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for Tangled Up Whole

4/13 c1 J. Willem
Beautiful. Tastefully done; I believe part of what makes this vignette work so well is not only in your gentle allusiosn (letting the reader's imagination fill-in where needed), but perhaps more especially in focusing on their relationship. It was an emotionally satisfying read. :)
2/12 c2 Honzinator
Brilliantly said.
No apologies needed.
11/19/2020 c1 Branwen of Llyr
Just beautiful, completely riveting and whole. You have captured their essences and experiences on this beautiful, overwhelming, profound day so perfectly and eloquently. You give their inner worlds and joined connection enough attention to feel really electric and real, yet so respectful and tasteful and full of life and beauty and sensuality. So sensitive, artful in your channeling of events and the internal worlds that fill them... Truly... beautifully done!
9/10/2020 c1 21Toaofwriting
This is really beautifully written. I can't say anything else, other than very well done indeed.
8/8/2020 c1 Irregardlessly
This is an interesting piece. It's really a scene, not a story; there is only so much room for development in 12k words and a familiarity with characters and situations from the Chronicles of Prydain would be very helpful. Tangled up Whole doesn't stand alone as well as, say, Daughter of the Sea. Still it does pretty well portraying both characters and their relationship.

The writing is, as usual, excellent and tasteful. It's a love scene from a G rated movie, not a porno scene or even the usual R rated fare where the characters are represented only by their bodies and arousal comes from a glimpse of skin and/or thrusting motions. I've nothing against smut, but smut is easy and common. There's none here.

Seemingly there are some "feminists" who are only happy with female characters who dominate men (or other women, I'd guess). None of such preaching here, either. Relations between male and female are far more egalitarian than would be historically accurate, but Tangled Up Whole is derived from high fantasy, not history.

It isn't pure chivalric love, though; there's just a hint of lust. Enough to suggest what /could/ have been written...
8/7/2020 c1 CrescentMoonofS
This is beautiful, CompanionWanderer! :') I truly feel sorry for anyone who was scared away by your disclaimer. Intimacy is a part of life, and while physical intimacy may not be its most important aspect it can certainly enhance it-both in fiction and in real life. You've enhanced both your writing and Taran and Eilonwy's relationship with this piece. Thank you. :)
8/5/2020 c2 25adaon45
Yes, I wholeheartedly agree about what you say about Eilonwy and agency and choice. I actually happen to be a feminist literary critic, and it drives me crazy when people assume that it's necessarily a sell-out for female characters to marry. And, oh dear: you remind me of the memory, the moment a former TA who knew of my love of Prydain told me about a paper on Eilonwy she'd heard at a fantasy conference that was all about how Eilonwy loses agency by the end of the series. The person who told me this seemed to think I'd appreciate it. I wanted to explode. You're right: Eilonwy makes a choice at the end of the series, and she picks a leadership role with someone she utterly adores.

Signed, Feminist Critic Who Believes Things Are Complicated
8/5/2020 c1 adaon45
Oh, this is so beautiful. And, honestly, I wish a lot of today's writers would realize that a certain degree of expertly managed, poetic non-explicitness is sexier by far than spelling everything out in detail.

I love so many of the details here. As usual, your writing is brilliant. And I just love the bits about Smoit somehow assuming Taran and Eilonwy want to have their wedding night surrounded by warriors, and the Commot women stepping in to help Eilonwy with clean-up and advice.

I also have to say that it's good to read something set beyond the ending of The High King that isn't all about how agonizing it must have been to say goodbye forever to their dearest friends. I did appreciate, though, the part where Eilonwy can't think about Fflewddur because it hurts too much. Do you know that I can't bear to read the end of The High King except under truly extraordinary circumstances, like when I taught it in an independent study. But it breaks my heart right in two, every time. Thanks for giving me something to smile over instead.
8/4/2020 c1 5ZosiaDetroit
One of the most beautiful things (of many) about this story, for me, is the way you have braided two narratives and the myriad thoughts between them into a cohesive story, AND deliberately paralleled that in the story’s structure and internal imagery. That creates such a delicious unity, in which the story itself stands as a metaphor for the transitional, transformative state Eilonwy and Taran are in. Their external world is new and complicated territory, as are their relationship status and the residual emotions of their near separation. Addressing so many topics, this story could easily have become as tangled as the title implies if it were in less-capable hands. You managed all of those threads deftly, though, and the result is a gorgeous portrait of multilayered intimacy. It is poignant, respectful, contemplative, sensual... so many levels of loveliness! I am very glad you chose to share it with the wider world despite your initial reservations. Boundless thanks!
8/3/2020 c2 CairbreLifechair
Beautifully written. I love every chance I can get to revisit a beautifully written Prydain, and your stories are amazing. Thank you.
8/3/2020 c1 72Belfast Docks
Well, of course I loved this one - no surprise there, I'm sure. Your writing is always so descriptive and beautiful - it seemed to take on a new life in DotS and continued into this story. I wish I could write so well. (I've often thought of deleting my older stories for Prydain and reworking them because they're 10 years old and ugh. I had actually recently been thinking that they probably would have stayed at Caer Dallben a few days at the least, before going on to Cadarn. But enough about that.) I love how you write Taran and Eilonwy here, their dialogue, words spoken and unspoken. Thanks for posting it. 3
8/1/2020 c2 2Skyboy91
WELL. This was totally unexpected. I thought you were a little burned out after finishing DoTS, and would be taking some time off from writing and returning to your art full time for a while. But I guess when something has to be put down on the figurative paper, it just has to be.

You have breathed as much life into the scene as could possibly be done, saying things that were unsaid, and describing things that were undescribed, and never fully felt by me the reader until now, reading this - as the betrothal unfolds, and the heartrending reality of the companions’ departure settles on all of them. Now, truly, all Eilonwy and Taran have is each other.

The long day of planning with Smoit was both comical and realistic – others, unfortunately, just cannot feel the emotions that are connecting the two of them like an invisible electric wire, although they can be aware of them, as Taran realized at the end of the long day. It was a necessary day, from Smoit’s point of view, there is no time to waste – and the whole day cannot be the night, as much as it might be anticipated by some.

The long hours Eilonwy and the Commot women spent in preparation, were both romantic and heartwarming, as Eilonwy finds companions that will not judge, or expect different behavior from her, as she found from Teleria and the court ladies on Mona. No, these ladies just want to support her in anyway they can, with their hearts, good wishes, and longer experience.

I won’t try to say too much about the rest the chapter, except that it was so wonderfully done and highly emotional, and everything a long time admirer of these books and these characters could possibly wish for. You’ve put down the thoughts and images and emotions that we all felt when reading the chronicles, put it down in a way that fully satisfies, doesn’t cop out, but allows the love and the romance to come through, through understated brilliance, almost glowing in its beauty and purity. You love the characters, you respect them, you want nothing but the best for them. And all that comes through in how you treat them here.

I know that Eilonwy’s emotions about Taran’s choice - that almost didn’t include her - are something that eats at you a bit. But you were right in what you said at the end about how he would have wasted away without her. He knew that, even better than her, and would have suffered as much, or possibly much more, than her. But he had never been one to put his own needs over the needs of the many, that was why he was the chosen king. And perhaps in time, he thought, in a Summer Country full of life and laughter, Eilonwy would eventually find happiness without him. But fortunately that choice didn’t have to be made, and the two finally could become one, and make that one life count for all eternity.

I feel that this is some sort of release for you, a release from some rules and norms that have kept you from fulling exploring the emotions of this scene, but you finally allowed yourself to fully experience it, to look in upon the privacy of the characters, not as some sort of voyeur, invading their personal privacy, but actually looking out of their eyes, as part of them, one with their hearts and minds.

It is beautiful and poetic, and it is a complete success. ️️️

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