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By the Light of Earendil's Star  by Branwyn 6 Review(s)
daw the minstrelReviewed Chapter: 17 on 6/30/2005
No! No! I'm thinking of Boromir as Denethor's metaphorical fair-haired boy.

Author Reply: Ah, as in

Golden lads and girls all must, As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.

Alas for Boromir!

daw the minstrelReviewed Chapter: 17 on 6/30/2005
What is wrong with your husband? Surely he can see that this chapter includes Eldahil and thus is all anyone could wish for? I'm so relieved that all of our heroes seem to be coming around. And Denethor appears to be learning something about his fair haired older son.

Author Reply: Thanks for writing! Though you have me worried -- the only blond person in the story is Hirluin so I must have really blown it somewhere in my writing....

perellethReviewed Chapter: 17 on 6/30/2005
Yesss! your updates, too, are received with a dance of joy! I was remembering this story just the other day and wondering how poor Eldahil was faring in that dungeon... thanks cousin Boromir came to the rescue... only to put him in more danger.... " One-armed, unarmed, and vastly outnumbered, Eldahil looked wildly about him then ran for cover behind his tall cousin" I was laughng for a long time after reading that! that sums Eldahil up almost perfectly.

Everyone is perfectly in character, but I particularly like your shrewd, stern, knowing and just Denethor, who would speak of lore with his injured son as an unspoken truce... Good point there! No other thing could be in truth expected from him, i'd say!

And I loved his thoughts and words when he presented Eldahil with that beautiful sword . The "...young swan clad in sombre plumage" revealed a certain fondness for the errant captain. I was stunned, too, by the beautiful gift, which seemed so appropriate for the "distant" cousin. A noble sword, and bearing a swan. Fitting, indeed.

Lovely, funny, very much in character and seamlessly writtten. We don't mind waiting so long for such wonderful chapters! ;-)

Author Reply: Thanks for the wonderful review! [Bounces up and down in the review happy-dance.]

I managed to sprain my wrist in the middle of writing this chapter, so I was feeling very sympathetic toward Eldahil as I typed away with my wrist in a splint and sling. I think I was practicing "Method" writing (similar to Method acting)... :-D

The gift of the sword served two purposes. Though I wrote it for laughs, Eldahil being treated like a felon would not be a small matter to him and his family. The steward thanks him in public and presents him with an heirloom weapon to restore his honor and reputation (such as it is...). And Denethor is being a little manipulative. Have you ever heard the expression "you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar"? Denethor knows full well that Eldahil is bright and capable; if Captain E. would ever settle down, he could be very useful to the steward. So, Denethor is taking this opportunity to praise and reward him, in the hope that this will inspire Eldahil to put his mind to soldiering instead of his various extracurricular activities.

Good to hear that you are not put off by the interminable wait between chapters. Thanks again for writing!

mirthorReviewed Chapter: 17 on 6/30/2005
I just love your Eldahil. His slightly dramatic thoughts and impromptu acting jaunts to influence Boromir are priceless. His very humble acceptance of Beregond's sword was a pleaasure to read. I could see the gleam in Denethor's eye, the satisfaction of having shocked his kinsman, of proving him wrong.

Boromir's brashness of springing Eldahil spoke volumes of both his honor and his youth. Denethor studying him as he defended Eldahil was s small moment that stood still, in a way.

Good call in including the robin making the nest - Faramir remembering the soldier's scalp that caught in the trees after the orcs had butchered him. I can't recall the man's name, but this seems a very real memory for him, one he will doubtless carry all his days.

I must admit, I was a tad disappointed, when Denethor strode into Faramir's room & they talked of astrology & such. I was hoping to read that dialogue. I'm guessing words between the two will come later? Will we see some of Boromir's trip to the homes of the fallen rangers? Will he be punished for launching the rescue? Looking forward to Hirluin's meeting with Denethor, as well as how Haldan may be honored.

Author Reply: I was nervous about including the character of Eldahil in this story--I was afraid that readers would consider him the "annoying comic relief guy" and hope for his early death (and exit from the story). But he seems to have his partisans. :-D

We don't get to see Boromir and Denethor together in the books, but in my opinion, Boromir does not feel obligated to listen to anyone in the world except Denethor. He may choose to take advice or orders from other people, but he does not feel required to. And Boromir is much more impulsive than Denethor. So Denethor may not realize how difficult it can be for other people to deal with his elder son. Hence, the steward's thoughtful look at Boromir, as if seeing this aspect of his character for the first time.

Yay!! You caught the reference to the scalp in the branches, from way back in Chapter 2!

Yes, Denethor and Faramir do have a talk in the next chapter (which is why there wasn't dialogue between them in this chapter). Thanks so much for writing!

annmarwalkReviewed Chapter: 17 on 6/29/2005
What a great delight to see a new chapter, so soon after the last!

The first element that struck me here was the continued references to the rain, as though Haldan, Eldahil, Hirluin, and Faramir are trapped, imprisoned, not only by the rain, but also literally and figuratively by their circumstances or injuries. And a lovely detail for Boromir, in his elegant though somber dress uniform, headed out into the rain to share the sorrow of the bereaved families.

As always, some of your turns of phrase had me giggling: "One-armed, unarmed, and vastly outnumbered, Eldahil looked wildly about him then ran for cover behind his tall cousin." *chortle*; and poor Haldan wondering "if the lord was aware that his elder son was no longer a child."

Young Hirluin is quite appealing in his hero-worship of Faramir, and rather droll in his understated descripion of the teasing he'd endured. I hpe the Steward is not planning a reward that will take Hirluin away from his beloved captain - I like seeing Faramir inspire the kind of loyalty and devotion that his brother receives as a matter of course.

A lovely gift for Eldahil, finally surprised into silence!

Author Reply: Thanks so much for the wonderful review!

I did originally include a little section where Faramir imagines Boromir riding through the townlands, with the pearly spire of the White Tower rising behind him. At a pile of white stones, Boromir turns the horse down a lane and rides toward a farmstead, bowing his head in the rain. :-(

Regarding Denethor being unaware that Boromir has grown a beard, is over six feet tall, and weighs a good fourteen stone, some parents seem to have this fixed mental image of their children, which over time becomes more and more out of synch with reality as the children grow up and change. (I think my own father believes I am still about sixteen years old, LOL.)

No, Denethor will not send Hirluin away from Faramir. For one thing, the kid has already appointed himself Faramir's bodyguard, LOL! (I assume that there was someone in Faramir's patrol who was in fact acting as a bodyguard for him, similar to how old Haldan was given the unenviable take of babysitting Boromir. However, Faramir's bodyguard was killed during the attack.)

Thanks again for writing!

Raksha The DemonReviewed Chapter: 17 on 6/29/2005
Another great chapter! While I'm glad that our heroes have all survived their ordeal, I'm saddened that this marvelous story winding down towards its end.

Eldahil proves this chapter that he can do great comedy, unwittingly, with Boromir as well as Haldan - Boromir and Eldahil's flight to the White Tower was very cinematic, and I could just see Eldahil seeking cover behind Superman-er-Boromir The Tall. The bit about the still-jailed Eldahil beginning, reluctantly, to write an explicatory letter to his father, was quietly amusing.

Three more somber elements balanced Eldahil's antics - Haldan's reference to Denethor's "grey wolf eyes" made me shiver, since it's a reprise of Faramir's fear of the 'grey wolf eyes' in the story his father told him as a child and his remembered fear of the Orc who nearly carried him off to an unspeakable fate - and we all know that Denethor will one day carry the helpless Faramir off to an unspeakable and narrowly averted fate...Also, Faramir's brief horror at the sight of the grass lifting like hair reprises that horrible image in (I think) Chapter 2 when Faramir saw something that will haunt him for the rest of his life. Faramir's own grief and guilt over his performance as commander of the ill-fated group of men is not justified (the grief is justified, the guilt is not), but natural, I would think that most officers new to command would suffer guilt if they were faced with what Faramir has endured. Hirluin's devotion to Faramir is written very well; through Hirluin, who is a delightful and unique character on his own, we see Faramir's ability to inspire love and respect in the men he commands, even in the worst of circumstances.

I can't wait to see Hirluin's tea with the Steward!

Author Reply: I am glad you liked the scene where Sneaky!Boromir rescues Eldahil. I think that letter would not be the first letter that Eldahil's father had gotten which began with an excuse!

Way back in Chapter 1, Haldan thinks that Boromir has the look of a wolf, so I liked the idea of him describing the father in those same terms. Also, I imagined Denethor having an intense, emotionless stare, like a wild animal, when he is trying to "see" into another person's mind. And you are right that I was thinking that, to a certain degree, Denethor does share the ruthlessness of the orcs (with their strange, wolf-like eyes). He is good and noble and well-intentioned but, in the wrong circumstances, he can be vindictive and unreasonable.

Yay! Both you and Mirthor noticed the reference to the scalp from way back in Chapter 2 (which was posted many, many months ago).

What a terrible punishment for poor Hirluin--to have to eat cakes and tea with Lord Denethor! Possibly more terrifying than the orcs. :-D

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