Hands of the King

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Story Summary

Finduilas of Dol Amroth married Denethor, future Lord Steward of Gondor, for some very specific reasons. A different take on their marriage. By Anglachel

Final chapter posted 06 April 07.

 

 

Chapter List

Ch# Title Words Com. Updated
1 Assumptions 7,298 0 21 Jun 07
2 Water 9,257 1 09 Apr 05
3 Burial 9,893 0 30 May 06
4 Faithful 9,807 1 02 Apr 05
5 Confidences 9,026 0 02 Apr 05
6 Promise 8,838 0 02 Apr 05
7 Descent 9,536 0 02 Apr 05
8 Ruins 10,191 0 09 Apr 05
9 Waiting 9,370 0 02 Apr 05
10 Proof 10,261 2 09 Apr 05
11 Flirtation 8,867 0 02 Apr 05
12 Mortality 8,978 0 02 Apr 05
13 Relations 9,190 0 17 Apr 11
14 Salvage 8,967 0 02 Apr 05
15 Fidelity 8,555 0 30 May 06
16 Claims 8,413 4 02 Apr 05
17 Encroachment 8,896 0 02 Apr 05
18 Threat 9,758 0 30 May 06
19 Fire 9,934 0 02 Apr 05
20 Pride 10,313 0 02 Apr 05
21 Desiring 9,629 0 02 Apr 05
22 Tales 8,845 0 30 May 06
23 Betwixt 9,392 0 02 Apr 05
24 Troth 9,638 0 03 Apr 05
25 Plans 8,840 0 30 May 06
26 Kinship 10,845 0 30 May 06
27 Belegaer 10,504 0 01 Jun 05
28 Vows 10,793 0 18 Jun 05
29 Foundation 10,763 0 30 May 06
30 Cunning 9,929 0 30 May 06
31 Fate 9,976 0 31 Jul 05
32 Cold 10,659 0 01 Sep 05
33 Between 10,112 0 03 Sep 05
34 Forever 9,957 0 28 Dec 05
35 State 10,491 1 07 Oct 05
36 Fortress 10,765 0 15 Jan 07
37 Mated 10,333 2 31 Oct 05
38 Found 10,524 1 25 Nov 05
39 Change 10,395 6 08 Jan 06
40 Wounds 9,961 4 22 Dec 05
41 Interregnum 10,345 2 09 Jan 06
42 Misrule 9,959 3 26 Jun 09
43 North 9,937 4 03 Feb 06
44 Touched 10,229 4 30 May 06
45 Station 9,795 4 14 Apr 06
46 South 10,211 3 03 May 06
47 Enough 8,780 1 30 May 06
48 Sleight 10,552 1 09 Jul 06
49 Contest 10,441 8 20 Aug 06
50 Campaign 9,670 5 10 Sep 06
51 Conquest 11,083 5 06 May 07
52 Hope 10,226 3 15 Oct 06
53 Smoke 10,753 4 02 Nov 06
54 Union 10,782 5 25 Dec 06
55 Compromised 10,522 5 22 Dec 06
56 Patrimony 10,550 3 15 Jan 07
57 Confessions 11,240 2 06 May 07
58 Unsaid 9,847 0 03 Mar 07
59 Exchange 10,666 1 30 Mar 07
60 Time 10,772 4 07 May 07
61 Umbar 10,714 4 14 May 07
62 Steal 10,802 2 20 May 07
63 Abandoned 10,030 1 25 May 07
64 Forgive 9,649 4 01 Jun 07
65 Recovery 10,847 1 08 Jun 07
66 Speculation 9,204 1 14 Jun 07
67 Used 11,328 0 21 Jun 07
68 Hallowed 11,009 2 28 Jun 07
69 Seeking 11,333 1 05 Jul 07
70 Sojourn 11,724 0 13 Jul 07
71 Havens 9,977 1 24 Jul 07
72 Due 11,567 2 21 Aug 07
73 Law 11,941 2 06 Apr 08
74 Watch 13,175 1 06 Apr 08
75 Get 10,844 1 06 Apr 08
76 Expectations 9,086 0 06 Apr 08
77 Suffice 10,185 1 07 Apr 08
78 Stewards 11,398 3 06 Apr 08
79 Queen 11,474 2 08 Apr 08
80 Exiles 8,706 3 08 Apr 08
81 King 11,159 1 08 Apr 08
82 Vinitharya 12,727 1 09 Apr 08
83 Lost 16,866 3 09 Apr 08
84 Fall 10,558 1 10 Apr 08
85 Demon 11,872 5 10 Apr 08
86 Appx. I - Character List 5,870 0 06 Apr 08
87 Appx. II - Chronology 1,281 0 07 May 07
88 Appx. III - Military Commanders 807 0 01 Jun 07
Appx. Word Count 880,192 132  
 

 

Comments

WARNING! Comments may contain spoilers for a chapter or story. Read with caution.

Hands of the King

JunoMagic - 20 Nov 05 - 12:19 PM

General Comment

I am saving this story for a few cold and rainy days this winter. So that I can really do it justice.

What I would like to know, do you want any comments? They might range from fangirlish swoons to nitpicks... I don't want to be roasted on a low fire, so I thought I'd ask. ;-) 

Hands of the King

fercryinoutloud - 20 Nov 05 - 1:37 PM

General Comment

You have more self control than I do, Juno. I gobble this story up the second I find out a new chapter is available.

Fergus

Hands of the King

sulisminervae - 08 Aug 06 - 3:13 PM

General Comment

Well, it's about time I left a message for this story, although I have so much to say that it may take a few tries before I remember everything I wanted to say...

Where to begin?  I shall try not to make my comments too lame and useless, but such is the effect of your wonderful story, it's hard to find any words but those of praise.  So here we go...

What an epic! A magnum opus!  Clearly a lot of time, thought and research has gone into this, and it certainly pays off!  You show a clear commitment to canon, while at the same time providing us with insight into the characters and politics of Minas Tirith that is a major departure from Tolkein.  Your use of language is exceptional: from the standard narrative to the proper use of archaic grammar when Finduilas and Denethor are at their most emotionally vulnerable together.  Your characterisations are feasible and consistant in the case of Denethor, compelling in the case of Finduilas.  I can see why he loves her - why they all love her!  Yet it is easy to understand why she loves him too.  You make it easy for me to favour him over Aragorn and I even feel Denethor's impatience with Gandalf completely understandable.

I'm not sure if it makes the whole story more of less heart-wrenching that we know what will become of them all...

I have so much more to add, but I will have to comment with each new chapter now, or this could go on forever.  I will say one more thing, however:

I read a lot of fanfiction, but it always remains just that: FANfiction.  It never encroaches on my idea of canon, and I never let it override the original in my imagination.  This story, however, has almost become my Denethor canon.  I'm finding it difficult to find satisfaction in any other Denethor/Finduilas fanfiction.  They all seem lacking, compared with this.  I used to love the short stories and one shots, but now in comparison, they lack the compelling detail, political intricacies and character definition that this story has.  I keep coming back to this one and re-reading, afraid that I've missed something, or just to re-live some of the moments.

And now for a really trite comment: I CAN'T WAIT FOR THE NEXT CHAPTER!!

Sulis.x 

Hands of the King

Anglachel - 08 Aug 06 - 7:08 PM

General Comment

Hi Sulis,

Oh, now you're making me blush! I'm so glad you like the story. :-) It has been a labor of love to write. When I began it, it was going to be about 12 chapters long, just the highlights of their life, and on to the next story.

They had other ideas. The entire cast have definite opinions on what they want written up. The biggest joy of writing has been discovering things about the people that are not immediately obvious - like Brandir's tender stubborness. Sometimes they shock me.

Weaving it into canon is challenging but fruitful. Things you can do with unbounded fantasy, like inventing whatever social mores you wish or tossing in magic whenever there is a plot problem to solve, just won't fly here.

I have not written much the last few weeks because of the site update project, but I will be back to work this week. My method is to write a rough draft chapter, then publish a polished one. That keeps the pressure on me to write. I have 20 chapters in various stages currently, so there is plenty more to come. Look for a new chapter in late August. Be sure to sign up for the story alert list so you get a notice when it's posted.

Most of all, thank you for taking the time to read Hands of the King.

Anglachel 

Hands of the King

Nath - 06 Aug 07 - 10:18 AM

General Comment

I know I told you this in mail as well, but it bears repeating in comments too:

Ang, your Denethor is the standard for the character in fanfic as far as I'm concerned, and pretty much the reason for this Aragorn fangirl to take a serious look at, and even learn to appreciate, the Steward in his own right.

Thank you for having written this, and I feel privileged to have been a beta on this story.

Hands of the King

Rugi - 06 Aug 07 - 4:21 PM

General Comment

I'm sorry to hear you say that this is over.  Though I can understand how you feel about the lack of comments.  Authors work for both themselves and their public I think.

 I confess I was one of the silent readers - sometimes the temptation to read and just go is overwhelming.  Also, I sometimes worried that my comments couldn't do justice to this great story (Honest!)

 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.

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...

Thanks for lots of good intrigueing reading and a great story!

Hands of the King

Elrûn - 07 Aug 07 - 4:07 AM

General Comment

Anglachel,

being somewhat of a purist I have come to like very few fanon contributions. Your story is one of them. I would never underestimate the heartfelt efforts you made in order to create this piece of fiction which in some ways is more real to me than reality itself - please say you will not let it end here...

Elrûn 

Hands of the King

Halthrella - 09 Aug 07 - 2:11 PM

General Comment

This is a true epic. I am so sorry to hear that we are not to have any more installments published.

I would normally never dare to comment on anything so wondrous, I have truly enjoyed this though, I love all the OC.

Please, please, please let us have more.

I really wanted to know how the relationship between Faramir and Denethor got to where we see it in the books. I want to know how much more Denethor finds out about Thorongil and The Lost. I really like the Beregar character, and Halmir.  I haven't really understood the link with the Mariner, so please give us more!

Hands of the King

Anna Wing - 15 Aug 07 - 7:01 AM

General Comment

I'm sorry that "Hands of the Kong" will no longer be published. I am one of those who has stopped commenting, simply because when I realised the scope of your ambition I also realised that I would have to wait until the whole novel is out before I could make meaningful comments. It is the nature of a novel that it has to be judged as a whole, rather than piecemeal. I have very much enjoyed your characterisation and worldbuilding and have been extremely interested in the philosophical issues that are the basis of the story (as I understand it). I will add "Hands of the King" to "The Leithian Script" on my short list of excellent, never-to-be-finished WIPS that are nonetheless worth reading and recommending.

Hands of the King

Gilnaur - 16 Aug 07 - 10:22 AM

General Comment

Dear Anglachel,

As a fellow writer I fully understand your frustration at the lack of feedback but that shouldn't keep you from completing your story. If for no other reason do it for your own satisfaction.  Who knows what the future holds? I have only been writing for only a little over two years and know that I am no where near the level and quality of many of the writers here but I have a tale to tell and enough encouragement to keep at it even when I have had a few rather pithy comments sent to me. I know when I come across the beginnings of a good story it always saddens me when it isn't completed. I hope you will reconsider.

G ilnaur

Hands of the King

queensreader - 21 Oct 07 - 1:17 PM

General Comment

Anglachel,


Thank you so much for writing as much as you did- I must admit I was one of many lurkers who loved this story without saying so, and I apologize for not sooner shaking myself out of simply reading rather than participating with commentary. 


I have learned much from you about how to craft a well written world filled with keen observations and descriptions that reveal character. Many of the scenes resonate still as though they were my own memories: Denethor and Finduilas' clandestine meeting in the fragrant gardens, Boromir's birth, and the unsurpassable description  of the attack on the Umbar Fleet. 


Many thanks for your long labor. It bore rich fruit, a feast I will return to again and again in the years to come.


With gratitude,

QR



Hands of the King

olga - 07 Apr 08 - 5:21 AM

General Comment

Hi Anglachel,

I cannot believe such a surprise! You have updated Hands of the King. It's a great deed. Well, it takes time for me to read all of these new chapters. I've just started with 'Law' and now I think of re-reading old ones. I am so enjoying your magnificent story! I too happy to get this tale.Thank you so much!

Hands of the King

melian - 08 Apr 08 - 1:15 AM

General Comment

thank you, thank you, thank you

for posting more chapters on this wonderful story

i am going to read them a.s.a.p. and wil comment on them, promise.

Hands of the King

Astara - 08 Apr 08 - 6:37 AM

General Comment

Hi Ang,Wave

I'm glad you decided to post the remaining chapters of your magnum opus. Thanks for giving us such an extraordinary piece of fiction!

AstaraSmile

Hands of the King

Julie - 08 Apr 08 - 8:57 AM

General Comment

Thanks for writing this story and thanks for posting the rest. I can't total up how many hours I've spent reading & rereading. I will never think of the three the same way again (Denethor, Finduilas, Thorongil) -- nor the City, Gondor or the Powers. Thanks again.

Hands of the King

Agape4Gondor - 10 Apr 08 - 6:17 AM

General Comment

Ah, Anglachel - I read chapters 73-77 at one fell swoop, so delighted was I to see this updated... But chided myself for not writing any notes..... Too caught up in the joy of the tale!

Many thanks for updating!

Hands of the King

Raksha The Demon - 17 Apr 08 - 12:23 PM

General Comment

To paraphrase a famous line of song  - what a long, strange trip this has been! 

You have written a rich, complex and very engrossing story.  I have rarely seen such a complicated tale done with the appropriate attention to detail and an excellent blend of politics, war, intrigue, magic, and romance.

I was especially delighted by the characterisations of young Boromir and Faramir, which for me rang very true.

Hands of the King

mffantasia - 23 Apr 08 - 10:14 AM

General Comment

I just want to thank you for this story. I started to read it 2 weeks ago and couldn't stop. Every spare time that I had was for reading this wonderful story (and that means going to bed after midnight)

 As others have said before, we understand Denethor better now, and we see him as a human being. I did like that you show Gandalf not as perfect being and we can see his failures as well as Aragorn. Yes, Denethor was prideful, even cruel sometimes, but it was a time for battles and Gondor needed a ruler like him, he hold the Kingdom together for the new King to claim. People often compare Denethor and Aragorn and it is not fair. The King will rebuild the Kingdom; there are new promises and not an immortal enemy in your door. Denethor fought and kept the people alive during the cruel years of siege.I'm glad that he kew love, that was in love and was loved in return.I hope that you write again about these wonderful characters that you introduced to us in this novel. I liked your Boromir and Faramir as children. (My favorite character is Faramir (the books Faramir))Thanks again and believe me, it is a a very emotional tale, that have me in tears several times. My favorite scene is Denethor choosing love, when he decided to marry Finduilas. That was priceless.Fantasia 

Hands of the King

melian - 15 May 08 - 5:41 AM

General Comment

finally i could read your last chapters, thank you again for them. this has been an amazing story, very well written, i just couldn't stop reading it (3x) i had to know what happend next.

the characters became so real, i shet tears over the death of Finduilas, you know its coming but still....

i hope this is not the end, there is so much to tell about the relation between Denethor and Faramir from your pov.

thank you again,

Melian

Hands of the King

helga - 14 Oct 08 - 8:27 PM

General Comment

Hey, this is fantastic!!!  After a long hiatus I checked up on henneth-annun and discovered you have decided to publish your entire story after all.  I hope it's complete??  This is one of my all-time favorite story here, and I was disappointed when you announced you weren't going to post the final chapters.   I had really enjoyed this work that depicts so convincingly a concept of the culture and political and family intrigue. 

I had read about two thirds, then decided to go back and start from the beginning again because I wanted to recall more of those foreshadowing details that become so important as this unfolds, and also try to figure out who or what the marriner is. A deity, sure, but what else does this guy do besides weird out the happy couple?

Thank you for publishing the whole thing, this made my day!

Hands of the King

fairjennet - 22 Dec 08 - 8:53 AM

General Comment

Thank you so much for writing this story. It does everything that good fanfiction ought to do. I'm in awe of your skill.

Hands of the King

jetsam - 21 Jul 09 - 4:05 PM

General Comment

I have only just found the story and spent some three days reading it start to finish (thank goodness it is the holidays because I don't think stopping was really an option).

I can say without hesitation that this is one of the best LotR stories that I have found.  Finally, a Denethor that I believed could rule for so long, could stand in RotK with his sword at his side and face the task.  Even more, a Finduilas who is more than a figurehead.

Your Thorongil was rather fascinating.  I was intrigued by the idea of a less certain young man, and more intrigued still by the idea that he yet required much of an education.  Not always in agreement with Denethor but with mutual respect and cooperation.

I could pick things out for a very long time.  The OCs that worked.  Ecthelion's children, the politics, the everyday life of Minas Tirith.  I should particularly like to know more about Beregar and his children.  I don't know if you plan to write more in this continuity but I imagine there would not be a small audience.

Thank you for writing, thank you for researching, thank you for sharing.  You've given me a great deal to think about and it's very much appreciated.

Hands of the King

Anglachel - 23 Jul 09 - 7:57 AM

General Comment

Hi Jetsam,

I apologize for not replying sooner. I'm rarely on the site anymore and just saw the comment today.

(blush) Thank you for reading HotK. It devoured most of my life for several years, so it's gratifying to know other people get pulled into it, too.

The story was driven by the characters, major and minor. The secondary cast, usually brought on for convenience, had a disturbing tendency to take over. It took so long to write because the characters kept inventing things to do.

I don't have any future writing plans, but that may change. The Hobbits are clamoring away up in the Shire, scolding me for neglecting them. I'm intrigued by how Faramir and Boromir will grow up in the face of their father's debilitating grief. And an AU snippet wiggled its way free last Christmas as a present for a friend.

Once again, thank you for taking the time to read HotK.

Anglachel

Hands of the King

Eloquent - 26 Oct 10 - 7:45 AM

General Comment

I have been a very bad reader, indeed, because I haven't ever commented on this story, so enthralled I was by it!

It is every inch a master-piece; comes off like a dream especially Finduilas and Denethor's first meeting. This novel is like a dream come true for I despaired of ever finding good background stories about all of Tolkien's characters that peep in here and there in LOTR.

What I loved most about this tale is the characterizations...so interesting and yet realistically etched. I love the interactions between three very interesting people Denethor (who shall remain my favourite from this tale , simply because of his multi-layer and curious character), Finduilas and Thorongil. But the OCs are amazing too: Aiavalle, Beregar, Miaberiel, Laanga, etc.

I simply love how you have woven together Finduilas's dreams and the great task that she has been set with Denethor's dilemmas of relinquishing rule, a divided Gondor and the other curious workings of his mind. The chapter where she steals the fruit from the White Tree of Numenor is simply amazing.

And how they unravel the mystery of the mercenary Captain Thorongil bit by bit and subtly train him for the job while outwardly maintaining disdain: shows all the politics of rule.

Thanks a lot for this magnificient tale! If people have not commented, it is because they, like me, have only wanted to rush from one chapter to the next.

Hands of the King

Eloquent - 26 Oct 10 - 7:47 AM

General Comment

I am also looking forward to more such extra-long stories from you!

Hands of the King

Anglachel - 29 Oct 10 - 4:51 PM

General Comment

Hi Eloquent,

Thank you for your wonderful comment! I have been busy all week and finally got a chance to look at my site email, and was rewarded with your lovely note.

So you like the OCs?  Grin  They were great fun to write, and kept heading off in unanticipated directions. Aiavale was always going to be a big part of the story, but Beregar and Brandir really wiggled their way in. Each was intended as a quick walk-on (especially Beregar) , but they had other plans.

I doubt I will ever write anything like this again. It took up so much of my life, and I'm not sure I can summon that much concentration again.

Again, thank you for taking the time to let me know how much you liked the story!

Anglachel

Hands of the King

Eloquent - 31 Jul 12 - 11:00 AM

General Comment

Hi Anglachel,

I'm reading this story a second time and the ending left me crying even this time! The last chapter is heart rending on several levels. I love how you have changed my perspective on so many integral characters and made me dislike certain characters, if only in this story. And yet, at the end of the story, it feels like it could fit right into Tolkien's canon!

The philosophy is also very thought provoking and I like that at the end of her life, in the last few chapters, she manages to be one-up in her conversations with both Maiar. I can't but wonder at Gandalf's motivations in this story: Why offer the hope of Elrond if he knows he cannot make full on it? Just to humble Denethor? It seems as though Grace was given to Finduilas only till she could get the fruit from Numenor. Seems cruel.

I also wonder at what Finduilas's role in all this was. In the beginning, she thinks it is to support Denethor in his rule, then she think she is to be Seen, and then at the end, she thinks she was never supposed to be Seen? I am confused.

At the end, did she die because of the scar/wound in her lung or because of the hole in her heart?

Hands of the King

Anglachel - 11 Aug 12 - 11:43 AM

General Comment

Hi Eloquent,

Thank you for your recent comments. I'm sorry not to have replied sooner, but life has been a bit overwhelming of late. I'll try to craft a more suitable reply soon.

Anglachel

Hands of the King

thorongirl - 15 Aug 12 - 5:52 PM

General Comment

Found this story thru a comment posted on the main page. A page turner for sure. Since this past Saturday I've read thru chapter 17. Fascinating story. Denethor does come off as rather cold but he is definitely interesting and not unlikeable. You have a far better grasp of political detail than I could ever hope to and it's fascinating to *see* the subtleties of the relationship between Thorongil and Dentethor.   I love the maturity of your writing -- the characterizations, the detail are astounding. Findulias seems not to know her own mind but she it will reveal itself soon enough I suppose. I don't really understand her thinking at times -- it's the patrician attitude, I suppose. As a reader, I appreciate the love and effort you have poured into this story.  I hope to comment again somewhere down the line.

Hands of the King

thorongirl - 31 Aug 12 - 4:28 PM

General Comment

I don't know if you will ever read this comment but will leave it anyway. Have read thru chapter 65 now. While reading last night, I was thinking of what incredible detail you are putting into every chapter. You have made Gondor so realistic that I would almost swear that there is such a place.

Many times I have found myself chafed/puzzled at what I perceive to be  Finduilas and Denethor's love/hate relationship with Thorongil. I also find myself thinking of how this story reminds me somewhat of Moses' early attempt to lead the Israelites. He simply wasn't ready and it wasn't the right time. It was many years before he could rightfully fit that role. Did you think of that at all while you were writing?

The Fire made me think of atomic weapons and I wonder if that was your intent or if I'm just reading into it.

I did appreciate that Finduilas' attitude towards Thorongil softened somewhat as time went by but her demeanor is certainly mercurial. These Royals are a tetchy lot!

I'll be the first to admit that Denethor stories aren't readily appealing (to me) but I find this one absolutely fascinating. There have been a few times when I would wish for a bit more description when the various characters are described (looks-wise) so it would be a bit easier to know who is who.  I love Brandir by the way. A most interesting man.

It would take pages and pages to give you a proper review and I don't have the time to do that but I do want to stop by now and again to comment on a few things I've observed.

This is definitely a must read!

Hands of the King

Anglachel - 03 Sep 12 - 9:36 AM

General Comment

thorongirl,

Yes, I have read your comments - thank you for taking the time to post them! You ask some great questions. I apologize for not replying. Real Life is giving me a hard time right now and I have little energy left for HASA. I will try to write some things up in the forums when life is more balanced.

Again, thank you so much for your comments. I'm glad you're enjoying the story.

Anglachel


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Story Information

Author: Anglachel

Status: Reviewed

Completion: Complete

Era: 3rd Age - The Stewards

Genre: Drama

Rating: Adult

Last Updated: 07/01/09

Original Post: 02/23/04

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A Writer Reads - 8 stories - Owner: Aiwendiel
Of course there are thousands of stories out there, and I have only read a fraction of them. NOT intended to be a scientific survey! My picks of stories that I feel are particularly well written, stylistically interesting, lyrical... Regardless of era, topic or character.
Included because: Truly exceptional writing by the very talented Anglachel, marvelously nuanced and mature, enriches understanding of the main characters as well as enhancing grasp of Gondor's recent history. Utterly believable backstory of Denethor II as portrayed by JRRT.

Forums linked to the story

Hands of the King - 545 posts

Discussion centered on Anglachel's novel-length story, "Hands of the King," a look at the courtship and marriage of Denethor and Finduilas.

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