Stories of Arda Home Page
About Us News Resources Login Become a member Help Search

By the Light of Earendil's Star  by Branwyn 3 Review(s)
mirthorReviewed Chapter: 18 on 9/2/2005
I truly love your Denethor. I think my favorite part of this chapter was the Steward leaning into his horse’s mane immediately after the vision of Faramir with the orc. What must have been running through his mind…his heart…

“For oft the old tales are true..” I’m glad we got to see this memory of both Denethor’s, as well as his sons’, as it is really the heart of the tale.

This line…” Faramir knew this book, The Tale of Beren and Luthien, by sight. He could see it in its proper place on the shelf in his father’s library…” is an example of the insightful imagery that has me watching for your updates.

The reading of Beren’s fate is very clever of Denethor…and yourself. Certainly Faramir knew his father had purpose when choosing, though he must know the effects were for the best.

Is the year of Sauron lighting beacons in the appendices? Just curious, it’s been so long since I’ve had the opportunity to reread.

Author Reply: Thank you so much for the wonderful review!

You are right that Denethor's scary bedtime story is meant to be the heart of the tale. I wrote this story in response to a writers' challenge to show the relationship between Denethor and Faramir in a positive light. The challenge was posted on the lovely A'mael Taran website (which I still miss)in February 2004. At that point in time, I was still simmering over the vicious portrayal of Denethor in the film, so I took up the gauntlet and started writing this story. A mere year and a half later, I finish, LOL!

Denethor tells Faramir that he must trust in Providence, that the forces of good can and will prevail in the end. Of course, Denethor himself later rejects this belief and falls to despair, so it seemed more than a little ironic to have him espousing hope!

Maybe I was being too poetic and vague when I had Denethor refer to Mt. Doom as the Enemy's beacon. :-D Since Gondor maintains a line of beacons to summon its allies, I imagined Denethor looking at the light of Mt. Doom and seeing it as a beacon to gather the forces of evil to Mordor. Certainly, the glow from Mt. Doom was a sign that the Enemy was growing in power. Denethor was born in 2930 and and Mt. Doom burst into flame in 2954, so he would have been about 24 at the time, which is roughly Boromir's age in my story.

Thanks again for writing!

Raksha The DemonReviewed Chapter: 18 on 9/1/2005
I really didn't have to do much beta-work; as always, the chapter was very well-written.

Lovely scene with Hirluin and Denethor; and then, in a bittersweet counterpoint; the scene with Faramir and Denethor. Both young men have survived a harrowing ordeal and have reacted to the terrible experience in different ways - Hirluin by devoting himself to Faramir's welfare; Faramir by feeling deep guilt over the fates of the men he led and could not save. Denethor tries, in his way, to be kind to both of them. The Denethor/Faramir interaction is very touching, in a subtle way; they don't seem to be able to speak directly, which is understandable, as Faramir feels less at ease with his father than he does with Boromir, yet Denethor understands his son and they do communicate through the telling of Beren's story.

And thanks for having Denethor mention Faramir's skill with critters, such that his less flashy horse could beat Boromir's when they raced. (a sort of metaphor for the course of the two brothers - Faramir is more quiet and less flamboyant, yet he will outlast his older brother in later years and pass the test that Boromir fails.)

Author Reply: My thought was that Denethor finds it much, much easier to talk with Hirluin than with his own son. He can anticipate with some certainty how Hirluin will respond (because he can read the poor kid like an open book), but he is not sure if Faramir wants to talk about his grief and sense of guilt. So the steward tells the tale of Beren, hoping to draw a reaction from Faramir. It is a diplomatic move because, if Faramir does not wish to talk with him, they can both pretend that Denethor's story-telling is nothing more than an evening's diversion.

I do not think that Hirluin was as badly traumatized as Faramir was. For two reasons--first, he was not the leader of the patrol so he would not feel personally responsible for the deaths of the other men, and second, he got to work through some of his grief by slicing up that orc--highly therapeutic, no doubt. :-D In the end, he had a chance to fight back, and I think that would leave him less vulnerable to psychological damage, though of course he was still badly shaken by the experience.

Of course, Denethor's ulterior motive for praising Faramir's skill with critters is to win Hirluin's confidence since Hirluin obviously worships Faramir, LOL! However, you are right that I was trying to sneak in an example of how their leadership styles differed, with Faramir being more patient and, in the end, more effective than his brother. In ROTK, Beregond says of Faramir, "Less reckless and eager than Boromir, but not less resolute."

Thanks so much for reviewing!

annmarwalkReviewed Chapter: 18 on 9/1/2005
Simultaneously, "Hurray!" and "Oh,no! I'm so sorry to see it end!"

This chapter alone is extraordinary, and contains the most vivid, thoughtful, and realistic portrait of Denethor I have ever read. This Steward is not a madman, but a loving and devoted father, even if he cannot communicate comfortably with his son. (I understand perfectly - I have a similar relationship with one of my children.) This is most definitely the Denethor of "Spring Planting", who has had to let his younger son grow, learn to face danger and pain and defeat, heartache and responsibiity.

I was also particularly moved by the portrait of Denethor as one who reads the hearts of men so shrewdly that he would know how to calm a skittish young man, gentling him to his own will, in order to win the knowledge he seeks. That scene alone will live in my memory for a very, very, long time. Exquisitely written. Bravo!

Author Reply: My story is set many years before Denethor sends his remaining son on a deadly errand. Subsequent events and his own choices will warp him into a different person. I am glad you thought I drew a realistic portrayal of the steward. When we meet him in ROTK, he is embittered and already close to madness. Remember that Imrahil says that his kinsman's "mood has been strange since his son was stricken down"--we never see his normal personality, so writers are forced to extrapolate it from his psychotic state in ROTK. Sheer guesswork on my part. :-)

For the scene between Denethor and Hirluin, I looked at Denethor's reaction to Peregrin in ROTK (the book). Though the steward is overwhelmed by grief and worry, he is still amused and (to some degree) disarmed by the hobbit's naivete. It seemed reasonable that he would react similarly to Hirluin and would treat him with unwonted patience and care.

Thanks for the kind words!

Return to Chapter List