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Discussing: Ch. 30 - Cunning

Ch. 30 - Cunning

Cunning

This is the last of the six Denethor POV chapters. No warnings, but a little creepiness here and there. Curunir makes an appearance, and there is a great deal of Thorongil.

Denethor's middle name is chutzpah, that's for certain. He spends the chapter doing inadvisable things in towers.

This chapter owes a great deal to Julie, my indefatigable alpha reader. She kept prompting me to address a common misunderstanding in the tale - that Denethor supported Saruman over Gandalf, as opposed to not trusting either. Most of this misconception stems from Tolkien's odd construction of the passage in the appendices. I have gone into some detail on why Denethor would not have much use for either wizard, and how this affects his interactions with Thorongil.

The next six chapters after this will be from Finduilas's POV and will cover their wedding and the first few months of their married life.

My thanks, as always, to my beta reading crew. You ladies are brilliant: Julie, Nath, Denna, Dragon Lady 7, Two Flower, and RohWyn.

Toodles - Ang

 

 

Re: Ch. 30 - Cunning

Good chapter. My favorite part was Thorongil pulling Denethor down and then calling him an idiot. haha I bet he's cute when he's mad. ;) I'll be waiting (not so patiently) for more chapters and the wedding (eeeeee!) and everything following.

 

 

Re: Ch. 30 - Cunning

I don't have any problems with Denethor having no use for either wizard - in fact, it suits his personality well -, but - what made you or your friend come to this conclusion? I re-read the passage in the appendix but I'm afraid I still don't see it.

 

 

Re: Ch. 30 - Cunning

Astara,

What is it that you don't see?

Ang

 

 

Re: Ch. 30 - Cunning

What is it that you don't see?
Denethor not preferring Saruman over Gandalf (in the appendix, that is).

 

 

Re: Ch. 30 - Cunning

Hi Astara - sorry to take so long to reply. it's been a busy week.

The appendix reads:

And in one matter only were their counsels to the Steward at variance: Thorongil often warned Ecthelion not to put trust in Saruman the White in Isengard, but to welcome rather Gandalf the Grey. But there was little love between Denethor and Gandalf; and after the days of Ecthelion there was less welcome for the Grey Pilgrim in Minas Tirth. 

The statement is misleading, for nowhere does it say that Denethor did counsel Ecthelion to accept Saruman. There is a historic reason for the Stewards to trust (or at least tolerate) Saruman - they invited him into Isengard. Thorongil warns Ecthelion not to maintain that traditional trust, but instead to seek out Gandalf's wisdom. The mention of Saruman places Thorongil's advice in a certain context - he is urging a change in how things have usually been done. Denethor opposes Gandalf. The "variance" in their counsels is over Gandalf, not Saruman.  I think this is the real point, particularly as the follow up clause emphasizes Denethor's suspicion of Gandalf, but makes no claim that he pursued contacts with Saruman.

Looking at the other historical events, it seems unlikely that Saruman had any direct contact with Minas Tirith after the reign of Steward Turgon ("2953 Last meeting of White Council. Saruman feigns that he has discovered that the One Ring has passed down Anduin to the Sea. Saruman withdraws to Isengard, which he takes as his own, and fortifies it...") , so it is reasonable to conclude that Denethor would have looked at Saruman, too, with suspicion, nor would he have many opportunities to interact with this wizard.

Denethor distrusts anyone who wields power (magical or military) , seeing them as a threat to Gondor and to his own authority. Ecthelion, worried over the threat of Sauron, newly returned within his lifetime, would be trying to gather allies. Why not seek out the help of a wizard who is supposed to be guarding the western border? Thorongil hears this and doesn' like it, though he perhaps cannot really explain why, given that Saruman is still formally trusted by the White Council. He offers Gandalf as an alternative counselor, particularly as the wizard will come to the Steward, unlike Saruman. Denethor, jealous and wary, counsels that the Steward doesn't need either wizard. When Thorongil's advice wins out and Gandalf appears, Denethor resents the wizard, and is hostile to whatever he says and does.

Certainly as soon as Denethor uses the palantir and can look at Isengard, he will have no trust in Saruman. He will have his own spies in Rohan keeping tabs on the wizard. So, I feel pretty confident in saying that Denethor never advocated using Saruman as a counselor.

Toodles - Ang

 

 

Re: Ch. 30 - Cunning

Denethor's middle name is chutzpah, that's for certain. He spends the chapter doing inadvisable things in towers.

With a vengeance!

So many things I'd like to know - does Denethor find out more about the North, and can he find more about Thorongil from the North?

What was hiding behind Emeldir's drawer? When will he look at it and tell us?

Great chapter - I'm eager to go on. Thanks!

Lyllyn

 

 

Re: Ch. 30 - Cunning

With a vengeance!

Denethor's deep, dark secret is that he does really stupid things with great regularity. Julie once described him as a cat that falls off a ledge, then looks around as if to say "I meant to do that!"

So many things I'd like to know - does Denethor find out more about the North, and can he find more about Thorongil from the North?

Yes, Denethor will continue to find out about the North through direct and indirect means. Thorongil will continue to give away clues and answer direct questions evasively.  Finduilas will learn things, as well, and often different things than Denethor.

What was hiding behind Emeldir's drawer? When will he look at it and tell us?

Her diaries. He will look at them later in the story and they will figure obliquely in a few plot lines.

Great chapter - I'm eager to go on. Thanks!

I'm 2/3 of the way through the next alpha chapter, and it looks like I'll be done sometime in the coming week., so probably a new chapter late next week or on the weekend.

Thanks for the comments!

Toodles - Ang 

 

 

Re: Ch. 30 - Cunning

What was hiding behind Emeldir's drawer? When will he look at it and tell us?

Her diaries. He will look at them later in the story and they will figure obliquely in a few plot lines.


Wil this help Denethor effect some sort of reconciliation with Ecthelion? I keep waiting for the old Steward to do something that makes him seem less vile...he just can't be all bad.


 

 

Re: Ch. 30 - Cunning

"What was hiding behind Emeldir's drawer? When will he look at it and tell us?

Her diaries. He will look at them later in the story and they will figure obliquely in a few plot lines."

Wil this help Denethor effect some sort of reconciliation with Ecthelion? I keep waiting for the old Steward to do something that makes him seem less vile...he just can't be all bad.

No, Ecthelion isn't all bad. In fact, he is mostly good - generous, thoughtful, caring greatly about people, listening to Gandalf's advice, trying to preserve the kingdom in the face of Sauron's return, and so forth. He is genuinely liked by the populace.  Even Denethor has to admit that in most things, Ecthelion is a perfectly good Steward. On a personal level, he's a lech, had a wretched marriage, and most of his kids hate him. Since I'm presenting the story from Denethor's perspective, Ecthelion is not getting any sympathy or credit for good behavior. He'll get even less in the upcoming chapters, and will not entirely deserve the blame. I know where I'm going with the poor Steward, and whether or not Denethor ever forgives him, Ecthelion will gain some redemption.

Ang 

 

 

Re: Ch. 30 - Cunning

OT: I just found this and I thought you would maybe like it.
Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Cheers,
Juno

 

 

Re: Ch. 30 - Cunning

SQUUEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!

Mine, all mine, my Precious. Oh, this is too darling for words! Thank you, Juno!

Ang 

 

 

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