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By the Light of Earendil's Star  by Branwyn 7 Review(s)
DreamflowerReviewed Chapter: 19 on 9/13/2006
I have to thank the MEFAs for bringing this story to my attention. I have enjoyed it immensely, even though I hardly ever read stories without hobbits. I'm using the MEFAs this year to stretch my horizons.

This was an excellent adventure, a "page-turner" if you can call something on a computer screen that. I found it very credible that this would be the sort of adventure that could have happened to the brothers so many years before the Quest.

In it, we see the seeds of the men they will become--Boromir, proud, impulsive, a fierce warrior, and Faramir, wise and a good judge of people, intuitive and foresighted. And yet we see characteristics that will need to be tempered, and this experience is possibly one way in which that tempering happens.

I love your OCs, especially Eldahil--he's just marvelous.

And I even found your somewhat less grim and more likable Denethor credible--a difficult feat, considering that I have disliked him for almost forty years, ever since my first reading of LotR! You made him believable, and yet you also left the seeds there for the grimmer and haughtier man he ultimately became. I found it somewhat bittersweet to see his words to Faramir about hope, when I know that in less than two decades, his own hope will fail utterly. Good job!

Author Reply: Dear Dreamflower,
You are an angel for sending this kind and thoughtful review on today of all days! I was told this morning that, due to a downsizing, I no longer have a job, after working happily for my employer for six years. This review cheered me up immeasurably; thank you so much!
When I wrote the story, I was very nervous that the OCs wouldn't work since I didn't have much experience writing fiction. So I am glad to hear that you loved Eldahil and the rest. :-)
Thanks again--

AcaceaReviewed Chapter: 19 on 9/3/2005
I’m truly sorry this has come to an end. It was a beautiful story and the last chapter and epilogue much as the rest of the story were really quite perfect. Denethor with the horses was so fine and so noble and intelligent and interesting and I loved the bit about the mail!

And the epilogue – yay for the puppy:) I really liked the outwardly calm and peaceful feeling these that just seems to percolate through the last bit.

Of course further Adventures are requested:) this story was terrific and more will be welcomed with open arms and a flower carpet… :) Really… it’s not often one gets a good story where the central action involves orcs fighting with rangers and it’s not often that the recovery phase maintains the same level of consistency and length as the earlier phase without getting boring. This story was just perfect:)

Author Reply: Thank you so much for reading and for your kind comments.

That little dog is actually a Welsh springer spaniel, but I had no idea how to translate "springer" or "spaniel" into Sindarin! Raksha (who has given me a great deal of help and encouragement with my writing) raises that breed of dog and loves them very much, so Eldahil just happened to bring a Welsh springer spaniel puppy to visit Faramir.

A flower carpet sounds beautiful (though perhaps slippery to walk on), so further adventures will be forthcoming. :-)

BodkinReviewed Chapter: 19 on 9/3/2005
A splendid story, delightfully concluded. Love the characterisations - and would be very pleased to see more stories including Eldahil and Hirluin. Not to mention, of course, the usual suspects. And the dogs.

This has been a great ride.

Author Reply: I do plan to write more stories with this crew (including the usual suspects), though maybe my next story will not be quite as long...
Thanks for the kind review! [does dance of joy]

perellethReviewed Chapter: 19 on 9/2/2005
Six chapters?! Well, it was a blessing then that inspiration hit you along the way ! It's been a fantastic, amusing, tense, well told story, with a great characterization of Denethor, something to be particularly grateful for.

Last chapter was very endearing, the father reading to his son and encouraging him to find hope in the darkest places... and Eldahil's last stand, thanks for that!

If there's a place when one can go and sign for more about these distant cousins, please indicate, and I'll go and sign!

Congratulations, and many thanks for sharing!

Author Reply:
As I mentioned to another reviewer, I wrote this in response to a challenge to write a story that showed the relationship between Denethor and Faramir in a positive light. I was livid when I saw how the steward was portrayed in the "Return of The King" movie; after I had calmed down a little and stopped throwing heavy objects, I decided that Denethor needed a champion. He certainly has his flaws, but he is not the cartoon villain found in the movie and in much fanfiction.

I do plan to write more tales of the distant cousins. However, my husband wants me first to write the dreadful orc parody we dreamed up a while back (think of the play "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead" but set in MiddleEarth...)

Writing this story gave me a great deal of enjoyment (in between the spells of aggravation), so I thank you for reading along. It has been a rather long, meandering cruise up and down the Anduin, LOL!

mirthorReviewed Chapter: 19 on 9/2/2005
*IF* there is further interest? Anxiously waiting…please get started. What a pleasant surprise for those of us who were not looking forward to the end of this tale.

Perfect punishment for Boromir…Denethor can make his point that Boromir risked too much by searching for his brother, yet they all three get the extra time together as a blessing in disguise.

Author Reply: Perfect punishment for Boromir...
Glad you approved of Denethor's Solomonic justice; it seemed to me that everyone got what they deserved, LOL! Boromir is condemned to a summer of renownless tedium, and old Haldan gets a much needed vacation from sleeping in hedgerows and riding around in the rain. And, yes, as an added benefit, the steward will be able to spend time with his sons, and Faramir will have the company of his brother while he convalesces.

Thanks so much for all of your reviews--I have enjoyed them a great deal.

Raksha The DemonReviewed Chapter: 19 on 9/1/2005
I share the sorrow that this outstanding story has ended.

Branwyn, this is one of the best Faramir fanfics I've read; and also the definite best Faramir&Boromir fanfic story I've read. In lesser hands, it could have been an entertaining but far less credible hurt/comfort piece. Your attention to detail, knowledge of military matters and herblore, is terrific and has added to the authenticity.

And the characterisation is just wonderful, from the Orcs to Denethor. The most vividly etched characters are Denethor, Faramir, and Hirluin, but how can one fail to fall in love with Boromir and Eldahil?

What a wonderful Epilogue! Big SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE for adorable puppy action! And it's a white and red pup with soft brown eyes; you know how that image touches my heart. Poor long-suffering Haldan, I understood his consternation at the embodiment of cheerful chaos also known as Eldahil. I could just hear Eldahil explaining to his superior officer at Osgiliath that his deerhounds were rat-catchers. And dear Hirluin, who has had to grow up very suddenly, is so cute succumbing to the wine...

Squeeing aside; the end was sheer beauty - our heroes finally having a well-deserved moment of peace, and Faramir finally feeling as safe as the rescued mariner in Eldahil's tale as he falls asleep.

I'd be delighted to see more of Boromir and Eldahil - maybe the puppy, who, if I judge her breed right, will be bossing the deerhounds around in a year or two, could appear too...But I'm holding out hope for an eventual tale of the Boromir Memorial Fishing Trip after Aragorn's coronation, with Faramir, Hirluin, Eldahil and Haldan...

Author Reply: Thanks so much for your help and encouragement over the last fourteen months. Your contributions made this a much better story (all residual lameness is my own, LOL!).

I am so happy that you thought the puppy action was adorable. SQEEE! But, for the life of me, I could not figure out how to translate "Welsh springer spaniel" into Sindarin! I am glad to hear that the red and white pup will be able to hold her own against those huge deerhounds. They seem a rather stolid breed, but I didn't know if they were agressive toward other dogs.

After what I put him through in this story, poor Faramir deserves an unreservedly happy ending. :-)

Since Eldahil is organizing it, the Boromir Memorial Hunting and Fishing Trip would involve gourmet campfire cooking and more than a few cases of good Lossarnach wine. In fact, they take along enough gear and food to provision a small village. The pup is honorably retired from hunting by then and spends her days dozing in the sun, but her offspring go along in her stead. With a sidelong glance at Eldahil, Eowyn tells her husband to have a safe trip and stay out of trouble...

Thanks for writing!

annmarwalkReviewed Chapter: 19 on 9/1/2005
Oh, this is so very lovely - I can't begin to tell you how much this chapter pleases me (even as it saddens me, for being the last.) The image of sleepy Faramir, drowsing contentedly while surrounded by his beloved brother, loyal bodyguard-to-be, kinsman, and friends is so perfectly delightful. Add in a secret picnic, storytelling, a puppy (!), and its all too wonderfully, ah, wonderful.

Thank you so much for the pleasure this story has given me over the past 14 months! Your characters are realistic, engagingly written, and memorable. I would love more than anything to read more of them.

Author Reply: Thanks for reading along and giving me much-needed encouragement as I faltered, wandered, and, uh, whined. :-D

Poor Faramir seemed to deserve a proper happy ending after so much angst and suffering. My husband is already asking me if I have started my next story, LOL!

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