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No Better Name  by Cairistiona 13 Review(s)
LayneReviewed Chapter: 7 on 10/14/2011
I wonder very, very much what was it that Denlad had against Bowen.

And think a bunch of athelas tied with a piece of red ribbon would look very pretty!!

Author Reply: Thanks, Layne! Athelas tied with red ribbon: this year's hottest Christmas decoration! *g* And keep on reading for more about poor cranky Denlad!

Linda HoylandReviewed Chapter: 7 on 10/9/2011
I just love the way you write Aragorn and Halbarad.A most enjoyable chapter.

Author Reply: Thank you, Linda! Glad you enjoy them. :)

NathReviewed Chapter: 7 on 10/8/2011
Banter between Aragorn and Halbarad is always welcome:)

At least Aragorn is feeling slightly better, and the tale of how he got to be sick is frustrating (although the reactions of these people are all too human, even if unfair to the person attempting to help them). Just as well he has Halbarad at hand to stop him from wallowing too much.

Author Reply: Thanks, Nath... you've hit it right on the head: it is human nature to do that sort of "bite the hand that feeds you", and that's exactly what happened to poor Aragorn. Add in the idea that Rangers were viewed with suspicion on top of that and it really wasn't a situation where he could have emerged unscathed. Thank goodness he found Bowen and now has Halbarad to cheer him up as well.

MirachReviewed Chapter: 7 on 10/6/2011
With this story, you have the tendency to post the chapters right before I have to go somewhere, so I have a few minutes to read the chapter before leaving. Then I don't have time to review... I got to it now, at least.

When I saw the title of thos chapter, I was really worried, and glad to find out at the end the thread was not so delicate. I love Halbarad's humour =) But when I read Aragorn's explanation about hiw he fell ill, my heart really ached for him. I can barely imagine a worse situation in these circumstances...

Author Reply: Thanks, Mirach! Sorry my chapters keep finding you on your way out the door! But thank you for squeezing in the read and coming back later with a review. Yeah, that chapter title is a little misleading... I'm evil that way. But it's also the theme of Halbarad's thoughts, so it's not *completely* misleading. Aragorn really did have a hard time of it, but as is his habit, he's bouncing back. :)

Hopefully you won't be flying out the door when I post the next chapter!

LarnerReviewed Chapter: 7 on 10/5/2011
Glad he's feeling some better at least. And I hope he has no difficulty finding that hart.

Now--to learn what ails Denlad with these folk.

Author Reply: Thank you, Larner! Yes, Denlad is definitely not our usual Denlad, is he? Poor Bowen is not getting a good first impression of him!

Lily BagginsReviewed Chapter: 7 on 10/5/2011
You know, Denlad reminds me greatly of my brother sometimes, when I pester him to death about something and I can tell he's just NOT in the mood to discuss it, lol!

It gets curiouser and curiouser... I do wonder what's behind Denlad's mood. Maybe it's just as simple as the homey atmosphere, and wishing for a childhood that he never had.

How I love seeing Halbarad look in on and scrutinizing Aragorn, and seeming to know Aragorn's every habit down to the way he sleeps! That's adorable. Talk about a Mother Hen.

What an interesting backstory to how Aragorn found himself ill and in this situation... it really makes me feel very sorry for him. I can't imagine how hard it would be to see a little child die from illness like that.

That's something I truly appreciate in your stories... the reminder that Middle-earth is a rough, frightening place where lives are cut short and dread diseases come to call and good people die even though they shouldn't. It really adds an air of realism to all of your writing.

Author Reply: Aw, thank you, Lily... so glad you like the "gritty realism" of my stories. I don't go into tremendous detail always, but I do see M-e as a dangerous place that presents daily challenges to survival, even in the "civilized" areas. I try to incorporate that into my narratives in some way or another. As much as I like to romanticize that world and think how awesome it'd be to live there... er, no. It really wouldn't be as awesome as I think. In fact, it'd be doggone scary when you got right down to it.

Glad you liked the Halbarad scenes with poor Aragorn. Halbarad really does know his chieftain's every habit, from such long and close association. And no doubt from getting whacked in the face with his arm when they've had to sleep in close quarters. *g* I do feel for Arwen, if Aragorn really does sleep as sprawled out as I imagine.

And how much do I love it that Denlad reminds me of your brother! It reassures me that I'm writing him as a real person. :)

Thanks again, my dear!

DarkoverReviewed Chapter: 7 on 10/4/2011
Dear Cairistiona: No surprise: I enjoyed reading this chapter, too. Halbarad is his usual practical, down-to-earth self, even when he is worried about Aragorn. Denlad clearly has something on his mind, and I suppose we will learn what it is in due time. Is he having the same thought that Halbarad is--that the future of Strider and of the Dunedain always seems to be hanging by a thread? Or is he unfairly and rather irrationally resenting Strider because Strider "has the luck of a widow's son," which presumably means that even when he suffers some misfortune, someone like Bowen Rushlight comes along to help him? Denlad might be resenting Strider because he believes that Strider is "lucky," or at least luckier than he, and supposedly has not suffered as much. I hope I am wrong in suggesting that possibility. I loved the conversation between Halbarad and Aragorn. Under the circumstances it would be very easy for Aragorn to lapse into depression, and Halbarad knows just how to talk to him. You have a gift for writing good dialogue, and nowhere is that more apparent than in conversations between those two. They sound exactly like what they are--two men who have known each other for years, who are very close, and who have great affection for each other. Halbarad is also a very good leader in his own right, as he does not lose sight of the necessity of thinking about and taking care of the other men, even as he worries about his Chieftain and the latter's illness. As for Aragorn himself, he is a much nicer person than I am. I'm referring to the family he saved by treating and nursing them all through their illness. I understand they were ill, and I understand they were grief-stricken, but after Strider went to all that trouble to heal and to save (when he could) people whom he did not even know, and not only do they not show even the slightest gratitude, they then blame him for the death of their daughter and the necessity of burying her! Frankly, I would have been furious. They wouldn't have had to order me gone; I would have left on my own. Strider is definitely a good man, but it is a bit unreasonable to expect him to be a plaster saint. It would be natural to be at least a bit peeved under those circumstances, and I do not believe the Strider of the bookverse would feel guilt. Just my opinion. Otherwise, this chapter was flawless, and I happily await the next. Thanks for writing and posting this story. Sincerely, Darkover

Author Reply: Thank you, Darkover! It's always interesting to hear the thoughts and speculations of readers, so your speculation on why Denlad's so worked up is very fascinating to me, even though of course, I can't comment on whether you're right or wrong! *g* I'm glad you liked the dialogue between Halbarad and Aragorn.

I don't agree with you, however, about your conclusions on how I handled Aragorn and his reaction to the situation in which he was unable to heal the child and was subsequently chased from their house. I don't think it makes him a "plaster saint" to withold any expression of fury or even pique over his ill treatment at their hands. As I see him, Aragorn has a rare compassion and tolerance for people--he expresses no real anger at the Council of Elrond over the Rangers' treatment by the people they watched over, after all. Regret and disappointment, perhaps, but I think Aragorn always kept in mind that the people of Bree were good folk, if shortsighted and heedless. He also knew that these were the people he would someday rule, and I think that because he was counted as the Great King, he ruled with compassion and wisdom, and that compassion and wisdom wasn't something that only became evident once the crown was placed upon his head. I think both were evident from his earliest days as Chieftain (and the compassion certainly something no doubt innate from birth). It's that compassion for a hurting family that rules his emotions here so many days after the fact. Perhaps in the "heat of the moment", as he walked through the rain, exhausted and ill, he might have indulged in a little self-pity, but he surely would have chided himself for such self indulgence. Certainly by this point, talking with Halbarad, he would have long banished any self-pitying anger.

And as for your statement, "I do not believe the Strider of the bookverse would feel guilt." I again have to respectfully disagree. I don't see him suffering debilitating guilt, certainly, but as a healer and as a human being, losing a patient is a wrenching, shattering thing and Aragorn is no more immune to it than anyone. No doctor worth his degree would fail to go through much soul-searching after losing a patient, and that indeed is what Aragorn goes through here. Again, we don't see every moment leading up to this conversational confession with Halbarad, but it's not a stretch to think that Aragorn would have felt the full range of human emotions in the hours after the child died: anger with himself, second guessing his actions, asking what more he could have done, feeling their treatment of him justifiable punishment, and then finally, as he himself says, acceptance that the emotion of guilt--his "heart's false accusal"--is just that: false. I don't see that such human processing of a tragic situation goes against anything in Aragorn's canon character. The process of self-examination and soul-searching is universal; that Aragorn comes out of it stronger for it is what shows his wisdom and strength.

Always interesting, discussing character interpretation and motivation! Thanks for your thoughtful and honest review.

EstelcontarReviewed Chapter: 7 on 10/4/2011
Trust Aragorn to get sick while trying to help others. I like it very much that he takes no blame and is not riddled with guilt because of the father's reaction though. Aragorn was too strong and wise to do so to my mind.

As usual I loved Halbarad's dry irony. And now you have me wondering about what caused Denlad's reaction to Halbarad's questioning. I sense a story there. *g*

Author Reply: Thanks, Estelcontar! I agree... though Aragorn is likely as subject as the rest of us to fixing undue blame to his own shoulders, eventually he sorts himself out. And if he doesn't, Halbarad's there to do it for him. *g*

I think most every reader so far is sensing a story behind Denlad's mood. Hmmm, whatever could it be???

LisaGReviewed Chapter: 7 on 10/4/2011
Ah, lovely chapter! I do so adore the verbal sparring between Aragorn and Halbarad...funny and heartwarming at the same time. Poor Aragorn bearing guilt he shouldn't and especially after caring for that entire family and getting sick as a thank you!

Now what's wrong with Denlad? What's with this mood? Is it just worry over Aragorn's health or something more?

Author Reply: Thanks, LisaG! Glad you liked the banter. And so many questions about Denlad! *g* He's got everyone worrying, hasn't he! Time will tell the reasons why (or, in other words, you didn't really expect me to answer, surely!*g*)

Thanks again!

ElentarriReviewed Chapter: 7 on 10/4/2011
That's so sad... Poor Aragorn. I hope we find out what is bugging Denlad soon :) I would like to know more about him. I also hope you have Aragorn stick around long enough for the baby to be born...? Also, having a whole horde of Rangers pitch up may be fun. :)

BTW - How many chapters (more or less) is this story? I feel it may be your best one yet. :D

Author Reply: Thanks, Elentarri! Wow, my best yet? Gosh. I'll leave that for you to decide, but I'm glad you think it may be. As to your questions, I can really only answer one: this story has 13 chapters. :) The rest of your questions/speculations you'll just have to wait and see.

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