Very Rain of Sparrows, A
1. Beta-readers: Many thanks for the helpful comments and feedback of Altariel and Isabeau of Greenlea. All remaining flaws are mine. Dedicated to fliewatuet, whose beta-ing was interrupted by a happy event. Finally, thanks to Denise for her eagle-eye where typos are concerned.
2. Title: "A Very Rain of Sparrows" suggested by Matthew 10: 29-31.
3. Dialect: As in, 'Why?' It is commonly known that Tolkien's Middle-earth came to be, in a way, because he needed speakers for the languages he created. He also took care to write his characters as speaking in different ways--whether this was shown directly (as in the at least three dialectical variations in Aragorn's speech over the course of the story, or Sam's speech as compared with Frodo's), or whether this is simply noted indirectly (as when it is noted that Éomer uses Westron "in manner and tone like... Boromir, Man of Gondor" ("The Riders of Rohan," TTT, 41), or when Tolkien-the-translator notes in the Appendices that Pippin uses the familiar forms to everyone, including Denethor, which shocks and amazes the Gondorians who assume this means something about his rank in his native country). Tolkien's characters do not have uniform ways of speaking, and the differences are both regional and class-based.
For AVRS, since the characters are very much lower class, and also not Dúnedain, but rather a part of the native Gondorian population (the 'vale folk' as they are occasionally called in this story), it seemed appropriate to try to indicate this through how they spoke. The dialect here is an invention, not based on anything in Tolkien's work. I've tried to make it distinct, but not impossible to read. If it has an American flavor to it, it's because I am one.
4. The Eastshore: The town is totally fictitious, as are all the 'extracts' from 'official records', and all the social infrastructure (minus that we know, of course, that Castamir had a navy, that his stronghold was the south of Gondor, and that his campaign was pretty racist, which seemed like it ought to remain a factor even after Eldacar was ousted).
5. Castamir, Sorrían, Lord Vorondur, Lord Amrazar: To my knowledge, there is no name given for Castamir’s wife, though he obviously had one given that he had two sons. There is also no known name for the lord of Pelargir at that time. Lord Amrazar is the fictional ancestor of the family that would eventually become the royal family of Dol Amroth. Also, I hope the real Arandil won't be annoyed that I used her handle for one of my scribes—it was not an intentional borrowing; the name just fits with my intentions.
6. "Annals of the Kings": "Annals of the Kings and Rulers" is the title given to much of Appendix A. I've cut "and Rulers" because when these two entries were written, the Stewards had not yet come to power. The two scribes, all of the first "entry," and a large section of the second, are inventions.
Notes to "Annals of the Kings" (first entry):
1. "I archam ú-ruidathon": Drawing on Taramiluiel’s "Reconstructed Sindarin Vocabulary" list and Ardalambion, this is my best effort to have Amrazar say "I will not pursue the throne." Less elegant than "I do not oppose you," but the Sindarin corpus fails me on that count. Thanks to Ithildin and erunyauve for their grammatical assistance.
Notes to "The Eastshore":
1. "Name any tree that you love and it shall stand till it dies": This is from " Aldarion and Erendis: The Mariner's Wife," Unfinished Tales, 191
2. Life in a fishing village: Anything I know about fishing and fishing villages comes from someone else, most especially:
http://www.paauk.com/fishid.htm : This site was one that I had used back in 2005. It has since disappeared into the ether, alas! But it did show pictures of freshwater fish and told me things about where they lived.
Regia Anglorum - Fishing in Early Medieval Times, by David Green
3. Logging/timber: Anything I know about logging and timber trades comes from these sites:
The Northern European Timber Trade in the Later Middle Ages & Renaissance, by Gary R. Halstead
Log Drives (and River Pigs), by the Minnesota Historical Society
All mistakes about how all these things things work=my own.
Notes to "The Weather on the Water":
1. Regarding Dor-en-Ernil and the heraldry: In note 39 to "Cirion and Eorl" in Unfinished Tales, C. Tolkien gives a lengthy explanation of differing accounts of the history of the lineage and title of the royal house of Dol Amroth. Basically, it comes down to this as the most charitable and encompassing interpretation: before the Downfall, there already was a city on the promontory that would one day be called 'Dol Amroth,' and it was always ruled by the family that would eventually become the Princes of Dol Amroth. However, the city itself (and so its royal family) was not known by the name of 'Dol Amroth' until after Amroth's drowning in 1981—over 500 years after the Kin-strife.
For my purposes, I've decided to make use of the fact that there is a province, right next to Belfalas and Dol Amroth, called "Dor-en-Ernil"—the land of the prince. There is only one family in Gondor whose official title apparently is "prince." Therefore, I've made Amrazar "Amrazar of Dor-en-Ernil." I've also retained the device of the silver swan for the main noble house in Dor-en-Ernil, which will eventually give rise to the Princes of Dol Amroth. I assume the family would have the same arms unless there were some really good symbolic/political reason to change them, and having an Elf-lord dive into the sea by your city just doesn't seem like a really good reason.
See People of Middle-earth, 220 ; J.R.R. Tolkien's note 39 of "Cirion and Eorl" in Unfinished Tales; and C. Tolkien's note on his father's note, same reference, for the whole, confusing mess.
Notes to "Daily Bread":
1. Agriculture: Anything I know about agriculture comes from someone else. These three sites in particular:
Medieval Farming Year, by Andy Staples
Medieval Life & the Hundred Years War: Society and Culture: Agriculture, by Albert A. Nofi and James F. Dunnigan
The Medieval Agricultural Year, by Rachel Hartman
All mistakes about how these things work=my own.
2. About politics: "The Tale of Years" notes that at some point in his reign, Castamir did want to move the throne to Pelargir, being obsessed with naval matters, which caused discontent. The idea that there might have been overtures to the exiled Eldacar from the southern Gondorian lord whose house would one day spawn the royal house of the as-yet unchristened Dol Amroth is a logical extrapolation. Given Castamir's growing megalomania and irresponsibility, it wouldn't be unreasonable to suppose some sort of Eldacar-based resistance were building in such a manner.
3. "The Tale of Frumgar and Fremgang" and the Chronicle of Eorl: the Chronicle is a canonically attested "document" of Middle-earth ("Cirion and Eorl," Unfinished Tales, 309). It is, apparently, a historical narrative about the meeting of Cirion and Eorl, and the founding of Rohan. Encyclopedia of Arda speculates that the chronicle, being a popular Anglo-Saxon form in the real world, might have been created in Rohan by the Rohirrim who were loosely based on Anglo-Saxon society. The date given for its composition is not attested in Unfinished Tales.
Frumgar is also canonical: he is the lord of one of the Northmen tribes, and the most remote attested 'ancestor' of the Éothéod. Fremgang is not canonical. However, I found this note at the end of the story of Cirion and Eorl:
"After the manner of the Chronicles no doubt much of what is here put into the mouths of Eorl and Cirion at their parting was said and considered in the debate of the night before...", i.e., it's a dramatization of things. Probably there's room to say that some of what they said was just plain made up, as is suggested by the "but it is cetain that Cirion said at parting his words concerning the inspiration of his oath...", which suggests that some of what he is alleged to have said is not certain. See UT, 321.
Given that, I thought I'd take that one step further and have the Chronicle report, in addition to the bits 'reproduced' in Unfinished Tales, a song given in honor of Cirion and Eorl's oath-binding, one that reached back to a previous alliance of Gondor and Northmen tribes, and which very explicitly wrote in a close, blood-tie between Frumgar and an invented founding father of the old Gothic-Northmen who came to Gondor's aid centuries before the Ride of the Éothéod.
4. "Gut-thiuda": the name the real world Goths used of themselves. Its meaning is unclear, although one going theory is that the word "gut" is related to the word "pour", hence my decision to have them called "River sons" and to suggest a close concern with the river (a concern beyond, of course, the desire to upset Castamir's plans to increase the size of his navy and so support Eldacar's designs).
See: The Goths. There are a number of other sites out there that mention this hypothesis, while others just mention that the "gut" in "Gut-thiuda" has an unknown meaning.
Notes to "King’s Men":
1. 'Here do I swear fealty and service to Gondor, and to the House of Elendil, to the king of this realm, to speak and to be silent, to do and to let be, to come and to go, in need or in plenty, in peace or in war, in living or dying, from this hour henceforth, until my lord release me, or death take me, or the world end.'—With few changes, this is right out of RoTK, pp. 29-30.
Notes to "Annals of the Kings" (second entry)::
1. Thus [Castamir] had been king only ten years, when Eldacar, seeing his time, came with a great army out of the North, and folk flocked to him from Calenardhon and Anórien and Ithilien. There was a great battle in Lebennin at the Crossings of Erui, in which much of the best blood of Gondor was shed. Eldacar himself slew Castamir in combat, and so was avenged for Ornendil; but Castamir's sons escaped, and with others of their kin and many people of the fleets they held out long at Pelargir.
When they had gathered there all the force that they could (for Eldacar had no ships to beset them by sea) they sailed away, and established themselves at Umbar...—Appendix A, ROTK, 367-368. The rest is an invention.
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