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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.

Hm, you might be right about Amrothos, Denise, he might never have commented on Hethlin's beauty ... he's just so keenly observant (and I like him so much!) that I figured of course he could see Hethlin's beauty.

I know that most of what we've been led to believe about Hethlin's relative plainness comes from Hethlin herself, and she's not always a reliable narrator when it comes to her own worthy attributes! But I don't think it would be easy for a more femininely pretty girl/woman to be pass as a boy. Denise, I think you might be very right about many people being distracted by Hethlin's masculine get-up and behavior, so that it doesn't even occur to them to notice that she is, as Mablung says, "a handsome lass." But handsome isn't the same as "pretty," and as we might all recall from awkward adolescence (well, mine was!), the girls that twelve-year-old boys tend to have crushes on from afar tend to be the pretty, obviously feminine girls that conform to twelve-year-old boys' notions of what a "pretty girl" is.

Nargil, your point about Lara Croft is very germane because she's unlike Hethlin -- she is not only kick-ass, she is also very feminine, whether as embodied by Angelina Jolie or as designed in the video game. Large breasts & other very female curves, delicate feminine face. She's tough and masculine in her behavior, but even one glance marks her as thoroughly female.

And the thing about kids, even preadolescent boys, in my experience anyway, is that they notice and label things that fit the classic prototype of a given category. They tend to be very literal and rather rigid in their thinking. There are psychological studies showing that infants and young children prefer "beautiful" faces that conform to certain norms of symmetry, with large eyes, small nose, etc. It's not a coincidence that Disney cartoon characters are drawn the way that they are -- that's what children recognize as beautiful.

So I guess I was just a bit surprised to see Brand "falling" for Hethlin in much the same way that his great uncle has... I don't know. And I'm not a twelve year old boy so who am I to say how keen their eyes might be in detecting unconventional beauty!

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