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Isabeau's Journal
The place to discuss my stories and other Tolkien-related topics.
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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.


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447 replies


 [221] Rebecca asked: I have another Eagles question, somewhat related to the Litharel rant I indulged in yesterday. Did the Eagles know about Halaran's death prior to the Ring War? Did they know that Halaran had children? If so, would they have communicated any of that information to any of the Dunedain?

I don't think they had the knowledge and they didn't communicate it. For whatever reason, Halaran cut himself off completely from his Northern kindred.

Here is where I admit to a problem that's been bugging me for a while. When I started Captain, the Eagles weren't in the picture at all. I just picked a spot for Halaran's homestead that was not too far from Minas Tirith and that I liked. I always thought the beacons were cool, so I stuck it there. The Eagle thing didn't happen until Chapter Ten, and didn't come to full fruition until later in the story.

So now I've got a situation where it doesn't really make sense for Halaran to have settled where he did, but he did, so I have to come up with some sort of reasoning for that and for his total lack of communication with the North. And I'm kind of stuck. You'd think he might want to live near the Gap of Rohan or something, where the Eagles could get to him. Admittedly, he is right at the White Mountains and perhaps he thought some Eagles would move there, but still, it seems weird now. Did he think about living in the Gap, and something about the whole Saruman situation creep him out? Why not live in Rohan proper? Admittedly, he seems a solitary sort of man, and the land he chose in Anorien was good land and he seemed to like the few neighbors he had. But I'll open the floor for a discussion to make some back-story for the Hethverse here-what's the deal with Halaran?


I got the sense that Halaran continued to work with the Eagles sometimes even after moving south, as I think Celeborn mentioned seeing him once while he was on an errand for the Eagles just prior to Hethlin's birth. If they did continue to keep in touch at least periodically in the years before the Ring War, I'm guessing that the Eagles must have at least noted that Halaran's homestead was destroyed and no one was around. I could see them reasonably concluding that the entire family had been killed. Perhaps, given the rift between Halaran and his in-laws, the Eagles didn't feel obliged to convey that information to Litharel?

I don't think they necessarily talk to all the Dunedain, but no, I don't know that they would think it necessary to tell Litharel about his kindred. And they may have indeed been miffed on Halaran's behalf.

Isabeau
Posted:Feb 6, 2006 22:37 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [222] A while back, Imhiriel wrote: 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.

Sorry, Imhiriel-I knew I'd missed one. Yes, I've read Lackey, and yes, I have to give Alberich credit-he was in the back of my mind when I first wrote Andrahar. I've not read her book that is specifically about him, however, and don't intend to, since there is a connection and I don't want to make it worse.

Related to that question, another, more general one: What inspires you for your characters, plots, stories?

That's a harder one. All sorts of things, really. I think most writers have a mish-mash of bits they enjoyed from other peoples' works floating in their heads. Other literary influences-well, I've already said that Amrothos is my tribute to Sherlock Holmes, albeit a much better adjusted one. And I like Lois McMaster Bujold's books, though there's no direct connection to any characters of hers. There are probably a lot more that I just can't think of right now. Heth herself was based upon an ICE Middle-Earth Roleplaying Game I was in briefly. I had a Ranger/Archer character, a big girl, not particularly pretty, who was very young, and who, I decided, had a hopeless unrequited love thing happening for Faramir. I didn't play her long enough to really get an idea of her character, but when the idea for Captain came to me, the convenient template was there at hand.

Isabeau
Posted:Feb 6, 2006 22:47 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [223] So now I've got a situation where it doesn't really make sense for Halaran to have settled where he did, but he did, so I have to come up with some sort of reasoning for that and for his total lack of communication with the North. And I'm kind of stuck. You'd think he might want to live near the Gap of Rohan or something, where the Eagles could get to him. Admittedly, he is right at the White Mountains and perhaps he thought some Eagles would move there, but still, it seems weird now. Did he think about living in the Gap, and something about the whole Saruman situation creep him out? Why not live in Rohan proper? Admittedly, he seems a solitary sort of man, and the land he chose in Anorien was good land and he seemed to like the few neighbors he had. But I'll open the floor for a discussion to make some back-story for the Hethverse here-what's the deal with Halaran?

OK, I'll take a stab at it... we know that the rangers of the north traveled widely, and Halaran could have conceivably passed through Anorien. Or his neighbor (Talith's husband, the innkeeper who ends up getting killed by orcs) might have come on some business to: Bree, Dale ... somewhere ... where he might have encountered Halaran. Maybe years before Halaran married. Just a casual encounter, chatting over tankards of ale or in front of a campfire for a few hours. And the rather solitary Halaran noted the independent spirit of the man from Anorien and thought to himself "perhaps the men of Gondor are not as soft and weak as we of the north have long supposed. Or at least they're not in Anorien." And then when trouble arose among the Dunedain, he recalled the stout, honest man of Anorien, who spoke Westron (instead of Rohirric) and spoke of a land in need of more good men.

I think the Eagles could range far and wide when they wanted to, right? So settling in Anorien wouldn't have had to cut Halaran off from his Eagle friend (Landroval, wasn't it?), although it probably would have reduced their interaction.

Perhaps the Eagles grew uneasy about Saruman, and so as the Ring War drew near stopped traveling that far south and so did not know of Halaran's death? I realize that in the book Radagast played a part in sending the Eagle to rescue Gandalf from Orthanc, but perhaps that was in part because the Eagles were already suspicious of Saruman?

As you've written them so far Isabeau, what I don't see the Eagles doing is moving away from their traditional home for any reason but the most dire necessity -- certainly not to suit a human's choice to live in the south, even if the human was Halaran, an Eagle Friend.

As for why Halaran moved so far, and didn't keep in touch, leaving aside my suggestion about meeting a man from Anorien, the only reason I can think that he might not have wanted to move to Rohan is a) language & cultural differences (would be even harder on his wife to move so far away if she didn't even speak the same language as her new neighbors, etc., and b) deep resentment against the Dunedain -- including perhaps even Aragorn for not putting a stop to the nonsense that drove him out. I mean, his former friend who pulled a sword at Halaran's wedding was totally out of line. His exile was the natural consequence of his bad behavior. And you cannot claim to really love someone if you're not willing to see them happy. It's one thing for her rejected suitor to not fully rejoice in Hethlin's mother's happiness at wedding Halaran, it's another to wish them ill. There was only one party at fault there, at least given what we know of the story. That Halaran's in-laws, and the Dunedain community at large, didn't support Halaran and his new wife reflects poorly on them.

So they left. And for whatever reason went to Anorien. Under the circumstances I could imagine Halaran thinking that any move towards reconciliation must come from them to him, not vice-versa. I can imagine hethlin's mother also feeling very betrayed by her parents' complicity in their exile. Perhaps Litharel did try to get in touch a few times, but for some reason the letters went astray -- perhaps they weren't exactly sure where in the south Halaran had gone, and didn't realize that Anorien was so unpopulated that without a determined effort to get a letter to a particular location it was unlikely to reach its destination?

Oh, another reason why perhaps they chose Anorien might have been the perception that it was safer. Especially if there weren't orcs living in the White Mountains, it would have seemed quite safe, relatively speaking, when compared with the North. It did strike me as odd that folks would have been living on scattered, unfortified homesteads if marauding orcs were a chronic problem.

A final thought: Halaran probably wasn't a two-dimensional saint or martyr. Perhaps he was quite sensitive about the curse even before the former friend started spreading rumors, and was looking for people to be prejudiced against him. Perhaps Litharel and his family weren't against Halaran, but weren't fast enough for his liking (or his bride's) in defending him -- so that he took it upon himself to leave. A bit paranoid perhaps? Or at least defensive? If so, he wouldn't have wanted to be anywhere near the territory of the northern rangers -- he would have wanted to put lots of space between himself and those he viewed as having betrayed him? That might also explain why he never told Hethlin about her heritage, and also why he raised her to be so very self-effacing and self-sufficient -- he would have had the implicit expectation that life wasn't going to hold any easy gains for his daughter, just as it hadn't for him?

I don't know if any of that works...

Rebecca
Posted:Feb 6, 2006 23:27 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [224] Re: The Halaran question. Halaran's independence and tendency to be a loner stick out a bit for me as to why he would settle where he did. The Dunedain seem to be a pretty independent lot, not a lot of oversight in their daily lives, and MT was so aloof that no interference was forthcoming even when Anorien did want it. And it had trees and mountains nearby, which he would have been used to. My impression is that most of Rohan was grassland until Fangorn, and while perhaps as sparsely settled as Anorien there was plenty of contact with the Mark riders. Plus, Gondor was still part of Aragorn's kingdom-to-be, and maybe Halaran wanted to be close at hand if the King needed assistance upon his hoped-for return? Rohan would be under another liege altogether. Also, Isabeau had Litharel bring up the thought that Halaran might have wanted to force the prophecy with the Witch King, in which case he would have wanted to be closer to Mordor, but not so close that he put his family into immediate danger. Does any of that strike a chord?

Still seems hard that he did not have much if any contact with the Eagles, but then they are so long-lived that perhaps 15-20 years didn't seem like much of a gap to them? And was the rift with the Dunedain so bad that Halaran and his family would have absolutely no contact, even with Aragorn? Once Halaran moved his family to Anorien, it would seem like all the burden of initiating contact would have been on him and his wife, since the other Dunedain did not travel that land and would have no idea how to find them. I don't have any ideas about that stuff.

Thanks for taking the time to answer so many questions, Isabeau! Itís so enjoyable to get these back stories and extra details about the Unabeauverse.

Denise
Posted:Feb 6, 2006 23:28 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [225] Just looked at a map of Middle Earth and it appears that the Eagle's Eyrie, Gwahir, was on the eastern side of the Misty Mountains. I would think that it would be just as easy for them to get to Anorien as it would be to get to Rohan -- just follow the Great River south. The Gap should make no difference to them if they're already on the eastern side of the mountains, no?

Rebecca
Posted:Feb 7, 2006 05:36 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [226] Another thought about Halaran and Liraniel (remembered to look up her name): I always thought it was a bit strange that their neighbors in Anorien had no idea whatsoever that they were well-born. I would have thought that Liraniel, at least, would have been well-spoken, even if she never "put on airs." Of course her northern accent might have made her social status less clear to the folk of Anorien. But still, in a feudal society social status would be something that people automatically discerned.

Also someone -- I'm assuming Liraniel -- taught Hethlin to read fluently, so they must have had books, even if only 5 or 10 "classics." Those things would have tipped off the neighbors that Halaran's wife, even if she was competent and hard-working on the farm, came from a higher social status than her current circumstances indicated. But since Halaran and Liraniel were good neighbors, the folk of Anorien probably respected their evident wish to not discuss their background.

And perhaps that's why Halaran chose Anorien? There appears to be a more "democratic" spirit of self-sufficiency and self-determination in Anorien, born in part out of the neglect of Gondor's rulers, but probably also inherent to some extent to the folks who opted to take their chances in a relative wilderness in order to have a shot at having profitable farms. No local aristocracy to take an interest in newcomers and their backgrounds, or communicating with people in the north. That also might have been a problem in Rohan -- even if the Rohirrim weren't tight with the northern Dunedain, there *were* connections between them, and if Halaran felt he'd be persecuted by anyone who knew of his family history, he probably wanted to be somewhere that noone knew or cared about non-local family history...?

Rebecca
Posted:Feb 7, 2006 09:02 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [227] Denise wrote: Re: The Halaran question. Halaran's independence and tendency to be a loner stick out a bit for me as to why he would settle where he did. The Dunedain seem to be a pretty independent lot, not a lot of oversight in their daily lives, and MT was so aloof that no interference was forthcoming even when Anorien did want it. And it had trees and mountains nearby, which he would have been used to.

And which would shelter an Eagle should it visit.

My impression is that most of Rohan was grassland until Fangorn, and while perhaps as sparsely settled as Anorien there was plenty of contact with the Mark riders. Plus, Gondor was still part of Aragorn's kingdom-to-be, and maybe Halaran wanted to be close at hand if the King needed assistance upon his hoped-for return?

Now this is very possible. I recollect that at one time I'd figured Haloran picked a place reasonably close to MT so he could keep an eye on things there. He is the one person who could get word to Aragorn swiftly-I don't know what his exact range for sending for an Eagle would be, but it's probably much better than Heth's initial attempt at Fangorn.

A while back I started a one-off piece for Dwim's birthday where Halaran actually runs into Aragorn, but I've not gone anywhere with it. He was helping an injured Eagle at the time.

Also, Isabeau had Litharel bring up the thought that Halaran might have wanted to force the prophecy with the Witch King, in which case he would have wanted to be closer to Mordor, but not so close that he put his family into immediate danger. Does any of that strike a chord?

Yes, that does make me feel a bit better. This obviously doesn't bother people as much as it does me.

Still seems hard that he did not have much if any contact with the Eagles, but then they are so long-lived that perhaps 15-20 years didn't seem like much of a gap to them?

Or it may be that he does-that if they fly reasonably close, say high overhead where they can't be seen, they can talk to him. He might have been in communication with them almost continuously and even his family would not have known.

And was the rift with the Dunedain so bad that Halaran and his family would have absolutely no contact, even with Aragorn?

See above. I suppose it's possible that he's actually been in sporadic contact with Aragorn all along. The Eagles might not talk to the other Dunedain, but I suspect they'll pass news to the Chieftain, or at least to Elrond.

Thanks for taking the time to answer so many questions, Isabeau! Itís so enjoyable to get these back stories and extra details about the Unabeauverse.

You're very welcome.

Isabeau
Posted:Feb 8, 2006 06:52 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [228] It seems to me like there are two different issues embedded in the question of Why Halaran Moved to Anorien:

1. Why Anorien?
2. Who in the north, if anyone, knew where he was (and possibly why)?

I see a problem with Aragorn having much if any contact with Halaran after he left; it's the same problem I have with Litharel -- why didn't anyone come looking for Hethlin?

If the Eagles saw that the homestead had been destroyed, they could have reasonably concluded that the whole family was lost. But if the Eagles didn't communicate that information to the northern Dunedain, the latter would have needed to find out on their own why there was a sudden silence from Anorien. That is, if Aragorn was in any kind of regular contact with Halaran, he would have been obliged to find out what happened to Halaran & his family. If a scout were sent down to Anorien, they would have discovered by talking to the innkeeper that rangers from Ithilien had found a gravely injured Hethlin.

I realize that in the year before he met Hethlin Aragorn was occupied with other matters, but there are still 3 years unaccounted for. With things heating up in Mordor I can't help but think that if getting info from Halaran was an option for Aragorn, he'd have tried to use it -- and thus discovered that Halaran was dead and his surviving daughter had been carried off by orcs and then rescued by Faramir. It would have been grossly irresponsible of Aragorn to a) not tell Litharel about this, and b) not have Hethlin located and brought north so that she could be with her family.

Maybe I'm overlooking something obvious?

Rebecca
Posted:Feb 8, 2006 08:53 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [229] It seems to have been a good choice to me, I'm guessing but without looking it up he moved after Aragorn left Gondor to return North so he could have been a Southern agent who passed word North, also Hethlin sems to have had a good range with the eagles, she just forgot to anchor so maybe he could pass on long distance messages, if Gondor fired the beacons for example. Also South may be safer than the North. Also did Aragorn know that Arnor was neglected and thought to send someone to stop it getting too bad?

In your universe are the beacons just to let the outlying land like Lossarnach know or do they go to Rohan like in the movies. And how does word get to Dol-amroth, it seems a bit far for Imri to get his army there in a day like Tolkien says.

More random questions

1)Is there another chapter or another one shot that follows reparitions?

2)Do we ever find out who Boromi was to marry?

3)When Andra fights with two swords does he use Nightshade and another blade or does he have two that match?

4)Also does he have a normal straight sword as well as the scimitars?

5)How did Imri get his ear pierced, was it back in his sailor days or did he get it done before then, also does he still have it done in CMC or did he let it heal up after he gave Aisha the earing in Ultimatums?

6)Do we get to see Andra and Adrahil's conversation after the last chapter of Ultimatums and will they ever go out to tea?

Thanks

Nargil
Posted:Feb 8, 2006 09:42 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [230] Sorry, Imhiriel-I knew I'd missed one. Yes, I've read Lackey, and yes, I have to give Alberich credit-he was in the back of my mind when I first wrote Andrahar. I've not read her book that is specifically about him, however, and don't intend to, since there is a connection and I don't want to make it worse.

Haven't read that one, either.

I think it's a nice tip of the hat to Alberich, but I think it a good tactic of you to try and keep the influence as light as possible.

Regarding Bujold - I really hope you'll find the appropriate place for an hommage to her. Miles in Middle-earth, what fun *g* ("He's not short, he's just concentrated!")

re: Halaran's background: it never occurred to me to question the plausibility of his choice of Anůrien. I guess I had tacitly assumed some of the reasons suggested by Rebecca and Denise.

But if you do let him keep in contact with the Eagles, you probably should address the reason why it was kept secret (or, at least kept secret from Hethlin). I guess the connection was known openly in the North? If so, you must have a reason why Halaran doesn't mention it the child who presumably is to inherit this link for 10 years.

Imhiriel
Posted:Feb 8, 2006 10:22 GMT  Reply to this Comment

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