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Reconciliation

By:Dwimordene
 May, 4 2007

A journal for discussion of the story "Reconciliation."

   ~~~

Just what the hook says. I will try actually to reply to any comments in this journal.


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60 replies


 [51] I'd like to join Denise in thanking you, Dwim, for this really fascinating and believable extrapolation of Haradric belief in general and how it pertains to Andra in particular. I, too, especially appreciate the "in-Arda"-explanation.

And why does Haradric honor demand the suicide/death of a lord's avenger anyway (re: Andra's thoughts/statements in Kin-Strife)? Would Andra somehow incur dishonor by killing someone who has caused Imrahil's death? Or, since Andra's blood oath is based on him owing his life to Imrahil, does his life have no value once Imrahil is gone? I admit I've never been clear on the reasoning behind his commitment to that line of thought.

Here, I am reminded of real historical examples - Japanese Samurai. When their master died, they became ronin, or outcast. They were supposed to avenge their master and then commit ritual suicide.

To me, it seems to fit quite well into Andrahar's mindset.

Imhiriel


Posted:Jul 19, 2007 15:35 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [52] Imhiriel suggested Japanese Samurai.

Ahhhhh... Yes, that does fit very well!

I'm wondering, though, what was the social reasoning behind that custom? Why outcast once their master was dead? Are they considered "bound" or "owned" by their lord for all time, or could they leave a master for some acceptable reasons, as Andra almost does in "Kin-Strife" after saving Imrahil's life? It's hard for me to wrap my brain around this, it being so radically different from a modern Westernized mindset.

Um, well, I may be getting a bit too entranced by details in what is, after all, a fictional character and religion, but combing through Andrahar's psyche is so interesting...

Denise
Posted:Jul 19, 2007 17:54 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [53] Hi Denise and Imhiriel –

Re: In-Arda justifications –

I'm a big fan of those! Particularly for the Haradrim and other nations of Men, this, more than the Orcs or what not, is where one becomes uncomfortably aware of the colonial influence and color-coding in Tolkien. How to handle that in fanfiction is always difficult, and especially given the current political situation, it becomes even more a matter of delicate negotiation between using images that have too much resonance with 'orientalist' mindsets and images that have no obvious relationship with anything Tolkien seems to have indicated.

I loved this in particular about the Haradrim: "[A] people marked by a shattering encounter with the divine." I've not seen it described that way before (although self-evident when I think about it), but it makes the subsequent development of their society within the Unabeauverse very logical…

It is something that stays in the background until one starts thinking about it – we get easily fixed on the represented society and explicit beliefs or contents of belief, and it is not as easy to go back from those to speculate about what manner of underlying relationship with the divine and the world is expressed in the society and those beliefs.

Would Andra have considered Elya's suicide an appropriate Haradric response to the injustice he was suffering? I have the feeling the answer is yes, but I might be misreading that section.

Basically, yes. Andrahar's ambivalence in chapter 12 derives not from any opposition in principle, but to the manner in which Elethil went about his failed attempt. Essentially, he didn't think it was well done on Elethil's part. He didn't do it 'properly', according to Andrahar's sensibilities. Otherwise, Andrahar did explicitly identify something he thought was appropriate in Elethil's reaction: he saw it as a way of saying "I am worthy of respect – when all others fail me, I will preserve my dignity by acting on what is most basic in a warrior."

Of course, he also thinks the Gondorian sense of the unnaturalness or exceptionality of suicide is sentimental rubbish that masks something essential about a warrior's nature, and which makes for much unnecessary pain and confusion.

And why does Haradric honor demand the suicide/death of a lord's avenger anyway (re: Andra's thoughts/statements in Kin-Strife)? Would Andra somehow incur dishonor by killing someone who has caused Imrahil's death? Or, since Andra's blood oath is based on him owing his life to Imrahil, does his life have no value once Imrahil is gone?

Well, I had always read the situation in "Kin-strife" as the latter scenario. Andrahar is required by his oath to serve Imrahil and save his life, returning life for life. If Imrahil were to die before Andrahar could discharge his debt, then that same debt would require him to avenge Imrahil if he could, and then kill himself for his failure, to atone and so to preserve his own honor.

I'm afraid I don't know much about the particulars of the lord-samurai bond, other than that ronin were supposed to kill themselves after avenging their lord. So I can't hazard a guess as to how that whole revenge-suicide cycle was supposed to operate or how comparable it is to this fictional scenario.

I'm also still curious about the look that Imrahil and his father exchanged. Did Adrahil give his son a specific charge to fulfill during their post-Calardin meeting?

To paraphrase Terry Pratchett, silent looks are highly ambiguous. They could mean "Ok, Dad, message received – everything's set on this end and we're ready to go." Or it could mean "Yeah? What are you up to, anyway? Whatever it is, it's about time!" Or "Right! Ok! You want us in the Great Hall, we're going!"

Dwim


Posted:Jul 19, 2007 21:44 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [54] Just out of intrest, where is kasopia's pic???? I looked but can't find it :(

*
Posted:Jul 24, 2007 19:15 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [55] Kasiopea's Both Beholden artwork:

The first picture: http://www.tolkien.com.pl/kasiopea/ang/strony/Boromir_Zobligowani.htm

Then hit the right-pointing arrow above the picture to see the next two.

Denise
Posted:Jul 25, 2007 06:51 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [56] Hi Dwim,

No I didn't fall off the edge off the map in turkey!

I loved the end of this, it was wonderfully written and you hit all the hard ground and went through it instead of going around.

Andra is slowly settling into Dol-Amroth but here he is still also very haradric, it is wonderful to see this shift in him from here through to whatching him walk this road from the other side with Heth.

There are all kinds of courage and your characters show them all. Ornendil and Illian where both wonderful in the way they faced up to themselves and realised that all things must change, it can't have been easy to step down like that. I hope that they live to see what the young knights become.

Andra as well, to realise it has become to much for him, and yet to still hold on to his training, for someone as close mouthed as him to talk like he did that night can't have been easy, he seems so very alone through a lot of this. your refrence to those 4 years of nights, but how many more since? yet somehow he does it, the way he learns to let go and work with Pel yet he and Imri still have that wonderful bond between them.

Pel does a lot of growing up in this, learning to fight in the physical sense with the battle but also everything that comes with it, dealing with the loss of those who fought with him also the way he is with Elya, he cars but ywt there is still that quality in him that lets him want to fight this on his own.

For me though Elya is the real hero of this to go to the very brink and back again, to find a new life and to flourish in it. I think he is the bravest of all of them to fly in the face of everythig and say, "this isn't working out for me" and then to make a sucess of his life. It's so wonderful to see him happy at last.

Sorry this is so late in coming,



Nargil
Posted:Aug 2, 2007 19:37 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [57] Hi Nargil -

Welcome back from Turkey! I hope you had a great time.

I'm sorry I'm late in responding. I've been computer shopping and so had limited net access since the end of last month. Finally got one so I can use it now to get online and reply.

There are all kinds of courage and your characters show them all.

Well, not all - there are definitely more kinds out there! But these are Swan Knights, or future Swan knights, and courage is the foundation for what they do, if they're doing it well.

Where I get into the different kinds of courage here is basically the broad distinction between martial courage and the courage that is required for self-knowledge and transformation outside the arena of warfare.

I find that with characters like Andrahar, Peloren, Imrahil, Ornendil, Aragorn, etc., that battlefield courage is the easier part for them - it's what they train for, and there's a certain sense that that's an all or nothing wager that 'proves' or shows that they are brave once and for all. Either one lives or one doesn't, but so long as one enters the fray and remains in it, that's what counts as the test of courage. It's in some way simple, clearly defined, and can be emulated.

But the other parts of life that have problems that can't be solved with a sword per se, where self-exposure and self-scrutiny are at issue and the field of endeavor much less well-defined, seem to be harder for these sorts of characters to handle - witness Imrahil in Ultimatums, or Boromir generally. That was what I wanted the esquires and Swan Knights in this story to face, ultimately - a problem that calls for courage in a situation vastly more complex than the battlefield, and so beyond what they've trained for.

Re: Ornendil and Illian: I hope that they live to see what the young knights become.

I leave that one up to Isabeau! ;-)

Andra [...] he seems so very alone through a lot of this. You reference to those 4 years of nights, but how many more since?

Interesting point, though I'd say both yes and no in response. He's been alone in Dol Amroth in many ways, as you point out. But that sort of aloneness differs from what he was going through as a slave sold into prostitution, and then later an out-caste working the streets as a prostitute. That's more what I had in mind with that reference - the years from age 12 to 16, when he was at everyone's mercy with no acknowledged right to protect himself from being violated and used.

For me though Elya is the real hero of this to go to the very brink and back again, to find a new life and to flourish in it. I think he is the bravest of all of them to fly in the face of everything and say, "this isn't working out for me" and then to make a success of his life.

Thank you! I wavered for a very long time, trying to decide whether I would write him as coming out of it to become a Swan Knight or push him into a different life altogether. It was literally the last significant decision I made when writing the story, and I put it off until I was about halfway through chapter 12 - more than a year after I started working on the story!

It's fascinating to me how much the idea of somebody being an esquire leads to pressure to make him a knight, to make that the ultimate standard of his success - even for the person writing him, even when my own aims are clearly to try and achieve something closer to parity between martial and non-martial courage and worth!

Thanks for your comments, Nargil! I'm glad you enjoyed the story!

Dwim


Posted:Aug 13, 2007 18:46 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [58] Hey Dwim,

I loved your new story in the Unabeauverse. I always wanted to hear more about Poloren and now I know. The relationship that you painted between Poloren/Andra and Imri are precious. It starts a bond that lasts a lifetime.

I was wondering if you would add this to the Unabeauverse timeline that was started a while ago? I feel it deserves a place there.

Anyway, wonderful job. More please?

Gronyats
Posted:Aug 16, 2007 11:15 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [59] Hi Gronyats,

Thanks for your comments! I'm glad you liked the story. Peloren does make for an interesting puzzle when taken in relationship to Andrahar, doesn't he?

I was wondering if you would add this to the Unabeauverse timeline that was started a while ago?

Probably. I don't have an LJ, so I could at most add the URL to the comments. Perhaps Una or Isabeau could edit the list?

Dwim


Posted:Aug 16, 2007 16:12 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [60] Since this story is right in line with the idea of Reconciliation, and continues its story, voilŕ:

Tolerances.

Dwim

Dwimordene
Posted:Jul 4, 2010 17:10 GMT  Reply to this Comment
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