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Author: Celeritas
Title: Slipped under the Door of the Master Bedroom, September 25, 1444
Rating: G
Theme: Send It In A Letter
Elements: A Letter of Apology
Author's Notes: "...but I outright told him that if you referred to yourself as ‘Frodo’ there was nothing wrong with it, and that you had made out the entire will to him so that meant we didn’t have to ‘Mister’ you anymore, because if you’d done great things so had he." (From The Sandbox: Elanor)
Summary: A heated argument with her father leads Elanor to some serious self-examination.
Word Count: 1,216

September 25, 1444

My Dear Father,

I know you have always told me it’s best to talk to people face to face, especially when you’ve wronged them, but I’ve found that words come easier to me on the page than out of thin air. And aside from that, I feel simply dreadful at the moment and I don’t think I could stomach apologising to your face. So please accept this little note, and don’t feel too ashamed that I had to write this down.

You shouldn’t have let me read so much, Dad. It’s your book, after all, not mine, and seeing as you lived it you know it a lot better than I ever shall. I’ve grown to love it too much, and I know people on paper better than I know them in real life. Some of them I never knew at all.

I know what you’d say in response to that, if I had the heart to tell you all this in person: “Ellie-lass, you did know him, and he knew you, and you remember him,” but that’s just the thing, you see? What if it’s not a memory? What if it’s just a bunch of wishful thinking, combined with picture portraits, and tales, and reading, and all that? You can’t tell me you know for certain. I don’t know for certain, and it’s my memory!

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, Dad. Don’t laugh—I know, I do it all the time, but I’ve been thinking about myself, as if I were someone else looking at me, and I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m a very strange lass and I’ve been entirely too selfish lately. The truth is the Downfall will always be just a story to me—with real characters, it’s true, yourself not the least of them—but something I cannot and will not understand because I’m from the Fourth Age and not the Third.

And that’s why you did all of it, isn’t it? Well, perhaps not in your own mind—you were too concerned about Frodo—but that’s why he did it—so that we would remain ever untouched by Shadow, and we would never be able to understand the great deeds of the past—just look back on them with longing and pride.

So: I cannot and will not ever know him, and it’s time I learned to accept that. Oh, but you must understand a girl’s idle fancy!—there’s always been a part of me that’s longed to be truly known and understood, because I am so appallingly different! That’s why I said you shouldn’t have let me read so much, because maybe I would have turned out half normal and not half mad, and I should never have gotten into this silly mess in the first place. I know you were fond of elves in your time, and still are; but I practically breathe them—their tales intoxicate me, and their tongues even more. And then you know the many times I’ve let my own tongue run away from me, and said something I shouldn’t have said because I thought it was blindingly obvious and everyone already knew—no matter that I was right!

And I know you understand this, my dear Father, more than you have ever let on, but a lass sometimes needs more than that—someone so far away he can’t judge her, nor she him, whom she can give all the qualities she needs him to have. The Frodo I ‘knew’ was—is?—all of that, and more: ordinary and alien, with an ability to read hearts and heads stronger than mine, eternally bound to the past and the future, astonishingly and frighteningly elvish! He wouldn’t be so awed of me that he wouldn’t sit down with me under the mallorn and talk to me as a friend would, and we’d be able to talk about the strangest things that everyone else would find dull, and I wouldn’t have to wait for him to understand what I was trying to say. And how much of that was him, and how much of that is what I want him to be? I suspect I shall never know, and I suspect that a good deal of this has nothing to do with my so-called ‘difference’ or ‘oddities’ or ‘elvishness’ but rather the fact that down in their hearts all tweenish lasses are really just lonely little girls who want life to be simple again. I wonder if it’s that different for lads?

I am jealous of you, Father, and of Mum, and Merry, and Pippin, and of my youngest brothers and sisters, too, because you all know where and when you are. I belong to the Fourth Age, but oh! I wish I were in the Third, because I think I understand it better. And I suppose I was, if you want to go by when the ships sailed. But then there are all the things he said about me, and about you, before he left, and how, how can I be friends with a voice and a pair of eyes?

It is a very strange thing, but I am a strange girl and perhaps it will all make sense one of these days. But it doesn’t right now.

By the by, I always wondered why we call it the Downfall. I know what it refers to now, but when I was little I always thought it referred to Frodo, what with the way you always spoke of him so sadly, and I thought it was a terrible misrepresentation. Yes, he did fall, by a cruel and inexorable process, but at the same time he rose, like Eärendil’s star, until he was so different and so beautiful that no one here could know him (except for me, when I was in a particularly selfish and idealistic mood), and so he had to leave. He outgrew himself, if that makes any sense, and got to the point that nothing about him matters anymore, not his deeds nor his friends nor his titles—nothing but who he is. And that is why I could not use his title, and that is why I wanted you to stop. Well—that and I really do think that if he had managed to stay on he would be on my side. I don’t care what you say; you’re just as worthy as he is, and if your fate was to stay and his was to leave, what of that?

But I suspect that you know this, too, deep down inside.

Anyhow.

The real truth of the matter is that you were always the one who knew Frodo, not I. His cousins, perhaps, knew him the longest, but you knew him the best out of anyone still in the Shire. And so I hope that you’ll forgive me for my foolishness, and for my impertinence in presuming to tell you how best to honour his memory.

But if you don’t mind it terribly, I’d still prefer to call him just “Frodo.” I do love the tales you tell me, but they are your tales. If I’m to know him at all I’d rather know him the way he knew himself.

Your loving and obedient daughter,
Elanor Gamgee

Comments

( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
shirebound
Feb. 16th, 2010 03:08 am (UTC)
I’m from the Fourth Age and not the Third.

What a fascinating thing. This is the letter of a wonderfully perceptive and unusual girl. I really love how she views Frodo as someone who "outgrew himself".
labourslamp
Feb. 16th, 2010 03:25 pm (UTC)
Elanor is IMO one of the canon characters with the most potential because she almost needs to be unusual. I think Elanor would be (painfully, at least when she's a tween) aware of her strange relationship with history.
lindahoyland
Feb. 16th, 2010 05:07 am (UTC)
A wonderful letter, which is both an apology and an assertion of Elanor's viewpoint.
labourslamp
Feb. 16th, 2010 03:27 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I wasn't consciously aware of this at the time, but "apology" did originally mean "defense of one's point". I don't think Elanor realized quite how much she did the latter!
(Deleted comment)
labourslamp
Feb. 16th, 2010 03:28 pm (UTC)
It's all conjecture, really, but Elanor offers so many more possibilities for "difference" that it's hard not to run with them. At any rate it's hard to say how much of it matters, because she's a tween at the time of writing and I think even Elanor is aware of how much that messes with your perceptions.

Thanks for reviewing!
(Deleted comment)
labourslamp
Feb. 16th, 2010 09:30 pm (UTC)
Tweenhood is rough all over, and while I doubt that Elanor normally had a problem with being different she certainly would have been more aware of it--and wondered if things would have been anything less awkward if she'd just been a little more "normal."

As for writing things out rather than speaking them, I understand where Elanor's coming from--there's no one to interrupt your train of thought when you're writing!

Thank you for the review!
blslarner
Feb. 16th, 2010 10:51 pm (UTC)
I find myself emphasizing so much! I, too, find it easier to apologize in written words, as no one can begin interpreting what they think you mean before you're finished and derail it all. And I do believe what she says here is true! No, not Mr. Frodo for her--he's indeed one who outgrew himself as she says. One who had to reach out beyond himself and the Shire because it simply wasn't enough to help him find himself any more.

Lovely work, Celeritas. Thank you for this one.
labourslamp
Feb. 16th, 2010 11:25 pm (UTC)
There are definite advantages to written apologies, but at the same time I can really see the advantages in talking it out face to face, if the other person's willing to listen (Sam actually is at this point, but Elanor doesn't know that because she is an Emotional Tween). Elanor's definitely a writer, though--not so much because of misinterpretation (you lose a lot of context in writing) as because it allows her to follow herself a lot better.

I tend to believe that what Elanor says, especially about Frodo, is true; but the important thing is that she's now realized that she can't pretend to have had an actual personal relationship with him as a memory or as a character. He belongs to history.
antane
Feb. 17th, 2010 02:18 am (UTC)
An interesting letter and I see myself reflecting here too in my thinking of him and all that. What a lovely and loving relationship those two would have had if they had been able to because they are both 'elvish' in their own way. See you after Easter!

Namarie, God bless, Antane :)
labourslamp
Feb. 17th, 2010 02:54 am (UTC)
Excellent! One of the purposes of this fic was to get people to think, just as Elanor had to, about their relationship to someone who really is only a character in a story that can never actually be known. If they had known each other, it would have been a fascinating relationship but ultimately not very historically elucidating.
wendwriter
Feb. 17th, 2010 06:50 pm (UTC)
Great stuff! Very thoughtful examination of a young girl trying to reconcile what she knows from books with what she knows as facts. I love it!
labourslamp
Feb. 17th, 2010 10:13 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much!! I really did want to use this as a means for thoughtful exploration--fortunately Elanor lends herself to that really easily.
periantari
Feb. 18th, 2010 01:12 am (UTC)
Quite interesting perspective. I never thought of how Elanor might feel about being kind of born in the middle of major historical events.

I am jealous of you, Father, and of Mum, and Merry, and Pippin, and of my youngest brothers and sisters, too, because you all know where and when you are. I belong to the Fourth Age, but oh! I wish I were in the Third, because I think I understand it better. And I suppose I was, if you want to go by when the ships sailed.

So very interesting. I hope you write Sam's response to this! That'll make interesting sequel. :)
labourslamp
Feb. 18th, 2010 04:37 am (UTC)
It must have been odd for Elanor, because we know she had a special relationship with the histories, given her behavior in the epilogues and her keeping the Red Book. Yet although she was a part of them, just a little bit, she can't remember much of it, and the little she did (no doubt to ease Frodo's decision) was never recorded. Add tweenship to the mix and the story practically wrote itself.

I imagine that Sam will respond in person, and that he and his daughter will have a Good Long Talk, but I don't know yet if I'll ever write it down. I suspect everyone already has a good idea of exactly what it would sound like.
periantari
Feb. 18th, 2010 01:36 pm (UTC)
It's an interesting perspective to take. I didn't think of Elanor being kind of between worlds. She indeed does have an interesting relationship between history and actually living in the present.
It would be cool to read what the dialogue between her and Sam might be. :)
speedyhobbit
Feb. 18th, 2010 01:17 am (UTC)
Wow, beautifully written! I've never before contemplated just how young Elanor would feel amidst the stories, but this letter certainly spurs on that propensity acutely.

labourslamp
Feb. 18th, 2010 04:40 am (UTC)
Thank you! Elanor seems like a wise enough character, from the little we know of her, that she'd take her relationship with the stories very seriously.
nautika3
Jun. 23rd, 2010 12:26 am (UTC)
Wow! You get so caught up in the depth of her thoughts and feelings that you completely forget this is a letter of apology. At one point, I thought 'This is the crush of all crushes (infatuations).' But I wasnt giving you credit. Thanks for sharing.

nautika
labourslamp
Jun. 23rd, 2010 05:59 am (UTC)
Thank you! Elanor does strike me as a bit of a rambler, so I'm actually not surprised in hindsight that she took the opportunity to turn it into an exposition of her platonic crush.
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )

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