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Princes of Dol Amroth
February, 25 2006
Questions about the life and times of Imrahil and his family can be asked here, including questions about Ultimatums, Kin-Strife and the shorter stories. Discussions about Brand can go either here or in the Best-Loved Son thread, since his stories sort of overlap both cycles.
I think we are saying the same thing, Denise, and it sounds like we value Isabeau's writing for the same reasons.
They are such good writers that they manage to make even the unexpected seem... well, expected.
I think here I would not say that the unexpected becomes expected, but rather that the unexpected becomes believable -- surprising but, as you've said, consistent with the characters' development. There are no ridiculous twists that conveniently push characters into each others' arms, no mind-blowing alterations of character that appear to exist solely to accommodate implausible plot developments.
That's why I'm staying tuned, even though I rather suspect that the person whom I see, right now, as being the right choice for Hethlin isn't going to be whom she ends up with. There have been many Tolkien fan fictions that I started to read, and enjoyed until suddenly one of the characters started sounding like he or she was in the hands of a seven-year-old acting out a scenario with Barbie dolls. I fully trust that wherever Hethlin ends up, and whomever she ends up with, Isabeau will make her journey completely plausible. Right now I have my opinion about that, based on what I know from what has been written so far, and also my own personal take on larger issues in Tolkien's world. I also have my own opinions about what's right for Imrahil. But I'm really not pulling for any one outcome, although it might sound like I am.
Like you, Denise, I really dislike the thought that Imrahil is going to have to suffer from unrequited love for very long. Sure, he was an arrogant, privileged young man during the time of Kinstrife or Ultimatums, but he subsequently put himself second to his children, always cared for Andrahar, even when doing so made things much more difficult for him. So when I plead for mercy for Imrahil, it's not because I want a particular outcome (e.g. for him to not end up with Hethlin) but because, like you said, angst makes for good reading (for a short while anyway) but Imrahil deserves better. And so too does Elrohir. Even though Lord E. can be a total nuisance at times, I think he's a really good apple, faced with some extraordinarily difficult choices, and his self-doubts are so touching.
Now, a bit of angst for Lorend wouldn't go amiss! And the (very mild) tortures Imrahil suffers during his rather brief and not-too-quelling wait while proving himself to Nimrien are totally deserved. As I think I might have commented in my review of the last chapter of Ultimatums, I get the sense that Isabeau enjoys thwarting Imrahil's romantic inclinations. In Ultimatums, I find that thoroughly enjoyable, because at that stage in his life our boy needed to be taken down a few pegs!
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