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Hands of the King

Raihon - 14 Feb 06 - 12:01 PM

Ch. 10: Proof

The description of the battle tactics is interesting in light of something I really appreciate about the way you have constructed this story. It's something I guess Tolkein did, too, but you are making very intriguing use of it, and that is doubling or redundancy.

Tolkein appears to have built redundancy into the system, so that if one of our protagonists gets killed (or otherwise departs Arda), there is another to take his (or her) place. So Boromir is the back-up for Aragorn, Faramir for Boromir (and by the transitive property, Faramir for Aragorn later), Eowyn for Arwen, Sam for Frodo, etc.

In your story, this seems to be a deliberate device (the presumed doubling of Findulias and Arwen, and an explicitly stated desire of Denethor for redundancy in the next chapter), though since I'm only this far in, I don't know to what end. Perhaps to the same end as Tolkein's, which I suspect is that fate will unfold as it should as long as a company (not just an individual) is true.

However, the striking thing about the strategy in the battles referred to in this chapter is the utter lack of redundancy. If any one thing had gone wrong, there was no backup. Just a striking contrast I thought I'd comment on, I don't know if it means anything.

Also, tip-o-the-hat for your managing suspence and the pacing of revealations - it's just right. I don't know too much more or too much less than the characters.

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Hands of the King

Anglachel - 16 Feb 06 - 7:15 PM

Ch. 10: Proof

Hi Raihon!

Yes, the doubling is deliberate. Tolkien was very fond of pairings, so I took the idea and ran with it. He didn't just pair people - there are the divisions of Gondor (Anorien, Ithlien) pairings of towers (Minas Anor/Tirith and Minas Ithil/Morgul), and so forth.

To deal with a fate-driven universe where you don't want predestination (people can fail or fall away by their own hook, not just be condemned), there has to be something to preserve the intended outcome, hence a need for mirrored protagonists. When one stumbles, the other is there to either pick him up or else to keep going if the first has failed completely. Throughout HotK, this happens, though Denethor resists Thorongil's assistance over and over. Thorongil resists allowing Denethor to help him in more subtle ways, and is less antagonistic. I think it is an open question whether a closer partnership would have been for the best - even their division serves a fateful purpose.

The battles of the summer do put them both in danger, and yes, it is significant. It becomes a point of contention between them - who will protect whom. They recognize what a disaster it would be for both of them to be killed, yet neither will cede.

Glad you're enjoying the story!


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