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The Best-Loved Son cycle

 February, 23 2006

Anything dealing with this cycle of stories can be discussed here: Andra and Boromir as a couple, the Denethor/Imrahil/Andrahar rivalry, the politics of Gondor in the last days of the Third Age.

Raksha wrote (Hi Raksha!)-I've always thought it a bit peculiar that Denethor figured out very early that Sauron was going to make his move on Minas Tirith at some point during his stewardship, yet hadn't seemed to have physically shored up the White City's defenses at the time of ROTK - they're only just repairing the Rammas

I always thought that was odd too, though I did wonder, once Sauron's guys waltzed through it, why they had bothered.

their cavalry consists mainly of Imrahil's Swan Knights (when Denethor had decades to create one for the White City itself)

That, I think, is because of that weird thing they keep saying about the Gondorians not being good with horses. But I'll agree with you that that shouldn't have stopped him from learning...That great big flat place all around the City cried out for cavalry. I do perhaps make Imrahil & Co. better horsemen than they might actually be in canon, but then canon doesn't say they're bad either, and it does make a bit of a fuss over the knights.

there are no alliances other than Rohan, etc.

I'm not sure who else they'd be allying with, other than the folks up in Erebor. Unless you think Denethor should have made an effort to bring the Dunlanders over to his side. Courting them early on would have certainly made life for Rohan a lot better. They wouldn't have even had to fight-just stay out of things. Though I will say I've never understood why the Dunlanders were in such bad shape-from the map, it looks like they had gobs of land and it was good land.

Denethor's preoccupation with mano-a-mano Palantir-wrestling with Sauron might explain his lack of attention to trying to physically defend Minas Tirith, not to mention Ithilien and the rest of Gondor.

Snerk! I suppose that's possible. Was thinking he could do it all by himself...

I see Ecthelion as a very different and less subtle type than Denethor, who probably basically loved Denethor, but had no clue how to handle his brilliant, possibly shy, and rather prickly son.

Me too. I think Ecthelion's more like Boromir, and that may be why Denethor loves his first-born so much.

Denethor is also one of the most isolated, if not THE most isolated Men in LOTR. He doesn't seem to have any friends, much less valued advisors; it's just him and his palantir, plus beloved, but dead, Boromir. And Faramir is caught between being Denethor's scapegoat and Boromir-replacement; Denethor can't seem to see him in different terms, as his own man.

Yes, that's sort of strange when you think about it. I wonder if it was always the case, or if he withdrew from everyone after Finduilas died and he started heavy into palantir usage.

But then, I still think Denethor is something of a control freak by nature; and much of his tragedy was self-instigated, sad to say.

No argument from me on that one!

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