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The Rider: Pestilence  by Branwyn 10 Review(s)
Raksha The DemonReviewed Chapter: 8 on 10/26/2007
I forgot to mention that Wulfgar's laughing commentary on his chess game with Grima is some seriously (though unwitting) scary foreshadowing!

As for why Boromir didn't stop to ask Saruman for directions to Imladris and a map - well, Boromir's a man, isn't he? Since when do men stop to ask for directions, especially a man who's Captain-General of Gondor and Lord High Warden of the White Tower, LOL?!

Raksha The DemonReviewed Chapter: 6 on 10/26/2007
Poor Eomund; he is not a patient man; and enduring captivity, even in a fairly gilded cage, is terribly hard on him. Good interpretation of Eomund, a man who sired two mighty players in the saga of LOTR but a man about whom we know very little...

Raksha The DemonReviewed Chapter: 4 on 10/26/2007
It's almost sad to see the ease with which Saruman manipulates Boromir. Of course, Saruman has had many years of practice, is the most powerful of the Istari, etc.; but I still can't wait til ol' Whitey gets his comeuppance.

Excellent characterisation of the lord of Isengard; and good dialogue.

Author Reply: Remember that Boromir is only 20 years old at the time of this story. There is no way he would be a match for Saruman, and he does manage to resist being manipulated while using the palantir.

annmarwalkReviewed Chapter: 7 on 10/24/2007
Boromir's strength of mind and will had been all that Saruman could have hoped for. But that was exactly the problem. Saruman had overreached himself when he had played on Boromir's relationship to Éomund and the alliance with Rohan to convince him to look in the stone.

YAY Boromir YAY!

annmarwalkReviewed Chapter: 3 on 10/24/2007
Very clever of Saruman to manipulate Boromir so, using his loyalty to his oaths of support for Rohan to lure him into exploring the Palantir. And how very frustrating for things will turn out for Saruman, hehe.
how unfortunate would it be for Boromir to look into the stone and find his father looking back?
That has a big WRIT ME PLZ all over it, you know?

annmarwalkReviewed Chapter: 2 on 10/24/2007
There's a wonderful, almost palpable sense of creepiness and dis-ease pervading this chapter, and the closing scene is just perfect:
“Soon” Saruman whispered. “One has come who had the right to look into your depth. And he will tell me what secrets you hide.”


annmarwalkReviewed Chapter: 8 on 10/24/2007
Your writing is pure elegance - there's just no other way to describe it.
Eomund took one of the obsidian pawns and turned it over in his hand. Its leering face reminded him of an orc.

“The next move is Grima’s, though I fear my defeat will be swift,” his cousin told him with a laugh and a shrug. “He will soon destroy my housecarls, leaving my king unprotected. He plays with great cunning.” On the chessboard, the ivory king stood alone, his few remaining retainers scattered across the board.

I could bash my head against a keyboard for a thousand years, and never come up with anything as perfectly perfect as that.

He disliked the need for secrecy in the matter of the palantir, and though Saruman was an old and trusted ally, the thought of his mind laid bare to another filled him with unease.

I don't recall ever coming across another fic wherein Boromir uses the palantir, and setting this in Isengard under Saruman's watchful eye was a stroke of genius! How serendipitous that your fellow writers were able to follow your lead so skillfully, stitching in the details, as it were, of the tapestry you designed. I'd be quite intrigued to see a sequel, or a companion piece to this - I'm not sure Denethor would be entirely pleased to learn that his Firstborn had been introduced to the sinister, alluring power of the palantir.



Author Reply: I think Denethor would hit the ceiling when he learned that Boromir had been using the palantir! *tries to duck the flying plot bunny* I liked the idea of putting Saruman and Boromir together because they are both prima donnas. It would be a contest to see who was bossiest. Thanks for the kind review, but no need to bash your head on the keyboard--your own writing is perfectly perfect all the time!

annmarwalkReviewed Chapter: 1 on 10/24/2007
As always, I love your vivid description in conjunction with your extraordinary eye for detail:
Eomund closed his eyes as he remembered seeing a mare nudge anxiously at her lifeless foal.
I'm sure I've compared your writing to a tapestry before; there's such richness and depth to it. And what a great entrance for Grima son of Galmod! It's intriguing to not be picturing him as Brad Dourif, for a change!



Author Reply: Maybe Grima was cute when he was younger? In a slightly nerdy way. I always found it disturbingly rascist that the black-haired Rohir is the traitor. I was half-hoping that someone would write an AU story where Grima does not go over to the dark side.
Thanks so much for your kind comments!

Raksha The DemonReviewed Chapter: 8 on 10/24/2007
A masterful final chapter; the seeds of treachery are sown and sadly reaped, in the deaths of Linhir, Wulfgar and Eomer and in Grima's rise to power. Linhir's death was especially sad; he tried with his dying breath to tell the truth of the danger in Isengard.

And good for Boromir, choosing skirt Isengard on his way to Imladris.

I feel much better knowing the final fates of Grima and Saruman.

Author Reply: Thanks so much for your kind review!
Boromir wanders around Eriador for days and weeks looking for Rivendell. Why doesn't he stop in Isengard on the way to the Gap of Rohan and ask Saruman the Wise for a map or at least directions? Actually, why don't he and Denethor ask Saruman the meaning of the riddle before sending Boromir on a quest in the wilderness? When I wrote the opening chapter, I was wondering what the reason was for their evident mistrust of Saruman and wizards in general. (Though Denethor is mistrustful of anyone who might be more intelligent than he is.) I was also wondering how Grima gained a place of influence among the Rohirrim. He must have had some accomplishments (real or faked) to his name or it is doubtful he would have gained entry to the king's court.
Yes, this was a gloomy ending to the story (even Boromir doesn't last much longer), and I had to console myself with the thought that Saruman and Grima get their just desserts in the end.

Raksha The DemonReviewed Chapter: 1 on 10/24/2007
Saruman certainly knows how to make an entrance, doesn't he - such a drama queen!

Excellent opening chapter. One wonders whether Grima was still loyal at this time, or already thinking of turning his allegiance; and whether other Rohirrim were in the habit of condemning him as a Dunlending before even knowing him.



Author Reply: Heh, drama queen is a good description. I dearly wanted to write an extravagantly cheesy entrance for him but decided to spare the next writer. Thanks so much for your kind comments. I was imagining that the other Rohirrim were in fact prejudiced against him because of his shadowy parentage. It would provide motivation for his subsequent betrayal.

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