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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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 You know, this may seem odd or incredibly stupid of me, but I never really thought about the parallels. More of that instinctive symmetry Una keeps nagging me about.
Although it hasn't manifested itself in my writing, which is restricted to non-fiction academic stuff, I too have an unconscious instinct for symmetry. And I guess that's why I think Hethlin needs to go north -- to restore the balance of events that brought her to Gondor and many possible avenues to glory in the first place.
Also, my awareness of symmetry (or lack thereof) is jarred by Tolkien leaving things so very lop-sided in the immortal-mortal romance department, with only immortal females paired with mortal men. As I've already outlined earlier. But just thought of another example: Melian and Elu Thingol. No other Maia-Elf pairings known, and here again a female reaches out to a "lesser" male. ... why is that, I wonder?
dpetrash suggested "feminist advancement in Gondor" as an underlying reason for wanting to see Hethlin able to pursue adventure and glory, and I suppose that there probably is an element of that in my wish to see those things for her. Although to be honest I don't think that Hethlin would be able to change that culture no matter what she did; the most she could hope for would be to be an accepted (and hopefully respected and beloved) anomaly. Even if she inspires little girls in Dol Amroth to seek weapons training and eschew embroidery, I rather doubt that a) those little girls would be humored (or at least not enough so that they'd end up on anything other than the traditional female path), and b)more than one or two girls at most could even hope to get to where Hethlin is in terms of strength and skill. She didn't just decide one day that she wanted to be a fighter. Her very unique circumstances couldn't be duplicated, and therefore it's unlikely that any girl or woman in Gondor would be able to follow in her footsteps. So in terms of feminist advancement in Gondor... doesn't seem likely.
I'm not a big subscriber to many stereotyped, idealized romantic notions about how men and women should love each other, because I think that very satisfying and lasting loves can occur in many different combinations. But I guess I do have a few somewhat irrational ideals that I still cling to, and one of them is that having one's first child is perhaps the most powerful moment in a woman's life (caveat: I'm childless myself so my idea is wholly speculative). To share that with a man who already has children (and grandchildren) would be fine, but it seems to me that it would be better somehow if the initial joy and wonder were jointly shared between mother and father. I guess I'd like to see Hethlin, whose own family was decimated and who for a long time thought she wouldn't have a family at all, be able to share that with someone whose firstborn is Hethlin's firstborn. And she can't be the love of Imrahil's life because Nimrien will always have a huge place in his heart. And I want Hethlin to be the love of someone's life! Personal bias. Probably irrational, and almost certainly unnecessary. But since we're sharing our personal preferences...
Also, I never liked that Faramir was Eowyn's second choice. After all that Denethor put him through I never liked that he had to suffer through further self-doubt and rejection, brief though it was. And now I hate to see it happening to Imrahil! Aggghhh! He's too fantastic to be a second (or third) choice. Even though he's been well-loved already, I hate to see him being rejected. Well, I've already expressed my thoughts on that. Just thinking about the symmetry of things brought me back to it.
And now, to test getting rid of italics -- thanks for the tip Isabeau!
Posted:Jan 19, 2006 12:18 GMT Reply to this Comment
 dpetrash wrote-OK, back to actual questions about your stories! I finally got to read Noble Jewel for a second time and true to form, I noticed many more things about it that went right over my head the first time. And generated questions and comments, of course....
1. (Ch. 2) I really, really like Cuilast. Typical of your secondary folk, he has been fleshed out beautifully. Will we see a lot more of him in the future? Anyone (besides Imrahil) who is not afraid to tweak Andra has my undying respect. Favorite lines: “Your stepfather was in error,“ the healer declared, his voice positively chirpy. “I have not known bastardy, either as a condition of birth or description of temperament, to be an impediment to membership or advancement in the Swan Knights.” “Very funny, Cuilast!” the captain growled.
I'm rather fond of that little exchange myself! And yes, you will see more of the healer along the way. As Tolkien himself says, Aragorn has a lot more fighting to do, and the Swan Knights, as well as the Rohirrim, will be along for the ride. So a surgeon will definitely be needed.
2. (Ch. 2) A little before that, Cuilast has asked Andrahar to stay with Brand, and that he needed Liahan to help him with the injured Swan Knight because “He’s more than half a healer himself, you know.” Andrahar: “Yes, Liahan does a great many things well,” came the dry response.
What does that mean? Andrahar’s obviously making an oblique reference to something, but I can’t figure out what it is.
Liahan tends to be pretty good at whatever he turns his hand to, that's all. Though Andra might indeed be thinking of Aragorn's assessment of Liahan's ability with the sword.
3. (Ch. 3) Peloren’s acknowledgement of Andrahar mourning Boromir, some comments that Cuilast makes, Esteven’s discretion in “Discovery” – how many people actually know that Boromir was Andrahar’s lover? Some things seem to indicate that there’s at least suspicion among the Knights, but then again can be read as merely acknowledging that Boromir was his one-time pupil and friend.
Can I get back to you on that one? (frantically trying to pry nuzgul off leg)
3. (Ch. 4) Does Brand actually get to use Andrahar’s prized soap in his bath??? This could be his most valuable inheritance from Andrahar.
I think that Cuilast probably provided something with a bit more of a antibacterial quality for that bath. Though in the future Brand will undoubtedly have access to The Soap, if only so Imrahil will be annoyed....
4. (Ch. 5) “Left with time on his hands, Andrahar invoked a privilege of his that he rarely used, and set an esquire who had displeased him the day before to cleaning his tack, and grooming the remount he was riding.”
Um, is this anyone we know? :P
Possibly. Haven't decided yet, but it's a good possibility!
5. (Ch. 5) Just a comment: That whole passage, where Brand is saying goodbye to his family and gives Jacyn “studied insolence” at the end, and Andrahar finally feels hope and joy – still incredibly moving. I love how you set that up and portrayed everyone.
6. (Ch. 6) Do you have more history on Liahan (another favorite minor character)? He’s scattered throughout several of your stories but not much is revealed except his excellent character and seemingly gentle manner for a warrior. Why is he fostered to Dol Amroth? Related: Are any of our other “known Knights” married with kids? Or is it typical for the Knights to be bachelors?
I'm working on that. All I have right now is that Liahan's father is from one of Dol Amroth's really old noble families-his ancestor served Imrazor. He has four sons, an unusual display of Numenorean fertility and Liahan's the youngest. The inheritance is going to be minimal if it's split up so many ways, so Imrahil offered to foster Liahan with an eye toward giving him a career in the Swan Knights. He's landless, so he needs a good job.
Peloren is married with kids, as is Esteven. Liahan is going to get married after the Ring War-he's betrothed. There are a few bachelors in the Swan Knights, but most of them are family men, and the bachelors tend to be the younger fellows-except, of course, for Andrahar.
Needless to say, I was very happy to have so much of Noble Jewel from Andrahar’s perspective. It really opened up a window into what a great man he is, despite his rough childhood, and beautifully showed his humanity and compassion - though well disguised to the outside world! As with all yours and Altariel’s stories that have Heth “hidden” in the background, I am impatiently waiting for Silver Swan to catch up so I can get her perspective on events!
So am I! Poor Una-she's got at least one story she can't post because it's full of spoilers. Probably figures she won't live that long at this point...
Posted:Jan 19, 2006 18:41 GMT Reply to this Comment
 Isabeau: Poor Una-she's got at least one story she can't post because it's full of spoilers.
OH MAN!! Why did you have to tell us that? More Unabeauverse stories ready to go and We Can't See Them?!? (Groan...)
Sorry about the nuzgul, BTW, but thanks very much for the answers!
Posted:Jan 19, 2006 18:59 GMT Reply to this Comment
 I would also like to see that story (ies) it doesn't matter about the spoilers (I like them) and the bit of the fourth age I traked down is full of spoilers anyway and there are bits of Ultimatums that are spoilers for Kin-strife. I don't see them as spoilers, they are plot expanders.
I shall endevour not to give you anymore Nuzguls though I would like to see how they found out, from your fics it sounds like Andra and Peloren finished up being quite good friends, What happend to Elethil? (does that count as a nuzgul?)
Also the 7th chapter of Kin-strife is diferent on here to how it is on ff.net if you want to know.
Posted:Jan 20, 2006 06:04 GMT Reply to this Comment
 For what it's worth, I agree that spoilers aren't a problem -- certainly people could avoid reading a story with spoilers if they really want to wait to find out what happens to Hethlin, Imrahil, and others. But obviously many of us can't wait!
Posted:Jan 20, 2006 08:04 GMT Reply to this Comment
 My patience is limmited, I can only wait for about 30 seconds, and thats on a good day, there is no such thing as a spoiler in my mind an update is an update, you could write a chapter about Imri deciding on what to wear to go and role in the muck heap and I would be happy,
So keep on writing and I will try and cultivate some patience
Posted:Jan 20, 2006 09:13 GMT Reply to this Comment
 you could write a chapter about Imri deciding on what to wear to go and role in the muck heap and I would be happy
Hee hee hee...
Posted:Jan 20, 2006 09:18 GMT Reply to this Comment
 Are you as bored as I am, this is the 32nd time I've checked the site today!
Posted:Jan 20, 2006 10:00 GMT Reply to this Comment
 Is Fourth Age posted somewhere now? Nargil mentioned finding at least part of it, but I have not been so successful!
Posted:Jan 20, 2006 15:55 GMT Reply to this Comment
 I forget where I found it, as it was a while ago. But if you post your email address I can send it to you.
Posted:Jan 20, 2006 16:01 GMT Reply to this Comment
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