They Say of the Elves

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Title: They Say of the Elves
Author(s): brancher
Date(s): September 11, 2002
Length: 1698 words
Genre: romance, slash
Fandom: The Lord of the Rings
External Links: at HASA
at Bow and Bloom
at Trinityslash
at Pretty Boy Kittens
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They Say of the Elves is a short story by brancher in the Lord of the Rings fandom, written in around 2000.[1] (The title is occasionally also given as 'They Say About Elves'.) A classic early Legolas/Gimli vignette, unusually written from Gimli's viewpoint, it was one of the works that made the pairing respectable. Dwimordene writes: Until recently, this story was unchallenged as the most convincing Legolas/Gimli slash I had ever read.[2]

The author wrote in 2009: This one became kind of a minor fandom classic for a while. The last line is kind of a borscht-belt punchline, but I still think it works. Written back in 2000 or so when the world was young.[1]

The author summary is: You know what they say of the elves, that they'll tumble you as soon as look at you.

Reception and Awards

The story was very widely recommended, being praised for its stylish writing, its close-to-canon characterisations, its unusual persective, as well as for being sweet but not cloying. It was frequently noted as successful even for those who were not fans of the pairing.

'They Say of the Elves' was a finalist in the Mithril Awards category Best Vignette or Short Story in 2003.[3]


The Legolas--Gimli relationship has spawned quite a bit of 'first-time' fanfiction, but the quality is very mixed. 'They Say of the Elves' is a stylishly written vignette which uses the genre intelligently to examine the preconceptions and fears of the two races. I'm very surprised this hasn't been recommended here before: it's a real classic in the fandom, perfectly in character for both elf and dwarf. (Espresso Addict at Crack Van)[4]

This is a beautiful Legolas/Gimli piece - poetic and well-done and just... oh, so achingly sweet. (Victoria P.)[5]

Until recently, this story was unchallenged as the most convincing Legolas/Gimli slash I had ever read. The angst doesn't go overboard, and was much relieved by that final verbal exchange. (Dwimordene)[2]

Okay, so everybody and their mama has recced this. Well, I'm reccing it, too, dammit, because it really is just that good.

Sweet and mellow and beautiful and true, somehow, saying more of the ways of people (species varied) than one would think possible with such a short story.

It made my black little heart melt. Yours, too, I think. (Te)[6]

Everyone has rec'd They Say About Elves, by Brancher, because it's amazing that someone could pack so much into 12k, and do it so well. (Sandy Herrold)[7]

Oh, wow. This is short and perfectly sweet, nicely structured, and just lovely. (Nestra at Polyamorous Recommendations)[8]

I particularly love this piece for the unique angle of Gimli's perspective, which most authors I've read don't pursue. (Pluto)[9]

They Say of the Elves was the first Legolas/Gimli story I read, and it's brilliant and funny. I also credit it with being so good, every other Legolas/Gimli fic must necessarily pale in comparison. It's hard to explain. You have to read it. (Sascha)[10]

This is a well known story, but it's a pleasure to revist. Brancher has a wonderful prose style and sense of humor with this, and the incredibly sweet (but not saccarine, sappy, or fluffy!) way that she handles the romance is sure to win over even those who are squicked by this pairing - it won me ;) This is a perfectly canonical, strongly in-character tale that follows Gimli's POV as he travels with Legolas through Middle Earth after the War of the Ring is over, their visit to the Glittering Caves and then on to Fangorn Forest. (Milady Hawke)[11]

Very cute, sweet, lovely Legolas/Gimli. It's just so pleasing. (Tha Wrecka)[12]

This story is recommended all over the web and rightly so - it's fabulous. It's very well written, and it's both funny and sweet. I adore it. (Madrigal)[13]

Gimli’s thought are wonderful. And isn’t “coquette” a perfect word for Orlando Bloom’s Legolas? (Bellona)[14]

Dwarves and Elves and all the misperceptions that arise from two races that just don't see eye-to-eye. The prose is absolutely gorgeous - lyrical and lovely and perfectly suited to both the characters and the content. (Sori at polyfandomrecs)[15]

Meanwhile, I am discovering in me a deep affection for Legolas/Gimli sweetheart fic. No, really. I can't handle anything rated higher than PG, but for some reason I really enjoy the stories where they just sit around and talk elven/dwarven culture-clash. Authors have gotten very good at exploring the dynamic without exploring the physical. (Thank goodness for that.) Even within my self-imposed limitations on reading L/G fic, there's a wonderful spectrum out there. ... And I can't leave out Brancher's They Say of the Elves, which has been recced everywhere else, and the story that started me down this road in the first place. (Keieru)[16]

Yet again I am slow to recommend something I feel is quite lovely. Brancher's vignette gives us a vivid picture of Legolas through Gimli's eyes, and never descends into the purple. Very touching. (Destina)[17]

I was going to stay away from LotR fic completely, but I couldn't resist this one gem. It captures Legolas/Gimli perfectly, how they're so alien to each other but so drawn together, building a lasting relationship where none should exist. Brancher's language in this evokes Tolkien without trying to copy him, for a warm, sweet, lovely romantic feel. (Arduinna)[18]

LotR isn't exactly an easy fandom for fanfiction, be it gen, het or slash. This is why it surprised me when this story touched me, really touched me. It's Legolas/Gimli, a pairing I can definitely see based on canon (book canon, I mean; the first movie didn't have much in L/G interaction). The style is beautiful, it feels Tolkienesque and the effect is beautiful. Gorgeous story, great characterization. Must read. (dominique_elize)[19]

Legolas/Gimli is the only pairing I'm really interested in with LotR (although I'll take a good Sam/Frodo fic if I find it) and it is sadly hard to find. This rare gem is one of my favorites. (effex)[20]

Pre-slash and beautiful in the waiting. (Mar'isu)[21]

I adore Legolas/Gimli, and the best story I've seen yet is Brancher's They Say of the Elves. Brancher captures the feel of Tolkien without trying to be Tolkien, and the story is strong, sweet and very much in character, just the way I like it. Then try Keelywolfe's lovely Untying Knots for a wistful Legolas who works as well as Brancher's frustrated Gimli, from the other side of the species divide.[22]


  1. ^ a b brancher: They Say of the Elves (accessed 17 September 2012)
  2. ^ a b Henneth Annun Story Archive: Dwim's Legolas-Gimli playlist (accessed 17 September 2012)
  3. ^ Mithril Awards: Award Winners: 2003 (accessed 17 September 2012)
  4. ^ Crack Van: They Say of the Elves by Brancher (PG-13) (accessed 17 September 2012)
  5. ^ Unfit for Society: Lord of the Rings: Recommendations (accessed 17 September 2012)
  6. ^ Teland: Lord of the Rings Recommendations (accessed 17 September 2012)
  7. ^ All Jewels Have Flaws (accessed 17 September 2012)
  8. ^ Polyamorous Recommendations: Lord of the Rings (accessed 17 September 2012)
  9. ^ Bow and Bloom: Metaphor (accessed 17 September 2012)
  10. ^ Pretty Boy Kittens (accessed 17 September 2012)
  11. ^ lotr_fic_recs: REC CHALLENGE #66 - A RECYCLE - INTERSPECIES (accessed 17 September 2012)
  12. ^ Colour and Movement: Lord of the Rings recs (accessed 17 September 2012)
  13. ^ Madrigal's Lord of the Rings Recs (accessed 17 September 2012)
  14. ^ Templum Bellonae: They Say of the Elves (accessed 17 September 2012)
  15. ^ polyfandomrecs: LOTR -- Legolas/Gimli Recs (accessed 17 September 2012)
  16. ^ Keieru's Journal (accessed 17 September 2012)
  17. ^ Multi-fandom Recommendations: Smallville and Lord of the Rings (accessed 17 September 2012)
  18. ^ Arduinna's Fic Recs: fandoms I - L (accessed 17 September 2012)
  19. ^ Recs: Miscellaneous (accessed 17 September 2012)
  20. ^ effex: Okay, I Lied (accessed 17 September 2012)
  21. ^ Henneth Annun Story Archive: Dwarves and Elves (accessed 17 September 2012)
  22. ^ Cori Lannam. Cori Lannam's Mild-Mannered Recommendations Page - Current Recs, 28 January 2002. (Accessed 08 April 2016)