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Sundry Scrolls II  by Raksha The Demon 8 Review(s)
SoledadReviewed Chapter: 6 on 12/13/2008
Wow! That was incredibly sad. You should know that I'm one of those rare people who are on Denethor's side, but even so, this is a wonderful story.

Author Reply: I felt bad after I finished writing it; but I just felt that this is what was likely to happen if Denethor had not burned on the Pyre. If Faramir had lived, there would have been hope that Denethor could one day shake himself out of the prison he'd made for himself; but I can't see Denethor willingly letting Aragorn try to heal his dying son (though if I ever go into a DenethorLives! AU more deeply and for more chapters, perhaps I could find a way around that). To some extent, Denethor, who was a gifted man who could have been a great one, was his own worst enemy. (and to some extent, he lived at the wrong time)

Thanx much for reading and reviewing, Soledad.

Little DwarfReviewed Chapter: 6 on 6/29/2008
Oh, my! This was a very good ficlet, though I'm very, very glad it is just AU! I wouldn't have minded Denethor surviving, but Faramir's death because of his father's pride makes me angry!! :(

But I really loved your characterization, and of course the writing! (as an English major, good writing is a must for me, so that's why I keep mentioning I like your style...)

I also liked this part: "He had led the defenses on the south wall, fighting in the front until the Morgul-spawn retreated, caught between the hammer of the captains of the West who scoured the Pelennor and the anvil of Minas Tirith itself." - book Denethor would have been able to do just that, he, who walked clad in armor beneath his robes... (remember the scene in the book?)

Oh, and this: "The City (...) now throws open her broken gates to Isildur's upstart heir like a giddy strumpet opening perfumed knees." - what an expressive simile!!!

Author Reply: I'm glad the piece is AU too; it would just be too horrible to have Denethor survive only to sit around, embittered and irrelevent, and Faramir dead.

Yes, a strong, martial Denethor rallying the troops on the walls of Gondor would have been something to see. Tolkien said he had been a great Captain.

Poor Denethor would have felt, watching the people of Minas Tirith welcome their new King, that the City had personally betrayed him; the joy of the crowds would have put him in mind of a strumpet behaving promiscuously...

Thanx much for reading and reviewing, Little Dwarf!

BranwynReviewed Chapter: 6 on 5/18/2008
Ooh, a chilling but plausible AU! Denethor has enough wisdom to turn away from immolation but not enough wisdom to accept the restoration of the King. This fits very well with canon, where Denethor does waver before the end and Imrahil does remark that Denethor's mood has been "strange." Personally, I find this version of events, where Denethor's fall is only partial, more believable than canon.
Having Denethor realize that he doesn't know the words to the fashionable, new songs is a nice touch. He realizes that the world outside is changing even if he refuses to change. How his own irrelevance must have galled him, almost as much as Aragorn's kindness.
An original view of an often-discussed subject.

Author Reply: I do feel bad for Denethor here, he's become a prisoner of his own device. The angry, paranoid Denethor we saw in ROTK would not have readily let Thorongil/Aragorn, the upstart who Mithrandir was going to supplant him with, put his grubby vagabond hands on Faramir; he'd have trusted Gondorian healers to save his son. Sob.

Thanx for reading and reviewing, Branwyn.

meckinockReviewed Chapter: 6 on 5/11/2008
I think this is the most realistic "Denethor lives" AU I've ever read.

Author Reply: Thank you, Meckinock! Most of it just flowed out of me. I still feel bad about writing down such misery, but I think it was a likely consequence of Denethor's survival - he was not ready to accept Thorongil as King of Gondor, and would have been unwilling to trust him with Faramir's life.

I must say, I now have the urge to write a happy AU where Denethor survives the Pyre, Faramir lives, and Denethor settles down to writing political satire or founding the Boy Scouts of Gondor or something..

DreamflowerReviewed Chapter: 6 on 5/11/2008
How utterly sad, and utterly plausible. Victory turned to ashes for so many.

Author Reply: Thanx for reviewing, Dreamflower. Tolkien nearly killed Eowyn off himself, before finally uniting her with Faramir, who himself was a fairly late edition to LOTR. But I kept wondering, given Eowyn's despair in the Houses of Healing, how she survived without Faramir's intervention; she seemed intent on destroying herself.

LarnerReviewed Chapter: 6 on 5/11/2008
A too-likely expression of Denethor's pride--he hears that Gondor needs him and fights, but then continues to see the King Returned as his rival and so dooms his son, robs Eomer of his sister, and then sits in bitterness in the dark. He forgets the victories to clutch at glories that died long ago, and so fails to see the glory of now!

Author Reply: To be fair to poor Denethor, I don't think he robbed Eomer of his sister, he merely, and sadly, failed to save her. At the time, Denethor was probably preoccupied with the only duty he had left, and though I'm sure he treated Eowyn courteously, would not have deliberately hurt her, but would not have taken the time to figure out what she needed or how to give it to her.

I got the inspiration for Denethor's sitting in bitterness in a darkened chamber from a line of Faramir's about Numenoreans, in The Two Towers: Childless lords sat in aged halls musing on heraldry; in secret chambers withered men compounded strong elixirs, or in high cold towers asked questions of the stars.. Of course, at the time my story begins and ends, Denethor does not want to open the window and check out the great outdoors, not with Thorongil stomping through the streets towards the Throne of the Kings...

It's just as well that Denethor does not realize that his own stubbornness doomed Faramir; if he did realize it, I think his heart would totally shatter.

Thanx for reviewing, Larner!

phyloxenaReviewed Chapter: 6 on 5/11/2008
Horrors. I marvel at your choice of words and precision of pace, but even more so at your courage at logically developing this AU through all immediate consequences. I think I saw happier "Denethor Lives" stories, but they took more tweaks to the original plot to work, and yours is singularly intense and effective.

Author Reply: I do actually have a happier Denethor Lives AU tale in my head, but it is much longer and more complex, and it takes Denethor a long and lonely time to reach for what happiness he can still have. But I think that the odds are against that; and here, Denethor's suspicion of Aragorn, and the desire, flowing from that suspicion, to protect Faramir from him, backfired in the worst possible way.

Other AU writers, I think, have assumed that with the separation of Denethor from the palantir, followed by the loss of Sauron's fell influence, Denethor would become the great man he had once had the potential to be. I supposed it is not impossible. But I personally believe that much of Denethor's paranoia and anger and self-involvement came from his own mind, though exacerbated by palantir usage; and that he would not have suddenly deviated from years of habit and a resentment lasting half his life.

Thanx much for reading and reviewing, Phyloxena!

Linda HoylandReviewed Chapter: 6 on 5/10/2008
A brilliant look at "what if?". I fear it would have turned out just like this, hand Denethor lived. A chilling,haunting tale that makes me very glad the book turns out as it does.

Author Reply: This is one possible scenario - I can actually envision another one in which Denethor does not end up so isolated (but that would take much longer to write and I'm not sure I could do it justice), but Faramir would have to live in that version. I don't really see Denethor serving Aragorn as his Steward in any AU scenario.

This was rather grueling to write; I felt quite sorry for Denethor in this tale, but it is how I felt things might well procede, especially given his jealousy of Aragorn and conviction that Aragorn was not a valid claimant of the throne.

Thanx for reading and reviewing, Linda!

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