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Lonely Watches  by Canafinwe 7 Review(s)
PSWReviewed Chapter: 1 on 8/23/2016
So, I know I reviewed this the first time I read it, but I'm going to again (and not just because I'm stuck in my parking lot at work w a dead car battery;-).

This little story always speaks to me. I appreciate the understanding that even people well used to and comfortable with solitude can still end up throwing a pity party if it goes on for too long. (Been there, done that. :-P) I also love the metaphor/symbolism here -- not only the higher things such as laughter, conversation, and physical touch come from friendship, but it also feeds our souls in more basic ways (the warmth, light, food). And on a far less deep level, I'm just a sucker for a good Aragorn and Gandalf friendship scene. :-)

I have been enjoying your stories once again lately -- I am working through LWW (I have downloaded it to my Kindle for easier access, but if you would prefer I didn't, say the word and I'll remove it), and I think The Valley is Jolly will be next. As always, I hope all is well with you, and that life is good. Thanks for writing!

Thundera TigerReviewed Chapter: 1 on 6/14/2010
This was beautiful! There were two things that really struck me about this piece: setting and characterization. Setting first.

As much as anything else, this story seemed to be driven by its environment. Rarely have I seen such a convincing picture of the wilds in Eriador. They are painted as lonely, harsh, and desolate. Not necessarily unforgiving, like other lands. They're plentiful enough to sustain the Ranger population on the move. But they're not pleasant lands, either, which drives Aragorn to his current state. I also love the snippets you provide of the current makeup of the Rangers, with so many of them away at harvest. Naturally this will only make the wilds wilder, and patrolling their length as one instead of three is both more dangerous and more lonely. This isn't just Aragorn out by himself feeling morose. This is a host of factors, all starkly and vividly detailed, that play into a growing mindset.

Which brings me to the characters. As the star, Aragorn truly shines. In a dingy, dim kind of way, that is. All too often, writers fall into the trap of sullen Aragorn without sufficient cause, but your environment and your lead-in paint the perfect picture. There is more than sufficient cause for his current mood, and you explore that mood beautifully. The sudden shift in tone brought about first by an unnatural rider and then by an unexpected friend feel very natural, and the gradual lifting (albeit with lingering bitterness) of Aragorn's mood struck just the right balance.

But what really impressed me was Gandalf. He really does turn into quite the nag, but it's a jovial sort of nagging. Clearly he's concerned for Aragorn, but he never states his worries outright. Not all at once, anyway. He challenges him by degrees, first getting him to eat, then encouraging him to visit Rivendell, and finally getting him to sleep. It's just the way I'd expect the wily wizard to work, and all the while, he keeps up a light-hearted banter that reflects his recent visit to the Shire. Beautifully drawn and wonderfully detailed, all of it!

Author Reply: Thank you for the lovely, detailed feedback!

It's nice to have the remarks about the setting. The wilds of Eriador are fascinating, and I agree that they're too seldom explored. It is a strange land, with its long but largely forgotten history.

As for the characters... I'm glad you felt that Aragorn's mood was justified. He has his morose moments, even in the book, but they always have cause, and they never last long! And Gandalf.. he's a fabulous character, so complex and magnificent. I'm glad you felt that I did him justice in this little piece. Thank you!

RSReviewed Chapter: 1 on 6/14/2010
Hi Canafinwe

Welcome back! Glad to see this story here.

Such a hard life for the Dunedaine Rangers....especially this one! One can't imagine the loneliness and hardship that they face everyday. It's understandable to feel bitter at times. It's so nice to know that there are a few that appreciate them, such as Gandalf! I love their banter!

Great story!

Author Reply: He has his bitter moments, but fortunately they're brief! I can't imagine the fortitude it must take to protect those who revile you. Tolkien's Rangers give us such a portrait of sacrificial love, and of course they're underappreciated. I"m glad you enjoyed the story.

LarnerReviewed Chapter: 1 on 6/13/2010
A well-deserved and given night of true rest, caring, and companionship! Well wrought, Gandalf!

Author Reply: I'm glad you liked it. Thanks for reading!

shireboundReviewed Chapter: 1 on 6/13/2010
all he felt was a wretched envy for the peace and happiness won by the sweat of his brow and the blood of his people; the peace that he could never share.

What a poignant, perceptive story, and one that rings very true. Aragorn is as prone to despair and weariness as any, and perhaps even more so. What a treasured visit, however brief, and wonderful friendship. I especially love the fact that hobbits provided the feast. :)

Author Reply: Thanks so much! I'm glad you found it to be credible. As for the food... trust a hobbit to provied!

harrowcatReviewed Chapter: 1 on 6/13/2010
I loved this Canafinwe. Would you mind if I archive it to my reader?

Author Reply: I don't mind in the least: thank you for doing me the courtesy of asking, and please feel free!

Raksha The DemonReviewed Chapter: 1 on 6/13/2010
You really bring across the sheer hardship of not only Aragorn's life but that of his Rangers. I loved Aragorn's reactions to all the food Gandalf brings; it is quite heartwarming, poor guy needs some decent food as well as company.

Author Reply: I'm glad you enjoyed it! Gandalf always seems to know precisely what is needed!

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