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Passages
by:Isabeau
 [61] Reviewer:Elena Tiriel Date:May 2, 2008 10:18 PM
I am so pleased to see a new chapter!

Straight off, the first paragraph tells us so much about Brand's character: he still has difficulty reading old-fashioned, convoluted writing, but instead of giving up or taking a shortcut, he works hard and perseveres (stubbornly, like his father). That quiet talking-to that Andra gave him (in "Noble Jewel") when he slacked off on his studies sure had an impact! So much stronger than any blow his stepfather ever delivered.

(You know, I always took it for granted, but I'm coming to understand what a gift literacy is, for without it, I could not take joy in the writings of Tolkien and all the marvelous fanfic writers who honor him. And as I write more myself, and am more often carried by my muse to places I never imagined, I value the skills even more.

Wow -- Your story has turned me philosophical! But that's so unaccustomed that I'm sure it will pass quickly.... LOLOL!)

Have I ever told you how much I love your Imrahil? He is so good at encouraging Brand, letting him know when he's done something right, and guiding him lovingly. (Brand is soooo lucky to have fallen in with your Andrahar and your Imrahil! Not that I'm envious, or anything like that....) And he has a wicked sense of humor, to boot!

I love all the small details that you use to establish the uniqueness of your characters. That little bit about Brand being shocked at Imrahil's casual thought of endangering an expensive *glass window* is superb! And I like that he resembles Boromir in clever (and unexpected!) crudeness; I enjoy the glimpses of Boromir that come from Brand's frequently-noticed resemblances to his father.

"... you might consider leaving the bit about the spots out." Eminently sensible advice! *snerk*

"Gracious, could it be possible that I am a scandal again after almost forty years?" Imrahil hasn't entirely grown up, has he? ;-)

"He gave me a book!" I can hear the disgust.... LOL!

I almost wish we would see how Imrahil recounts the events of "Ultimatums", since he's such a good storyteller; but I guess we will have to console ourselves with the original! Which is not such a bad thing....

I so like Amrothos.... The quintessential Middle-earth engineer! Loves to read, not socially adept (but not entirely clueless, as befits a cygnet), knowledgeable in arcane subjects (that almost no one else cares about, until it's needed for life-and-death situations), direct (blunt), but has a good heart (even when awakened from a nap!). And he certainly knew who could most help Brand!

And Maeddan makes an entrance.... What a useful fellow to have around! Of course, Imrahil would only have the very best servants in his employ.... and if they have valuable skills beyond the normal for their position, who could complain?

Loved did arcane things to his fingernails and coax his normally unruly locks into the most mannerly coiffure hed ever seen! And Brand is agog at the results! LOLOL!

But Brand's not entirely comfortable with the idea of a personal manservant... still has a bit of growing into his lordly clothes to do yet, doesn't he?

"That refusal is a sort of answer all by itself, you know." Ah, Brand is catching on fast, isn't he? And Maeddan is clearly skilled at the concise and thorough briefing.... Clearly very well suited for his position!

Dogs? Dogs? Okay, that came out of left field! Hmmmm, would they be related to Lord Lalven's other expenditures by any chance? Maybe he can be Elessar's next Master of the Hounds? LOLOL!

Well, some cliffhangers have the heroine tied to a track yelling "Help!" with the train rushing toward her.... This one is certainly more subtle, and considerably more intriguing! For we know that the heroine must be rescued, but I haven't got a clue where you're going next!

Thank you for the meaty update, Isabeau! Well done!

- Barbara, who will wait an appropriate time (at least ten minutes) before begging for the next chapter.... ;-)

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 [62] Reviewer:Dwim Date:May 4, 2008 6:07 PM
Dogs: usually too large, slobbery, and rambunctious to be considered a good thing.

I can't help but notice an inverse symmetry here: Imrahil went a-courting and ended up having to deal with a Beruthiel wannabe with too many cats. Now Brand goes not-quite-courting and may have to deal with an entire brood of dogs. Might these be some of that other "expenditure" that Liahan's family makes? Are they into weird dog breeds that no one else likes to breed from? Just curious.

Amrothos was in good form, I note - I love his "slovenly and very, very *strange* work well for me" line. Go 'Rothos! People say that 'academic' work is of no practical value, but it is almost a guaranteed way of putting off unwanted but persistent pursuers: just bore them to *death* and/or weird them out. Either method will do. 'Rothos's opinion on Brand and Andra was also priceless and a good way of keeping that conflict hovering in the background as tales of Brand's initiation into courtly life as a quasi-adult unfold.

I also liked the side-note that Maedden provides - more intelligence types showing up in unexpected places, eh? One wonders who else might be in on this.

Glad to see a new chapter, and I hope to see more soon!

Dwim

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 [63] Reviewer:Gwidhiel Date:May 5, 2008 5:25 PM
I haven't posted a review for the last few chapters, so this will address the last three.

This newest chapter first: I liked it! I particularly like your depiction of Amrothos, Isabeau. I like everything he represents -- his rationality, his disinterest in conforming to social norms, his sarcasm, his keen powers of observation -- yay! I do hope that someday you'll get a chance to write about him falling for his Haradrim maiden (not that I'm trying to encourage another new story when you're juggling so many WIPs).

I also appreciate how sensitive you are to the difficulties Brand must endeavor to overcome as he adapts to his new aristocratic milieu. The difficulties for a new reader presented by an abstract text in archaic language, for example. The seemingly bizarre constraints of social decorum and the importance of not sending the wrong message and getting others' hopes up.

I like Brand. I like how Andra has taken him in and raised him in comfortable but not luxurious conditions. I really liked his exchange with Imrahil's valet!

I was somewhat surprised at Jerulas's behavior at the ball. I understand that she's haughty and status-conscious, and jealous of Hethlin. I guess she's disappointed that the end of the war didn't see her accepting a marriage proposal from one of the highest lords in the land, and I can see why that would make her feel aggrieved, as though she's not being given her rightful due. But I was surprised that she was so unsubtle in the way she cut Brand, since surely she would know that he was not only a part of Imrahil's household, but Faramir's beloved nephew! She can't have missed Merilin chatting amiably and dancing with Brand. Bastard or not, she'd be needlessly alienating the most powerful family in Gondor by blatantly throwing Brand's illegitimacy in his face. Her behavior made her look not only mean-spirited but unintelligent, and therefore not really a worthy rival for Hethlin to engage in verbal sparring, let alone Arwen.

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 [64] Reviewer:Gwidhiel Date:May 5, 2008 5:26 PM
I haven't posted a review for the last few chapters, so this will address the last three.

This newest chapter first: I liked it! I particularly like your depiction of Amrothos, Isabeau. I like everything he represents -- his rationality, his disinterest in conforming to social norms, his sarcasm, his keen powers of observation -- yay! I do hope that someday you'll get a chance to write about him falling for his Haradrim maiden (not that I'm trying to encourage another new story when you're juggling so many WIPs).

I also appreciate how sensitive you are to the difficulties Brand must endeavor to overcome as he adapts to his new aristocratic milieu. The difficulties for a new reader presented by an abstract text in archaic language, for example. The seemingly bizarre constraints of social decorum and the importance of not sending the wrong message and getting others' hopes up.

I like Brand. I like how Andra has taken him in and raised him in comfortable but not luxurious conditions. I really liked his exchange with Imrahil's valet!

I was somewhat surprised at Jerulas's behavior at the ball. I understand that she's haughty and status-conscious, and jealous of Hethlin. I guess she's disappointed that the end of the war didn't see her accepting a marriage proposal from one of the highest lords in the land, and I can see why that would make her feel aggrieved, as though she's not being given her rightful due. But I was surprised that she was so unsubtle in the way she cut Brand, since surely she would know that he was not only a part of Imrahil's household, but Faramir's beloved nephew! She can't have missed Merilin chatting amiably and dancing with Brand. Bastard or not, she'd be needlessly alienating the most powerful family in Gondor by blatantly throwing Brand's illegitimacy in his face. Her behavior made her look not only mean-spirited but unintelligent, and therefore not really a worthy rival for Hethlin to engage in verbal sparring, let alone Arwen.

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 [65] Reviewer:Nargil Date:May 7, 2008 8:53 PM
This is great, I love Brand he's the most 'real' of all your OC'sand totally beliveable. The indignance in his voice over "porking" lady Tathar and his thoughts on Glass.

Amrothos is hilarious, "And you're asking ME" but he comes up with a typically unique and unusual response with a very witty sense of humour, reminds me of David Tennant's doctor, capable of incomprihensable technobable but funny and charming, don't know about Sherlock Holmes, never seen him.

I can't wait for the next chapter, dogs and lords and all

Nargil

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 [66] Reviewer:obsidianj Date:May 12, 2008 12:23 AM
Oh, Brand, what have you gotten yourself into. A small act of kindness and now he has to write a letter, get scrutinized by her father, has to choose what to wear... No small deed goes unpunished. I can understand that Maeddan is intimidating for Brand. Having a valet is quite a change and that Brand is not ready for that I can understand. Good thinking of him to give an explanation that Maeddan can understand without offending him. Brand will make a diplomat one of these days.

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 [67] Reviewer:Denise Date:September 10, 2008 6:04 PM
This is so charming, humorous, and full of little twists. I was engrossed from beginning to end, and there was nothing big or important going on! Just an awkward-becoming-comfortable visit to a minor lord's household.

Love the dogs. Love that one of them chose Brand, for goodness' sake! That was what it was clearly leading up to, but I was still surprised at the end due to the emphasis on the special nature of the breed.

Your descriptions and characters are awesome, as usual. (Sorry to be so repetitive in every review, but they just are, every time.) From Talgeth at the start through to Luin's presumption at the end marvelous.

And along the way you drop in all these tantalizing hints: The tourney to come (Where will Heth fight? How will it fall out? Is it one of the scenes from her Lorien vision?); the end of the esquire testing (We know she made it, but how exactly did it go?); the war strategy (Is Heth going to Erebor? Surely she is going to Erebor?!)

In short, this latest update is like all the others: Excellent, but leaving me desperately hungry for *more*. Thank you! I think... :)

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 [68] Reviewer:brinian Date:September 10, 2008 10:30 PM
YAY! Dogs :-) Very good insight into the expenses to keep a line of hounds 'for when the king returns'. Now I want you to write Andra's reaction to Brand making even more friends and acquiring a puppy of this size. I love the detail of the puppy taking over the foot of the bed...don't they always do that? Now you just need a couple of herding dogs in the mix...

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 [69] Reviewer:Denise Date:September 11, 2008 7:27 PM
I forgot one thing: I'm very taken with the idea of Amrothos being owned by a cat, with both of them prowling the lab. Perfect!

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 [70] Reviewer:Denise Date:September 16, 2008 11:17 PM
Ch. 14: Thank you, Aragorn!!

I was really looking forward to reading about the tournament, but Aragorn provided such an awesome, lovely (and quick!) detour. Oh Brand - you are truly magnificent. What a delightful image of the very best of his father; I just love him.

And I love your Aragorn, stepped down to his former scruffy self, still enjoying the Red Dog from CMC. (I didn't even catch on when you described the sign!) I love his gentle fatherly way of relating to Brand, his wonderful blush-worthy compliment.

And Andra, caring for Brand as a son still. I don't even want to think about how badly his heart is hurting right now. I fervently hope Brand figures it out soon.

Of course, I still love Imrahil's unfriendly relationship with Morning. :) Love Brand's wash of homesickness. Love Luin. Excellent descriptions all around, from sleepy sweeping maids to streets and taverns to groggy Imrahil! Thanks for the day-brightener, Isabeau.

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