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November, 12 2005
OK, folks-this is the general forum now for questions that don't seem to fit in any of the other threads. I'm going to sort some of the earlier posts into the appropriate forums, but it might take a while, so bear with me. I'll delete the ones that have already been reposted by their authors.
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 Also, did Andrahar take Hethlin to Lithabad because she was the only combination of excellent rider and archer readily available? It seemed strange that he would take an esquire to the battle, but then Hethlin has talents unusual for a mounted cavalry unit. He said he needed a blooded battle-archer, but would someone like that also be found among the foot soldiers? I have very little knowledge of the division of skills among fighting units.
I was wondering when Andrahar would make some connection between his early days as an esquire and Hethlin’s situation. Is he aware of her captivity among the orcs? They seem to have a lot of common ground – not that I’m expecting more than gradual development of grudging respect between them.
Also, that exchange between Andrahar and Peloren at the end… you’re making me think that Peloren knows something about Andra and Boromir again....
Thanks so much for the new story! It was wonderful, as always!
Posted:Jan 31, 2006 10:01 GMT Reply to this Comment
 I’m sorry I can't seem to think of these all in one post. Do you have more details you can share on the esquire training program? What is the regular class vs. whatever Hethlin was in before? How many esquires are there on average? And do they get new ones every year or only every two years?
I was reading part of Blackbow, and was struck by how Boromir helped Hethlin then and Brand did now, both of them by counseling those in charge of her, as it were. And how both were impressed by her - in different ways, of course!
Posted:Jan 31, 2006 14:09 GMT Reply to this Comment
 Lea wrote:
What will Elrohir do when he finds out that Andrahar had hit Hethlin ? Yes, Andrahar has apologized in quite humiliating way and as a man of honour will make sure nothing like that ever happens again. And it is up to Hethlin to manage the situation and Elrohir is not supposed to interfere. But he still must be hurt, furious and frightened, no matter whether his emotions for Hethlin are just friendship, closeness and care or something more! And must be frustrated too to leave his Snowsteel in Dol Amroth after Yule holidays … I am just terribly curious but I´ll be patient as everybody else here for your next genius wonderful beautiful writing, Isabeau.
Posted:Jan 31, 2006 16:01 GMT Reply to this Comment
 You know, I was thinking more about Denise's observation that Hethlin and Aragorn parallel each other in many ways. And while yes, they are related and are both orphans, good fighters and (eventually we hope for Hethlin) good leaders, I think the similarities end there actually. Oh wait, just realized that also like Aragorn, Hethlin was kept in the dark about her family history until she was an adult. Yeah, that's increasing the symmetry.
But I see one big difference between them, and it is that, upon coming of age, an enormous task was set before Aragorn, a seemingly impossible task. At the outset no one knew that claiming the throne could only be accomplished by destroying the Ring, but even before that became clear, rebuilding the kingdoms of Arnor and Gondor must have seemed like the most far-fetched sort of pipe dream (Aragorn's pipe dream, heh heh). Yet he had to do that in order to win Arwen.
Whereas Hethlin has a 2-year commitment to train in Dol Amroth, but then she can do what she will, where she likes. I can't help but think that Aragorn would have faltered in his pursuit of the throne if he didn't have the further goal of winning Arwen. I don't think he would have given up once he was on his way with the Fellowship, but in the long years before that when his path was anything but clear perhaps he would have given that up. If he hadn't loved Arwen he might have been content to be the leader of the Dunedain. Or perhaps I'm wrong there. I've always assumed that was Tolkien's way of giving Arwen some power, by being the woman behind the man.
So, between his lineage and his love for Arwen, Aragorn's path was determined for him -- of course he had to live up to it (no mean feat!). But not so for Hethlin. Her choices will have to be guided by what she deems to be the right direction to go in. And so it seems to me that their paths are actually very different, or at least can be, depending on whether Hethlin's choices are constrained by who she ends up marrying.
Posted:Jan 31, 2006 18:24 GMT Reply to this Comment
 Yes, I think you're right, Rebecca. My considering Heth as a female parallel of Aragorn doesn't go too much deeper than that they are both Northern Dunadain, with impeccable lineages, extremely long lifespans and many common strengths, and both are in many ways outsiders and relative unknowns to the average native Gondoran. I certainly think Hethlin will shape into a great leader, too, but their futures are likely very different. (Though I cannot resist commenting again that any significant limitations placed on Hethlin are likely to be due to having children rather than getting married. But then that was my own experience and I really shouldn't transfer so much of it to Hethlin.)
Posted:Jan 31, 2006 19:09 GMT Reply to this Comment
 Recently I read some of the Valdemar books by Mercedes Lackey, and there's a character that reminded me in many aspects of Andrahar: Weaponsmaster Alberich. I was wondering if you read those books, too, and if Alberich was an inspiration for Andrahar's character.
Related to that question, another, more general one: What inspires you for your characters, plots, stories?
 Though I cannot resist commenting again that any significant limitations placed on Hethlin are likely to be due to having children rather than getting married.
Only insofar as marrying Imrahil will require her to remain in Dol Amroth. No point in marrying the man if she's going to go off adventuring for years on end!
Posted:Jan 31, 2006 19:35 GMT Reply to this Comment
 My considering Heth as a female parallel of Aragorn doesn't go too much deeper than that they are both Northern Dunadain, with impeccable lineages, extremely long lifespans and many common strengths, and both are in many ways outsiders and relative unknowns to the average native Gondoran.
Although those are not inconsiderable similarities. Some of them simply a function of being blood relatives, but not all... interesting!
Posted:Jan 31, 2006 19:49 GMT Reply to this Comment
 Rebecca wrote: How often did orcs come into Belfelas? Do they live in the White Mountains? Do the Swan Knights have much experience fighting them before the Ring War?
That's a really good question. I don't think they live in the White Mountains. I would think the Swan Knights would have more problems with Dunlanders.
I don't think they're entirely unacquainted. In Blackbow, I indicated that Elphir was coming to Minas Tirith to do some training with Boromir. I'm thinking that probably happens every now and again. Certainly Imrahil had seen Uruks, when Heth didn't know what they were in CMC.
Don't think he's got much use for Elladan and Elrohir either. I've been asked to do a one off a la Stud Fee with him and Elladan, but I can't see it happening.
Yeah, I don't see Elladan & Andrahar getting together... Elladan seems to like mortal men at the height of their strength and virility. And their personalities seem like oil and water. Perhaps Glorfindel (if he's thus inclined in the Unabeauverse)?
I will confess, I was tempted to do their dinner together. In fact Soledad would like to have it for a belated birthday prezzie. And I thought very hard about going there. It's just that it's still awfully soon after Boromir. But then, it's Glorfindel...
Posted:Jan 31, 2006 19:56 GMT Reply to this Comment
 It dawns on me just now how much I care about many male characters created (or at least finely detailed) by Isabeau: Rebecca wrote: Imri, Andra, Elrohir, Amrothos, Faramir (not to mention Mablung!). Yet on the female side there's really only Hethlin who strongly pulls on my sympathy. There is Eowyn, yes, and I like her quite a bit. Arwen I like too. And Lothiriel and Lady Tirathiel. But I don't feel like I know any of them very well, and none of them rouse concern in me for what will befall them. Perhaps it's because Hethlin doesn't really interact so much with women, occupying a place in what is otherwise a man's world. The lack of women in the stories is a function of Hethlin's lot in life. The only other woman who comes into focus much in these stories is Nimrien, and I do like her a lot. Isabeau, do you find that in general male characters are easier for you than females, or is it just a function of the structure of this particular story?
I think it's just a function of this particular story, the last remmant if you will of Tolkien's rather male-centric world view. Now that you mention it, I'm rather surprised. I hadn't thought about men being easier for me. I'm a RPGer, and tend to play female characters when I game. Though I have played male characters and they often tend to be my favorites. I'm a sucker for androgynous bard types.
Posted:Jan 31, 2006 20:01 GMT Reply to this Comment
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