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Grace and Memory  by Larner 23 Review(s)
NrinkReviewed Chapter: 5 on 1/22/2013
I loved this chapter and the theme of continuity with the past and hope for the future. It's a such a Rosemary Sutcliff theme - I'm glad we share a favorite author (there's no other writer who crafts her prose so beautifully), and thanks ever so much for your kind comments on my story!


Author Reply: I'm so glad to find another who appreciates Sutcliff's writing--my "The Keys to the Kingdom" and "Ways Round" were both inspired by "Warrior Scarlet." I love the thought of the White Tree and its place within the history of Numenor and Gondor, and do hope that perhaps one of the seedlings of Aragorn's Tree might have found its way to Arnor, too.

Raksha The DemonReviewed Chapter: 5 on 7/6/2010
Oh, Squeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!! Here's Faramir at his honorable, historian, inspirational best! He takes the long view, and prizes what is left of the symbol as a connector to great deeds and times in the past as well as a beacon to inspire reverence and pride in the future.

I love it that the guards stood up straighter when Faramir had finished. The look at the doings of Arwen, Aragorn, and a certain little sapling in the snows of Mindolluin was neat too; but I was too busy sighing with admiration over Faramir - nice characterization!

Author Reply: Oh, yes--Faramir at his best! And I'm so happy you find the characterization good. Thanks, Raksha!

AndreaReviewed Chapter: 5 on 7/5/2010
All chapters were wonderful, Larner!

But the last one I liked the most!
As was pointed out before, Boromir is a man who lives in the present, who does not believe that after all those hundreds of years Gondor will have a king again. And so he makes plans for the future - without a king. He's a practical man.

Faramir on the other hand is aware of the past, Gondor's "Ancient Glory". He still hopes that this glory might be restored.

But even Faramir would not have thought it possible that this could happen in such a short time!

Author Reply: I wrote the last vignette first, and then found myself writing the others, as this last scene could not have happened had the others not happened first, I suspect. Yes, Boromir is definitely the practical, pragmatic one, while Faramir is the one who has been enamored of the history of the land and its symbols, and the remarkable place his people have known, once a people honored by the Powers of this world and still deserving of a level of grace and honor--if its people can continue to hold true.

That there would be complete turnaround within their lifetime--that must have been unexpected!

CairistionaReviewed Chapter: 5 on 7/5/2010
Another lovely installment. I love Faramir's passion, the guards' reaction to it, and the ending was a very unique way to show exactly when this took place. I do wonder, though, if Boromir perhaps was more cognizant of the meaning of the tree than Faramir believes, although, being more the warrior than a man of lore, whereas Faramir was both, he no doubt doesn't dwell too much on the past and its significance.

Author Reply: Boromir's true feelings are often hard to appreciate, or so I find as I seek to write him more and more often. The world has appeared to have changed completely for the Dunedain, and no one has stepped forward to claim the Kingship in a thousand years, after all; and he has questioned how long it takes to allow a Steward to become a King in his own right. His ties appear to be more to the present as it appears to be, while Faramir sees the history of Gondor's people as being as important as the present fears and needs for defense.

Thanks so!

Kaylee ArafinwielReviewed Chapter: 4 on 7/5/2010
Larner,

I was going to comment in the last one on how brave Anarion was, too, hiding away the sapling of Nimloth, but I decided to save it for this one. Yes, Meneldil, your father did not think of it as only a tree, most certainly! I am so glad Isildur set him straight!

Kaylee

Author Reply: I somehow managed to overlook this brief comment. Yes, Anarion was as brave, in his way, as was his brother. And Meneldil needs that reminder from his uncle as to the respect his own father felt toward the White Tree to realize that both sons of Elendil were involved in the rescue of the line of the White Tree from the ignoble end Sauron and intended for it.

Kaylee ArafinwielReviewed Chapter: 3 on 7/5/2010
Larner,

I can probably sympathize with Elendil's saying it more than anyone else. (probably because he's an established good guy who almost lost his son over this) Still, I'm glad Isildur's all right of course! Where would the story be if it weren't so? This was very brave and daring of Isildur, and as other reviewers have noted, all many of us seem to recall of Isildur is his mistake with the Ring! But if it weren't for him, there would be no Tree for the Faithful to look on to remember their fallen home...indeed if not for him, the Faithful probably wouldn't have escaped.

Kaylee

Author Reply: I find myself agreeing about empathizing most strongly with Elendil when hearing this said. And even the "mistake" with the Ring in the end comes down to the influence of Sauron as the portion of his will within the Ring exerts itself to make certain that both Its creator and the artifact are preserved--self-preservation is, after all, one of the strongest instincts hardwired into almost all creatures.

And the White Tree is, in the end, the sign of the Covenant between Elros's people and the Valar and Eldar--a covenant of faithfulness and alliance against the forces of darkness. If ever there is a need for such signs, it is when Sauron rises anew to assault not just Gondor but all of the Free Peoples of the West!

Kaylee ArafinwielReviewed Chapter: 2 on 7/5/2010
Zigur! Oooh, I'd forgotten about that name! Yes, he sounds very like Morgoth or Satan here and no wonder, as you said to another reviewer we just have to think of who his master is! Only a tree, indeed...I see Pharazon is clinging to the last vestiges of sense here, for now...

Very chilling!

Kaylee

Author Reply: If only Pharazon had been able to hold onto his sense at the last as well, and if he hadn't been so encouraged to fear death! His hubris and reliance on Sauron destroyed the land and most of his people!

Kaylee ArafinwielReviewed Chapter: 1 on 7/5/2010
"Faithfulness must grow, even as the Trees must grow." Indeed, and how lucky they are to be given a scion of Telperion's own image! Elros is very wise here, I like how you've portrayed him, Larner, very much. He reminds me of Atar Fiondil's Elros. :) (And since you two are two of my very favourite authors...not without cause...that's a compliment :) )

Kaylee

Author Reply: I thank you very much, Kaylee. I, too, love Fiondil's writing, although I tend to depict the Valar differently, I find. But if any man can be said to have been wise, I do believe it mostly true of Elros Earendilion! Thank you again so!

Kaylee ArafinwielReviewed Chapter: 5 on 7/5/2010
O Larner! This was a wonderful story...all of it!

I know my usual MO is to review each chapter, and I will, I just waited until it was done to get all of it (like Atar Fiondil *beams*) And like him I was struck by the resemblance to his "To Stand Fast Against the Night" in regards to the various reactions to the Tree.

Only a tree, indeed! Well, a very special Tree, and I am glad someone in each tale recognizes that.

Here, the Dead Tree is recognized and the newest Tree stirs from sleep at last...I am so glad!

Kaylee

Author Reply: I'm so glad it moved you as it did, Kaylee. The themes of faithfulness and grace wind ever through all of Tolkien's works, and it is perhaps inevitable that we shall write to them repeatedly!

Even Elendil recognized that the White Tree was a very special tree--he just questioned, I think, whether it was worth risking a human life to save.

Now the White Tree that has stood before the Citadel for so very long will at last be laid to rest, and its own child stirs indeed. And those who will find and bring it here and who honor it still prepare for that day even now, each by being faithful to the world as he or she finds it.

Thank you so!

FiondilReviewed Chapter: 5 on 7/5/2010
I decided to wait until you had finished this, Larner, before commenting. An interesting set of vignette spanning two whole ages from Elros to Faramir. I liked how you have one person in each declare, “After all, it is only a tree when all is said and done.” In my Akallabeth story about Tar-Palantir's coronation, "To Stand Fast Against the Night", I have his brother, Gimilkhâd, say the same thing. Interesting how some people can only see a tree while others see a promise, a symbol of something greater than themselves. Tolkien saw trees for what they truly are: beings of great majesty and full of the deep wisdom of the Earth. After reading his stories and the central part that trees tend to play in them, it is hard to look at any tree and say 'it's only a tree when all is said and done.' Well done!

Author Reply: I need to reread "To Stand Fast Against the Night," I think. But faithfulness, courage, and grace are all themes Tolkien has written into every story he wrote. As for the unifying comment of "But it's only a tree, after all"--that was the specific prompt I was given to work into the story I was to write. That it would spark five vignettes was not something I'd anticipated when I began writing this, believe me!

The last one came first, and the others sprang from it.

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