Title: For Every Evil 3
Summary: For every evil that rises, we are given ways to fight it. The secrets of the elves are revealed to the modern world, and they are forced to decide whether they should remain in a world unprepared for them, or be the last of their kind to leave it.
Holy crap, who'd have thought it would all come to this...
The very very last chapter of a fic years in the making, several hunred thousand words long, and whole lot of heistations and experiments later, here we are!
I am weirdly sad and weirdly happy at the same time. There is one thing I do not doubt, though, that I am very thankful for everyone who gave me their time and effort and rode along with my wacky ideas and premises. The reading audience for LOTR fanfiction is extremely developed and sophistaicated and ultimately scary, haha... people feel very strongly about things and the level of canon knowledge is so pronounced. I know I must have broken a lot of rules and stepped outside of comfortable zones so thank you for your trust and your time. Anyway, without further ado, the final part of the FEE trilogy, and my usual rambling afterword. I hope you enjoy it!
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EPILOGUE: For Every Evil
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To: Fellowhip ElrohirSeriouslyRocks
Subject: How's Everybody
Elrohir wrote it down out of habit, out of desire, whatever, he just did, because it felt right, even if the heading looked ridiculous, scrawled atop parchment in dark ink. His father had been right in saying technology was not a single-directional development. He came into Valinor expecting to be like that guy in Greek mythology who had introduced fire to man, and ended up feeling like the proverbial country-mouse-cousin instead. Still, there was something inextricably archaic about the elves, that made the idea of writing an e-mail heading on an elvish parchment quite irresistible and funny to him. And so he wrote:
I'm not sure how much time has passed, but I'm betting it's been awhile. Of all the things that I brought, I forgot to bring a watch. I did, however, bring a cellphone. I was curious, if I could pick up a signal out here. It sounds insane, but then again you never know, really. Have you seen the movie Frequency? I got really confused but there's this guy with an old radio who can talk to his long-dead father on it. Have you seen The Lake House? Well I haven't either but they said there's this mailbox and... anyway, in case you were wondering, my service provider did not hold up against going past the Circles of the World. If they did, I seriously would have found no qualms about going back over there and shamelessly advertising for them – They have really, really, really good coverage.
Ow, my hand hurts. I guess I haven't handwritten anything in a long time. All this looks like chicken scratch. Speaking of chicken scratch writing, Legolas is, tada! still alive. The gamble paid off. He'll remember to thank us, eventually, once he, ah, remembers everything else...
The gods have a weird and wonderful sense of humor.
He gave us a scare, many many times. He damn near-killed Estel with a heart attack when he 'left' and we thought he wasn't ever coming back. His heart stopped, and we tried and tried and tried to get him back, but he was gone. We were going to call it, I swear to god we were, and then suddenly Elladan – whom I must point out is also out of the woods and back in the world of the talking and living – bursts into the room, grabs the paddles of the defibrillator, maxes the thing out and very authoritatively zapped Legolas back into the world of the living.
'You're not doing this now,' he said, practically screaming, and I thought he had lost his mind, 'Not now, not after everything! This is nothing. This is easy. You're not doing this now, not after everything.'
You know Legolas, he thrives in guilt. So right on cue, that heart started up again and hasn't escaped us since. He slipped into a coma for a good while though, and we watched his body wilt. Months may have passed. I don't know. I wish I brought a watch, i said. But he chugged along somehow, and one day he kind of just opened his eyes, you know, pretty as you please, blinking up at us with his questions, as if nothing had happened and he was just waking up from a nap.
Turns out, in his world at least, nothing had happened. He recognized nothing and no one, did not know who he was and what he was doing there, but seemed willing to trust us. The memories will return, the healers said. We're in fricking Valinor, who's in a rush (I paraphrased this liberally)? In the meantime, everyone is just relieved he's on the mend. They said the amnesia was likely due to brain damage caused by his extended, nearly-lethal arrest. I didn't bother to tell them that Legolas has been brain-damaged for quite awhile now, and used to remember things just fine.
Unfortunately for us, he retained his rebellious streak and regained his sense of humor. He is quite fun to talk to, and has taken up finding all sorts of novel ways to hide away from the admittedly stifling triumvirate of Estel, Ada, and his father the King Thranduil. The dwarf was always an unwilling accomplice, getting dragged, coerced and cajoled along while Haldir and I were like the police, always tasked to look for them. Elladan joined us too, after he took his head out of his ass and started living again and talking to people, instead of just burying his face behind that goodbye letter Ana gave him before we left, all the time.
I think Legolas believes he should know us, and that is why his heart is light. But if he has remembered anything else, he doesn't show it, or speak of it. Like that first time he was deemed healthy enough to finally get a taste of that coveted Starbucks coffee. There was something that streaked across his eyes, I swear to god. A memory, perhaps, Montes' ghost, I don't know. He looked puzzled, and then amused. Whatever he was thinking of or, god forbid whatever he actually remembered, he just smiled and kept it to himself.
I am starting to believe that this is a blessing, for one such as he. Legolas now has the chance at a real life, here. One that doesn't need to be hid, or invented, and assuredly one that will no longer be burdened by the past. I don't know. Maybe it's just me.
I kind of miss him being uptight, though, as it was always good fun to try and aggravate him. But he looks happy like this. We drop him hints of the past, here and there. It seems unfair to deprive him of knowing the kind of person that he was, because Legolas as we know him is... well he's Legolas, you know. His own category. He deserves to know. But if he remembers nothing and asks nothing else, we do not make any overt efforts to make him recall. Sure he's amnesiac, but hell, he's all right. He's happy. I'm inclined to believe that for some heroes, that is the reward. Normalcy, and an open future. The conflict has become interestingly reversed, this time. It was not too long ago that he struggled with making Aragorn and a few other people remember who they once were. Interesting, how things turn out. I just remembered that crazy thing Elladan was saying when he called Legolas back from the dead sounded just like what Legolas said to Boromir when he was shot, not too long ago.
Anyway, I do not worry for him, anymore. The guy I do still worry for is my brother. Elladan was reclusive, and unbearably quiet, up until that scare Legolas put us through forced him off his rump and into the present. When he dragged Legolas back, he shocked himself back too, remembering other things that were important apart from the things he had lost. And then he started speaking openly to us again.
One day, I found the guts to ask him what was in that letter Ana wrote to him. I bet on apologies and explanations. Who wouldn't? But Elladan said that was not the case at all.
"Why not?" I asked him.
He said she knew that he understood why she did what she did. He said he fervently wished that he did not understand why he was brought here against his will. He said he wished he could be angry for ever, instead of resigned. To be angry was to keep the book open, to keep the possibilities alive. To understand was just to know, and ultimately to own, because something deep inside you accepted, even if it did not agree. He said he understood, and it hurt more than any other external slight. He said she knew all this, and that was why the letter contained something else.
"So what was it?" I asked, intrigued.
He smiled at me tightly, and said that there were two very important sheets of paper in there. A marriage certificate – which she signed and left a space blank for his – and a divorce certificate, which she also signed and left a blank space for his. He said she left him a side note, telling him that it was hardly legally binding, but it was symbolic enough of the things they didn't get to do. She also said something like, 'Sign the first because you owe me, sign the second because finding someone else is not only accepted, but encouraged.'
He looked skeptical about that last bit, but as always, he found her amusing and slightly insane. And then the conversation took on a heavy note, since any remembrance of the beauty and brilliance of her ultimately goes to the fact that they were not together.
So that day, I also found the guts to ask him that other thing I've been worrying about. I gulped, and crossed my fingers behind my back. I asked him if he was conceiving any sort of plan to go away and go back.
"Not... yet," he had said, "I understand why I have to be here, I said. So I won't."
I took it for what it was. I clung to it like a drowning man, but you can bet he goes nowhere without my knowledge. I have my eye on him. That's because I think I have it all figured out, now.
For every evil that rises, we are given ways to fight it. Or... in the absence of a fight, we are given each other to weather it. We're a bunch of survivors here, that's what we are. Not quite victorious, but then again, there hadn't really been a war. And yet we were fighting something... maybe ourselves, and the alone-ness that permeated each of us before we somehow found each other, ultimately found ourselves. I think of Legolas, when I think of that. And then I think of Elladan... His eyes are hungry. He'll find his way back there, back to the world, eventually, and maybe this whole thing will begin all over again. I don't know. What I do know is that he won't be alone. None of us will be ever again.
Elrohir rolled up the parchment, shoved it in a slim, green bottle, and threw it out as hard as he could toward the sea.
Your message has been sent, he thought, wistfully.
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The Circles of the World
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It became just one more mystery in a litany of mysteries that already plagued the world. Plague... perhaps that was too strong a word, too threatening. Occupied, seemed more fair. Who killed JFK, Is Elvis alive, Was Marilyn Monroe murdered, Are there aliens, Is there a God...
No one ever found out whatever happened to Leland Greene, and after awhile, it became a cold, unsolved case. Books and TV shows and ridiculous movie adaptations came out. Conspiracy theories abound. The remnants of the Fellowship read and heard and saw them all. Many of them were fairly funny.
Anatalia Craxi's pregnancy was not a secret for long. She took that leave from work at last, and retreated away from the public eye. It was the rest she needed, and an escape from the world's interest in her, stemming from the life she had always lived, intensified by the Leland Greene interview. For awhile, there was a silly rumor spreading that the children were Greene's, or that they belonged to that missing Austrian friend of his. These rumors were quickly dismissed, however, when a more ideal scenario began to be formed by the public: Emmett Rigare has been linked to her for awhile now, and records and witnesses have confirmed that even before the Leland Greene interview, Emmett Rigare was a presence in the hospital by her side, in both Italy and France. Leland Greene on the other hand, was not, and neither was his Austrian friend. In the interest of protecting the secrets of the children, the parties involved did not bother to correct this assumption. They neither confirmed nor denied. But they did say that Anatalia's relationship with the 'missing elves' was strictly platonic; she bought Elladan Peredhil's estate and antiques, and that was the extent of her relationship and friendship with them.
Brad Greer moved to Europe, where his brother and most of his friends were based. He felt safer there, and they felt relieved to be having him around. He worked as a professor in a top-rated college, where among his students belonged Mark Brandy and Pip Took. The hobbits went to their universities debt-free thanks to a fund set up by Leland Greene, with more than enough cash to spare for their other wants and needs and occasional vices.
Fred Greer and Eunice Rigare continued on with their works in charities. Rafael Montes sent his children to the best schools with what he had come to dub as the Frigging Leland Greene Education Fund. He and his boss the station captain, who was by now as hard to please as he was about finding a replacement for Leland, slashed through eight profoundly inadequate new detectives to stand for Greene, before they found a remotely viable one. The rookie was not doing too badly with the tests thrown his way.
The world was moving, and shifting, and righting itself up again, the way it always has. It limped along, somehow, toward the rest of its future.
Anatalia Craxi gave birth to twins – one a boy, and the other a girl. She thought it was such a gracious and unexpected blessing. She named the boy Antonio for herself, and the girl Daniella in honor of Elladan. She never found the heart to write about that book on Leland Greene and the elves that she once planned to write, what felt like eons ago. But then again, few things ever worked out according to how you plan them. She did, however, produce an award-winning documentary on how people viewed the ultimately bizarre and unsolved Leland Greene episode in the world's history. The work was not so much about elves, but about people. The Leland Greene incident was a microcosm of the desires of the world – what it wants, what it dreams, and the things it was willing to do to attain these things.
In the hidden crevices of the human heart, they just want to know about... a story. All these ideas – elves and fairies and immortal lives, gods and heavens - they all remind us that we are all still children, that we always have been deep inside, listening to a tale that helps us dream.
She found no trouble resting on her laurels after that. She retired, and focused on managing her considerable estate and the care of her children, who were of course, determined to be a handful, especially since their grandfather had the terrible habit of giving them everything that they asked for. Her favorite visitor / babysitter was Pip Took, who was a surprisingly stern and disciplined foster-uncle to the twins. In afterthought, it should have been expected, since he already knew all the tricks in the proverbial book, if he did not in fact write them.
And so life went on, in a manner that was unbelievably ordinary. As someoneor other once said, quite simply, If all that we want is a story, then this is how this one ends.
December 2, 2007
Hi gang! For those who are interested, below you will find the method of the madness, if you will :) Many questions posed in reviews are also addressed below. I used to answer concerns and queries on posts but I guess I just felt the mad itch to finish the story first and just kept posting, so I hope you'll have the patience to look through the afterword and find some of the answers you seek. If not, you can always drop me a personal message or e-mail.
I've been doing this afterword thing for awhile, and I feel like it just keeps getting longer and longer after every fic I write haha, but it's received fairly well, so here's another one. Besides, it helps me gather my thoughts when I write (because I write the afterword concurrently with the end of a fic; I know I'm just about done with a story whenever I begin to write the afterword), it reminds me of elements that are important, or possible holes that I may have missed. Anyway, here are the contents:
I. The Ending, an Alternate Ending and "Feequels"
II. For Every Evil in the FEE Trilogy
III. Recurring Themes
IV. Depiction of Modern Society and the Villain of FEE3
V. Characterizations of Note
VI. Musical Inspiration
VII. Other References
VIII. Massive Thanks and Replies
IX. Art and Translations of For Every Evil
X. The Next Project: "Kingdom Come"
I. The Ending, an Alternate Ending and "Feequels..."
The ending has several important and fairly debatable elements: (a) Why the elves had to leave; (b) Why Anatalia had to stay; and (c) Why Legolas lost his memory.
A. Why the Elves had to Leave
Pippin's statement about the ending of this fic, from "Chapter 19: Memento Mori" seriously emphasizes how I feel about the ending of this story. For the elves to be forced to leave felt unfair and ungrateful and unbearably sad! I had such a hard time, getting to that point of the story. I don't know if that "stuck-ness" was evident in the way the story progressed, like, I felt that over and over, it had to be said why they had to leave: by Galadriel to Haldir, by the two of them to the people in Imladris, by Ana to Aragorn, by Elrohir to Legolas, by Elrond to Elladan... it was almost as if it was something that I had to keep reminding myself of: this simply has to be done, and I guess I just felt so bad about it, haha. In terms of writing, the author's empathy is supposed to help, but I hope I didn't make a whole lot of you impatient, thinking, Yeah, we get it already, they gotta leave, we get it!
B. Why Anatalia had to Stay, an Alternate Ending in a Nutshell, and "Feequels"
I always say that my inspiration for writing stories are striking scenes and lines that I build a story around, just so I can get to that point. One of the two driving scenes of FEE3 can be found in "Chapter 24: Marooned." The part where Elladan embraces his wife-to-be while they have their goodbye sleep is one of the reasons why FEE3 was written. Along the course of writing the story, however, I started to hesitate about whether or not it was important for Ana to be left behind in the first place and if the conflict will fit in with the rest of the story at all. This meant that I was already examining the viability of a much more victorious ending, where Ana gets to go with Elladan and the others to Valinor. Still... I felt it was (1) almost unjust not to use the scene that partially created FEE3 and (2) I had dropped hints all across the story that the pregnancy was a difficult one. To eliminate the major effects of that was like making those parts almost useless; and those who have read my stories before know how important it is for me for everything in a story to have a purpose. Like I must have quoted in afterwords before, gun in act one means body in act three, right? And so the ending turned sour and unhappy (in my usual fashion, haha). I think I also liked the circular feeling of it, that the ending could still be another beginning, as noted by Elrohir in "Epilogue: For Every Evil:"
His eyes are hungry. He'll find his way back there, eventually, and maybe this whole thing will begin all over again. I don't know. What I do know is that he won't be alone. None of us will be ever again.
On a more practical standpoint, I guess I also wanted Elladan's kids to stay in Middle-Earth because I wanted Imladris to be owned by Peredhils still and that's one way of making it happen. I think I tackled that in a previous story, "Love, War (not my most popular fic but I have a feeling it's my favorite)." In "Love, War," Legolas agrees to an arranged marriage with a mortal and justifies it by saying that even when the elves sail away, mortals with their blood will still be reigning their kingdom.
Also, speaking of beginnings, I felt all right about ending FEE3 with one because it just leaves a lot of possibilities open. I'm not sure if I've discussed this before, but I have come to call these possibilities as "feequels" in my head. You can easily dream up events that happened before FEE (I have dabbled with the idea of writing a fic about the twins' involvement in the resistance in occupied Vienna during World War II to match FEE3's "Chapter Ten: Black Sheep"), or after it (I have also toggled with the idea of Elladan coming back to a post-apocalyptic, sci-fi-ish story and meeting his immortal, embittered daughter, whose mother and twin has already died; I've been told I come up with crazy ideas but this one was just too wild even for me, haha).
Anyway, none of these are serious, really. The important thing is, if I could just have FEE achieve one objective, I want it to take the floor from underneath those who read it, and make the world feel larger, and infinite. I want it to make people think of possibilities. I guess that's what all writers would want of anything they make really, and it's a lofty ambition, but it is what it is, haha. As Ana said in "Chapter 21: Fairy Tales:"
"...in the hidden crevices of the human heart, they just want to know about... a story. All these ideas – elves and fairies and immortal lives, gods and heavens - they all remind us that we are all still children, that we always have been deep inside, listening to a tale that helps us dream."
C. Why Legolas Lost His Memory, and Another Alternate Ending in a Nutshell
Can we say take him out of his misery, haha. I guess i knocked out his memory because I wanted a clean slate. Maybe I owe him one after all this torture, haha. Odd thing is... Montes was right when he said Leland Greene probably won't remember him; but in all fairness, he didn't remember anybody, haha. Should he have retained his memories? I'm as mixed up about it as I depicted Elrohir here to be. It feels like a blessing, to have a fresh start, at any rate. In the end, I gave him a mischievous naivete, something more alive and youthful. I guess it's to emphasize the 'beginning-ness' of this ending. I also loved the irony of him having to be reminded of his past, something that he was doing for others before in FEE1. The alternate endings for this one were (1) Kill him outright – tempting, but it just felt too angsty and misplaced in the series. I like thinking that FEE has a touch of naivete and positivity, which would have been countermanded by that; (2) Kill him and then reincarnate him, haha, but just because I liked the irony doesn't mean it has a place either; and (3) Just put him there and leave him alone, which I also changed because it still felt inalienably sad to me. So I guess I came up with an amnesiac Legolas as a kind of middle-ground to all these.
II. For Every Evil 3 in the FEE Trilogy
I guess I have to keep explaining this part, because I have been told a few times that FEE is so detached from Lord of the Rings, and I would just feel terrible if that were the case, haha.
Anyway, FEE1 is the transition from the Lord of the Rings as it is known, which is why it emphasized parallelisms and quoted the movies and stuff like that. FEE2 is my junk food, haha, a personal indulgence that was also a vehicle for emphasizing the modernity of the setting. FEE1 is like saying, "Yeah, the Felowship is here" and FEE2 is describing what "here" is, and what that means to our characters and what that means to the world. It also sets the stage for the conflict to come in FEE3. FEE3 in the series is the closing of an era. As Haldir said in "Chapter 19: Memento Mori," the elves are closing their past.
Arayelle Lynn, one of the most perceptive reviewers of the FEE series, said that FEE1 is the past, FEE2 is the present, and FEE3 is the future. I couldn't agree more, and I doubt I could have phrased it more clearly haha. I thank her very much for sharing her incredibly accurate observations and enlightening thoughts (More thanks and notes on reviews below).
III. Recurring Themes
A. The Complacency of Paradise
This is a dangerous, dangerous concept for me, haha. I guess in fiction, I have an aversion to stasis, even the stasis of a theoretical paradise. In real life, I'm pretty sure I won't mind though, haha. I got the inspiration for this the way Waitress Jackie did – in the shower, haha! It is so easy to be afraid of complacency just because we are comfortable. It's kind of like The Matrix, I guess, where we are given comfortable illusions while at the same time, life passes you by. I'm not saying that paradise will be boring or what. I am saying though, that it can be feared too, and that is a quirky kind of thing to think about.
B. People Love a Good Story
I'm wondering if you all caught my medium-is-the-message thing again, haha. All my afterwords must have mentioned this technique, haha, but anyway, this is my favorite theme of FEE3, and for life in general. People are just innately interested in the lives of other people. Everyone is interesting. Everyone just simply has a story to tell. Truths and lies are equally intriguing, and so easy to believe. This was emphasized all throughout the For Every Evil series, and is especially marked in FEE3. In "Chapters 6: Sea Dog and 21: Fairy Tales," it can be noted that people are always ready to believe and even create lies if it is sold well. I'm hoping you find my fiction as convincing as the people found Legolas' lies, haha.
C. Boring and Ordinary
FEE 2 emphasized that the world is not heavily reliant on the Fellowship anymore. I mentioned this in the afterword to that very emphatically. I guess it was laying the groundwork for FEE3 in that aspect also, as it allows them to leave the world free of responsibilities save toward each other. These are people who are just trying to live normal, quiet lives. From an external perspective like Waitress Jackie's though, I guess that didn't work out for them because extraordinary people shouldn't be dreaming about being ordinary.
IV. Depiction of Modern Society, and the Villain of FEE3
In Ziggy's review, I was totally bowled over by the statement 'The world stands astonished and greedy,' and I felt that it perfectly encapsulated my idea of how the world would react if this kind of a situation happened in real life. I tried to make this angle as rich as I possibly could, because I found it so exciting and possible. The accessibility of an idea is what makes a modern-LOTR fic such an exciting genre. Suddenly, you walk to a Starbucks and think of Leland Greene, or as someone once told me, you look at the e-mail threads and are tempted to write to it. I needed authenticity of the modern to be depicted and this meant that present issues had to be raised.
These issues involved political conspiracies, terrorism, economics, medicine, religion, law, finance, celebrity... even quirky human interest, like people claiming to be pregnant by Leland Greene, are all touches of modernity that I was very giddy about portraying.
The thing about this fic, in this whole series if you think about it, is the absence of a villain. I dabbled with the thought of exploring a villain, I really did, but I simply could not give it a face. This is best illustrated in two chapters. In "Chapter 16: Smoke," Legolas realizes that when he thought, I have no enemies. This was also mentioned by Aragorn to Rafael Montes in Chapter 7: Break," when he said that the investigation was useless, there's too many people with a motive and opportunity, and that the best they can do was to be with Legolas, rather than finding out who had hurt him. I guess in instances where people are desperate, or desperately intrigued as they are in this story, no one is truly evil really, just misled. If you think about it, that faceless 'villain' technically included one of our protagonists too: Rafael Montes, and he was still a good guy.
V. Characterizations of Note
A. Legolas' Incarnations and Histories
For Every Evil 3's 'side story' is the building of a character named "Leland Greene." When I was writing FEE's 1 and 2, I think I have taken for granted the painfully long journey that got him to where he was. As Eve noted in her review, reading modern pieces makes us forget what the characters went through to be where they were. I know I did, haha.
When I started writing FEE, I was simply intrigued by the challenges posed by writing a believable modern-day LOTR fic. It was just an indulgence, really; I'll write about these fabulous characters doing modern things. It felt like a flight of fancy. And then suddenly I'm in FEE3 thinking, these guys have paid a lot to be here, and it was almost irreverent to ignore the road that led to their current state. When I wrote the summaries regarding FEE's 2 and 3 in the Afterword of FEE1, I never, ever thought I would be writing all these back stories. But everyone bows to the plot bunnies and listens to the muses and the story unfolded while not differently, more meaningfully. I think I ended up enjoying the historical chapters more; many of you may have noticed the fact that these chapters seem to be longer and more indulgent than the others, haha. Also, as everyone knows by now, Legolas is my favorite character. The back stories really explored how I imagined he could grow.
Legolas Greenleaf in the Elizabethan Age
This was a surprise to me too, haha. So, what in the world happened in this chapter? Well, the thing about Legolas Greenleaf - according to canon - that is most notable post-fellowship would be (1) his leadership as a lord in a kingdom and (2) his friendship with the unlikely dwarf. The Legolas that appeared in this timeline should therefore reflect how he was when we last ran into him (that is, after the books ended). So that was the Legolas I tried to portray when he returned to the circles of the world: the regal prince, and the devastated guy who had lost a friend. We can see this in his high-handed treatment of Davenport after they meet, and his reason for going back to the circles of the world. I picked the Elizabethan-era because it is a time of unabashed royalty, a golden age of royalty- what better time for an immortal prince to appear? Also, when I was writing FEE1, I just needed him to be found by an explorer of some kind out at sea. Imagine my luck and delight when, upon closer inspection, the year that I had put for Legolas' return in FEE1 coincided with the Elizabethan age of exploration. I was thrilled at the coincidence and felt I really had to bring him to England to make that era and his personality shine. So that is what happened here and why.
My defining Legolas Greenleaf of the Elizabethan age scene, the one that just shows who he is at this point in time would be that first time he met with Elizabeth; he did not bow low, and did not do so even after she pointed it out. I like thinking that it's his nature to be royal and defiant.
Also, if you are wondering about an Elizabethan benchmark, I look to the great Helen Mirren for inspiration, as captured by the HBO mini-series "Elizabeth" with Jeremy Irons and Hugh Dancy. She is an exceptional actress and she bowls me over every time! The idea that the heart is the hardest thing to govern also came from this series.
"Greenleaf Jr." in Paris
This incarnation of Legolas is the jaded, self-centered and aimless version, picking up from the prince with the royal temper of the first flashback, who is thereafter met by constant disappointment. Note, even the location is evocative of some recklessness: a ball in intoxicating Paris! He's hit a rough patch at this point, with the realization that the world was not the same and that he had no place in it. It made him a bit more bitter, and a bit more cruel. He was also very clumsy about handling the awkwardness of having to hide his immortality, which was a necessity new to him at the time. I mean, what he had done was so simple: pretend you're your own son. He didn't even change his name or his look. He was also very awkward about handling Luisa Davenport's perception, and was easily made uncomfortable by Luisa's daughter, the man on display, and the sharp eye of Redknapp. This is where he also gets shaken up enough such that he comes to a decision, and a more defined role and mission: the protection of the Davenport family.
The defining "Jr." scene would be Legolas walking around the man on display. It just shows greater self-awareness of how different he is and what his place is in the world.
Hauptmann Grunwald / Lane Garrett
There were three instant giveaways that should have tipped people to the fact that Legolas was the Nazi captain Lukas Grunwald even before it was revealed along the course of the chapter. (1) the initials "LG" was a constant, ever since FEE1; (2) it should not have been a surprise that he could speak German since in the previous flashbacks, it has been noted that Greenleaf had gone to the Germanic territories in the entourage of a Davenport and (3) the etymology of the last name is supposed to be green forest.
Anyway, that aside... The last time we saw the developing character, he was a man on a mission to look after the Davenport family. This flashback glosses over some highlights of that role, which he apparently kept up for years and years. This flashback emphasizes his weariness with these tasks, and how incomplete it still left him, because he suddenly came to realize that he personally found nothing important, not even his own life. I loved it, how he was cocky enough to feel indignant about dying, and at the same time, insecure enough to be disappointed that he was spared.
The defining Hauptmann Grunwald scene would be the flinch/reaction to the empty barrel from Russian Roulette. It just makes him appear both semi-invincible and also human.
The Prince / Lane Garrett
The very damaged Lane Garrett continues on to life into the English countryside in this pensive little chapter. His mounting despair in the previous flashback turns to all out defeat in "The Prince." This chapter covers my favorite, archetypal characterization of Legolas: the wounded warrior. Francine tells him he looks like a winner, but that even winners can get wounds also. The dichotomy of strength and vulnerability is just so compelling to me. This idea was inspired by a spiritual/religious song called "The Warrior is a Child" by Twila Paris. Some of the stunning words:
They don't know that I go running home when I fall down
They don't know who picks me up when no one is around
I drop my sword and cry for just awhile
'Cause deep inside this armor
The warrior is a child.
Now this chapter is a very important one to the story, primarily by virtue of the lines quoted from Emerson and de Saint-Exupery. This is because:
1. They hint at the ending. The Prince departs in "The Little Prince" too, although infinitely more sadly; and
2. Francine Davenport's garden philosophy mirrors the overwall theme of "For Every Evil," which is pretty much existential. I mean, FEE1 says that there is no real, reincarnated evil, all we have anew is a chance to live out our lives and be who we can and want to be. FEE2 doesn't have the same level of spirituality, it was my FEE junk food – yummy, necessary and fun but not too profound – so we won't get into that, haha. And then FEE3 just closes everything up, closes up the contributions of a life by bringing Legolas back ironically to where he began, bearing fairly vague achievements. What was the point of a long, crazy life that brings you back to the beginning anyway? The journey, the idea of life simply unfolding itself.
Plot-wise, this chapter is also important because it gives our hero a fresh chance to assert himself. It pretty much asks him: when you stand alone, who will you be?
My favorite, defining Lane Garrett scene is of course, the scene at the cemetery. It just shows the kind of life he had led so far and what it has done to him.
In one of Lois McMaster Bujold's works (I've read so many of them so many times that I forget which one), her central character, the lovable Miles, says that he had always been what he chose to be, though not always what he wanted to be. The same held true for Legolas in FEE3 (this was also quoted in Chapter 21: Fairy Tales): he always chose to look after the Davenports, chose his identities around their lives. And then he was left alone, and he started to think about what he wanted to be, or more precisely, who he wanted to be, which was of course, a very different matter altogether. This resulted in becoming Leland Greene, who is an agglomeration of our traditional Legolas – quick-witted, regal, honorable and impossibly skilled – and what he had become after being all those other identities: mysterious, uncertain, and lonely. I worked really hard to make Leland Greene plausible, likable and most importantly, familiar to fans of Legolas. The Leland Greene character had to be worthy of our hero's choice. He had to be the kind of man that many people would like him to be.
My favorite Leland Greene scene, and for this I just had to look across all of the scenes I ever wrote him in the entire FEE series, is the one where he frees himself from the wrist restraints near the end of FEE2. Like I said before, he embodies ability, mystery and also a quiet sort of menace.
B. Haldir / Harding
I'd love to say I did it on purpose but I guess it's just something I realized suddenly: why is it that the elves find themselves confiding in Harding / Haldir about their plans to sail away? In FEE1, Legolas discusses it with him before he tells anybody else. In FEE3, it is Galadriel who does so. What made me feel that he is the appropriate confidante for such a decision?
This is open to debate, of course, but in afterthought, it might have been the wise decision to have these discussions with Harding because he is the only being, of all the characters, who can truly claim to know what it is like to be both an elf and a mortal. Presumably, having been in both incarnations, he should have a unique understanding of movement of the world, and the place of mortals and immortals within it. That perception, and the ease by which Harding / Haldir seemed to move in whichever circle is a very integral part of the character. He seemed to have these traits in the lovely depiction in the movie, and I hope it comes off here too.
I enjoyed very much the work done on Elrohir on this piece. Again, it must be emphasized that his characterization is pretty much just based on a whole lot of guesswork, and I'm hoping that the readers of FEE feel a greater connection to him, as I have with reading other fanfiction regarding the twins, as this seems the only avenue to do that, what with the admittedly scarce, official resources out there.
I'm sure it escaped very little of you that FEE3 became almost as large a journey for Elrohir as it was for my favorite Legolas. It just happened, really, and since many of you are familiar with my desire for order, I am sorry to say that most of the things that happened to Elrohir on this fic were pretty random, haha. I tried to think about why I would do that, but when I couldn't find a decent answer, I just kept writing until it just struck me: again, the medium is the message (or maybe it's just hindsight bias). Particularly with the conversations at the diner, Elrohir was my experiment in just being. He relished that same feeling in "Chapter 13: Threshold:"
There was something very existential about flirting with a loose-canon waitress over free coffee in an American diner on a random day. He wasn't sure why, but he was glad they were having this useless, surreal little conversation. It was making him feel as if his problems were getting smaller and smaller.
I guess I found a profound need for ordinary, everyday interactions to be found in this fic to ground it more firmly, and for it to feel accessible. Ordinariness is so underrated, but it's so integral to the appreciation of life here. And living here is what makes it so hard for the elves to leave. I guess in the end, the "useless, surreal little conversations" have carved their own little place of importance that way, and Elrohir became the primary vehicle for that.
D. Elladan and Anatalia
Lovebirds can be such drags, haha. I guess people who have read the things I've written know that the only acceptable sap for me are those that end in tragedy, haha... I was very, very scared about this, but I guess somehow they fit into how I've perceived FEE to be. Strange, though, how my biggest gamble (which is, as I've mentioned in afterwords prior to this one, the original character Ana Craxi) that the most popular story I've written begins and ends with her. I guess it's fairly appropriate. I just didn't expect it! As always, I hope she, and all my other OC's weren't too annoying or overbearing. I can easily imagine how an original character in any form of fanfitcion can seem imposing and meddlesome. I made a conscious effort in limiting her exposure in a fair and realistic manner that enriches my character and at the same time respects the boundaries and considerable preferences of the readers. I hope it came across :)
E. Gimli, Aragorn and Montes
It's pretty strange how the same being can be friends with such different people, at least, as different as Gimli, Aragorn and Montes are. I guess that's because I like writing a multi-faceted Legolas also, and so he is changed by his company. Between him and Montes, Legolas becomes the calm, straight-arrow, serious worker. He loosens up a bit with Aragorn, whom I've always believed seemed most 'at pace' with him; they can take turns getting into trouble and getting each other out of them. And then he just goes crazy with Gimli, who unleashes his more petty side. Most of my fics have always centered around the dynamics of the relationship between Aragorn and Legolas. As I said, I felt that there was something very similar about them, so I guess I'm surprised at myself, looking back now, that I have somehow not-written in as much of Aragorn as usual. Even FEE1 and FEE2 had a fair load of him, but FEE3 just focused on a whole bunch of other things, I guess, haha. I like throwing him and Montes together though, as I did for a few key scenes in FEE3. I guess if we're making an effort for an original character to be likable and "fitting" in a universe, he has to get along not just with one canon character but with others.
F. The Lorien Elves, Gandalf, Elrond and Marcelo Craxi
Their presence kind of mysteriously vanished for me in this fic. Gandalf, for one, was a gigantic presence and shaper of events in FEE1. And when I brought the elves back into the circles of the world for FEE2 and FEE3, I had all these plans of a more massive role. For instance, one of my most favorite scenes in this series was the conversation between Legolas and Elrohir after Legolas was rescued. When I was starting FEE3, this line:
"You've lived so long you've forgotten how," Elrohir said, emphatically, "And how precious it can be. Your life, this time, mellon-nin. Your life. There has to be a balance, between giving and receiving-- you have to be willing to share what you have, and at the same time, have the humility to trust that others can fend for themselves, and eventually help even one such as you."
Originally belonged to Gandalf, not to Elrohir. But as we all know, not everything goes according to plan, haha. Elrohir's role enlarged in a way that I did not expect, while others' shrank. As for the other elves, I guess I did not feel that I "knew" them well enough to write about them. I planned to, but then I just didn't feel very confident. I guess you can say that this is what I've always felt about Arwen, whom I seldom ever write about.
Of the bunch, the most I've written for FEE would have to be Lord Elrond. I guess this is because his conflict is so interesting, his children falling in love with mortals. I thought it would be intriguing to rehash that conflict and play with how he would deal with it the second time around.
G. On the Characters You Might Have Been Looking For More Of
And so pretty much those people who did not regain their memories in FEE1 remained 'asleep' all through FEE3. I know I've said this before, haha, but I guess I have to say again that the story is complex enough without having to add ideas that aren't necessarily needed within the plot. The awakening of Sam, Merry and Eomer have therefore been relegated to the open future, haha. Besides, I guess when Pippin and Frodo were talking about this same issue, my own thoughts came out:
"They have not reclaimed themselves yet," Frodo said, mildly, "It bothers you."
Pippin shrugged, "I guess. Although I'm trying to figure out why. I feel the same way about them really, I treat them the same, because I know they're the same, I know it, in a way that I cannot ever doubt. I'm trying to understand why it's important for them to remember."
"It's just one of those things, I guess," Frodo shrugged, "Like asking a bloke if he ever saw this movie you're dying to talk about and then he just says 'Sorry, no.'"
It's not so important really, but it's just one of those things that we wished would happen :) Ultimately though, Pippin says he's okay with his friends not reclaiming their past memories and well, haha, so am I :)
H. The Davenports
So it all began with a certain Mister Davenport. The archetypal character I was going for with him is the traditional wise, old sailor – he is adventurous but not reckless. He is educated but also, as can be noted, a believer in supernatural things. He is a man of quiet dignity. His personality is not a big, encompassing one but rather, a quiet, unobtrusive but open-hearted one. He has a generous and loving spirit, something that needed to be conveyed if Legolas were ever to feel any sense of duty toward him. Like how "Leland Greene" needed to be worthy of our favorite elf's ambitions, Davie had to be worthy of the word Legolas had given him. We needed the traditional form of a good man, and I guess Davenport is what came out for me.
Luisa and the Curse of the Legomance
Ah, that dangerous, dangerous term. I've had at least one certain disappointed reader walking-out because of this. People have been wondering for awhile when I would test the waters with a legomance and Luisa is the result of that little experiment. There are gigantic cliches to an original female character, and I felt that they can only be breached if we stop pretending that they don't exist. So I decided I would push it to the extreme. The OFC will be drop-dead gorgeous. Everyone will want her, but she is flighty and ambitious and will want only that which she should not have. I even have her singing, like a proper attention-hungry OC. These are all red flags crying for her to be disliked, as I was certain she would be anyway, even if the characterization were tamer. Then I decided I would flip all these assumptions over on its head – along the course of the story, it is revealed that (1) she loved him more than he loved her; and (2) she is old! How could anyone hate an ailing, old woman, guys, come on, haha. This is not just a romance, it's a tragedy, and a very eye-opening one for the elf. As I said before, while I try fresh angles out because they are interesting to me, everything in FEE has a place, and this romance was used as a tool to drive home the point that an immortal elf is out of place in society.
As a footnote, I was listening to "Think of Me" from The Phantom of the Opera when I was struck with the idea of twisting this romance around for FEE. Particularly, the words below struck a nerve:
We never said our love was evergreen or as unchanging as the sea...
Flowers fade, the fruits of summer fade, they have their seasons so do we...
And of course, when Luisa asks him to think of her, that too was a salute to this wonderful Broadway piece.
While the idea of using it for FEE was new, the idea itself has been alive to me for a good while. For years now, I've had a story entitled "Second Act" which I never had the guts to post. I think I've discussed this before but anyway, it was about Legolas and a mortal woman he had loved in youth, running into each other at a ball now that she is an aging grandmother-type. It was called second act because there's presumably a first – the story does start after they have already broken up, and because she was a stage actress. The setting for "Second Act" was Middle-Earth so she knew he was an elf. But anyway, I can't find that story now, and Legolas' interaction with the older Luisa Davenport in Chapter 9: Believer, stems from that story.
Danny the Black Sheep
One of the FEE3's most popular chapters was the one that featured Daniel Davenport. I guess as an audience, we still find stronger characterization in imperfection. I loved making him flawed; it made the redemption harder, but sweeter. Some may notice that this chapter of the story was highly influenced by the film Hart's War. The tightness of a POW camp is so intriguing, it creates a strange world that is both at the center of a larger conflict, but also profoundly detached from it.
Francine at the End
Legolas' promise began with a traditionally wise man, so I thought I'd end it with a traditionally wise woman. She is also my salute to the brave wives and mothers of our war heroes and soldiers. If Davie had to be worth the promise, she had to be believable in the release from it.
VI. Musical Inspiration
Music is a huge source of inspiration for me. Anytime the well feels like it's drying up, haha, I turn the music on and it's like I'm recharged. In particular, for FEE3, the following must be paid attention to, in order to maximize that sweeping, indulgent, movie-like feeling that I always try to capture whenever I write:
a. "To The Stars" by Randy Edelman, an instrumental piece from the film "Dragonheart," which has also been used in just a host of trailers for other epic adventure films. If you listen to it, I'm sure you'll find it familiar and beautiful. It might even be one of those songs you've always wanted to find. It just feels so large, and ambitious. It really does capture the feeling of reaching for the stars. In FEE3, that broad-ness, that reach is very important. I just want to convey that feeling of the large-ness of the world, and the adventure of a life.
b. "The Departure" by Michael Nyman, for the film "Gattaca" is so forlorn and beautiful that it captures the spirit of loss and at the same time, the unquenchable adventure of any journey. "To the Stars" conveys the idea of reach – what lies beyond. "The Departure" emphasizes that there are things that will be left behind as we reach. The duality is fascinating and appropriate to the story. I am a huge fan of this guy; he scored a lot of other movies with just a killing, heart wrenching sound.
c. "Dante's Prayer" by Loreena McKennit is a song I picked up from watching a very pensive video of Legolas in YouTube. I think it's a pretty popular video, you'd likely have seen it already. I gave the words a listen and felt they fit:
Cast your eyes on the ocean
Cast your soul to the sea
When the dark night seems endless
Please remember me
And these are only the words in the chorus alone! The rest of the track is so fitting lyrically, and even structurally. The tune is haunting and it should easily remind any fan of the movies of the invoked spirituality and new age-ness of the 'pop' tracks from the movie trilogy.
If you want a fuller experience of FEE3, please give these songs a listen. These are the songs that moved me to write, and the songs I imagined hearing along the course of the story, especially along the end.
Less serious songs you may also want to listen to were those loosely discussed in Elrohir's memories on Chapter 3, "Boring and Ordinary." As I said, I get inspired by music, and obviously from a wide range of genres. The songs he mentioned here, "Be My Number Two" by Joe Jackson and "The First Time I Loved Forever" are some actual classic 80's-era ballads. I also like to think that the disco track in Elrohir's cellphone is "Love Machine." Though it hadn't at all been obscure, it has a campy charm that I found really appropriate :)
VII. Other References
Many cultural references have been made along the course of the entire For Every Evil series. I've touched on television, film, business, fads like boy bands and Beanie Babies, Starbucks, philosophy, literature, etc. But the very heart and the very vein of the story is not directly attributed, and once again, I do so here in my afterword.
Sci-fi writer Lois McMaster Bujold's 'accessible wisdom' has always been very influential to me. I like inputting the things she has written that just struck me, but she's written so many that I loved such that I can't remember the exact statement or from which book it came from, so I just always have the characters saying "I read somewhere that..."
In FEE3, it's Legolas' statement saying that he's always been what he chose, though not always what he wanted. In FEE2, it's that reputation is what others think of you and honor is what you know about yourself. In Love, War it's that the one thing you can't give for your heart's desire is your heart thing. Even the very name I had taken upon in writing, Mirrordance, is the title of one of her books. I'm sure there's a little bit more here and there, I'm just writing what immediately comes to mind. Anyway, please look up her Vorkosigan saga (I haven't read her other series). Her work is amazing and I always wished to have the tone she adapts in writing and the wisdom she somehow shares in between the adventure and the humor. She is a very gifted person :)
VIII. Massive Thanks
To Abernaith: Thank you for your thoughts regarding FEE3 and especially for affirming fanfiction in general. I think fanfiction can be highly underrated. If you think about it, from a business perspective, writing fanfiction, defined as writing stories stemming from someone else's characters and universes, is like being part of the writing team on an ongoing TV series, or, or writing a sequel to a movie, or writing a book based on existing characters (this is a pretty large business). Most importantly, it's a breeding ground for aspiring writers to practice and improve.
To Arayelle Lynn: When you asked me if I was thinking of putting in a Tolkien cameo, I was intrigued, I really was, haha. I turned the idea over in my head, but I lost my nerve, haha. He's so revered I just thought it was dangerous and demanded a lot more research than I had time for. But I love the way you think. Your reviews are always so astute :)
To AznYyoOhki: You know I value your reviews and thoughts very much. Thank you for sharing and for reviewing everything. My reviews have been few lately, and it's always very comforting to know that you make the time and effort. I thank you very, very deeply for your time and thoughts. Also, as for your question re: Legolas' hair, please check out the art information detailed below :)
To Belle Celestyn: Your view in Nazism in history is very interesting. There are very many strong perspectives on the issue, so strong that tackling them is like navigating a minefield. My fictional and admittedly simplistic approach is not as revolutionary as your thoughts, but to hear that from you makes me very proud that any little story of mine can provoke ideas. If you've read my other fics, I'm not very partial to traditional villainy; everyone is misled in some way, everyone makes mistakes and always, people are driven to act according to what they feel is right and unfortunately, this is not a universal given, and so we have these conflicts. The human race is going to be having quite a bit more of that, I think, before we all figure things out. But I am hoping that we are moving toward a more harmonious future (it's so hard to be sure if we are, nowadays).
To Joee1: The moment you said you were a history major in your review of Chapter 2, I knew you would ask about the Roanoke colonists and you did not at all disappoint, haha :) Since it is a prevalent mystery, I do not have the answer. I just hope that my plot evasion is acceptable haha! Thank you for reviewing and sharing your thoughts. I love history and am honored to have the chance of mixing that passion with my love for Lord of the Rings. I am also very, very appreciative of the time you spend on reviewing. I always look forward to your thoughts.
To JunoMagic: I am very sorry about the italics. Generally, I'm resistant to change and since you know I write much of the story already before posting, not to mention I've already posted a couple before your comment, it had already set a precedent and an order that really would have been confusing for me to change, haha. Maybe if I rehash the fic a few years from now. In the meantime, though, the use of italics has been a convenient tradition for me. I hope it's not too massive of an inconvenience. Thank you for reading and pointing this out, though :)
To Kaitokitty: Thank you for taking note of my OC's. I'm very careful with them, and try my hardest to keep them from being too annoying or diverting. I just hope they brought out the best in the characters that we know and love. Also, "Memento Mori" is something like 'Remember you are mortal.'
To Lisette: I truly appreciate the perception behind your reviews, especially for Chapter 10. You're right in saying that there seems to be some sort of a barrier between Legolas' struggles and the efforts of his friends. I guess ultimately, he is still different, no matter where they all end up. I also liked it when you said that Legolas should never be a victim, as I feel the same way :)
Massive thanks also go out to: Ziggy, Eve, A-zla, Aki and Tenshi, Almeruve, Ama, Andune Oronra, Annelies, Anwamane13, Aranna Undomiel, Avid Fan, Balrogs Breath, Blaise821, Bookloverfanatic, Calenlass Greenleaf1, Cheetahluke, Clueless, Crystal-Rose15, Crystal113, Edwina, Elenaelemirre, Elentarri, Everkitsune, Fair rider, Freakmoister, Gemma, Gilraen Aclamense, Happygoatwoman, Heryn-o-Eryn-Duin, Ilirium, Incompetent Fool, Irish Anor, jellies, Jellybelly761, jellybelly, Jen, Jenn, Jess, Jess Tsuki, JessikainKontrol, K'lara7, Kim, Kthn, Lady Angst, Lady Korana, Lady Lunas, Laer4572, LifeIsRandom09, Light Sorceress, Lin, Little mary sunchine, Maethoriel Jasmine, Mary Sunshine, MkofGod, Mirime93, Momo, Musicstarlover, N.S. Tulkas, Nenalinde, Nessa Ar-Feiniel, Nieriel Raina, Nina, Ninna, Pellawethiel, Peppy Power, Peregrin Ionad, Petite-Peeshwank, Pheonix Queen, Rockpaperscissor, Scatteredbrains, Setrinan, Shoutgraffiti, Sidhnanledhiel, Siennawoods, Silverstarling, Silverstarling9, Stoneage Woman, Vanafindiel, VerPissDich, The White Masque, Zafaran and Ziggy.
Thanks to all who read and especially all who reveiwed. I try very, very hard not to skip anybody (I have a complicated Excel worksheet haha) so if I did, please call me out on it so I can give you the thanks you deserve! I know it's hard to take the time so I have a very grave appreciation, guys. Thank you so very, very, very much.
IX. Translations and Art for For Every Evil
Special shout out to all the people who have helped make For Every Evil all that it can be by (1) increasing its market reach through translations and by posting art and links to it and (2) inspiring me to continue; I tell you now, without the art that I have seen for FEE1, FEE2 would have stayed on the shelf or at most, would have been posted much, much later, haha. To Kaitokitty, M Elisabeth Penn and the ever-unstoppable Lukeyoung, Ilxwing and Caterpillar, you guys are amazing and I am dumbfounded as to how in the world I was lucky enough to have managed to get you on my corner. Lots of thanks and best of all, lots of love!
Please check out Ilxwing's work on For Every Evil. I get asked about how people in FEE look all the time and you know what they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, haha! My personal favorites are (1) Elrohir and Legolas in Imladris drinking coke and playing PS2 (after a scene in FEE1) and (2) an illustration for FEE3's "Sea Dog."
X. The Next Projects
I'm sure I'm not the only one who ever thought that "Aragorn," "Arwen" and "Legolas" sounds too close to "Arthur," "Guenevere" and "Lancelot" to ignore. And so an idea for the next project, if it should ever be written, is born. If my other stories were dark, this one's going to be pitch-black and stifling. I'm going for the style I employed in what is, I must say again, haha, probably my favorite and least popular work, "Love, War," except it will be infinitely shorter. I am even considering a one-shot, but we'll just have to see (haven't done shorties in a long time).
I've also been sitting on a few projects in other fandoms for which I've never posted before, like House, M.D. and King Arthur. I have over twenty pages of each of two stories in these fandoms that I've never posted in the fear that I might not finish them and leave a lot of loose ends, but now feels like a good time to look at them again and give them a shot. I have also been considering retiring, haha, there's just too much to do and well, we all gotta eat so we all gotta work too, haha. But nothing is ever certain, right? If a project intrigues me, I'll still probably go for it anyway.
Until then, all the best to everybody and 'Til the Next Post!