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Lie Down in the Darkness, Rise up from the Ash

IVIaedhros - 03 Jan 07 - 10:45 AM

Ch. 42: Accounting for East and West

"I am sorry about Merry. If it helps, I doubt he felt much."

Ah...that quote right there absolutely nailed for me this whole story.  Everything's gone to hell in a handbasket and the best that could be said is that those who are dead, died quickly.  And yet, the context around it implies hope to go on, even if only out of sheer stubbornness.  Anyway...

This chapter, to me, is basically here for the same reason as "Baggage", though I think it works out much better.  Good use of a running internal dialogue to show off Pippin's thoughts as he tries to make his decision of which way to go.  I also like that you didn't make the obvious (story-telling wise) decision to have Pippin do the "heroic thing" and ride to the Black Gate.  I really should've seen it coming, but when he finally announced that he was going home, I was taken by surprise.  I think it's a mark of how well you set up the announcement and how much Pippin has matured in these chapters.  He's always been maturing but, as you noted, Pelennor Fields (or more likely, Merry's funeral) was what caused everything to solidify.

Good use of Rohiric.  It added a nice touch of authenticity when you bothered to actually give us what was said in the ritual rather than simply let us see Pippin's wandering thoughts.  Theoden once again singing was a very nice touch...it seems appropriate that the old man should sing.  

While I didn't start commenting until recently, I think you've always done a good job of integrating different facts, events, personalities, etc. to make up your plot points.  This chapter is  a great example of that.  The funeral alone has you pulling crap from two separate sources and other bits, such as the state of the City's two out circles, are also good examples of how you've taken what was already mentioned and adapted to work within what you already have.

Yay, someone finally managed to get through "I-Want-To-Be-A-Perfect-Blond-Killing-Machine"'s head.  It was a good time to finally reveal to Legolas just how jacked up he was getting and Pippin had finally come to the point where he could do it.  It'll be interesting to see how, or even if, he comes out of his funk.  Maybe he and Eowyn can go brood together.  Heh, they're such a happy couple.

Hmm, Baggage may have rubbed me the wrong way, but I honestly can't find anything to actually harp on.  I would like to see Denethor come into his own though...he's portrayed solely as the insane fool so often that I really wish we would get a chance to see just how smart this guy is.  After all, he's lost his chance to play the human torch, so what else does he have to do :D

Good stuff all around, sorry I can't actually offer any actual writing advice...might be because I'm so tired of working on some Fire Emblem fanfics that my mind can no longer comprehend writing.

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Lie Down in the Darkness, Rise up from the Ash

IVIaedhros - 03 Jan 07 - 10:52 AM

Ch. 42: Accounting for East and West

Ah, something did occur to me!  I suggest that you bring back the whole Music of the Ainur thing.  You sort of let that die out as the action progressed and left it at some sort of sound just barely coming back into the Void (I think).  Perhaps we've progressed from a whisper to a squeak?

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Lie Down in the Darkness, Rise up from the Ash

Dwimordene - 03 Jan 07 - 6:48 PM

Ch. 42: Accounting for East and West

Hi IVIaedhros,

[snip quote, + juxtaposition]

Heh. It is striking how grim things look by the time we get down to "The Last Debate." The more I look at that, the more I'm amazed there weren't more men who took Aragorn's sanctioned desertion from the march to the Black Gate.

I also like that you didn't make the obvious (story-telling wise) decision... [w.r.t. Pippin] I was taken by surprise. I think it's a mark of how well you set up the announcement and how much Pippin has matured in these chapters.

Oh good! I was hoping it wouldn't be a totally foregone conclusion (and so capable of catching readers off-guard a bit), but that once it arrived, it wouldn't come as an utterly unheralded shock.

Good use of Rohiric. It added a nice touch of authenticity when you bothered to actually give us what was said in the ritual rather than simply let us see Pippin's wandering thoughts.

I've been striving to avoid putting people through lines and lines of untranslated-til-footnotes OE again, especially since I am barely able to construct, with lots of labor, a sentence that (might) make sense. And I really wanted Théoden to have that speech and time, so the inclusion of non-Rohirric speakers gave me the excuse to have him move back and forth between languages.

Theoden once again singing was a very nice touch...it seems appropriate that the old man should sing.

I'm glad you like that. That line about the Rohirrim writing few books but singing many songs does a lot to structure how I view the Rohirrim and what would be their particular way of expressing what is important to them. Especially for Théoden, who has gone through so much that has made him a stranger to himself, I think the singing is necessary as a way of reintegrating himself with other people, even (especially) people he has lost.

While I didn't start commenting until recently, I think you've always done a good job of integrating different facts, events, personalities, etc. to make up your plot points. This chapter is a great example of that. The funeral alone has you pulling crap from two separate sources and other bits, such as the state of the City's two out circles, are also good examples of how you've taken what was already mentioned and adapted to work within what you already have.

Thank you!

Yay, someone finally managed to get through "I-Want-To-Be-A-Perfect-Blond-Killing-Machine"'s head. It was a good time to finally reveal to Legolas just how jacked up he was getting and Pippin had finally come to the point where he could do it.

I confess, I was dying to write that scene. Somebody has to pierce that armor he's wearing, and Aragorn doesn't seem able to do it. Possibly they've got just a little too much in common, in a way, or previous friction has got Legolas too much on his guard against attacks from that angle.

[snip]

I would like to see Denethor come into his own though...he's portrayed solely as the insane fool so often that I really wish we would get a chance to see just how smart this guy is. After all, he's lost his chance to play the human torch, so what else does he have to do :D

Hopefully that will be answered in the next chapter.

I suggest that you bring back the whole Music of the Ainur thing. You sort of let that die out as the action progressed and left it at some sort of sound just barely coming back into the Void (I think).

This is a point I'm struggling with. I agree with you that I need to bring this back in, and I think it'll probably show up more in AU!Book VI, if things go according to plan. The Song serves three purposes—it gives a sense of something cosmic at work in all of this, it provides the metaphysical context/excuse for the AU, and it let me skip over vast tracts of "Fellowship of the Ring" that I didn't think I needed to write because I thought things hadn't diverged enough to be interesting yet.

Right now, it's function number three more than the other two that is dictating when the Song appears. At one point, I had made the conscious decision that it not using it would represent the silence afflcting the Song, but clearly, as you say, we've got something sounding off in the Void, even if in a fashion that is problematic and doesn't lend itself to any unambiguous interpretation. So that excuse doesn't work anymore.

I tried giving it a more indirect presence by suggesting Merry heard music at the end of his battle, or something that sounded like it, as well as in his quasi-premonitive dream (is premonitive a word?), and also having Frodo 'hear' it in Shelob's cave. However, I'm not sure how well that works by comparison with the explicitly cosmic standpoint of earlier chapters, and I still haven't quite figured out how to handle that element. It has just felt as if the chapters I've been working on for this section of the story don't lend themselves to it very readily.

It's a conundrum. I'll definitely be thinking about it, though—thanks for mentioning it!

Wow, this is really quite long! If you'd like to keep talking about this, feel free to post to my forum. I'm afraid of taking up so much space on the comments page!

Dwim

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Lie Down in the Darkness, Rise up from the Ash

RS - 03 Jan 07 - 10:16 PM

Ch. 42: Accounting for East and West

Wow! Pippin's decision totally threw me off guard (although nothing should surprise me anymore)!  His quandary and how he finally came to his decision was very well written. 

I hope Aragorn and Legolas finally make peace before the big battle..thanks to Pippin.  Leave it to a Hobbit to penetrate that invisible shield of Legolas.

"No, you listen!" "It was not for strength and not for wisdom that we were chosen, but for friendship. We're here because we are part of the Fellowship, and that is what we do. We stick together through it all." "Don't worry anymore about me, Legolas—I'm all right. Or if you must worry about me, then mend whatever's the matter between you and Strider, and you'll have no more reason to."

Attaboy Pippin! Tell him how it is!

I'm kind of at the edge of my seat now.  It seems to me that this chapter is about Pippin  making peace with everything that has happened to him and everyone else..kind of like a closing to Pippin's character.  Although I should say "hurray he is at least safe for now", I have this uneasy feeling (what are you up to Dwim?).

The funeral moved me and was beautiful. It is still vivid in my mind.

What struck me the most in this chapter which maybe insignificant to others but definitely stayed on my mind was when Pippin took the comb out of Aragorn's pack to comb his hair.  Such a simple thing... seemed the normal thing to do among close friends..borrowing their things..with no hesitation.  Funny, huh?

Until the next update...

RS

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Lie Down in the Darkness, Rise up from the Ash

Dwimordene - 05 Jan 07 - 8:24 AM

Ch. 42: Accounting for East and West

Hi RS,

[snip Pippin's decision]

As I said to IVIaedhros, I'm glad that was able to surprise readers, without being a random twist. I had to work pretty hard to make that suspenseful.

[snip Pippin and Legolas]

I'm kind of at the edge of my seat now. It seems to me that this chapter is about Pippin making peace with everything that has happened to him and everyone else..kind of like a closing to Pippin's character. Although I should say "hurray he is at least safe for now", I have this uneasy feeling (what are you up to Dwim?).

Well, I think I have one more chapter in which to get everyone off on their respective roads, then I move over to the trek through Mordor, then an epilogue by way of final wrap-up. Somewhere in there, you'll see what I'm up to. :evil

The funeral moved me and was beautiful. It is still vivid in my mind.

Thank you!

[snip sharing comb]

Such a simple thing... seemed the normal thing to do among close friends..borrowing their things..with no hesitation. Funny, huh?

That is interesting. I hadn't really thought about that, it was purely logistical. Pippin's pack is back on the ships with Halbarad, so he has to use someone's, and Aragorn's is handy. But looked at through the lens of character relationships, you're no doubt correct: it does indicate that they have gotten close enough that Pippin feels he can do this without ever thinking about it. If he'd had any qualms, he could've just asked Legolas for his comb, but that wasn't how the matter presented itself to him.

Thanks for your comments!

Dwim

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Lie Down in the Darkness, Rise up from the Ash

docmon - 11 Jan 07 - 6:24 PM

Ch. 42: Accounting for East and West

great chapter, Dwim!

I'll add my vote to the totally surprised crew on Pippin's decision. I thought he would have gone, from what comments and thoughts we were shown. It was a pleasant surprise, unlike the ones where we find out your next victim ! Devilish

Great interaction between Pippin and Legolas and well needed too. I found it appropriate that someone like Pippin would be the one to set Legolas straight - well, point him in the right direction. I'm not at all convinced he'll follow.

Well done!

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Lie Down in the Darkness, Rise up from the Ash

thelauderdale - 24 Dec 11 - 7:15 AM

Ch. 42: Accounting for East and West

You know, I didn't register it until after I read the comments, but I really like that detail about Pippin using Aragorn's comb as well.  There is a ready intimacy about it that I like, and at this point it's not the prior situation of two scruffy fellows on the same journey, it is between a young hobbit and a military-official-cum-prospective-king. 

But that doesn't matter.  Yoink, brush brush brush!

The exchange between Pippin and Legolas was both excellent and much needed.

And I have to admit, I was kind of hoping he'd choose to go home.  Maybe it's just me, but I think it is the one mature thing to do: he is the best person to go back and rouse the Shire, and looked on that way, really, it is his Responsibility.*

However, is that what Pippin is saying when he gives his decision to Aragorn?  Does "I can't do it" mean "I can't do this, I need to go prepare the folks back home"?  Or does it mean "I can't do this, I'm not up to the task"?  No reason it can't be both, and in fact there are probably more than just two or three factors figuring into the decision.  But personally, I would think it the right one based on the circumstances.

______

*...then again, I've never been sure that Sauron gaining the Ring meant de facto the End of All Things.  After all, he had the Ring before and things didn't turn out so hot for him.  Always figured that if he regained the Ring, that would mean it was time for his opponents to retrench/regroup/reconnoiter and figure out a new battle plan...

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