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No Better Name  by Cairistiona 22 Review(s)
VanadesseReviewed Chapter: 13 on 10/25/2011
Magnifique !

I was so elated !
I like to see a wistful Strider, a not so ordinary man in an ordinary situation. I would really like to see Bowen or his son meet or hear about Strider the king.

I read your storiesfor many years now and the are regal and touching, like Strider.

Author Reply: Thank you so much, Vanadesse! "Regal and touching"? You're making me blush! But I'm very glad you like my stories and took a moment to let me know. And you'll see Bowen and Strider the King in the third story of this trilogy... as soon as I get it written. :) Thanks again for your very kind words.

DarkoverReviewed Chapter: 13 on 10/25/2011
Dear Cairistiona: After the previous chapter, I didn't think this story needed one more installment, but I am very glad that you posted this! IMHO, the dialogue in this chapter is the best in the entire story, which is saying something. I loved the conversation between Bowen and Strider. Bowen's imagined reaction to the idea of Halbarad thinking Bowen had stolen his sword made me laugh out loud. I understand and sympathize with Bowen's unease, as a sword is unfamiliar to him, but Strider seems like a very good teacher. BTW, not that I am any expert, but your descriptions of how to use a sword, and the exhausting effect it can have on someone previously unexperienced with sword practice, impressed me as being quite realistic. After all, historically speaking, in the days before the sword gave way to the gun, people (usually men) who used swords started their training when they were no more than six or seven years old. They had to, in order to become proficient, and I'm glad you made that clear in this story. As Strider pointed out to Bowen, the latter would never be as skillful as someone who had trained since childhood in the use of a sword, but that didn't mean Bowen couldn't become proficient enough to use a sword to protect himself and his family. Strider's advice to Bowen reminded me of martial arts training--nothing magical or mystical about it, just constant practice until your body knows what to do without thinking about it. Strider's remarks on that subject, and the comments about swords turning blue in the presence of orcs, were very enjoyable to read, too. (I suspect to have that characteristic, a sword had to be not only Elven-made, but probably Noldorin-made. Weren't they the most proficient Elven-smiths when it came to making weapons?) Bowen showed some perception in his realization that there is more to Strider than meets the eye. I liked how Strider never got rude with Bowen, nor did he lie to him; if Bowen just asked a question that Strider believed the farmer would be better off not knowing the answer to, he just smiled and went on to another subject. I very much liked the ending; Bowen has become friends with the Rangers, and vice-versa. I *loved* the scene you described at the end, with Bowen calling out to the Rangers, and Strider and his men lifting their swords in acknowledgement as they all rode off. Your talent at writing descriptive scenes is just as remarkable as your talent for dialogue! It would be great if some talented fan artist would paint that scene. Bowen's words at the last to his newborn son were wonderful, too. This all started from another "chance meeting" in Middle-earth. Tolkien would approve, I'm sure! Thank you so much for writing and posting this excellent sequel, which was even better than the first. I eagerly await the third story! Take care! Sincerely, Darkover

Author Reply: Thank you so much, Darkover! Your reviews are so wonderfully comprehensive, I always save replying until I have time to do it properly. :)

I'm glad you found this chapter a nice bonus... the story could have ended a chapter earlier, but I wanted to see the story through to the point at which they all parted ways.

I didn't envision the whole "lifting swords" scene until I was very literally at that moment in the story but that's often how these things come, on the fly in the middle of writing! So it kind of caught me by surprise but I was happy at how it hints at Strider's true identity and foreshadows what will come to pass. And ooh, I'd love to see that in an artistic rendering! Wouldn't that be grand, as Bowen says? RS has done some wonderful illustrations for stories, including a few of mine, so maybe she'll give it a go. :) (If you want to see them, her LJ is: http://rs9.livejournal.com/ I'm *pretty* sure they're public entries.)

As for the blue-glowing sword... I don't know if any sword other than Sting did that? I'd have to look it up, and I'd also have to look up the Noldor and sword-making. (Admittedly, I'm more knowledgeable about the Dunedain than the Elves, although I'm learning.) That was Strider's oblique reference to Sting, at any rate.

I also appreciate your mentioning that Strider isn't rude but is just forthright and honest with Bowen. I think writers, in their attempt to show him as the leader and king, shade him a bit too much on the rude side, which gives him an arrogance that I don't see in canon (and still less in the movies). The Dunedain were described as "courteous" in ROTK, and I think Aragorn set that tone by always being courteous even when he had to be firm about something--even if in the heat of the moment he comes across as forceful and rude, afterwards, if the person is an ally, he softens and shows his warmer side. I think readers of Tolkien sometimes see "stern" when applied to Aragorn and leap to the most negative connotation of the word, but taken in context with all of Aragorn's mannerisms and character, "stern" really doesn't refer to him being cruel or harsh, but rather grave and sober. My take on the character, at any rate!

And finally, your reference to martial arts training and the idea of Aragorn's directive to Bowen to repeat the motions until they're ingrained is actually exactly what I was thinking as I wrote that. My husband and daughter are both involved in various forms of martial arts and repetition is such a vital part of the training. At this point, Aragorn can't offer complete training but I thought to write it so that he can at least set Bowen on a path toward basic sword-handling skill, with the knowledge, as you again point out, that he'll never have the proficiency that comes from learning it at a young age. Bowen won't ever be a master swordsman, but now at least he has the basics in mind.

Whew. Long-winded reply! I hope when you read the third installment of the trilogy that you enjoy it as much as you have this one! Thanks again for all your reviews!


shireboundReviewed Chapter: 13 on 10/25/2011
Strider turned and, with a glance toward Halbarad, pulled his sword and held it above his head. Halbarad did the same, and then one by one the others followed suit. Strider kicked at his mount and it reared on its back legs, and so regal he looked, so powerful and noble surrounded by his men with the sun flashing on their bright swords, that Bowen felt he was seeing legends from the mists of time come to life from the old tales and stories to stand right there on his little lane. It was a sight he knew he would remember to his dying day. His throat closing and chin trembling, he lifted his hand toward them, and then they turned as one and galloped around the bend and were gone.

Oh, that gave me chills! I never wanted this story to end, and am so delighted to know there will be more. You're a marvelous writer, and have crafted characters I truly love.

Author Reply: Aww! *blushes furiously* Thank you, shirebound! It's the highest compliment for a writer to hear that a reader didn't want the story to end! Thankfully, at least for now, the end isn't at hand just yet. *g* Thanks for reading and for your kind words. :)

ElflingimpReviewed Chapter: 13 on 10/25/2011
Wow! The visual I got of Strider at the end with the swords and all was wonderful!(sniffs) I do declare you could write a movie! Hugs The Imp

Author Reply: Thank you, Imp! I was kind of hoping that last scene of them on their horses with swords raised would evoke a sort of "classic movie scene" vibe... if only there could have been swelling music as well, right? LOL The grand minds behind SoA need to figure out how to let us add soundtracks... *g*

I'm so glad you enjoyed the story; I hope the 3rd installment in the trilogy will move you just as much as this did. Thanks again!

EstelcontarReviewed Chapter: 13 on 10/25/2011
I see that Aragorn is making sure, with the resolution which peculiar to him, that Bowen will be well able to keep Owen Estel safe enough once he and his rangers are gone. *g*

You did a great job of setting up the third installment of your trilogy. With Rangers a’ plenty coming ever so often to provide Bowen with sparring partners, enjoy some rest and taste Flora's wonderful cooking, Owen Estel is bound to develop a keen interest in them.

I love Galadh when he is putting on his loveable curmudgeon act, but his change of heart tickled me as much as it did Halbarad. LOL A most delightful closing to a wonderful tale.


Author Reply: Thank you, estelcontar, both for this review and all your other ones and for being, as always, my "test reader"! I very much appreciate all your input, and I'm grateful you enjoyed the story from front to end. :) And you know, I think Galadh's turnaround from curmudgeon to mushy-hearted softy surprised me as much as it did Halbarad. I'd never seen that side of him before!

Here's to Bowen's sword skills improving week by week... he may need them in book #3. *g*

Obrigadão, minha amiga!

LisaGReviewed Chapter: 13 on 10/25/2011
Awww, the end always comes too soon for your wonderful stories! :)

I loved the imagery of Strider holding his sword aloft as his horse reared...very kingly image!

So in the triology, does Bowen find out that Strider becomes king??? I'm not sure about the timeline of this story, but that would be neat!

Author Reply: Thank you, LisaG! So very glad you enjoyed this! I like to think there were moments when Aragorn let his kingly side show, when it was safe to do so. :)

And yes, I will say that in book #3, Bowen finds out that Strider is actually Aragorn, son of Arathorn, King Elessar Telcontar. *g* I'm still hammering out the timeline of that tale; it's much more extensive that this one and I imagine that will translate into a much longer story. Or not. At this point it's too soon to tell!

EllyBagginsReviewed Chapter: 13 on 10/25/2011
I very much enjoyed this story. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I love how you write Halbarad and Aragorn. Tolkien doesn't give us much to go on when it comes to Halbarad, and for me it really is authors like you, who write with such a strong sense of realism and wit, that bring his character to life. I look forward to anything you may write in the future :)

Author Reply: Aw, thank you very much, EllyBaggins! I'm so glad that you and others enjoy my version of Halbarad. There are some really good Halbarads out there and I'm humbled you count mine among them. Hopefully the next story will flow out as smoothly as this one did and it won't be too long before you'll have it to read. Thanks again for reading and for your kind words!

MirachReviewed Chapter: 13 on 10/25/2011
A lovely last chapter to this part of the story!

And Bowen actually agreed to learn to fight! Somehow I wasn't sure he would... But he is indeed very quick in learning. I spent the first hours just by learning the posture and steps. I remember this moment: "then he struck it with his own sword to let him feel the way the sword vibrated", it was a bit of a surprise to feel the blow after practicing the movements without an opponent. I could write essays about learning to fight with a sword here, but I stopped in the right time, so I won't :D (and I'm saving that for my original story...)

It was a very impressive moment at the end, to see Aragorn so regal. I hope Bowen will still be alive when he returns as a king of Gondor and Arnor. I would really like to see his reaction!

Author Reply: Thank you, Mirach! Bowen is a bit of a quick study, but I figure Aragorn is probably the best teacher there is. :) And yes, I've heard that to feel your blade hit another is really a revelation, so I wanted Bowen to have that experience. You probably could write an essay on swordfighting!

And yes, Bowen will eventually have his reunion with King Elessar, in book 3, whenever it finally gets finished! Wish me luck, and thanks again for this and all your reviews!

FantasiaReviewed Chapter: 13 on 10/25/2011
Beautiful end. Perfect. I wish I can leave you an adequate review, but I'm at work and very busy. I took five minutes to read this. And good that I did, it is just perfect. I will wait very impatiently for the third book. I miss all of them already.

Thhans Cairistiona. Hope to read you soon.

Author Reply: Thank you, Fantasia, and this is a perfectly adequate review. :) I'm very glad you enjoyed the story, even to the extent that you miss the characters now that it's over. But they'll all show up again with a few more besides. I'm hard at work on book 3 now. Thanks again for all your kind reviews!

curiouswombatReviewed Chapter: 13 on 10/25/2011
What an excellent end to an excellent story. I look forward to book three whenever you get to it.

Author Reply: Thank you, curiouswombat! So glad you enjoyed this story! And "whenever you get to it" really will be the operative word. I'm crossing my fingers that comes sooner rather than later!

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