Legolas is going to fix things tomorrow, before they go? Now who's making promises they can't deliver? If he things he can put everything right with a few words, he's going to have a nasty shock. This is something that's going to require a long stay, involving a lot of talking from the heart and even more listening. Not something that's going to be mended in a flying visit. I'm almost dreading the next chapter! (I'm looking forward to it as well, honest!)
Yeah, that was a panicked response to his sons pain. He had this crying child in front of him and he just said, "I'll make it all better, I'll make it all better.." He can fix the specific issue Estel was crying about—his bad treatment of his mother over dinner,(and his mother will accept it because she is hanging out for crumbs of affection at this point)—but he can't fix what lies behind that, not in a day. So it will just happen all over again next time they meet.
As you say, promising what he can't deliver. There are a lot of similarities between Legolas and his Mum. As I said to someone else, who's worse at this point? Legolas' Mum who gave him a loving, stable childhood but then abandoned him without a backward glance, or Legolas who loves his son to bits, will never leave him but exposes him continually to this damaging tension?
Legolas is an absolute pig in this. And he doesn't have an excuse now that he used back in Minas Tirith that it is the sea-longing- he is just a selfish child and completely wrapped up inhis own hurt. Poor estel trying to fix it.
Really good writing- I was at the table witht hem and I htink usung Estel's pov is perfect to get across the implied meaning etc. But Legolas is really needing to sort himself out here if eh is not going to alienate everyone who loves him. I am still not sure what his problem is to be honest- yes, torn perhaps between Maewen and Elrohir but he hasn't seen Elrohir for ages so it can't be that deep. He needs to resolve these conflicts in himself and be a bit more aware of others- honestly. I want to smack him.
Ha, ha, Smack away! You know what he needs.....he needs Gimli, to do just that. Sit him down and tell him to grow up. Which is exactly what Gimli would have done. If not in front of everyone then definitely behind closed doors.
But Gimli isn't there.
So yes, everything you say is true. Legolas is a complete arse. He needs to sort his shit out because his son is suffering. He is a parent now and can't afford to wallow in misery.
This is something seperate from Maewen and Elrohir, this turmoil. This is centuries of misunderstanding, bad communication, loss, grief, resentment, in this family that has built up over centuries. There is something particular about long held family issues and behaviour that becomes almost compelling to fall in to.
Legolas hasnt dealt with his mothers abandonment...he has refused to. She has done some growing up but cannot reach him and is now afraid to confront him. Laerion resents the way Legolas has changed, the loss of his younger brother. He feels supplanted in Legolas' affectionS by Aragorn and Gimli. Laerion also feels responsible for the disaster that is Legolas and his Mother...after all his death caused this.
And Thranduil is just exhausted by it all.
And they have all become stuck in this spiral of bad behaviour.
but none of that excuses Legolas from not taking sufficient care to protect his child.
Although having said that there are reasons for him failing to do that. And they are valid. But still.....hard for others,including us, to understand at this point.
I have much reviewing to catch up on but I just wanted to pop in to say.... 1) your characters remain distinct and fascinating, 2) your Estel is just so incredibly believable , from a child development perspective, that it makes me giddy. And 3) your fantastic eye for relationships is really shining through in this piece--there are so many things at play here, and you are using each of those things well, like expertly wielded tools.
I so look forward to reading more, and to going back to review the others. (Also, I heard I missed your birthdY! So happy birthday, cheeky!)
Hi! What a lovely review :-)
So glad Estel still feels real to you. It is really hard to write from his point of view but I want to try and stay there for the whole story. The problem is keeping him developmentally accurate....which necessitates lots of rewrites to haul his maturity back...and also that there is SO much he does not know, that everyone else DOES!
There are a lot of things at play here. Centuries of hurts and miscommunication. A lot of grief still even though they are all reunited. I am eager to get to Elrohir so he can restore at least a little of Legolas' equilibrium.
Thanks for the birthday wishes. It was a great day.
Such a tense chapter. Ugh reminds me of too many dinners with my parents fighting when I was a child--I sympathize with poor Estel.
Thranduil is trying to exert control--it's obviously not the first time things have gone awry like this. I love the idea of his many voices. I can just imagine this one! It is telling that his time and volume doesn't quell Legolas--that he still argues on.
It was a brave attempt by the Queen to smooth things over, taking Legolas part per se, but he just bulldozed over that. He's being selfish again--he's not seeing her effort to bridge the gap, he's not seeing Estel's discomfort, Thranduil's frustration and pain.
I did want to kick Laerion though when he said he would have a cake--too late to suck up now and act all dutiful--it takes two to argue.
But I'm glad the Queen mentioned Estel's help in the kitchen and how unfair it was to not let him have a cake. She is speaking up a bit. But Legolas just attacking her over the stargazing--shouldn't it be obvious Estel would revel in doing that with his grandmother but it devolves into an argument about her running away again on Legolas part.
I can't blame Estel for getting mad. I'm proud of him for voicing it. I think he got through to Legolas and made him realize how selfish he was being. It's obvious he loves Estel but he has so much pent up emotional baggage of his own--it overwhelms him. And he is lashing out rather than confronting it. Maewen tries to temper it but I think Gimli's blunt words are truly missed here. He would listen to Gimli and Gimli wouldn't give him a pass to behave like this.
I wonder how he intends to make this right. And I echo poor Estel's last question.
See I told you Legolas was being an arse!
You hit the nail on the head about Gimli. He wouldn't tolerate this. If he were there Legolas would be getting a serious telling off. And he would listen to Gimli too. There's a void there that hasn't been filled.
But Legolas is a big boy. He is a parent now and he can't afford this sulky teenage behaviour. It's not all about him. His son was in the middle of that and he didn't stop to think of the consequences to him. He does love Estel, he loves him beyond all measure but you can't just love someone and yet rampage through their life because you are unhappy. He has a duty to his son and he is failing in that. Who is worse here? Legolas' mother who gave him a loving, happy childhood but then abandoned him . . . Or Legolas, who puts his son through the ringer like this? People in Glasshouses can't throw stones.
Much as the Queen loves Legolas, and much as she is anxious to appease him, walking on eggshells to try and restore their relationship, she had a small Grandson sitting there who she also loves...and she is a mother. She was not going to let another child suffer because of the issues between her and her son so at that moment she found her voice.
A word in Laerion's defence. He missed the drama surrounding Legolas and their Mother but he is aware his death caused her depression, Legolas' catatonic state and feelings of guilt, and the destruction—for a time—of his parents relationship. I think it hurts him to see this nightmare of his younger brother and his mother so at odds. And I think he feels incredibly guilty about it all. He sees the queens pain in this moment and he feels responsible. He was trying to mend his mothers hurt. But he is clumsy and like a bull in a China shop, making matters worse. And Legolas doesn't help by being determined to take what everyone says as an insult.
I tell you, I am really looking forward to getting to Elrohir!
The question is, is the glimpse Estel has given Legolas here of the hurt he is causing his son enough for him to change his behaviour? We shall see!
Blimey- that is a chapter full of anger and tension and resentment- and I think it is terrific! Especially the viewpoint being Estel's so nothing is told and it's all in the bitter words and harsh tone. Really good writing!!
PS: I did post something for your birthday but you must have been too busy carousing to realise. Happy Birthday nonethless!!
Yeah it's hard to write this family at the moment. They are a terrible mess. And poor Estel doesn't know the details. He doesn't know how Laerion died, he doesn't know the story of his Grandmothers departure, he doesn't know about Aragorn whisking Legolas away from death and reunion with Laerion. All he sees is this angry, angry disaster area of a family.
Poor little boy.
I think I saw what you posted. The Black Arrow right? I am way behind in that story. I had to stop reading because I was loving Laesul too much and was convinced you were going to kill him off. I just couldn't bear to get any more attached. But now you haven't done that I need to read it but am way back when they were rescuing Thalos from Smaug. I don't want to read the birthday post out of order. Make sense?
I need to try to read a bit each night and catch up!
It is very interesting to have Estel's take on Legolas mother. It is very apparent what a hands on down to earth individual she is. It makes her abandonment of Leholas even more viscerally painful when you realize that this is who she was for Legolas. Fun, caring, loving. Relishing in her Silvan side even as Queen. Teaching him the Silvan ways he holds so dear. It is a testament to her that she has fully realized what a mistake running was and that she notes Maewen's questioning nature as a positive.
Her reaction to hearing Estel mention her stories is very meaningful. It is a realization for her just as it was a brief break in Legolas determined attitude to leave her out of his life, when he told Estel it was her story.
Oh Estel. He asks the hard questions doesn't he. It will not please anyone that Laerion and Legolas are arguing this again. It will never end, the way they pick at it like a half healed scab,, over and over.
Ah Thranduil is raking them both over the coals for it and Legolas is not going to take it lying down. It is sad that even his close relationship with Thranduil is thrown off by the conflicts with his mother and brother.
Oh I laughed at the very idea of the Noldor singing silly trala lally songs in the trees!! But they must have been Noldor in Imladris--doubt they were many Silvans there. Oh dear Elrohir ungainly in a tree too funny.
I adore how much Thranduil loves hearing this.
No Laerion! NO! You bringing up Gimli is a very BAD idea. Thranduil knows it's idiotic. I'm so glad Thranduil tries to put hm in his place. But oh the damage is done. Gimli is in Legolas' heart--he is a brother in ways Laerion has not been and this is a verbal blow for Legolas. Laerion has crossed another line here and I fear their relationship damaged further.
It is difficult and damaging for a child to be exposed to such virulent argument. I find that I cannot blame him for not bringing his son to visit his grandparents more frequently if this is what the environment is like. It seems to me that Thranduil should probably visit Legolas more frequently rather than have The family visit him.
This IS the mother of Legolas' childhood! She was wild and she was loving. But there is one difference. She now realises she cannot run away from everything that is difficult. She has spent a long time alone in Valinor regretting leaving her husband and child behind. She was suffering from depression and so her thoughts were not the clearest then but still..... Now her beloved son she has waited so long to be reunited with has arrived and he wants nothing to do with her. You are right, we can more clearly see Legolas' loss here now we see her strengths.
Hearing Legolas still passes on to his son the things she shared with him, and praises his memories of her was a moment of light in a very dark tunnel. It gave her a glimpse behind the defensive shield he shows her. She knows he still values the relationship they did have once.
As for Thranduil....yes he is not happy with the way his sons are. They are both at fault and he realises that. He wants them to have a more loving relationship for everybodies sake and I think he knows Legolas especially really needs that. However...you can lead a horse to water but you cannot make it drink...
Laerion keeps choosing exactly the wrong things to say. He wants Legolas to let go of the past, a past he sees only as painful and damaging and also a past he wasn't involved in. He IS right in this. Legolas does need to let go. He needs to live more in the moment but Laerion wants him to toss it aside altogether, and Laerion doesn't want to learn about it either.
Legolas needs to find a way to remember the past AND live for the future.
Its a horrible atmosphere for Estel isn't it. And the fact he doesn't understand half of what goes on doesn't help. That being said I don't think it is nearly as bad when Maewen visits with them. I don't think she would tolerate that....at least around the children. It may be tense but the arguing would be more hidden away.
Its all a mess tho. Poor Thranduil he deserved a happy ending and he hasnt got it yet.
As for the Noldor elves....that's such a strange line in the hobbit. Really incongruous with LOTR. I can totally understand why Legolas laughed at the image of Elrohirsitting in a tree singing.
Oh, I was wincing all the way through this on Estel’s behalf. Poor Estel...poor everyone...to try tonavigate through all that tension. It’s so confusing for Estel to try to piece everything together when he only knows a fraction of what’s happened.
I liked Legolas’s mother here. She knows she made a mistake by running away. Now we know where Legolas gets it from! Those two really need to talk but clearly that’s not going to happen.
I loved the bit about the Noldor singing in the trees! Some welcome light relief, even though it didn’t last long. I could see Laerion’s resentment over Legolas’s achievements here. It’s understandable, considering he has to come to terms with his little brother being a war hero, with not one but two lovers and children of his own. I do hope they can find a way through so that Laerion can feel part of Legolas’s world again.
I know. Poor Estel. Everyone is at odds and he doesn't understand why as he only knows snippets of the back story. He has moments of loveliness with his Grandparents and then something comes up to destroy it all.
Im glad you liked Legolas' mother. She's grown up a bit I think. She had a long time alone in Valinor thinking over her mistakes. She was unwell when we last saw her. Suffering from depression and now she has recovered, but the damage has been done and Legolas is determined not to forgive her.
Yes Laerion is full of resentment. Resentment at the changes in Legolas AND also the life he himself did not get to live. Both he and Legolas need each other but they are also too stubborn to acknowledge it!
Oh dear. Poor Estel--absorbing all this tension from his parents. With Elves being more attune to the world around them I can see this being even more jarring. It makes me sad that Legolas limits his time with Thranduil because of his mother and Laerion. It's not fair to Thranduil at all and not fair to Legolas either--he has a bond with Thranduil abs it is suffering. Plus it keeps Estel away too.
Laerion. Estel's cimment that he is older and younger than Legolas is apt. He's frozen in the past in a way, his progress, maturation stunted and his view of Legolas very much the one of an older brother with a younger, less capable sibling who needs watching. But that isn't who Legolas is now and not who he has been for long years. It just grate on Legolas. The whole Legolas returning to life with Aragkrn still rankles, doesn't it? He hasn't forgiven Legolasfor leaving him and Legolas hasn't forgiven himself for losing Laerion in the first place. They were both a bit harsh here--Laerion would have been overjoyed to see a healed Greenwood and Laerion should know that Legolas apportions the blame for Laerions death on himself. Ugh. Bad conversation. Plus a bit judgy of Laerion to question the visit to Elrohir.
I gather a very real sense of Legolas taking issue with others questioning or doubting his choices. Even more than at other times in his story. He makes a definitive distinction time and again of his decision, his way, his method. A control thing? A rejection of expected manner? A product of his years in Arda?
Thranduil is lovely with Estel and his awareness that all is not well and his determination to know so he can help is sad. I feel for him. He's really active on his interest and concern. Estel keeps much from him but for all his attempt at circumspect I think his unwillingness to speak tells Thranduil almost as much.
I love how Thranduil blames himself for not realizing some of the onerous burden on Legolas. It is a fine line though--if he takes on more Legolas will feel inadequate and bitter. If Thranduil mentions it Legolas will likely deny it. He will have to be very sneaky/ delicate in how he alters the load of leadership on his son without offending him and making him feel inadequate/useless.
You always get these guys so exactly right!!
You have Laerion summed up perfectly. He is frozen in time and the world has moved on without him. His relationship with his little brother has changed beyond all measure...in fact that little brother has grown up,and is now more worldly wise, more experienced than he is. How do you even begin to cope with that? Yet he is still Legolas' big brother even though the dynamic has twisted and changed.
He wants to protect Legolas as he always did but Legolas won't allow it, doesn't need it. He tries to tell him what to do, Legolas won't hear it. Some of Laerion's points were good ones....Legolas does need to try and see the good in Valinor more and find a way to remember the past without wallowing in it.
And yes, Aragorn still rankles big time. That hurt, having Legolas turn his back and walk off with the Man, (who he called Brother as a further insult) these brothers haven't talked that situation through as they should.
The conversation about the Greenwood was a disaster all round. You got this right as well. Legolas' comment about Laerion not seeing the healed Greenwood was unfair. Laerion died fighting for the wood. He feels cheated out of seeing the end point, his home free of evil. I imagine the prospect of dealing with this difficult Legolas is about as unappealing to Laerion as dealing with him is to Legolas and so he would be uptight about this meeting in the first place. Hence when that comment was made his reply, said in anger, was possibly the worst he could have made....and while Laerion now resents his death and what it has cost him...his lost life...more than he did when we saw him in Fire he still does not lay the blame for it at Legolas' door. That was simply a foolish, angry, response.
He IS judgy of Elrohir. Thranduil made a comment to Legolas in Darkness that Laerion could not have achieved what Legolas did in Ithilien. He intimated that Laerion was more closed minded...would have been unable to open his mind to Mortals or cope with living in a different culture. They have often also referred to the fact Laerion was very Sindar as opposed to Legolas' Silvan. He doesn't understand the Silvans polyamorous relationships. (Remember Legolas struggled too initially. Both of them were raised in a relationship that was fashioned in a traditional Sindar way.) Laerion has come from another time and found himself in a place where nothing makes sense and everyone breaks his "norms" he is struggling to adapt and quite possibly hasn't been given the right help,to do so. (Much like someone from the 18th century arriving and having to cope with the change in our societies sexual norms. They would be fairly judgy too!!)
As for Legolas. Glad you picked up his determination about things being his. His way, his son, his choice. This is a fallout from his long time in Arda when he had little or no control...battered about by the sealonging and his Mortal friends aging. He couldn't stop that and he couldn't get rid of the sea. Now the sealonging has gone and his friends are dead he is determined not to be controlled by anything ever again like that. HE will be in charge, he will not have fate push him from pillar to post. It ties in with his tight control of Estel, his over-protectiveness.
Thranduil is now between a rock and a hard place as you say. What does he do? How does he get Legolas to accept help without alienating him? He knows all is not well within that family. How does he help them and keep his son close at the same time? He should have perhaps realised the burden this documentation was on Legolas a bit sooner. I think he did know, as discussed earlier Legolas knows Thranduil rewrites some of his work. I think what Thranduil has not estimated is the length of time this writing is taking. He knew it was hard but a simple thing takes Legolas hours...Thranduil forgot to calculate that in.
The tension between Laerion and Legolas is so sad. It's clear Legolas hasn't come to terms with his (in his mind) guilt over Laerion's death. And then there's the whole Aragorn-dragging-Legolas-back-to-Middle-earth incident. But Laerion's outburst is shocking, even though he does regret it. I don't think Legolas will forget that in a hurry.
I loved Estel's meeting with Thranduil. I love Estel's loyalty to his father, and Thranduil's desire to find out what's really going on in Legolas's family. I forgot the bit in the other chapter about Legolas not having time to teach Estel to listen to the trees - how sad! But I'm glad Thranduil's found out and wants to help. Although Legolas is so defensive, any move on Thranduil's part could cause another rift. I hope not, because it's clear Thranduil has Legolas's best interests at heart.
I had to laugh at Estel's 'Foolish Lords of Tirion'! And he was trying so hard not to give his grandfather any hint that Legolas was having problems :)
I know, I know, Laerion and Legolas are a mess. And they used to be so close before Laerion's death. It's very sad. Time has not been kind to them. Laerion has been frozen in time for centuries and he returns and discovers a younger brother who has changed beyond recognition. He wants the Legolas he knows back and that Legolas doesn't exist any more. As Estel says, Laerion is now both older and younger than Legolas. Always the older brother, but Legolas has lived longer.
The "Aragorn-dragging-Legolas-back-to-Middle Earth incident truly doesn't help. Laerion adores his smaller brother and hates seeing all his pain....and he lays that pain at the feet of one man. (Plus there is some hurt there that Legolas chose to return with a mortal rather than remain with him, and that he called Aragorn brother)
When we last saw Laerion in "Fire" he was accepting of his death and certainly didn't blame Legolas for it —he still doesn't—but now he is returned and sees how much life has moved on, not just Legolas but his friends who have come across to Valinor with Thranduil, they have all changed, lived life, had children...etc etc and he has been left behind. There is some resentment and a whole heap of regret there.
He truly didn't mean this outburst. It was spoken as a reflex in anger and Legolas was out of line too. Laerion fought for the Greenwood as Legolas did and died for it then was cheated of seeing it healed. It must hurt to be reminded he didn't get that chance.
I think Thranduil is well aware he needs to keep a close watch over Legolas' little family. He has an eye and ear out for problems and Legolas' confession about the altercation that led to the Dragon swapping sent alarm bells ringing. Estel was trying so hard to be grown up here and also not betray his parents but in his eagerness to appear adult he spilled a whole lot of information for Thranduil to sift through. Obviously this paperwork issue isn't the heart of Legolas' emotional problems but it doesn't help and as Thranduil says, Legolas does need to maintain his connection with nature to be well. This has gotten away on Thranduil a bit. He has his own load of admin imposed on him by Tirion and while aware it causes Legolas difficulties he didn't really put two and two together and realise exactly how much time this was eating up in Legolas' life.
A wonderfully happy, cheerful domestic chapter- just lovely to see them all so happy:)
The calm before the storm!!!
Oh Estel! I understand completely the helpless feeling around parents who have differences and the sensation that you, their child, either add to the conflct or can somehow "fix" it. He can't fix it and it will hurt to realize that.
This is a lovely chapter--I really liked the interaction of Legolas and Estel here. I'm glad his writing has improved somewhat and I loved the detail that his skill as an artist remained intact. Estel having drawings of Gimli was a sweet touch to that memory.
I laughed at the comments about the stuffy Noldor in Tirion and their attempts at a census!
Again you tug at my heart with the details--that Legolas and Maewen know that Thranduil will rewrite anything that comes to him to spare Legolas' feelings. It is interesting that Legolas' old prejudices about the Noldor are still in evidence here--despite his years with his own Noldor Elrohir. Although Elrohir is such a mix of Mannish, Maiar and Noldor influence--the Sindar part of him is perhaps the least pronounced.
Estel's glee at Olorin and his description of his Maiar appearance was a nice bit as well as the Maewen/Legolas Erebor bit.
I thnk what I loved best is that Legolas seemed present here--fully living in the moment, unstuck from his yearning for the past and depths of regret for the things he cannot control, even if it is only for an afternoon. He is himself--the Silvan child of the forest he was long ago in these short hours and it's beautiful.
But the reality is that Estel cannot fix his father's depression nor can he control Legolas' reactions to those around him. The conflict between his parents is troublesome to him and I fear it will grow more so as he gets older and resentment grows. He can't really understand the depression nor can he eliminate it so I fear he will grow to despise it or hate it. Both of which are damaging to his relationship with his father.
Oh! Such a lovely review :-)
Ah... Legolas'' Noldor prejudice...here it is again. even Elrohir seems not to have dented it. The thing is here in Valinor the Noldor are split in two. There are "Arda" Noldor and "Valinor" Noldor. I imagine the Lords in Tirion are Valinor Noldor who have not relinquished power. I mean..Galadriel and Elrond would not be foolish enough to request this kind of information from the Silvans. They would know Legolas couldn't provide it. so the Valinor Noldor are completely Silvan ignorant, and it seems are doing nothing to change that. I do think there is probably a bit of looking down their noses at them. But how accurate Legolas' view of this is...who knows?
Whatever; Galadriel needs to get herself to Tirion and explain to Finarfin what an impossibility this census is for the Silvan.
Yes Thranduil quietly rewrites Legolas' work occasionally. If it were something going to Elrond...he wouldn't....but to Tirion, yes he will. He will not expose Legolas to criticism.
You are SO right. Legolas is living in the moment here. He has left behind his burdens of leadership, his yearning for the past and is simply enjoying his children and his wife. If only he could do this more often. He is not meant for leadership really. Found himself there accidentally and at the moment it's not helping him. Laerion is around but Legolas' people have remained fsithfulto Legolas. They don't want Laerion. Thranduil perhaps needs to intervene here and remove the burden of leadership from Legolas' shoulders for a awhile. Poor Legolas hasn't even been able to find the time to teach his son to talk to the trees!!
So Legolas has only made a slight improvement with his writing. How sad that he's ashamed to let the Noldor know how he's been affected. Although it's clear from the Noldor's request of a census the cultural differences between the Silvans and Noldor are still there, I wonder if Legolas's perception that they look down on the Silvans is the reality. It's very sad if the prejudices are still there.
It's lovely how Estel helps Legolas, and I adored the picnic scene. But poor Estel, with his idea that he can fix Legolas's unhappiness. It's heartbreaking that he's taken that responsibility onto himself.
I haven't decided yet what's going on between the Noldor and the Silvans. Obviously there is misunderstanding there. This is —as you say—a census, and I imagine included every elf in Valinor not just the Silvans but they don't understand it....and the Noldor don't realise how the questions they are asking are impossible to answer in Silvan culture. How can Legolas say where they live in the forest? How can he describe the fluid polygamous relationships in a way the Noldor understand? He can't; and so he ends up feeling resentful.
I am not sure yet if this is a conscious prejudice on the Noldors part causing the bad feeling or simply cultural difference causing misunderstanding. The "Lords" in Tirion are not , I imagine, Arda elves but Valinor elves who have had no earlier contact with Silvans. Few Silvans chose to come to Valinor after all .... but now as kind of an aberration Legolas and Thranduils people have followed them, and politically it's not working very well.
The writing has improved since the end of Fire when he could only manage a sentence or two. Now he can write enough to document a census. But it's not easy and would end up messy and filled with spelling errors. As he says, the Tirion Noldor don't know his story and will jump to wrong conclusions. He may be wrong in this of course. They probably know his story VERY well. He bought a Dwarf to Valinor after all. I am sure he is rather infamous. But he doesn't see that.
Poor Estel indeed. He sees moments like this, the picnic with his Father happy with his family in the trees and then it slips through his fingers when Legolas' depression rears its head. He wants to take all the misery away and make Dad just be happy, for his own sake and because he loves his father, but he is too young to realise it's not something he, as a child, can control.
OK - you have me hooked. Sadly there is so much going on in off-line life at the moment that I may not have time to read further for a little while - but I definitely intend to!
Good to see you again. Glad I have hooked you!!
Whenever offline life settles down Estel will be here waiting for you! :-)
A review finally, as promised!
I still love this chapter as much as I did when I first read it, and the concept of the whole story. I am really looking forward to seeing how the complicated legolas that you built fares in ithilien--he not only has a history of depression to cope with, but also lasting damage from his near-death experience and all that trauma from loss and the sealonging. What a shock to be somewhere, suddenly, wherever all those elves you have lost or have abandoned you are suddenly restored! I cannot imagine even Ellen constitution prepares one for that experience.
Seeing this through Estel's eyes was fascinating. Like I said before, really very interested to see how Elrohir's interest in Estel plays out.
And yor interpretation of how clinical depression can affect someone is excellent. It is exhausting--so exhausting--for all involved. Looking forward to re-reading chapter 2! And thank you for the shoutout--I appreciate your beta-ing, too!
Yay! A review from you :-)
Glad you like this. Glad you like Estel, and especially glad the depression feels realistic. It's very hard to write and not constant!
Chapter three is finished so that's something new in this story for you to read, but you have to have finished "Fire" before you read that or a whole chunk of the chapter won't really make sense.
Well the nuances will be hard to catch!
BrillIAN TSTORY, CHEEKYBEAK. I love estel already and little Calithil. What is Maewen's and Elrohir's relationship with Legolas in this fic? What is Elrohir to Legolas in this one because he says thye are distant? Beautifully written.
So glad you like this!! Especially that you like Estel.
This is a direct sequel to "Fire" have you finished that? Elrohir/Maewen:Legolas are to each other as they finished in that fic. I think what is happening at the moment is Legolas is being a bit stubborn re Elrohir. Elrohir, (though he doesn't know it) has a healing ability specific to emotional/mental wellness hence he helped with the sealonging and now —since the sealonging has vanished—his presence helps ease Legolas' depression.
Legolas is obviously miserable at the moment and I think he doesn't want to acknowledge he needs help so is deliberately avoiding Elrohir. (As Maewen and Erynion point out)
Elrohir lives apart from this little family. As in "Fire" he still feels like he intrudes on Maewens time. He is wary of that and struggles with guilt still. That's why Estel never sees him visit. Legolas goes to see a Elrohir not the other way round. Hope that makes sense!
"It was my father who taught me how to eavesdrop!
And htat last one- full of foreboding. I bet I know something that could come between them!
Ah, there are such a lot of things that could come between these two sadly....but it's good for the angst!
Of course Legolas has taught his son how to stealthily creep up on people! How could he not?!
It’s lovely that Estel worsips his father, but at the same time there’s always a danger that when he sees Legolas as he truly is, the disillusionment will shatter their relationship. I hope that doesn’t happen.
It’s so sad that the tensions are so bad the children are suffering. I think it’s time Legolas heard so e home truths. Erynion has a point when he says Legolas isn’t the only one who’s suffered. I hope the stay with Elrohir will help, but i have a feeling Legolas really needs to make an effort to put things right with his mother.
Estel is lovely - nothing like his namesake!
Yes! A real danger that Reality may shatter Estel's hero worship ..... however, (letting you in to a secret because its you ) he already has a scapegoat for his dissatisfaction with Legolas' unhappiness who will end up taking the most of that disillusionment, because Estel has an uncle here in Valinor who he has yet to mention.....an uncle who blames mortals for Legolas' grief and pain, one mortal in particular who he actually met when he stole his brother back to the world of the living.
So despite the wonderful stories Estel has been told by Legolas about his mortal friends, Laerion has also told him all about the Man HE believes is the cause of all Legolas' pain.
As for Legolas and Maewen: yes, things are pretty bad here but they are not always this way. (I'll show that in the next chapter) but Legolas ended up feeling as if Maewen and Elrohir were manipulating him behind his back (which they were) and that didn't go well. Still, they argue enough that the kids are aware of it and that's not great. They need to listen to Erynion and change things. Maewen is quite defensive however and Erynion may be too close to the situation for her to be able to hear him.
Glad you like Estel!
Lovely second chapter. I've told you already that I love the fact that Thranduil makes wood carvings. Legolas and his mother are still this way, after all these years.
Elrohir finding Bilbo's book in Imladris and giving it to Legolas is one of my favorite parts of this chapter. The brief joy that Legolas had as he gave the book to Estel and reminisced was very telling.
Erynion and Maewen are back together somewhat here?
Legolas brings his sadness with him--he could not leave it in Arda and Aman cannot take it away. Even though he has a family I think his mind still dwells much of the time on the past.
The tension between Legolas and Maewen is significant. Far more than I would expect in Aman. And there is an expectation on Estel that is unfair--he cannot keep secrets to keep his parents from arguing and he can't be expected to pick up the pieces when his parents focus on each other in their frustration. It echoes what I imagine it was like for Maitimo when Nerdanel and FŽanor would fight.
I'm curious to see how this plays out with the Maewen-Erynion-Legolas-Elrohir dynamic.
Yes, Legolas and his mother are still this way. The last chapter of Light of a Thousand Stars foreshadows this a bit. It's one of his problems here in Valinor, this schism between them and he just cannot bring himself to breach that.
You are so right, as always. Legolas is trapped in the past. That's where his happiness lies, yet there is plenty he could find joy in in this new life and he just does not see it...,or does not want to see it. But also he has difficulty remembering the past because it reminds him of what he has lost.
Legolas and Maewen—they are not always as bad as this and I will attempt to show that in the next chapter. As I said last chapter Legolas ended up feeling powerless, with Elrohir and Maewen micromanaging him behind his back and he did not react well to that. There is still plenty of love between them.....but sometimes Maewen feels helpless.
Estel does carry a heavy load and I wonder if they really see the burden they are placing upon him with their behaviour...but Erynion sees it. It's very much like Maitimo, I agree.
Maewen and Erynion ARE back together though Legolas is obviously still her focus. And Erynion is growing tired of struggling with Legolas' depression, frustrated with the hurt it is causing Maewen and her children. He has lost patience with it all, he just thinks "will he never get better?" Erynion is over it.
This is going to prove interesting, with it being Estel's POV.
Elrohir maintains his stern demeanor, even in Valinor. I like the brief interaction he has woth Maewen-it shows they are more comfortable woth each other and how much Elrohir values her ability to share Legolas.
I wonder what Thranduil needed Legolas abd Erynion for--adored Estel's admission that no one crosses Grandfather--when Thranduil says jump, you jump.
It seems there is no place that Legolas is truly happy. He had the sea longing for so long but the voyage to Valinor did not give him peace. But he would be no better back in Middle Earth--all he holds dear there is gone. He's stuck, isn't he? Unhappy before due to the sea longing and less if his mortal friend and unhappy here after the loss of Gimli and no hope of meeting them again. He is an elf who has lived on mortal time and this land of peace and prosoerity is not nurturing him in the ways he needs and not challenging him either.
And he is proving even more protective than Thranduil was with him!
Will Estel come to resent this 'caught between worlds' unhappiness of his father's? Will he realize at some point that he isn't seeing (and likely will never see) the true Legolas--the one of Maewen and Erynion's youth?
I wonder what Estel will make of Elrohir and Legolas together (if Legolas even agrees to it).
Even though he isn't in the scene you paint a picture of Legolas' discontent with Valinor. True it has brought him to a place where both his loves are present and shared. It's brought him children, in whom he finds some joy.
But is that enough?
Elrohir and Maewen have obviously become a real team. They have worked together, I think, in Arda battling Legolas' sea-longing then here in Valinor after the death of Gimli. There is a real feeling of companionship and support between them. They have each other's backs. Much as this is necessary for Legolas' wellbeing, a downside of it is that it sometimes leaves him feeling manipulated and ganged up on. He feels they talk about him behind his back and plot without his knowledge, which they do...with good intentions but they need to be careful of including him in their discussions more so he does not end up feeling like an object they try to control.
You are right. Legolas is stuck. He can't go back. His friends are gone. But Valinor was never going to be his choice if the sea-longing and grief hadn't forced him in to it. His whole soul was entiwined with the land in Arda and he yearns for it. Valinor is boring after the life he has led in Arda. He is a warrior spoiling for the adrenaline rush of a fight. No challenge, no spiritual nourishment and to be honest, he hasnt tried very hard either. He is caught up in being resentful, blaming Valinor for all his troubles.
Will Estel come to resent this unhappiness? Yes. I think so. Nothing he does is good enough to cure his father of the melancholy and he does so want that. Will he resent his father? Maybe. I think it is more likely he will transfer that resentment towards something he sees as the cause of it. He has an uncle here nudging him in that direction already.
Yay! No Aragorn! But of course, Legolas had to call his son Estel!
I wonder what emergency has called Legolas away. Could it be his mother's return? or Laerion? or both? It's clear from what Estel says that Legolas still has a lot of issues, and I guess many of them revolve around the death of his brother and his mother's departure. It's going to be fun to see what happens when he gets a chance to meet them again.
Out of interest, how long have they been in Valinor?
No Aragorn! And no way Aragorn has any hope of forcing himself in to this story beyond anything but someone people reminisce about. He's long gone.
Legolas' Mum is there of course.....ever since she did her runner from the Greenwood. Here's hoping she has grown up a bit during her long exile. Laerion is there too. He was reborn before Legolas arrived. We will see them both in due course!
Oh yes Legolas has issues, still issues with his mother. None of that has been resolved and he avoids her. And they have been in Valinor for quite a while. Gimli is already dead, because notice, Estel doesn't mention him. I don't think Legolas and Maewen had children until after Gimli's death.
So Legolas has the loss of Aragorn AND Gimli on top of all his other issues as well. And he focuses all that misery upon Valinor....at least that's how Estel sees it. Legolas' unhappiness is all Valinors fault. He doesn't want to be there and if he was "home" in Arda he would be happier.