The Kindness of Strangers: 20. Author's notes

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20. Author's notes

Author's notes.

    This is a gap-filler based mostly on book-canon but borrowing from movie-canon.
    It seemed to me that Saruman wouldn't have been one to make idle threats, and his efforts to "persuade" Gandalf were likely to directly involve "trouble and pain." Although in LotR Gandalf doesn't say that Saruman threatened to hand him over to the Nazgul, this is explicitly mentioned in the notes on "The Hunt for the Ring" in Unfinished Tales.  It seemed likely that Gandalf's famous pride would have prevented him from telling anyone about how he was treated. He wouldn't have wanted his friends to know how much danger he had actually been in while he was "delayed." He might have wanted to hide that Saruman had found a way to physically overpower him, so those who would need to trust and rely on him would feel confident in his ability to protect them. And he might simply have felt shame at being so vulnerable.
    I wanted to show some of both wizards' inner feelings: anger, frustration, fear (for himself and also for Frodo and for the fate of the Ring) and grief for Gandalf, as well as (at least at first) a willingness to do whatever was necessary to try to persuade Saruman to let him go, even to put aside his anger and disappointment and forgive (or pretend to forgive) him. For Saruman, I wanted to show hidden lifelong jealousy, profound ambivalence at his own behaviors and choices, and a hotbed of unresolved and unexpressed emotion beneath his cool and logical exterior, and that at his core he really wasn't entirely corrupt.
    I thought Gandalf would be relying on Narya for hope and strength, and he might find himself absently rubbing it. I gave Gandalf physical characteristics as he is described by Frodo in FotR: Gandalf was shorter in stature than the other two; but his long white hair, his sweeping silver beard, and his broad shoulders, made him look like some wise king of ancient legend. I thought a Maia in the flesh would have similar attributes as those ascribed to Elves, i.e., able to withstand long deprivation, darned hard to permanently damage and able to recover and heal quickly.
    Finally, I based the story of the Ringwraiths coming to Isengard on version C of "The Hunt for the Ring" in Unfinished Tales.

About the original characters with feathers.

    Since the bald eagle is such a metaphor for strength, integrity and patriotism (in my part of the world), I thought this story ought to clarify some facts about the species. Where I live, eagles routinely steal from the much more industrious-appearing osprey, doing little fishing or hunting on their own, just scavenging (mostly road kill), and can behave like big lazy bullies of the air. (How's that for a national symbol?) Ravens are loyal and smart and can learn and problem-solve amazingly well, and research has shown that they can indeed count to about 5. Gatherings that appear to be raven (and crow) courts have been reported, as is the fact that ravens call to their fellows and lead them to the location of food, particularly in winter. In fact, ravens (and crows) seem much closer to humans in their skills and adaptability than eagles, except of course that humans routinely take advantage of other weaker species of animals, just like eagles.
The ravens.
    Corvus corax is the scientific name for the common raven, so I used a slight twist on the species name of corax for the major character of Coräc. This name also sounds similar to Roäc, the raven in The Hobbit, and mimics the raven's call. Morigian is a twist on The Morrigan, one name of a Celtic goddess associated with ravens, war, death and fertility. Her name is Morgan in Welsh, and she became Morgana Le Fey in the Arthurian legends. Also, mori is "black" or "dark" in Quenya. Another name for her (or perhaps one of her daughers) is Anann, who is also the Irish spirit, "Gentle Annie," who accompanies us to our deaths. Fiach is the Irish Gaelic name for raven and was a mythical prince and some say one of the sons of The Morrigan. Kruk is the Ukrainian name for raven and also sounds like the raven's voice. Hrafn is Old English and Icelandic name for raven. A flock of ravens is an "unkindness of ravens," just as a flock of crows is a "murder of crows."  I chose Corvidian for the language of ravens, after the genus name.
The eagles.

    Haliaeetus is the genus name for the American bald eagle and for the European white-tailed and sea eagles. I picked Haliaen for the race name a raven might use to indicate all types of eagles, since it sounds vaguely like "alien" and thus sort of an insult.
Aquila chrystaeros is the genus and species name of golden eagles, which are found in the mountains worldwide throughout the northern hemisphere. I chose Aquilish for their language.  Arathoron is my version of a Sindarin name meaning "King of Eagles," as JRRT did not name the Eagle that plucked Gandalf out of the burning tree in "The Hobbit" other than to call him the Lord of the Eagles.

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.

Story Information

Author: Aiwendiel

Status: Reviewed

Completion: Complete

Era: 3rd Age - Ring War

Genre: Drama

Rating: General

Last Updated: 01/05/10

Original Post: 10/25/08

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

The Kindness of Strangers

TariElfLady - 02 Nov 10 - 12:39 PM

Ch. 20: Author's notes

What a wonderful job you did of filling in the gaps.  This was a most enjoyable read.

The Kindness of Strangers

thelauderdale - 30 May 11 - 2:50 PM

Ch. 20: Author's notes

This was an excellent story all around, and I enjoyed your notes at the end.  I recognized The Morrigan influence for Morigian's name, and I saw the Irish influences in Fiach and Annan, but I did not know who Fiach or Annan were per se, and I would never have known the meanings for Hrafn or Kruk.

I did wonder about one "loose thread" in form of the Khândian woman, whose presence in Orthanc has formed a running subplot through the story.  The last we ever see of Saruman, he is going to seek her out.  Interestingly, while her place in this story has been a source of distaste, evidencing Saruman's corruption (the exploitation of the disadvantaged, and the snare of lust) it is also the one sign we have left of Saruman's humanity: the sign that he in some way recognizes the woman and cares for her, and even a point of self-recognition: seeing his own failure to learn her name, and seeking to rectify that failure.  I wonder what may have passed between them, beyond the usual, and I wonder what ever happened to her.  Maybe I don't want to know; I suspect it wasn't very happy.  But maybe I infer darkness where there might as easily have been some light.

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Playlists Featuring the Story

The Old Grey Wizard - 7 stories - Owner: Aiwendiel
Stories of mine that center on Gandalf, either gap fillers or alternate universe themes.
Included because: Long gap filler about what went on in Isengard one summer.

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