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The Silver Swan

 February, 23 2006

The place for discussion about Hethlin's new adventures.

(Repost from Monster Thread)

Denise wrote: My impression is that Hethlin will likely have children fairly quickly once she is married, whether to Elrohir or Imrahil, given the high mortality rate of her military career and the fact that she is last in her father's line.

Aha! I think that's perhaps one source of our differing opinions about what Hethlin will (or should) do. I don't see her having kids for another decade or even two. I think that "taking time off" for kids early in her career would dramatically reduce her chances of making a name for herself and earning the authority to lead through the merits of her military actions.

Career ambitions aside, I also think that Hethlin is quite immature emotionally as yet, not surprising given her history and all the new information about her family that she's got to absorb and come to terms with. I'd rather see her wait until she's got a better idea of who she is and what she wants in life before she introduces other people into her life who will be utterly dependent on her and the decisions she makes for herself.

I don't see her starting a family, for example, until she has met her mother's kin. She has a lot of personal things to sort out for herself about her family. To have children before then would just make it all the more difficult for her to figure out what kind of relationship, if any, she wants to have with her mother's family. I'm sure if she had children sooner rather than later she'd do a fine job -- but I've observed in my friends that having children inevitably meant that they put things about their own development (career, other long-term goals) on hold. And I agree with you Denise, Hethlin is not someone who would leave the raising of her children to nurses and tutors. So she would be caught up in the demanding ever-present of small children. They're relentless and leave you little time or energy for yourself.

It will be one thing for her to step out of solidering for a while to do that if she's an established, respected leader with successful campaigns under her white belt. And also if she already has a good sense of who she is and what she wants to accomplish in life. But she's not someone like Nimrien, whose strengths lay in her sharp academically trained mind. Women can continue to do good work while mothering small children, but the work needs to be able to accommodate the mothering (and vice versa). Hethlin's line of work can't accommodate mothering. And of course Nimrien wasn't trying to make a name for herself anyway (not that we know what she did once married to Imrahil, but I guess I've imagined her continuing on in the supporting diplomatic role we've seen her perform in Ultimatums).

The way I see it, regardless of who she marries, Hethlin shouldn't have kids any time soon if she wants to really make a name for herself as a soldier. Even if she had just two children, one right after the other, she'd have to be out of action for at least three or four years. And really, what mother is going to leave her five and six year olds at home with the servants in order to go off to fight, when her services aren't essential? And she wouldnt' be essential if she'd been out of action for years -- the Swan Knights wouldn't have been reserving a space for her. If she gets to command because she's the Princess of Dol Amroth, and yes is a trained Swan Knight but hasn't seen any action because she's been raising small children, that would render as useless all her struggles for respect as an equal. Sure, she'd command. But not on her own merits.

Whereas if she takes the next decade or two to establish herself (in Dol Amroth, or wherever) she'd have earned herself a position that wouldn't have her on the front lines all the time, and it would be reasonable for her to be involved in planning, etc. even while not fully active because she's raising small children. She could be married quite soon but delay having children. It's not that I think that any husband of Hethlin (whether Imrahil, Elrohir, or anyone else) would hold her back -- obviously anyone who loves her knows what she's about and that's why they love her. But for obvious reasons she could not put off having children if she marries Imrahil, and I think she should put off having children for a while.

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