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The Eagle's Gift  by Raksha The Demon 14 Review(s)
LarnerReviewed Chapter: 1 on 7/9/2007
It is too bad that Denethor didn't realize the authority behind the blessing uttered over him that evening; and it is apparent that Thorongil managed to have a vision of just how short Denethor's happiness with his bride would be.

I'd never thought of a horn charm, but I can certainly appreciate that even in Gondor such superstitions should have existed. A very interesting superstition indeed, and how like Men to wish to protect their manhood! Heh!

MartaReviewed Chapter: 1 on 7/9/2007
Ah, Raksha, this was lovely! Denethor is as masterful as I imagine him, but it's tempered by just that hint of nervousness to keep him from being scary. His love for Finduilas is palpable and very much in-character for him, and the tradition fascinated me. Part of me wonders whether the loss of Finduilas might later make him jealous of Thorongil even more than he is now.

There was one thing that puzzled me. Aragorn seems so sure of Arwen's affection for him--the fact that they will one day wed doesn't seem in doubt--but IIRC the only contact Thorongil seems to have had with Arwen at this point is just after he is told his name, and Arwen rejects him. It seemed just a little off that Aragorn was so sure. I'm not sure how to fix it, or even if I would if it were my choice, though. That's the only thing that jumped out at me in this really lovely tale, and I'm glad you wrote it.

Author Reply: I was quite nervous of not getting Denethor right, or at least translating the version I heard in my head onto paper; so I'm pleased that you found him credible.

It could well be that Denethor would imagine Thorongil happily wedded after Denethor is widowed and so bereaved; and that could indeed heighten his jealousy of Thorongil.

Aragorn never really says, or, in my opionion, implies, that he's sure of Arwen's affection. It's Denethor who assumes that Arwen is Aragorn's lady. I believe at this point that Aragorn is sure that he loves Arwen, and will one day go and find her and woo her properly, and being a confident sort, his hope that she will come to love him is strong enough to be a belief. Thorongil only tells Denethor that he has room in his heart for one love only, and she is far away; and then refers to her as 'the lady I will see again'. There's no reason for Thorongil to tell Denethor that Arwen rejected him as a callow youth; so he stays quiet on the subject, as on so many others, and speaks only the truths that he can voice.

Thanx for reading and reviewing, Marta!

RadbooksReviewed Chapter: 1 on 7/9/2007
This was a great little story, Raksha! I loved the nervousness of Denethor as he waited and then when Thorongil showed up... wow! How and why Ecthelion could do that to his son is beyond me! But the verbal sparring between the two men was very well done, you captured the tension perfectly. This is one of my favorite lines:

Finally Thorongil lifted his chin, a slight but prideful motion. Anger left his face, and his eyes shone with that fey light Denethor had seen once or twice before. The Steward had noticed his favorite’s occasional revelation of sudden, hidden power too, and called it "the air of Númenor." Captain Thorongil looked more like a challenged king than a landless warrior.

I'm sure that Aragorn had a hard time 'cloaking' himself at all times, his true nature had to come out at times and this describes it very well.

A most enjoyable read!

Author Reply: Thanx for the review, Radbooks!

This was an exciting, but nerve-wracking night for Denethor. I think that Ecthelion wanted to make sure that Denethor received the charm, thought of it a bit late, and also wanted, perhaps unrealistically, to bring his son and the man he loved like a son together as if they were brothers. Also, he could trust the errand, with all its implications, to Thorongil; and could trust Thorongil to keep quiet about it.

Aragorn knew when to be humble, and didn't mind veiling himself much of the times, but even he could only take so much from the man born to be his Steward. And Denethor was skilled at finding people's vulnerable points and striking with ruthless verbal accuracy; as we saw him do to his own son in ROTK.

Agape4GondorReviewed Chapter: 1 on 7/8/2007
Whoa! An extremely telling line - "Tell me more of my father‘s will, Captain," he said, smoothing his voice to mildness as he locked eyes on the man presuming to present the Steward’s wishes to the Steward’s own son..."

This was very good, Raksha. The innuendos, the words used as 'training' swords to discern more about each other - you create whole worlds in your tales. Many the time, they are so subtle that I miss exactly what you are saying. I have a sneaky suspicion that Denethor 'missed' a bit of what Thorongil was saying.

Author Reply: The time to watch Denethor very, very closely is when, I think, he seems most mild and friendly. Fortunately, Thorongil is experienced in the art of cryptic comments, evasion, and other responses for verbal attacks. Denethor was being pretty restrained; actually, due to his being a bridegroom and not wanting to profane the rites through rudeness, or openly cross the will of his liege-lord.

Thanx for reading and reviewing, Agape.

BranwynReviewed Chapter: 1 on 7/7/2007
Another insightful yet funny tale from your pen. It is good to see a moment of peace between the two of them at the end, though of course it cannot last.
Well done!

Author Reply: Thanx for the review, Branwyn!

Well yes, a moment of peace and something close to amity between the two rivals; especially since Denethor felt superior and victorious. In other circumstances, if Aragorn had been born in Minas Tirith, his line restored to the Kingship within the past 200 years or so, he and Denethor could have been friends.

TiggerReviewed Chapter: 1 on 7/7/2007
Wow!! Well done Raksha. Well done indeed.

You've brought out in Denethor everything I hate about the character. He's so proud and full of himself and arrogance that he can't see beyond his nose. The fact I wanted to reach out do to him what he was imagining doing to Thorongil is a good thing and means you've captured him perfectly.

I especially liked this...

Denethor decided not to be annoyed by the captain’s behaving as if he were equal in station to the son of Gondor’s Steward. After all, no man held higher station or fortune than Denethor, especially now.

Yes, at that moment in time Denethor had everything, but if he only knew...

I've often thought what a shame that Ecthelion so favoured Thorongil over Denethor. From the hints we're given by Tolkien, Ecthelion either knew who Thorongil was or very strongly suspected who he really was. Instead of treating him as Denethor's equal in a way and trying to get them to work together, the Steward so favours Thorongil, his son resents it and comes to despise The Eagle.

In his own bungled way of perhaps preparing for the future Return of the King, Ecthelion has endangered that very thing by overlooking his own son and his worth. All of that is shown so well here w/the way you have Denethor reacting to his father having sent Thorongil to begin w/, but w/his other comments to himself about his father. They're all bitter and sour.

Poor Thorongil too. He realizes how Denethor feels about him, but there's not much he can do about it. It doesn't matter how honest he is w/Denethor, The Steward's Heir will twist it whichever way he wants. Regardless of what he says, Denethor will take offense and he knows it. A very, very difficult and narrow tight rope walk for the Eagle of the Star to traverse.

This was a very satifying fencing session to read about. Thanks for sharing it w/us Raksha!! :o)

Author Reply: What a nice long review, Tigger! I'm too tired and busy to do it justice with a deserving reply right now, but I'll get back to you within a few days or a week (maximum).

Author Reply: Hi, Tigger. Yes, Denethor is very proud and full of himself. I think one reason he was scheduled for downfall is that he lacks humility; which is possibly a cardinal sin for Tolkien's characters. And yet, of course, he is an interesting character to write, and a fascinating character to study, thanks to the words, actions and background given to him by JRRT.

Ecthelion's favoritism of an outland captain over his son/heir presents a problem for Tolkien Canoniacs like me. On the one hand, we are told that the younger Denethor was a worthy man, more kingly than the Stewards had been in generations, smart, far-seeing, masterful, skilled at arms, etc. A father who would outwardly favor a stranger over such a son would have to be foolish or mean. But Tolkien says that Ecthelion is wise. I could only interpret this seeming contradiction to mean one of two things or possibly both - Ecthelion felt that his masterful, proud only son needed a check on his arrogance, and the charismatic Eagle of the Star would provide it through Ecthelion's favoring the outlander...Or Ecthelion respected his son, but had trouble understanding him and liking him, as opposed to Thorongil, who he liked instantly, and happily promoted. Either way, I see Ecthelion as loving his son, but finding Thorongil far easier to get along with...

It is definitely possible that Ecthelion knew, or had a good idea, of Thorongil's true identity.

Sadly, Aragorn would had to have walked a fine line, on eggshells, around Denethor. I like to think that in this story, they reached a brief detente, at least on one issue.

Yes, it was sort of like a fencing session - I felt tired after writing it, with those two fellows lunging, feinting and parrying...

Thanx for reading and reviewing, Tigger.

grumpyReviewed Chapter: 1 on 7/7/2007
Loved this one, it had me laughing, "toss his father's pet bird off the Tower's height to see it the Eagle could turly fly." Poor Aragorn how did he let himself be talked into doing this.

Author Reply: I'm sure Aragorn would have thought, when Ecthelion gave the order to deliver a fertility charm to Denethor, that a moonlight stroll in the Ephel Duath might have been preferable, but the Steward probably didn't give him much choice.

Thanx for the review!

Reviewed Chapter: 1 on 7/6/2007
Great! Funny without crossing the line into crude, this is a really well-thought out little bit of Denethor vs Thorongil, which is a model I always enjoy

Author Reply: Thanx much for reading and reviewing. The fellows were a challenge to write; but never dull. And it was kinda fun to write a situation in which Denethor emerges victorious, or at least with an upper hand, though it is only temporary.

Linda HoylandReviewed Chapter: 1 on 7/6/2007
A brilliant glimpse into the uneasy relationship between these two,almost like an intricate dance or maybe fencing match? It is so ironic that Aragorn will eventually guarantee the survival of Denethor's line !What a team these two could have been were it not for Denethor's pride !

Author Reply: I have a feeling that these two were very good, and practiced, at fencing; verbally and literally; probably elevated it to an art form!

Yes, it is thanks to Aragorn that Denethor's line survived - if Denethor hadn't toasted himself, he would have been aware of the irony, but scarcely would have appreciated it.

Thanx for the review!

AmyReviewed Chapter: 1 on 7/6/2007
Edgy and uncomfortable as such a situation should be, especially among these two!

Both behave rather well toward their ladies, once they stop acting like dogs at a fire hydrant!

Author Reply: Can't you just see them hackling? I'm reminded of two alpha dogs circling each other suspiciously, until one of them makes a placating gesture. It must have been wearying for Aragorn to veil himself for so long; though perhaps it was also liberating. Not this night though!

Thanx for reading and reviewing, Amy!

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