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None For Herself  by Thundera Tiger 15 Review(s)
DarkoverReviewed Chapter: 1 on 5/7/2011
Dear Thundera Tiger: As you yourself have said, this is a most appropriate story for Mother's Day! Gilraen, like a lot of mothers, sacrificed a great deal for her child. This story is well-written, emotional without being sentimental. I very much liked the exchange between Halbarad and Aragorn on the subject of Gilraen. Thank you for going to the trouble of doing all the research necessary to write this, and then posting it. Well done. Sincerely, Darkover

RagnelleReviewed Chapter: 1 on 6/9/2007
HI. I just read your story, and it was heart-breaking. In a good way. I liked it very much.

And don't worry about Roheryn appearing. Horses live quite a bit longer than 11 years and keep their strength quite well. If he is revativly young horse of, say, six years, he'd be no more than 17 at the war of the Ring and should have no problems. My own horse is at that age, and he is in better shape than he was at 12 ;-). In 1694 the Royal Danish stable had about 400 war-horses (including young horses for training), and the average age was 17! So you are quite justified in introducing him.

Vi JanawayReviewed Chapter: 1 on 2/28/2005
I really liked this...
I have seen many fanfics that kill off Gilraen with Arathorn...
But, I like to think that she and Elrond agreed that Aragorn was worth the two of them working together.

Author Reply: Glad you liked it! I'm a big fan of Gilraen, myself. She's the only mother in all of LotR who gets a conversation with her son, even if that conversation has to happen in the appendices. Gilraen was obviously an influence on Aragorn, and I was really hoping to portray that here. I can see her working well with Elrond, too. Many thanks for the review!

krycekReviewed Chapter: 1 on 1/10/2005
I loved this story!! Halbaran and Aragorn have a great friendship. I hope you write more stories featuring those two :)

Author Reply: Sorry I haven't been able to respond before now, but I just wanted you to know that I got your review and I thank you for it! I'll work on more fics with Halbarad and Aragorn.

meckinockReviewed Chapter: 1 on 11/19/2004
The starry sky, the shadows of the hills beneath it, the roar of the river in the distance - the strong sense of place really drives home the connection between the Rangers and their land. The images at the end were so comforting - the hills closing around the two Rangers and the peaceful silence wrapping around them like a mother's embrace. Aragorn and Halbarad are so comfortable with each other; and they both react to the situation and each other with the realistic restraint of warriors and comrades: Aragorn withholding his grief until he can release it alone; Halbarad respecting his Chieftain's need for distance but offering comfort and a bit of humor to ease the tension - "I have always been sensible; you have simply been too insensible to notice." In guy fashion, the two comrades don't discuss their feelings but rather the concept of death itself; the degree of trust between them is demonstrated not by words but by Aragorn's acquiescence to Halbarad's urging to sleep. Gilraen is so often overlooked it is wonderful to see her get her due and not be treated as a tragic victim but as a vibrant woman who had as much if not more to contribute to the forging of a king as Elrond or anyone else; it was especially poignant to see Halbarad's own grief at her loss. I like to think that after she returned home she was cared for by Halbarad in Aragorn's absence.
I didn't want this story to end; I hope you write more Aragorn-Halbarad stories!

Author Reply: I'm so glad you liked the setting, because when I was writing, the setting was what ultimately drove the story in the end. I was strange, actually, because I've never had the scene became such a strong character, but in the end, I gave up and went with it. So I'm very glad you thought it was appropriate. And also very glad that you liked this story. Heartfelt emotions are difficult to deal with anyways, and I've usually characterized Aragorn as a somewhat reticent introvert when it comes to things like this. So I wasn't sure how he was going to come off, especially when I brought Halbarad back into it at the end. But I'm glad you liked their conversation!

fliewatuetReviewed Chapter: 1 on 6/17/2004
Yes, I know I promised a review for this most wonderful story quite some time ago. My profound apologies for the delay. Fortunately, said delay forced me to reread the story again and it again swept me away: it's stunning. The description of the cold night near Annūminas is wonderful. It fits so well into the general sense of grief and lonelyness of the entire piece. But the description of the scene is just one part of what makes the story so beautiful. You managed to give life to two of the most interesting (at least according to my point of view) characters of Tolkien's world, Gilraen and Halbarad, and give depth to their relation to Aragorn.

For Gilraen, there is her influence on Aragorn. She is not only a caring mother, but a teacher, not only of lore but also of warfare, and, most important, one of his most reliable allies. Though you only describe her through Aragorn's eyes, you sketch the picture of a woman who is both strong and selfless but seems to have managed to keep her sense of humour inspite of the dark times in which she lived (that reminiscence of her verbal battle with Glorfindel is my favourite part ... I would soo love to read more about that *hint, hint*;))

As for Halbarad, he is so much more than Aragorn's second in command. He is a friends, almost a brother. But the scene by the fire gives a much better insight into their relationship than I could give in a review!

As I said, a stunning story. Not a humourous one, that would not fit the setting, but a touching story that left me speechless (you couldn't tell by the length of the review;)) and close to tears.

You did a great job!


Author Reply: *blushes madly* Thank you! But keep your plotbunnies to yourself! Sheesh! I've got enough on my plate without working out what Glorfindel and Gilraen could have argued about.

Anyway, glad you liked the setting. It's odd, but I've never had a setting place such a big part in a story before. It was practically a character in its own right while I was writing. I'm not sure how it is now because I'm still too close to the story to get a really objective look at it, but I'm glad that the setting didn't overwhelm everything. I was worried about that for a while.

I drew Gilraen through Aragorn's eyes because mothers seem to see themselves as flawed, and I wanted to play with the image that most children have of their mothers, namely that they're perfect. Mine is, anyway, but she'll never admit it. Same thing with Gilraen. If I'd done a story from her point of view, she wouldn't have looked nearly as good. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle, but I like to think that Gilraen is closer to perfection than most. She did raise Aragorn, after all.

Thanks so much for the review! I'm glad this story made an impression.

snowReviewed Chapter: 1 on 5/14/2004
*awed* The effort and research you put into the fic really shows. It's wonderfully naunced and so very evocative. The part where the stars shine on unconcernedly on just broke my heart. So different from the usual pathetic fallacy I'm used to, and that much more resonant. Thank you!

Author Reply: No, thank *you* for the review! And I'm glad you liked the part about the stars. It might just be me being morbid, but sometimes I'll look out the window during a bright sunny day (which I enjoy immensely, I'll add) and wonder if anyone is having a funeral. And if they are, is it possible that they wish it was raining instead of being perky and sunny. Of course, sometimes when it rains I think the same thing about all the people having weddings. So it works both ways. Two different kinds of extremes, after all. Anyway, I decided that it would be to cliche to invite rain into this story, and as the odds were already stacked against the Rangers, why not have the weather play against them, too? But as Rangers, they would eventually adapt and see past it. At least, that's part of what I envisioned happening.

Thanks again for the review!!!

Estel_Mi_OlorReviewed Chapter: 1 on 5/12/2004
Hi Thundera. I realize that I have already left a review, but I just had to reply to your Author Reply. I never realized the whole POV issue before. (Perhaps that's why my writing sucks, but that's another story.) That really opens up a whole new perspective for me. Sorry about that comment then, since it was so inadequate. You're story doesn't seem so macabre to me now, because of another story I know of, which is unfortunately true. One of my favorite teachers's mother was ill, and she passed away on Mother's Day. Sad, huh? I am planning to write an original fiction piece on it. Well thanks again for this fic, and I look forward to updates from you!

Author Reply: No, DON'T apologize! Never apologize for a comment like that. It was a valid critique of the story's middle section. I will agree with you that a case can be made for a less coherent Aragorn. I welcome your criticism, as it points out a problem with my choice of writing style. When I decided to make Aragorn more coherent than many might be, I was basically debating about POV's. I wanted Aragorn to have some downtime with Gilraen alone, which meant that Halbarad would need to leave the scene early on. Which he did. But this also meant that if Aragorn broke down, I wouldn't have anyone available who could take over the POV. That's something I've done before. In a scene in one of my other stories, the POV is from Gimli, but he's knocked out before the scene is done and the POV jumps to Legolas, who is also in the scene. But I couldn't do that here, so I had to decide if I was going to use third person limited as a perspective at all. The other choice that would have allowed Aragorn to break down was the omniscient narrator perspective. I'm not a fan of that, but I've done it before under similar circumstances. Unfortunately, omniscient narration doesn't get you into the character's heads like third person limited does.

So ultimately it came down to this: Do I want to portray Gilraen through Aragorn's eyes and risk having Aragorn slightly more collected than he should be, or do I want to scale down Gilraen's memories while upping reader angst for Aragorn as he breaks down? That was the choice, and in the end I decided that this fic was about Gilraen, not Aragorn. I did shift a bit to omniscient for the last few paragraphs of the middle section as a compromise, but you're right. We lose a bit of Aragorn by focusing on Gilraen.

And that is a completely justified critique on your part. I thank you for sharing it. I explained my reasoning to you because I felt you had a justified critique and I wanted to explain why I chose to go the way I did. I understand where you're coming from and POV issues are things I've struggled with for quite a few different scenes in various stories. Letting me know that you felt this one could have been improved gives me a head's up for other scenes like it. In the future, I will think about blending more of the omniscient narrative into scenes like that. This one I'm going to leave alone for a while, but if I come back for a revision, your comments will be taken into account. (I've already marked them down, actually.) Anyway, please keep those criticisms coming and don't ever retract or apologize for them. They're what help me improve as a writer and it shows your perceptiveness and concern as a reader, which I love. I'd much rather have one good reader than ten fly-by-night "this is nice, keep writing" readers. So thank you again!

And good luck on that original fiction!

rhiannonReviewed Chapter: 1 on 5/12/2004
Your writing was most definitely not inadequate. You did a very good job of describing a mother's devotion. This story was sad but did have hope at the end.

Author Reply: *blushes* Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it. I felt I was only skimming the iceberg by portraying Gilraen as a series of remembered events, but to me, a person's real contribution to society is best scene by those they've influenced and then continue to influence after their death. Yet at the same time, I felt I was cheating by avoiding dealing with Gilraen directly. I didn't feel comfortable putting her character next to Aragorn and Halbarad as I feel I know them better. Ah well. Author's choice, I suppose. Thanks again!

Estel_Mi_OlorReviewed Chapter: 1 on 5/11/2004
Oh, Thundera! You don't update very often, but when you do, it is worth the wait. That was absolutely beautiful. The way you introduced Aragorn so late in the beginning was very suspensful, especially since we did not know where Halbarad was taking him, and for what purpose. Aragorn's grief was beautiful. His thoughts were so amazingly coherent though, for someone so sorrowful. Of course, since he Aragorn, there is absolutely no reason why they shouldn't be. I had never appreciated Gilraen before. She is so rarely mentioned, and you come to think of her as "the mother of Aragorn," simply as one who gave birth to him, cared for him in childhood, and then has served her purpose. But she was so much more than that, wasn't she? Her self-sacrifice seems very appropriate, and has obviously paid off tenfold. Halbarad's grief is also beautiful to behold, but I agree with his statement about rain. It is better to have a clear, starry night, rather than a rainy one for Gilraen. For I gather that she was not a sad person, but energetic and full of life. The least Arda could do for her passing is to echo her personality. I fully realize the amount of research that went into this fic, your facts were amazing. I believe you are one of the few authors who takes such time to be so precise with her Tolkien. Thank you for that. Thank you also for this fic, and for your tribute to mothers. You called it dark, but it was very appropriate. Keep writing, and I hope to read the conclusion to your various fics sometime soon. Cheers,

Author Reply: I debated, actually, about how coherent I needed to make Aragorn. The main problem is that I write primarily from a third person limited narrative perspective. Essentially, the readers see what the character sees and very little beyond that. Their eyes are our eyes. I use this perspective because I enjoy the advantages it gives me on characterization, but problems crop up when the character being used as the POV becomes incoherent, unconscious, insane, or dead. If you make the narrative rambling, it's difficult for readers to follow. So I had to make Aragorn a bit clearer than I would have liked or the middle section just wouldn't have made much sense. He's a bit more incoherent around Halbarad, because Halbarad is the one looking at him. And from the outside, he seems rather out of it. But within, I like to think that Aragorn is always more or less on top of things. Besides, he's had five weeks to process the news that his mother's dead. So that's my reasoning behind a coherent yet grieving Aragorn. (Besides, we do keep coming back to that "she was gone" line. That does show a bit of rambling as far as his thought processes are concerned.)

Anyway, I'm glad you enjoyed the tale and I'm glad you thought it was appropriate. I thought it was a bit macabre, myself, as I seemed to be honoring mothers by killing a mother off. But Gilraen's purpose was to get Aragorn ready for his destiny, so I thought his memories of her and the way he carries on would be a good tribute. That was my reasoning, anyway. Thanks again!

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