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The Silver Swan

By:Isabeau
 February, 23 2006

The place for discussion about Hethlin's new adventures.


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38 replies


 [1] (Repost from the Monster Thread)

Context
Question: Do orcs live in the White Mountains?
Answer: We think not
Question: Do Swan Knights have much experience with orcs?

Isabeau wrote: I would think the Swan Knights would have more problems with Dunlanders.

That's what I was thinking too. And I was thinking that therefore Andrahar, despite his vast experience in stealth, vigilance, and protecting Imri's back, really isn't in a position to judge Hethlin for "letting" Imrahil get shot by an orc arrow. Orcs aren't Dunlanders or Corsair pirates. If anyone knows how to detect and fight orcs, it's Elladan and Elrohir. And yet that wasn't enough to prevent Arathorn from getting an orc arrow in the eye while out in the wilds with the twins. I mean, we the audience kind of already knew that Andra was being unreasonable in expecting Hethlin to have been in three places at once, and anticipating the direction of the orcs' arrows to boot. But it would be nice if that fact dawned on him too!

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


 [2] (Repost from Monster Thread -- Denise I hope you don't mind me posting this -- Rebecca)

Denise wrote (and it's fine with me to use either name): 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.

Rebecca responded: 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!

Agreed! Let me see if I can coherently describe my thought process (even if the thoughts themselves are not coherent). My impression is that Hethlin will likely have children fairly quickly once she is married, whether to Elrohir or Imrahil, given the high mortality rate of her military career and the fact that she is last in her father's line. Once she has kids, she will be fairly tied down while they are young, for I can't see Hethlin abdicating the nurturing of her offspring to others. Plus, she’ll probably want to be one of their main trainers! Once they are older (late teens?), however, I see either Imrahil or Elrohir being relaxed about Hethlin resuming her military career and/or traveling north to introduce her heir to the Eagles and her northern kin. This is why I say having kids is the bigger impact to Heth’s career. The difference in husbands is that Elrohir and she could then Ranger together, while Imrahil is mostly tied to Dol Amroth, as you pointed out. Plus, as Imri would get older, I would definitely think that Heth would want to maximize her time spent with him. However, at this point she’s interrupted her career for a significant amount of time for the kids, so I’m happy in my personal bias to have it mostly interrupted until after Imrahil dies. (That’s a pretty cold assessment, isn’t it?) And I'm not too worried about Imri getting old and feeble too quickly. Adrahil was hale and healthy at 89 (in Discretion), only four years before he died. 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.

Whew! I too am glad that Isabeau doesn’t mind these forays into abstract discussions about her characters. And I certainly don't expect answers to every question either, or it's about all Isabeau would have time to do. Not that this will hinder me in any way, because of course...

The kid discussion reminds me of further questions. Where is Heth’s daughter in Fourth Age? Did Heth have other children? And did all of them gain her mind gifts, or just the eldest daughter/son? I remember wondering in CMC if her little brother would have had the gift to speak to Eagles, or if it went to the eldest or heir only. Did her forefathers ever have more than one son to carry on the bloodline?

Denise
Posted:Feb 23, 2006 23:15 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [3] (Repost from Monster Thread)

Denise wrote: My impression is that Hethlin will likely have children fairly quickly once she is married, whether to Elrohir or Imrahil, given the high mortality rate of her military career and the fact that she is last in her father's line.

Aha! I think that's perhaps one source of our differing opinions about what Hethlin will (or should) do. I don't see her having kids for another decade or even two. I think that "taking time off" for kids early in her career would dramatically reduce her chances of making a name for herself and earning the authority to lead through the merits of her military actions.

Career ambitions aside, I also think that Hethlin is quite immature emotionally as yet, not surprising given her history and all the new information about her family that she's got to absorb and come to terms with. I'd rather see her wait until she's got a better idea of who she is and what she wants in life before she introduces other people into her life who will be utterly dependent on her and the decisions she makes for herself.

I don't see her starting a family, for example, until she has met her mother's kin. She has a lot of personal things to sort out for herself about her family. To have children before then would just make it all the more difficult for her to figure out what kind of relationship, if any, she wants to have with her mother's family. I'm sure if she had children sooner rather than later she'd do a fine job -- but I've observed in my friends that having children inevitably meant that they put things about their own development (career, other long-term goals) on hold. And I agree with you Denise, Hethlin is not someone who would leave the raising of her children to nurses and tutors. So she would be caught up in the demanding ever-present of small children. They're relentless and leave you little time or energy for yourself.

It will be one thing for her to step out of solidering for a while to do that if she's an established, respected leader with successful campaigns under her white belt. And also if she already has a good sense of who she is and what she wants to accomplish in life. But she's not someone like Nimrien, whose strengths lay in her sharp academically trained mind. Women can continue to do good work while mothering small children, but the work needs to be able to accommodate the mothering (and vice versa). Hethlin's line of work can't accommodate mothering. And of course Nimrien wasn't trying to make a name for herself anyway (not that we know what she did once married to Imrahil, but I guess I've imagined her continuing on in the supporting diplomatic role we've seen her perform in Ultimatums).

The way I see it, regardless of who she marries, Hethlin shouldn't have kids any time soon if she wants to really make a name for herself as a soldier. Even if she had just two children, one right after the other, she'd have to be out of action for at least three or four years. And really, what mother is going to leave her five and six year olds at home with the servants in order to go off to fight, when her services aren't essential? And she wouldnt' be essential if she'd been out of action for years -- the Swan Knights wouldn't have been reserving a space for her. If she gets to command because she's the Princess of Dol Amroth, and yes is a trained Swan Knight but hasn't seen any action because she's been raising small children, that would render as useless all her struggles for respect as an equal. Sure, she'd command. But not on her own merits.

Whereas if she takes the next decade or two to establish herself (in Dol Amroth, or wherever) she'd have earned herself a position that wouldn't have her on the front lines all the time, and it would be reasonable for her to be involved in planning, etc. even while not fully active because she's raising small children. She could be married quite soon but delay having children. It's not that I think that any husband of Hethlin (whether Imrahil, Elrohir, or anyone else) would hold her back -- obviously anyone who loves her knows what she's about and that's why they love her. 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.

Rebecca
Posted:Feb 23, 2006 23:22 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [4] (Repost from the Monster Thread)

One thing I will be interested in seeing is how Hethlin comes to terms with her mother's kin. Seems to me that there is some reckoning to be done there. Her grandfather has been a bit of an ass, and it remains to be seen if that's an eduring character trait of his or just an unfortunate anomaly where his deceased son-in-law was concerned. He and his wife loved their daughter so much that they couldn't stand up for her and her husband when gossip started to circulate? They loved their daughter so much that they didn't keep in touch with letters over the years -- so that a four-year silence from Anorien would be noted and investigated in its own right, rather than in passing since Litharel was going to be in the area anyway? They loved their daughter so much that, upon discovering that he has a surviving granddaughter, Litharel skulked around behind Hethlin's back trying to figure out if he wanted to know her? I know she has already called him on that, and he has abashedly apologized. But it seems to me that there's a considerable amount of hypocrisy in claiming that you're angry with your son-in-law for taking your beloved daughter away from you, when you hadn't extended the effort to a) make it possible for them to stay, or b) keep in touch with them once they left. I'm surprised, actually, that Litharel is one of Aragorn's trusted men, because his way of handling family matters seems like a rather serious character flaw on his part.

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


 [5] OK, I migrated some of the discussion we had about the merits of Hethlin putting off, or not putting off, child-bearing for a while to this thread, because it seemed relevant to Silver Swan. I left all the Halaran-related discussion, and our other long discussions because they don't seem specifically relevant to Silver Swan. And also because I've been pretty busy lately so time is constrained. I also didn't want to do too much migrating because I didn't want to assume that what I determined to be relevant would be what others think is relevant.

If anyone feels that the things I migrated to the start of this new journal entry don't belong, let Isabeau know and I believe she can remove them... no?

Here's a question I had about Amrothos in Silver Swan that I think was overlooked in the Monster thread: he's very determined to quiz the elves about all manner of things. How much time had he spent in Edhellond? Also, in CMC Amrothos was keen to examine the broken gate of Minas Tirith, and had wanted to know if it had been broken by magical or physical means. I got the impression from that (although obviously just my interpretation, perhaps stemming from my love of science geeks) Amrothos isn't interested in pursuing magic -- is that so?

Oh, one more new organization question, repeating Denise: should Blackbow, CMC, and All Things Hethlin go in this discussion, or will there be other journal topics devoted to stories, ala Isabeau & Altariel's website?

Rebecca
Posted:Feb 25, 2006 09:15 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [6] Rebecca wrote: If anyone feels that the things I migrated to the start of this new journal entry don't belong, let Isabeau know and I believe she can remove them... no?

Yes, I can. But these all look like they're in the right place.

Here's a question I had about Amrothos in Silver Swan that I think was overlooked in the Monster thread: he's very determined to quiz the elves about all manner of things. How much time had he spent in Edhellond?

I don't think any of Imrahil's children have spent much time in Edhellond. 'Chiron has had the most contact. None of them had what Imrahil had, which was a couple of months there when his dreaming gift was out of whack.

And remember, the Elves of Edhellond live in a much different manner than do the Elves of Lorien. I think Amrothos has a childhood fascination with treehouses that never went away...


Also, in CMC Amrothos was keen to examine the broken gate of Minas Tirith, and had wanted to know if it had been broken by magical or physical means. I got the impression from that (although obviously just my interpretation, perhaps stemming from my love of science geeks) Amrothos isn't interested in pursuing magic -- is that so?

That is absolutely correct. As well as being a bit of a salute to Sherlock Holmes, 'Rothos is my representative of the new, rational age of Men that is to come. The passing of the Elves to me is the passing of magic as well. Which idea I really hate, and makes me sad, though the men of 'Rothos' sort are also capable of miracles of another sort. And horrors as well. He may find out a bit about that some day.

Oh, one more new organization question, repeating Denise: should Blackbow, CMC, and All Things Hethlin go in this discussion, or will there be other journal topics devoted to stories, ala Isabeau & Altariel's website?

I started some new threads, as per you folks' suggestions. Does this seem to cover things, or do you want some more? The Monster Thread can always remain as a general forum-I'm going to sift through it a bit at a time, so it should shrink considerably after a while.

Isabeau
Posted:Feb 25, 2006 09:59 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [7] Isabeau wrote: The passing of the Elves to me is the passing of magic as well.

That's how I always interpreted it too.

Which idea I really hate, and makes me sad, though the men of 'Rothos' sort are also capable of miracles of another sort. And horrors as well. He may find out a bit about that some day.

Well... I don't know. Yes, the passing of the Elves is defintely sad, just because it seems that both sides (mortals and immortals) lose. I suppose that the passing of magic in the mortal world is sad too, but I don't see it to be necessarily a bad thing. What is the nature of magic? My best guess is that it was a being's ability to infuse some small part of their will into an aspect of the material world. It would take a powerful, strong being to be able to do that, and that explains, to my satisfaction at least, why most mortal men weren't able to perform magic. The Witch King being a notable exception.

But the thing about infusing, or imposing, some small part of one's will on the material world is that the material world is in a constant state of change, and the imposition of an unchanging self into that dynamic system is going to cause. There are going to be imbalances ultimately. It's this fundamental fact that all of the immortal beings in Tolkien's world have a very hard time coping with. Valinor seems to be a retreat from that, where the Valar have apparently minimized the change that is at the heart of Eru's material creation. The non-immortal living things are actually better aligned with the eternal process of change than the immortal living things are. So the presence of magic in the world imposes things on mortals that constrict them in some ways, I think.

What Amrothos represents, to me at least, is a way for men to gain a higher understanding of the world they live in than what their immediate, non-magical senses can provide. They too can impact their physical environment in ever-increasing and powerful ways. With, as you point out Isabeau, potentially disastrous consequences. But whether for good or bad, the control of the environment will be coming from beings that are part of that dynamic of change, instead of struggling against it. Which to me seems like a good thing.

Rebecca
Posted:Feb 25, 2006 10:32 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [8] Sorry, split a sentence into two when I got up to answer the phone and only saw that it didn't read well after I posted it. First sentence in second paragraph should have read:

But the thing about infusing, or imposing, some small part of one's will on the material world is that the material world is in a constant state of change, and the imposition of an unchanging self into that dynamic system is going to cause imbalances, ultimately.

Sorry for goof!

Rebecca
Posted:Feb 25, 2006 10:36 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [9] What lessons do the esquires do at Dol-Amroth apart form Maths and fighting and acting like a Lord / Lady?

Nargil
Posted:Feb 28, 2006 06:41 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [10] Rebecca said:

(snip of great stuff)

But whether for good or bad, the control of the environment will be coming from beings that are part of that dynamic of change, instead of struggling against it. Which to me seems like a good thing.

I really liked your argument, and I agree.

BUT: There is that fine line Tolkien draws between good and evil magic. He calls the former "Art". And the other is distinguished by imposing one's will by force on other things/beings/phenpmena. And I think the disappearance of Art is what is sad. But as you yourself show with your examples, the Elves themselves sometimes strayed over that lines - most of the time with disastrous results.

My theory frex is that Lórien deteriorates so rapidly after the departure of Galadriel because she kept it beautiful and magical and, yes, unchanging, by means of Nenya. After the Three Rings lose their power, the sudden withdrawal of this stay is like a shock to the wood, like all these centuries catching up at once with the present. In contrast to this I see Eryn Lasgalen. Held without any Rings of Powers, and therefore, despite Dol Guldur and spiders etc. "healthier". IIRC, Elrond used his Ring only sparingly, which would speak for Rivendell better able to accomodate the change after the fall of Sauron.

I like the thought of Amrothos as the representative of the new, rational age of Men.

But to me, it's not Sherlock Holmes that leaps to my mind, but rather the image of the Renaissance-man: highly educated, curious, open for all kinds of knowledge, sciences, arts, looking not only into the future with new discoveries, but also with an eye to preserving what is worthy from the past - Leonardo da Vinci. And "The Machine that changed the World" fits awfully well in this renaissance theme, don't you think?

Imhiriel
Posted:Feb 28, 2006 13:08 GMT  Reply to this Comment

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