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Reviews For Looking Up
I like this -- beautiful, moving, and bittersweet.
Author's Response: Thank you so much! Glad you enjoyed both the bitterness and the sweetness. :)
I read this, but I think I didn't comment. It's sad, but in a good way. The end of a life alwaays comes, but why run from happiness even if it will be short-lived. I liked that part. I've always wondered why Tolkien never allowed an Elf to wed a Woman, and yet he wrote three (or four) pairings when it was the other way round.I guess he was a man of his time.
Author's Response: I suspect that this is behind it - or, at any rate, the mindset (still reasonably common!) that women are a) more emotional and less rational, and b) more likely to sacrifice their happiness for some higher goal or even just plain old love, so they supposedly might lack the foresight to grasp just what they're getting themselves into? Yeah right. To be fair though, in two of these four cases the women's decision turns out to have been a very good choice (even leading to Tuor's elevation, if one may say so, to elf status...), but of course, "high doom" was involved there! But I take this to imply that unhappiness is not unavoidable. (Whether Arwen and Mithrellas would feel that it was worth it remains within the reader's discretion, I suppose! But for Lúthien and Idril, it definitely worked out fine.) On the other hand, sometimes I just think that Tolkien didn't want too many half-Elves running around (he must have heaved a huge sigh of relief when he managed to constrain most of it to a single family, and that reunited down the end of the line! ;)), and Andreth and Aegnor just fell victim to an auctorial decision to keep these inter-species (?) unions at a limit. I expect Mithrellas also wouldn't have made the cut, except her story was probably vaguely alluded to in LotR (in that Legolas observes that Imrahil has Elven as well as Númenorean blood, at any rate). IDK! At any rate, I'm so thrilled that you found this sad in a good way. Thank you very much!
Beautiful and bittersweet. What a shame that Aegnor took Finrod's terrible advice, all the more so in light of it being him that died first. But it is good that Andreth seems to have been at peace in the end.
Author's Response: Thank you very much! Personally, I assume that Aegnor would have run away even without Finrod's advice as well, so it's not entirely Finrod's fault, though he's certainly at fault for his attempts to tell Andreth that it was unavoidable and, in fact, an act of kindness, and all serving a higher purpose! But either way, I figured that Andreth would either break over it or come to terms with it, and as Broken Heart Syndrome isn't that frequent in mortals, I think it makes sense to assume that she would make her peace with the past and go on living. She'd be resourceful and resilient like that!
Anyway, I'm very glad you enjoyed this, in spite of the bitterness with the sweetness! Thank you for your comment.
A very moving look at Andreth's old age. I liked it.
Author's Response: Thank you very much! I'm glad to hear that you liked it and felt moved by it.
Very compelling, this view of Andreth in old age. We don't very often see people get quite as old as this in Silm fic and your portrayal is both unflinching and encouraging. I love that last scene on which it fades oout.
Author's Response: Thank you so much! Writing an "ancient" character certainly was daunting (I must assume that Andreth is about three times my age!). I've been reading articles on the ageing process and worked in a nursing home for a month after graduating, and of course I'm encountering old people in RL, but it's all very distant and theoretical. So I'm very glad if I managed to write someone as old as Andreth here convincingly. And I'm happy you especially liked the final scene, too. It wasn't easy to write so it's a relief to hear that it works!
This is a great story. I really loved it. It resolves one of my biggest frustrations in Tolkien canon.What terrible advice to have Finrod give, and if the Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth is to be believed, based upon Finrod's gaping black hole of ignorance.
I really liked the following passage which reflects a serious understanding of growing older on the part of someone of your age (trust me you are still very young!)!
Sometimes, the children tell her about their adventures, real or imaginary, it does not matter to her. Sometimes, she will tell them stories from the past. Sometimes, she will dispense wisdom to those who ask for it. Often, she is alone, and then she follows the paths of memory inward and backward.
I also love how Andreth allows herself to paint her own happy ending and to imagine not only what might have been, but what still might be.And most importantly, that it is all good in the end.
Life is forever uncertain, and fate is inexorable: you cannot provide for every chance and hardship of the world. You cannot avoid taking risks. Being alive is always a risk.
Seriously, who would want to undo every wrong in their life? It would mean undoing so many good experiences. Memories can be terrific, but the real good lies in looking to the future, even at her stage of life.
She will tell him that it was stupid to run away from happiness out of fear that it would end. Things always end. Or maybe they no longer will, in that world after this world. Either way, all you can do is try to make the best of what you've got. If she will be the lady, and he the guest, then she will tell him that the differences matter naught. In the secrecy of her mind, she envisions their meeting, imagining a world in which life lasts forever, in which her body will never grow old and decay, in which there are no battles where people are slain. She does not know whether it is true, whether it ever will be true. She no longer cares. It is a pleasant idea, and that is enough.
Tolkien was all wet if he was trying to convince his readers or himself that it is reasonable to lecture people about who they should or should not love.Neither one works and then given time enough, whether it is a terrible choice or the only choice, one reconciles oneself.Who in their right mind wants to be responsible for altering another human being's choice by their opinion? I guess if anyone is arrogant enough to think they could or should if would be a Vala or an Elf.
In this case, Andreth makes a strong case for Finrod having been wrong! Too bad Aegnor did not have the strength of will of Luthien!Those kids they did not have sound very promising!
Author's Response: I am very young! I'm as far removed from aged Andreth's stage as Finrod is! Which is why I am absolutely thrilled that you think I've captured her inner life convincingly. It's all conjecture as far as I am concerned - based on articles I've read and about my terrible one-month internship at a nursing home and on observing how my grandparents aged, granted, but still conjecture - so it's a relief to hear that it's not completely off the mark.
Some observations, of course, actually are my own (even at my tender age ;)), especially the bit about not being able to plan everything. That's something people of my generation (that I interact with) seem to overdo! You don't do a single step before having a financial adviser draw up a foolproof (haha!) investment plan! It's a modern version of casting rune sticks and reading the flight of birds (and just as reliable, but people don't seem to realise it). But of course, it is also a conclusion that Andreth would come to, having seen that Aegnor's fears about seeing her grow old and die were completely useless, since in fact he got himself killed first. Just go for it, FFS!
Personally, I don't think Tolkien necessarily intends for Finrod to be right in his relationship counseling (although it is often interpreted that way - but Beren and Lúthien, as well as Idril and Tuor, seem to be fine with it! Aegnor's just being chicken!), I've got the impression that it's more about reconciling Middle-earth/Valinor with Catholicism, all that blah about sudden visions of Arda Remade and Eru entering into the world and yet staying without and spirits taking their body with them and whatnot, and Andreth's unhappy love for Aegnor is just the catalyst for Finrod's bout of evangelising. Perhaps Tolkien was trying to reassure himself more than Andreth, IDK? Either way, Andreth does get short-changed, so yes, I couldn't help addressing that here.
Who in their right mind wants to be responsible for altering another human being's choice by their opinion?
This is especially funny in the light of LotR-style Elvish advice, "Do not go to the Elves for counsel, for they will say both Yes and No"! But I suppose that's a lesson they had to learn in the First Age. Andreth does call Finrod out on his arrogance, though he tries to deflect it, in the Athrabeth.
Anyway! I'm so happy you enjoyed this story. When Dawn gave me my quote for this challenge, I immediately thought ANDRETH!, but I didn't feel that I knew much about her, so I was worried I'd get her all wrong. It's a huge relief to hear that you think I got her right! Thank you so much!