Forum: Writing Mary Sue: the Mother of Challenges

Discussing: Ioreth

Ioreth

Yes, you read that right. There is nothing in the rules that rules out femslash between a canonical female and an OFC. Given that most of the lovely ladies of LOTR are not within spitting distance of each other at slash-likely times (i.e., pre-marriage), the OFC pairing is probably the easiest way to write LOTR femslash (as opposed to the Silm). Of course, it's also tough to write femslash because most of the canonical females have very little info about them available, so you're effectively writing *two* OCs in terms of the effort you would put in to creating a working relationship. But this is a challenge, ne? So, with thanks to Altariel for bringing it up in her forum...

Ioreth--she's a saucy wench (or crone) and she's got guts enough to stay behind and do her job even though she is one of those who could die on a sword for lack of one, as Éowyn says.

Does she have a special someone to share the fear with when she goes home after work? A special female someone? Anyone here game enough to try this one?

 

 

Re: Ioreth

Yes! *waves* I will try it, but I need a bit of help, since I am literally speaking writing two OCs here. What was Ioreth like in the days of her youth? Which background does she have? Any stories you could recommend for me to read to get into her? Thank you!!

 

 

Re: Ioreth

I don't have any information whatsoever. I actually have a bit of a fic started on this, but it's all scratch work and unfinished. Most of the info on Ioreth comes from "Houses of Healing" and "The Steward and the King" and it requires some creative reinterpretation of titles like, "old wife" etc.

I'll be interested to see what you come out with. Thanks for taking this up.

 

 

Re: Ioreth

All right, in a fit of frenzy or something, I dropped what I originally had, then wrote this story.

I think the general content is there, and it came out very quickly (as noted elsewhere, generally a good sign), but what do you think of the style? Is it effective? Does this read well, or is it just confusing? Does Ioreth get her due? Does the OFC work well?

E-mail, post here, or in my forum, or what-not, it's all fine by me.

 

 

Re: Ioreth

I think the general content is there, and it came out very quickly (as noted elsewhere, generally a good sign), but what do you think of the style? Is it effective? Does this read well, or is it just confusing? Does Ioreth get her due? Does the OFC work well?

What do you think of the speaker's voice? Of her way of speaking?

Dwim, very well done, beautifully written. The style is lovely and effective. I had to read the first sentence twice to follow, but past that, it carried me along perfectly.

The OFC works well, the only thing I can come up with is that she sounds educated, poetic; I get no sense from the story of where she may have gotten it.

I'd be delighted to read it as is, but since you asked about the voice...

She describes herself as shy and fearful, so I would expect to see a bit more of her fear when separated from Ioreth, particularly on the road to Lamedon when she must fear they would never be reunited.

Beautiful!

Lyllyn

 

 

Re: Ioreth

I had to read the first sentence twice to follow, but past that, it carried me along perfectly.

I'll have to go look at that.

The OFC works well, the only thing I can come up with is that she sounds educated, poetic; I get no sense from the story of where she may have gotten it.

Yeah, this is something that troubled me as I was writing it and especially once it was written. The style is a conscious mimicry of some of the stuff I'm reading at this moment for school, and which has been giving me fits and conniptions for about three weeks now. I decided it would be easier to learn to be sympathetic to certain texts if I actually tried writing in their style to the best of my ability. The style is very poetic and definitely educated, however, which would work better if I had an upper-class, polished character to work with in this story. I could try to deliberately take it down a notch, swap words, etc. It still won't quite sound 'right' according the character's social status, but it might be less noticeably polished. [ten minutes later] Actually, scratch that, I don' t know that I can do it. I'd have to start over.

Still, I think it helped somewhat at least in terms of getting me not to gnash my teeth in frustration while preparing for class, so I'll count Ioreth's story a victory on that front. :-)

She describes herself as shy and fearful, so I would expect to see a bit more of her fear when separated from Ioreth, particularly on the road to Lamedon when she must fear they would never be reunited.


Hm. Hadn't thought about this as being too much of a problem. Since I didn't go into the actual separation, and everything is seen in retrospect, I thought I didn't really need to go into what she felt while separated. She doesn't really talk about the days on the road directly, except to compare them in passing to that initial journey to Minas Tirith, and to note that for Ioreth, she can be brave. After that, it's back to the events at hand and more pleasant things.

Thanks for the comments, I'll keep them in mind.

 

 

Re: Ioreth

The style is very poetic and definitely educated, however, which would work better if I had an upper-class, polished character to work with in this story. I could try to deliberately take it down a notch, swap words, etc. It still won't quite sound 'right' according the character's social status, but it might be less noticeably polished. [ten minutes later] Actually, scratch that, I don' t know that I can do it. I'd have to start over.

I think it would be a shame if you did, it's so beautifully done this way. Can't she be the child of the schoolmistress- no scratch that- a servant of the local nobility?

Lyllyn

 

 

Re: Ioreth

Awwwww! I liked this story, Dwim; the same cosy yet quietly determined feel as a lot of 19th-century lesbian correspondence I have read. Parallels to the Ladies of Llangolen, Elanor Butler and Sarah Ponsonby, but in a good way.

 

 

Re: Ioreth

I'm with Lyllyn - I like the language as is. After all, they've been in Minas Tirith for some time now, so even if they came from an uneducated background, Cemwen could have learned much from her time in the White City. I think this is a lovely and charming story, and I'm very glad to have read it. I really like seeing Ioreth through the eyes of her lover, and I love love love the line near the end about there being nothing wrong with grey!

 

 

Re: Ioreth

Lyllyn asked:

Can't she be the child of the schoolmistress- no scratch that- a servant of the local nobility?

That'd explain her polish, but it wouldn't fit with the fact that I've merged Cemwen with the unnamed "cousin" present at Aragorn's coronation. It also creates other sorts of problems--Ioreth is a healer, not a servant. What excuse would she have to be living with a noblewoman who was known in Minas Tirith? The Mary Sue "ran away from home because my family hates me" plot device/excuse actually does have a plot function here that does more than simply get them to Minas Tirith--it allows them to create a plausible cover that keeps people from looking askance at them. It also lets me explain away the 'cousin from Imloth Melui' bit more readily.

Tyellas wrote:

the same cosy yet quietly determined feel as a lot of 19th-century lesbian correspondence I have read. Parallels to the Ladies of Llangolen, Elanor Butler and Sarah Ponsonby, but in a good way.

Thanks! 'Determined' was certainly something I aimed for; 'cozy' wasn't, but I suppose it does have a certain coziness to it. Hadn't thought of it that way. I'm also glad that the story is able to recall real examples of lesbian relationships, even if it does sound like something out of the nineteenth century. :-)

Shadow said:

I really like seeing Ioreth through the eyes of her lover, and I love love love the line near the end about there being nothing wrong with grey!

Heh heh. Tolkien so loved grey that I couldn't resist using it, since one of the challenges of writing Ioreth is that she isn't a young woman anymore, which tends to put her outside the range of romance fics. Assuming she gets within range of a fic in the first place, that is.

 

 

Re: Ioreth

The style is very poetic and definitely educated, however, which would work better if I had an upper-class, polished character to work with in this story. I could try to deliberately take it down a notch, swap words, etc. It still won't quite sound 'right' according the character's social status, but it might be less noticeably polished. [ten minutes later] Actually, scratch that, I don' t know that I can do it. I'd have to start over.

I don’t think I have a problem with the style seeming too educated. I think it’s is fine for the voice of a mature and thoughtful woman giving us her intimate thoughts regardless of class – a contrast to Ioreth’s rambly style. I thought it was very effective.

I really liked the story – particularly the “tales within tales” type feel of it. They are part of Tolkien’s (Frodo’s I suppose) tale but he has not realised the whole truth of them. Then they have woven their own tales to tell to other people to protect the real truth – glimpsed by us briefly in the light of the candle before it’s blown out. Actually Frodo’s words about Arwen popped into my head “Now not day only shall be beloved, but night too shall be beautiful and blessed and all its fear pass away!” - but then I'm a hopeless old romantic.

 

 

Re: Ioreth

Well done Dwim.

(Altariel Wrote This...)

 

 

Re: Ioreth

Well, I didn't think it could be done, but it clearly can be. I too like the style and don't find it incongruous - it might be if Cemwen were young, but she's not, so I don't think it really matters. Very nice, Dwim.

 

 

Re: Ioreth

*smile* Loved it.

Not much else to say, really - everyone else has said it.

 

 

Re: Ioreth

Tolkien so loved grey that I couldn't resist using it, since one of the challenges of writing Ioreth is that she isn't a young woman anymore, which tends to put her outside the range of romance fics.

Which is really a shame, particularly to those of us who are busily getting older ourselves. Romantic ideals may change as we age and mature, but for the better, I think, and I really like seeing a fiction that places romance - and its attendent sensuality - firmly in the hearts of people who the kidlets would be horrified to know harbor such feelings.

And I'm suddenly reminded of an episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer in which one of them - Willow, I think - says of the uber-hot Giles (Tony Head), "I'd say he should get a girlfriend, if he weren't so old...."


-R.

 

 

Re: Ioreth

Dyke!Ioreth. I am SO amused.

I'm joining the bandwagon a little late, here, but I just wanted to toss in a "thank you" for writing this. You take some tiny little peephole in Tolkien's wall that nobody ever bothered to look through before, break it open and flood it with sunlight. The Rooster Man and parts of the Script do the same thing: To quote, Much Ado About Nothing (appropriately ), "The World must be peopled!"

Beautiful, beautiful story. But you say you wrote it in a single hour? I would hate you, Dwim, if I didn't have such an unflaggingly sweet and cherubic nature.

Stulti

 

 

Re: Ioreth

Alawa wrote:

I think it’s is fine for the voice of a mature and thoughtful woman giving us her intimate thoughts regardless of class – a contrast to Ioreth’s rambly style. I thought it was very effective.

It does make a nice contrast to Ioreth's 'scattered' way of speaking. And Cemwen's age and experience do hook in nicely with the notion of mature reflection, as Eledhwen also noted. Still plagued by the feeling that the tone should be less high... but then that would undo the attempt to write a particular style. Ah, the dilemmas! :-)

I really liked the story – particularly the “tales within tales” type feel of it. They are part of Tolkien’s (Frodo’s I suppose) tale but he has not realised the whole truth of them.

Tales within tales are important to me. The more I play with the notion of Tolkien as translator for a hobbit narrator/compiler of interviews, etc., the more I'm tempted to... "do" things to the story that I wouldn't have done five years ago, or one year ago. The onion theory of reading Tolkien is a great one for fic writers.

Eledhwen wrote:

Well, I didn't think it could be done, but it clearly can be.

[whispers] I wasn't sure it could be done either when the idea first struck. How's the leg? Feeling better since Christmas, I'm sure?

Shadow said:
And I'm suddenly reminded of an episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer in which one of them - Willow, I think - says of the uber-hot Giles (Tony Head), "I'd say he should get a girlfriend, if he weren't so old...."

And lo! He even had one for awhile, and she was younger and cute as all get out. Giles is definitely sexy... he's also a guy, which makes it easier on my poor, addled brain here. Sexualizing the older male is less of a... I don't want to say 'cultural taboo' but it's just more usual to see an older man as handsome and virile, still, than to see an older woman as sexy and seductive. I mean, just the phrase, "the older woman," has that odor of impropriety/disaster hanging about it... at least it does in the context of the relationships I know about. It does cover up a significant portion of the population, however, and does wrongly imply that women past a certain age have nothing to offer a younger partner, or any partner.

Stulti said:

To quote, Much Ado About Nothing (appropriately ), "The World must be peopled!"

And Cemwen and Ioreth just laugh and push Bergil towards a nice girl they know.... ;-) I'm glad they worked. It is fun to populate Minas Tirith and other locales with people you wouldn't expect to find there, necessarily.

Beautiful, beautiful story. But you say you wrote it in a single hour? I would hate you, Dwim, if I didn't have such an unflaggingly sweet and cherubic nature.

Thank you. And your unfailing sweetness shall surely earn you much reward. :-D

Thanks also to Meg and Una--I'm pleased you liked it. I should probably thank you, Una, for bringing the whole matter up in your discussion, but I'd be sorely tempted to bean you over the head with Kant for giving me another plot bunny. ;-)

 

 

Re: Ioreth

I should probably thank you, Una, for bringing the whole matter up in your discussion, but I'd be sorely tempted to bean you over the head with Kant for giving me another plot bunny. ;-)

Think of it as a small piece of revenge from one of the Nuzgulled

Death by Kant, a sorry end.

 

 

Re: Ioreth

Death by Kant, a sorry end.

Altariel challenge: rewrite "The Wasteland" to fit the Kantian substitution. Make use of the figures of the Queen (metaphysics), Hume, and the light dove, as well as the island metaphor Kant uses to describe the situation of the critical investigator of pure reason. Fit in the phrase: "Human reason is humiliated by the fact that, in its pure use, it accomplishes nothing and indeed even needs a discipline to restrain its own extravagances..."

This is of course written by Faramir, somehow. ;-)

 

 

Re: Ioreth

Altariel challenge: rewrite "The Wasteland" to fit the Kantian substitution. Make use of the figures of the Queen (metaphysics), Hume, and the light dove, as well as the island metaphor Kant uses to describe the situation of the critical investigator of pure reason. Fit in the phrase: "Human reason is humiliated by the fact that, in its pure use, it accomplishes nothing and indeed even needs a discipline to restrain its own extravagances..."

This is of course written by Faramir, somehow. ;-)


I might need to do some reading round first.

 

 

Re: Ioreth

I would like to thank you for this lovely story (speaking of love, I think it was called). I think Ioreth is absolutely the worst part of ROTK. She's a patriarchal stereotype of a nattering, useless woman and I'm offended at Tolkien's insensitivity every time I read the parts she appears in. Thank you for making something so beautiful out of something that I hate so much. I will never look at Ioreth the same way again.

 

 

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