Oh, this is positively brilliant... so beautifully written, with such glitteringly superb characterizations! Thank you so much for sharing it with us! So sweet and sad, with its views of what might have been....
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 Reviewer:Soledad Date:October 2, 2007 9:34 PM
You are hilarious! "Twisting the Tiger's tail", indeed... and "Queen of the Hearts"... and Boromir, needing his toes because he's a foot soldier...
*falls over, laughing*
On the other hand, it was a very sweet, heart-warming story as well. Poor Denethor, who knows, if Finduilas lasted a little longer, he might have turned out a much more personable man, eh?
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 Reviewer:Tari Date:October 3, 2007 2:52 PM
I'm so glad you took the time to write this. It's wonderful. Denethor certainly would have needed times like this in his otherwise dark life.
Please take more trips. We need more tales like this.
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 Reviewer:Melina Date:October 3, 2007 4:59 PM
Aww! This was super sweet :)
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 Reviewer:Rugi Date:October 3, 2007 5:08 PM
Oh I really enjoyed this. I love how you bounced so many characters and their emotions off of each other. Imrahil both enjoying his daughter's growth with a hint of regret over his lost wife and Lothiriel combining teenage silliness with a large dose of strong character, will, and intelligence. I liked the glimpses of Boromir and Faramir and how they interact with their mother's side of the family.
I also enjoyed your take on the less-hard (softer is WAY too strong a word for Mr. Mount Rushmore) side of Denethor. I think it was interesting that you wrote him both acting on his emotions and impulses and analyzing them. I also think it was good that you preserved the darker edge he has to even his love (his thoughts about loving yet controlling his wife and his management of his sons). But I also felt sorry for him, since he is also incredibly alone and I was glad that Lothiriel sort of gave him a break from that. And I'm glad that totally shocking everyone (and unsettling Andrahar) made his day - it was a uniquely Denethory pleasure and really in keeping with his character.
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 Reviewer:Altariel Date:October 4, 2007 5:33 PM
Lovely. The final scene was an excellent addition, making the connection, through Thiri, between the last first lady of the city, who has gone, and the next first lady, who has yet to come.
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 Reviewer:Nargil Date:October 7, 2007 11:23 AM
That was a wonderfull little ficlet Isabeau, I love seeing the nicer side of Denethor and it was fascinating to whatch Thiri growing from the little girl of Motherless and Discretion into the young woman in CMC. I thought you portrayed everyone's emotions very well, and you offered a few interesting little quirks in thier as well, Denethor's line with the tiggers tale and his thoughts about his sons presenting a united front.
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 Reviewer:obsidianj Date:October 9, 2007 1:44 AM
What a lovely piece. That Denethor was surprised by his decision I can believe. Lothiriel really is something. I felt sorry and at the same time comforted for Denethor that Lothiriel brought back so many memories of Finduilas.
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 Reviewer:Imhiriel Date:October 9, 2007 4:59 PM
I really don't think this story is "just fluff". Yes, the occasion is a ball, which might be frivolous at first glance. But there is so much more going on for certain characters, and for the relations between some of them.
I admit, on encountering your Lothíriel during my first read of CMC, I had very much the same first impression as Denethor of a rather vain, spoiled, if friendly, girl. But just as he must, I had to revise my opinion quickly. Which makes me think that this is a strategy she has cultivated deliberatedly to have an advantage in the battlefield that is the court, as she informs Hethlin. One can really see not only her parents' influence, but also Tirathíel's.
I like Imrahil's title of "Warden of Western Gondor".
Even Prince Amrothos, widely known for not caring anything about court fashion, was turned out tolerably well this evening-probably at his sister’s insistence.
I can so see her harrying poor Amrothos to don this tunic, and those breeches and "no, not that colour - they clash, don't you see!", and "don't wrinkle it!" and "brush your hair!" etc.
He found himself responding almost involuntarily on some deep level to Imrahil’s charm, though he was careful not to show it and was at pains to repress it; for unlike Finduilas, it was manifested in a person that he could never hope to possess or control, and that made him resentful.
And this passage is extraordinarily insightful, and says so much about Denethor, and about his relations to Finduilas and Imrahil. When I first read this, I just sat there and thought back on all those scenes in the Unabeauverse where one can see this fact played out.
Lothíriel treated him just right: sympathetic without pitying, appealing to him as the uncle he is but not in a cloying way, and not pressuring him, allowing him to come to his decision himself.
I felt deep sympathy for Denethor, at how hard he tried to suppress all feelings and memories, and tried to justify his decision to dance with Lothíriel on any number of levels, even just to annoy Andra (twist the Tiger’s tail - ha!), just to avoid thinking about his real reasons, that he feels lonely, and wants to feel happy for just a few moments while indulging in fond memories.
He was Winter incarnate in this Mid-summer Court with his almost silver hair, clad in the sable and silver of Gondor. Spring looked fearlessly up at him.
Denethor offering her to tell her stories about Nimrien had me almost in tears.
I also liked the ending, Boromir getting to muss Lothíriel, after all, and with Imrahil's vision of Arwen.
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 Reviewer:Rebecca Date:October 19, 2007 1:25 PM
Such a lovely vignette, Isabeau. As always, I'm amazed by your ability to weave totally natural interactions between characters. I was glad to see a moment where Denethor was almost a bit warm, but still totally in character. Very sweet! Thanks for writing and sharing it!
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