Forum: Hands of the King

Discussing: Ch. 72 - Due

Ch. 72 - Due

Ch. 72 - Due

4 of 4 Denethor chapters. No warnings. The magical summer draws to a close and many things come due. Major scenes with Imrahil, Aiavale, Beregar, Boromir and a few guest characters.

These are replies to the comments on the story. I prefer to that here rather than overwhelm the comment page with a long string of responses:

Nath - You helped write this. I'll do my best to return the favor.

Freyalyn - "I only recently found this story, and have utterly loved it and completely immersed myself in in." I am very glad you have enjoyed the story and feel a bit guilty at stopping it now. You have commented before, so have nothing to apologize for. And, as an FYI, most authors are perfectly content to be told that their story is "Wonderful!" over and over. Just that bit of recognition is just what you need when you've had a rotten day.

Rugi - No, you weren't silent - you've commented several times.

I have to agree with the reader who praised your Denethor - you really enriched the character from Tolkien - your character embraces his many noble characteristics and flaws that we see in the original books. I also like your Finduilas. I think it's great that you wrote her to be a true partner to her husband during his rule even though her health and other concerns sometimes limited her abilities. I also liked your portrayal of their marriage - two such strong and willful people wouldn't always have an easy time of it and you really show that well while holding on to the fact that they love each other.

Then the story has succeeded. What I liked in writing the last few chapters was allowing Denethor to slip out of his role as High Warden for an extended period of time, giving him in a small way his wish to flee the burdens and cares of rule and simply be with the people he loves. He could give time to Boromir- teaching him how to write, playing games, finding out his son's view of the world, watching Boromir be a mischievous child - that he will never have again. Denethor's estimation of Imrahil is quite different from the last time he rode with his brother-in-law in the far lands of Gondor. The trip itself is almost a reverse of the original ride to Minas Tirith, and is meant to show the changes that have come over both the land and Denethor in the intervening years. "I am happy." A fleeting moment with what awaits, but still true in the saying.

Though I would, of course, love to see a never-ending series of chapters in this story, I think this also works as a place to stop, on the brink of Faramir's entrance into the story. I admit though that I am sad not to see what you would make of him and his early relationship with his parents..

Not an AU, so it would come to an end at some point. I think what I have done with Faramir is unique in fandom writing. What does it mean that he is identical to his father, save that his heart is moved to pity rather than scorn? Why should that be? How did it come about? I let Denethor experience the differences between his sons (and himself) as something constructive and sustaining for all three. They will need it to get through the darkness ahead.

Jemms - You have sent in some very good and intersting comments before. "Denethor's interactions with Aiavale & Beregar were especially touching." He is deeply devoted to the people he loves, even as he holds himself aloof. Even so, he is harsh.

"For a moment there you had me worried for Beregar!... Honestly, my heart would have been broken if he didn't recover!" I wrote the scene both ways, with Beregar surviving and not. He isn't a canonical character, so he could be killed, but it was just too grim. Finduilas and Imrahil would never have forgiven me and Denethor, well, he would have gotten even. There is more recovery to be done, of course.

"As you can probably tell, I've grown incredibly attached to your characters, even the villains." Maiaberiel is very glad to hear that...

"Another thing I like about your characters is that they are evolving & changing for better or worse, like Aiavale & Wren. Also, Denethor's change of attitude towards Violet is another example. He may not understand the reasons behind her actions, but at least he is treating her with a little bit of sympathy." Violet becomes significant later on, and Denethor is taught a few lessons.

"In my opinion, Ecthelion should be thankful that he is getting a chance to redeem himself through Boromir." He is. In this last year, with my father-in-law passing away and my mother very ill, I find I want to be kind to Ecthelion. Other of the characters agree, though Denethor is undecided.

"I love your Imrahil as well & his interaction with Denethor. It's interesting to see his development into a sharp minded young man & the quiet lessons that Denethor wants to teach him." It increases through the rest of the story, until Imrahil finds himself in an odd situation. An old rift gets healed in an unusual way.

"Anyway, as usual, I'm looking forward to the next installment. Although I'm dreading it too ,because it means we are getting closer & closer to the end.Oh, I'm glad that Faramir will be joining us soon though!" Erm, sorry...

"By the way, I want to read the Silmarillion in order to get more insight into the symbolism throughout your story. Is there something else that I need to read besides that? " In Tolkien, Unfinished Tales (And, no, the irony does not escape me), particularly the coming of Tuor to Gondolin, the Children of Hurin (the new book, too), and the essay on the palantiri. Tolkien has a great deal to say about Denethor and his relationship to Gondor, Gandalf and Aragorn in that essay that is not said anywhere else. It is much more positive than the other writings on Denethor. There are also a lot on non-Tolkein influences, like Shakespeare, Melville, Emerson, Machiavelli and Hannah Arendt, to name my favorites.

Helga - "Although I can't claim to be a truly devoted fanction-ite, there is some writing and several authors I really enjoy. This story, however, was what made me finally take the plunge and join HASA " I'm glad to hear that. There are a lot of excellent stories here to read, so now that you're snagged, start filling out your bookshelf!

About "Hands of the King," I'm not a writer, and can only repeat what others have said. This is among the best short novels I've read, not just among fanfiction, but in any genre. It enhances the "canon," building from and fleshing out the culture touched on in the "original." Plus, it has everything - intricacies of culture and history that are convincingly real; psychological depth, drama, intrigue, humor, some good sex scenes. (It's a good measure of the writer's ability when the reader doesn't go back and start over only for the adult episodes.) I had gotten about two thirds of the way through this, then decided to start over from the beginning (another measure of good writing - when literary devices used early in the work take on depth upon re-reading with later stages in mind).

Hmm, actually, not so short. It's almost 730K words now and ends up being about 880K. About the length of LotR itself, less appendices. Thank you for this praise. I have tried very hard to make this more than a standard melodrama and to avoid the usual tropes, fandom or otherwise. There was a lot of pleasure in weaving in small details early on that would come back in various ways as the story advanced, some obvious, some only apparent to an attentive reader.

***

To all commenters: I am going through a very rough time at the moment. I said in a private email, "Lack of comments is affecting me a lot more right now than it did before because of other stresses in my life. I needed something bright and cheerful, something as simple as "Whee, look an new chapter is up. Thanks!" and I didn't get it, which hurt. I shouldn't have had those expectations in the first place (I know people don't usually take time to comment), and I let them carry too much importance. I need not to set myself up for emotional let-downs...

"And, now, having made a big point about the fact that comments are few and far between on this story, I don't feel comfortable posting more chapters because then I will have essentially blackmailed my readers into commenting. I have enough self-respect and authorial integrity that I will not guilt-trip my readers into comments... "I need to find other sources of emotional support than the fandom, I guess, and of a different kind."

I'm done, but others are not. Take time to send an email or post a comment (it can be private if you're shy) to an author about her story, even if it is just "I'm having a good time reading this, thanks." Really. Just a little note can be incredibly important. This goes double if the author isn't big name or has only a few stories. Just a small note. Give it a try. If you have never bothered with a note or email before, you are overdue.

Ang

 

 

Re: Ch. 72 - Due

Obviously, I missed something here! Although, I'm sorry to hear that you won't post more chapters, I understand the need to take a break. I'm sorry to hear about your father in law & mother.
Thanks for taking us on a wonderful adventure. Good luck in your other endeavors.

Jemms

 

 

Re: Ch. 72 - Due

Hi, Anglachel,

It is my first comment here. I am rather a bad reviewer, English is not my native, and commenting is going to be some difficult. So it seems I am one of these silent persons who enjoy your wonderful story. I only can be profuse in apologies for my silence when I have read and re-read your story for a long time. The fact is that I read slowly and write even more slowly and I am getting too late to most of chapters. Besides, you write so confidently and so perfectly that actually I do have just feared to scare your muse off.

Thank you so much for this fine story. That's is great! It looks one of the best add-ons to Tolkien's canon I have read. Moreover, I have gained a better understanding of LOTR and I can imagine Tolkien himself would have the pleasure of the story you have written. I'd like to see HotK as a published book or as a movie (well, this one would be the serial).

Plot and characters, landscapes and descriptions, Minas Tirith with her ships, mysterious and dangerous Osgiliath's ruins, all of them look perfectly. All JRTT characters are much realistic and as they could be, and you write believable OC who are magnificent and strongly need in canonization (in particular I mean Halmir).

First, I was intrigued with uncommon hopeful perspectives of narrative. The darkness; the doomed city; people being without hope; general dissolution of morals; princess's dark apocalyptic dreams. Interesting questions such as: how people feel staying in the city under shadow.

One of the best lines of the story has to be why Denethor cannot see hope (and faith). It is the proud. He was indeed powerful, and wise, but he somewhat froze in his pride at a certain point. Unfortunately, it seems an unavoidable effect of his unhappy childhood. Denethor is very complex character who has been shown most earnestly and exactly. His relations with Maiaberiel are utterly dramatic. None of the both is going to stop. Every new turn is going to be worse. It was Maiaberiel, I think, who began first, but Denethor's revenges are more terrible (Firstly spiders…brr… I only wonder where shall they come finally. Am I correct in thinking that he does feel odd longing to his sister?)
It's interesting that you present Denethor as being an engineer, a scientist as well. It's a quite sudden idea, but now it is impossible to imagine another nature of this personage.

Your Finduilas has become the same full-value personage as other main LOTR characters. She is fine. I like she play such large part in all rule. It is a pity she'll pass away so early.

Thorongil is charming. I fear I've fallen in love with this lad. Like Denethor he is well matched with Tolkien's Aragorn. Umbar was a hard test for him and it can see how he is becoming such stern fellow in LOTR.
Speaking of Umbar - this chapter and some next chapters were incredible smart (more than usual). I mean a tension and nerve-strain. I actually wept. It was terrible bitterly and… beautiful writing.
Now I am missing Thorongil just like Finduilas and Denethor. It was interesting to see him through their eyes. I'd like Denethor could get to a palantir to watch him.

It is to be regretted that Mithrandir has appeared rarely. It's my loved JRTT character and you painted him exactly. I had a good laugh at that episode with a cat and some smoke rings. It deserves to be a painting picture.

I highly enjoy your wonderful talent for mixing details from LOTR world and your own one. Likeness between Finduilas and Arven, finding of the White Tree, relationship between Beregar and Halbard and Halmir. It is quite interesting game to find allusions to doings from that.

As a whole, the story raises good deal of policy matters and ethics and psychology. It seems that you have made the great thing, which has exceeded the bounds of LOTR fanfiction.
Best thanks you for sharing these riches with us. I'm so sorry for you're done. There are many questions without answers. How are Denethor and Faramir getting on? What are going to happen with Maiaberiel and Brandir? (And I have always wondered about Malantur. I guess he was executed but in what way? I scarcely can imagine Thorongil in the role of a butcher.)
It seems I've been overdue. In any case I will wait and hope.

 

 

Re: Ch. 72 - Due

Hi Olga,

Thank you for your comments. I apologize to you (and everyone else) for not replying sooner. 

English may not be your native language, but your enthusiasm is not lost in translation. Smile  Authors really don't mind how you say something as long as you let them know you are enjoying the story. Be sure to say so, even if it is just a sentence or two. 

"All JRTT characters are much realistic and as they could be, and you write believable OC who are magnificent and strongly need in canonization (in particular I mean Halmir)." I love my OC characters. Most of them start as bit players, intended for a scene or two, and they refuse to leave. Brandir was the first one to do that, then Beregar, then Morwen, then Halmir, and pretty soon there's a crowd of them.

"It's interesting that you present Denethor as being an engineer, a scientist as well. It's a quite sudden idea, but now it is impossible to imagine another nature of this personage." JRRT ties pride and invention together in subtle and pernicious ways. He distrusts enlightenment and modernity, and those who seek instrumental knowledge usually come to bad ends in his stories, from Melkor down to Saruman. He describes Denethor as the last Numenorean, and points to their scientific and material advancement as being the root causes of their eventual corruption - always seeking after new things, bringing unheard of inventions into being, taking great pride in the work of their hands and being unwilling to be satisfied with the world as it is. In short, JRRT objects to humanism. I make Denethor the voice of that stance, partly-Renaissance, partly-Englightenment in his sensibilities. 

"Thorongil is charming. I fear I've fallen in love with this lad. Like Denethor he is well matched with Tolkien's Aragorn. Umbar was a hard test for him and it can see how he is becoming such stern fellow in LOTR.
Speaking of Umbar - this chapter and some next chapters were incredible smart (more than usual). I mean a tension and nerve-strain. I actually wept. It was terrible bitterly and… beautiful writing.
Now I am missing Thorongil just like Finduilas and Denethor. It was interesting to see him through their eyes. I'd like Denethor could get to a palantir to watch him."

It didn't start out with him being very appealing, but he grew on me, as well. I didn't think much of this character in the books (in some very deep way both inhuman and inhumane), and haven't found a fandom version that made him terribly appealing. Then again, given that he's an archetype and not a person (except in a few Strider asides, where the original Hobbit character comes through), you can't really expect that much from him. So, I set out to do one thing; show where Strider came from by creating the conditions under which Aragorn understands what the toll his quest for victory will exact from those he loves. Umbar.

"I highly enjoy your wonderful talent for mixing details from LOTR world and your own one. Likeness between Finduilas and Arven, finding of the White Tree, relationship between Beregar and Halbard and Halmir. It is quite interesting game to find allusions to doings from that."  It was a great deal of fun to do.  The longer the story went on, the more of these small opportunities arose, which then took the story off in unexpected directions.

"As a whole, the story raises good deal of policy matters and ethics and psychology. It seems that you have made the great thing, which has exceeded the bounds of LOTR fanfiction." I can ask for no greater praise.

"Best thanks you for sharing these riches with us. I'm so sorry for you're done. There are many questions without answers. How are Denethor and Faramir getting on? What are going to happen with Maiaberiel and Brandir? (And I have always wondered about Malantur. I guess he was executed but in what way? I scarcely can imagine Thorongil in the role of a butcher.)"

As for Malantur, Thorongil will not tell me what happened. I have tried to get him to open up, but he won't. I honestly don't know how Malantur died. Denethor and Faramir get along very well, as it turns out. Brandir and Maiaberiel continue to be thorns in Denethor's side.

This is my last comment on HotK for the foreseeable future. I'm glad people have enjoyed HotK; it will remain posted here and at my personal site, Romenna. I've provided my reasons for turning away from the fandom and now need to give my full attention to my family.

Thanks to everyone for commenting. I encourage you to pick out a few favorite stories and send a note to each author. They will appreciate it!

Anglachel 

 

 

Re: Ch. 72 - Due

"And, now, having made a big point about the fact that comments are few and far between on this story, I don't feel comfortable posting more chapters because then I will have essentially blackmailed my readers into commenting. I have enough self-respect and authorial integrity that I will not guilt-trip my readers into comments... "

Personally, I don't give a fig if it's blackmail or not - and I don't think your other readers care either... what I care about, and what I think others care about, is that you continue to share this story with us - right here at HASA. Because we care about your writing, we care about the characters you have brought to life, we care about you! Caring is sharing...

xxxooo

 

 

In Forums

Discussion Info

Intended for: General Audience

This forum is open to all HASA members. It is read-only for the general public.

Membership on HASA is free and it takes only a few minutes to join. If you would like to participate, please click here.

If you are already a member, please log in to participate.

« Back to Hands of the King

Stories linked to the forum