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At Hope's Edge  by Cairistiona 352 Review(s)
PSWReviewed Chapter: 24 on 3/22/2018
Hee! Even after multiple reads, this story about little Estel is still my favorite I’ve ever read. It makes me smile every time ...

Author Reply: That makes me so happy to hear, thank you! I had a lot of fun imagining and writing that little memory. :)

PSWReviewed Chapter: 999999 on 8/20/2016
Yep....it was good this time through, too. :-)

Thanks again for writing, hope all is well with you!

Author Reply: Ah, thank you! I'm glad it's holding up over the years (and to multiple readings!)

All's well here... busy with real life and family and a daughter in her last year of high school. Who was 8 when I published this. Yikes, does the time fly.

layneReviewed Chapter: 2 on 6/16/2014
I'm thinking that that feeling of being watched was Sauron watching them through the palantir.

Author Reply: Ooh, hey, Layne, you're reading my ancient story! Thank you! :)

And... I cannot comment because of Spoiler Reasons, drat it. But hope you enjoy finding out just who and/or what is watching them.

MikoNoNyteReviewed Chapter: 26 on 1/31/2013
Angst, angst, angst! You really tortured poor Strider. *snickers*

re: Aragorn's .. whatever you want to call it: dream? I used to think renderings of Faramir's dreams were really over the top. You've out done them. What kinds of nightmares does this guy carry around inside of him? *shudders*

Aragorn and Elrond; the healing and the catharsis - You have, beyond all doubt, ripped a hole in my heart.

We all face grief differently, and Aragorn seems to have bought in to the tale that men are strong, men don't weep, men don't mourn. But oh yes they do! It takes a stronger man to face his grief and let it flow through him, washing clean the soul. It was so nice to see Elrond responding to him as a father would, and telling him just how silly it is not not let the feelings flow.

And you are still out-doing yourself with wittiness! "
Erestor being Erestor, argued it was fifty-one..." I laughed a very long time!

And, before I leave off: did you write this before or after Enzilbeth's lovely first draft of "Hobbit to Hero"?

*still laughing*

The change of point of view in the last two chapters seemed a bit odd; I never expected journals of Aragorn. I thought perhaps it was your way of dealing with recalcitrant muses or even difficult scenes that refused to be written correctly. The unease over the change was only minor and was fine after I read on, for Aragorn's sense of the ridiculous came through sharply!

I was also glad to see the foreshadowing of events yet to come, and Gandalf's interaction thereof. But I think most of all you caught Aragorn's spirit: the rise to the challenge that Gandalf presented, the danger and unknown that he would face trying to find Gollum. I literally shuddered when Aragorn realized the finding of The One Ring - it felt very real - coupled with Aragorn's lightening change of attitude -

*something stilled within me. I felt calm again, almost relaxed. It is the same feeling that comes over me in those last seconds before the battle is joined, when all questioning and planning and speculating are done and it remains only to raise sword and fight*

That was something else I really liked as well. That call to battle that was like a drumming in his blood. Throughout the story you've used very strong emotional resonances (at least to me). I would not mind having this Dunedan on my team in a fight, nor would I want to face off against him. He does have a recklessness at this point (Hell, at all points really!) and a willingness to sacrifice both his body but his desires. It's young yet in him, but his "I'm fine" answers to any questions of his health point out just how close he's willing to cut it.

Last lines are important as well. And while not the most driving, not something to rally the troops with, this one still got me grinning ear to ear:

“You have a way about you, Aragorn, of making the hardest challenge sound easy.”


End of the story, but not end of the saga. I'll be returning to drive you insane my friend!

Author Reply: Yay, you survived until the end! *g* I'm so glad you liked it... and it sounds like you'll be wreaking revenge on me for driving *you* insane with my Aragorn torturing. hee hee. I don't mind at all.

To answer your questions/comments:

Regarding Elrond being fatherly, I can't *not* see him being a loving father. That's how he is in the books, and that's how I prefer to see him in my fics. Yes, he and Aragorn had that Thing between them, but I think they still felt love toward one another, even though it might have caused misunderstandings at times, like the one that occurred in this story. As for Aragorn being a typical male "deny all emotions", I think it was a bit of that but to my mind the bigger problem was that the Black Breath really messed with his mind, because he was already reeling both from his own illness and from losing so many of his people, and then losing Mallor. I saw him in my mind as fearing to give in to tears because he might not have found his way back out again, and too much was at stake. Of course, he probably couldn't have sussed that out for himself without years of therapy. *g*

Regarding Inzilbeth: I wrote this several years before ever seeing Liz' book... indeed, her book was just something that, at this time, was an idea she was thinking of pursuing. It was actually fanfic that brought us together as friends when she emailed me about "The Mariner's Son". She assisted me as a beta in all the rest of my tales, including a ton of really helpful input on this one, which was my first major foray into LOTR fic (and there's things in it that I intend to revise for having a better understanding of Tolkien and Aragorn now than I did back then).

Regarding the change of POV in the epilogue: Call it a folly (though I hope it wasn't too self indulgent). *g* I love journal form stories, and I hate epilogues that are nothing more than telling what happened. I could have made the next year's story a sequel, but I wanted Aragorn to tell us the story himself. So yes, it might be a little bit of a "Hey, what the heck??" moment at first but hopefully, like you said, it was just a little bobble before the reader finds their footing again.

Finally, the Dunadan and "battle song" that courses through their blood: I based that a teeny bit on the idea of berserkers. I don't think the Dunadan ever lusted for battle nor lived for it, but I do like to think they met it with, if not enthusiasm, than bravery bordering on that. I have no idea if that's very Tolkienish but it's very cairistiona-verse-ish. *g*

I do hope you like the rest of my stories. Most of them include at least a mention of Aragorn's "chosen men", and some feature them in central roles. I plan on doing many more stories, as time allows. So, er, brace yourself. *g*

Thank you soooooooooo much for all the thoughtful comments and nice words! :)

MikoNoNyteReviewed Chapter: 17 on 1/28/2013
Had to stop to remark again.

This has been an incredible journey thus far.

Your combat again has me grinning as most people cannot do melee or combat to save their lives.

And Glorfindel! OmG!!! I have loved this elf since the beginning but never EVER could find a fanfic that did him justice. Here is his justice. His confrontation with the Nazgul was epically enjoyable!

I could feel a bit sorry for Aragorn, giving up command, yet here is a guy who quibbles about even BEING in command some days - to hear him grumble anyways. And of course the combat of Glorfindel as witnessed by our intrepid Aragorn and Halbarad! Actually allowing the elf to enjoy his combat! Rich!

I'm quickly running out of praise for this. I'm finding more and more to like about it; not just as a fanfic, but as a well written story with lots of mature, professional descriptions and it warms my heart. Whatever took me so long to wander over here I'll never know, but I'm very glad I did.


Favorite quote so far (and it's getting more difficult when you use lines like this and get me giggling like a school-girl): "If you were as mighty a warrior as Glorfindel, who killed a Balrog, who died and was reborn, and who drove out the Witch-king from Arnor, you could put bells on your horse and sound trumpets everywhere you went and still the orcs would run far, far from you."

Author Reply: I'm still grinning over your review! Thank you so much. It means so much when someone likens my writing to professional standards, and I really am pleased you like my take on Glorfindel. I want to portray him as the ultimate warrior, but still having the joy of the Eldar--it's a fine line between too light and too grim with him. As for writing combat... I can only cast blame on all those Bernard Cornwell books I've read! His Sharpe novels are still a big influence on how I write action scenes.

I hope you continue enjoying this!

MikoNoNyteReviewed Chapter: 8 on 1/16/2013
This was a tough read, and probably just as difficult to write. Battle scenes (melee) drive me wonkers. I've written many and you always need to know where your fighters are and what they are doing. You did that very well; enough so that following Aragorn's fear and emotional response - and his reasons for doing what he did for gosh sakes! - were easily read and understood. Bravo!

You went into some really heart heavy descriptions of what Aragorn was going thru with the Black Breath. I've read several versions of what fan writers have to say about it, some better than others, and certainly Tolkien was no help, but yours I must say bit like a cobra. I could readily follow the deterioration and utter helplessness that Aragorn was going through; the battle of his own insecurities which were an incredible weapon against him! as well as the terror that made him weak. And then following with Halbarad's remark of "terror looking through your eyes" really brings home Aragorn's humanity and his vulnerability which we, as readers or writers, often forget. Tolkien painted his hero as Heroic in the mythological sort, like Beowulf or Herakles. Here we see he is anything but!

Favorite line so far, another one with humour: "to be chieftain, to marry Arwen, to fulfill your destiny and rule Gondor and Arnor and save Middle-earth from all evil, bad weather, bad manners, and spoiled vegetables."

Halbarad for the win! And I laughed myself silly. Thank you!

Author Reply: Thank you, Miko! That was a really hard section of the story to get through, to keep Aragorn's heroic status intact but still show that he's human and subject to fear, as his reaction in the Prancing Pony showed (yes, that may have been a perhaps unintended leftover from when Aragorn was still a hobbit named Trotter who'd been tortured by Sauron... but it made it into the book as part of Aragorn's story, so it demands explanation!). And Halbarad, bless him, just can't handle any tough situation without tossing in some humor. *g* Hope the rest of the story keeps holding up for you!

MikoNoNyteReviewed Chapter: 4 on 1/14/2013
I've gotten this far along and just HAD to remark.

First off I love your Aragorn.

Secondly, I love your voice. You have a very fluid style that carries the reader along, pausing now and again to reveal some thought, or emotion, then moving along into action. It's rare in Fanfic to get a writer that does that and I am SO glad to find one who does. (Yes, you've made the "Top 10 List") :) Your descriptions are very rich and full, tackling the locale, the people and their appearances and giving just enough to fill in a picture without bogging down with details (sometimes Tolkien would wax poetic over the sky and grass and frankly that does not carry a story along. Sorry Prof!) I felt I was there, in the mountains, in the valleys while reading this, be it a mountain side or a dark, cozy inn, and filled each descriptive element with just enough history to make it feel lived in.

Favorite quote thus far had me rocking with laughter: "Oh ho! Lock up your daughters, all you fathers That handsome rascal Strider's a'prowlin' these parts!"


Author Reply: Wow, thank you, Miko! Goodness, you're making me blush. I'm so glad you enjoy my style of writing--I've always tried hard to avoid what I call "info dumps", preferring instead to weave details with dialogue and action. To me, that's the heart of "showing" vs "telling", and I do think it keeps the pace of a story from bogging down. I hope you enjoy the rest of the story... I wrote this many years ago now, and it was my first stab at LOTR fiction on a novel scale. There's many parts I read now and cringe (I'm planning on a revision someday, to post at ff-net, because I do want to keep the original as posted here). In fact, in this chapter, when I reread it just to re-familiarize myself with it (funny how you forget what you've written), I found a giggle-inducing error where I used "hoard" instead of "horde".

*facepalm*
*imagines Smaug's treasure taking out the town*
*facepalms again*
*makes correction*

Thanks again for your kind words! Made my day!

Ranger~ArratayReviewed Chapter: Prologue on 10/6/2011
I like it so far :) It's probably going to take me a while to get through this story since I have been working on the computer a lot lately and I'm ruining my eyes doing so.
Loved the reference to Sharpe's "Chosen Men" there ;)

Hope to read more soon,
Ranger~Arratay (Lady Wallace from FF.net)

Author Reply: Oh dear, don't ruin your eyes! But thank you for your kind words (and yay! for setting up a reader account here). I hope you enjoy the story--I wrote it quite a while back and it was one of my first real forays into writing LOTR fic, so there's things that aren't quite as polished as in my later stories, but there you go... the evolution of a writer right before your eyes. *g* May you find it enjoyable!

TirnelReviewed Chapter: 26 on 12/10/2010
I loved the trotter bit thrown in there. Halbarad is my favorite ranger, next to Aragorn of course. And despite the fact that I knew he could not die yet (that's later) you got me really worried when you shot him. Good job on that.

Author Reply: Thank you, Tirnel! It's always good to hear from a fellow Halbarad & Aragorn fan. I'm glad you enjoyed my take on them both, and very glad I made you fear for Halbarad's life "even though". :) Thanks for taking the time to leave a review!

HanasianReviewed Chapter: 999999 on 9/6/2010
I read much of this story and had to say I liked it much. Being partial to the Dunedain Rangers leading up to, during, and after the War of the Ring, I quite enjoy reading other people's thoughts and perspectives on them. Very good write this.

Author Reply: Thank you, Hanasian! I'm glad you enjoyed the story, and thought to drop me a review to let me know. I must confess to being very partial to the Dunedain myself. :)

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