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The Eagle on the Ramparts  by Canafinwe 10 Review(s)
obsidianjReviewed Chapter: 6 on 11/28/2015
Grrr, Denethor is getting on my nerves. His attitude towards his father and Thorongil is making me wonder why the people of Minas Tirith would follow him at all. Ecthelion might be a bit too trusting, but Denethor makes it sound as if Ecthelion is not right in his mind. Thengel counts for nothing in Denethor's eyes. I admire Ecthelion for his patience with his son.

quodamatReviewed Chapter: 6 on 11/12/2015
I really admire the way you are able change the tone of your writing as you switch between points of view. It really gives me the sense of being in the characters' heads, so to speak, as opposed to listening to a single narrator switch from talking about one scene to talking about another.

Your Denethor is very chilling. It makes it easy to see how he ended up where he was by the end of LotR, though I sort of wonder how he lasted so long! On the other hand, I imagine he's the kind of person who would be much calmer once he held sole authority as Steward, as long as he wasn't facing any real challenges to his authority. I think some people who are able to act as reasonably benevolent leaders (so long as others remain subservient) are dreadful followers...and deadly in any kind of power struggle. Actually, I just recently listened to a history-themed podcast that was talking about Henry VIII of England, and I got an impression of him as just that sort of person. So, there's a sign that you really do excel at characterization!

Thanks, as always, for sharing your work!

Author Reply: I do try to keep the narrative tone suited to each point of view: it's lovely to know I've succeeded. I agree completely about Denethor. He has a lot of problems, but many of them are tied up in insecurity -- in his position, in his father's eyes, ultimately upon his seat of power. It's a very apt comparison, Denethor and Henry VIII, at least as regards their response to any perceived challenge to their authority. Thankfully Denethor was saner than Henry in other matters, though!

MattReviewed Chapter: 6 on 11/6/2015
Really nice job on this. I like the immediate conflict between Ecthelion and Denithor. Some have thought the enmity between Denithor and Aragorn took a while to develop, others thought it started right away. Your framing of right away works very well. Thanks loads for your hard work on this, looking forward to the next installment.

Author Reply: Thank you! The choice to present the conflict early was character-driven, not plot-oriented. Given Denethor's lust for knowledge and his propensity for swift judgment in canon, it seemed most probable that Thorongil's secrets would put his back up almost immediately. I'm glad to know it's working well!

SnehaReviewed Chapter: 6 on 11/6/2015
I wish Thorongil could just challenge the Heir to a duel and pound him into the dirt! How uncourteous of Denethor! He is stern and proud, probably someone of impeccable character who has little human warmth and little understanding or compassion for human faults. I wonder how he turned out that way, his father seems wise and kind. I wonder if he would have ever yielded the throne to Aragorn had he revealed himself, probably no proof would have been enough for him unless Elendil himself decreed it so!
I am waiting to see the coming of Finduilas, perhaps she would soften him a bit.
I woke up at 4 am a couple of days ago and reflexively checked to see if you had updated, read the new chapter peering into my phone and fell asleep after I was done. The story weaved into a dream and it was a blurry mess after I woke up! I thought it was a dream until I checked again today! Looking forward to the next chapter!

Author Reply: I have my ideas about what might have contributed to Denethor's merciless views on human frailty, and I'm looking forward to unraveling them. Certainly it's plain from the Book that he was of a *very* different temperament than Ecthelion.

As for what would have happened if Aragorn had revealed himself to Denethor... ooh, not good. Not good. NOT GOOD.

I too am looking forward to Finduilas! At this point she's still just a girl, but hey! Her father's at court right now. That's something.

FreyalynReviewed Chapter: 6 on 11/5/2015
Just a thought - in your telling, is Gondor completely unaware of the survival of the Northern Kingdom? Because surely the odd ranger out of the North has turned up in Gondor before now?

But Denethor is really getting my back up. Really, if it had been left to him there would have been no defence against Sauron at all, and Denethor would have been surprised because surely his beautiful pure breeding and education would have been enough to send the orcs running...

Author Reply: Good question! In my interpretation, some in Gondor (particularly those well-versed in lore and travel) know that the blood of Westernesse survives in the North. However, it is generally believed that there is no longer a concentrated community of Dunedain, nor any organization of the remnant of Arnor. The belief is that those of Numenorean descent live skattered, rustic lives among the "lesser" races of Men -- as woodsmen, farmers, cottage craftsmen and so-forth. There is no knowledge of the existence of the Rangers, certainly not as the guardians of the land. So Thorongil's genetics are not a surprise to all, but no one expects him to be cultured, educated, or of anything like a well-preserved bloodline.

I had a hilarious image of Denethor trying to fend off the Uruks of Mordor with a copy of his pedigree... ;-)

shireboundReviewed Chapter: 6 on 11/5/2015
There was truth in his eyes, and in all of his words.

It's to Ecthelion's credit that he trusts his own judgment in this. I like him very much.

Author Reply: I'm so glad! Thank you.

CelethReviewed Chapter: 6 on 11/5/2015
Oh, the "low-born, meek-mouthed braggart...must guard the flour." Poor Thorongil. Then again, this was the way he wanted it, and it looks like Denethor is going to give it to him in full measure, and then some.

But I am excited to read more about Thorongil's relationship and interaction with Ecthelion. It's so heartwarming that the Steward already likes him. Looking forward to future posts....

Author Reply: Wow, when you put it all together like that it almost sounds as if Denethor *dislikes* this guy or something! ;-)

As always, it's great to know when a reader wants more. Thanks!

UTfrogReviewed Chapter: 6 on 11/5/2015
"As would I". You capture Denethor's cold sneakiness perfectly. Lovely introduction to the throne room. Thanks

Author Reply: Thank you! Denethor is a fascinating character to explore. I'm glad he's coming out well.

someoneReviewed Chapter: 6 on 11/5/2015
"Meek-mouthed braggart"! Denethor is a joy to read with his sceptism and prickly personality. He won't make life easy for Thorongil. Over ten years of that and it is no wonder Aragorn would rather end up is he is in Tailings and Tales.

Ecthelion is a little too trusting, if he would have let a stranger start his career in the guard of the Citadel. He is considerably kinder than Denethor, which must have been a relief to Thorongil/Aragorn. And clearly he knows nothing about the treatment of the newcomers. It was nice to see the love Denethor and Ecthelion have for each other, I do hope Thorongil's coming won't destroy it.

Aragorn's upbringing in Imladris was useful here, it must have made some impression on both Ecthelion and Denethor. Somehow I doubt that soldiers of Rohan behave always like that.

Author Reply: So glad you're enjoying Denethor! I can only imagine the patience and fortitude it would take to deal with his sharp tongue and his blistering intelligence or so long!

Ecthelion's willingness to assign Thorongil in the Citadel reflects more his trust in Thengel's testimonial than in the stranger himself. Yet of course Denethor's caution is not wholly unwarranted, either! And yes, the Elven upbringing is valuable, but it brings up a whole fresh set of questions...

Thank you as always for the lovely feedback!

LarnerReviewed Chapter: 6 on 11/5/2015
Alas that Denethor is already so full of suspicion he is unwilling to accept Thorongil upon his own merits, reserving judgment until the newcomer proves himself one way or another. Does he already begin to suspect in the depths of his being just who this one is and what he will become to Gondor one day? Does he already fear displacement in the heart of his father and the rule of Gondor he hopes to inherit? And to immediately think of sending Thorongil to Ithilien as sending him deliberately to his death is unworthy of him.

Aragorn mostly did well in his first interview with the Steward.

Author Reply: It truly is unfortunate that Denethor could never reconcile himself to this situation. It does not bring out the best in him at all, and the lasting repercussions are enormous.

I'm glad you feel Aragorn did well! :-)

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