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Swan in Stone fragments
 [1] Reviewer:Pinkus Date:April 6, 2006 7:03 AM
I loved it! I feel guilty for being so tired... I loved the argument between Denethor and Imri, interesting to see that even the most polished diplomats slip in what they say (who will be in charge of the swan knights). Tragically beautiful as always.

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 [2] Reviewer:Raksha The Demon Date:April 30, 2006 5:30 PM
It's good to see that someone was able to deliver some righteous indignation to Denethor over the Steward's coldly sending his exhausted son out to probable death without even a decent farewell. Go, Imrahil!

The vignette brings home the impending doom hanging over the City, a doom that strips both Imrahil and Denethor of inhibition. Imrahil casts off some civility and is a flame of pride and warmth for those he loves, those who Denethor has imperilled, persecuted, and driven to their deaths. Denethor's paranoia, a slow-rising but ever-present thing in ROTK, is stirring; he's very quick to blame Faramir's sorrow on an imagined conspiracy by Mithrandir and Imrahil to co-opt Faramir's loyalty since Faramir's childhood...very similar to Denethor's accusation to Mithrandir in ROTK about 'stealing' the hearts of both his son and his knights. And yet, we can see that Denethor is physically as well as mentally besieged, thin and gaunt and used-up...

I would like to see this chapter, and those preceding it, put into a story, or made into a complete story of its own, perhaps culminating in Imrahil's bearing Faramir from the field; or Imrahil's eventual discovery of Denethor's attempts to kill his son by fire and then by knife.

An intense and vivid confrontation between two of the strongest men in Gondor.

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 [3] Reviewer:Raksha The Demon Date:April 30, 2006 5:43 PM
The dream-image of the wave of water turning into a wave of fire pouring through the stone and threatening Faramir is particularly scary, and chilling.

Boromir's portion of the dream was sad, but seemed a bit too detailed and coherent for a dream or even a vision set in Middle-earth; but the sentimentalist in me was glad to see Boromir get to bid a proper farewell to Imrahil, and the warning on Faramir's behalf was a good touch. I can't remember if Boromir mentioned if he was going to say goodbye to Denethor, or couldn't, but it would be interesting to know what he would have said if he could...but we'll probably never know. Perhaps it would have been something about not believing everything seen in a palantir shared by Sauron; or Don't Play With Matches (or torches)!

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 [4] Reviewer:Rugi Date:September 11, 2006 2:49 AM
I hope my review can count as some impetus. I love how you showed the fraying relationship of two powerful men in a very difficult position. Denethor and Imrahil are so tangled with issues of civic loyalty, family loyalty, and past history and you show it perfectly. I felt so sorry for everyone involved - even Denethor who, though acting badly, really seems to be cracking under the pressure of an impossible situation. I also like the little glimpse of Faramir - strong but also beginning to buckle.

I would love to see the scene where Imrahil brings Faramir back (from either man's point of view)- a scene which hasn't been explored enough in my opinion. Judging from your handling of the characters here, you could do it some real justice. Actually I'd love to see your take on the whole Madness of Denethor explosion.

But don't feel pressured. :)

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 [5] Reviewer:illereyn Date:July 18, 2008 2:19 PM
Hey Isabeau!

I'm sorry for being such a silent reader - I've read a lot of your work and too rarely don't break my silence.

Wow! Are these powerful missing scenes! I especially liked how details such as Imrahil's conversation with Faramir, the horses for the rangers and Imrahil's last conversation with Boromir intersect with your other published works. It adds another dimension to the story. The idea that Imrahil, like Boromir, foresaw Faramir's retreat and could do something to help was interesting - it's almost as if the powers that be needed to balance the bad fortune that happens to Boromir.

The most fascinating idea, though, was the thought that Denethor might have suspected, through Imrahil, that something would go very wrong, before Faramir set out. Just one sentence, but what implications for our interpretation of his suicide! It certainly explains a lot. After reading this, I found that I pity Denethor at last - what grief and guilt to look at your dying son and know that Imrahil had foreseen it, and begged you to rescind the orders, but you didn't because of your troubled reltionship!

It's interesting to see the relationship between Imrahil and Denethor finally break. Imrahil, though it's understandable at this point, has a cruel streak in him, doesn't he? To refuse to answer Denethor's last question - does he regret that, afterwards, when his brother-in-law goes mad and his nephew lies dying? And does he ever tell Faramir about this conversation? And most iportnatly, I suppose: is there any way you can be convinced to develop this further?

The emotional arc of the fragments, especially within the final one, is done really well. You write very well, as always!

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