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Blackbow
by:Isabeau
 [1] Reviewer:bardess Date:July 21, 2006 1:32 PM
It is nice to see this Hethlin story back in development. I was curious too see how she would avoid being sent away to servitude 'for her own good.' Mablung and Lorend are very well characterized. They are as believable and interesting as Hethlin herself.

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 [2] Reviewer:radbooks Date:July 23, 2006 6:17 PM
I really enjoyed this new chapter, Isabeau. It was fun to see Hethlin in the woods as an 'almost' Ranger out with Boromir and his men. I liked seeing Boromir's impressions of her as he evaluated her as a potential soldier and not as a woman. It was amusing as Hethlin at least tried to be diplomatic at times when she mentioned that he and his men needed to move more quietly in the woods. But at the end there when she slipped off after the Rangers she did not quite succeed and she had no idea what she had just said to the Captain-General of the forces of Gondor. It is those things that make Hethlin who she is... an incredibly well-trained Ranger and yet someone who is (at this age) totally unused to dealing with men of power and how she should act around them. Thanks so much!

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 [3] Reviewer:Rebecca Date:July 29, 2006 8:39 AM
Hi Isabeau,

Nice to see a new chapter in Hethlin's story! As other reviewers have already commented, I appreciated seeing Hethlin's strengths as a ranger being seen through Boromir's eyes. I also liked how you subtly laid out the differences between the skills of rangers and more standard Gondorian soldiers or Swan knights.

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 [4] Reviewer:obsidianj Date:July 30, 2006 10:53 PM
I went back and read the whole story again, since it is ages when I last read this. Hethlin is quite unique. I love her bluntness, even when she tries to be diplomatic. The differences between regular soldiers and rangers are quite apparent just from Hethlin's reaction to the way Boromir's men and the swan knights behave. Regular army is not made for stealth. So, Boromir sends her back to find the secret shelter. Once she tracks their trail back to Henneth-Annun, the whole blindfold sharade was for nothing... Let's see how that plays out.

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 [5] Reviewer:Denise Date:August 25, 2006 8:36 PM
I enjoy this glimpse into “early Heth” very much, being able to see what of her personality and talents were already in place and what has been shaped by her time with Faramir and the Rangers. I also really like looking at her through everyone else’s eyes (Mablung and the brothers Mir), and think the different reactions to Heth are reasonable and well-explained. I love that Boromir is seeing her as a young recruit, contrasted to Andrahar’s future reaction that a woman shouldn’t be a soldier. (I have to wonder if Andrahar will ever be told about Boromir being her “champion” - maybe from Faramir - not to mention that she was to have gone to Dol Amroth in a whole ‘nother capacity than esquire…) And Boromir’s reflections on how Heth would make a good officer one day tie in nicely with his comments in another story that he’d approve her promotion to lieutenant. You always interweave everything beautifully!

I had to shake my head at the regular army and Swan Knight’s loud and detectible tromping away from Henneth Annun – the Rangers must have to come after them at some point and try to disguise the trail! Heth is a good tracker, true, but it’s a bit nerve-wracking to think of a traceable trail leading away from HA…

Very nice that Heth had that little slip at the end (“us Rangers”), and that Boromir realized that her semi-insulting comments may or may not have been unintentional. He does seem to take her being a woman into account in some ways, whatever he might believe otherwise, as he is more forbearing towards her comments than I would picture him being to a young male recruit. Of course, she’s not really under his command either.

Oh yes – lovely how you got both brothers shirtless in Ch. 9, but I really could have used more description of it (rippling muscles and the like)! Fortunately, I have my imagination to fall back on… Thanks for a wonderful story, and please add more soon!

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 [6] Reviewer:Dwim Date:April 28, 2009 11:52 AM
Re-read chapter one - it was a lovely break from the end of the year, and it made me all nostalgic for the Rangers of Ithilien. *coughupdatecough*

I'm reminded yet again of how much I miss your Mablung: he's such a great character here. His easy relationship with Faramir, his solid good sense and reliability stand him in good stead with his more urbane and reflective captain. They make him a rock for this company to lean on. Every captain should be so lucky in his second in command!

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 [7] Reviewer:Brinian Date:October 7, 2009 11:20 PM
Got the notification from ff.net that you'd posted the last two chapters and rushed over here to read!

Ch 10 fills in so many blank spaces that I was waiting for - lovely. I had often wondered if, for experienced rangers, the refuge would really be that hidden or would the regular traffic in and out lead to subtle signs that someone could read and find their way back. And of course the Swan Knights would leave a wider track to follow! I thought it very plausible that Heth would have picked up on the Ranger signals during her time there and be able to use them appropriately. Although I thought Faramir was very thoughtful to put her 'rangerhood' to a vote, it didn't seem really necessary - the captains deciding would have been enough. But Angrim speaking for her was nice.

And the Epilogue was lovely! I really like how you write Boromir. He's so nicely human and approachable. 'New words every day' indeed - he and Hethlin seem to be able to relate to each other so easily. I enjoy their interactions whenever they occur. Boromir just accepts her and doesn't overthink things.

Arcag and the battle were another one of those bits of filling in the details that I appreciate getting. Do I need to reread something to find the daisy story or is that a teaser for something we haven't seen yet?

Must go reread the whole thing. So happy :-)

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 [8] Reviewer:Elena Tiriel Date:October 8, 2009 3:14 AM
Squeeeeeeeeeee!

What a special treat.... I saw that this final installment was here just before having to leave for a dentist appointment, and was really distracted during the appointment... and cut my other errands short so I could come home and read it as soon as possible. ;-)

What a satisfying ending! I enjoyed seeing Hethlin overcome Faramir's objections with her cogent arguments, and being accepted by the other Rangers. I just wanted to kiss Angrim for his speech, if it weren't that he'd probably run me through with his sword....

And getting to watch Hethlin become the mûmak-slayer (with the misbegotten Arcag)! Squeeeeeee! I was thrilled!

And it was especially fitting that we saw it through Boromir's eyes... how satisfying that must have been to see his initial confidence in Heth's potential fulfilled so astonishingly well! He was very wise to, erm, overlook the slight irregularity with his direct order....

Of course, now I have to start re-reading the story from the beginning..... yet again. *vvvbg*

Isabeau, you must be so pleased and relieved to get this WIP finished... I'm really happy for you! (Now, if I could only get my muse to follow your muse's fine, upstanding example.......)

Did I mention: Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!?

Most especially well done, Isabeau!

- Barbara

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 [9] Reviewer:Gronyats Date:October 8, 2009 2:09 PM
Isabeau,

I was so glad that after a very difficult day, I came home to see this posted. You made my day!

I enjoyed the last two chapters of Blackbow. The comment made by Boromir: "I think I'm in love," Boromir muttered. This statement was quite interesting. I believe he had made a comment somewhere else that he'd consider marrying Hethlin if just to annoy his father.

Is my interpretation correct that had Boromir survived, when he returned to Minas Tirath that he would have considered choosing Hethlin as his bride to fulfill his fathers requirements?

Thank you for a wonderful story.

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 [10] Reviewer:Dwim Date:October 9, 2009 1:29 AM
Words that makes sense - I thought I was going to go most of today without those.

It was a fast resolution, but it fits the story, which clearly needed only a little more to be finished. The epilogue was lots of fun - although the tag line for the story only says "How Hethlin of Anorien became a Ranger" and we saw that in chapter 10, the very title of the whole story required the epilogue.

I'm sorry I'm not being a good reviewer, here, I think I've just run out of commentary for today, but - I really really loved this story, all the way through! Great romp, great fun - lovely to see Heth again.

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