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This and That  by Lindelea 4 Review(s)
Jay of LasgalenReviewed Chapter: 29 on 6/17/2008
This is lovely, but so sad. You capture the characters of Beregond and Bergil perfectly - no wonder Beregond kept his son in Minas Tirith during the seige!


Author Reply: Belated thank you!

FantasyFanReviewed Chapter: 29 on 6/17/2008
A very interesting take on the idea of oathbreaking. Beregond is most famous for his decision to abandon his post to save Faramir from death at the hands of his mad father - technically a breaking of his oath of obedience as a guardsman. For this oathbreaking, death was to be the penalty, but Elessar in his mercy and wisdom devised a punishment of exile that honored both the importance of the oath and Beregond's decision to break it, and the importance of his courage and discernment of the greater right that was served by the lesser wrong.

And here, that turns out to not be the first time Beregond has had to make a decision about his solemn promises. The promise he makes to his very young son is maybe not made with full thought as to the consequences: Bergil is distraught and only this promise will soothe him; Beregond is distraught and maybe does not have the clearest head for all the implications, and then again maybe he does. A parent often makes a kind of internal promise to protect and nurture their child from the moment that they are aware of it, and this is just one aspect of a decision made years before. Beregond and Bergil did seem to know how important to each other what they were promising was - Beregond promising never to abandon his child, and Bergil promising to hold Beregond's protection closely. Implicit, though unsaid, is the clause "if I can, to the best of my ability, unless circumstances that I have no control over force me to do otherwise." It's hard to make a five-year-old understand the harshness of the world.

Perhaps Beregond's decision to honor the letter of his oath to his son, and not the spirit of protection that inspired it, is just as hard for him to make here as his later decision to leave his post, and honor the larger issue instead of the details. Perhaps it was a matter of trusting his instincts both times. Perhaps it was one of those places in the story where characters allow the actions of a force beyond themselves room to influence the results. In both cases, the ends turn out for the best, although at the time the decision is made, there is no clear sign that it was not a wrong decision, ripe for disaster as a matter of fact.

I really enjoy the way your stories always make me think. It's a great sandbox to play in, isn't it?

Author Reply: As I really enjoy the way your reviews always make me think. There are so many layers to writing, some of which even I may not be aware of, when the words are first laid down, and yet looking through the story later I'll be struck by an underlying theme. Here, as you point out, there is a theme of oath-taking contrasted to oath-breaking. It reminds me of the scene where Beregond is fighting for Faramir's life, all the while being called hideous names such as "Traitor!" and "Renegade!" How can something be true (he was doing what was, of old, foridden) and false (a traitor? Beregond?) at the same time? JRRT had a marvellous way with paradox.

A wise parent learns to be careful, deliberate, and sparing with promises. Whew.

LarnerReviewed Chapter: 29 on 6/17/2008
As I said on the challenge site, this is wonderful, Lindelea. And I'm SO glad Beregond did keep his promise here--in the end it worked to the good for all three of them--Beregond, Bergil, and Pippin--and, of course, Merry as well.

Author Reply: Thank you! You know, the story would have been much different if Bergil had been sent away. I love Pippin's seeing Minas Tirith with his childish guide--it adds a touch of wonder.

harrowcatReviewed Chapter: 29 on 6/16/2008
Wow Lindelea. A promise is such an important thing, especially for a child and you show it so well. It can trap you into situations. I think that, even today, we judge the trustworthiness of people by how they make and keep promises.

Author Reply: Thank you! You're right, a promise is extremely important, especially when a child is involved.

(Hope you're having a wonderful time at camp!)

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