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Blackbow and the Ithilien Rangers

By:Isabeau
 February, 25 2006

The place to discuss this eternal WIP. Also a good place for Ranger questions. Suggestions upon ways to get Faramir's shirt off in the next chapters are also appreciated.


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36 replies


 [1] I recently re-read Blackbow, and Denise's questions about the story reminded me of a question I wanted to ask for a long time:

Is there ever an explanation why there's no proper healer in Henneth Annn, at least as far back as 3015?

It seems to me as there should be one - it is the easternmost outpost of Gondor, on the forefront of Mordor; it stations a big company of Rangers; it's under the command of the Steward's son, the Captain of the Rangers; the Gondorian forces are undermanned as it is and should thus husband their strengths. And furthermore, as Mablung is second-in-command, it would seem as though he has to make extra time if his skills as stitcher and improvised healer are needed (as you write in ch.1).

Is this/will this ever be more fully explained (e.g. in the continuation to Blackbow *hint, hint* *g*)?

Thoughts I had about it that could explain it a bit:

- It has to do with Denethor's deteriorating stewardship as further evidenced by Faramir's more-or-less underhand dealings with Imrahil re: supplies (in Blackbow), or the neglect of the repairing of the Rammas Echor (in RotK)

- Lore is neglected in favour of training soldiers as we know from the books, so perhaps educations in medicine (or other sciences) is limited resulting in a dearth of able personnel across the whole width of the kingdom, and people have to muddle through as they can

I'm curious if I'm even close to the mark.

Imhiriel
Posted:Feb 25, 2006 17:54 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [2] Suggestions upon ways to get Faramir's shirt off in the next chapters are also appreciated.

Well, he is still injured. Secondary infection needing attention? Sponge baths? Something spilled on the shirt? Someone else needs it (to wear, as bandage/sling, to carry something)? Nice sunny day and he decides to sunbathe after his long recuperation?

I better stop thinking about it or I won't be sleeping well tonight... :) But nothing terribly original comes to mind, I'm afraid.

Denise
Posted:Feb 26, 2006 03:18 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [3] Re: Imhiriel's healer question. When just rereading Blackbow, I noticed that Faramir and Boromir noted (in conversation with Esteven about the medical supplies) that when Boromir's men are injured, he sends them up to Minas Tirith's healers. So it doesn't sound like the regular army has many - if any - healers, either.

Denise
Posted:Feb 26, 2006 03:24 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [4] Denise makes a good point about the healers. I got the sense that the practice of medicine is rather formal, preferably done in a designated space (like, obviously, in the Houses of Healing). Maybe this is too much of a stretch, but if the Elves believe that one cannot be a warrior and a healer at the same time is it likely, or at least possible, that Gondorian healers would take the same stance, or some variation thereof? That is, if one is a healer first, one cannot be a warrior as well, under any circumstances?

If so, those who practice healing arts -- like Mablung, or for that matter Aragorn -- need not identify themselves first and foremost as healers, perhaps in fact they don't even feel they have the right to that title at all. And probably those who hold the title of "healer" would not feel that those who bear arms can be called healers.

It would be difficult to have a healer, someone who does not shed blood as a matter of principle, out on the front. He or she would have to remain in the safety of the cave all the time, because once the Rangers ventured out of their hideaway they had to be armed and ready to fight. Can't imagine a healer wanting to sign up for that.

So what you end up with in Henneth Annn is the Middle Earth equivalent of an EMT -- someone with a not-insignificant amount of healing knowledge and skill, but who can only do so much given the limitations of the facility and goods at his disposal, and who doesn't view himself as a proper "healer" (or in our parlance, credentialed doctor)? It would be great if we could have doctors riding in every ambulance that goes out on call, but there aren't enough doctors for that, and most would not feel they can work properly at the scene or in the back of an ambulance. It's not just a question of resources (although it is that), it's also what medical professionals believe about the necessary prerequisites for doing the work they do. ...?

Or maybe not. I just hate to blame Denethor for everything!

Rebecca
Posted:Feb 26, 2006 10:06 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [5] That makes sense, Rebecca, but then the Swan Knights have Cuilast. But they seem to do things a bit different on the coast - I get the impression from bits that Isabeau has written that Imrahil is a rather practical sort who doesn't let tradition get in his way. Maybe adding healers to the SK was relatively recent? Plus, I just realized that their patrol area is probably much larger than Ithilien or Gondor proper - so there may be no reliable place to take injured knights to recover. (At least the Rangers had Henneth Annun.) All leading to more emphasis on care in the field for them?

Denise
Posted:Feb 26, 2006 14:30 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [6] That makes sense, Rebecca, but then the Swan Knights have Cuilast

Obviously I'm totally guessing about all of this but the point I was driving at earlier is that perhaps there were no healers in Henneth Annn because it wasn't an area that a healer would be willing to work in. Or at least that was part of the reason (Denethor's neglect aside)? If my assumptions about healers not shedding blood, etc. are correct, the lack of a healer in HA is explained by the conditions a healer is able (or willing) to work under -- Ithilien was too dangerous for anyone, even a healer, to go about unarmed. The Swan Knights' usual stomping ground does not include places where one must be on constant high alert against orc attacks. A healer could go about with the Swan Knights unarmed and be reasonably safe. Not so in Ithilien before the Ring War.

It's perhaps related to the point I was trying to make about Andrahar's judgement of Hethlin for failing to keep Imrahil safe in the orc attack. When orcs are involved the dangers are not comparable to those posed by brigands or pirates.

Rebecca
Posted:Feb 26, 2006 15:34 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [7] Imrhiriel wrote: Is there ever an explanation why there's no proper healer in Henneth Annn, at least as far back as 3015?

It seems to me as there should be one - it is the easternmost outpost of Gondor, on the forefront of Mordor; it stations a big company of Rangers; it's under the command of the Steward's son, the Captain of the Rangers; the Gondorian forces are undermanned as it is and should thus husband their strengths. And furthermore, as Mablung is second-in-command, it would seem as though he has to make extra time if his skills as stitcher and improvised healer are needed (as you write in ch.1).

Is this/will this ever be more fully explained (e.g. in the continuation to Blackbow *hint, hint* *g*)?

Thoughts I had about it that could explain it a bit:

- It has to do with Denethor's deteriorating stewardship as further evidenced by Faramir's more-or-less underhand dealings with Imrahil re: supplies (in Blackbow), or the neglect of the repairing of the Rammas Echor (in RotK)

- Lore is neglected in favour of training soldiers as we know from the books, so perhaps educations in medicine (or other sciences) is limited resulting in a dearth of able personnel across the whole width of the kingdom, and people have to muddle through as they can

I'm curious if I'm even close to the mark.

Even though I'm not a big Denethor fan, I can't blame him for everything. Not sure exactly how many Rangers there are total in Ithilien-I think the number is about 200, or at least 200 in Faramir's main company. That's not a lot of men, really, and Denethor may think that they don't just don't rate a healer.

Tolkien I think mentions in ROTK that the Gondorians have not fallen far from the height of their healing knowledge, but he doesn't say anything about the numbers of people with that skill. It's not unreasonable to assume that with the failing of Gondor in general, and all those empty houses, that there aren't as many doctors around. And I think there may be some truth to your assertion about the emphasis on soldiers-it ties in nicely with what Faramir tells the hobbits.


Isabeau
Posted:Feb 26, 2006 21:32 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [8] Denise wrote: That makes sense, Rebecca, but then the Swan Knights have Cuilast. But they seem to do things a bit different on the coast - I get the impression from bits that Isabeau has written that Imrahil is a rather practical sort who doesn't let tradition get in his way.

Definitely. Andrahar's pretty open minded as well-at least where things other than Hethlin are concerned.

Maybe adding healers to the SK was relatively recent?

No, I think it's been that way for a while. Kendrion also served in a military capacity like Cuilast.

Plus, I just realized that their patrol area is probably much larger than Ithilien or Gondor proper - so there may be no reliable place to take injured knights to recover. (At least the Rangers had Henneth Annun.) All leading to more emphasis on care in the field for them?

Cuilast doesn't always go into the field with the Knights, though he will if they're going way off into Western Gondor or something. More often than not, they bring their wounded home to him. Liahan is not the only Swan Knight who knows a bit of leech-craft-they all get some basics as a matter of course. Liahan, like Mablung, is capable of quite a bit more.

Dol Amroth has a tradition of trying to retain the arts of Numenor, and the medical arts are certainly part of that. Kendrion was very respected in his time, and Cuilast is getting a reputation.


Isabeau
Posted:Feb 27, 2006 22:37 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [9] Isabeau: Suggestions upon ways to get Faramir's shirt off in the next chapters are also appreciated.

Denise: Well, he is still injured. Secondary infection needing attention? Sponge baths? Something spilled on the shirt? Someone else needs it (to wear, as bandage/sling, to carry something)? Nice sunny day and he decides to sunbathe after his long recuperation?

Ooh, good ones!

Altariel
Posted:Feb 28, 2006 06:34 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [10] Isabeau:Suggestions upon ways to get Faramir's shirt off in the next chapters are also appreciated.

Go for a swim in the Anduin, Have a shower under the waterfall, get a cut somewhere that necesitates the removal of the shirt in order to treat it, take it off to put on sombody else, get it stuck on a branch and tear it off...............

Does Andra or any of the other swan nights ever go to Henneth Annun and does Heth ever run into him in her Ranger days? Also is he any good at archery?

Nargil
Posted:Feb 28, 2006 06:38 GMT  Reply to this Comment
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