Whore to the Rings Fanfic Reviews #1 | kino-fun.ru

Trust [A+]
Author: Sandcat
Where found: The Library of Moria
Type: M/M slash, LotR semicons

The uneasy relationship between Boromir and Aragorn receives a workout in this story, which 'fills in the blanks' of what happened between them at Rivendell, before the Fellowship set forth. Aragorn wants Boromir's trust and support on the quest, and Boromir will not give it, so Aragorn makes himself vulnerable to the steward of Gondor... in effect, seducing him after a couple of drinks. The secret they share now ensures they must trust.

This was an excellent story, keeping in character with both stubborn Boromir and self-sacrificing but calculating Aragorn, who is after higher ends. The sex wasn't quite seduction, or a display of vulnerability, or a semiconsensual drunken rape, but a masterfully handled combination of all three, and sufficiently complex and muddled to seem real. The prose had Tolkien's gravity but was not as distant, there was an immediacy and tension to it well suited for a bedroom scene. It *could* have happened this way, so it gets my high marks. And things are not resolved happily either, as Boromir chafes:

They had a long and difficult journey ahead of them. [Boromir] was a warrior, and he knew how to fight an enemy he hated. But how to fight an enemy he loved? How to deal with a man he wanted to both caress and wound in the same moment?

He sat wakeful until nearly dawn, pondering what to do. In the end he decided that he would keep his sentiments buried deep in his heart, alongside the pain and bitterness that dwelt there. He would only secretly acknowledge Aragorn as his brother, his lover, and his king. To speak of this was unthinkable, and he vowed he would never say the words Aragorn wanted to hear.

A bit mooshy at the end, but I'll forgive that, as the preceding was so good.

Reforging Ties [B+/B]
Author: Brenda Antrim
Where found: Brend Antrim's Fanfic Archive
Type: M/M slash, LotR, rape, abuse, h/c

This story asks the same question not a few other fanfics did: What if Legolas had been captured by the orcs at Parth Galen in addition to, or instead of, Merry and Pippin? Gripping stuff, especially in slashy hands, where rape and assault are sure to follow.

Indeed it did. Lots of it... lots, described in various loving ways the Tolkienesque prose was ill-equipped to handle. The poor wood elf is tied up on the ground, beaten, whipped, and starved. He is also pissed upon by the boss orc, apparently to mark 'his' territory, an original if nauseating touch (orc piss is like acid in open wounds.) After being raped by the pisser, and having his ankles rubbed raw to the bone by ill-fitting chains, he's somehow able to rouse himself when rescue comes, fight back, and flee on those bloody exposed anklebones, to recover, dripping blood and orcish fluids from every orifice, in the arms of by Aragorn, his lover in the story. Hurt/comfort follows.

Well, the intensity of this was a... wild ride, let's say, but ultimately worked against the story, as the squick factor was high even for me. Not to mention a lack of realism. Legolas should be recovering for at least a month in intensive care after all that, while in the story he's up and running after a day or two. This is put down to the extraordinary healing powers of the elves, but I don't buy it. And I don't buy it either than he'd want anal sex so soon after being torn up the rectum, or that he'd be such a passive captive of the orcs in the first place. Remember Tolkien liked resourceful characters, the best example being Bilbo Baggins' taunt of "Attercop! Attercop!" to the spiders of Mirkwood.

To be fair, the story did get a lot of angsty mileage from Aragorn's reactions to Legola's capture (though he abandons the pursuit of Merry and Pippin too easily) as well as his and Gimli's witnessing of the rape they are powerless to prevent, where the voyeur/kink factor is very high. And the story did have one pearl of wisdom. When Aragorn is hesitant about having sex with Legolas so soon after he's been defiled, Legolas says, "You will only hurt me if you refuse to touch me. For then I will know I am truly despoiled."

The Test [B+]
Author: Alys
Where found: Least Expected
Type: M/M slash, LotR, threeway

While downloading stories I came across several stories where some or all of the Fellowship members must undergo various trials at Rivendell to judge their suitability for the Quest. Naturally, the trials involve sex. In this case the testers are Arwen and Boromir, and the testee, Legolas. Arwen says,

"You are proud, Prince. Ours has ever been a proud race, yet I sense pride runs deeper than usual in you. As my father has chosen you to be one of the Fellowship, I need to be sure that you will not let your pride rule your heart.... I require your complete submission to me, and your obedience to my command. This is a test, Legolas, and it will not be easy." He stared down at her, still not fully understanding.

"But what would you have me do, lady?"

She met his gaze. "You will see. There may be humiliation, and even a little pain. But there will also be pleasure the like of which you cannot imagine". She saw his dark eyes widen as he began to comprehend her meaning, and his fair skin flushed. Smiling slightly, Arwen took a step back. "Boromir, there is wine. Will you pour?" she asked sweetly.

The explicit sex thus receives a plausible explanation, and I'll admit it's an original way to work D/s shenanigans into the asexual book and movie canon. The story did not have as refined a tone as some others I've read -- the prose was a sort of pseudo-Tolkien more Arthurian than Middle Earth -- but Legolas was not excessively wussified (he was self- possessed and charmingly shy) and the story was one of the rare ones in which Arwen was a major player, plus points in my book.

Through Bitter Chains, Chapters 1 - 5 [A/A-]
Author: Rhysenn
Where found: Library of Moria
Type: M/M slash, LotR, slave, semicons

This A/U (alternate universe) fanfic takes place in a much-altered Middle Earth where the one ring remains lost and Gondor is the equivalent of the Roman Empire... decadent and declining. Boromir rules in Minas Tirith while Aragorn is but a steward keeping his true background hidden. Gandalf is around, but only as an advisor. And oh yeah, Boromir has a thing for pretty boy-elves:

One of the hunters started to shove the elf forward, impatiently; but the other quickly hissed at him, and they both made a concerted effort to treat their prisoner less roughly. The elf's ankles were shackled with chains that chafed his smooth skin raw. He wore a tunic of dark green, the raiment of folk who dwell in forests; it hid but flattered the slim body that lay beneath, and was torn in places to reveal pale bare skin. The elf wrenched violently away from the touch of the hunters each time they tried to urge him along; he rebuked them in his own tongue, which sounded melancholic and melodious like a lament of nature.

Boromir could not take his eyes away from the elf; he was entranced by his beauty, simple yet divine. He was suddenly overcome with the intense desire to have this prize for his own, whatever the cost. The sheer untamed appeal of the elf excited him, much like the thrill of embarking on war: a conquest that lay before him, which he had bent all his thought towards conquering and possessing. It was an instinctive emotion that arose within him: primal yet truthful, and singularly focused.

What follows is a depiction of Legola's life as a slave to a rather despotic king and his growing friendship... well more than a friendship...with an equally exiled and out of place Aragorn. This was good, slashy stuff, by which I mean lots of angst, sexual tension, semi-consensual sex, and hierarchical relationships milked for all they're worth. The story was written well, the tone similar to, but not exactly, a copy of Tolkien's (one of the beta readers was Tyellas, creator of the Ansereg site.)

The story was a very good, but not outstanding, read. I enjoyed it, but, when I thought about it later, I realized it wasn't very consistent with Tolkien's characters. True, it is an A/U, but as one lively debate on a fanfic site asked, why bother writing an A/U when you could plug in your own original setting and rename the characters? Since the plot and setting of the story have changed so much (Minas Tirith's concentric defenses, such a strong point with Tolkien, aren't even mentioned) the only thing retained by the characters are their names and basic personalities, which are more than a little one-note: Boromir is a me- gimmee-mine baddy, Aragorn frets over duty and honor, Faramir is just... there, and Legolas plays the violated victim. Not that his plight wasn't well written or believable, but he wasn't Legolas. (I admit my problems with Legolas here may stem from Orlando Bloom's performance in the movie. I never took a shine to his inexpressive face, bug eyes and lantern jaw, and he was suspiciously well-fed for a willowy elf. Granted, so was Liv Tyler, but the oddness of her jaw structure made her alien nature more convincing to me.) It seemed to me the only reason for using these characters in such an altered plotline is for the reader to visualize them, a technique similar to some ASS writers suggesting certain actors for their story's characters.

There's also a problem of transgression. In slash, there's a basic, unspoken transgression on the part of the reader (that he or she is reading gay fiction about well-loved media characters) and the writer (that he or she is writing it) that they are both fantasizing about subject matter this society regards as taboo. The hottest slash stories have transgression built into the plot as well... forbidden interspecial (human/elf), hierarchical (master/slave, commander/subordinate) or incestual (brother/brother) relationships that are intended to titillate as well as entertain. The same holds true for LotR slash. But none of these stories expressed the most obvious transgression of all... that of the homosexual relationship itself, odd considering that Middle Earth is pseudo-Medieval society written by a Catholic professor, with all the conservative attitudes that implies. So in the story the king's obsession with the elven slave is commented on disapprovingly, but not seen as the truly scandalous thing it could be... the king desires a *male* elf! Major scandal!

I have no idea why this is so, except that, perhaps, putting real-life homosexual taboos into the plot may cut too close to the real world. In contrast, it's a major theme in much of the boy band fiction I've read, where 'coming out' or hiding one's gay affair with one's bandmate are major story conflicts. I have the feeling that LotR slash writers don't want to bother, or are buying into the liberal ideal so beloved by fantasy writers these days -- everyone fucks everyone else and no blinks an eye about it. Anyway, the writer wasted a rich opportunity for story development.

In sum, I enjoyed reading this, but think the author should have developed it into an original story. But as some fanfic writers have said, even the most extreme A/U fanfic will always attract readers on the basis of its fandom, whereas original creations do not.

One Dark Night [A/C]
Author: Enros
Where found: Library of Moria
Type: M/M slash, LotR, cons

Some time after the War of the Rings has been won Elrond, the Master of Rivendell, is caught out in a storm in the mountains. He takes shelter in a cave only to find it is already occupied... by an Uruk-hai of the losing side.

This story had an excellent start. The prose was Tolkienesque without being as windy as the good professor could be, and the rather hokey setup was well handled. The dialogue and growing trust between the elf and the orc was believable and sensitive. Then, the two have sex.

The Uruk lifted his great head towards the roof of the cave, snarling, "I should never have lived so long. I see the world, I look inside myself, and I am in despair. I am an unnatural creature, made only for war and destruction, and in all the lands under the sun there is no place for me."

Unable to help himself Elrond leaned over to touch the Uruk's thick forearm. His fine fingers stood pale against the dark skin....it seemed to him that from the depths of those embittered eyes, amid the awful fatalism, there shone an unexpected nobility.

Fixated, he felt himself powerless as never before. Slowly, almost without realizing, he lifted a hand and traced his fingers over the dreadful features. The broad, high forehead, the heavy brow, the hewn cheekbones, and the baleful mouth. Ugluk growled low in his throat, but the sound was one of pleasure.

Sorry, you lost me.

As a fan, I couldn't see Elrond extending an arm (well, a fuck) out of sympathy to anyone, let alone an orc; he's just not that kind of guy. The emotional resonance was easier to swallow, but, again, the author was straining mightily to make it all seem credible. Ultimately, a better plot device was needed here than an author's contrivance. So, first half, very good, second half, silly.

In the Shadow of Tol Brandir [A+]
Author: Sparky
Where found: Fellowship
Type: M/M slash, LotR

This was one of the heavier fanfics I've read, done by an author who, by the quality of his or her work, has surprisingly little output. It focuses on Boromir and was of the 'fill in the blanks' genre, in this case Boromir's dying thoughts after realizing he's let the orcs carry off Merry and Pippin by giving into the temptation of the ring. There's more than a little flavor of "An Occurrence on Owl Creek Bridge" here, as Boromir *thinks* he's been rescued by Aragorn:

When next Boromir awoke the sky was dark. He was half wrapped in his cloak and another lay spread on the ground beside him. His outer clothes were gone. Faint firelight revealed the form of Aragorn at his side and made pale glimmers shine from the ranger's watching eyes. "Welcome back," he said. "I am glad you will live to fight again at my side," and he bent and kissed him gently on the cheek.

Boromir smiled. He wrapped his arms around the other man and drew him down for a kiss that was less than gentle. Aragorn did not resist, but in a moment he pulled away, saying, "You are not well enough. You must rest."

"I am already much recovered. Our lives are too uncertain to wait." He reached out again, feeling his strength return. Aragorn's lips met his, and this kiss was all hunger and heat.

But the ending to the story is the same.

A brief but powerfully written vignette, saying more than most vignettes do.

Untitled [B]
Author: Abbi
Where found: The Library of Moria
Type: M/M slash, LotR, rape, viol, bloodplay

Legolas is feeling lonely one night, so he pulls a knife on a sleeping Boromir, kisses him passionately, and forces the steward of Gondor to follow him to a secluded place, saying, "You know what I brought you here for. And you wouldn't've come if you didn't think the same." Boromir responds to the invitation by chowing down on the elf's pretty lip. Legolas

... scowled at him, and sucking in a little of his own spilt blood, he waited until Boromir, who was standing close to him, running his finger along the blade of his knife, looked up at him, then spat the blood full in Boromir's face. Boromir, surprised at the elf's audacity, managed to keep his eye contact steady as, with the hand that did not carry the knife, he grabbed a length of the elf's hair, and used it to crack Legolas' head into the tree trunk, until his eyes rolled and blood streamed from his nose.

That pretty much sets the tone for what follows. which involves beatings, belt-whippings, blood games, and bondage, as Legolas is tied to a tree and raped by Boromir, who flees when Aragorn comes to the elf's 'rescue' (it's subtly implied Legolas is enjoying all this) and is raped in return by the sex-mad elf. Embarrassment follows when they all have to face each other the next day, but that doesn't stop them from repeating the acts the following night.

There's mindless porn, which concentrates on unfettered sex, and there's mindless slash, which concentrates on unfettered assault. This was not a subtle story. It was more literate than porn, but still porn, because it goes after visceral thrills with such gusto. The characters weren't true to themselves at all, but I don't the writer was concerned about that. He or she actually thought they writing a humor piece not intended to be taken seriously. Well, that's as may be, but the author was enjoying the action a bit too much for it to be parody, which requires love of the material, but not necessarily personal involvement. It was actually more of a pastiche using the formula of that little known gay subgenre, the sexfight. Though I don't think the author knew it.

I really wonder about the fascination with gore in these mostly female- written stories. If I was a man I'd make some snide joke about menstrual blood, but since I'm female, I won't.

Not Tonight [B-]
Bondage and Discipline [B-]

Author: Janet Elizabeth
Where found: Least Expected
Type: M/M slash, LotR

This story was something of an extended soap opera. Noble but oversexed Aragorn is having simultaneous affairs with both Legolas and Boromir. Things come to a head the final night in Rivendell when Legolas spies on Aragorn and Boromir having sex. Tears and heartbreak follow. The next day, Boromir spies on Aragorn and Legolas having sex... more tears, and Boromir plots revenge. He sends a message to Legolas summoning him to a secluded part of the garden, signing it with Aragorn's name. Legolas falls for this oldest of tricks and Boromir has his revenge:

He stroked his hand down over Legolas' ripe, round rump and wondered at the softness of the skin beneath his fingers. His cock twitched again inside his leathers and he felt it begin to grow. His hand ran lower over the mounds of the Prince's buttocks and caressed between the thighs to stroke the balls and shaft below. He tickled softly to make his victim squirm slightly and then he raised his hand high. He brought it down with a resounding smack on the firm, smooth flesh, enjoying the twitch it brought from the Princeling.

Plausible? Nope. Aragorn is depicted as daydreaming of sexual conquests during Very Important Tactical discussions at Elrond's table, Legolas whinges yaoi-style and cries buckets, and Boromir acts like a hellion scorned. Add to this a neo-Victorian prose style, and you have what could be an amusing parody, but I don't think the author intended it that way.

More Than a Broken End [A+]
Author: Amy Fortuna
Where found: Least Expected
Type: M/M slash, LotR, D/s, bloodplay

I thought this vignette was going to be about spanking. Instead, it concerns the scorn Boromir has for Aragorn's sword, Narsil, spinning off the memorable scene in the movie where Boromir fumbles the precious blade, causing it to fall and ring loudly on the floor. Aragorn, offended, asks that he have words with him in private. He orders Boromir to strip and lay on the bed, saying,

"This shard still cuts, and cuts deep. Would you wish it to dance along your skin, and prove to you what, even broken, it may do?"

Boromir paled. "I do not need that test!" he cried.

Aragorn smiled grimly. "I think you do."

Delicate cutting follows, and the lapping of blood. But you knew that already, didn't you?

This was a more successful handling of a bloodfic, the tone more weighty and historical, yet pithy and to the point. There's also a good rationale for the bloodletting... Boromir must be taught a lesson by his superior, which, in a quasifeudal society like Middle Earth, must not be argued. A short vignette, but better done than the more overwrought gorefics, and both Aragorn and Boromir were true to character. Recommended.

Reassuring Galadriel [B+]
Author: Silvan Star Singer
Where found: The Library of Moria
Type: F/F, LOTR

LOTR slash is not limited to males. With firm-chinned daring some writers are exploring the femslash aspect of Middle-Earth. It means doing a lot of personal invention, as Arwen, Eowyn, and Galadriel exchange nary a come-hither look onscreen or between the pages. In fact, I don't think any of them ever meet face-to-face in the movies or the books.

But after seeing "The Two Towers" I was inspired to explore the distaff side, and thusly came across this tale. A young Galadriel is feeling freaked out about her upcoming marriage to Celeborn, so she goes to Melian, one of the Maia (a god of Middle-Earth in human form) for advice. Melian is tempted by Galadriel's "contrast of innocence and wisdom, vulnerability and strength...an intriguing combination, which fascinated Melian and held her powerless before this young Elf- Maid" so, in good slash style, she seduces her. The two have sex, and the once-virginal Galadriel leaves satisfied with the lessons she has been taught.

Aside from the (rather quick) resolution of Galadriel's jitters the story didn't have much of a plot. Like a lot of slash, it was written as a simple character-driven sexual encounter, and whether you're into it or depends on how much you like the fandom, and, more importantly, whether the author's interpretation of the characters syncs with yours. As a fan I thought it was charming, but too flowery for my taste; everything is resolved too neatly, and I didn't discover anything new about the characters.

Unwilling Consort [C/C+]
Author: Red Autumn
Where found: Melethryn
URL: http://geocities.com/melethryn/index.html
Type: M/M, M/M/M, LotR, slash, rape, tort

This story highlights what's so great about slash, and what's so ridiculous about it.

The great thing is that slash writers aren't afraid [read: have no shame] to take sexual elements as far as they can go -- incest, rape, underage sex, graphic torture, mental cruelty, you name it -- without fear of what readers will think. The flip side is that most of it's so floridly written and melodramatic you can't take it seriously. Both aspects combine to make it fun to read, a sort of crassly literate thrill ride, junk food for the soul. And I freely admit to reading it for exactly that purpose, because a) it entertains me; b) it's always interesting to see how different writers handle such graphic material; and c) it gives me a thrill I can't get in conventional porn, no matter fow well-written, extreme, or sensationalized. I can only call it the uniquely female mindset of slash. And by that don't mean the emphasis on sensuality over sex, or well-drawn relationships. I mean a deep with fascination with mental and physical pain and an almost gothic sense of storm, over-the-top emotional turmoil.

So, we have this multichapter story, which was a classic "elf held captive" one. It came from the Melethryn website and I knew full well what I was getting, as the ratings warned of rape and torture. And again, I was surprised at how much.

At the get-go we're thrown into a greatly altered Middle Earth where the elves of Mirkwood and Lothlorien are longtime enemies. In this world Aragorn has become king of Gondor so we can only assume the One Ring has been destroyed, but Legolas is yet but a wee princeling (a favorite term in these kinds of stories) and so presumably has taken a rain check on the Quest. This annoyed me a little as the story wasn't labeled an A/U (alternate universe) which would have enabled me to be more open-minded about it, instead of assuming the author was too lazy to do his or her Tolkien homework.

The plot begins when Elrond and Elrohir, the estranged twin sons of Elrond (and who are written like perverted teen versions of the Katzenjammer Kids), sneak into Mirkwood to kidnap Prince Legolas and take him back to Imladris as their 'consort,' which, like a shotgun marriage in a bad movie serial, means he will be bonded to the dastardly duo for all eternity. This custom, an invention of the author's, was never fully explained. It seemed to apply only to virginal Elvish princes who have yet to reach their 'majority' (a fanon term that is not in the trilogy, as far as I know) but I'm not sure. Seems kind of unfair. Someone pops your cherry, and you have to be their slave for all your immortal life? If it applied to every elf, I'm sure there'd be a hell of lot more kidnapping going on, and a lot of unhappy partners. But anyway, the two capture Legolas with a drugged hankie over his nose when he goes to his favorite spring to bathe, and convey him to Rivendell in a three-week swoon. He comes to only to be mercilessly savaged by the two:

Finally Elladan managed to get inside and began to pump savagely.

Legolas screamed like a slaughtered animal for he felt like his body was cut into shreds. He continued screaming until he turned blue, until his lungs craved for air desperately. His body trembled uncontrollably and his legs becoming soft and weak.

Hot tears streamed down the young elf's face in torrents, as well as cold sweats, as his whole body was jerked sharply whenever Elladan pummeled him mercilessly. He prayed and prayed that he could die now, escaping from this horrible pain and shame. However, the gods did not hear his silent prayer.

Overwrought, no?

The unfortunate prince then becomes a virtual slave to the pair, kept naked and chained to the bed, where he wastes away like a Pre-Raphaelite maiden locked in a tower between brutal fucks ("They continued to rape and abuse the helpless elf. His body was showered with bruises from the constant beating to subdue him. More blood flowed, coating the inner thighs and pooling on the bed. It was a sad sight.")

Now, to be frank, I kind of like this idea for its extremism, the same way I like snuff, vore, and slave fiction; but what threw me out of the fantasy was the Bizarro nature of it. (Bizarro being Superman's evil twin who comes from a parallel universe where everything runs opposite to ours.) None of the Rivendell elves bat an eye at the torment the two inflict on their victim, even as he's savaged three, four, times, each time severe enough to send him to the elvish infirmary with broken bones and busted ribs. I would like that idea, too, if these parallel-universe Rivendell elves were portrayed as being savage brutes without mercy, but they're not. They're the same wise, courtly creatures we know from a thousand bland fanfics. No one comments on it in any way, not even to say, "Gee, Elro and Donnie are being a bit rough, aren't they? Maybe we should tell them to lighten up, or this kid'll be dead before next Tuesday." The rapes are excuses for extended sickroom scenes, where there's more description of blood, bruises, and whinging from Legolas, along with detailed medical exams.

After the upteenth round of this Legolas is taken by an enthralled Aragorn to Gondor, where he attracts the unwanted attentions of Boromir. (In fanon, every male who glances at Legolas becomes sexually intrigued with him.) The armies of Mirkwood and Rivendell soon clash, with the two leaders going to Gondor to ask Aragorn's advice, since the twins want their consort back. Legolas nobly adheres to tradition by agreeing to go back to the "husbands" that deflowered him, but through a loophole gets to remove himself from that bonding by picking someone else to bond with, as long as they're willing. He picks Elrond (mightily coldcocking Aragorn, who sheds a tear or two) and the two presumably live happily after.

There was a lot to dislike in this story, from the poor writing (the author couldn't decide if it was told in past or present tense), the infantilization of Legolas, the repeated rapes and beatings (aren't one or two enough?), the author's running ramrod with canon, the many grammatical and spelling errors, the character assasinations of Elrond, Glorfindel, and Boromir, and the total lack of logic both in the plot and in the alternate universe the author set up. The whole was more of an exercise in slashy excess than a work of fiction. It takes sweat, logic, and good hard work to produce a believable story, and if you can't do that, you have no business pouring out your fantasies and expecting readers not to cringe or chuckle.

So much promise, so much waste. But I have only myself to blame, because I read the damn thing.

Red Ripe Fruits for Legolas [A-]
Author: Camilla
Where found: The Wicked Elf
Type: M/M, LotR slash

I found this story at the aptly named Wicked Elf website which also hosts other fanfic by the creator and her friends. It's clear the elves have garnered the lion's share of the slashy attention from female fans of the movie. Pretty, pretty elves. Sigh.

The story was a tale of yearning. Saelbeth, a young (comparatively speaking, as they're immortal) elf from Rivendell goes to Mirkwood to serve in King Thranduil's court. He develops an attraction to Legolas, but is hesitant to make the first move, though the two become good friends. Lots of pining and sighing here, along with a dark secret from Legolas' part that "prevents others from becoming close." One day Haldir comes to visit from Lothlorien, and it's clear he is the dark secret, as the two share a close bond that drives Saelbeth sick with envy. Are they lovers? Or only good friends? And what happened to drive them apart so many years ago? These are questions that are gradually answered in the story, which got off to a strong start in Chapter 1, dragged through 2 and 3 where nothing much happened, and concluded in a surprising way in Chapter 4 when two of the trio finally have sex, and it's not who you expect. It ends on a note of sorrow and hard-won wisdom, ringing true to life but not exactly happy.

The author caught the many flavors of longing very well, as well as Saelbeth's feelings of exclusion when when he sees Legolas and Haldir together. It worked as long as you read between the lines: elves are a people tolerant of close -- sometimes very close -- friendships, but do not enter into romantic love lightly. The fic was twice as long as it should have been, though, and the many descriptions of the elves' physical beauty made it repetitive as well.

Overall a well-done relationship fic true to the characters and their world, but the author should watch the length.

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