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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.
Yes, when she has kids is definitely one of the cruxes in our differing visions for Hethlin! I agree with your assessment of needing to establish herself first if she were to somewhat easily step back into a command role after a lengthy time off. Unfortunately, I think that taking off 10 to 20 years (depending on how many kids and the span of years between them) is going to be a setback whether she does it 5 years or 25 years from now, although I agree it is a different amount of setback. In my mind I see her gaining much of her skillset as a warrior - perhaps a little command experience - and maintaining it while her children grow, but continuing to develop the more ambiguous skills of diplomacy, negotiation, cultural adaptation, etc. (Which I do think is better facilitated as Imrahil’s wife.) Plus, actually, I guess I don’t really see her spending all that much of her warrior career in the Swan Knights after winning her white belt, but doing more to support Aragorn instead… Covert ops? I’m pretty ambiguous on this point, and thinking of some of the visions from Galadriel’s mirror. Heth’s skill set will be truly impressive once her training is over, and maybe in some ways I see being purely a heavy-horse cavalrywoman in the Knights as actually a bit stifling, commander or no. And I can’t help but think that she doesn’t know she’s going to live to 140+, and our girl has had so many close calls in her short life already, that the tendency will be to accept any setback once she’s married so long as she gets some heirs on the ground. Sometimes dynastic considerations take precedence over personal goals (ala Ultimatums). Of course, I read back over this and realize completely that most if not all of it is based on my bias for her marrying Imrahil, so take it all with a grain of salt. If I were in love with the idea of her marrying Elrohir, then I’d be firmly arguing from Rebecca’s camp without a second thought. *grins* In truth, I think my reluctance to embrace Elrohir as Heth’s potential mate has less to do with the various drawbacks to marrying him (which are pretty minor and can be easily resolved) as much as that Heth seems to have pretty firmly set her heart against it. She’s determined not to fall in love with our favorite elf, at least so far. Time will tell how that resolve holds out.
And actually, I think it is possible to have more than one great love in your lifetime, so I don’t think Heth would be shortchanged with Imrahil on that account. I don’t think Hethlin would be second in Imrahil’s heart to anyone. Co-equal maybe. And as he gets closer to the end, he might dwell more on meeting up with Nimrien and Andrahar again (ala In All But Blood).
As for Imrahil being affected adversely by having a younger wife and children, I don’t know… I think it would in fact help him to feel alive and young again. And I don’t think he’d have many, if any regrets as he aged and Heth stayed young. He’s got a pretty good opinion of himself; he’s already stated that he thinks he has a lot to offer Heth, despite the differences in their ages; May-December romance is not that uncommon among men of wealth and power; and he has already committed himself to trying to live the remainder of his life as fully as possible. Certainly the prospect of more children doesn’t seem to daunt him when he proposes to Heth, although the reality of it would be tiring. I still think he’d manage it as gracefully as he does everything else. The biggest problem could be differentiating in treatment of children and grandchildren – you can’t spoil your own kids! And like Nimiren, I think he’d encourage Heth to live and love again after he was gone. I think they’d both feel, like Arwen, that great joy for a short time is preferable to a long life of mediocre love. This assumes, of course, that Heth comes to love him as deeply – in the end, that’s what will make the various obstacles to any relationship negligible to her. Like all of you, I trust that Isabeau won’t put so much angst into Heth’s life that she doesn’t find true love and happiness eventually!
On to other ramblings, though: Good assessment on Litharel! He really irked me, too. I think I excused his actions after the Ring War sooner than I should have, on the basis that he was so eager to get to know Heth and take her North. I could see his actions growing out of a serious anger issue with Halaran, and Heth does look just like her father. But not being in some sort of contact with his daughter over the years... or maybe they were, sporadically, and even if he was concerned about the four-year absence, there might have been little he could do to address it with the conflict with Sauron heating up in the North, and Saruman causing problems in the Gap. But how much did he stick up for his daughter’s decision to marry Halaran? Hmmm.
And I wondered, too, at Tell’s ignorance of who Heth was. Of course, he’s so self-centered that the information about her could have been available – even if she was preoccupied with North business for a couple of decades – and he just didn’t pay any attention to it. (In favor of learning about more important things, such as which are the best imported beers. Heh.)
As far as Tolkien’s emphasis on the non-changing quality of the elves, I wonder how much of it was an outgrowth of the tumultuous changes going on in his life: two world wars, the rapid mechanization and industrialization of Europe, etc. I think he romanticized the elves’ wish to maintain the status quo because that’s what he often wished for in his own life. For certain there’s overtones of that in “Letters by JRRT.” He was not very impressed with most of the modern conveniences becoming popular at the time, and thought (if I remember correctly) that the mechanization of the world was “soulless.” At any rate, I think it is correct that the post-Ring War Middle Earth is on the verge of sweeping changes as the Age of Man comes into full swing – and what better place for Heth to apply her talents! Which brings us back to the whole marriage and kid thing again. *g*
Good grief, it’s a good thing Isabeau doesn’t mind these long esoteric dissertations, as I certainly seem to have trouble letting go of all this and just waiting patiently for her to resolve it for us...
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