My Favorite Aragorn Stories
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The Sword of Elendil: 31. Author's Notes
"Purists might wish for a corpus with fewer contradictions, a canon less amorphous—one that allows them to declare, without equivocation, 'Thus saith Tolkien.' Yet, perhaps the good professor did not intend it to be so....the mythologies of our ancestors are not received in tidy, set form. They are based on oral traditions that took on new flavor as they passed from bard to bard, hamlet to hamlet. Over time, stories changed to reflect the needs and challenges of their tellers. Tolkien knew this; perhaps his greatest gift to us lies in all those unfinished manuscripts, for what we have is a fictional legendry that truly resembles the myths of the real world. And perhaps the greatest tribute to his work is the humble fan's attempt to add her vision to that legendry, for by her efforts, Tolkien's dream of an enduring mythology proves not so fanciful after all."
—erunyauve (erunyauve at lycos.com) 2004
"The Sword of Elendil" is written in the spirit of the above quotation as the story of the young Aragorn finding his way in the world of the Dúnedain after his childhood in Rivendell. The story is for the most part book canon, with some specific exceptions. Generally the exceptions have to do with the relationship between Aragorn and Arwen, which is different enough to qualify as Alternate Universe. My apologies to those who might find this jarring. My intention in "Sword" is to tell the story of Aragorn's coming of age—how he learns to deal with various conflicts and problems facing him as a young man of twenty who has just discovered his true destiny. The matter of Arwen is central to his emotional life, and I have significantly increased the angst level of his feelings toward her as reflective of the kinds of problems a young man might have in this situation.
Certain events are interpreted differently from the standard canon view. I have done this in the spirit of looking for the emotional truth of the story, rather than a rigid reading of the text. For example, "The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen" was written after the death of both. Who is to say that the story as recorded was not adapted to the purpose of the historian?
Most of the poems quoted in this story are the work of the great English poets. Please see the chapter notes for specific information.
My heartfelt thanks to Dwimordene for inspiring me; to Oshun, Pandemonium, and DrummerWench for their friendship and sound advice; and to the folks at the Lizard Council for enduring, and answering, my endless requests for assistance, and to all my readers who have waited for five years for the completion of this tale.
Chapter 1: Prologue
How Narsil, a sword forged by Telchar in the First Age, came into Elendil's hands is never specified by Tolkien, but that it came from Thingol through Beren to Elros does not contradict what is known.
Chapter 2: Arathorn's Son
Tolkien says in The Fellowship of the Ring ("Strider") that Narsil was broken a foot below the hilt. For the purposes of this story it is broken two feet below the hilt.
Tolkien does not say that Elrond took Gilraen and Aragorn to Rivendell against the will of the Dúnedain. But for any fanfic writer dealing with this part of Aragorn's life, there is an immediate problem of explaining how such a secret could be kept. This is my take on the matter.
Chapter 3: Taking Leave
The poem is shamelessly adapted from John Keats' splendid "La Belle Dame Sans Merci."
Chapter 4: At the Meeting Stone
The description of the Angle and the Keep and how the Dúnedain organize their affairs, as well as all the characters beyond the few named in the canon, are entirely my invention, but do not contradict anything that Tolkien wrote, to my knowledge.
Chapter 5: Shadow of Angmar
Ivorwen is of course a canon character and appears in "The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen." There is a fragment in "Peoples of Middle-earth" crediting her with "seeing" a green stone when Aragorn was born. I have made this into a dream.
Chapter 8: Wise Heart
Saelind, Argonui's wife, and the story of the falcons are my invention.
Chapter 9: Harvest Festival
That there was trouble over Arathorn's marriage to Gilraen is told in "The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen." I have recast the story in a more dramatic version.
Chapter 13: The Dagger
To learn more about the terrible incident at Strathen Brethil, see the wonderful tales of Adaneth. The sonnet is shamelessly adapted from the great John Milton.
Chapter 15: The Evenstar
In my Alternate Universe, Arwen has not been in Rivendell since her mother's kidnapping and torture by the Orcs some five hundred years earlier. Because of fear for her safety, Elrond has kept her very existence a secret. Thus Gilraen as well as Aragorn did not know of her until she arrived.
My description of Elven sexual mores violates "The Laws and Customs of the Eldar," according to the views of most canon purists. I find that strict interpretation very cold-blooded, and prefer to see the Elves as much warmer creatures, free of the strictures and rules that bind human society. Aragorn himself shares Elven views, since he was raised in Rivendell.
Chapter 23: The Servant of Mordor
Ahando is entirely my invention, but Tolkien describes in The History of Middle-Earth
the heinous activities of some disembodied Elves.
Chapter 26: Shadow of the Elder Days
In The Sword of Elendil, Maedhros and Maglor are co-foster fathers to Elrond and Elros. See Oshun's inspired work for the source.
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