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 May, 4 2007

A journal for discussion of the story "Reconciliation."


Just what the hook says. I will try actually to reply to any comments in this journal.

Hi Nargil -

Welcome back from Turkey! I hope you had a great time.

I'm sorry I'm late in responding. I've been computer shopping and so had limited net access since the end of last month. Finally got one so I can use it now to get online and reply.

There are all kinds of courage and your characters show them all.

Well, not all - there are definitely more kinds out there! But these are Swan Knights, or future Swan knights, and courage is the foundation for what they do, if they're doing it well.

Where I get into the different kinds of courage here is basically the broad distinction between martial courage and the courage that is required for self-knowledge and transformation outside the arena of warfare.

I find that with characters like Andrahar, Peloren, Imrahil, Ornendil, Aragorn, etc., that battlefield courage is the easier part for them - it's what they train for, and there's a certain sense that that's an all or nothing wager that 'proves' or shows that they are brave once and for all. Either one lives or one doesn't, but so long as one enters the fray and remains in it, that's what counts as the test of courage. It's in some way simple, clearly defined, and can be emulated.

But the other parts of life that have problems that can't be solved with a sword per se, where self-exposure and self-scrutiny are at issue and the field of endeavor much less well-defined, seem to be harder for these sorts of characters to handle - witness Imrahil in Ultimatums, or Boromir generally. That was what I wanted the esquires and Swan Knights in this story to face, ultimately - a problem that calls for courage in a situation vastly more complex than the battlefield, and so beyond what they've trained for.

Re: Ornendil and Illian: I hope that they live to see what the young knights become.

I leave that one up to Isabeau! ;-)

Andra [...] he seems so very alone through a lot of this. You reference to those 4 years of nights, but how many more since?

Interesting point, though I'd say both yes and no in response. He's been alone in Dol Amroth in many ways, as you point out. But that sort of aloneness differs from what he was going through as a slave sold into prostitution, and then later an out-caste working the streets as a prostitute. That's more what I had in mind with that reference - the years from age 12 to 16, when he was at everyone's mercy with no acknowledged right to protect himself from being violated and used.

For me though Elya is the real hero of this to go to the very brink and back again, to find a new life and to flourish in it. I think he is the bravest of all of them to fly in the face of everything and say, "this isn't working out for me" and then to make a success of his life.

Thank you! I wavered for a very long time, trying to decide whether I would write him as coming out of it to become a Swan Knight or push him into a different life altogether. It was literally the last significant decision I made when writing the story, and I put it off until I was about halfway through chapter 12 - more than a year after I started working on the story!

It's fascinating to me how much the idea of somebody being an esquire leads to pressure to make him a knight, to make that the ultimate standard of his success - even for the person writing him, even when my own aims are clearly to try and achieve something closer to parity between martial and non-martial courage and worth!

Thanks for your comments, Nargil! I'm glad you enjoyed the story!


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