Cliffhanger, indeed! I'm hooked and waiting impatiently.
13 Dec 04 8:02 AM
Reply To: 35449
I think I'll have the third chapter ready by mid-week. Typo fixed.
I wasn't sure why she chose the dress - I think I missed something. Clarification appreciated!
She was trying to be plain and not attract attention. Finduilas doesn't want anyone looking at her with romatic intentions, particularly Thorongil, when Ivriniel is around. Thus, she dresses in mourning clothes, not realizing it doesn't do a bit of good.
A very interesting and creative idea - Thorongil learning through this what he is and should be. Once you mention it, it makes perfect sense that while he is confident in warrior skills, he is clueless in many ways. Will you have him realize it is unfair and even dishonorable to want to court Finduilas because she reminds him of Arwen? (I'd love to see that!)
It just makes sense that is is relatively unformed when he goes off on his sojourns, and that he would be changed (for the better) when he is done with them. He is good at fighting, he has strong natural leadership skills (being the true king and all...), and he is an honorable man. But he knows nothing of articulated human societies, nothing of politics, and is not sufficiently practised in ethical ambiguity. Nor is he well versed in *human* lore, though the Elves sure did drum poetry into him. This leaves him with a huge gap in understanding the people he would rule. Finally, he's not an intellectually curious person, not the way Denethor is, so, unless prompted or ordered, he's not going to go and look this stuff up.
Hmm, do I have him realize that he is attracted to Finduilas because she is a substitute for Arwen? Yes and no. He is consciously aware that she looks like the Elf chick. He knows he fell for Arwen. He also has some massive mental defense mechanisms working over-time trying to tell him *that* was a dream, *this* is real, and he'd better be in love. So, he doesn't see it that way. Also, he really *is* attracted to Finduilas, just as Denethor, should he have seen Arwen, would be powerfully attracted to *her*. It is not mere substitution. If there weren't real feelings involved, then it would mean Thorongil is incredibly shallow and opportunistic. He isn't. It is actually reasonable that he would fall in love with Finduilas. Had he shaken Finduilas's hand first, it probably would have worked, and the history of Middle-earth would have been far different.
Even so, his social naivety is being manipulated with regards to the girl, and he *is* being tempted by the short, easy route to kingship, which is paved with good intentions, a pretty girl, and lots of adulation. It's not even, at some level, a dishonorable choice, but it would be the wrong one. He has to have the choice, however, in order to understand it - there must be real temptation placed in his path. At this point, Thorongil doesn't have Elrond's challenge - be the king of it all with the enemy defeated or no girlie - so there is nothing to keep him from entertaining this route. If anything, Gandalf has brought him to Gondor to become king after Ecthelion, seeing a need for a king since Sauron (not just Nazgul) rules Mordor. The wizard doesn't know, either, what the right path is. The One Ring has been found, but no one knows it, and in the absence of that, strategy is uncertain.
The acorn bit is purposefully obscure. The conflict is between the pigherd, whose animals forage acorns in his oak forest and the watchfire guardsman, who needs oakwood for the watchfire. Denethor sees a chance for the personal conflict between these two to endanger a steady wood supply for the watchfire, whereas Brandir & Thorongil just see a marriage dispute they really have no part of. He tells Thorongil to look at the problem differently (watch for snakes) so the guy will makes the connection: pigs = acorns = oak forest = wood = watchfire. Thus Thorongil says a pig feeds on acorns as a fire feeds on oak, i.e., I understand that we need to keep the watchfires fueled and not let local animosities endanger the realm. It's another situation in which Thorongil needs to think differently about his role and responsibilities.
In truth, it is all fueled by one of Aragorn's stupid noble statements in LotR where he blathers some nonsense about Butterburr and the people of Bree calling him names and not understanding their own danger but it's OK because he and his ranger buddies will selflessly defend the simple folk so they can remain simple, yadda-yadda. Oh, *barf*. What an arrogant attitude. The people of Bree have a stockade and do their darndest to defend themselves. If the Dunedain of the north actually *talked* to the Breelanders, maybe they could have joint defenses, eh? It shows how disconnected the Dunedain have become from their life. They live to fulfill prophesies, not to be a viable civilization, and they treat "lesser" people with paternalism that is simply offensive. To me, it emphasizes how Aragorn, for all his noble bloodline, simple is not *and never will be* a fit ruler for a mortal society. He is a putrid steward, in short.
Denethor sees this. His contempt for Thorongil is based on the recognition that the man is little more than a warlord (however honorable and well-intentioned), and that the captain who would be king is clueless about how to keep a kingdom together. Mind you, this appears to be a family failing, given how poorly the heirs of Elendil ruled their respective kingdoms - civil war, divided realms, jealousy, inattention, war-mongering, and all the rest. One can make a reasonable argument that Gondor did better under the Stewards than it did under the Kings. At this point in their lives, Thorongil would not be as good of a king as Denethor. He will be the proper person when the Ring War comes about, but it is also a world-historic moment, when the right-ordering of a realm is inconsequential compared to its immediate survival. Yet... without a steward of amazing capabilities, would there have been anything left for Aragorn to save?
This is actually the subject of the next chapter.
Toodles - Ang