Closed Challenges

Son of Ecthelion

Challenge Details

Denethor, son of Ecthelion, 26th Steward of Gondor, and a man in desperate need of a PR firm. He's been written as grim, as dark, as depressed, and hard as flint.

Time to shake things up. Brought to you by volunteers from the SKGD (Society for a Kinder, Gentler Denethor), your task is to consider the following "landmarks" in Denethor's life—landmarks that often tilt us towards a darker reading and writing of him—and to use them to construct a less grim Denethor. And all while sticking close to those canonical passages, of course!

* Denethor's relationship with Finduilas
* Deethor's relationship with sons
* The set-up for or aftermath of the argument with Faramir (in which the famous question is asked of Denethor: "'Do you wish then that our [Boromir's and Faramir's] places had been exchanged?' And the answer is an unequivocal: "'Yes, I wish that indeed."'—Siege of Gondor, RoTK)
* The set-up for or the aftermath of the pyre
* Commentary (implied or otherwise) on the palantír's effects
* Denethor's relationship with Gandalf
* Denethor's relationship with Thorongil
Your story must cover at least two of the above seven 'landmarks'. The goal is to have a set of stories by the end of this challenge which will, among all of them, cover all seven points.

Interested? Get writing!

Entries with Stories

The following authors have entered a story in the Challenge.

Anglachel - Hands of the King
Adult Audience
Last Updated: 13 Feb 15

Finduilas of Dol Amroth married Denethor, future Lord Steward of Gondor, for some very specific reasons. A different take on their marriage. By Anglachel

Final chapter posted 06 April 07.

Celandine Brandybuck - Consequences
General Audience
Last Updated: 14 Apr 05
When Mithrandir visits Minas Tirith, Faramir must decide whether to obey Denethor's commands. Sequel (seven years later) to "In His Brother's Shadow." Fourth chapter now up.
Celandine Brandybuck - Courting the Lady
General Audience
Last Updated: 21 Sep 04
How did Denethor ever end up married to Finduilas of Dol Amroth? And given that Aragorn was in Gondor at the time, under the name Thorongil, might he not have been interested in this courtship? This romance is told partly through the eyes of each of the three individuals involved (plus Imrahil), and partly through the medium of letters between them all. First of the Steward's Family sequence. No objectionable content. By Celandine. Mithril Awards 2004 - Runner-up - Best novel/serial
elanor of aquitania - Denethor - mementos
General Audience
Last Updated: 08 Apr 05
Denethor’s life seen in glimpses through the eyes of a retainer. An answer to the Challenge "Son of Ecthelion" to construct a less grim Denethor.
faramir_boromir - Lesson
General Audience
Last Updated: 29 Sep 04
What every six year old son of a Steward should know...
Marta - Pride and Despair
General Audience
Last Updated: 21 Dec 04
"'Pride and despair! Didst thou think that the eyes of the White Tower were blind? Nay, I have seen more than thou knowest, Grey Fool. [...]All the East is moving. And even now the wind of thy hope cheats thee and wafts up Anduin a fleet with black sails. The West has failed. It is time for all to depart who would not be slaves.'" ["The Pyre of Denethor", The Return of the King]

So said Denethor shortly before he killed himself in the Battle for Minas Tirith. Even at the very end, he did not simply submit to Mordor but took the only other action he thought he could. Here is a look at his last moments, as Denethor thinks back on the memories and relationships that have defined him. A rather book-based look at a most enigmatic steward.

[While this story does not contain objectionable material, it does deal with mature themes relating to death and destruction that younger readers may find disconcerting. Please use discretion when deciding whether or not to read this piece.]
Marta - How Many Years?
General Audience
Last Updated: 14 Jun 04
The road to the hallows above Minas Tirith is travelled only once a generation, on the twentieth birthday of the current steward's oldest son. Denethor leads Boromir down that scarce-walked path, and Denethor finally gives Boromir an honest answer to a question he asked as a child. Semi-finalist at the 2004 Mithril Awards for Best Story Focusing on Men and Best Vignette or Short Story.
Marta - Dulce Et Decorum Est
General Audience
Last Updated: 25 May 04
Beregond reflects on his role in preventing Faramir's death, and justifies to a fellow guard why he considers Denethor one of the "victorious dead."
Noldo - Crossroads
General Audience
Last Updated: 10 Nov 04
How might things have turned out if Denethor had abandoned his pyre in Return of the King? A Denethor-Lives! AU story, featuring Denethor, Faramir, Aragorn, Gandalf, and just about everyone else who had something to do with Gondor at the time.
nrink - In the Forest Singing Sorrowless
General Audience
Last Updated: 01 Sep 04
The meeting and betrothal of Denethor and Finduilas of Dol Amroth. Some slight departures from book canon and/or slightly AU. My first story for the "Three Colours Trilogy Challenge."
nrink - Mantle of Silver Stars, A
General Audience
Last Updated: 28 Aug 04
How did Finduilas come by her starry mantle? Based loosely on the movie-verse. Here you'll find a vignette of the Steward's family - Finduilas, Denethor and a very youthful and (for once) non-angsty Faramir.


The following authors have entered a placeholder in the Challenge.

Entry Date: 06 Jul 04
Entry Date: 20 Dec 04
Entry Date: 28 Sep 04
Entry Date: 01 Sep 04

In Challenges

Challenge Info

Open Date: April 24, 2004

Closed: March 15, 2005

Challenge Topic: Character

Entries: 18

Originator: Dwimordene

Keyword Search

Search for key terms in Challenge, Nuzgûl & Oliphaunt titles and descriptions.

Results are ordered alphabetically by title.