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Isildur's Heir  by Bodkin 27 Review(s)
Gandalfs apprenticeReviewed Chapter: 1 on 9/4/2006
Good job, Bodkin! Great humor, and just the right touch of Tradition. I really, really like the optimism of the end.

Author Reply: Thank you! It would be a good time to be a bit of a fresh breeze and change some of the more outdated notions. But still, Aragorn would have had to move fairly cautiously and keep his hands in sight, so that the more powerful citizens of Gondor didn't end up looking at him as too much of a threat! But he has Faramir (and Imrahil) on his side - and I think that would be pretty key to acceptance.

LarnerReviewed Chapter: 1 on 9/3/2006
I see you have echoed my own view of Aragorn--one to open windows long thought fixed, to allow a fresh breeze to cleanse the dead air of the Citadel.

And happy birthday, FP.

Author Reply: Aragorn had spent too much time out in the fresh air among the people to be a ruler bound by tradition. But I think he had enough sense to know that, even as the long-lost heir returned, he needed to have the people on his side to stay king - and that means working with the rich and powerful as well as supporting the rights of the governed. It's a good time to start new traditions - but I reckon Arwen and Faramir would have encouraged him not to do too much at once.

Thank you!

Agape4GondorReviewed Chapter: 1 on 9/3/2006
Very nice tale - I loved the Chair and the court intrigues and poor Faramir - but especially loved and giggled over this part!


'It was all right for him, Elessar thought resentfully. He got to sit on a chair within the reach of the crowd, an approachable figure who would hear the pleas put to him and judge them fairly, while anyone wishing to address the king needed to have the voice of a parade ground sergeant and a willingness to share his words with the horde that buzzed round the cavernous hall.'

Happy Birthday, French Pony!

Author Reply: Poor Aragorn! That throne makes a terrific symbol of majesty - but it must be a horrible place to have to sit!

And it must have been such a tough transition - those first few months, especially. Despite growing up in Rivendell, he never had any direct training in ruling - and had spent so many years alone and on the edge of society.

Thank you!

Jay of LasgalenReviewed Chapter: 1 on 9/3/2006
Poor Strider. It must have been so hard for the Ranger to shed his wandering, anonymous persona and become Elessar, the King. It's not just a matter of the different names he has carried; it's all the different people he's been as well. It can't have been an easy transition, and you show this so well.

I love Arwen's aside about Isildur!


Jay

Author Reply: Despite growing up in Imladris - and spending time in Gondor as Thorongil - Aragorn wasn't really trained to sit on that High Throne. He had spent too much time on his own, making his own decisions, to take too kindly to councillors, too. After the first glory wore off, Aragorn must have had moments of considering flight. In fact, probably only Arwen's presence got him through that first couple of years - because he couldn't have run off with her into the wild. She had to be Queen - and that kept him being King.

Isildur wasn't bad - a bit on the arrogant side, I think, and headstrong. But good people. Although it's probably as well she didn't know him herself - I don't think Faramir would have coped!

RedheredhReviewed Chapter: 1 on 9/3/2006
'Tumbril'! What an interesting choice of word in regard to aristocracy (and French Pony)! :D And they are in it together. That was a lovely angle to this little fic. You took a look at both of them. It was great how you showed the strained humility with which both king and queen approached their new majesty. Loved that. Loved that little demonstrative metaphor with the pastry castle too. Seeing the king, just expecting his way to be the way things *will* be done, emerge from within the ranger was amusing. ;) Good on ya for the good words about Isildur.
A great gift for FP!



Author Reply: Tumbril! They are trapped in in and on show until they reach the guillotine ... in about 120 years. Talk about Eowyn fearing a cage - I think Aragorn (and Arwen) have stepped into one!

Neither Aragorn nor Arwen is really prepared for Gondorian majesty - but they are not going to be pressed into some court official's idea of the right mould. It won't be long before things start to change. They have to be careful, though. They - and Faramir - are a few people at the apex of society's pyramid. Whatever the birthright, they have to be careful not to turn people against them. And a few trappings might be a worthwhile price for real change.

And being overcome by the power of the Ring shouldn't detract from the fact that Isildur was one of the Faithful - and the saviour of the White Tree. Headstrong, though. Rather too sure of himself to listen to Elrond.

Thank you.

DJReviewed Chapter: 1 on 9/3/2006
Hi, Bodkin,

Once an age or so, I actually log in here, just so I can leave a review & let an author know how much I love his or her work. I've been enjoying _your_ work ever since the first chapter of _Reflections from the Paradise of Elves_, so I think a thank you is long overdue. I love the world you've made for the elves in the Blessed Realm.

_Isildur's Heir_ is a wonderful, humorous, and only slightly frustrating glimpse into Aragorn's first days (weeks? months?) as king. Anyone who's ever been a child confined to a classroom on a bright, sunny day (or an adult confined to an office, for that matter), can't help but sympathize with Aragorn. Trapped in that huge stone castle, listening to the wealthy and powerful ramble on about how they need more, more, more, while his more needy subjects are trapped at the back of the hall. Even while walking the halls of his home, he can't talk freely for fear of setting off gossip. It's no better even in his "private" quarters--at least not until Arwen dismisses the servants (who, I'm sure, would love to stay and wait on their king, and incidentally pick up some gossip).

I have a couple of ideas for Aragorn: 1) Since there are more common people than there are nobility or even the wealthy and powerful (and since the wealthy and powerful presumably have more resources to solve their own problems--although we won't say that, since relative numbers is a more understandable reason), his audience time needs to be distributed accordingly. Therefore, the nobles and the wealthy are welcome only every tenth (or so) audience day, and the rest of the time is reserved for the common people. 2) Since he is now ruler of the _Reunited_ Kingdoms of Gondor and Arnor, he needs a common court ettiquete (I doubt there was much formality to aproaching the Chieftain back north!), and he should assign someone(s) to work on it immediately. That should allow him to throw out a few thousand of those "what-were-they-thinking-anyway" rules. And the new rules must take into account that he will now be seeing more common people, who presumably have a much lower literacy rate. The new rules will have to be short and simple, because the majority of people he will now be seeing will have to memorize them (since they can't go look them up each time they need them). That will get rid of most of the rest of the rules. And it has _nothing_ to do with his _wanting_ to cast aside traditions and rules, of course not. It's simply a matter of concern for both parts of his kingdom and for the majority of his subjects.

If you ever consider extending this story, I'd love to see Aragorn find totally reasonable reasons to chuck most of the rules out of the window!

Anyway, I do love your stories. And I thought I should tell you so at leat once. Thank you for writing wonderful stories for us.

DJ

Author Reply: Thank you very much, DJ! I'm so pleased that you enjoy the stories - and I love writing them. I'm delighted that you stopped along to comment.

I reckon Aragorn would have coped quite well with all this for the first month or two - coronation, marriage, Theoden's funeral, back to Minas Tirith - a month to six weeks and then BAM - the realisation that this was his life now. Not the image he might have had when wading through Midgewater Marshes of a comfortable life with Arwen by his side and the ability to Do Good, but the spirit-sucking formality and tedium of kingship.

He will change things, I think - and fairly quickly - but he has to be careful. Yes, he is king and Isildur's heir - but kings rule with the consent of their subjects and the rich and powerful have louder voices than the poor and oppressed. The audiences will change quickly - I suspect he might start holding some in other places, where he doesn't have to sit on a throne high above the crowd. And he will soon convince people that his private apartments are just that - with no more attendants than are needed to look after them. The court etiquette - well, at the moment, everyone is looking in old books and trying to decide what is expected. A few interviews with the Master of Protocol should set up new customs - possibly rather more in tune with the customs of Imladris. The cooks will soon stop looking for chances to show off their skills and realise the King and Queen prefer simple meals.

I think Aragorn will still feel trapped - he isn't used to being inside all the time and he isn't used to being surrounded by so many people. Especially not having them watching him. For most of his life his objective was to go unseen! He - and Faramir, come to that - will need Ranger time, where they can get wet and dirty and look after themselves.

Fortunately, he will be king for a good long time - and that will give him plenty of opportunity to get Gondor running in the way he would prefer.

Thank you for commenting DJ!

perellethReviewed Chapter: 1 on 9/3/2006
"Drafter of the Royal Protocol wanted for thousand-year vacant throne. An ancient routine waiting to be re-engineered and updated for modern times" Now that is a position any engineer would welcome nowadays!

I liked Arwen's long-time view and patient approach. Poor Aragorn indeed, confronted with the enthropy of habitude! ;-) Given his life span, though, he will survive to see real change and not merely submission to "the new way of things." Lovely piece!

Author Reply: Would you care to apply?

I imagine the Library has had a real run on books of etiquette and royal protocol. And all those Gondorian ladies are trying to work out just how deeply they should curtsey and whether a Lady-in-Waiting outranks a Lady-of-the-Bedchamber. The trouble being it's all a thousand years out of date and the court is about to be reorganised by one who is very accustomed to being Lady of Imladris and isn't going to put up with any old nonsense.

Aragorn has to be patient, I think. He knows that it's more important to change some things than others - but I don't think he'll stay perched up at the top of his staircase for very long. He needs the goodwill of these people if he is to effect real change.

Thank you. I'm glad you liked it!

EllieReviewed Chapter: 1 on 9/3/2006
I just messeed up trying to do a review without logging in, so here I try again. ..

I enjoyed this little story very much. I like the ranger in Aragorn coming through and Arwen and Faramir having to rescue him from himself. I like his new resolve at the end, too. Nicely done.

Author Reply: Thank you, Ellie.

I do think that long trail to becoming king might seem the easier part of the task once the gloss has worn off! Aragorn has taken on a tremendously difficult job, and even with the support of Faramir and Arwen, there are still going to be times when he really wishes he was back in the mud tracking Gollum.

But he'll make a good job of it - and he'll have far more sympathy with Eowyn's dread of being caged by the time he has the system working to suit him!

NilmandraReviewed Chapter: 1 on 9/3/2006
Geez, I cannot imagine life in a Court like this. No way! I am with Aragorn. He needs to weed the garden, so to speak, and get rid of the deadwood and plant some new stock.

And go Arwen! Her experience had to be incredibly helpful to both of them.

Happy Birthday again, French Pony!

Author Reply: But court life is formal and traditional - and Gondor is a formal and traditional society. And they are stepping back a thousand years and trying to work with a monarchical system that has almost been forgotten, in the wake of a system of stewardship where Denethor was, I imagine, quite partial to the trappings of rule.

In a way, being new is a plus - he can change things - but it's also a difficulty. Aragorn wouldn't want to be too much of a new broom - he would risk disturbing the status quo and making himself too unpopular to last long.

You get to be king because of who you are, but you only get to stay king if the society in which you live is prepared to accept you and go along with whatever changes you want to make. Aragorn is in a good position to start - but he doesn't want to make waves over unimportant matters.

Arwen's experience, patience and wisdom - and her understanding of people - will be very valuable in helping him make the right moves carefully enough not to scare the horses.

meckinockReviewed Chapter: 1 on 9/3/2006
First off, Happy Birthday to French Pony! Not quite a member of the over-the-hill gang yet, but now at least an official grown-up.

You couldn't bring yourself to have him move the throne, could you? Dang. I had my hopes up. But at least he shook up the entrenched, pompous heirarchy. I tell you, if I was Aragorn the first one that twitched his nose at Arwen daring to speak would find himself in charge of city sanitation. I often wonder what Aragorn made of Gondorian society. Of course he had participated in it before, but maybe not with a conscious thought to "once I'm in charge..."

You illustrate the immense frustration and annoyance he must have felt perfectly. Professor Tolkien probably never envisioned Aragorn not just regally assuming the throne and smiling nobly down upon his adoring subjects, but I can't stand the thought of it. I prefer to think your version is how it was.

Author Reply: She still short of hobbity maturity though. And way short of being a grown-up elf.

I think the Gondorian nobility might have kicked up rather at the idea of knocking down that stupid throne and putting it at more of a level with the rest of the human race. I think he might have to wait on that until Eldarion is born. (It might be his first act in celebration.) Those rather smug audiences are going to last rather less time than that, though. About a fortnight, I think, before they set up something rather less soothing to the sensibilities of the horde. And Aragorn might resign himself to the throne for a bit in order to deal with more important things.

I suspect Denethor rather enjoyed the formality and the deference - and that all that is keeping Aragorn from breaking out is the need not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Actually - the traditional happy ending is Aragorn assuming the throne and winning the prize of the elven bride .... and happy endings only work if the world ends there. Being king would have been really hard on a man used to freedom ... and living with his dream bride probably wasn't all honey, either.

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