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Passages
by:Isabeau
 [41] Reviewer:Dwim Date:April 30, 2007 1:26 AM
More 'Passages'! I'm kind of wondering, now, how many different things are going to end up falling under the titular concept. There's the passage to a kind of adulthood (he can now ask certain questions he couldn't before), a passage to a place in the aristocracy, the very important passage from innocence to blooded warrior, from ignorance to knowledge (re: father figures), from having a father to needing to find a father again (and presumably from 'orphan' to son once more before the end), and from rejection both his fathers (biological and adoptive) to acceptance of the love that united them. There are also of course the physical passages: from Dol Amroth to being at sea, and soon enough to Minas Tirith, and which might map symbolically in some way onto other passages by the end of the story.

With this chapter, we get the development of the passage from son to orphan: the estrangement, made material in the physical separation of, Brand and Andrahar, and Brand's sense of being still at sea, lost and abandoned. In an interesting twist on that being-at-sea and seeking a shore, Imrahil notes that Faramir is 'more' family than cousins, but of course, Brand has been about Elphir more than Faramir, presumably. All of which calculations (very Haradric, in a way -- I'm thinking of the line in "Kin-strife" where Andrahar notes that in Harad, worth is coldly calculated by the purity of blood; going along with this, blood-proximity is here being used to dictate, in a sense, affection or to set up an expectation of closeness that doesn't actually exist) fail to recognize that the one Brand really wants to claim him (and who has not one jot of blood relationship to him) is staying out of sight (literally in this chapter).

It was nice to get the tale behind the opening of "Ultimatums" from the horse's mouth, as it were, and it was amusing to see Hethlin and the esquires make an appearance - they're fun scenes of themselves. I'm not sure how they advance the plot at this point, however.

I really want to see what's going on with Brand and Andrahar, and wouldn't mind getting it from an Imri-Andra confrontation over Brand - that'd be fun!

Anyhow, having said all that, here's hoping for more soon!

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 [42] Reviewer:Imhiriel Date:May 14, 2007 12:10 PM
#1

There is something about how you phrased "There is no law against it now,..." that I particularly liked; and I think I have finally found what: It is that you have achieved the emphasis on the "now" merely through the way you ordered the sentence, and didn't use italics to stress it. It's a more subtle effect, but just as effective.

#2

The letter is wonderful, so heartfelt and honest, and so very Boromir (and had me sniffling with the last line. At the latest. Again). And you have written it in such a way that it gives enough information for Brand (and new readers) to understand it, and yet alludes to so much more that needn't be said in the letter between the two persons who already know about it.

#3

Brand is so very brave and clear-headed in this situation, very admirable. Even while worrying about his fate and about his family, he keeps thinking, keeps planning, seeking for ways out, for taking advantage of their captors. I like Tullus too, very much so. I hope he will stay friends with Brand and that we will see more of him in future.

#4

The picture of Boromir so simply clad, unarmed, walking barefoot through the sand towards his son with an Eagle flying overhead is exquisite.

Quite naturally Brand, together with the readers, assume the Boromir appears in the dream to guide his son, so his breezy answer, "Whatever gave you that idea?...", and then continuing without pause to the messages Brand is to take to everyone is all the more funny (as are Brand's later slightly indignant thoughts about how ghosts ought to behave in his opinion). Of course, in a way Boromir does have advice for his son: keep your head, use your wits & knowledge, be active in searching for a solution.

The time you’ll spend making love in your life is a very small portion of time, really, and it has very little bearing on everything else you’ll accomplish.

That's something quite a few people in RL should think about...

"I wanted Andra-even when he became old and wrinkly and cantankerous. I would have happily loved him until the day he died."

Oooh... So much said, so straightforward, right to the heart.

I love the thought that Boromir has a little leeway concerning his ghostly appearances due to fate or what/whoever using him to set things in motion in the WotR. It's good to think that it wasn't all his own flaws and faults that were twisted and corrupted by the Ring, that there was something from outside that was beyond his control from the beginning and that even his bad actions were contributions that had to happend just so to make the final victory possible.

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 [43] Reviewer:Imhiriel Date:May 14, 2007 12:20 PM
#5

Brand takes command! Woo-hoo! Bravo! His father would be proud of him! Very well-devised plan, especially considering the short amount of time he had (and I think he is underrating his proficiency in Haradric: to me, he seems very fluent).

There are so many highlights in this, from "But even if you don’t believe me, do you really want to provoke a desperate bastard with nothing to lose and no honor?" to "Because if the Prince is on that ship, then the Tiger of Dol Amroth is as well. Did I mention that Captain Andrahar is my sword-master?" and the captain getting rather nauseous at this information.

Erm, did I already mention that Imrahil in fully-Princely-Wrath-mode is making me all shivery? Especially if he flips back-and-forth between that and his softer side *g*...

I loved, loved, loved Andra's eruption, which goes to prove that the captain's earlier concern about the Tiger of Dol Amroth is only too well founded! And calling himself "son of Adrahil" was a marvellous touch (makes me wonder if it's the first time he has said it...).

Erchirion considered himself the least glib and sensitive of Imrahil’s three socially adept children (no one considered Amrothos to be socially adept)...

Snort... I'd love for you to write a scene where we can actually see this!

#6

Andrahar's feelings and reactions regarding Brand's revelations about Boromir are all the more poignant because he so under-reacts as usual. And then he is totally shaken, and his very first question: "Brandmir, was he all right?" - cuts right to the quick.

You know, in a way I'm very curious to learn more about Andra's time as a slave after his father's death, because it informed so much of the man he became... but in the end I have to admit I'm glad that you have (until now, at least) decided not to there beyond the merest hints. It would be hard to read. The glimpses of his happier childhood you have shown are wonderful, in contrast.

It was very sad when Brand has to tell Andra to please leave him alone, although he very much does want him to stay.

#7

"And they were both wearing their crowns."

Hee! Like how this running gags finds its climax here.

"Elphir and Amrothos had investigated the disappearances at the time,..."

Aha: A hint, if at second hand, of Amrothos Holmes...

It's interesting to not that in Brand's talk with Imrahil, there is no mention at all of the relationship between Boromir and Andrahar. I wonder who was too uncomfortable to bring it up...

#8

Oh, poor Imrahil, it's still status quo with Heth, it seems.

I wonder if he has dreamed something similar to Brand; if he thinks he will die in the forthcoming battle and will never return to the sea again...

Yes, and these thoughts were what lead me to write "Swan Song".

This chapter is so sad all around until the last few paragraphs, and the brief humorous interlude with Gaelwyn makes it only more so in contrast. I very much like the thought that the staff are concerned about Imrahil, as well.

But Brand is a darling, bringing Heth to their table; and no matter what Imrahil might pretend, I'm sure he was a at least a little bit grateful. And Heth got a nice view (pirate!Imri inclusive), as well, just to give her some ideas *g*. And he hints that the time when her training was a convenient excuse to delay a decision is fast coming to a close.

And Brand has the knack for timely departure. I was crowing at this - what a nice end for the chapter and the story so far!

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 [44] Reviewer:Annmarwalk Date:July 29, 2007 8:40 PM
This is a very satisfying story on so many different levels. There seems to be have been a dearth of good action-adventure stories lately, at least that I've been exposed to; I'm very pleased to have found both this and Dwimordene's most recent contribution to the 'verse, “Reconciliation.” “The Plucky Youngster Proves His Worth, Rescues His Friends, And Learns Something About Himself In The Process” trope is an ago-old one, and Isabeau writes it very well. Brandemir is an engaging character, and it's a pleasure to see aspects of his personality we can very easily imagine as being inherited from his father – quick wit, leadership, imagination – coming into play as Brand engineers his rescue and that of his young companions.

The Cinderella aspects of the tale, explored in the original tale “Noble Jewel”, are more fully developed here. Brand is aware of the truth about his origins, and is becoming comfortable with both his new-found family, and the expectations and opportunities now available to him. That he is able to conduct himself so well in a crisis situation is a salute to both heredity and environment.

The most touching elements of the story, though, deal with Brand's realization of the truth about Andra and Boromir, the two men whom he has learned to respect and admire more than anyone else in the world. His shock and confusion is both painful and realistic as he is forced to examine a lifetime of prejudice. What he experiences is not all that different from what a young person of the late Fourth Age would, in a similar situation, another vivid example of the universality of experience that we find so moving.

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 [45] Reviewer:Denise Date:October 8, 2007 11:13 PM
Ch. 9: A much-appreciated interval! I love the interactions between Brand and his family, and I was curious as to how things sat with all of them now. The exchange with Jacyn is very interesting, and put Brand's step-father into a bit of a better light for me. I like his own reminiscence about Boromir, and that he shared it with Brand. I'm glad that they have reached a tentative understanding, if only for Nellith's sake. Although now her poor health has me worried...

I also like the subtle signs that, yes, of course Andra stills cares for Brand. That bit where Jacyn pounds the table, disparages Southrons and then gets stared down by Andra was priceless. Wonderful moments of showing how Brand has grown and changed even more into his father's son, especially at the end.

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 [46] Reviewer:Raksha Date:October 9, 2007 3:21 AM
Excellent new chapter! Interesting - Jacyn is almost tolerable. Perhaps he finds it easier to treat Brand with respect when the kid isn't under his roof as a visible reminder that Jacyn wasn't first with Nellith.

Brand is definitely growing up; showing generosity to his half-siblings and mother (and by consequence, to the unloving stepfather). He's learning that though he can't go home again, his new horizons are rather dazzling.

I really want to see some Faramir/Brand interaction; and what Brand will think of Eowyn.

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 [47] Reviewer:Nargil Date:October 10, 2007 12:42 PM
I love this, Brand is ace, "If I have my way she may very well be getting ideas above her station." It's good to see him getting along a little better with Jacyn.

The whole thing with Andra is heartbreaking on both sides, I suspect Imri is on the verge of whacking thier heads together in the hope of knocking some sense into them both. It's great to see Heth crop up again, it makes me laugh that the woman who will one day be a lady in waiting *cough* to the queen is still thought of as a lad by most people.

I hope they do move out to the farm, Nelliths health worries me. It's nice to see how much Jacyn cares for her.

I hope the muses remain co-operative and real life allows you the time to write

Nargil

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 [48] Reviewer:Lisser Date:October 12, 2007 5:55 PM
More, please!

I loved your story first time around, and I like it with the additions - but please don't stop here! And the story arc itself is actually my all time favourite.

The way you describe Brandmir, he is as credible to me as the boy next door, and I symphatize with his struggles of coming to terms with his guardian's sexual preferences as well as with his own new status of Lord.

And the description of this young boy in the hull of the ship, knowing much more than the other children about the seriousness of their situation and trying to console them with stories - it is heartbreaking.

Please, Isabeau - more!

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 [49] Reviewer:Denise Date:November 13, 2007 8:17 AM
Ch. 10: Really, Isabeau, there should have been warnings with this chapter. Hethlin in a dress! Andra dancing with Arwen! Imrahil dancing with Hethlin! Hethlin slamming Jerulas! Arwen slamming Jerulas! Brand dancing with the Queen! I lost count of the number of whoops and bursts of laughter that I made...

Loved Amrothos. Loved Liahan's family, and Brand's sweet perception that being a bastard is not the only thing that could make life difficult at court. Loved Heth's immediate protective march towards Brand when she saw him approach Jerulas. Gosh, I loved every delightful aside and how they deepened and brightened your scenes and characters, and the wonderful weaving in of allusions to yours and Altariel's other plot threads. I was grinning happily at the end, very glad that Brand was able to have an enjoyable first evening at court.

Clever use of Merilin to give a very Denethoresque dissection of marriage prospects. And where did the rumors start about Imrahil being interested in Hethlin anyway?

And if I may put in a plea for Silver Swan, somehow, someway? I very much want to see Hethlin's process of transformation into this so much more self-confident lady - who has still not lost either her forthrightness or her uniqueness. (And I noted with some grief that Tirathiel departed to Rohan - I really want to see more of the two of them together.)

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 [50] Reviewer:obsidianj Date:November 14, 2007 12:44 AM
I love this chapter. There are so many little things that give me a warm fuzzy feeling. After all the angst in the earlier chapters this made me smile and giggle all the way. I loved Hethlin in that beautiful gown and the incident with Eowyn throwing the wine at the courtier. Young Lady Tathar was the right companion for Brand's first dance. Arwen is the consummate diplomat, all smiles and a will of steel. I love how she conveyed her displeasure to lady Jerulas couched in concern for her health.

Great chapter!

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