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Story meme

 November, 11 2005

Future histories


Here is a meme that did the rounds on LJ recently; not only was it fun, it was a source of ideas:

Ask me what happens after the end of one of my stories.

I wonder what happened after the end of Spirits of the House. I know it's AU, but do you think Denethor would have survived the war? Would Faramir have still been wounded, fallen under the spell of the Black Breath and then been saved by Aragorn?

Denethor did realize from early in his Stewardship that the big fight with Sauron would occur in his time. "After her (Finduilas') death Denethor became more grim and silent than before, and would sit long alone in his tower deep in thought, foreseeing that the assault of Mordor would come in his time." (Appendix A, ROTK) He doesn't seem to have done anything about it in a practical way, apparently trusting in his palantir mind-wrestling sessions with Sauron as his main defense. There's nothing about Denethor having shored up the Rammas Echor until a few days before the Siege, no attempt to build up a cavalry other than the Swannies (who were also bound to Dol Amroth) to defend Minas Tirith, alliances attempted with the kingdom of Dale, etc.

I also believe that Boromir, from the time he was quite young, took after Ecthelion in character, and that's one of the reasons Denethor favored him. I see Ecthelion as a good man, but not a particularly subtle one or necessarily a deep thinker, someone who would have loved his son, but been unsure of how to deal with the very bright, uncannily perceptive, and seemingly cold, rather freaky kid. I think Denethor loved his father, and was probably frustrated by the barriers between them, but too proud to try to breach them.

My pediatrician, decades ago, told me something I've never forgotten, that parents take out their unfinished business on their children. There's a lot of unfinished business being recycled in Denethor's family, especially when Thorongil and Gandalf - as sort of the adopted changeling cousin and nosy old uncle - are added into the mix.

Boromir might well have been a very charismatic, outgoing, handsome young child, easy for Denethor to love, and also safe. Boromir is not a rival; he's a born warrior, but he's not ever going to be Faramir's equal. Faramir is a deep thinker, as perceptive as his father, and as smart; Denethor might well have felt a bit wary and jealous of him at times; I think Denethor liked being known as wise and learned and couldn't stand anyone, even a son, stealing his thunder or rivalling him. (I didn't originate this theory, my friend Branwyn did, but I agree).

Sorry about the rambling - it happens when I see an interesting discussion of Denethor and his family.

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