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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.
January 6, 2006
Happy New Year Isabeau! And thanks for taking on my copious questions.
I think I understand better about the mind-probing/intrusion issue, although ... oh no, wait... ohhhh I get it. I get it.
Are you suggesting he should resume his former career as a connoisseur of brothels?
Oh no, absolutely not! Totally beneath him.
I don't know how he can really get some without appearing to be totally fickle and insincere. Until he gives up on Heth accepting his suit, I don't think he'll be getting any other action.
Yes, I see that my sense that he deserves a break after nearly two decades of celibacy is a direct function of my belief that he and Heth are really wrong for each other. I see Hethlin as being wrong for Imrahil because:
1. She is far less cultured and educated than he is. She's bright and learns fast but she's still a country-bred tom-boy at heart (NOTHING wrong with that) who doesn't delight in finery, who doesn't have a cultivated palate, who isn't widely read or widely traveled. Yet. She may very well become all these things. And Imrahil has had, and may continue to have, a direct role in her education. But I don't see him as Prof. Higgins to her Eliza Doolittle (a shaky analogy but the only one that comes to mind at the moment). I think he's too self-aware and has a sufficient helping of humility to want to mold someone to suit his tastes.
2. Hethlin's relationship with Elrohir is public knowledge, even if it isn't widely known or discussed (yet). Even if she & Elrohir soon part ways for good, that would not mitigate the fact that they were lovers, and her virtue (already in doubt) would be nonexistant in the judgmental eyes of the courtiers of Minas Tirith and Dol Amroth. I realize that there are probably different standards for a second wife who will not be bearing the Heir, and that sexual mores in Gondor are more flexible and nuanced than those of medieval Europe. Nonetheless, there would be a lot of whispering, and even some laughing, behind Imrahil's back. Sure he could handle it, no problem. And if there weren't other problems with their pairing, I could totally see him taking on waspish tongues with relish to defend his love. But I can't help but think that they would wear on him. Because of reason number 1, but also because...
3. If Hethlin ends up with Imrahil her choices will be necessarily restricted. She might visit the north once or twice, but her connection with her Dunedain kin, and the Eagles, will only be experienced from a distance. She will not be able to follow a warrior's path, even if she does finish her Swan Knight training. She won't be able to put off having children for very long, if Imrahil is to father them. I think Imrahil would feel a lot of guilt about restricting her choices, and would worry about her feeling stifled and resentful -- not only about missed opportunities, but also about being thrust into a world which would require her to change quite a bit in order to fit in. And not everyone would accept her even then (those waspish tongues...). Plus, the changes that Hethlin would have to undergo wouldn't just involve wearing dresses more often, but things like growing accustomed to having an army of servants who see to all the little things that Hethlin has always done for herself (and while on the road to Lorien, for Imrahil). He's never been fully independent like she has -- and while her independence was born of necessity, it's a point of pride among the folk of Anorien, a part of their identity. Imrahil has never had to be fully self-sufficient, and doesn't seem to see that as a shortcoming on his part. Hethlin would really have to change the way she sees herself in relationship to others in order to find any contentment in Imrahil's world.
4. Faramir. Imrahil's love for his nephew is unquestioned, but how will he feel at family gatherings, especially as he grows older, if he has to wonder if his wife still harbors feelings for Faramir in small secret corners of her heart?
So those are most of the reasons why I think that Hethlin isn't right for Imrahil. There are reasons why I think he isn't right for her, either, but that's another matter. I can totally see why he fell for her: the relief of getting rid of the threat of Sauron affected everyone and made everyone want to celebrate life; his children are grown and he can finally look to his own needs; he spent a couple of months in her close company; and of course she's a damned fine woman! Hethlin is impressive and worthy of Imrahil's love, and he is worthy of hers, no doubt. But being worthy of someone's love doesn't mean that the love would work out for either person.
All relationships have their problems & love without obstacles is a childish notion. But I think Imrahil deserves better -- to know fully that he is loved by the one he loves, to not have to contend with niggling doubts about resentment or regret or feelings for someone else on the part of his beloved. He has been self-sacrificing on behalf of his children, and unwilling to compromise on love, since he'd had the real thing and didn't want anything less. I think he'd be compromising himself to some extent with Hethlin (in part because she'd be compromising herself to be with him).
Anyway, that's the long version of what is only my opinion. Getting back to the idea of Imrahil getting some, I guess I have the sense that his love for Hethlin is a) an infatuation, and b) a red herring in the trajectory of her story. And I could be so wrong on both counts, but if I'm right I hope that he'll come to his senses soon, and that a lovely, available woman will soon come into view for him. Because I like him so much! And knowing that Hethlin will be with Elrohir at least through the next several months (having read Dol Amroth Yule) I can't help but think that the poor, dear man deserves a break. On the other hand, how many people really get what they deserve?
Thanks for indulging me Isabeau!
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