh, how glad I am you decided to post this! You really had me wondering what the excised pages contained. :D It's really great stuff!

Idheren is one lovely lady and her family is fortunate to have her. Now, that we know her a little, it would be nice to see her join Oropher in the Blessed Realm.

... someone in who he was more than interested. *g* A mother knows.

I also liked her being indignant that Laerwen would not have anyone to stand with her at her wedding.

But best was, Laerwen losing her cool and being nervous about actually getting wed... and anticipating the rewards. That was wonderful.

Lovely that Idherien wished for them to live happily ever after. Terrible sad and ironic for us who know the future, though.

Now, I could go on forever about Oropher and what a sweet personality you have made for him. ;) Because I do like your rendition very much. Who could not,eh? :D But ya know, you have spurned me to work on my own Oropher episode that has been languishing. Which I had not thought I would post before the next chapter of CSING. But, the next chapter is not progressing very quickly either. Give me a couple more days and Hrassa's next tale will be finished. Only because, like you, I find other pages of it will have to come later because they do not fit in now and I should not wait on them. So, thanks for the nudge...

I love everything you write, Bodkin. I hope you know that by now. :)

Author Reply: Well - once this was removed from the original story, it just insisted on developing into a little more! And Oropher, who wasn't going to be in it at all, made an appearance - so, in the end, it probably worked out better like this! (It was frustrating to lose it - because I had spent so long on finding just the right name for she-who-was-formerly-only-called Mrs Oropher!) And now she is named, I have to wonder why she has taken so long to return to life in the Blessed Realm.

In a way, it might be rather good - in the long run - that Laerwen's family keep their distance. It will make her more part of Oropher's family and more like a daughter to him and Idherien. And for such a cool elleth to lose her nerve! But then, getting married is a pretty big thing - especially as an elf. Dramatic irony - no happy ever after. And even without Laerwen's death, we have the sheer awfulness of Dagorlad and the Wood's losses there.

Oropher - what I like about him is that he isn't perfect. He can be huffy and arrogant and pig-headed - but he means well and he has a very soft streak when it comes to family - and he is chockful of honour and principle. And a seriously hard worker!

And I'm delighted to see the Oropher story - it's brilliant and I'm hoping to get enough time to review it later - and I love his beloved! (She would so come back to him in the BR! And possibly stands a better chance of dealing with death than many others.)

Thank you, Redheredh. I'm flattered!

Jay of LasgalenReviewed Chapter: 2 on 3/14/2007
‘And may you live in happiness together until the world is remade.’ That's a beautiful sentiment, and all the sadder because we know they don't actually have that long together.

I like to see Thranduil like this, so young and so much in love. And poor Oropher - neither his wife, his son, nor his daughter-in-law take any notice whatsoever of his reservations!

Author Reply: That's always the hope at the beginning of a life together - and it must be even more so for elves, who do have until the end of Arda. But the irony of knowing that Laerwen will not live to see her son grow up ... it's sad - but they will be reunited eventually.

Poor Oropher! But I think his family see the elf below the surface - he wants the best for his family and he hides his gentle side under a fierce exterior. And he has this shiny hard vision that sets people in groups - approved / loathed - his people / the enemy - and then gets annoyed when individuals refuse to fill his stereotypes. About the only things that we know about him are that he was stubborn, proud and headstrong. But I do feel he would be putty in the hands of his wife - and possibly, later, his daughter-in-law - even as he tries to keep them away from anything nasty.

daw the minstrelReviewed Chapter: 2 on 3/14/2007
What a great picture of young Thranduil and his parents. I love the way Thranduil is picking up bad wood elf habits. Showing respect for tradition indeed! But he follows his mother's instructions well and does seek a bride, although her arrival apparently caused a fair amount of consternation in the parental units.

And Oropher wouldn't want his son to think he'd been interfering, oh no! LOL. I like the reaction of the tree to both Oropher and his Silvan daughter-in-law to be. And Laerwen is so composed. Of course, this is her woodland. Really it's a great match. I know Oropher doesn't want to think politically--or want anyone to think he's thinking politically--but it makes great political sense.

I enjoyed this, Bodkin.

Author Reply: Thank you, daw. Thranduil arrived in the Greenwood, I think, young enough to be very ... receptive ... to bad wood elf habits! And he would hate you to think that following his mother's instructions was deliberate! Pure chance that Laerwen decided to move their acquaintance beyond the dream level just then. (And his mother still had to wait a year or two to find out about it.)

Oropher would be wise to avoid any appearance of interfering! Nothing sends children more determinedly in the opposite direction. And - much as he wouldn't like the thought to be obvious - this is a terrific match. Politically excellent. But wouldn't Oropher hate anyone to suspect that he was reacting in a manner I'm sure he would consider to be Noldo! Oropher is close to the forest - feels at home there - but I think his response to it is more ... male as well as less Silvan. Laerwen is part of the forest - a bond that will strengthen Thranduil's link to it and be part of Legolas's genetic inheritance.

I'm glad you liked it, daw.

French PonyReviewed Chapter: 2 on 3/14/2007
Go, Laerwen! She proves to be just as skilled at courting the parents as at courting the son. Perhaps more so, because she and Thranduil seemed to hit it off right away, without much courting involved. But really, Laerwen seemed to win Oropher over with charm and a smile on her face, and without so much as breaking a sweat. That's a talent, though I suspect that Oropher is one of those big tough guys who has a secret inner marshmallow heart that no one cares to acknowledge.

Author Reply: I think maybe Laerwen and Thranduil were aware of each other in some way before they actually met ... she was certainly aware of him, or why would her grandmother have come to investigate the object of her interest? But no, they didn't really court - instant flames. But she's not really so naive that she doesn't realise that it is important for her beloved's parents to accept her. And I tend to think that Oropher is one of those people who appear very fierce and single-minded, yet who are managed very efficiently by the women in their lives. A daughter's husband (had he a daughter, that is) would have had a much harder time convincing Oropher that he was worthy.

Oropher has ... shining absolutes - and then gets annoyed because people persist in not abiding by his stereotypes. The sort who dislikes Noldor because they're Noldor - and then comes to like each individual Noldo he meets (... well - post sons-of-Feanor, anyway) because he sees they are just people. And then sometimes holds that against them. I like Oropher for his complexity and confusion - and his honesty and hidden gentleness.

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