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At Hope's Edge  by Cairistiona 14 Review(s)
EllynnReviewed Chapter: 1 on 8/24/2010
You posted this way before I had come to SOA, so I haven't read it before, I am starting only now. And for this chapter, all that I have to say is: I hate you. How can you do this and make me cry like this? It's not just Aragorn's heart that is broken... I am writing this and still crying, you evil woman.

P.s. I sooooooooooo love your writing. *sniff*

Author Reply: Hee hee... thank you! I *am* evil, what can I say! I'm glad you, er, "enjoyed" this, although that doesn't seem the right word to use so I'll say I'm glad this chapter stirred your emotions, and glad that you're finally getting a chance to read this story. I hope you enjoy the entire thing!

CanafinweReviewed Chapter: 1 on 11/16/2009
Oh, no! Scarcely has Mallor been introduced, and now he's dead! You write Aragorn's anguish so poignantly: how hard to lose one of his men, doubly so one of his chosen elite, and one so young, at that! There is nothing so difficult for a captain than to lose his people, and what a horrible, senseless way to die: having done everything "right" in the battle, Mallor is felled by an ill chance.

In this chapter I particularly loved your skilled painting of the scene: "The October dawn draped its golden mantle across the forests". And that description of the glowering orc -- eaugh! That was especially vivid (perhaps a little too much so right after lunch...).

The foreshadowing is also beautifully done. Aragorn's unease and the mounting sense of dread do much to weave a web of suspense that I expect will only increase in the next few chapters. Well done!

Author Reply: Thank you, Canafinwe! Er, sorry about spoiling the digestion with that orc, though. ;)

I'm glad you like this. Yes, poor Mallor didn't survive the first chapter but sadly it likely was something that happened quite often to the Dunedain, losing their youngest and perhaps often even their most experienced warriors to, as you aptly put it, ill chance. It does seem senseless, but he did at least save Denlad's life in so doing. A warrior cannot ask for more, I don't think.

And interesting that you quoted that particular sentence, because that's the sentence that, along with a scene I had been carrying in my head for months (a scene that comes much later in the book), inspired the entire story. I was driving around, looking at the beautiful fall colors, and thinking about the Dunedain and started wondering about the awful contrast of doing battle in such scenic surroundings, and the genesis of a story was born.

Thanks for the review!

DreamdeerReviewed Chapter: 1 on 8/3/2009
(From Dreamdeer) The very first paragraph wastes no time in capturing the setting while plunging the reader into action. Although the action initially seemed derivative (kicking the body and screaming in anguish, encouraging an underage recruit by examining his blade, both echoing the second LotR movie) this writer will soon leave all derivation behind as she finds her own footing and stands tall on it. On the whole this chapter interested me vividly enough to encourage me on to the next one, and the more I read, the more impressed I became.

Author Reply: Thank you, Dreamdeer! (What a lovely name, by the way.) I'm glad this chapter drew you into the story. There was a bit of the same feel as the movies, and part of that simply stems from the commonality of the military experience--a captain does check that his new men are keeping their blades well-maintained. The kicking/screaming may be derivative but I prefer to think of it as a nod to Viggo's interpretation of Aragorn, which I felt was spot on insofar as the parts that followed the book canon (we won't go into the whole Elrond/Aragorn conflict or the "I don't want to be king" bits, which I did not like). I think there's a case for blending movie- and book-verse where they fit together without conflict.

Thank you for the lovely review!

ThorongirlReviewed Chapter: 1 on 4/18/2009
Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. So very, very, very sad. Poor Aragorn (who, to the surprise of no one, I also picture as Viggo - nothing like good old fashioned intellectual eye candy:), what a tragic day this must have been. "Seventeen dead," Halbarad grunted, then added softly, "Sixteen of them orcs." That poor boy. You are already making me weep (although, truth be told I read this chapter the day you posted it -- it can still make me cry). Marvelous, marvelous writing in this story. This might make it into my top ten all-time LOTR fanfics. BTW, I love the way you write Aragorn amongst the Dunedain.

"The Dúnedain chieftain grunted as he was slammed with teeth-rattling force against the bole of one of those golden-shrouded trees." Excellently written. Exciting, captivating and just plain fascinating. I am going to be very sorry when it's over. Meanwhile, I am completely enthralled.

Author Reply: LOL! "Intellectual eye candy", I like that! Thank you, Thorongirl, for a lovely review. I'm glad this first chapter grabbed at your heartstrings, and I do hope as you continue reading, it continues to stir the emotions--but yes, a bit too early to be calling it anywhere near the top 10! LOL But I do hope by the end you feel it hasn't tanked completely. Enjoy reading the rest and let me know now and then how you're finding it! Thanks again for the review!

StefaniaReviewed Chapter: 1 on 4/8/2009
What an action-packed start to your story, Cairistiona. The chapter is a great attention grabber for all who enjoy the angst and/or adventure genre, especially when it stars Aragorn. (Hope you don't mind that I imagine Viggo Mortensen's Aragorn as I read.)

I love adventure fanfics, with or without angst, so you have certainly got me wanting to read on. I've written about the Ithilien rangers in the past, and am also interested in the lives of Aragorn's hardy Dunedain rangers of the North.

- Steff

Author Reply: Thank you, Steff! I'm glad you liked the start of this story, and no, I do not mind in the least you picturing Viggo as Aragorn. I do, myself--it's just nearly impossible not to, he did such a terrific job (and well, he's just darn nice eye candy, to be shallow about it!). As far as characterization, though, I do write book-Aragorn... so no angst over not wanting the crown of Gondor, but plenty about his ability to ever *get* there.

I hope you enjoy my take on the Northern Rangers... I imagine they're a bit different but then in some ways similar to their Southern brethren.

Thanks for the review (you're the 200th!), and please, feel free to leave a review now and then telling me your thoughts as you read along. :)

RSReviewed Chapter: 1 on 12/16/2008
The scene with Aragorn kicking the Orc was such a powerful scene. You've transcended such anger and despair that it was gutwrenching. It was kind of scary. The death of Mallor got to me, especially after Aragorn's memories of him.

"For a moment, Aragorn was sure he would fall into the black chasm that suddenly seemed to yawn before him" A very memorable and effective line.

You weren't kidding when you said this story explored tragedy and grief...and I can't wait for the next posting.

Author Reply: Thank you for such a lovely review, RS! And yes, I really wasn't kidding about the whole tragedy and grief bit ... I think Tolkien gave so many clues that Aragorn had really been through some soul-shattering times, and yet he was so strong by the time of the trilogy, I thought I just had to explore the things that might have happened to forge him into the man he is in FOTR and beyond. I'm glad that you found this chapter so vivid ... I do try my best to transport the reader completely into the character's world, to feel what the character is feeling, and it's gratifying to hear when I have. And yes, next post will hopefully be up Sunday or Monday, as time permits. Holidays coming up next week but I'll do my best to keep posting chapters in a timely manner. Thank you again for your review!

Silivren TinuReviewed Chapter: 1 on 12/16/2008
Poor Mallor. *sigh* This must be a really hard blow for Aragorn, and all of them. Mallor still had so much of his life in front of him, and now it's been cut short so cruelly. I don't like what's going on with Aragorn at the moment - he seems to be drifting further into some kind of internal darkness from day to day. It must have been so very difficult to hold on to hope for all those years, and support others while he probably would have needed some comfort and support himself. To be a leader is definitely a very lonely job.

I'm already looking forward to the next chapter! :)

Author Reply: Thanks for your review! Mallor's death is definitely a hard blow, and one on top of the hard blows he already endured over the summer... poor Aragorn's really having a time of it, isn't he?

Thanks again for your review!

Linda HoylandReviewed Chapter: 1 on 12/15/2008
This is just heartrending. I see my guess was all too correct.
You are a wonderful storyteller. I felt I was by aragorn's side at that battle!

Author Reply: Thank you, Linda! Yes, you were right... poor Mallor died, as one of my reviewers aptly put it, a "hero among heroes". I'm glad you found the entire chapter vivid and touching as well. Thanks again for reviewing!

LarnerReviewed Chapter: 1 on 12/15/2008
Ah--the grief of such losses, and us knowing one day it will be Halbarad he finds upon the battlefield afterward.

But the youth died a hero among heroes.


Author Reply: Thank you, Larner ... glad you found it moving. And yes, there is that added sorrow on our end, knowing what happens to Halbarad. I think if I could change one thing in Tolkien, that would be it--I'd prefer Halbarad lived. Ah well. That's far down the road and beyond the scope of my story, so we'll save that sorrow for another time. Thanks again!

Raksha The DemonReviewed Chapter: 1 on 12/15/2008
Excellent characterisation of Aragorn here; the war-weary leader, sorrowing for the youngest of their company, having to put his sorrow aside and lead his men. And very good battle-sequences, too. I think it would always sadden a leader to lose so young and promising a warrior.

Author Reply: Many thanks, Raksha! I'm glad you liked this... it can be hard to write a strong man sorrowing, but I think Tolkien drew that so well himself that I'm only sort of "coloring in" the lines he drew so well. And war-weary is the exact description of Aragorn at this time, I would think. It's been a long, dark time of fighting with no end easily in sight.

Thanks again for leaving a review!

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