You make Gondor into a real country with believable people and varied ethnic groups. Thank you. I hope you develop this setting and story line.
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 Reviewer:Denise Date:August 18, 2007 2:29 PM
Ahh... Some time to visit my favorite original Gondorian village and its people...
Ch. 1-3: OK, I love your town of Halabor. I admit, my reactions are still colored by knowing the future of the town, but I enjoy the interactions and activities of the townsfolk nonetheless. The foreknowledge is not a bad thing in itself (death is the end for everyone, after all), but the violence of it does add a tinge of melancholy to the story for me.
You do such excellent world-building. Even without your website's pictures and samples of the real-world town on which you've based Halabor, I can picture everything perfectly. And as always, the details are worked in so smoothly and well that they never detract from the storyline.
I like the initial PoV chosen, of Henderch, as someone a bit between the two worlds - part of the Old Folk but who interacts with the ruling family. His refusal to give in to despair, in the face of what he sees as a hopeless fight, is a remarkable testimony to the courage of the common soldier. I love young Lord Herumor, even if even if he does tend to wear silly-looking hats. The characterizations in general are wonderful, in fact, but I absolutely adore the women in this story - tough, strong, independent, especially feisty Mistress Crodergh.
"As Lord Orchard once explained with a shrug, in his eyes Rollo and Nurria were just the local names for Aulë and Yavanna, so what harm could be done by a little respect?"
Exactly. He and Henderch are wise, wise men. More people should follow their example of tolerance.
More later, but this seemed like a good place to break! :)
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 Reviewer:Denise Date:August 22, 2007 6:04 AM
Ch. 4: Odhrain: What a total jerk! And yet, even so, part of me still hopes that he managed some transformation into a decent person, after his half-brother's family accepted him, and he found himself guardian of the children.
Also, I think you are dealing with the issues of racism very nicely, both the overt and inobvious facets.
Ch. 5: Much sadness here, when you got to Telta, Archil and Vacia's part, as I remember that story from "Last Yule" very well. So this is right before Telta's life is basically ruined. :(
And Mistress Birog: Ugh! Why are people like that so universal???
I really enjoy your Rohirrim, and liked the way the murderer was apprehended. Too bad Archil wasn't allowed to set upon Merryn in that fashion...
Ch. 6: So Angharad is Pharin's granddaughter. I wondered if she would know Madenn, and you answered that quite neatly. And, ahhh - this story includes certain developments related to a particular, handsome nobleman. *happy dance* I loved your description of Angharad's smile, and how it lit her face, and I can see why her lover eventually fell for her. Had to grin when their first meeting included a bed bath.
I love Lord Orchald – he is a nobleman in the true sense of the word, with his wonderful care of his people and excellent sense of justice. It's still painful for me to think of his future.
Ch. 7: I liked the nice reminders of the timelessness of the Elves woven into the storyline. But ouch! A wicked chapter - that poor, poor girl. I especially enjoyed the interactions between Angharad and the Elves, most of all when she describes the girl's future; and Mistress Crodergh's excitement made me grin even with all the sadness. Well, and so did Lord Herumor's earlier visit, and Angharad's puzzlement over some of his actions. So we know who falls first... Oh, and the description of Gildor when Angharad first sees him – utterly sublime!
Just in general, I'm enjoying your characterizations of both the people and their town very much. Your research and care with the world you've built is very evident and well done (just as I've come to expect *g*). I must say again, I particularly love your Halabor stories because they provide a well-based glimpse into the lives of ordinary Gondorians, and of a wide cross-section of peoples who are just excellently developed both as individuals and as cultures.
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