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November, 12 2005
OK, folks-this is the general forum now for questions that don't seem to fit in any of the other threads. I'm going to sort some of the earlier posts into the appropriate forums, but it might take a while, so bear with me. I'll delete the ones that have already been reposted by their authors.
You know, this may seem odd or incredibly stupid of me, but I never really thought about the parallels. More of that instinctive symmetry Una keeps nagging me about.
Although it hasn't manifested itself in my writing, which is restricted to non-fiction academic stuff, I too have an unconscious instinct for symmetry. And I guess that's why I think Hethlin needs to go north -- to restore the balance of events that brought her to Gondor and many possible avenues to glory in the first place.
Also, my awareness of symmetry (or lack thereof) is jarred by Tolkien leaving things so very lop-sided in the immortal-mortal romance department, with only immortal females paired with mortal men. As I've already outlined earlier. But just thought of another example: Melian and Elu Thingol. No other Maia-Elf pairings known, and here again a female reaches out to a "lesser" male. ... why is that, I wonder?
dpetrash suggested "feminist advancement in Gondor" as an underlying reason for wanting to see Hethlin able to pursue adventure and glory, and I suppose that there probably is an element of that in my wish to see those things for her. Although to be honest I don't think that Hethlin would be able to change that culture no matter what she did; the most she could hope for would be to be an accepted (and hopefully respected and beloved) anomaly. Even if she inspires little girls in Dol Amroth to seek weapons training and eschew embroidery, I rather doubt that a) those little girls would be humored (or at least not enough so that they'd end up on anything other than the traditional female path), and b)more than one or two girls at most could even hope to get to where Hethlin is in terms of strength and skill. She didn't just decide one day that she wanted to be a fighter. Her very unique circumstances couldn't be duplicated, and therefore it's unlikely that any girl or woman in Gondor would be able to follow in her footsteps. So in terms of feminist advancement in Gondor... doesn't seem likely.
I'm not a big subscriber to many stereotyped, idealized romantic notions about how men and women should love each other, because I think that very satisfying and lasting loves can occur in many different combinations. But I guess I do have a few somewhat irrational ideals that I still cling to, and one of them is that having one's first child is perhaps the most powerful moment in a woman's life (caveat: I'm childless myself so my idea is wholly speculative). To share that with a man who already has children (and grandchildren) would be fine, but it seems to me that it would be better somehow if the initial joy and wonder were jointly shared between mother and father. I guess I'd like to see Hethlin, whose own family was decimated and who for a long time thought she wouldn't have a family at all, be able to share that with someone whose firstborn is Hethlin's firstborn. And she can't be the love of Imrahil's life because Nimrien will always have a huge place in his heart. And I want Hethlin to be the love of someone's life! Personal bias. Probably irrational, and almost certainly unnecessary. But since we're sharing our personal preferences...
Also, I never liked that Faramir was Eowyn's second choice. After all that Denethor put him through I never liked that he had to suffer through further self-doubt and rejection, brief though it was. And now I hate to see it happening to Imrahil! Aggghhh! He's too fantastic to be a second (or third) choice. Even though he's been well-loved already, I hate to see him being rejected. Well, I've already expressed my thoughts on that. Just thinking about the symmetry of things brought me back to it.
And now, to test getting rid of italics -- thanks for the tip Isabeau!
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