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The place to discuss my stories and other Tolkien-related topics.
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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


 [21] Hi!

I think you are bashing Denethor to much, particulary when he was younger. Compare him to Saruman for example. I always felt that he (Denethor) should decline gradually from the influence of using the palantir. From Tolkiens writings I assume that it's not until after Boromir has left for Imladris that Denethor studies the palantir too often and is finally infected by Sauron. He off course finally cracks completely during the siege of Minas Tirith. However he just goes mad he does not turn to evil. His biggest mistake was that he figured he was strong enough for the palantir. For a comparison even Aragon had a real hard time with the orthanc stone. See TTT.

In your universe he seems too nasty to have ever have gotten married to Finduilas.

Rikard Gadell
Posted:Sep 26, 2006 15:33 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [22] Rikard wrote: I think you are bashing Denethor to much, particulary when he was younger.

Hi Rikard! Thanks for joining the discussion. Is there a specific story you think I do this in, or more than one? Because I do try to make Denethor a little mellower in his younger incarnation, but it's true that I've never seen him as anything other than reserved and authorative.

From Tolkiens writings I assume that it's not until after Boromir has left for Imladris that Denethor studies the palantir too often and is finally infected by Sauron.

That's where we differ, because I think he was studying it a lot longer than that. And I think there's a passage in HoME that would corroborate me but I'd have to find the right volume and it all depends on if you even think HoME is canonical anyway.

He off course finally cracks completely during the siege of Minas Tirith. However he just goes mad he does not turn to evil.

Attempted murder is an evil act, though it can be excused by insanity even in this day and age. I never said he turned to evil-I'm with Tolkien in that his sin is that he loses hope and give in to despair.

His biggest mistake was that he figured he was strong enough for the palantir. For a comparison even Aragon had a real hard time with the orthanc stone.

We're in absolute agreement there. So you could say his other sin was hubris. Of all Tolkien's characters, he'd be right at home in a Greek tragedy.

In your universe he seems too nasty to have ever have gotten married to Finduilas.

I think that perhaps Finduilas saw a side of him that he didn't show to many people. But you're absolutely right that I don't like Denethor. I do try to be fair to the man-I don't think he was the total incompetent Jackson made him out to be in the movies, but I do think he made a big mistake in relying upon his own judgement and the information given him by the palantir and not reaching out more to allies. It's a personal thing-if you're a major Denethor apologist, you probably won't like my stories.

If you've looked at the original versions of the story in HoME, Denethor is a much more likeable individual. He doesn't have the antagonistic relationship with Faramir. Tolkien changes that deliberately to where it stands in the final version. His Denethor is formidable, but flawed.

On the other hand, my Boromir is probably too nice when compared with cannon Boromir.



Posted:Sep 26, 2006 18:56 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [23] I think you have it about right, I've seen some versions where he's too nice and others that make the movie Denethor look like Faramir's best friend.

When he was younger he seems like a very stern young man but one who obviously loved his family, as you said a man with many sides too him, he's very concious of his role as Gondor's leader but also sees Imrahil with his flamboyant and rather more easy going nature as a threat. Denethor is someone people respect because He's good at his job. Imrahil is someone who is also likeable and he looks like he will also be good at his job, somthing you show really well in Ultimatums, also Imrahil is a Prince, He'll keep his power when the king comes back and even at this stage Denethor may know more about Throngil than he's letting on.

When Findulias dies he falls into grief, my theory is that this is when he started to use the palantir maybe to see his wife again, then he realises it's uses, at this stage the artifact could seem rather harmless, Denethor thinks he has enough will power to control it but subtilly the power shifts and the palantir takes control, maybe he doesn't even notice at first and when he does that's when the battles start, he's too dependant to give up on the palantir but now it has a hold on his mind he maybe can't find it.

At the end he falls into dispair like you said but he still loves his son's his grief for Boromir when he meets Gandalf and Pippin show that, he sends Faramir back to the forts, and Faramir proved he could lead his men and get them home, perhaps he reminded Denethor of Boromir or even himself when he'd been Captain General. Then whe the despair really sets in he gives up he tries to save his son from a worse fate by burning him to death, not a very wise move but I think done in a warped way from love.

That my rather long winded way of saying I think you have it about right, as for Boromir, your Boromir explains cannon Boromir perfectly, He's trying to save his country protect his Brother from a Father who's just told him he can't be with the man he loves and that he's got to marry a girl he doesn't even though. In short the guy is desperate, like you said in Discovery he has nothing left to loose.

Nargil
Posted:Sep 27, 2006 10:03 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [24] That's where we differ, because I think he was studying it a lot longer than that. And I think there's a passage in HoME that would corroborate me but I'd have to find the right volume and it all depends on if you even think HoME is canonical anyway.

I agree with Isabeau. Not only because of the statements in UT I quote below (don't know about any additional ones in HoMe), but also because it seems fairly improbable to me that someone as strong as Denethor should decline so rapidly in the course of just one year. Even his concern about Boromir (who, as a soldier, was after all accustomed to peril) wouldn't account for that, especially as he couldn't be sure his mission was doomed until news of his death arrived with the shards and Faramir's vision at the beginning of March.

It's made clear it's not a definitive statement, but in UT is made speculation about just when Denethor began using the palantķr.

I quote only some passages of the pertinent text (UT Part IV, III):

"...for when and why Denethor had dared to use the Stone was and remains a matter of conjecture. (...) but it is probable, considering Denethor and what is said about him, that he began to use the Anor-stone many years before 3019. (...) His 'grimness' was first observable to others after his wife Finduilas died in 2988, but it seems fairly plain that he had at once turned to the Stone as soon as he came to power, having long studied the matter pof the palantiķrie and the traditions regarding them and their use preseved in the special archives of the Stewards, available beside the Ruling Steward only to his heir."

but I do think he made a big mistake in relying upon his own judgement and the information given him by the palantir and not reaching out more to allies.

A view that is shared by Tolkien, in LotR itself, in Appendix A, in the essay about the palantķri in UT, and in Letter # 183 & 244.

On the other hand, my Boromir is probably too nice when compared with cannon Boromir.

I don't think we can be sure of that. By the time Boromir appears in the books, he is under considerable strain, which is further worsenend in the course of the journey of the Fellowship due to the influence of the Ring. I don't think there is evidence either way how he would have behaved privately, with Faramir, or his soldiers, so IMO, you have a broad range of valid characterisations.

BTW, while rummaging in UT in search of the above quotes, I came upn a passage that relates to an earlier discussion in one of the threads:

re: The attack on Osgiliath in 3018:
"Thus Sauron tested the strength and preparedness of Denethor, and found them more than he had hoped." (UT Part Three, IV (i))

Imhiriel


Posted:Sep 27, 2006 21:47 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [25] I was rereading Blackbow, and I think I noticed a discrepancy. In Blackbow, Mablung refers to Damrod as his fellow lieutenant, but in Discovery, Faramir asks for lieutenancies for Damrod and Anborn. Which is right?

Obsessive nitpicking is what comes from me rereading at random : )

Inwai
Posted:Feb 25, 2007 16:33 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [26] Inwai wrote (also a very long time ago-definite shame spiral going here)I was rereading Blackbow, and I think I noticed a discrepancy. In Blackbow, Mablung refers to Damrod as his fellow lieutenant, but in Discovery, Faramir asks for lieutenancies for Damrod and Anborn. Which is right?

Obsessive nitpicking is what comes from me rereading at random : )

I'll get back to you on that eventually, after I go over both parts and fix it one way or the other. Thanks for catching that one!


Posted:Apr 2, 2007 19:38 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [27] No problem, little things like that drive me crazy. I spend more time worrying about details in my stories than actually, you know, writing!

Inwai
Posted:Apr 12, 2007 16:49 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [28] LOL! You are going to have to revise the description of this forum, since Blackbow is no longer an "eternal work in progress"!

And what a very fitting end - I especially enjoyed seeing the reason behind Hethlin's reputation as a mūmak-slayer, and her Blackbow epessė.

Congratulations, Isabeau! I'm sure you feel very relieved to cross the story off your list of WIPs. ;-)

Well done!

- Barbara


Posted:Oct 8, 2009 19:45 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [29] Erm, that was me, Elena Tiriel....

- Barbara

Elena Tiriel
Posted:Oct 8, 2009 19:47 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [30] Elena wrote: LOL! You are going to have to revise the description of this forum, since Blackbow is no longer an "eternal work in progress"!

Wow! You're right! I've got the odd bit of cleaning up to do on the story as well.

And what a very fitting end - I especially enjoyed seeing the reason behind Hethlin's reputation as a mūmak-slayer, and her Blackbow epessė.

Congratulations, Isabeau! I'm sure you feel very relieved to cross the story off your list of WIPs. ;-)

Well done!

Thanks so much! Of all of the WIPS, this one and Passages were the ones I was clearest about how to end. I'll probably finish Passages next, then try to tackle Kin-strife and Ultimatums. Probably in that order, but you never know...

I was reflecting back yesterday about how this story was the first time I'd written Boromir, and how he just strolled onstage and took over. He really was never intended to be so centrally involved in everything, but since he stuck his nose in, I think it's appropriate that the last word was his as well.

Gronyats had commented upon his "I think I'm in love," comment, wondering if perhaps he might very well have proposed to Heth had he returned. It's hard to say. In an AU situation where his father was alive, it's a possibility. Now whether she would have accepted is another matter. Elrohir might have had something to say about her binding herself in such a sham of a marriage. Had Denethor been dead, it would not have arisen-Boromir would have continued his relationship with Andra. Besides, in an AU, anyone can live or die, and I could have cleared the way of a certain Rohirric impediment so that Heth could be with her Captain!


Isabeau
Posted:Oct 8, 2009 23:16 GMT  Reply to this Comment
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