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Isabeau's Journal
The place to discuss my stories and other Tolkien-related topics.



Hethlin of Anorien

 February, 25 2006

I know CMC's a done deal, but since I intend to give it a thorough editing in the future, I'll include it in this thread, as well as make this a place for any other Heth questions not appropriate for the Silver Swan thread.

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162 replies

 [41] Nargil asked: have you been editing the later chapters, some bits seem different to how I remember them?

Not yet, Nargil, or rather I haven't uploaded them, though I've been tweaking the first chapters on my PC.

As far as my favorite goes, I'd have to say it was Faramir at first until Imrahil walked on to the scene. But hey, I'm flexible-I can love two guys at once...

Posted:Apr 25, 2006 20:58 GMT  Reply to this Comment

 [42] Hi Isabeau,

I don't know why this popped into my head today but I want to add a P.S. to my earlier post about orange-colored things in medieval Europe, and by extension in Middle Earth. When I started to write this post I'd assumed that carrots had been around in Europe for a long time, but then I figured I'd better check my facts a bit more, and it turns out they didn't make it from Central Asia to Europe until about the 15th century or so. So Europeans really didn't have any orange fruits or vegetables to hand until the arrival of, first, oranges, and then, carrots! Nevertheless I'm assuming there are carrots in Middle Earth; surely Sam's stews would feature carrots, wouldn't they? Anyway, just popped in to offer that tidbit of scintillating trivia!

Posted:May 10, 2006 15:54 GMT  Reply to this Comment

 [43] They certainley would have had copper, maybe "a bright copper coloured fruit" also I presume the odd person had red hair, although that is copper or red rather than orange, with all the trade in silk etc maybe orange was a cloth colour

Posted:May 10, 2006 16:50 GMT  Reply to this Comment

 [44] "Before we entered into the Citadel proper, I shook my two supports off, and hissed at them, Say nothing of this! You know the Lord Denethor-hell keep Lord Faramir on his feet half the night like an erring child, questioning all his actions, berating him for what he cannot help-that he is not more like his brother Boromir. Hell get no rest at all if he is worried for any of us.

This is from the first chapter of CMC, and when I was looking at the revised edition, it struck me that maybe I should bring up here what I've always wondered whenever I've reread the chapter - how does Hethlin know this pattern of behavior between Denethor and Faramir? It's not something that either the Steward or either of his sons would discuss with the Rangers. And what Hethlin is speaking of - Denethor keeping Faramir on his feet half the night (which is very typical Denethor, it seems to me) - would not take place in front of the Rangers. Is the Citadel filled with gossips who transmit the information all the way to Ithilien?

Just being a killjoy here. It's still a great, scene-setting chapter.

Posted:May 13, 2006 08:17 GMT  Reply to this Comment

 [45] Oh, this would not take place in front of the Rangers. But the Citadel is filled with servants and no matter how 'discreet' Denethor is, stuff like this gets noticed. Since the Rangers have relatives in the City and probably under the servants as well ( sisters or mothers working as chambermaids, in the kitchen etc.) they will have heard of this and talk to their brothers, fathers and uncles. You can't keep secrets like this from the guards and gossips.

Posted:May 13, 2006 19:53 GMT  Reply to this Comment

 [46] I'm inclined to agree with obsidianj-in Lossarnach Yule the fact that Faramir doesn't have his father's favor is common knowledge even in Lossarnach! I also think you may have to lay some blame at Mablung's feet. He's been around long enough and at a high enough level to have seen some of this, as have Angrim (Angrim certainly, since he's basically Denethor's man!)and some of the other senior Rangers. And their love and respect for their Captain being what it is, I imagine they're none too happy about it and they discuss it among themselves from time to time.

Now I may be a bit non-canonical with my Faramir in his stand-offishness, but the way I see it is that while all of his Rangers follow him gladly, there is nonetheless a small core of officers and others that are the inner circle, as it were, that he lets a little closer than the rest. And Heth and Lorend, despite the fact that they're not officers, are in that inner circle. So Mablung may have talked about it to them. Lorend, despite his cavalier ways, is very capable of keeping a confidence, as is Hethlin. And Lorend and Hethlin might actually have been privy to at least example at one time or the other-they are the two whom Faramir choses to use as couriers most often because they're good riders. They could very well have escorted him to Minas Tirith on other occasions besides the opening in CMC. Certainly Hethlin seems wary of the Steward for some reason.

I can see why you would question it, Raksha, but it just doesn't feel like a plot hole to me.:-)

Posted:May 13, 2006 22:33 GMT  Reply to this Comment

 [47] I agree that in any society like Gondor's, the relationships of its highborn will be public knowledge. People are interested in that stuff, whether it's a feudal-type society or the modern world of today.

It seems to me that, in addition to their riding abilities, Loren and Hethlin's relative intimacy with Faramir might also be due to the fact that they are both literate. Lorend, it seems, has had some exposure to material wealth and also possibly aspects of sophisticated culture like literature. And Hethlin is sufficiently literate that Faramir can teach her to read in a foreign language (Elvish). Despite their youth and inexperience, is it possible that Lorend and Hethlin might be part of the small group of people in Faramir's inner circle because they can "get" him to some extent? For all the Hethlin thinks of herself as a rough country bumpkin, her literacy surely must set her apart from the average Anorien homesteader or rank-and-file Ithilien Ranger.

Or do you see literacy as being more common in Gondor, Isabeau? I think we were discussng this earlier in the Monster Thread, although I can't recall what the answer was. I was wondering how it was that Hethlin didn't already know that her parents were probably high-born, or at least more so than their neighbors in Anorien, given their education and the fact that they made sure that Hethlin was at least minimally educated.

Posted:May 14, 2006 11:19 GMT  Reply to this Comment

 [48] Did she even think about it? She lived in a very secluded area with her parents. The few times she visited the shop/inn with her father I can't see her ability to read and do numbers coming up.

When she met Faramir's rangers, she probably noticed that her abilities were unusual, but then she knew that her father was from the Northern Dunedain. Maybe she thought literacy was more common in the North among the rangers there.


Posted:May 14, 2006 17:05 GMT  Reply to this Comment

 [49] That's possible -- I guess it depends on a) how Isabeau envisions Anorien/Gondor in terms of how educated the common folk were, and b) what Hethlin's childhood was like. Did she have no friends or playmates her own age -- never? Were trips to the inn so very rare? That in and of itself would make her rather unusual, seems like.

But even if she never had playmates and trips to the inn were rare, they would have stayed overnight when they did go, and the fact that Halaran's daughter could read probably would have come to light in the course of eating a couple of meals and hanging out on the porch for a bit -- reading or writing a list, or a receipt... or whatever.

As for once she was among the rangers, there's what Hethlin might have assumed about her skills (and maybe she did make that assumption about the northern Dunedain), and then there's what Faramir would have observed. I realize that the Gondorians didn't have a lot of knowledge about their northern kin at that time, but surely Faramir would have perceived that Hethlin's education was unusual.

Anyway, regardless of whether or not her literacy could have or should have been a clue to Hethlin and others about her family's status, I would imagine literacy would have given her (and Lorend) something in common with Faramir that would have made it easier for him to relate to them, thus accounting for their rather intimate knowledge of Faramir's relationship with his father. Unless it was the case that all or most rangers could read -- and maybe they could. Gondor had fallen since the days of its Numenorean founders, but maybe not *that* much. Maybe Gondor and Anorien aren't similar to pre-modern Europe in that regard?

Posted:May 14, 2006 19:27 GMT  Reply to this Comment

 [50] Somehow it struck me that the in-keeper already thought of Hethlin as odd, at one point they describe her as running around in those raggedy breaches with narry a dress to your name, or somthing like that I don't know the exact quote. But anyway compared to that perhaps reading and writing isn't that unusual, and the in-keeper would have been able to read and write so perhaps it never struck him as strange anyway.

And among the rangers it was probably no issue, some of them could read, some of them couldn't it didn't stop them being good soldiers, Heth makes a comment to Imrahil at one point that you don't need anything like the level of education a swan knight needs to be a captain in the rangers, they're good at other stuff, anything written down could have been found by they enemy and given them away so they probably didn't write much stuff down anyway.

I often wondered if sending Faramir to Henneth-Annun was a kind of punnishment to his scholarly son from Denethor, he and Heth are probably close because she can read, and so they can discuss books, it must have been torture for him to be kept away from the library

Posted:May 15, 2006 04:45 GMT  Reply to this Comment
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