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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.

Frankly, I think this is just another example of Tolkien's bad plotting. LotR is a heroic romance, not a realistic adventure story, and full of inconsistencies; if you think about them too much, you can't make sense of them on Tolkien's terms--which is one of the reasons why the idea of "canon" is so absurd. How about this question: Galadriel, from her own admission to Gandalf, figured out all about Boromir before the Fellowship left Lorien. So why does she keep it to herself? Well, the answer can only be that if she told, the plot won't proceed the way Tolkien wanted it to. I sure can't come up with any other reason.

Likewise, I don't think that Tolkien had any intention whatsoever of showing Aragorn as an incompetent commander at that point in his life. Nothing he ever wrote about Aragorn would lead you to that conclusion.

The upshot is that we fanfic writers can reinterpret these scenes as we are inclined. I can certainly see how criticism of Aragorn would emerge from the story as told (especially the part about letting Frodo wander alone). But that's not my take on it.

Questions like these come out all through LotR. Why is Gandalf so stupid as to leave that letter for Frodo with Barliman Butterbur? Why is it that Legolas doesn't know there are still Elves in Lorien? Why on earth would Gimli think those Dwarves could still be alive in Moria? How come Saruman doesn't know about the Heir of Isildur? Why didn't Sauron see, in the palantir, the Fellowship coming down the river in their boats? Why does Arwen leave the Elfstone in Lorien for Aragorn? Why doesn't Glorfindel set out a lot sooner to find Frodo et al in the Wild pursued by all the Nine at once? You can make a pretty good argument that almost everyone in book is just unbelievably dim!

Great matter for comedy, IMO.

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