Tolkien Fan Fiction Home Tolkien Fan FictionAll the tales of the Valar and the Elves are so knit together that one may scarce expound any one without needing to set forth the whole of their great history.
Read Journal Entry
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  Journal Main Page  Isabeau's Journal  Back
Isabeau's Journal
The place to discuss my stories and other Tolkien-related topics.
Profile:Isabeau


Blog_display


:

Isabeau's Journal

By:Isabeau
 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.


  Post A Comment  E-mail Author

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 [20] 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45
448 replies


 [191] Concerning Fourth Age (and also the recent discussion about Heth and her future children). I find it a bit odd that "Tell" wouldn't know his own grandmother. Granted, it seems as if she is ranging over quite a bit of ground all over M-e, but he doesn't even recognize the device on her tunic, and has no reaction at all when she is adressed by name. Somehow I don't judge her to be a neglectful mother/grandmother, in CMC she seems so happy at the prospect of being healed to have children, she even talks with Elrond (of all people) about it.

Rebecca writes:But for obvious reasons she could not put off having children if she marries Imrahil, and I think she should put off having children for a while.

Good point. I mean, I would think that Imrahil would be "able" to have children even late in life (thinking about Anthony Quinn, for example). And obviously, he wouldn't know that he will die in 30 years (is that right? I can't remember exactly...). But would he want to wait to be a father when he over 70, 80 years old?

Incidentally, I think my favourite shorter story of yours is still "Motherless". IIRC, it was the first I read from you, even before I encountered CMC, and it still moves me deeply. Imrahil as father is simply fantastic, and this his qualities are a further plus in his favour, right *g*?

Imhiriel
Posted:Feb 1, 2006 10:01 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [192] Unfortunately, from Late Fragment it seems clear that whoever Heth marries, they have been dead for a while by the time of her conversation with Faramir.

Yes, that is sad, isn't it? If she marries Imrahil I would hope that she'd get another shot at love after his death. She'd be looking at what, 70 - 80 years by herself after he dies. And as I think I mentioned earlier, Hethlin isn't going to be *the* love of Imrahil's life, so it would kind of suck if she wasn't able to move on with someone else after he was gone.

I guess this touches on one of the inherent problems I have with Tolkien's world -- and it might have even been something that he deliberately built into that world as an intended dilemma. People there seem very concerned with keeping things as they are -- one mate even if you count your life's span in millenia rather than years, kingdoms built around dynasties that are meant to endure forever, holding time at bay with magic rings, etc. That wish to keep the status quo is a problem in our world too of course, but it's heightened in Middle Earth I think. ... where am I going with this thought? ... it's an obvious problem with the elves, in particular Galadriel and Elrond at the end of the Third Age -- it's why they must retreat to Aman. Frankly I think it's a problem with Aman in general and the Valar overall. I don't want to get bogged down in what would likely be an inarticulate attempt at a metaphysical analysis, but it seems to me that the task facing those who remain in Middle Earth -- e.g. Men -- will be to build a new order that can accommodate change. I haven't sufficiently expressed what I'm trying to get at and need to press on with work now but I think that part of my wish to see Hethlin making choices that will allow her to live up to her potential as a leader in her own right come from my view that what Middle Earth needs after the Ring War are people who aren't going to just try to recreate old systems and perpetuate the rather rigid order that held sway for so long. Perhaps that's why I like Amrothos so much, for one thing. And I think that's also why I hope that Elrohir will find a way to get Elrond to see that he needs to stay in Middle Earth, because that's where he can do the most good. I suspect that once Elrond leaves, Elrohir might blossom as a leader (not that Elrond was consciously denying Elrohir the opportunity to lead but there simply wasn't a need for Elrohir to do anything as long as his father was around and so firmly and effectively in control). OK must stop now!

Rebecca
Posted:Feb 1, 2006 10:04 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [193] Good point. I mean, I would think that Imrahil would be "able" to have children even late in life (thinking about Anthony Quinn, for example). And obviously, he wouldn't know that he will die in 30 years (is that right? I can't remember exactly...). But would he want to wait to be a father when he over 70, 80 years old?

Exactly. This is the other main reason I object to their pairing, as I feel it will... not exactly "demean" Imrahil, but it would not allow him to embrace aging as a natural part of life, rather than something he has to apologize for or fight against to suit a much younger spouse. It would bring echoes of what Tolkien foisted on Arwen and Aragorn when his time came.

It's not that I think he's too old right now to have more children, although he's already got a family and really doesn't need more children to make his life full and rich in that way. But really, to father children when he's 80 or older (and I think he dies at 99) would be just, well... wrong. His grandson would be a young adult by that time -- it would force Imrahil to twist himself into playing different roles simultaneously. He could handle, but would he enjoy it? I think Imrahil's dignity would be compromised by being with Hethlin -- not because of the whispering (which I agree he could handle) but because being with Hethlin would be a stark reminder of his aging, and I can't help but think that there will be times, increasing in frequency as he ages, that he feels he's not able to keep up with Hethlin, or their children.

I don't want him in a position of feeling inadequate, or regretting a completely natural thing that he has absolutely no control over. Rather, I see him as someone who will age gracefully and carefully support his sons so that they can assume his responsibilities when the time comes.

As Elrohir once observed, Imrahil is Hethlin's match, except he hasn't got the time left to him that would make him a good partner for her. That's a truth that wouldn't just have implications for Hethlin (being alone after Imrahil dies), it would have unpleasant implications for Imrahil himself.

Rebecca
Posted:Feb 1, 2006 12:01 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [194] Yes, when she has kids is definitely one of the cruxes in our differing visions for Hethlin! I agree with your assessment of needing to establish herself first if she were to somewhat easily step back into a command role after a lengthy time off. Unfortunately, I think that taking off 10 to 20 years (depending on how many kids and the span of years between them) is going to be a setback whether she does it 5 years or 25 years from now, although I agree it is a different amount of setback. In my mind I see her gaining much of her skillset as a warrior - perhaps a little command experience - and maintaining it while her children grow, but continuing to develop the more ambiguous skills of diplomacy, negotiation, cultural adaptation, etc. (Which I do think is better facilitated as Imrahil’s wife.) Plus, actually, I guess I don’t really see her spending all that much of her warrior career in the Swan Knights after winning her white belt, but doing more to support Aragorn instead… Covert ops? I’m pretty ambiguous on this point, and thinking of some of the visions from Galadriel’s mirror. Heth’s skill set will be truly impressive once her training is over, and maybe in some ways I see being purely a heavy-horse cavalrywoman in the Knights as actually a bit stifling, commander or no. And I can’t help but think that she doesn’t know she’s going to live to 140+, and our girl has had so many close calls in her short life already, that the tendency will be to accept any setback once she’s married so long as she gets some heirs on the ground. Sometimes dynastic considerations take precedence over personal goals (ala Ultimatums). Of course, I read back over this and realize completely that most if not all of it is based on my bias for her marrying Imrahil, so take it all with a grain of salt. If I were in love with the idea of her marrying Elrohir, then I’d be firmly arguing from Rebecca’s camp without a second thought. *grins* In truth, I think my reluctance to embrace Elrohir as Heth’s potential mate has less to do with the various drawbacks to marrying him (which are pretty minor and can be easily resolved) as much as that Heth seems to have pretty firmly set her heart against it. She’s determined not to fall in love with our favorite elf, at least so far. Time will tell how that resolve holds out.

And actually, I think it is possible to have more than one great love in your lifetime, so I don’t think Heth would be shortchanged with Imrahil on that account. I don’t think Hethlin would be second in Imrahil’s heart to anyone. Co-equal maybe. And as he gets closer to the end, he might dwell more on meeting up with Nimrien and Andrahar again (ala In All But Blood).

As for Imrahil being affected adversely by having a younger wife and children, I don’t know… I think it would in fact help him to feel alive and young again. And I don’t think he’d have many, if any regrets as he aged and Heth stayed young. He’s got a pretty good opinion of himself; he’s already stated that he thinks he has a lot to offer Heth, despite the differences in their ages; May-December romance is not that uncommon among men of wealth and power; and he has already committed himself to trying to live the remainder of his life as fully as possible. Certainly the prospect of more children doesn’t seem to daunt him when he proposes to Heth, although the reality of it would be tiring. I still think he’d manage it as gracefully as he does everything else. The biggest problem could be differentiating in treatment of children and grandchildren – you can’t spoil your own kids! And like Nimiren, I think he’d encourage Heth to live and love again after he was gone. I think they’d both feel, like Arwen, that great joy for a short time is preferable to a long life of mediocre love. This assumes, of course, that Heth comes to love him as deeply – in the end, that’s what will make the various obstacles to any relationship negligible to her. Like all of you, I trust that Isabeau won’t put so much angst into Heth’s life that she doesn’t find true love and happiness eventually!

On to other ramblings, though: Good assessment on Litharel! He really irked me, too. I think I excused his actions after the Ring War sooner than I should have, on the basis that he was so eager to get to know Heth and take her North. I could see his actions growing out of a serious anger issue with Halaran, and Heth does look just like her father. But not being in some sort of contact with his daughter over the years... or maybe they were, sporadically, and even if he was concerned about the four-year absence, there might have been little he could do to address it with the conflict with Sauron heating up in the North, and Saruman causing problems in the Gap. But how much did he stick up for his daughter’s decision to marry Halaran? Hmmm.

And I wondered, too, at Tell’s ignorance of who Heth was. Of course, he’s so self-centered that the information about her could have been available – even if she was preoccupied with North business for a couple of decades – and he just didn’t pay any attention to it. (In favor of learning about more important things, such as which are the best imported beers. Heh.)

As far as Tolkien’s emphasis on the non-changing quality of the elves, I wonder how much of it was an outgrowth of the tumultuous changes going on in his life: two world wars, the rapid mechanization and industrialization of Europe, etc. I think he romanticized the elves’ wish to maintain the status quo because that’s what he often wished for in his own life. For certain there’s overtones of that in “Letters by JRRT.” He was not very impressed with most of the modern conveniences becoming popular at the time, and thought (if I remember correctly) that the mechanization of the world was “soulless.” At any rate, I think it is correct that the post-Ring War Middle Earth is on the verge of sweeping changes as the Age of Man comes into full swing – and what better place for Heth to apply her talents! Which brings us back to the whole marriage and kid thing again. *g*

Good grief, it’s a good thing Isabeau doesn’t mind these long esoteric dissertations, as I certainly seem to have trouble letting go of all this and just waiting patiently for her to resolve it for us...

Denise
Posted:Feb 1, 2006 13:23 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [195] OK my work is really starting to suffer here as a result of my lengthy essays on What's Right for Isabeau's Characters but I can't seem to stop myself!

In my mind I see her gaining much of her skillset as a warrior - perhaps a little command experience - and maintaining it while her children grow, but continuing to develop the more ambiguous skills of diplomacy, negotiation, cultural adaptation, etc. (Which I do think is better facilitated as Imrahil’s wife.)

Here we will just have to disagree, as I don't see her as someone whose career will focus on diplomacy, etc. She will need those skills, to be sure, but I see them developing as secondary to her warrior skills.

Otherwise she ultimately just becomes another Nimrien (or Arwen or possibly Eowyn depending on whether E. plays an active role as adviser to Faramir). Second fiddle to a man who rules in his hereditary role. What's the point of being a kick-ass female who's the head of her house if she's going to be a junior diplomat? And she *would* be at most a junior diplomat -- to pretend that she could "train up" to become adept at things that Nimrien, for example, could do with relative ease because she'd been educated for decades in those realms would be to either disregard those skills as easily acquired, or to make Hethlin some sort of superhuman woman: she can kick ass on the battlefield AND hold forth eloquently in three tongues at dinner parties or council meetings? That just doesn't sound at all like Hethlin. She would become someone else entirely.

Plus, actually, I guess I don’t really see her spending all that much of her warrior career in the Swan Knights after winning her white belt, but doing more to support Aragorn instead…

But if she's not actively keeping up her martial skills, how will she remain a warrior? Remember how sore Eowyn and Hethlin were on first days of the journey to Edoras, since they'd both been recovering from injuries in the weeks/months prior? These are use-em or lose-em skills.

Covert ops? I’m pretty ambiguous on this point, and thinking of some of the visions from Galadriel’s mirror. Heth’s skill set will be truly impressive once her training is over, and maybe in some ways I see being purely a heavy-horse cavalrywoman in the Knights as actually a bit stifling, commander or no.

Yeah, that's why I don't see her staying in Dol Amroth at all. Her gifts do not lie in academic domains -- which is not to disparage her intellect, but it's not what she likes to do given the chance. She's an active tom-boy. She's not bookish like Faramir, or Nimrien, or even Imrahil who can quote poems in Haradric when appropriate. I do not see a career in diplomacy for Hethlin. I think she'd be bored silly by glacial negotiations and diplomatic protocol. She's also a painfully honest girl -- and involuntary forthrightness is not a good thing for a diplomat. She'd have to really really change to have any chance of success in that world. She'd really have to become a different person entirely.

I think my reluctance to embrace Elrohir as Heth’s potential mate has less to do with the various drawbacks to marrying him (which are pretty minor and can be easily resolved) as much as that Heth seems to have pretty firmly set her heart against it. She’s determined not to fall in love with our favorite elf, at least so far. Time will tell how that resolve holds out.

Just like she wasn't in love with Faramir? ;) I think Hethlin is very good at convincing herself that she doesn't want something if she thinks it's impossible to have it. She even belatedly realized that herself -- as I recall she told someone (Mablung? I forget right now) that if she'd known sooner about her heritage and that she could have her infertility treated she would have almost certainly openly pursued Faramir.

I see Hethlin's growth coming in realizing her own worth for her own qualities, and recognizing that she *is* worth it. I've argued, for example, that if Elrohir did decide to stay, and did allow himself to openly fall in love with Hethlin, the staying would still be a decision made in its own right, so Hethlin shouldn't feel responsible for that. But at the same time she is slowly coming to understand that she is: desirable physically, a valuable confidant, a thoughtful friend whose gestures and gifts to others are touching and valued. That she's a worthwhile person, as she is. She'd only get better with more polish and more experience and more skills, but she's already great.

And actually, I think it is possible to have more than one great love in your lifetime, so I don’t think Heth would be shortchanged with Imrahil on that account. I don’t think Hethlin would be second in Imrahil’s heart to anyone. Co-equal maybe. And as he gets closer to the end, he might dwell more on meeting up with Nimrien and Andrahar again (ala In All But Blood).

I agree with you there, Denise.

As for Imrahil being affected adversely by having a younger wife and children, I don’t know… I think it would in fact help him to feel alive and young again. And I don’t think he’d have many, if any regrets as he aged and Heth stayed young. He’s got a pretty good opinion of himself; he’s already stated that he thinks he has a lot to offer Heth, despite the differences in their ages; May-December romance is not that uncommon among men of wealth and power; and he has already committed himself to trying to live the remainder of his life as fully as possible.

Yes but how many May-December romances occur wherein Ms. May is uncommonly adept at performing in masculine domains, just as Mr. December's strength in those domains is waning and his focus in life turns naturally towards more quiet and home-bound activities? Mind you, I think Imrahil's got another good ten years of active soldiering in him, but we know from "In All But Blood" that in another 10 - 15 years he's going to hang up his warrior's helm for good.

Certainly the prospect of more children doesn’t seem to daunt him when he proposes to Heth, although the reality of it would be tiring. I still think he’d manage it as gracefully as he does everything else. The biggest problem could be differentiating in treatment of children and grandchildren – you can’t spoil your own kids!

Yeah, that's the rub. And young children *are* tiring -- physically and emotionally. They're rejuvenating too, but it's at best (from my experience anyway) a 50-50 exchange. That's what's so great about being a grandparent (or in my case, godmother): spend lots of small spurts of joyful time and then pass them off to Mom or Dad when the tiresome stuff kicks in!

Good assessment on Litharel! He really irked me, too. I think I excused his actions after the Ring War sooner than I should have, on the basis that he was so eager to get to know Heth and take her North. I could see his actions growing out of a serious anger issue with Halaran, and Heth does look just like her father. But not being in some sort of contact with his daughter over the years...

The hypocrisy that I see is that his reason for being angry with Halaran was supposedly his deep love for his daughter. But that love was nowhere in evidence in the twenty-odd years following his daughter's marriage.

or maybe they were, sporadically, and even if he was concerned about the four-year absence, there might have been little he could do to address it with the conflict with Sauron heating up in the North, and Saruman causing problems in the Gap.

I don't think that can answer it: Litharel seemed surprised to know he even had a granddaughter. If he'd had any correspondence with his daughter after her departure, he'd surely know about Hethlin's existence.

Also Saruman was very subtle in his dealings up until the last moment. Gandalf never would have gone to consult with him otherwise. So it's unlikely that he was interfering with basic lines of communication between north and south for the years preceding the time of The Fellowship.

But how much did he stick up for his daughter’s decision to marry Halaran? Hmmm.

Looks like not much.

And I wondered, too, at Tell’s ignorance of who Heth was. Of course, he’s so self-centered that the information about her could have been available – even if she was preoccupied with North business for a couple of decades – and he just didn’t pay any attention to it. (In favor of learning about more important things, such as which are the best imported beers. Heh.)

I wondered about that too. He strikes me as more of an imported brandy sort -- too much of a snob to quaff ale! ;)

As far as Tolkien’s emphasis on the non-changing quality of the elves, I wonder how much of it was an outgrowth of the tumultuous changes going on in his life: two world wars, the rapid mechanization and industrialization of Europe, etc. I think he romanticized the elves’ wish to maintain the status quo because that’s what he often wished for in his own life. For certain there’s overtones of that in “Letters by JRRT.” He was not very impressed with most of the modern conveniences becoming popular at the time, and thought (if I remember correctly) that the mechanization of the world was “soulless.”

I think you're absolutely right there. His reasons for taking that stance I don't question; it's just a problem in his constructs.

Good grief, it’s a good thing Isabeau doesn’t mind these long esoteric dissertations, as I certainly seem to have trouble letting go of all this and just waiting patiently for her to resolve it for us...

I know, thank goodness she's so welcoming of others' opinions!

Rebecca
Posted:Feb 1, 2006 15:10 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [196] Rebecca, you are not helping me get my work done either! You put out too many good discussions. But I shall try to keep it short(er) for a change.

I agree that Heth’s main talents will always be martial (pending Isabeau’s revelations, of course!), but I do think eventually she will be superwoman, given the glimpse we’ve seen in Fourth Age. But I also agree that it will be a long development, not something acquired with relative ease. She can learn enough to function as a Princess fairly quickly, I believe, but it will not be a comfortable role for her for a decade or two. I don’t see her having to become a different person to get it though, as much as having to nurture a mostly unrecognized potential.

She’s been battle-blooded enough that I also believe she could keep her skills up by sparring practice, etc. just like all warriors do between battles. Not improve, perhaps, but maintain – she would have Liahan around after Andra is killed. But then I don’t have any experience in this, so I could certainly be way off base here. It would certainly not be the same as active command and continuing battle experience.

The difference I see in her situation with Faramir vs. potentially Elrohir is that her blindness where Faramir was concerned was all unconscious, and Faramir was not actively pursuing her. She has actively considered Elrohir’s Rediculous Oath at least a couple of times, and determined to keep him bound to it (no matter that it’s ineffective, for either of them), and his interest in her is definitely obvious. It doesn’t mean she isn’t falling in love with him (and it’s actually easier to deceive herself in this case because she can pretend all regard is friendship-love and hearts-ease), but I just mean that she’s consciously looked at it and rejected the idea vs. being all unaware. I too am looking forward to Heth being less self-conscious and appreciating herself more!

Good points about Litharel. OK, I’m ticked off at him again.

As for Tell’s theoretical drinking habits, keep in mind he was going to meet buddies in a tavern on the second level at the beginning of Fourth Age. In my mind he’s rather egalitarian where alcohol is concerned. :)

Denise
Posted:Feb 1, 2006 16:07 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [197] The difference I see in her situation with Faramir vs. potentially Elrohir is that her blindness where Faramir was concerned was all unconscious, and Faramir was not actively pursuing her. She has actively considered Elrohir’s Rediculous Oath at least a couple of times, and determined to keep him bound to it (no matter that it’s ineffective, for either of them), and his interest in her is definitely obvious. It doesn’t mean she isn’t falling in love with him (and it’s actually easier to deceive herself in this case because she can pretend all regard is friendship-love and hearts-ease), but I just mean that she’s consciously looked at it and rejected the idea vs. being all unaware.

I see her kidding herself there on a couple of different fronts:
1. She doesn't really understand just how much Elrohir likes her -- she still does these double takes every once in a while "can't believe this guy is with me." I think she sees his making the Ridiculous Oath to her as an inconsequential thing on his part that was easily made because there was zero chance he'd actually fall in love with her anyway. Part of the reason why I see her needing to get a stronger sense of her own worth.

And of course Elrohir has been encouraging her to view their relationship as temporary, so that would just reinforce her innate tendency to assume he's not something she can have. He's only partially pursuing her -- he's not offering her anything lasting.

2. I don't think that Hethlin has realized that she only allows herself to want things that she thinks are within her reach. She belatedly came to understand that she might have made a play for Faramir if she'd known she could be an appropriate choice of wife for him sooner, but I don't think she's ware that she's holding herself in check vis a vis Elrohir because she thinks he's unattainable. She doesn't want to embarrass herself with him, especially after the little speech she received from Aragorn about Dunedain women pining away for one or the other twin over the years.

And given their link, Hethlin has to be very careful about letting her mind stray at all into wishful thinking about what might be with Elrohir. I think she would be crushed if he looked at her with pity; she's quite afraid of that.

I think Hethlin will have passed a major milestone in emotional development when she starts to allow herself to want and pursue things that seem to be unattainable.

Rebecca
Posted:Feb 1, 2006 16:32 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [198] As for Tell’s theoretical drinking habits, keep in mind he was going to meet buddies in a tavern on the second level at the beginning of Fourth Age. In my mind he’s rather egalitarian where alcohol is concerned.

But only where alcohol is concerned -- a true sign of a frivilous, arrogant lad!

Rebecca
Posted:Feb 1, 2006 17:06 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [199] Denise: Plus, actually, I guess I don’t really see her spending all that much of her warrior career in the Swan Knights after winning her white belt, but doing more to support Aragorn instead... Covert ops? I’m pretty ambiguous on this point, and thinking of some of the visions from Galadriel’s mirror. Heth’s skill set will be truly impressive once her training is over, and maybe in some ways I see being purely a heavy-horse cavalrywoman in the Knights as actually a bit stifling, commander or no.

I think once Hethlin has her white belt and has aquainted herself with her kin and the situation in the North, she would be ideally suited to help Aragorn in re-building Arnor as a kingdom. There is much wildness, freedom, the rules of society and the possibilites for women are less strict and limited than in Gondor, Heth won't be the oddball warrior-woman, but a valued, competent woman who is capabale of really helping from the ground up. She is kin to the Chieftain and has other valuable relatives, so she would not work unsupported, but would have important connections with similar outlooks and priorities.

Goodness, I really hope I don't encroach on Isabeau's territory! I'm equally certain that Heth would lend herself to any number of useful and satisfying tasks, and Isabeau has shown oftentimes that she can plausibly write developments in her character- and plot-arcs we wouldn't have forseen, but develop quite naturally in the flow of the stories... It's just, the image of Heth as covert-ops quite appeals to me at the moment, I admit...

Rebecca:And of course Elrohir has been encouraging her to view their relationship as temporary, so that would just reinforce her innate tendency to assume he's not something she can have. He's only partially pursuing her -- he's not offering her anything lasting.

I'm waiting for the moment when those instances where he deliberately shuts her out of the link finally take on a meaning for her.

You and Denise have already pointed out that she still has problems with her self-worth. I guess going through it the hard way with Andrahar will make it easier later on (as he himself muses in Reparation).

I wonder if part of a problem there could not be that she compartmentalizes (is that a word?). She strikes me as someone who would value and appreciate her skills and achievements in her job for what they are worth, but would have trouble extending this same regard for herself as a person.

Imhiriel
Posted:Feb 1, 2006 18:20 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [200] I wonder if part of a problem there could not be that she compartmentalizes (is that a word?). She strikes me as someone who would value and appreciate her skills and achievements in her job for what they are worth, but would have trouble extending this same regard for herself as a person.

Yes indeedy -- compartmentalizes is a word. And I agree I think that's exactly what she does.

The girl went through a horrific experience that even now makes her think less of herself (think about how self-conscious she is in the latest chapter of Silver Swan about her scars, grateful to the shadows of the tall grass for hiding them). Then she spent four very formative years making herself as neutered as possible, trying to keep her head low and be as unobtrusive and unobjectionable as possible so that she wouldn't lose her very tenuous place among the Rangers. She does not have a strong sense of her own self worth. That will only come with time, and acceptance for being the person that she is from those she cares about.

Hethlin was raised to value martial skills by her father. That was strongly reinforced by the Rangers. I see it as an integral part of her identity, and the only part she is comfortable judging herself in, and being judged in. She's ridiculously adverse to wearing dresses or anything remotely feminine, because she's afraid she won't measure up. I think that Elrohir's reception of her in a dress was just right: he told her he'd never expected to see her in a dress but that she looked great in one (thus not implying that it was about time and that not wearing one hitherto was a shortcoming on her part). Even something as seemingly benign as, "Oh Hethlin, how nice to see you in a dress at last! See, you look lovely!" while well-intended, could convey to a girl with no self-confidence on that front that when she's not wearing a dress everyone thinks she looks like a freak.

I think Hethlin will only gain self-confidence by a) accomplishing things in the domain in which she is most comfortable, and b) slowly tip-toeing into domains in which she is not comfortable, but without being pushed or made to feel that unless she masters that she won't be a complete woman. Great if she learns new languages and refined manners, but if she's made to feel that she cannot say "aye" instead of "yes," when it suits her, or wear old-but-comfortable leggings & tunics -- in essence be the girl from Anorien that she is -- then she's not going to really to have a strong sense of self worth. She's going to feel like she has to pretend to be someone else in order to be acceptable. I don't ever see her getting excited about a dress. Unless Arwen helps to embroider her wedding dress -- I bet even Hethlin would find delight in such a beautiful thing, especially if she got to actually touch it, no matter her callouses, because it was her dress!

And I totally agree with Imhiriel on the opportunities that would be in the North. I think she could serve Aragorn very well there, and the demands of that environment would be much better aligned with the things that are integral to Hethlin's identity.

Rebecca
Posted:Feb 1, 2006 19:53 GMT  Reply to this Comment
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 [20] 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45

  Post A Comment
A Mike Kellner Web Site
Tolkien Characters, Locations, & Artifacts © Tolkien Estate & Designated Licensees - All Rights Reserved
Stories & Other Content © The Respective Authors - All Rights Reserved
Software & Design © 2003 - 2014 Michael G Kellner All Rights Reserved
Hosted by:Raven Studioz