A Letter to The Gondorian Review

Dear Editors,

I have been a faithful reader of The Gondorian Review, which details discoveries relating to the culture and society of Gondor in the Third and Fourth Ages. I have found this ad-hoc journal to be most informative through the years but an article in the recent edition, "The Childhood of King Eldarion", has left me somewhat disappointed. I reproduce an extract:

"In this issue, we focus on the recent discovery of manuscripts known colloquially as 'King Elessar's diary'. Elessar, the first king of the Fourth Age kept a comprehensive record of day-to-day events – albeit in a mostly illegible scrawl. A few phrases recur regularly - 'Ai Valar!', being the most common, followed closely by 'prissy elf', 'pointless council' and 'confounded council'. There are several mentions of 'Elf-child', which would refer to his son, Eldarion (lit. 'Elf-son'), and alludes to the elven blood within himself and his almost-three-quarter-elven wife, the Lady Arwen. Amidst these, we have a rare complete entry as follows:

'Eldarion has been involved in yet another mishap – though I have banned my brothers from seeing him ever since the last incident. Some of the nobles' kids have been said to taunt him and I have impressed upon these younglings that should they attempt this in future, I shall allow Eldarion to shoot them.

Eldarion is possibly more Elvish than Human – I had to stop him because he could actually shoot with the bow and hit a distant rabbit, while I only got the tree next to it! The audacity of it all! This boy has also taken to enquiring concerning Valinor, and I believe, elvish hair-care as well, and of course, Legolas the prissy elf willingly indulges him, so now this child actually wants to sail into the West. Ai Valar! As soon as I've this confounded council done with, I'll grab Andúril and have a good talk with Legolas and we all know what that means!

Faramir is speaking now – I must go!'

The last line was scrawled badly, and scholars have thus grouped this with the other Council manuscripts. Although evidence confirms that this entry was written in King Elessar's hand, its content suggests it to be either an excellent forgery or something written when he was drunk."

I am most appalled by this assertion. Personally, I find this entry most believable from what I have studied of King Elessar's temperament – he was Human after all. I believe this incomplete recount, by an elusive author only known as "Aranel Laerien", will shed some light on the incidents mentioned in the manuscript:

"'Prince Legolas!' the servant called as Legolas was strolling along the corridors. 'Prince Legolas,' he panted as the Elf turned, 'I could not find the King and Queen, but Prince Eldarion –'

That was all that was needed to set the Wood-elf running. He soon found Eldarion, seated glumly on his bed, a knife still in his right hand. His other hand was cupped around his left ear. And there was blood there.

Legolas winced at the sight. The boy was sniffing slightly, still biting his lip in pain. He hurried over and wrapped the boy in his arms

'Eldarion,' Legolas' gentle voice was touched with worry, 'what happened?'

The boy only sniffed harder.

Legolas managed to pry his fingers from his ear. The cut was truly quite bad – his ear was almost pointed now.

'Eldarion, I'm going to have to stop the bleeding,' Legolas told him, and added, 'it may hurt.'

Eldarion nodded grimly.

Legolas went to the bath, wet a towel and pressed it against the tip of the boy's ear. Eldarion hissed in pain. Legolas ran a comforting hand through his hair.

'Why did you do it?' he asked softly.

Eldarion's eyes moistened again. 'They said I'm an elf-child,' he choked then. Legolas passed him a glass of water and waited for him to continue.

'Elves have pointy ears,' the boy lowered his sad eyes, 'but I don't, so I'm not normal.'

Legolas sighed. How was he to explain to Eldarion that he was largely Human when the boy always thought he was an Elf? And perhaps Aragorn should not have stopped him from fighting off those bigger boys; Eldarion had always revelled in his archery and swordsmanship – his proud link to the elven heritage in his blood.

'No, Eldarion,' he tried to console the boy, 'Elves do not just have pointy ears.' He searched for a way to explain it. 'It's – it's in the spirit, the soul, the, well, your very essence.'

Eldarion frowned as his small mind tried to make sense of it. 'You mean, if I'm an Elf, I am an Elf?' he asked timidly.

'Er, Yes,' Legolas nodded encouragingly.

'Even without pointy ears?'

'Yes, definitely.'

Eldarion looked relieved. Then he frowned again. 'But can I go to Valinor without pointy ears?"'he asked.

Legolas was stumped at this. 'Well,' he stammered – the pointy ears definitely weren't the main thing, 'I like to think that the Valar will permit all who sail with a pure heart – those who wish to enter Valinor for its beauty and find rest.'

'Then I think I stand a chance!' Eldarion beamed through his tear-streaked face. Legolas smiled and pulled him closer.

'Will the Valar throw me out?' the boy murmured.

'No, the Valar do not throw anyone out, unless they are bad people who don't believe and respect them.'

Aragorn rushed in then – he had obviously heard the news – but Legolas gave him a look that stopped his first sentence from slipping out. Eldarion, however, was oblivious to all this.

'How do I know when to sail?' he continued asking.

Legolas had a dreamy look on his face. 'The Valar will put it in your heart to sail, and you will know where to find the Elven Way – the Straight Road that leads to Valinor.'

'Then when will you sail, Legolas? Can I come with you?'

Legolas breathed deeply. 'I will sail soon, but only when my dearest friends have passed on.' His eyes flickered to where Aragorn was standing unobtrusively.

It was not lost on Eldarion. 'Ada,' he asked, 'why don't you sail with us?' He scratched his head as he thought. 'Are you scared they will ask you to shampoo every day?'"

Here ends the recount. I hope you will consider the discovery of Manuscript #3985 in the light of the above tale and reinterpret the above accordingly.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,
Elusive Scholar