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The Ranger and the Man In Yellow Boots  by Cairistiona 13 Review(s)
Alaura J.Reviewed Chapter: 2 on 6/19/2012
I didn't much understand (or, admittedly, care for) Tom before. I didn't see the point of him. But, this tale has completely changed my mind, and everything that needs to be clear is. Thank you for helping me appreciate this delightful guy.
I love the authentic poetry, be it silly or beautiful or serious. Do you have any other poems published?

Author Reply: Thank you, Alaura! I'm so glad this little story helped you appreciate Tom B! That does my heart good, because I write fanfic in order to find greater meaning in Tolkien's works for myself. Tom is definitely a riddle, isn't he? I can't say that I fully understand his role in Middle-earth, either, although writing this did help me sort out a few things. As for the poetry, no, I don't have any other poems. My writing tends to follow prosey paths rather than poetic, for the most part. To be honest, sometimes poetry mystifies me as much as Tom Bombadil! *g*

Thanks again for the review!

EstelcontarReviewed Chapter: 2 on 6/5/2011
Well, what can I say. Your Tom sounds very Bombadilish. You've managed, to my mind, to capture the essence of both Tom and Goldberry, and also to convey the quiet happiness and tranquility that they both irradiate.

I like that your Aragorn though young and so still insecure is wise enough to recognize that Tom is beyond his ken.

And the poems sound very Tolkienish too.

Author Reply: Thank you, Estelcontar! Tom Bombadil very nearly is beyond my ken, so maybe that's why I was able to write Aragorn so convincingly befuddled and bemused by him. And Aragorn himself at this age is also a challenge to find the balance between confidence and insecurity. He's bound to have have loads of both, really. Glad you enjoyed this chapter!

DarkoverReviewed Chapter: 2 on 5/29/2011
Dear Cairistiona: This second chapter is well-written too, and I like the way that Aragorn was able to laugh at himself. He was always a character who had an appropriate sense of his own worth, but who also had considerable humility. But personally, I disagree with how he is portrayed throughout much of this chapter. I can understand how, when he is only twenty years old, he might be worried about how he will be a good Chieftain to his people. Someone who is only twenty years old is a mere stripling to both Elves and the long-lived descendants of Numenoreans--as the Dunedain were--alike. But young men of twenty tend to be quite cocky as well, and I suspect a twenty-year-old Aragorn would be closer to "cocky" than to feeling inadequate. As I recall, according to Tolkien, when Aragorn first caught sight of Arwen, he had just that day been informed by Elrond that he was none other than a prince and the hereditary leader of the Dunedain. He was very happy about it, and was singing to himself when he caught sight of Arwen. As I recall, he even bragged just a little about it to the lovely Elf-maid he had just met, before seeing "the light of the Eldar" in her eyes, and realizing that she was much longer-lived than he, and by implication, not especially impressed by any mortal Man, be he prince or no. In other words, I believe a young Aragorn would have sufficient understanding and humility--especially after a life lived among Elves--to accept that there are people and things more important than he, but he still would have sufficient belief in himself and in his own title to believe that he could handle just about anything. I also am puzzled as to why he would think that the Dunedain would not understand his language. Both his mother and Elrond would undoubtedly make sure he was more than fluent in Westron, or whatever the Dunedain spoke, and Elrond would probably make certain Aragorn learned to speak most other languages of Middle-earth as well. I suspect in this you were being influenced by the portrayal of Aragorn in the PJ movies. I loved the movies because they were well-acted, exciting, and paid homage to Tolkien, but there is no denying that in many respects, characterization included, they were very different from Tolkien's books--and nowhere more so than in the portrayal of Aragorn! Aragorn most definitely wanted to be king, and I suspect that even as a very young man, he would have had few doubts about his capability to rule. That is just my opinion, and let me reassert that I am enjoying this story thus far. You have had a good idea for a plot, and I eagerly await the next and final chapter. Thanks for writing and posting this. Sincerely, Darkover

Author Reply: Thank you for your thoughtful comments on my story, Darkover. I can't say I really agree with your assessment that Aragorn would be cocky, nor can I really agree that my take on him at this age is influenced by the movies. I didn't write him as running away from his responsibilities as the movies portray him, but simply as a responsible young man having understandable "last minute jitters".

You refer to the moment of his high heart upon hearing of his destiny and then of him seeing Arwen and bragging of his heritage as evidence he might have been closer to a typical cocky young man than one with any doubts. In that moment, you may very well be right. He may have been "cocky" for those moments when he first spied Arwen but afterwards, as you say, he was abashed and turned thoughtful and quiet. Add to that the admonitions he received both from his mother and from Elrond, and I'm sure that "cocky" was driven far from him. But what remained? Humility, yes, but not a shell of a man, obviously (and I don't think my story takes him that low), nor a man like in the movies who completely runs from his duty and destiny. But young men, even confident young man, also suffer the pangs of insecurity that can bring them as low as the moments of affirmation can send them soaring. That's the nature of young people--they tend to swing from one extreme to another before time and experience teach them that it's not "all or nothing". I think Aragorn was not immune to those types of emotional swings any more than any other upstanding young man.

In addition, I'm exploring with this story the idea of "panic dreams", which we've all had and which I think even Aragorn might have suffered. Panic dreams follow no logic, but they can be very unsettling nonetheless. And if you recall from the chapter, he immediately chides himself for the very thing you take umbrage with: he knows how silly and illogical it is to think they won't understand him. But yet the *emotion* will still be there, and he still needs to work through that and will continue to work through it in the next chapter.

Aragorn is exceptional, there's no doubt, but he's not immune to fear and uncertainty; there are many instances in the books that show him struggling to decide the best course--he's no automaton hero that always makes the right decision instantaneously or without much thought or at times even agonizing inner debate. His strength shows, however, in how resolute he becomes after finally making the hard-fought-for decision--once he decides on a course, he sticks it through to the end. And indeed, I think it's those inner moments of doubt (again, *not* the doubt the movies used but the doubt of any humble man in examining himself and wondering if he'll truly be up to the task) that keep him from being insufferably arrogant. Lastly, we must remember that the man of the Fellowship is not the young, largely untested man of this story... the young man in this story, who again, is not cocky or arrogant, is still becoming that resolute, strong-minded leader, and I don't think it's out of character to look at a scenario that shows him having some last minute moments of unease and insecurity.

Seeing how much you took exception to in this chapter, I don't know that you'll find the next chapter to your taste, but I do hope you give it a chance in light of the arguments I've presented here. If not, then vive la difference in interpreting these grey shaded realms of canon, and perhaps you'll enjoy whatever story I come up with next better. :)

Linda HoylandReviewed Chapter: 2 on 5/29/2011
Poor Aragorn, it must have been daunting meeting his people for the first time. I like it that Tom sees his quality.

Author Reply: Thank you, Linda... I agree completely. I think even the most confident person would quail a bit before stepping into such a huge role as Chieftain, so I like to think that Aragorn had unexpected support from any number of people along his way.

Minerva OrganaReviewed Chapter: 2 on 5/28/2011
Beauteous! Delightful, fabulous, and all those other praise-worthy words.

Seriously though, I love your rendition of a younger Aragorn. He's got all the proper insecurities and stumblings (quite literally) of a young man with a great weight on his shoulders, and it's so fitting that it's Tom Bombadil of all people to help make that weight seem a bit lighter. Love it!

And since I can't reply to author replies, I do sometimes wish that I'd thought to make my LJ name and pen name the same, LOL! It'd be a bit less confusing, wouldn't it?

Author Reply: Thank you! I'm glad you liked the 2nd chapter... young-man Aragorn is a little tricky to write. Make him *too* insecure and he's not Aragorn; make him too *secure* and he can come across as all wrong for his age and arrogant besides.

And you know, it was AGES before I realized that you and Suzll on LJ were the same person! LOL! *sigh* I catch on slow, what can I say...

racheschn@yahoo.comReviewed Chapter: 2 on 5/27/2011
Hey Aragorn, look what a bump in the head will do to a fella!

And all the while I'm sure Aragorn is thinking, "Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas..I mean... Middle Earth anymore"!

"young man" and "day dreaming" and "twit". poor Aragorn. He never hears the end of it.

This is such a delight. I love it! I love your Tom. You have captured his essence as Tolkien have written him.

PS - I was so excited to see a story from you that I left a review without logging in earlier. Yup that was me, the anonymous reviewer in chapter 1.

Author Reply: hee hee... so that was you! *g* I don't mind anonymous reviews when they're nice ones like that (I've had a few snarky ones left anonymously through the years). But I'm glad you spoke up and let me know it was yours. LOL

And thank you for this one as well. I imagine in the future, when Aragorn tells the tale of his adventure with Tom Bombadil, he'll gloss over the whole falling-down-the-riverbank part! Wouldn't do for Halbarad or Elladan and Elrohir to find out about that little detail. Glad you like my take on Tom... he ended up being pretty fun to write, surprisingly. I wasn't sure I could do much more than sort of reword what Tolkien already had him saying, but I think I was able to come up with new things about him that still stayed true to the original. I think he's been the hardest Tolkien character so far that I've tried to interpret.

Thanks for the review--and for taking off your cloak of invisibility! *g*

shireboundReviewed Chapter: 2 on 5/27/2011
"...but today, ah yes! Today you are simply a very young man, and young men regularly fall into daydreams and down river banks."

It's so good for Aragorn to be reminded of that. What a heavy burden for such a young man!

You've captured Tom's speech and poetry so beautifully, as well as the spell of being in the presence of he and his Lady. I love how you've woven into Tom's speech the words he later speaks to the hobbits at the Barrow. Lovely story!

Author Reply: Thank you, shirebound! I'm glad you enjoyed this chapter... Aragorn did need a reminder not to take his occasional foibles so hard. I can imagine he might think he needed to be since he was supposed to someday be a king! Thank goodness for the wisdom of elders. :)

MirachReviewed Chapter: 2 on 5/27/2011
Ah, lovely! I'm beginning to see a pattern... A young DĂșnadan chieftain is so lost in his thoughts that he doesn't pay attention to his surroundings - which leads to the necessity of being rescued by no other than Tom Bombadil himself :D

I also wanted to place this story in the time when Aragorn was on the way to take his place as a chieftain, but couldn't find a reason for him to be around the Old Forest, so I decided to move it just a few months later =) I see you found the reason - his own curiousity!

I loved the poems you wrote for Tom, especially the line about wandering kings. I only missed some "medical report", because in the evening, Aragorn was barely able to stand, and in the next day he already went on his own way (and Goldberry let him), so I'm not sure how serious his injury actually is. You say the next chapter is the last one? I wonder if we'll meet Tom again, or the DĂșnedian already...

Author Reply: Thanks, Mirach... glad you liked the poetry and the chapter. :) I figure that in that time after leaving Rivendell, Aragorn likely had to do some soul-searching even as he explored Eriador, so it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility that he'd find himself exploring the area around the Withywindle. As for the medical aspects... he really didn't have a horribly bad concussion. He was a bit wobbly at first, hence the help getting to his feet and to the house, but a good night's sleep put him to rights (and maybe a little help from the mysterious Tom who might have a bit of the healer in him? I'll leave that to the imagination...). As I've said in other review replies, the h/c isn't the emphasis in this story, so the effects of the bang on the head are relatively minor this time around.

AzureSkyeReviewed Chapter: 2 on 5/27/2011
Oh, poor Aragorn. LOL. Thinking the Dunadain speak a different language....No, I think he'll do fine. 'Course, the inside jokes will be quite another thing...but he'll get use to them. Well, as this is a three part fic, I suppose we'll meet the twins and some of the Dunadain next chapter....:) YAY!

Author Reply: Thanks, AzureSkye, glad you liked this chapter. Aragorn's imagination really is starting to run away with him, isn't it! And who can blame it... it's a huge step he's about to take. We'll see if he can keep a stern rein on it. :)

DreamflowerReviewed Chapter: 2 on 5/27/2011
Oh, how nice to see more of this! You've done a great job with Tom's rhyming! And I love Aragorn's reaction to Tom's hints and to Tom's knowing who he is. You show him here as realistically young and insecure-- he has only just left the nest, after all! And yet that kernel of self-honesty and good sense is still there in spite of his youth.

Author Reply: Thank you, Dreamflower! I have to be honest and confess that I really have no idea how I managed to write that poetry! Poetry is *not* my thing, as a rule, but I guess getting into Tom B's head helped in that regard. And I wanted to show Aragorn in exactly that light: young and insecure, but still with an inner strength that might sway a bit but never break. Glad you enjoyed this!

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