Forum: Hands of the King

Discussing: Ch. 45 - Station

Ch. 45 - Station

I've been out of town and working on a very big project, but finally found the time to write up a new chapter.

Ch. 45 - Station

Second of 2 Finduilas POV chapters.  Warnings - Explicit sex. A very happy Denethor. (You don't think that deserves a warning?)

Station - where do people belong, and why? Finduilas reflects on her marriage after one year. Two significant scenes with Thorongil in which we learn more about the north, the progress of his political education, and the shape of his heart. Scenes also with Denethor and Luinil, as well as a number of side conversations.

Big hugs to my beta readers - you are all awesome!

Toodles - Ang

 

 

Re: Ch. 45 - Station

I waited a long time to go on from this chapter, partly because of a small thing that niggled at me (it's always the small things!)

I kept returning to Thorongil's argument with Finduilas when he said "'Though I sell my sword, I no longer borrow clothes." It struck me slightly off, as I would never expect Thorongil to sell his sword. Of course it could depend on which sword he is using, but still, it is his defense and his livelihood. How would you see this? Is there some significance to Thorongil to borrowing clothes that I'm missing?

 

 

Re: Ch. 45 - Station

I kept returning to Thorongil's argument with Finduilas when he said "'Though I sell my sword, I no longer borrow clothes." It struck me slightly off, as I would never expect Thorongil to sell his sword. Of course it could depend on which sword he is using, but still, it is his defense and his livelihood. How would you see this? Is there some significance to Thorongil to borrowing clothes that I'm missing?

Yep. (I'm pretty sure Ang is out of town this week or I would feel extremely presumptuous answering this)

"Sell his sword" means to take a position as a mercenary - to work for a lord for pay rather than being given land to pay for his service. One of the main plot points in this story is that Thorongil will not swear fealty to Gondor or Ecthelion. He's doing it, as far as Denethor knows, for the money. (Although Denethor suspects who he really is, of course...)

So while Thorongil works for pay, he now has enough income that he can afford to keep up his own appearances (with clothes and other accoutrements of his rank.)

Gwynnyd

 

 

Re: Ch. 45 - Station

Hi Lyllyn & Gwynnyd,

I was out of town, and you weren't presumptuous. :-)

Gwynnyd has it right. Thorongil is not literally selling his sword, exchanging an object for money, he is a "sell sword"  a mercenary, selling his fighting abilities. Even when Ecthelion gives him lands and material goods, he is still not a "man of Gondor" (i.e., a subject within the kingdom), he is an outsider (now moderately wealthy) who is present for pay. A resident alien, if you will. What drives Denethor batty in all this is knowing the man isn't just some mercenary, but is The King, and it is causing Denethor severe psychological conflicts - he owes loyalty to someone who will not be what he should be, the conflict between formal claims and functional claims is very real, and so forth. On one level, Thorongil *can't* swear fealty to the Stewards as that would be a tacit renunciation of the the throne. Denethor dismisses this situation, understanding it to be a reason of state. What knaws at him is the way in which Thorongil will not commit to Gondor, placing loyalty to the kingdom above all else. This becomes more pronounced as the story progresses.

The borrowing of the clothes is highly symbolic for Thorongil, and carries much the same weight in his mind as the refusal to swear does in Denethor's mind. The boy is beginning to understand just how dangerous he is to Denethor and the ways in which his presence destabilizes Gondor. When he sat out on the border and was just a garrison leader, he could avoid the conflicts of the capital, but there is no way to avoid this now. The other part of this is, in their mutual love of Finduilas, they have become closer to each other. Where Thorongil once regarded Denethor with equal parts wariness and respect, he now simply loves the man, very much looking up to him as an elder brother. It hurts him to see Denethor threatened and dishonored by the Steward, and shames him that most of it has been done in ways that benefit him. Thus, he has promised not to "borrow clothes" - not to take for himself the trappings of state that properly belong to Denethor. His actions overall are the same, but subtly he has shifted his support from Ecthelion to Denethor, making clear to Denethor (if not to anyone else), that he will not undermine Denethor's authority. There is also the aspect that Thorongil, like so many "little brothers", is trying to establish his independence from Denethor, too, wanting an identity that is not always a reference to the other.

So, selling his sword and borrowing Denethor's clothes are two sides of a very weighty coin. Loyalty and love, identity and independence, are at work. Thorongil has been learning lessons he wishes he did not have to, having to confront the effects of his presence on those he has come to love greatly. There are a few more waiting.

Toodles - Ang 

 

 

Re: Ch. 45 - Station

Thank you both; I was interpreting the words too literally. I had visions of Thorongil literally selling the sword, not just his use of it. And I hadn't really considered the symbolism of borrowing Denethor's clothes as opposed to someone else's.

 

 

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