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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.
So now I've got a situation where it doesn't really make sense for Halaran to have settled where he did, but he did, so I have to come up with some sort of reasoning for that and for his total lack of communication with the North. And I'm kind of stuck. You'd think he might want to live near the Gap of Rohan or something, where the Eagles could get to him. Admittedly, he is right at the White Mountains and perhaps he thought some Eagles would move there, but still, it seems weird now. Did he think about living in the Gap, and something about the whole Saruman situation creep him out? Why not live in Rohan proper? Admittedly, he seems a solitary sort of man, and the land he chose in Anorien was good land and he seemed to like the few neighbors he had. But I'll open the floor for a discussion to make some back-story for the Hethverse here-what's the deal with Halaran?
OK, I'll take a stab at it... we know that the rangers of the north traveled widely, and Halaran could have conceivably passed through Anorien. Or his neighbor (Talith's husband, the innkeeper who ends up getting killed by orcs) might have come on some business to: Bree, Dale ... somewhere ... where he might have encountered Halaran. Maybe years before Halaran married. Just a casual encounter, chatting over tankards of ale or in front of a campfire for a few hours. And the rather solitary Halaran noted the independent spirit of the man from Anorien and thought to himself "perhaps the men of Gondor are not as soft and weak as we of the north have long supposed. Or at least they're not in Anorien." And then when trouble arose among the Dunedain, he recalled the stout, honest man of Anorien, who spoke Westron (instead of Rohirric) and spoke of a land in need of more good men.
I think the Eagles could range far and wide when they wanted to, right? So settling in Anorien wouldn't have had to cut Halaran off from his Eagle friend (Landroval, wasn't it?), although it probably would have reduced their interaction.
Perhaps the Eagles grew uneasy about Saruman, and so as the Ring War drew near stopped traveling that far south and so did not know of Halaran's death? I realize that in the book Radagast played a part in sending the Eagle to rescue Gandalf from Orthanc, but perhaps that was in part because the Eagles were already suspicious of Saruman?
As you've written them so far Isabeau, what I don't see the Eagles doing is moving away from their traditional home for any reason but the most dire necessity -- certainly not to suit a human's choice to live in the south, even if the human was Halaran, an Eagle Friend.
As for why Halaran moved so far, and didn't keep in touch, leaving aside my suggestion about meeting a man from Anorien, the only reason I can think that he might not have wanted to move to Rohan is a) language & cultural differences (would be even harder on his wife to move so far away if she didn't even speak the same language as her new neighbors, etc., and b) deep resentment against the Dunedain -- including perhaps even Aragorn for not putting a stop to the nonsense that drove him out. I mean, his former friend who pulled a sword at Halaran's wedding was totally out of line. His exile was the natural consequence of his bad behavior. And you cannot claim to really love someone if you're not willing to see them happy. It's one thing for her rejected suitor to not fully rejoice in Hethlin's mother's happiness at wedding Halaran, it's another to wish them ill. There was only one party at fault there, at least given what we know of the story. That Halaran's in-laws, and the Dunedain community at large, didn't support Halaran and his new wife reflects poorly on them.
So they left. And for whatever reason went to Anorien. Under the circumstances I could imagine Halaran thinking that any move towards reconciliation must come from them to him, not vice-versa. I can imagine hethlin's mother also feeling very betrayed by her parents' complicity in their exile. Perhaps Litharel did try to get in touch a few times, but for some reason the letters went astray -- perhaps they weren't exactly sure where in the south Halaran had gone, and didn't realize that Anorien was so unpopulated that without a determined effort to get a letter to a particular location it was unlikely to reach its destination?
Oh, another reason why perhaps they chose Anorien might have been the perception that it was safer. Especially if there weren't orcs living in the White Mountains, it would have seemed quite safe, relatively speaking, when compared with the North. It did strike me as odd that folks would have been living on scattered, unfortified homesteads if marauding orcs were a chronic problem.
A final thought: Halaran probably wasn't a two-dimensional saint or martyr. Perhaps he was quite sensitive about the curse even before the former friend started spreading rumors, and was looking for people to be prejudiced against him. Perhaps Litharel and his family weren't against Halaran, but weren't fast enough for his liking (or his bride's) in defending him -- so that he took it upon himself to leave. A bit paranoid perhaps? Or at least defensive? If so, he wouldn't have wanted to be anywhere near the territory of the northern rangers -- he would have wanted to put lots of space between himself and those he viewed as having betrayed him? That might also explain why he never told Hethlin about her heritage, and also why he raised her to be so very self-effacing and self-sufficient -- he would have had the implicit expectation that life wasn't going to hold any easy gains for his daughter, just as it hadn't for him?
I don't know if any of that works...
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