81. Author's Notes
Notes on The King's Commission
I had long felt that a special friendship would have grown between Frodo Baggins and the Ranger from the North who led the Hobbits from Bree to Rivendell and accompanied them on to Amon Hen. Frodo owed Aragorn his life for his warning to sleep elsewhere than the bedroom given to them, the quick work in recognizing the nature of the Morgul wound, the chasing off of the Nazgûl, and for bringing them to the edge of Elrond's lands; for his competence throughout. Aragorn owed the Hobbit even more--he'd not have become king of either Gondor nor Arnor had Frodo not gone into Mordor alone save for Sam and the reluctant presence of Gollum; nor would he have been able to marry his beloved Arwen.
His love for the four Hobbits was obvious by the time he saw them off at the edges of Rohan; that he'd wish some kind of memorial done of them seemed a logical premise.
I've long felt that Tolkien slighted the Dúnedain of the North. They are Aragorn's kin, yet other than showing up in Rohan to accompany Aragorn through the Paths of the Dead to the victories at the Pelargir and then the Pelennor Fields they are barely mentioned. Would they not have wished to be represented in Aragorn's court, in his guard, in the doings of rule? How was stewardship for the northern kingdoms handled? Aragorn wore the Winged Crown, but carried also the Sceptre of Annúminas as the sign he was king of South and North. How would his folk from the North feel about his apparent continued ignorance of them over the years between the downfall of Sauron and the final riding north so many years later in which Aragorn and Arwen officially appeared at the Brandywine Bridge and carried several off northwards? What could have held Aragorn in Gondor for so long? What kinds of wars would he have fought in those years, and how was Éomer motivated to follow after, other than through the strength of the oath of alliance that had stood between Gondor and Rohan for so long? All of these have been questions I've found myself pondering over the past few years.
They are questions I've finally sought to answer here in this story.
I am a special education teacher, and have lived with and worked with and been friends with folks with disabilities almost all my life, but particularly since shortly before I entered college. I'm also exceptionally short, and am only slightly too tall to become a member of the Little People of America. The insults thrown my way for my stature, my appearance of being younger than my years, and my atypical interests for so much of my early life apparently have made me more sensitive to the ridicule so many of my friends, students, clients, and associates have endured, for I've been freely accepted by folk of many disabilities. I felt that the protagonist in this story ought to be a person perceived to have a disability, and found myself drawn to dwarfism as the particular condition he would have known. That others in the story would also know some form of disability also seemed natural, considering my own predilictions and experience, and of course blindness would be represented, as that is the disability which has been my focus of interest since I was ten years old. (Don't ask why--long story, particularly as at the time I'd never even seen someone who was blind!)
Anywho, that's what got me going. Aragorn wants a memorial to Frodo particularly, and the Hobbits have fought it to date. How's he going to get it? How would someone with the ability to do forensic artwork have developed his skill in Gondor, and how would Aragorn become aware of these skills? Would Aragorn have approached him directly, or at an angle of some sort? Wouldn't he have wanted to test the person he used to get this memorial in some way, make certain he was worthy to do a memorial to Frodo?
The last chapter was in my imagination from the first, and was finally written out about a month before I wrote the next-to-last chapter. What would it be like to live as the only mortal among the immortal elves and Maiar? Frodo has to know he will die at the end of his time--when there is no one to share thoughts with regarding this coming event, then how would he find a release for his own concerns on the subject?
There is a symmetry between Frodo's ending and Aragorn's beginning--mortals among immortals. I wanted to work this into the story as well in some way, and it ended up in the welcome meal for the Hobbits and the last chapter. Men have long envied the immortality of the Elves--would it not work both ways, at least at times? And so one of the sons of Elrond came to look at his foster brother and the other mortals with whom he was now primarily surrounded with some envy of his own.
I have freely admitted before that I was inspired by such as Anglachel, Lindalea, Baylor, Tom Fairbairn, Jodancingtree, and others, and I recognize them again. Certainly Budgie Smallfoot and Viola and their relationship with Fredegar Bolger was inspired by Lindelea, who has also offered me feedback on improper grammar (I bless the Grammar Orc and hope she will assist me in identifying those places where I've allowed gaffs my fifth grade teacher would have whomped me for). I also thank Vistula the Dúnadan for her assistance, and Imrahoil for catching some of my more common misspellings of Tolkien's names. Also, I thank those who are more familiar with UT, the Sil, HoME, and his other works for reminding me that the good professor had already named the sons of Imrahil and Faramir and Éomer, keeping me more in line with canon.
Thanks to all who have offered feedback, and I hope that people will take the time now to read some of my other fanfics on the site. I've attempted to keep each and all consistent with one another.
Now, if I can only get the story of John Wilder written and possibly published.
Bonnie L. Sherrell, also known as Larner
March 16, 2005
in the wilds of Washington state
Post Script, April 12, 2008
Tomorrow is my birthday, so I look at the approval of this story for public posting on the Henneth Annun Story Archive site as my birthday present. Plus, since RiverOtter and I went over it one more time to try to capture remaining errors still more have been spotted by others. Fiondil, Allasiel, Julie, and several others who've read it here, on FFN, TFF, and SoA have all found problems of one sort or another, spotting problems with geography as well as inconsistent spellings and substitution of one name for another. I thank you all!
One person commented that she could not imagine most folk would be unaware of the dwarfism that Ruvemir and Miriel know. Ah, if that were only true!
Until relatively recently truly disabled individuals have been often excluded from life within the general population of the world. Often parents were advised that a child born with a disability would be too much of a burden or a heartache to deal with on a daily basis, and they were counseled by well-meaning doctors and other "experts" to see such children placed in institutions or asylums where they could get "proper" care and "be happy" among their own kind. In cases where such children were kept at home, the families often hid them from the criticism of their neighbors and the general public. Two of my mother's friends had followed such advice and each placed a retarded child in a major institution for the retarded some twenty-five miles from our home. One saw her daughter regularly once a month; the other never visited her son. One family with a child who was blind put her daughter into the same institution, for she was convinced that the girl could never know a proper life on the outside--as a result the girl did not learn proper accommodation techniques she ought to have learned from her earliest days until she was an adult, and had missed several important milestones of development.
When such children were retained at home, they were often hidden from the community at large, as if either they were seen as a potential source of embarrassment for the family or to protect them from the often hurtful criticism of a desensitized world. It was not unusual for parents of children who were markedly disfigured to sell them to freak shows, circuses, and so on. "Menageries" of such oddities have been commonplace throughout human history. In many cultures such children have been killed at birth, often through being left outside the community to the mercies of strangers, wild animals, and weather.
Yet there have ever been some families who have seen disabled children as family members and who have done what they could to offer them accommodations and proper educations and so on--Roosevelt became President of the United States in spite of having been crippled by polio; Helen Keller's genius has been celebrated due to the diligence of her teacher and family. I see the family of Mardil the Carver being such a family.
Disabilities happen--and have happened. Be glad they are no longer hidden--but be aware that for far too long they were.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.