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The Best-Loved Son cycle

By:Isabeau
 February, 23 2006

Anything dealing with this cycle of stories can be discussed here: Andra and Boromir as a couple, the Denethor/Imrahil/Andrahar rivalry, the politics of Gondor in the last days of the Third Age.


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53 replies


 [21] Yeah good point, but if Boromir went to dol-amroth it could work, or Andra could go free-lance like he said in kin-strife have a job anywhere then.

Nargil
Posted:Apr 28, 2006 18:39 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [22] I think it could go either way. Imrahil would certainly release Andrahar, but it's true that in some ways it might be easier for Boromir to go to Dol Amroth, particularly if he formally abdicates the Stewardship in favor of his brother.

I was "mulching" this today, as Una puts it, and I really need to get a hold of an on-line timeline-my LOTR omnibus has been missing for a while now. Specifically, I need to know how much time passed between Parth Galen and the Siege of Gondor. I think I could plausibly make a case for Boromir's survival just by tweaking a thing or two-Aragorn gets there sooner, or he's shot, but not so many arrows and nothing horribly vital, and there's a ready supply of athelas... Which isn't unlikely at all since they're at an old Dunadan outpost!

In any event, much of the story would be dictated by the timing-is Denethor still alive when Boromir returns? How does that change things? Will he dare to defy his father? And whether Denethor's alive or not, what would Boromir's state of mind be? I'm thinking not too good. He's foresworn and failed to save Merry and Pippin.

I figure Aragorn would have done his healing thing for Boromir, then he and the others (or perhaps just he and Legolas) would have left to pursue Merry and Pippin. Boromir may be alive, but it's hardly a triumphal return! And foremost in his thoughts, I'm sure would be-what is Andra going to think when he hears?

And here's another cracker-jack scene for you-what would he say when he saw Frodo again?


Posted:Apr 28, 2006 19:25 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [23] Hannah wrote-And Boromirs job was to supply Faramir with wine, Heth with honey-cakes, and keep Andra entertained.

I'm so relieved someone finally figured that out....;-)


Posted:Apr 28, 2006 19:28 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [24] Imhiriel wrote: Not necessarily an objection to your analysis - in fact we do see precious little of a Gondorian cavalry - but they are there. In RotK, The Battle of the Pelennor Fields, it says:

Under the south walls of the City the footmen of Gondor now drove against the legions of Morgul that were still gathered there in strength. But the horsemen rode eastward to the succour of Éomer: Húrin the Tall Warden of the Keys, and the Lord of Lossarnach, and Hirluin of the Green Hills, and Prince Imrahil the fair with his knights all about him.

So Húrin, who lives in MT itself, is especially mentioned among all those other lords from the outlying fiefs as commanding a cavalry troop.

Granted, but if I recollect they also say that they don't have much cavalry and that's why they are really, really hoping the Rohirrim show up. And if you recollect, Gandalf was worried about how Shadowfax would be cared for since the Gondorrim weren't all that good with horses. I've often wondered where they did put all of Imri's chargers, and the other outland lords as well.

I remembered that Forlong was on a horse, though I think for some reason that some of his men were footmen as well. He's always intrigued me, because he almost seems like an Easterling with that big axe. But I'd forgotten about Hirluin. He lives not all that far from Imrahil, I wonder if the two of them worked together with their cavalry, or if perhaps Imrahil had even helped him build his up.(drop-kicks plot-bunny far, far away)



Posted:Apr 29, 2006 09:14 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [25] Iabeau: And here's another cracker-jack scene for you-what would he say when he saw Frodo again?

I guess avoiding Frodo would be a good idea, and Sam and the other hobbits, in fact Avoiding Minas-Tirith would be a good idea.

26th February - Boromir dies

14th March - Minas Tirith besieged

15th March - Denethor dies in early hours

18th March - set off for morannon

I think Andra would be happy he was alive, he still redemed himself by getting shot but lived to tell the tale, depending if Andra thought he was dead it could really mess his head around as well. Particularly with his Brother showing up on the pelannor. Although talking him into getting back together could be fun, Andra takes oaths seriously.

Nargil
Posted:Apr 29, 2006 09:45 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [26] I have nothing against your making Imrahil and the Swannies fine horsemen - it makes sense to me, and would, I believe, be in line with Tolkien's intent.

Who would Denethor have allied with against Sauron? It's true that his options were limited. But what bugs me is that there is no mention of his ever even trying to ally with anyone else. Denethor knew quite early in his Stewardship, through palantir-viewing, that Sauron was going to make a major attempt to conquer Middle-earth within his lifetime, and that it was at Gondor that the hammer would fall. He knew (or should have known) that Gondor was under-populated, under-manned, and that the Enemy had an unknown and possibly greater number of orcs, with Corsairs (whewn they eventually rebuilt their ships; Thank You, Thorongil) and Southrons and Easterlings happy to add to the ranks.

Denethor could have tried to at least coordinate some mutual defense buildups with the Men and Dwarves and Elves of Dale; Dale and Laketown were prosperous and had, I believe, some good archers. Denethor could have tried to contact the Dunedain of the North; to at least find out how many were left, and if some of them might like to come live in the warmer and more civilised Gondor and swell the ranks of the frontline defense against Sauron; or at least sought them out to see how they were faring against the orcs up north. And Denethor knew who Elrond was. Don't you think, in Denethor's shoes, you might have at least sought the counsel of the fellow who was Gil-Galad's herald the last time the West battled Sauron?

And Gandalf. Gandalf could have been a tremendous resource. Denethor could have put aside his resentment and tried to cultivate the wizard's goodwill and pick his brain; and at least use him as an envoy to parts of Middle-earth the Steward couldn't personally visit.

More Gondorian cavalry, as I said: One of Sauron's few weaknessses was a lack of cavalry. If Denethor had started working with Theoden 30 years earlier on a joint program of training and intensified breeding, they might have added several hundred more horsemen at least...

Denethor could also have continued his father's policy of opening Gondor's ranks to talented foreigners. He needed men of ability and skill.

And what about trying to find some Elves, or even a Wizard, to beef up the gates of Minas Tirith by laying on a magic spell, or runes of protection or something; since Denethor knew that Sauron, a big bad Dark Lord with tremendous sorcerous powers, was going to be sending his minions to knock on it?

Now it could well have been that none of this would have prevented the forces of Mordor from breaching the Great Gate - but what bothers me is that Denethor didn't even attempt any of these efforts. He trusted himself, his ability to wrest secrets from Sauron via palantir, and the might of Gondor. And he should have known that it wouldn't be enough...

RAKSHA

Raksha The Demon
Posted:May 4, 2006 04:22 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [27] Great food for thought, Raksha. A lot of it seems to suggest that Denethor had fallen into a very isolationist mindset - an effect of palantir-induced paranoia?

One thing I wondered was whether communications would have been good enough to allow initiating alliances beyond Gondor's immediate boundaries. My impression from RotK is that communications even with Rohan have become sporadic and difficult: "And others, as ever, looked north and counted the leagues to Théoden in Rohan. 'Will he come? Will he remember our old alliance?' they said."

Altariel
Posted:May 4, 2006 06:35 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [28] And what about getting more people. Imrahil has nearly as many troops as Denethor and much less area to get them from!

Also, the Gondorian's may not have wanted more horses, they have the Swan knights, Rohan and a company or two in Minas-Tirith. The amount of foder required to support a large number of horses through a siege is incredible, a horse eats two hay nets full of hay a day (a hay-net is about the size of a beanbag) so that means you need a thousand beanbags of hay for every day you want all the Swan knights in Minas Tirith, it takes up a lot of room, plus all the hard feed like oats.

I'm supprised they didn't have more archers, the Ithilien company is small but highly effectiveand very usefull to shoot people who try and get over the walls, also in the books the Gondorian's didn't have any good catapults, there where none that could reach as far as the ones the ORCS built.

Archers and catapults were well within Denethor's skill to provide. It's not hard to teach a mant to shoot well enough to hit targets in the quantity that Sauron provoded and Amrothos could have created catapults, I bet Dol-Amroth is better fortified.

Nargil
Posted:May 4, 2006 09:18 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [29] Nargil said:

The amount of foder required to support a large number of horses through a siege is incredible, a horse eats two hay nets full of hay a day (a hay-net is about the size of a beanbag) so that means you need a thousand beanbags of hay for every day you want all the Swan knights in Minas Tirith, it takes up a lot of room, plus all the hard feed like oats.

That's why I suggested that MT itself has only a little troop of cavalry because the food produced on the Pelennor Fields is required to feed the big city, and can't be easily spared for horses.

MT is the largest city, being the capital, so other cities like Dol Amroth, Pelargir, Lebennin etc. presumably have fewer people to feed with the arable land round about.

I'm supprised they didn't have more archers, the Ithilien company is small but highly effectiveand very usefull to shoot people who try and get over the walls, also in the books the Gondorian's didn't have any good catapults, there where none that could reach as far as the ones the ORCS built.

Archers and catapults were well within Denethor's skill to provide. It's not hard to teach a mant to shoot well enough to hit targets in the quantity that Sauron provoded and Amrothos could have created catapults, I bet Dol-Amroth is better fortified.

Especially as the Númenóreans were famous and feared for their great steel bows. One has to assume that the art of shooting with them has fallen into decline, or is at least not kept up to par to cope with the current threat.

Imhiriel
Posted:May 4, 2006 15:18 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [30] Imhiriel said: Especially as the Númenóreans were famous and feared for their great steel bows. One has to assume that the art of shooting with them has fallen into decline, or is at least not kept up to par to cope with the current threat.

or they ran out of steel, to make a bow it would have to be high quality, probably sea steel


Posted:May 4, 2006 15:34 GMT  Reply to this Comment
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