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No Better Name  by Cairistiona 15 Review(s)
Linda HoylandReviewed Chapter: 9 on 10/22/2011
Poor Denlad to have such a dreadful childhood.

Author Reply: He really did have a time of it, didn't he. Thank goodness Aragorn found him when he did, though wouldn't it have been nice had Aragorn been able to swoop him away entirely before it all happened. But then he wouldn't be Denlad, I suppose. A bit like a fiery forge heats steel into a good sword, his hard life played a big role in shaping him into the man he is and will become.

LayneReviewed Chapter: 9 on 10/18/2011
Looking at the title, I was so afraid that Denlad was going to say that Bowen had been one of his mother's clients!

Author Reply: Nope... Bowen's too young, which is a good thing because I think Denlad might have gotten violent instead of just unfriendly had he found out otherwise!

NathReviewed Chapter: 9 on 10/16/2011
Well, Denlad's got the weight off his chest at least a little by speaking up.

And a nice bit of 'Hey, what?!' for the reader, since we don't tend to think of brown eyes as cold or vicious.

Oh, and, *gigglefit* at this:
...Halbarad fiddled for a moment with a frayed string on his cuff, then stopped when he realized how much it irked him when Aragorn did that. Were they so alike, the two of them? Next thing I’ll be fretting over how to get my throne back and marry an Elf lord’s daughter, he thought.

And now the baby's coming...

Author Reply: Thanks, Nath! You know, I had that same thought about how normally you think of warmth and compassion with brown eyes--I've read somewhere, ages back, that it's likely because when you're happy, your pupils dilate a little, darkening the eyes, and that's why we tend to think brown-eyed people have a warmer, kindlier disposition. It was fun to turn that on its head a bit, though I think Denlad could have done without the angst.

Glad you liked that little throwaway line about Halbarad worrying he was becoming like Aragorn. I hoped it'd give someone a chuckle!

LarnerReviewed Chapter: 9 on 10/16/2011
A terrible memory to hold all this time. At least we know now what is bothering him, and hopefully this kind Breelander will help counter those terrible memories.

Author Reply: Thanks, Larner. Yes, now we know some more of Denlad's dark past... and we know that he's overcoming those terrible memories, both by his own strength and the help of good friends like Halbarad and Aragorn, and hopefully even Bowen, given time.

Lily BagginsReviewed Chapter: 9 on 10/12/2011
Wow. With an upbringing like that, exposed to such violence, I'm very happy that Denlad didn't turn into a Middle-earth version of Norman Bates! Poor guy---I can definitely see now why he'd be distrusting of Bowen. The memories are just still too fresh.

And the baby is on its way! I have to admit... I can't really believe that Flora is just going to pop that baby out as easy as you please... maybe so, maybe so... I could be wrong. On the other hand, she might very well need some athelas. :)

Wonderful chapter---Halbarad is quickly turning into one of my favorite sort-of-OC-in-that-he's-barely-in-the-books character here. I just adore him.

Author Reply: "Halbarad is quickly turning into one of my favorite sort-of-OC-in-that-he's-barely-in-the-books character"... Oh, thank you! You have warmed the cockles of my heart, as you always do with your reviews but this especially makes me warm and fuzzy because he's definitely my own favorite all-that-you-said character. I don't know what it is about him but he's definitely crawled into my head and made a very cozy home for himself. :)

And oh my, what a turn that might have been, turning Denlad into a Norman Bates! LOL! Thankfully he wasn't *that* attached to his mother. *shivers* But hmm, wouldn't that be interesting... an LOTR-Psycho crossover!

LisaGReviewed Chapter: 9 on 10/12/2011
Oh I hate to think the Bowen's father was that nasty man that hurt Denlad and his mother. I would think not, since Aragorn knew Bowen's father and seemed to like him and our dear ranger is a good judge of character.

Loved the bickering between Denlad and Halbarad. :)

Author Reply: Thanks, LisaG! This was definitely a tricky chapter for me to get right--I wanted readers to know what kind of childhood had but still keep it apparent that he's not crippled emotionally by it but just occasionally still has to deal with often unexpected fallout when memories get stirred up. I think it's a good thing that he has Aragorn and Halbarad's good judgment to rely on here! And yes, Denlad and Halbarad... I can't stop them fussing at each other even during a serious conversation! *g*

SuzelleReviewed Chapter: 9 on 10/11/2011
Ye gods, Cair, you just about killed me with this. I'm now really glad that I waited until I was home to read this, and did not read it on one of the libraries computers as I was tempted to do. Because I got so visibly upset reading this I probably would have disturbed the other people at the library.

A tiny part of my mind is doing a bit of an "I was right" dance because my theory about why Denlad was so upset was partially correct, but god, I didn't think it would be for that horrible of a reason. I am so upset for him right now, those are such awful memories to have. I just want to dive into Middle-Earth and give him the biggest hug ever.

But! Hopefully you will be glad that I had that reaction, because it means that you have a) created such a wonderful character that I feel so upset when he has to recall such painful memories and b) written painful/emotional scenes in a really wonderful, beautiful way.

This line in particular:

"Even so, we were all we had, each other, and I loved her dearly. And maybe that love and our isolation made me more attuned to her moods, even so young. Hard to say."

So telling of Denlad, and so sweet and beautiful. Killed me stone dead.

Also, Halbarad was great, and I love the humor at the end, and the numerous comparisons between him and Aragorn *g*. And now a baby is on the way!

Author Reply: Hee! And awww, *hugs*. And, um, *warms up defibrillator paddles*

Sorry about the near death experience! But now you know why I was so cagey about answering all your questions about Denlad's mother. *g* I hope you find her a sympathetic character because despite her faults and her situation, I do see her as having been a good mother. I think, although to be honest this is the first time the thought has popped into my head about her, that she considered, rightly, that Denlad was the one good and pure thing in her life and so she worked hard, even within the limitations of her lifestyle, to protect him. (Amazing how you get insights into your own characters by simply replying to reviews! But that's why I do really appreciate when readers let me know specifically what moved them about a chapter. But, as usual, I digress...)

And how much do I love that you got so upset on Denlad's behalf! Yes, I'm cruel that way... I want my readers in tears, I tell you, tears! *g* But only because they're moved by the plight of the character in question. Go ahead and book a flight to M-e so you can give Denlad a hug. He doesn't get a lot of those, not nearly as many as he needs!

And yep, humor to offset the angst. That's how I roll. *g* Glad you liked that part, too.

Thanks for the review!

DarkoverReviewed Chapter: 9 on 10/11/2011
Dear Cairistiona: This chapter was very sad but very good. At last we have some idea of why Denlad has been so standoffish. I didn't believe the brown-eyed man could have been Bowen--both because of Bowen's age and because of his character--and I doubt if it was his father Owen, either. I imagine it was just a man who strongly resembled him/them. Didn't you mention in the first story that most Breelanders look similiar (same build and coloring) or am I misremembering? Poor Denlad--and poor Halbarad, having to listen to such an account and not having any idea of what to say or do to help. And next chapter, it looks as if Flora will have her baby. This has been a *great* story thus far, even better than the first one! I suppose the next chapter will be the last, but either way, I look forward to it. Sincerely, Darkover

Author Reply: Thanks, Darkover! Glad you enjoyed this chapter and have been enjoying the entire story. It's definitely a deeper, more complex tale than the one-shot first story of the trilogy, and although I have only just started on the third story, I can assure you that it will be even more complex than this one. Hopefully it will be a solid ending to the trilogy. *iz a wee bit nervous*

Anyway, yes, Tolkien does say that the Men of Bree looked similar to one another--shorter and stockier than Rangers, dark eyes and hair, etc. I relied on his description to create how Bowen and his family all look, with a few tweaks of course because obviously the Men of Bree were not all siblings and cousins whose family trees don't fork. :) I don't think that they all looked so much alike as to be easily confused one with another, so there's an element of the situation to keep in mind as you read. And that's all I better say about that!

Thanks again for the review!

EstelcontarReviewed Chapter: 9 on 10/11/2011
Poor Denlad! What sorrowful and solitary life he must have led before he joined the Dúnedain. It's no wonder he treasures Aragorn, Halbarad and all his new friends. His new life is hard but not as tragic and lonely as his previous one was. It's no wonder too that he eyes Bowen askance if Bowen brings back to his mind such horrible memories. That was a hard chapter to read but you've managed to lighten up the pathos with the right amount of to my mind indispensable humour. I love Halbarad in his mother hennish mode.

Author Reply: Thanks, Estelcontar! Yes, there's nothing like having gone so long without to make a man appreciate what he has, whether it's food or friendships, and Denlad definitely loves his new life and all those responsible for blessing him with it. I'm glad the balance felt right between pathos and lightness... I don't like extreme amounts of either in a story. Too much pathos and it's too dark; too much humor and it's just plain silly. I like my stories to be more like real life, with bits of both and all the emotions in between.

Personally, I think between Halbarad, Denlad and Aragorn, there's enough hens to make an entire flock. *g*

IúlielReviewed Chapter: 9 on 10/11/2011
Like all your other stories, I just love this one as well. You describe your characters, especially Aragorn, Halbarad and Denlad and the way they interact so well, I can almost visualize them as real persons.
Can't wait, how the story concludes.

Author Reply: Thank you, Iúliel! I'm so glad you enjoy my stories. I love hearing a reader say they can "see" the characters come to life and seem real; it's very reassuring and encouraging! Hope you enjoy the rest of the story!

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