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Stirring Rings  by Larner 311 Review(s)
PSWReviewed Chapter: 9 on 12/18/2016
Well, that's sad... 😢

But, I've been fascinated to think of a time when Hobbits lived in other areas, and were known by many different folk, and traded and dealt with other races -- yet still managed to live in hidden little villages, where only the most observant would find them. Very interesting...

I'm very much enjoying this, thanks as always for writing!

PSWReviewed Chapter: 5 on 12/17/2016
You've got to be kidding me, dude (to use our own vernacular ;-). If you can't keep your own raging ego in check, at least keep your mouth closed and don't *cause* the damage yourself.

This story is very intriguing so far. Thanks for writing!

Author Reply: Oh, yes, he can't yet see beyond his own interests. And thanks for responding!

PSWReviewed Chapter: 3 on 12/17/2016
Very interesting, the idea that those who made the choice to turn away eventually don't even remember they made that choice, or that they were ever anything else. Interesting and sad.

I really liked the whole conversation w Osse and Uinen -- it's not something you usually see, and they do have a unique perspective to offer...

Author Reply: Tolkien himself intimated that this was true. Those who became Balrogs in time were lost in their assumed nature and could not return to what they'd been originally.

I've seen a few stories in which Osse and Uinen figured, and I love working them in when I can.

Thanks so very much!

PSWReviewed Chapter: 2 on 12/16/2016
Well...right. Good old Curumo doesn't fill me with a great deal of confidence even right from the beginning. Can't be all that surprised that this went wrong...

Author Reply: I suspect that Curumo/Saruman/Curunir carried the seeds of his own downfall from the first, don't you? Heh! Thanks so much for the comments!

PSWReviewed Chapter: Prologue on 12/16/2016
Nice chapter...very interesting look at Maglor. This feels like a very legitimate description of how he may have spent his time over the years....

Author Reply: I would think he had had plenty of time to ponder his own family's questionable actions and the results of them, and would now wish to see Sauron follow his Master. Thanks so, PSW.

ImrahilReviewed Chapter: 22 on 8/27/2016
I won't say much on this chapter, as the Kingship Succession of TA 1945 is hotly debated elsewhere. For my part, I feel the Dunedain of Gondor made the only reasonable choice available to them. A stranger who had never set foot in Gondor could never be accepted as King, not when he had done nothing to aid Gondor in its hour of need and when other more suitable candidates remained, Aragon was crowned due to his great deeds in aiding Gondor and that there were no other Royals to oppose him.

Earnil received the Crown with the approval of all the Dunedain in Gondor, but your portrayal of his reluctance seems unfounded.

"The crown was claimed by Eärnil, the victorious captain; and it was granted to him with the approval of all the Dúnedain"

Earnil claimed the crown. That much is obvious. The victorious captain wanted to be King and took the crown with both hands. You don't go very deep into Earnil's character and the reader doesn't understand this proud Lord of the Dunedain would want to serve a stranger rather than rule himself. After all, it's Earnil who saves Gondor and corrects the failure of Onodher. Arvedui does nothing to really help Gondor in its hour of need. It is no wonder that Pelendur and the Council denied him, your interjection of Pelendur's unfounded personal jealousy notwithstanding. I had not intended to address that, but your addition of personal jealousy to Pelendur's motivations seems to stand out from Tolkien's legendarium. That is not a theme that the Professor included very often.

Author Reply: We know that Ondoher's daughter Firiel married Arvedui, heir to the King of Arnor. It is most likely that Gandalf helped to broker that marriage, and that he would serve to ferry correspondence between the two royal houses between daughter and her family by birth. I am certain that in the years of Ondoher's reign Gandalf was a frequent visitor to Gondor, particularly as it was predicted that should the lineage of Ondoher fail within Gondor, it was to the advantage of both lands that the King of Arnor should claim both crowns.

Once Ondoher and his two sons were gone, the prediction became stronger and more defined--if Arvedui should be successful in making his claim on Gondor's throne as well as that of Arnor, then both lands would survive and bloom. What of this prediction made by Malbeth was known or accepted within the southern kingdom we don't know, but Gandalf did know of it and would undoubtedly have supported Arvedui's claim, particularly if it also included that Arvedui would work alongside his wife, who was the remaining child of Ondoher, and as their son would have a legitimate claim to the throne as Ondoher's grandson.

I chose to look at Earnil as an honorable man who would possibly recognize that perhaps it was time to change the law in Gondor to accept the claims of a daughter as had been allowed in time in Numenor. And I am sorry that you don't like my characterization of Pelendur; but as it is plain in the Master's writing that it was Pelendur's own decision not to recognize the claim of Arvedui and Firiel, I simply see a degree of misogyny and jealousy in his nature. I do not see that jealousy as being unfounded, particularly if he'd hoped to marry Firiel himself. But certainly once it was accepted within Gondor that Arvedui's claim on behalf of his marriage to Ondoher's daughter was being dismissed. Earnil was the only acceptable claimant left and he'd have accepted the Winged Crown as his due.

Nor do I believe that Arnor didn't offer what help it could send, but that in its straitened condition it could do little but to send a small force to Ondoher's assistance, as I indicated in the text of my story in its last chapter and as happened with the Grey Company when it joined Aragorn for the final battles with Mordor. Also, it is most likely that Arvedui HAD set foot within Gondor, as the marriage was most likely held in Firiel's father's court.

As for jealousy not being one Tolkien included very often--well, the fact is that as a motivation it is part of his writings both within and without LOTR. Gondolin fell in large part due to jealousy shown by Turgon's nephew when Idril married Tuor, a "mere" man; Erendis was jealous of her husband's love of the Sea; Grima was willing to sell his honor for the chance to take Eowyn as his own; the jealousy known by the Sackville-Bagginses of Bilbo and Frodo led in the end to the Time of Troubles with Lotho making himself dictator to the Shire. Here I must disagree with you that Pelendur ought not to have been seen as possibly jealous. I don't think he wished to be King himself; but he could very likely have hated any other who married the woman he very well might have wished to claim as his own wife.

Author Reply: I wished to add this:

On FF.n someone identifying him/herself as "Pelendur" wrote much the same as you have of how Pelendur the Steward of Gondor was well within his rights to dismiss the claim of Arvedui. I don't know that you wrote those comments as "Pelendur," but at least you and "Pelendur" are most likely known to one another and are part of a group given to much discussion of this period of time. Yes, from the point of view of Pelendur himself he was right to favor Earnil, a Gondorian of royal extraction. But, from the point of view of the whole history of the remains of the former realm ruled jointly by Elendil and his two sons, his was probably not the right one, particularly as prophecies indicated both lands would suffer if Arvedui's claim as not accepted. Well, it wasn't, and within two generations Gondor was a kingdom with no king and Arnor was left with a king who denied himself his proper title as he had no viable kingdom left to rule; and it was another thousand years before Aragorn rose to reunite the realm of his ancestors and to rule both as Elessar.

ImrahilReviewed Chapter: 21 on 8/27/2016
This chapter is perhaps the worst I have read in regards to historical inaccuracies and a lack of understanding of Tolken's works and themes.

"They apparently intend to cross the River Anduin tomorrow and to roll through the Pelennor to the White City itself, where without the King it is expected Pelendur will give over the rule of Gondor to them."

Minas Anor was the greatest fortress in all of Gondor. Anarion raised that seven tiered city on the knee of Mount Mindolluin and encircled it with a Great Wall of unbreakable black stone. How in the world would the unorganized rabble of the Wainriders ever breach that fortress. How would they even cross the Anduin? And why, under any circumstances would the Steward of Gondor surrender his City, nay his entire realm to a horde of barbarians? it took centuries of unceasing warfare, a might host led by the Lord of the Nazgul and the immense mental pressure of Sauron himself for Denethor to lose his mind and give up. Why would Pelendur, with no such pressures even think of surrendering Minas Anor to a horde of savages that, by all record, had no possible way of break into the White City.

I did like reading about Earnil and his glorious triumph at the Battle of the Camp. But I have to express some dismay at your assumption that the Men of Gondor needed Gandalf's help at so many major battles. There is no evidence that Gandalf aided the South Kingdom in battle prior to the War of the Ring. Earnil was a proud and mighty Lord of Gondor and he would need no aid from a Wizard to achieved victory. Indeed, Gandalf paid little attention to Gondor until the line of Kings failed and they became embroiled in a hopeless struggle against Mordor.

I don't mean to be overly harsh, but your writing seems to denigrate the Men of Gondor to a great degree, and in my opinion does a disservice to the wise and mighty Dunedain of the South. Tolkien wrote them as wise and mighty Men, and in their days of might they would have been even more so. Your portrayal of the Gondor Men does not seem to agree with the Professor's depiction of the Dunedain.

Author Reply: Gondor is obviously your land within Middle-earth, even as the Shire is my favorite place to revisit in my writing. Yes, Minas Tirith is amongst the greatest citadels ever within Tolkien's lands; but Minas Ithil has already fallen to the Enemy's people, and despair tends to make for despairing predictions. Earnil cannot be certain as to how Pelendur will react to the news of the deaths of Ondoher and his sons.

As for Gandalf helping--if he was present, why should he not offer such assistance as he could? Certainly with his knowledge and experience with making fireworks he could easily have assisted to present distractions to terrorize the Wainriders' horses and many of their men as well. Earnil is not denigrated by accepting such assistance as offered by the Grey Wizard--he is simply an astute leader using all assets made available to him.

I doubt that the land of Gondor and its leaders need our championship one way or the other. I simply have my story to tell and am telling it in my way.

ImrahilReviewed Chapter: 20 on 8/27/2016
Another interesting chapter, but again there were some parts to this instalment that seem to just jump out as historically inaccurate and not truly part of Tolkien's themes.

" “‘Eärendur, however, fell victim to the idea that his great kingdom had grown to the extent that it should be able to withstand the forces of the Enemy even if it should be divided further."

Earendur died in TA 860,, and it was upon his death that Arnor broke into three rival provinces, Arthedain, Cardooan and Rhudaur. There is no evidence that Earendur willingly divided his realm, but rather that his three sons all wished to rule. But it is your mention of the Enemy in that sentence that just takes me out of the story. In TA 860 the Enemy had been defeated and formless for 860 years. There is no evidence that the Dunedain knew that Sauron's spirit survived. Given that Earendur's own ancestor took the Ring without any fear, the Men of Arnor and Gondor would have no reason to think that the Enemy still existed.

To quote Saruman, "The Enemy is defeated. He can never return." Of course, we the reader know better, but in-universe, the Dunedian in TA 860 had no reason to think that their Great Enemy still existed. It is little details like this that really matter in writing, especially when you are wiring in a prea-established universe that has official canon. Now many fanfics do not bother with canon and I would not critique those at all. But your tale makes an attempt to follow canon, but misses many times along the way. It is because of this that I feel compelled to point out the shortcomings.

For example, you refer to the White City as Minas Tirith. Yet the White City was called Minas Anor until TA 2002' when its sister city of Minas Ithil fell, and became Minas Morgul, the Tower of Sorcery. Only then did the King of Gondor rename his capital as the Tower of the Guard. To a learned Tolkien fan these things just stick out like sore thumbs.

Author Reply: The Enemy at that time within the northern kingdom would most likely be seen as the Witch-king of Angmar, or perhaps the land of Angmar itself. And although there is nothing definite indicating that Earendur split Arnor as was done, neither is there anything definite to indicate his sons did so after his death. Here I believe myself free to choose the former idea as anyone else might choose the latter. Also, although Sauron himself was now unable to take upon himself any pleasing shape since the downfall of Numenor and was believed to be totally conquered, yet still his influence does appear to have been sensed by at least some of his former enemies as he began making Oropher's former stronghold into Dol Guldur. Perhaps no one believed that what they sensed was Sauron himself, but always there is a vacuum created when one great leader falls, at which time another seeks to take his place. Sauron was believed utterly defeated, but apparently Khamul was intent on stepping into his shoes as Sauron had done with those of Morgoth.

So, I let later custom in naming the White City take precedence? Definitely an error, and I will seek it out to correct it when I ought to have called it Minas Anor. I write mostly late third- and early fourth-age stories, in which of course, it is called Minas Tirith. Thank you for bringing this to my attention.

ImrahilReviewed Chapter: 19 on 8/27/2016
This is an interesting tale and you clearly have a strong knowledge of the long history of Arda. But some parts of this take directly contradicts the work of the Professor. For we know of Gandalf's travels that "his main province was "The North", and within it above all the North-west, Lindon, Eriador, and the Vales of Anduin."

For the same reason, Gandalf did had little to do with Gondor.

"Gondor attracted his attention less, for the same reason that made it more interesting to Saruman: it was a centre of knowledge and power. Its rulers by ancestry and all their traditions were irrevocably opposed to Sauron, certainly politically: their realm arose as a threat to him, and continued to exist only in so far and so long as his threat to them could be resisted by armed force. Gandalf could do little to guide their proud rulers or to instruct them, and it was only in the decay of their power, when they were ennobled by courage and steadfastness in what seemed a losing cause, that he began to be deeply concerned with them."

And yet, you have Gandalf travel to Gondor and advise it's Kings many times. Do you not realize that what you ar writing directly contradicts the writings of Professor Tolkien? Moreover the way you write the interactions between Gandalf and the various Kings of the South-Kingdom does a great disservice to the wise and mighty Heirs of Anarion. The story is of course yours to write and you do write it well. But in the larger canon of Arda, Gandalf the Grey never advised the Kings of Gondor. His attention only fell to them in the last years of the Third Age.

Your timing on the Fall of Minas Ithil is also incorrect. Ithilien remained under the control of proud Gondor until the very end. The Wainriders never took it. And Minas Ithil only fell to the Ringwraiths after a brutal two year siege, nearly a hundred years after the date you have it at.

There are other historical and character inconsistencies, but those are the ones that stood out to me. I do enjoy reading this tale, but I feel compelled to offer some literary criticism, in what I hope is a constructive manner. Better attention to the work written by the Professor is something that all lotr fanfic writers should aspire to.

Author Reply: How frequent is "frequent" in your view, Imrahil? We know that Gandalf went about the lands of the north, and that in the south he was granted a name considered derisive, indicating they saw him as a spy on their lands. Do you equate that southern land with Gondor? I'd rather suspected it was Umbar and/or Harad that called him by that name. Gandalf indicated within LOTR that he was familiar with Gondor and the northern lands, and that he rarely went south of Gondor and never into the east where Sauron's influence was greatest.

His title of Mithrandir, or the Grey Pilgrim, was originally bestowed upon him by the Elves, and he was known by that name throughout Gondor, apparently. He was considered by all to be under the leadership of Saruman, and as you have pointed out, Saruman was far more interested and involved in the doings of Gondor than was Gandalf. If Gandalf had need to consult with Saruman as his superior, therefore, where would he go to do so? The Master has made it clear that save when he entered Middle-earh, Saruman rarely went north of the White Mountains, and spent perhaps as much time investigating matters in the eastern lands as he did in Gondor or Rhovanion--if he spent much time at all within the lands of the vale of Anduin north of Rauros. Therefore, it was most likely that Gandalf made his personal reports within Gondor itself, and probably within Minas Tirith. And if Saruman was once again absent on one of his own journeys when Gandalf arrived, it is most likely that Gandalf would remain within whatever lodgings were made available to the two of them until Saruman returned or Gandalf would be drawn away northward upon his own journeys and perceived duties. During such times as he did remain within Gondor, then I believe that he would at least make token visits with whosoever was King at the time, and offer his own advice, whether solicited or not.

I am sorry about my errors regarding Minas Ithil, but have decided to leave them for now. The city has not been described as heavily populated since the death of Isildur, and the last struggles over sovereignty of the city would have been hard for the lords of Gondor to countenance, I am certain.

Thank you for your criticism, for I do appreciate criticism when it is indeed constructive. And thank you also for the compliments. I do appreciate them!

NotACatReviewed Chapter: 39 on 4/23/2015
Yikes, what a place to have to stop reading!

This is a fascinating story, which I have much enjoyed. I shall now have to read all of your others to see how they fit together while I await in hope a fresh chapter of this one ;-)

Author Reply: This story is taking a bit longer than I'd hoped to finish, so please bear with me! I hope to have the next chapter finished soon, although I'm working on chapters to two other stories at the moment. So glad you enjoy this one--it has been close to my heart for many years, and I want so to get to the end of it, which has literally been finished for at least five years! Heh!

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