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178 Comments

 
 

A Bit of Rope

ziggy - 10 Aug 10 - 6:23 AM

General Comment

I cannot beleive there are no comments on this story after all this work and the beauty of the language, the quality of the narrative. This is a wonderful piece of work - compelling and gorgeous. I have spent a rainy grotty day truly immersed in this and have just had to stop only because I felt there was a bit of a jump between ch 26 and 27. I should have stopped after Gandalf gave the ring to Sam- that was a marvellous bit of writing, but I selfishly wanted to read on. 

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Aiwendiel - 10 Aug 10 - 7:41 AM

General Comment

Hi Ziggy, thanks much, I do appreciate comments! (FYI, this "little" piece -- 30 chapters and perhaps 2/3rds done -- sheesh!.. is up for a MEFA this yr.) Regarding the leaps in later chapters, yep, can't avoid it, geographically or chronologically. I considered "book 1,2,3 etc" but couldn't wait to start updating the dispersed characters. Life As We Know It has been full of distractions, so be patient. Hope to scramble all over Rohan then back to MT soon. Thanks again for reading and commenting so positively. A

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karol89 - 23 Aug 10 - 3:29 AM

General Comment

i love this story..Heart...

please update soon!!!!

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Aiwendiel - 25 Aug 10 - 10:36 AM

General Comment

Thanks, Iva !  It always bugged me that Aragorn got thru the war without a scratch. Well, now that I'm in charge, he isn't going to be so lucky... but I won't give more away. TRW is interfering but I hope to post again very soon. A

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ziggy - 12 Jan 11 - 11:53 PM

General Comment

I am blown away by the potential of the ending of this chapter! (Promise no spoilers) Gandalf is so wonderfully written here- with a sense of distance and almost dislocation as he adjusts- I like that there is that unreal physicality - almost as if he does not register the blows or blades. And he is calculating, thinking. The greatest confrontation is yet to come and I can't wait so be quick please!!Frown

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Aiwendiel - 13 Jan 11 - 2:13 PM

General Comment

Ziggy -- thanks for your comments and observations. Always so interesting what the reader sees vs what the writer has in her head! You're right, of course, but I didn't write Gandalf "not registering" the physical -- not on purpose. Alas, the culmination of this scene is a ways off; many far-flung threads must come together first! A

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MrsBoromir - 19 Jan 11 - 2:45 AM

General Comment

cant wait for you to update! Eeeek!

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Lindariel - 17 Feb 11 - 11:32 AM

General Comment

New member here, but I have been "lurking" for a LONG time and enjoying this marvelous story tremendously.  I have loved every single chapter, but this most recent chapter absolutely THRILLED me!  Denethor confessing his use of the palantir to his two sons, and Faramir's beautiful generous soul recognizing and expressing gratitude to his stern father for the incredible sacrifices the Steward has made for his country.  Just brilliantly done!

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Aiwendiel - 17 Feb 11 - 12:44 PM

General Comment

Dear Lindariel -- I truly appreciate your comment. I was worried that Denethor's transformation in the latest ch might have gone too far, seeing as it begins with the ripple effect of Sam's rope and all that follows--a living and transformed Boromir, no Gandalf the White to irritate the Steward, etc. So glad it seemed plausible to you! I am writing as fast as I can to catch up the entire cast to the present moments and beyond... A

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Lindariel - 17 Feb 11 - 6:15 PM

General Comment

Aiwendiel, I am always glad to see Denethor treated with more respect.  He is often so horribly demonized in fan fiction (as well as in Peter Jackson's movies, where he suffered complete character assassination), whereas I regard him as extraordinarily tragic.

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Lindariel - 01 Mar 11 - 3:12 PM

General Comment

Aiwendil, I've just read Chapter 41 -- The Siege!  Astounding!  Now THAT is a fitting end for Denethor, son of Ecthelion.  And what a tremendous feat for Pippin!  Bravo! 

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Aiwendiel - 02 Mar 11 - 7:05 AM

General Comment

Thanks, Lindariel! I've always been really unhappy with the original in respect to Denethor, and have wanted to rectify it for a long time. Glad it pleased you. And we haven't seen the end of his influence, but that is for a later chapter... A

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Casso - 03 Aug 11 - 9:13 PM

General Comment

Is it Hurin? Great story, I have just come back to HA after a very busy few months and very much enjoyed catching up on this story. Keep up the great work, I am looking forward to the next chapter. Please help Aragorn! 

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Aiwendiel - 04 Aug 11 - 9:00 PM

General Comment

Hi Casso, I see you're on the site! Just posted the next chapter. Aragorn to the rescue? Um... sorry! But maybe somebody will come to the rescue yet!

(And yes, I am quite certain the quote was from Hurin-- thanks for the close reading!)

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maeglin - 27 Aug 11 - 5:53 PM

General Comment

Sad indeed - the Ring War as Nirnaeth Arnoediad.  I say that since this doesn't seem a victory for the West in any meaninful way.  Had Sauron regained the Ring and won the war, the losses could hardly have been more terrible.

The little AU twist of Sam's having the rope with him, so viciously (and unexpectedly) canceled by the Balrog of Moria proving mighty as Sauron himself!  And the "fool's hope" proving just that.  Things go more than a bit "awry", which makes this a nice AU. 

But the true greatness of this story (imo) is how it makes the fact that Sauron was thrown down seem beside the point.  In this, it's a truly wonderful blending of the "lightness" of LOTR with the dark-darkness of Narn i Hin Hurin. 

In short, a masterpiece.

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Aiwendiel - 27 Aug 11 - 8:17 PM

General Comment

My thanks, maeglin -- I am honored by your words. I've really been touched by all the fine keen-eyed readers this mammoth piece has gathered. I do hope that a bit of light shines in the final two chapters... if I can get them on paper before I am older and greyer than I am now...

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Aiwendiel - 07 Nov 11 - 12:59 PM

General Comment

Hi there readers, a notice appeared that ABOR had been updated and those who checked found a chapter 60, but no text! Plz be patient, it is posted in "private" format and will be up for reading very soon, once ch 61 is also done! Aiwendiel

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Aiwendiel - 09 Mar 12 - 7:09 PM

General Comment

For readers of ABOR -- I just made a few tweaks and corrected an occasional typo. Can't ever stop editing...

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Linda Hoyland - 29 Aug 12 - 1:35 AM

General Comment

This is a truly amazing story which had me on the edge of my seat. Gandalf's passing was heartbreaking Sam's death and I was also deeply moved by the suffering of Aragorn and Arwen and Elrohir.

Your use of the Orc was a wonderful touch and showed the depth of Gandalf's compassion. I was glad to to be spared the details of the torture. Frodo staying behind felt true to life. I loved your characterisation of Denethor and that he could be reconciled with Faramir.

Frodo's depression was well portrayed and I loved the reappearance of Gandalf.

This has been a far better read than most books you buy in shops. This story is a great achievement.

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Larner - 14 Sep 10 - 10:10 AM

Ch. 1: A Twist of Fate

At last able to start reading this.  Yes, things would be quite a bit different, and there would be far more likelihood someone would be wounded now, and tall, broad Boromir would make the largest target.

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Aiwendiel - 14 Sep 10 - 3:02 PM

Ch. 1: A Twist of Fate

Hadn't thought of that reasoning, I had ulterior motives for making Boromir the first victim for WNITOT-- "wounds not in the original text" -- of which there will be many, I'm afraid. As I hope will be apparent in upcoming chapters, I wanted a plausible excuse for a warmer relationship between the Steward's older son and the Steward's least favorite traveling wizard. Glad you've found it, and hope you enjoy! Aiwendiel

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Larner - 15 Sep 10 - 4:47 AM

Ch. 2: East of the Mountains

We know that Gandalf did have a hidden source of strength.  Although I appreciate that since he failed to fall in this case he would feel indeed that something was seriously amiss, and that he sees that feeling of wrongness being focused on Frodo is interesting.  A great evil may indeed survive due to the saving of Gandalf in this case.

But I especially loved the image of Aragorn "trotting" down the trail, considering the original character intended to guide Frodo from Bree to Rivendell!  Heh!

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Larner - 15 Sep 10 - 4:56 AM

Ch. 3: The Warrior and the Wizard

I am glad Gandalf was able to reassure Boromir regarding their friendship.  Now--to get that help Legolas is running for!

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TariElfLady - 25 Jun 13 - 10:16 AM

Ch. 3: The Warrior and the Wizard

I have been trying to access chapter 4 of A Bit Of Rope, but nothing shows up

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Larner - 15 Sep 10 - 5:10 AM

Ch. 4: Night in Lothlorien

Ah--Gollum is dead?  Oh, no!  Will Sam and Frodo be able to do what is needed when the time comes?

At least Boromir is healed both of the Ring's lure and the poison, as well as of his doubts regarding Aragorn.  But the Balrog continues....

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Larner - 15 Sep 10 - 5:25 AM

Ch. 5: Beneath the Trees

Arrival at last!  And Frodo has reason to be concerned that Gollum has died, as we know.

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Larner - 16 Sep 10 - 2:04 PM

Ch. 6: Rest and Healing

I see you are allowing the thoughts of Aragorn to slip in here and there as they do not in the original.  And I agree with Frodo deciding not to chide Gandalf for avoiding the Healers!  Heh!

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Larner - 16 Sep 10 - 5:56 PM

Ch. 7: Looking Ahead

At least they have Gandalf's knowledge on which to draw.  That's a plus.

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Larner - 16 Sep 10 - 6:02 PM

Ch. 8: Come What May

Avoiding the Balrog of Khazad-dum while heading for the heart of the realm of the Balrog of Barad-dur is not exactly avoiding danger.

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Larner - 16 Sep 10 - 6:25 PM

Ch. 9: Galadriel's Mirror

To dream of the Balrog recovering its fire must have been terrible, particularly seeing it headed down the mountain toward Lothlorien!

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TariElfLady - 14 Aug 13 - 11:04 AM

Ch. 9: Galadriel's Mirror

What a fascinating chapter.  Eight of the nine were able to look into the mirror which I am sure made the road ahead even harder.  This is a gripping story.

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Larner - 16 Sep 10 - 6:44 PM

Ch. 10: Words Unspoken

Because Gandalf did not die, the Balrog poses threat to both Lorien and Mirkwood.  What a dread truth for the Wizard to bear!  And he intends to sacrifice himself for Frodo's sake, once it is asked of him.

No wonder Aragorn grieves now!

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maeglin - 15 Jun 11 - 6:43 PM

Ch. 10: Words Unspoken

But of course Gandalf's a meddler!  That's the business & purpose of Wizards, really.  Though "Good", they use others as tools because it's necessary.  As it is for all great lords. 

I think Gandalf's character in this chapter was dead on, and thoroughly canonical.

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Aiwendiel - 16 Jun 11 - 6:23 AM

Ch. 10: Words Unspoken

How fun to awaken to a duel between readers over my particular "wasn't he supposed to be dead by now" Gandalf the Grey! Delicious -- both versions! Yep-- meddling old grump. Yep --uses others as necessary tools, 'cause that's what wizards do for a living. Excuse my wide grin while I enjoy your tiny spat on my behalf! IMMD!

Aiwendiel

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Larner - 16 Sep 10 - 7:05 PM

Ch. 11: A Fellowship Divided

A suitable place to break the telling.  And the fellowship between Elf and Dwarf begins as Legolas looks toward a visit to Fangorn.  Most interesting!

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Larner - 17 Sep 10 - 5:10 PM

Ch. 12: Passage South

I so love not only Frodo giving Gandalf what-for, but Sam doing the same to Frodo!  The Wizard is right--Frodo has excellent companions!  And love that there is a chance for at least one of the Hobbits to rest for a day each time.

But I still worry that Gollum is not part of the quest.

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Glîrnardir - 15 Jun 11 - 3:19 PM

Ch. 12: Passage South

Dear Aiwendiel,
I like your story very, very, very, very much.
However, I have a little criticism. I understand that its goal is probably to explain better the different personalities and choices of the characters, but I think it slows down the narration.
And, by the way, I don't like the Gandalf that you paint in this chapter: the meddler, nosy old man that influences so many fates and so many people... I hate the way he chooses to sacrificate other beings to serve the greater purpose and, most of all, I hate his betrayal of Frodo and his choice to not reveal him too much information at once. I know, in Middle-earth many consider him to be a meddler, but this is exaggerated!
Do not take my counsel amiss, because you're a far better writer than what I'll ever be. My compliments! :)

Riccardo.

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Glîrnardir - 15 Jun 11 - 3:21 PM

Ch. 12: Passage South

Excuse me, my comment was referred to Chapter 10: Words Unspoken.

Riccardo

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Larner - 17 Sep 10 - 5:26 PM

Ch. 13: Sarn Gebir

Excellent, having Boromir destroy the fell beast this time!  Hurray!  And love Frodo taking precedence as he does.

Now--if Gandalf had only listened to Sam to begin with!

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Larner - 17 Sep 10 - 5:51 PM

Ch. 14: Parting Ways

Aha!  At least the Uruk-hai know how to count, and don't have ANY idea what a Halfling might look like!  What a wonderful manner in which Boromir and Pippin might escape their interest!  Yay!

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Larner - 17 Sep 10 - 6:10 PM

Ch. 15: Amon Lhaw

Now, THAT was quite the encounter!  Trust a Uruk or orc to find a stone to relieve himself against!  Heh!

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Larner - 17 Sep 10 - 6:18 PM

Ch. 16: The East Stair of Rauros-Falls

That was quite a fall!  Love that Sam is proving his worth as a wayfinder, again and again.  And that arm does need looking to!

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Larner - 17 Sep 10 - 6:52 PM

Ch. 17: Fen and Fever

At least they have proved competent, and Frodo was able to best the Ring.  Although I'm surprised the Ring would think to disappear below water again--water is the opposite of Its Master's element, after all.

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Aiwendiel - 17 Sep 10 - 8:05 PM

Ch. 17: Fen and Fever

Larner, you seem bent on leaving comments on every chapter! Thanks for your heroic efforts! I never thought of the clash of elements -- makes perfect sense. When I revise the whole piece (err... don't hold your breath...) I'll keep that tidbit in mind! A

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Larner - 17 Sep 10 - 7:17 PM

Ch. 18: Ithilien

Not as many provisions as they could have had had they gone with Faramir to Henneth Annun, but enough to keep them on their feet, at least.  And Faramir has a reunion to know now with his brother, which he did not know in the original.

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MJ - 12 Apr 09 - 6:03 PM

Ch. 20: The Bridge of the Morgulduin

What lovely "Easter eggs" to find today, new chapters!  Although not lighthearted or pretty (Orc... er... effluent!  Ewwwwh....), very satisfying.  As I once nearly died of a very severe infection, I know only too well the pain and disgusting nature of such things, and you handled this quite realistically (but again, not overly so).  I did not envy Frodo one bit; he is one Hobbit who must have a stomach of iron!  And though I suspected what Gandalf would do to help Frodo complete the quest, I found the site you chose a brilliant stroke -- another bridge.  Ever so appropriate.  I admit, though, I'm a bit curious as to what our poor wizard did in his "last stand." I eagerly look forward to more.

MJ

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Larner - 18 Sep 10 - 11:18 AM

Ch. 20: The Bridge of the Morgulduin

I was so surprised to see what it was that Gandalf gave to Sam, but rejoice that he did so.  No--it would NEVER do for Narya the Great to fall into the hands of the servants of Sauron.  And to reveal himself there as he truly is--a spirit of Fire....

A grievous sacrifice, but one he chose willingly.  And hopefully it will take out a good few of those who otherwise might have marched to the siege of Minas Tirith!

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Larner - 18 Sep 10 - 11:33 AM

Ch. 21: The Captain-General Returns

So--now we betin to see the journeys of the others.  Good advice from Boromir.  And loved the description of Gandalf entering the Great Smials!

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maeglin - 17 Sep 10 - 6:05 PM

Ch. 22: The White City

"If an old Willow Tree can try to eat me, then why can't a dead White Tree be awakened?" -

Why not, indeed!  Don't think anyone's pointed out the connection between those Two Trees before - yet, it is fitting!  Had missed this on the first reading - there are still gems to be found in the second :)  This is really a great tale..

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Larner - 18 Sep 10 - 4:27 PM

Ch. 22: The White City

I think Pippin would be happier working as Boromir's messenger than as a kitchen boy.  Glad Boromir thought of it.  And if Boromir thinks his father is unhappy with what he's been told so far--just wait until Denethor realizes that Aragorn is Thorongil, his former rival!

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Larner - 18 Sep 10 - 4:43 PM

Ch. 23: Duty, Honor and Friendship

Targon should be perhaps horsewhipped?  Am glad there is a better place for Pippin now!

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Larner - 18 Sep 10 - 4:59 PM

Ch. 24: Night Watch

So, in this verse Sauron himself speaks to and taunts Denethor.  No wonder he's so bitter!  At least with Boromir in Minas Tirith Faramir will have an ally!

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Larner - 18 Sep 10 - 5:29 PM

Ch. 25: The Lords of Gondor

It is nice to know that hope is catching!  Heh!  And it appears that this is an excellent place for Pippin to be!

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TariElfLady - 16 Oct 13 - 11:00 AM

Ch. 25: The Lords of Gondor

All we ever hear about Denethor is how harsh he is.  It is so nice to see a softer side of him.  The babies certainly had a positive effect on him.  Well done.

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Larner - 18 Sep 10 - 5:39 PM

Ch. 26: Against Advice

Excellent!

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Larner - 18 Sep 10 - 6:05 PM

Ch. 27: Eldest, Smallest and Strongest

Aha!  Yes--the Ents are now involved!  Yes!

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Larner - 18 Sep 10 - 6:30 PM

Ch. 28: The Rousing of Fangorn

Time for Legolas to rejoin Aragorn, and for Merry to do what he and Pippin did in the original.  But two are convinced, and the rest will follow soon enough.

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Iva1201 - 16 Jun 10 - 12:31 AM

Ch. 29: Where Many Paths And Errands Meet

Liked it - as ever with your great writting style. (-: I felt with Gimli and his dislike of horses, and laughed at the comment that there are horses in Rohan. Great of you to leave Theodred (so far) alive. But I am a bit afraid as to the end - not dead I hope?

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Aiwendiel - 16 Jun 10 - 7:21 PM

Ch. 29: Where Many Paths And Errands Meet

Thanks Iva, and that ending effect was just what I had in mind.... heh heh... not about to spoil that surprise for you! One theme I'm trying to play with is that all mortal beings die... eventually... just perhaps not in the same place or at the same time as in the original... A

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Iva1201 - 18 Jun 10 - 2:06 AM

Ch. 29: Where Many Paths And Errands Meet

Well, I know it is a war and there will be casualities. And quite honestly I wouldn't mind that much by a character who was not really introduced in the books since I cannot very well be properly fond of him as I am of Boromir or Faramir. But I was not about to write it like this in a review - I feel badly to say it even now.

Happy writing, no matter how difficult scenes your muse has prepared for you to work on!

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Larner - 18 Sep 10 - 6:57 PM

Ch. 29: Where Many Paths And Errands Meet

Oh, dear--don't count your Peredhil until they stand by your side, apparently.  At least they are skilled healers!

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Iva1201 - 25 Aug 10 - 4:16 AM

Ch. 30: The King of The Mark

Great chapter - I loved the changes you have made! It was also nice to see Aragorn for once as a patient - usually the authors give him only the role of the healer. (((-: Btw, I am sorry for the delayed review but my own internet connection is not working at the moment. )-:

Many thanks for writing and sharing your fabulous story with us,

Iva (-:

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Larner - 18 Sep 10 - 7:38 PM

Ch. 30: The King of The Mark

What poison was used on Theoden, we wonder?  And Shadowfax goes to Aragorn now?  Good.  Too bad Grima managed to get away as he did.

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ziggy - 19 Oct 10 - 11:05 PM

Ch. 31: Happenstance and Strategy

Ah, Aiwendl, this just gets better and better. Not just an ambitious piece of work, but so beautifully and precisely written. I can forgive you the long wait for the length and depth of this superb chapter. I think you have caught Eowyn more accurately than anything else I have ever read - economic , accurate, detailed and still not overloading my imagination. And the story twists and winds intriguingly. I think too, the dream Merry has of Pippin is fabulously done- I felt real anxiety when I read it; it resembles such a real dream, that blind panic, not knowing, fear for another. And I am interested to see how Eomer and Legolas fit into this, has Legolas taken on the role of Gandalf in the Battle of Helm's Deep? I miss the friendship between Legolas and Gimli but you do Aragorn and Gimli so well. And of course Elrohir and Elladan are utterly gorgeously fabulous. (Sorry- fangurrrl swoon)

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Aiwendiel - 22 Oct 10 - 2:46 PM

Ch. 31: Happenstance and Strategy

Ziggy, thanks for the comments on Ch. 31, but ....err.... ummm... apologies in advance to your inner fangurrl..  Do you have a favorite between Elladan and Elrohir? I haven't picked which one yet, but... ummmm...  when the battle of Helm's Deep is over, ah....  one of them... well, take a deep breath and keep reading. It won't be in the next chapter (just posted) but the one after that. Just to warn you. (sorry! ) A

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Larner - 01 Nov 10 - 2:14 AM

Ch. 31: Happenstance and Strategy

Definitely a different story, with Eowyn warned away, Theodred alive, Theoden still under the power of Grima's machinations, and Merry separated too early from Pippin!

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Sirannon - 25 Oct 10 - 10:24 AM

Ch. 32: Risk and Revenge

Ay, the fellowship are dogged by troublesome wounds!

This is a thrilling tale, I was so absorbed by it, that I read it in one go. Of course now I can't wait for an update. Grin

Cheers

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Larner - 01 Nov 10 - 2:48 AM

Ch. 32: Risk and Revenge

At least Aragorn is able for the moment to stay astride, but I grieve that he suffers as he does.  As for Saruman--couldn't happen to a more deserving individual.  At least Grima did love Eowyn, in spite of his betrayal; and the King awakens, the poisonous drugs finally leaving his system.

Now--to see how the battle finishes!

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thelauderdale - 24 Apr 11 - 6:00 PM

Ch. 32: Risk and Revenge

Eomer...you moron.

I think this will be my new catch phrase.  I don't know why, but whenever I read a fic with Eomer in it...at least one that isn't centered on him (and many that are)...he manages to do the dumbest things.

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TariElfLady - 22 Jan 14 - 10:49 AM

Ch. 32: Risk and Revenge

This is quite a tale and you are a master story teller.  I am so amazed by your wording that I can't even come up with a worthy comment. 

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ziggy - 06 Nov 10 - 6:46 AM

Ch. 33: The Fall of the Hornburg

This chapter, I think, surpasses all others - and that is saying something. The detail does not clog the overall sense of the battle, but enhances it. The sense of being immersed in the slaughter, the confusion, the loss, is utterly compelling and convincing. This is wonderful writing that goes far beyond fanfiction

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Larner - 30 Jan 11 - 8:58 AM

Ch. 33: The Fall of the Hornburg

To know that one of Elrond's twin sons is now dead is a great grief indeed, but at least the enemy is now destroyed, even though so is the Hornburg.

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ziggy - 12 Nov 10 - 3:46 PM

Ch. 34: The Taste of Ash

Another superb chapter- after all the battle and action, this brims with tension and pain and sorrow. The action Theodred takes is so convincingly portrayed and Aragorn's guilt and grief. I like too the way you portray Gimli as a wise and trusted companion, not just comic as he sometimes is.

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Larner - 01 Feb 11 - 7:54 PM

Ch. 34: The Taste of Ash

Indeed, a terrible victory, one filled with far more pain than what would have been known had Sam not had that bit of rope with him, but one in which the pain is mitigated by reason in the end.  I certainly hope Theodred takes to heart Aragorn's advice.

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thelauderdale - 24 Apr 11 - 7:13 PM

Ch. 34: The Taste of Ash

You mean I get to say it again, so quickly?  "Eomer...you moron!"  (Theodred too, of course.)

Coming back to this story after such a long absence, I'm impressed with your no holds barred approach in these past few chapters.  Good people die, and in the wake of tragedy, heroic characters betray the best of their ideals, sullying themselves in ways that Tolkien never allowed them to do in his tales.  I found this heartbreakingly realistic.

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Aiwendiel - 26 Apr 11 - 8:41 PM

Ch. 34: The Taste of Ash

Thanks, 'thelauderdale', for your kind comments. I always felt that too many of the Professor's characters were a bit too flawlessly noble. One of my secondary explorations in this work is to bend JRR's stereotypes -- not break them, just bend them. Oh, and, Eomer won't disappoint you in future chapters. He's not done being moronic quite yet.

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Larner - 03 Feb 11 - 2:11 AM

Ch. 35: Spoils of Victory

A most disturbing sight, the corpse of Saruman appears to have been, and much in keeping with what we know of it being at his death in the Shire.  And how would he come by wood from a mallorn?

I hope that the ent draught helps Aragorn's wound to heal!

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Larner - 04 Feb 11 - 8:11 PM

Ch. 36: Sons of The House of Hurin

A terrible thing to have seen, to be certain; and how it will impact the possible rescue of Frodo and Sam in the end we cannot yet say.

I rejoice that at this late date the memory of his lost love makes itself felt, and Denethor himself has managed what Gandalf did in the original.  Hooray!  Love that!  Now, as to what wil happen next....

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Aiwendiel - 05 Feb 11 - 6:45 AM

Ch. 36: Sons of The House of Hurin

Thanks Larner-- you always manage to see the specific detail that might  alter the future most profoundly. Yes, this awful fate for Gandalf could indeed interfere with the rescue at Mt. Doom. But essentially, this AU asks, what if Gandalf the White never came to be...and how might the Fellowship (and others) fill in the roles he played? Case in point: Denethor to the rescue! And I promise, others will appear as the need arises, in all sorts of crises...

Aiwendiel

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ratcreature - 03 Feb 11 - 6:14 AM

Ch. 37: The Battle of Minas Morgul

I've been enjoying this story a lot so far. Poor Gandalf, now imprisoned. Though I suppose if he 'dies' before Sauron's fall, he might just considered still needed and come back as in canon, and then maybe have a chance to help Elladan along to pull a Glorfindel like feat... (well I can hope, you broke my heart with that one)

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Aiwendiel - 05 Feb 11 - 6:34 AM

Ch. 37: The Battle of Minas Morgul

Thanks, ratcreature, what inspired ideas for the next steps in the story! I can't (okay, won't) say whether they are accurate, but glad to have piqued your interest enough to get your imagination going. Apologies for breaking your heart...and speaking of Glorfindel, stay tuned... A

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Larner - 05 Feb 11 - 11:38 PM

Ch. 37: The Battle of Minas Morgul

Certainly as great a feat, if not greater, than the slaying of the Balrog!    I grieve for the sacrifice made, and pray that Frodo and Sam have not made it a vain one!  And it has been witnessed equally by Aragorn, Denethor, and Sauron himself--one to honor, one to be redeemed, and one to further damn himself.  Most moving, and I'm looking forward to whatever it is that Glorfindel manages to pull out of his hat!

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Larner - 06 Feb 11 - 11:09 AM

Ch. 38: Bearing Witness

Each of them indeed is bearing witness this day--to sacrifice and loss, death and life, and most important, the defiance of the dark best needed to bring Sauron down.  I rejoice that Finduilas stands this day beside her husband and counsels him well, and that Pippin was there to see Faeron's need, and that Meneldil recognizes that Pippin, too, needs respite if he is to continue to serve well as he is doing now.

And Frodo does understand--far, far too well, that he is not likely to surive this physically.  I hope that Sauron finds he holds merely an empty shell, though.

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MrsBoromir - 19 Feb 11 - 3:47 AM

Ch. 39: Facing The Darkness

Absolutely brilliantly done! Love the characterization of Denethor... I always thought that he was treated very unfairly in the movies... he is probably the most tragic character in the books with the least gratitude for what he has done to protect his country...I see it as that he does not hate his younger son, but in him he just sees a shadow of what he could have been had he not found the palantir. I absolutely love the part where Faramir and Denethor hold each other and when he confesses about the use of the Palantir to his sons....

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Larner - 29 Aug 11 - 6:09 AM

Ch. 39: Facing The Darkness

It is wonderful to see Denethor redeemed as he is here, and the rift between himself and his younger son healing.

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ratcreature - 25 Feb 11 - 9:01 PM

Ch. 40: Besieged

Aah, what a cruel cliffhanger. And this after I felt so badly for poor Pippin throughout this chapter. *bites nails*

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ziggy - 26 Feb 11 - 12:14 AM

Ch. 40: Besieged

So much to commne ton in this chapter - the OCs are particualry good I think and I loved the reasons given for athelas to smell differently for each person - that level of detail is what gives this such credibility - and of course the healers tehmselves would detect the true notes of the herbs. And the way you picked up on that later with Faramir thinknig it smelled of the chair of the stewards - superb detail that tells more about his feelings than pages of exposé.

Then the Nazgul- wonderful! In spite of his pompousness and ambition, he is stil lfull of menace and foreboding, and htat thought of Gandalf is perfectly times to remind us what else is going on- and again, one of the great things about your writing is the reminders that there is more than just THIS going on. Brilliant battle scene- one of the best and the ending!  I never saw that coming!

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Aiwendiel - 26 Feb 11 - 5:18 AM

Ch. 40: Besieged

Thanks, Ratcreature! Your comment has given me a new nom de plume idea: CliffHangerz-R-Us... Wink More of them coming, I am afraid!

A

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Aiwendiel - 26 Feb 11 - 5:25 AM

Ch. 40: Besieged

Ah, dear Ziggy you are reading as fast as I can write... so glad the story continues to entertain. Thanks for your very prompt, kind and observant comments as usual.Read somewhere that violence(ie combat) is often best described indirectly. BIgger challenges ahead if I stick with that idea...

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MrsBoromir - 26 Feb 11 - 5:38 PM

Ch. 40: Besieged

Wow! U had me at the edge of my seat the entire time i was reading this chapter especially the end! excellently done...i loved the character development of the nazgul.. It has already been said but i also think ur attention to detail is fantastic....though i do admit to being curiously confused as to why the concotion smelt like Ithilien to Boromir...I understand that it would remind Faramir of the Stewards chair given his recent interaction with his father!

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Iva1201 - 12 Apr 11 - 8:52 AM

Ch. 40: Besieged

Finally, I have had the chance to read your new update – great writing, as always, and very enjoyable as well despite the end – I wouldn't want be in Boromir's place! Thank you!

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Larner - 31 Aug 11 - 5:28 AM

Ch. 40: Besieged

So, Pippin has weakened the Nazgul to the next thrust by whatever one who is not a Man who might come across him; he's saved Boromir, but at the expense of himself, although as a Hobbit he's more resistant than would be a man.

Bless them all!

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thelauderdale - 04 May 11 - 9:10 PM

Ch. 41: The Red Arrow

[warily] Okay Eomer, you just spent the past 10133 words acting like the world's biggest turkey and have been publicly disgraced and stripped of your rank and title.  What exactly do you have to be smiling about?

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Larner - 31 Aug 11 - 6:10 AM

Ch. 41: The Red Arrow

The family dynamics are truly altered with these changes.  At least she goes as she must, and openly with Merry.  Now, to see how they meet their destiny.

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Lindariel - 11 Apr 11 - 1:20 PM

Ch. 42: Foresight and Farsight

Aiwendiel -- this is just -- ACH! -- this is just incredible!  Elrohir bearing the terrible loss of his brother and NOW to have received a vision of Celeborn's demise!  Aragorn's continuing agony as he presses forward despite his infected wound and the painful revelation of Gandalf's sacrifice.  Poor Gimli struggling with his fear and his injury AND his sense that Aragorn now turns more to his kin than to his Fellowship brothers.  Just marvelous characterizations.  Can't WAIT for more!

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maeglin - 13 Apr 11 - 4:58 PM

Ch. 42: Foresight and Farsight

Yikes!  Now the person who you'd imagine would be most likely to survive through anything is gone.  Probably the only one I'd be more surprised to see killed is the giver of the horn.  Neat twist!

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Aiwendiel - 13 Apr 11 - 8:40 PM

Ch. 42: Foresight and Farsight

Hi Maeglin -- all I can say in reply to your comment is ... mmm mmm, hmm mm mmm hmmm mm, and mmm hmm hmm! Hope I can continue to provide surprises and twists in the chapters yet to come! A

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MrsBoromir - 17 Apr 11 - 3:54 AM

Ch. 42: Foresight and Farsight

Beautiful characters! man you have a talent for twists and turns... i have given up trying to figure out whats happeneing next...just waiting for ur next chapter! Great work!

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ziggy - 19 Apr 11 - 2:20 PM

Ch. 42: Foresight and Farsight

This is a fabulous chapter, Aiwendiel. Epic and personal at the same time- Elrohir struggling alone with his loss and his foresight, Gimli feeling abandoned by Aragorn for his 'new' friends who are in fact, his oldest companions. And every word placed and crafted perfectly.

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Aiwendiel - 19 Apr 11 - 4:04 PM

Ch. 42: Foresight and Farsight

Thanks to all who are still with me-- I know it is agonizingly slow! Next chapter on the cusp of publication... I hope to continue in the trend of twists and turns and well placed words. All the wonderful comments are very much appreciated and encouraging! A

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thelauderdale - 05 May 11 - 8:14 PM

Ch. 42: Foresight and Farsight

A comment, not about Eomer (shocking, I know) but about Elrohir.  I just feel so bad for him.  First Elladan, and now his grandfather - and he can't tell anyone about it!  It just makes me feel so particularly awful for him at the moment...and, I think, I am experiencing some delayed reactions to Boromir and Denethor as well.

You really are no holds barred, Aiwendiel.

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Aiwendiel - 06 May 11 - 5:40 AM

Ch. 42: Foresight and Farsight

Thanks for the attentive reading and juicy comments -- much appreciated! And re: "no holds barred"... all I can say is, hang on tight, my Muse has much unexpected in store for all (characters and readers, that is,) Aiwendiel

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Larner - 31 Aug 11 - 6:37 AM

Ch. 42: Foresight and Farsight

Too much grief for Elrohir, and I wonder when he will finally allow himself to collapse with it. 

None is whole now, it appears, save Eowyn.  Now to see the last of this ride through.

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ziggy - 01 May 11 - 2:20 AM

Ch. 43: Not By The Hand Of Man

Another fab chapter- I love the way you weave canon and AU together. The bit with Eowyn and Eomer is wonderful and it seems there is a tally of losses and gains- we lose Eomer and keep Halbarad, for example- it all weighs in the balance. Fabulous writing.

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Lindariel - 02 May 11 - 2:15 PM

Ch. 43: Not By The Hand Of Man

Aiwendiel, once again, this is incredible!  What a stunning reimaging of the Battle of the Pelennor Fields!  I can't WAIT to read more!

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thelauderdale - 05 May 11 - 9:07 PM

Ch. 43: Not By The Hand Of Man

Wonderful chapter!  Two highlights, for me: Merry's (unfulfilled) impulse to wave to the Haradrim warrior, and the Witch King's end.  Unexpected, and exquisite - a welcome moment of humor in a very grim account.

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Larner - 31 Aug 11 - 6:30 PM

Ch. 43: Not By The Hand Of Man

I enjoyed this one very much.  Are we two or three wraiths down at this point?  I fear I've lost count!  And love that the oliphaunts themselves know the deed accomplished by one of their kind!  Excellent!

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Lindariel - 09 May 11 - 11:35 AM

Ch. 44: The Nature Of Healing

Aiwendiel, once again I must thank you for doing such beautiful justice to the oft-maligned Denethor.  This is truly beautiful:

"Here lay the man who had been his chief adversary in Gondor when he was Thorongil—the man who had the most to lose at his return and most cause to deny him his claim. In truth, he had long dreaded this reunion—and now, it would never be. So many years wasted in useless rivalry, in pride and subterfuge… Between these two, the greatest leaders of men of their age, so many barriers had risen, so much had been unspoken. The handiwork of Sauron at his worst—setting friend against friend… In more ways than could be numbered they were as alike as brothers—the brother neither had, in life. Had things been different, Aragorn thought, he and I might have been fast friends...

He studied Denethor's face. Decades had fallen from him; his features were those of a much younger man, though his hair and beard were grey. Gone were the deeply engraved lines of bitterness and harsh restraint. The weighty burden of a constant battle against insurmountable odds with an undefeatable foe had finally been laid down. A slight smile lifted one corner of Aragorn's mouth. He is truly at peace… Captain Thorongil had been one of hundreds of guests at the wedding of Denethor and Finduilas. He looks as he did, that day… He is happy again, at last… Gravely, the man who would supplant him stood tall before the last Ruling Steward of Gondor, and saluted in the manner of the soldiers of that realm."

A much more fitting end for the last Ruling Steward of Gondor and so wonderful to know that he left this life in peace and in anticipation of being reunited with his beloved wife Finduilas.

Thank you, thank you! -- Lindariel

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Larner - 02 Sep 11 - 10:46 AM

Ch. 44: The Nature Of Healing

This look is a good deal more fatalistic than the original, but love that Aragorn and Elrohir both do what they must.  I grieve for Elrohir's losses, and appreciate his prayers for home.  I am glad that Denethor's death is more positive than in the original, however.  And I hope that Theodred will be as fast a friend with Aragorn as Eomer proved.

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TariElfLady - 20 Aug 14 - 12:23 PM

Ch. 44: The Nature Of Healing

While I dearly love this story, I am deeply saddened that Eomer and Elladan died.

Who will rule Rohan now if Faramir is to be the prince of Ithilien?

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thelauderdale - 28 May 11 - 8:26 PM

Ch. 45: The Meaning Of Hope

That Aragorn visited Faeron is expected, though no less touching - but equally touching was Mablung's theft, a gentle gift to Faramir, and Halbarad's needlework as he took up where Arwen left off on Aragorn's banner.  Humble but wonderful acts of fealty and love.

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Larner - 05 Sep 11 - 12:19 AM

Ch. 45: The Meaning Of Hope

I rejoice that Pippin goes with them after all, and that Halbarad will see the last stitches finished on the banner.  But so much unfamiliar grief is there in this.  I do rejoice that Faeron was able to see the King Returned before he died, and that he rejoices to know his son lives.  And I do rejoice that Denethor acquitted himself so well in this version!

Now--to see how the final battles go.

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ziggy - 28 May 11 - 1:18 AM

Ch. 46: The Fence Of Mordor

Absolutely brilliant writing. I am just caught up in this - the image of Gandalf in the cage is so clear in my mind. And you just have this AU totally beleivable.

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thelauderdale - 28 May 11 - 10:02 PM

Ch. 46: The Fence Of Mordor

Goodness, it's..."those two" again!  And after so many chapters...

I know the tendency, when discussing this story, is to speak of how it differs from Tolkien's original tale, but you share his maddening gift for getting the reader all bound up in one group of characters, then leaving them in some unbearable position while you switch to another group, and then once we are all caught up with the second group, swinging back to the first lot again.

I huff indignantly. [goes back to reading]

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Larner - 05 Sep 11 - 12:59 AM

Ch. 46: The Fence Of Mordor

A most terrible sight; but the determination of the Hobbits to make the sacrifice worthwhile is heartlifting.  Now--to find the Master down below on the scree!

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ziggy - 28 May 11 - 1:20 AM

Ch. 47: What Strength Remains

This is fabulously written. Sam's voice is so strong as a character and the use of the ring to give him hope, entirely and absolutely right. You changed the tone and the imagery at that point to reinforce the idea and it is perfect. So the bit of rope comes into its own! Wonderful writng, I am enjoying htis so much. Thank you!

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thelauderdale - 28 May 11 - 10:17 PM

Ch. 47: What Strength Remains

Just quoting this particular passage, because I think it is simple, beautiful, and simply beautiful:

Despite how this land is ruined, beneath it all, these are still stones, and this is still air. ... Above those thick clouds the Sun and Stars are still shining, and somewhere there's water… He can't really destroy it, underneath...Them that made all this... Why, they're still here, and all I need to do is ask for their help.

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Larner - 05 Sep 11 - 1:12 AM

Ch. 47: What Strength Remains

Just as Sauron can't touch and sully what is above in the skies, he can't completely destroy what is here, either.  Definitely the hope needed by two Hobbits caught in the wastes of the Ephel Duath!  And love the glimpse of one of Shelob's children scuttling away, and the use of Sting to free Frodo from it's bindings.

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ziggy - 28 May 11 - 1:37 AM

Ch. 48: Of Webs And Water

Marvellous images- these mountains and their dangers seem utterly real,, and I found myself totally absorbed in the struggle -love the references back to The Hobbit. That moment the rain came I could smell it, and then feel it- you tapped (sorry) into those moments in the novel where Frodo cant remember rain, and this is a lovely way to rescue them at the point where it all seemed so hopeless.  

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Larner - 05 Sep 11 - 1:40 AM

Ch. 48: Of Webs And Water

Glad to see Ulmo and Manwe cooperating to come to their rescue.  Shelob's children are as nasty as their mother, obviously.  Hope neither has taken lasting harm--at least Sam has Narya to help allay the nasty sting he took in Frodo's place.  And the rain is welcome for many reasons right now!

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Lindariel - 09 Jun 11 - 9:52 AM

Ch. 49: The Choices of Master Baggins

Dearest Aiwendiel,

What an amazing chapter!  I have always felt that The Professor did an extraordinary job of conveying the depth of pain and misery and horrible suffering -- both physical and mental -- that dear Frodo and Sam endured during their nightmarish journey through Mordor.  With this chapter, you are most certainly following in his footsteps.  It is very interesting to see Frodo and Sam changing places in this AU, with Frodo facing agonizing choices during Sam's illness.  Very anxious to see where you take us from here!

Best regards, Lindariel

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Aiwendiel - 09 Jun 11 - 10:16 AM

Ch. 49: The Choices of Master Baggins

My deepest appreciation for your kind comments, Lindariel. Thanks for noticing the role reversal -- one of my sub-themes of this entire work. Readers like you are inspiring... A

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ziggy - 11 Jun 11 - 12:22 AM

Ch. 49: The Choices of Master Baggins

Another fantastic chapter, Aiwendiel. This is richly written and in fabulous detail. The story twines around canon, touching it in places and leaving it in others - I liked the way you reminded us where we are in terms of the timeline and I think the lightness that Frodo feels with the Witchking gone is a stroke of brilliance.

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Aiwendiel - 11 Jun 11 - 5:41 AM

Ch. 49: The Choices of Master Baggins

Hi zig -- (sighs contentedly) -- so nice to wake up (different time zone) to such lovely comments. Though I stole the Ding-dong-the-Witch-King-is-dead right from the Professor... reversing roles, again, as (recalling, without my copy in hand) it was Sam who felt something had changed for the better. As for the timeline hints, that was one of the details that drove me nuts about the original--I kept having to refer to the effing appendix to figure out when we were in the story in relationship to the rest! Hope it doesn't interrupt the flow too blatantly.... thank you!

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Larner - 05 Sep 11 - 2:43 AM

Ch. 49: The Choices of Master Baggins

A terrible choice, but a necessary one; and I hope he has indeed freed Sam of the worst of the infections.  And a good decision regarding It as well!  Now, to rest and waken to journey on!

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ziggy - 11 Jun 11 - 12:29 AM

Ch. 50: Into The Darkness

You see that's what I mean. The fact that Sam DOES eat a whole lembas, and it is the same as canon in the things that Frodo sees- I love that detail

The dream is anothe rmasterstoke (sorry- my comments are getting boringly repetitive!) And just as I started wondering where we arein time, you told me, and then just as I started wondering how this is going to end without Golum, you throw me a line. And that rope is damned useful! I have a sneaky feeling it's going to be needed again before the end!

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Aiwendiel - 11 Jun 11 - 5:48 AM

Ch. 50: Into The Darkness

Dear ziggy, Feel free to be repetitive, fine with me when the comments are so complementary! Throw you a line, eh? Well, that pivotal scene (the one without Gollum)  hasn't actually been written yet (though imagined) and you just gave me another idea... Thanks!

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Larner - 05 Sep 11 - 5:34 AM

Ch. 50: Into The Darkness

They've made it thus far, and have just about the same rations as they had in canon.  And the Ring is doing Its best to draw Frodo away from his needed help.  Now, to see how they handle the way.  And I rejoice that Gandalf could still laugh!

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Larner - 05 Sep 11 - 7:36 PM

Ch. 51: Fates Convergent

If only the Balrog had been dealt with before!  Now all grieve due to it!

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ziggy - 07 Aug 11 - 5:19 AM

Ch. 52: Secrets In The Dark

I found this chaper immensley moving, Aiwendiel. The movement from the cold and calcuating torturer to the awakening of that memory and the kindness, the old fire in Sharkglub's spirit is a journey of tremendous imagination and vision. It could stand alone as a piece of fiction, worthy of any award. The control is in the intense focus on Sharkglub's pov and the gradual fear and shame and resentment. Just wonderful. And Gandalf's wonderful resistance and the reason he is able to resist makes such sense. You built up the sense of increasing desparation in the enemy too - and the contempt Shakglub has is enteriley in keeping with the truth about him (trying hard NOT to give spoilers). Just fabulous.

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Larner - 06 Sep 11 - 3:04 AM

Ch. 52: Secrets In The Dark

Hmm.  It appears that someone is awakening, and now not unwillingly.  I'm glad Gandalf was allowed this distraction--now to see the Elf awaken once more!

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TariElfLady - 15 Oct 14 - 10:59 AM

Ch. 52: Secrets In The Dark

This is the first time I have ever read of an Orc being almost human.  I love the way you show his memories returning.  Perhaps there is hope for him yet.  (I'm still upset about Eomer dying.  Who will rule Rohan now?)

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Glîrnardir - 06 Aug 11 - 2:58 PM

Ch. 53: Dagor An-Harthiad, Ben-Harthiad

A simply breathtaking chapter!

The conversation with the Mouth of Sauron is something excellent - as you say in the note, it was lifted nearly verbatim from the original in respect of Tolkien, but what I like of your stories is that, although you try to emulate the Professor under several aspects, you always succeed to insert something of your own, making the story more emotional, more close, more alive! Tolkien gave us Middle-earth, but you narrate it realistically and with clearness. The heroes we all know are not so strong and pure as Tolkien pictures them, as seen by the many doubts and inner thoughts you make them do, all this without decreasing their heroism! That is GREAT of you.

I totally love the character of Shârkglub, with his Orcish nobility and bravery. I had a twinge of emotion when I saw him defending the cart with Gandalf. I do hope he will be wholly healed, but alas, maybe that's not possible.

And poor Pippin, too! He survived that troll in the original; let's hope he succeeds also here!

More chapters, more chapters!

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ziggy - 07 Aug 11 - 5:31 AM

Ch. 53: Dagor An-Harthiad, Ben-Harthiad

Ah! You can't leave it here!!!

After all the intensity of the last chapter, this gets us outside into the action. You have used the orginal superbly, weaving your own plotline and  words into it so it feels liek reading the orginal. I love Pippin and his pov- it feels very natural and his perception of Aragorn is wonderful. Elrohir's pov is thought-provoking and sadly observant, so it provides a nice contrast with Pippins.

Hurray for Sharkglub! He deserves his own fic now- you know you want to!

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Larner - 06 Sep 11 - 3:25 AM

Ch. 53: Dagor An-Harthiad, Ben-Harthiad

Still felled by a troll!  Hopefully not squashed flat, though!

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Lindariel - 13 Aug 11 - 11:42 AM

Ch. 54: The Ring-Bearer and His Servant

Ach!  Aiwendiel, you are quite literally ripping out my heart!  I LOVE that you have Narya somehow giving Frodo the strength to at least decide to throw himself into the Fire with the Ring, rather than claim it for himself.  But to have Sam think of Beren and for the two of them to actually have the courage and fortitude between them to sacrifice Frodo's HAND!  Oh. My. GOD!  The horrible loses are certainly piling up in this AU!  Yes, we have kept Boromir, Theodred, and Halbarad, and Gandalf did not fall to the Balrog.  But, the other losses are in many ways even MORE heartbreaking -- Elladan, Celeborn, Eomer, and, if I read between the lines correctly, I think you are also implying that Elrond has perished in the Balrog's assault upon Imladris.  Arwen is wounded, and we have to wonder if Aragorn will ever be the same given his terrible wound.  What an amazing and terribly brilliant vision you have created -- all from a bit of rope!  So anxious for the conclusion of this remarkable tale!  Regards, Lindariel

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Larner - 06 Sep 11 - 3:38 AM

Ch. 54: The Ring-Bearer and His Servant

Now, that I hadn't thought of!  Narya helps the both of them in the end; but will Sam come out again?  The mountain already does its best to see Frodo thrown down, hopefully out of the way! 

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Glîrnardir - 23 Aug 11 - 1:38 AM

Ch. 55: At The Black Gate

This chapter is so sad and gruesome... All of the characters have been traumatized by this dreadful experience, even more than in LotR. I am almost there with them, as they walk through the debris and the undistinguishable masses of flesh that were once the bodies of their comrades

So many losses... Poor Imrahil and Elphir... I truly hope that Erchirion will be well, and that he will be a worthy Prince of fair Dol Amroth. I don't know him very much, but I suspect he will be.

Poor Théodred. Lost in the blink of an eye. I didn't expect that. And when Théoden will die, who shall take his throne? I can already make previsions, and they are very good... is the first letter a B? :)

Poor Sharkglub. I had come to love his character, and I truly hoped he would have been thoroughly healed in the end (although I expressed my doubts on this point). Indeed, Gimli, he deserves much more than the common pyre.

Poor Sam. He didn't deserve such a terrible end. He was ever a loyal servent, a trusty companion and a truehearted friend. Frodo will never be whole without him, after all they have passed through together.

Poor Aragorn. Knowing of the passing of his foster-father must have been terrible for him, if possible the most terrible thing he has experienced in his entire life. Everything he became, everything he is, his very life are owed to Elrond. At least Arwen still lives. But I can't see a roseate future for him as King. I see him weary, weakened by his wound and by the ill news that he has to bear.

And poor, poor, poor Gandalf! Blinded, mutilated, ruined! I don't need to say anything more about him. What you wrote was enough for me.

And by the way, thanks for putting the Ravens in this story, as I suggested, and thanks for the gratitude! Maybe this won't be my last advice, because I feel very committed with this story, and I feel the end is not so near...

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ziggy - 23 Aug 11 - 2:23 AM

Ch. 55: At The Black Gate

Ah. No. You didn't....

Wonderfully written and devastating in its entire sense. Love Legolas' description of flight and his dream...and the terrible state Gandalf is in is utterly convincing and real.

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Larner - 06 Sep 11 - 3:53 AM

Ch. 55: At The Black Gate

I rejoice that the Ravens helped show the way.  But only the one?  Alas for Sam!  Frodo will never be quite the same, I fear, even worse than before, perhaps.  But Sam did what was necessary.

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ziggy - 27 Aug 11 - 1:34 AM

Ch. 56: The Brown Wizard And The Grey

Ah. I sit here with tears streaming down my face .For the beauty of his departure as much as the sadness- I have not cried like this since the first time I read LOTR and Gandalf fell in Moria and I believed him dead. This MASTERPIECE of yours that links and rolls back on itself and has the great themes that Tolkien used himself, is overwhelming. Not a word or phrase out of place, not a single theme or idea is lost and Radagast is immense.

I think the relationship between Gandalf and RAdagast is one of the many triumphs of this chapter and his inner voice that sees animals and birds and compares them with the Speaking children is beautifully done.

I had still hoped that Sam would somehow be preserved by having the Ring but I know that would not be authentic now...the aftermath of war is very very real in this, far more so actually than Tolkien allowed but I suppose he was living through it and they needed happy endings.

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Glîrnardir - 27 Aug 11 - 4:10 PM

Ch. 56: The Brown Wizard And The Grey

I quote Ziggy - utterly. He couldn't explain better what I feel about this passage and this entire masterpiece of yours -- so sad, yet so beautiful. I love how you depict that the great victory accomplished at the Black Gate is almost forgotten before the terrible losses suffered by each and every of them. Terrible, terrible losses... The balance of your life-taking of which so many spoke is utterly altered - Elladan, Eomer, Celeborn, Imrhail, Celeborn, Elrond, Galadriel, Glorfindel, and above all Sam and Gandalf. And yet I still hope for a happy ending. How did it go? "We shall fight for hope - not for our hope, for we have none. Here we stand for the very concept of Hope." Something like that, wasn't it?

Despite the sadness of this story, I don't want it to end soon. There are still so many things unsaid, so many concept yet to be explored - so I don't care about the length.  Continue. Carry on this huge undertaking.

Give us more sadness, if that's what you have for us. Otherwise, give us Hope...

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Larner - 06 Sep 11 - 4:11 AM

Ch. 56: The Brown Wizard And The Grey

Trust Saruman to keep such fungi about to inflict on those he chose to see as his enemies.  And perhaps there will be no need for the more drastic situation.

Alas that Frodo will not see Bilbo again, either.  At least King and Queen will be together, even if both are scarred.

And to tell the truth, I rejoice that in the original all this loss didn't happen.

Love the freeing of Olorin from the ruins of Gandalf's body!  How wonderful!

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Larner - 30 May 12 - 2:08 PM

Ch. 56: The Brown Wizard And The Grey

Catching up at last.  I rejoice that Gandalf was able to help ease Frodo through his terrible grief ere he went.  And I imagine that both Gandalf and Frodo would prefer to leave this life under the stars!

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Aiwendiel - 30 May 12 - 3:16 PM

Ch. 56: The Brown Wizard And The Grey

Ooh, so glad to see you appear as a reader again, Larner! Missed you and your comments. Ah, yes, that starry ending... when you finally finish this behemoth, I refer you to my ruminations in the appendices about that particular scene, which was essentially written hundreds of pages before anything else! Thanks again, and hope you keep enjoying the tale.

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ziggy - 24 Sep 11 - 5:36 AM

Ch. 57: Lost

I think they had better go and find that scarf...hoping beyond hope here. 

This is such a professional piece of writing- it's like reading the real thing. You keep making me cry, Aiwendiel. You get Pippin's 'voice' absolutely right and there is that layer of grief behind Elrohir andall his actions that is compelling and convincing and makes me think he moves more heavily because of it. The list of names of the fallen shocked me because I had forgotten the devastation you have wrought!!! And now I need to go back and read it all over again. Such a work this is -so skillfully written and although AU, utterly in keeping with canon.

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Aiwendiel - 24 Sep 11 - 6:50 AM

Ch. 57: Lost

Dear ziggy, thanks so much -- your words are keeping me going. I can see the end, haven't quite gotten there yet. As for that scarf... You ought to know me well enough as a writer  by now to realize that the scarf is where ruthless pragmatism took it. (Not that I wasn't tempted... But when I see any hint of romantic melodrama in my work, I beat it back with a stick...You little devil!)

I hope you and other readers find the next chapter to be at least a little more uplifting!

Aiwendiel

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ziggy - 28 Sep 11 - 1:26 PM

Ch. 57: Lost

Ah- I know you are right about the scarf... but as a hopeless romantic, I was really, really hoping!

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Larner - 30 May 12 - 9:59 PM

Ch. 57: Lost

They lost the scarf?  No wonder Frodo is upset!  And so very many gone, due to one small change....

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ziggy - 28 Sep 11 - 1:33 PM

Ch. 58: Found

I love this chapter - as you say, much more uplifting but the contrast between Elrohir (I love Elrohir in this- so lovely and in love) and Frodo is painful and beautifully written. I like the acknowledgent Aragorn makes of his injury, and Arwen- I like the fact that the war HAS cost them - it is much more realistic than the original in this respect. And I think the lightness of that last passage is wonderful - but Elrohir mortal! Never to see Elladan or his parents again- that is terribly sad, but also rather lovely as he stays with Aragorn and Awen and that makes so much sense actually. I wanted a bit more of his developing relationship but the bit you did write was superb. Sorry- this is a dull review because I just enjoyed it so much! I really think more of Legolas  in th next chapter will just round this off perfectlyWink and Thranduil- loved the fact that he had become Arwen's champion! 

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Larner - 30 May 12 - 11:49 PM

Ch. 58: Found

Healing comes to all except Frodo--that, unfortunately, has not changed.  Although perhaps, once he is back in the Shire, he might find comforting a certain farmer's daughter brings him comfort as well.

I'm glad he's rewriting Bilbo's adventures, although I fear it will be nowhere as light-hearted as Bilbo's own description proved.  And I rejoice that Merry, Elrohir, and Boromir are all finding love in their lives.

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ziggy - 07 Oct 11 - 2:03 PM

Ch. 59: Unexpected Visitors

Oh- as I read the last line i realised who Iaurel is! I love you for that!!(If I am right though and I am sure I am. It's the strangeness of him, and the absolute protectiveness, suggesting eh doesnt know what humour is in this regard. I love you for that xx)

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Aiwendiel - 08 Oct 11 - 7:08 AM

Ch. 59: Unexpected Visitors

Ah, zig, faithful reader! I think you are right -- you know! And that means you've also guessed the friend waiting... but I hope to continue to surprise, nonetheless... I plan to continue my usual tactic of using the Professor's template, twisting it around and injecting a bit more realism, while hopefully preserving some magic... And I have to ponder one or two 'threads' I have lost hold of and figure out how to bring them back in as this long tale concludes. Thanks for your thoughtful comments, and for being able to notice the differnce between an upper case "I" and a lower case "L" -- frustrates the hell out of me...

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Larner - 31 May 12 - 6:50 AM

Ch. 59: Unexpected Visitors

Quite the twist.  A former orc who had originally been an Elf stolen from the earliest to waken by the Waters of Beginning, perhaps?

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ziggy - 09 Nov 11 - 1:35 PM

Ch. 60: A Storm on the Barrow-Downs

Well, since I guessed Iaurel's identity, it was easy to work out who the 'friend' is and oh, how you have not disappointed! I think these two chapters are the closest to Tolkien, both in content an dstyle, that could be possible. Farmer Maggot is a joy. His gruff kindness and seemingly unaccountable wisdom is marvellous, almost magical, and his friendship with Tom very plausible. But I think you have triumphed in every way with Iaurel and the 'friend'. Iaurel is beautifully naive and protective. I love you so much for writing him!Heart

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ziggy - 09 Nov 11 - 1:43 PM

Ch. 60: A Storm on the Barrow-Downs

I love this chapter- had tears in my eyes at this wonderful resolution- or beginnig of. Frodo still has a few things to do, like tell Rosie and Pallo etc what happened, and restore their pride and soothe their love. I think you have written Gandalf superbly here - the crotchetyness, the riddles and abruptness, but tempered too by that affection for MiddLe Earth, Halbarad, Iaurel (have I told you yet how much I love you for Iaurel?) The  cloak, staff etc too is interesting and there are resonances in it that I cant quite reach and that gives all of this a lovely haunting feel, just beyond reach. Quite, quite lovely.

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Larner - 31 May 12 - 7:24 AM

Ch. 60: A Storm on the Barrow-Downs

I was wondering of Olorin would take on his terrestrial shape once again, now that he and Iaurel were finished sending the evil of the Barrow-downs packing!  It's about bloody time!  No need to hold on to THAT grief now!

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Larner - 31 May 12 - 7:40 AM

Ch. 61: Refiner's Fire

The mithril of Olorin's nature is certainly showing now!  Wonderful!

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Aiwendiel - 01 Jun 12 - 3:02 PM

Ch. 61: Refiner's Fire

Dear Larner, thanks for noting and commenting on this particular detail. With Saruman long out of the picture I felt that silver a much more appropriate transformed state for such a shining spirit. 

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Revox - 03 Dec 11 - 1:22 PM

Ch. 62: A Question of Friendship

OMG - please don't leave us hanging here - I know you won't, just - this is really wonderful, Aiwendiel.

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maeglin - 03 Dec 11 - 5:46 PM

Ch. 62: A Question of Friendship

"The Farmer seemed about to ask the tall Elf to swear to keep his secrets too, then appeared to think better of it." - Haha!  What a line! 

It took me until this chapter to figure out who Iaurel was.  Interesting to see that the Valar are still up to their old tricks.  They tend to backfire rather regularly...

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ziggy - 11 Dec 11 - 2:12 AM

Ch. 62: A Question of Friendship

Two chapters to catch up- brilliant. I think you have absolutely 'got' Tolkien's tone in this chapter. Iarual is very Silm and Frodo very hobbity even though he is so wounded. But in this we see Frodo's recovery deepen and be challenged too when he heards what Iaurel has to tell him. You have drawn Iaurel so fabulously well- this is alomost a sequel to Rope actually; it has a sort of magical quality that referes back to The Hobbit and is not in LOTR -I feel LOTR loses the magic for its epic proportions in many ways but you have got that back.

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Larner - 31 May 12 - 1:41 PM

Ch. 62: A Question of Friendship

Well, we readers already have met him, and have seen him at his work, and I'd guessed at his identity.  But such horror to have to recount and hear it told for the first time since!  And of course Gandalf would befriend him....

Well done!

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TariElfLady - 17 Dec 14 - 10:42 AM

Ch. 62: A Question of Friendship

I feel so bad for Iaurel.  He needs to let go of all the pain.  In the end I do hope Frodo decides to be his friend.

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ziggy - 11 Dec 11 - 12:51 PM

Ch. 63: Unquenchable Hope

Those stunnig references to hope and pity shine through in this chapter- and that IS the message I think. That Frodo recognises Iaurel's absolute courage in withstadning the dreadful nature of his breaking, but it never reaches the deepest part of him and I love that bit where he sees Sam's face- well you made me cry I have to say- that moment was utterly utterly superbly written- delicate and intensely sad.

I love the Wenceslas reference -it worked so beautifully, and I have this enduring image of Gandalf not Gandalf, with a deep blue cloak billowing and striding acorss these rolling green hills- very much an illurtation for me- and seeing Iarel with his head bowed and in darkness in every way.  Absolutely beautifuly written and so deserving of far, far more comments. I hope a lot of folk are reading this- if not, they are the ones missing out here.

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Revox - 22 Dec 11 - 4:16 PM

Ch. 63: Unquenchable Hope

This just keeps getting more and more beautiful.

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Aiwendiel - 22 Dec 11 - 5:15 PM

Ch. 63: Unquenchable Hope

Revox -- thanks so much for commenting, I don't recall seeing your name among the various reviewers of this long tale before. Writers always greatly appreciate comments, and it is a treat to have caught a new readers eye and that you've found this chapter beautiful -- no credit here, just extrapolating from Frodo's essential character as presented by the Professor...and so I hope it will continue as the tale winds to its conclusion (soon.) Happy Solstice and welcome to the return of the Sun!

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Larner - 31 May 12 - 2:01 PM

Ch. 63: Unquenchable Hope

Frodo was not called "Iorhael" lightly or in vain, after all.  He had the heart to understand, in the end.  Blessed are all three.

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ziggy - 19 Dec 11 - 1:02 AM

Ch. 64: To Take The Hidden Path

so the road goes ever on and on... and I cannot tell which way this will go. But the enormous skill of your story telling takes me right back to Tolkien again, the sense of otherness right on our doorstep and if we just stray a little off the beateb track I feel I could find Tom's house.  The style is absolutely right, away from the great epic style of earlier chapters and back to the more story-telling style when we are in the Shire, or on its borders. Nice early Christmas present but I am hoping for another before the New Year. It feels like its winding to a close and there's one more as you say.

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Aiwendiel - 19 Dec 11 - 6:27 AM

Ch. 64: To Take The Hidden Path

Ziggy, thanks for your steadfast attention and comments. Yes, the story is much quieter now, only the interior adventure we all have to live. As to how it will turn out, I think I know, but I've been wrong before when my characters do something unexpected right in front of me. No promises on the next one before the new year... but I will do my best!

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Larner - 31 May 12 - 3:01 PM

Ch. 64: To Take The Hidden Path

It would be good to make his peace within the Shire ere he goes, though.  I rejoice the choice is given him, at least.

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ziggy - 06 Jan 12 - 4:08 PM

Ch. 65: Reunion

So it's ended. I am moved beyond words.

And it is utterly right to have ended this way.

Love to you dear Aiwendiel.

Ziggy

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Aiwendiel - 07 Jan 12 - 1:12 AM

Ch. 65: Reunion

Dear ziggy, I'm honored to have rendered you 'beyond words'! Thank you for being such a faithful reader and leaver of comments. Tis hard to write about so-called ordinary life after chapter upon chapter about the extraordinary... thus my decision to skip 18 years! Seems to have served, as you are pleased. And yes, it is ended at last, about 2 years in the making. I admit to huge relief and a twinge of sadness, wishing I had just a few more chapters in me... I'll miss my versions of the Professor's characters looking over my shoulder as I type. Back to the RW in all its brilliant, extraordinary ordinariness! A

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Revox - 08 Jan 12 - 9:13 PM

Ch. 65: Reunion

::Applause::

A fitting end to an ambitious and very entertaining story.  Thank you!  Job well done.

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Glîrnardir - 27 Jan 12 - 1:51 PM

Ch. 65: Reunion

I've just re-read this wonderful chapter. for the dunno-wath-th time.

Tears flowed - as it's right - but I've noticed a detail that escaped from me: the guard who greets the Periain at the beginning. I like to think that he is a 21-year-old Estelion, the briefly-appearing but symbolicly important Son of Hope.

I don't know how much that is possible, but... I very like to think it that way-

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Aiwendiel - 28 Jan 12 - 1:41 PM

Ch. 65: Reunion

Thanks for your wonderful comments, Glirnardir -- glad it brings you pleasure even in the re-reading! And I completely love your idea about who that young guard might be -- great idea! A

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Larner - 31 May 12 - 4:19 PM

Ch. 65: Reunion

An extraordinary might-have-been, and superbly told indeed.

Life has been filled with ups and downs in the last two years, and I grieve it has taken me so very long to finish this.  I so pray that you find time to continue to write such tales.

I love that Frodo's last mementos are all associated with Gandalf, and that he has charged Gimli and Legolas to befriend a support Iaurel as he will allow them to do.  I love that Pippin at last married Diamond anyway, and that there was an Elanor born, even if it was in Anorien.

In one of my MHBs I have Frodo choosing to remain in Minas Tirith while the others return to the Shire, and in the end much happens as it did in the original, but I found that Elanor was no longer the delicate blond beauty Tolkien gave us, although she was still extraordinary.

Working as I do with those with disabilities, I've seen the devastation caused by so many conditions such as Parkinsons, MS, MD, Alzheimers, and so on.  I can appreciate why Frodo decided that his time had come.  I rejoice that he did try.  He ended up knowing the blessings granted him, at least.

Thank you so for this and for your patience with those who have lagged so behind the writing.

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Aiwendiel - 01 Jun 12 - 3:14 PM

Ch. 65: Reunion

And again Larner, my sincere thanks and humble gratitude for your wonderful comments. It matters not a whit how long it took you to finish this, I appreciate readers such as yourself who take time to comment! 

I am glad that the ending moved you. I hope to have created a blend of sadness and grief, just as happens at the end of any well lived life. And Frodo's, whether the original or my variation, was certainly one of those. 

And I purposefully made nearly every gift to those gathered related somehow to Gandalf; the exceptions being the books, the Star-glass and Arwen's gem. But every member of the Fellowship who received their gift in this scene got a doubly significant memento. Only Pip and Merry's gifts from Frodo were not Gandalf-related, and perhaps were all too practical. But that's a hobbit for you, down to earth and practical to the end. 

Alas for poor Sam. If only I could have found a reasonable way to save him too! It broke my heart to lose him so soon, as of course it did Frodo's (and maybe Gandalf's). But as to your final comment, I indeed have more story ideas inside me, and one in particular that features Sam as the star of the show. And I warn you it is even darker than "Rope"! Problem is, it isn't written yet, and I have a few other things on my plate including some half-done fics already in progress on this site! 

Thanks again for commenting and so very glad you enjoyed this long long tale. 

Aiwendiel

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