Forum: Dwim's Stories (was Lie Down...)

Discussing: LDID Updates 2

LDID Updates 2

I'm starting a new thread, since the old one *is* 50 replies long, and we know now that as the reply count rises, loading time increases for those with dial-ups or even DSL *cough* *kicks SBC*. And I even have a new chapter for the inaugural post. And I don't even have to do a summary like I have had to do lately—two chapters, three weeks! Woot! That said, it is a lot more talking, and I'm not so sure of the pacing, here. Onto the Revisions Slate list it goes. Also, in order for this to work, I had to go back and fill in a plothole in chapter 22. It's right at the end. There's a new section that fills in just a little bit on what was being talked about just before the hobbits and Éowyn came looking for friends, brothers, and uncles, among other things. Just scroll til you find the section break.

 

 

Re: Alawa's post from the other thread

Tag-team reviewing—I just got through writing a review for your story! Excellent timing!I didn't write the "alternate Angle" stories as AUs, just as substitutes for each other within my own ficverse. Ah yes, that's true of course. "Reason to Celebrate" Halbarad will do just fine - just so long as you keep him alive a good long time. Well, he didn't get to have nearly as much fun as in "A Reason to Celebrate", but he does keep getting surprised by Aragorn. So that counts as continuity, right? ;-)

 

 

Re: LDID Updates 2

I read both new chapters back to back; the scenes with the hobbits cheered me up; the last parts of the new chapter were almost unbearably sad. I'm not hopeful for Aragorn if he takes the Paths of the Dead.

 

 

Re: LDID Updates 2

I read both new chapters back to back Since you did, how did they strike you? Too much talk? the scenes with the hobbits cheered me up Those were fun to write; I'm glad others have found them amusing. the last parts of the new chapter were almost unbearably sad. Really? Here I was aiming for a certain lift at the end, but I guess I can see, too, how it might also be a rather somber passage.

 

 

Re: LDID Updates 2

I read both new chapters back to back Since you did, how did they strike you? Too much talk? Well, I love getting story through dialogue, but leaving that aside, I don't think there was too much talk, or there was sufficient variation in how the talk is delivered: e.g. Merry and Pippin's scene is quite staccato, whereas the 'debate' scenes in the next chapter had more characters and were mediated through Éomer's perceptions. the last parts of the new chapter were almost unbearably sad. Really? Here I was aiming for a certain lift at the end, but I guess I can see, too, how it might also be a rather somber passage. Perhaps it was because I was reading it in my new belief that he isn't going to survive the Paths of the Dead (or that either of them are likely to survive the story). Suddenly the whole Arwen-Aragorn story seemed to become turned into something that might be found in The Silmarillion, and that ain't no happy place. At the very least, I wasn't sure that the two people concerned had any belief that they were going to see each other again, and that alters the tone significantly from the book story. Or maybe I just angst too much.

 

 

Re: LDID Updates 2

Really? Here I was aiming for a certain lift at the end, but I guess I can see, too, how it might also be a rather somber passage. Just nipping in very quickly before work to say I did get a lift at the end. Alawa

 

 

Re: LDID Updates 2

there was sufficient variation in how the talk is delivered Huzzah! I think I need to come back and read those two chapters in May and see how they feel. I'm just slightly too close at the moment to judge, I think. I wasn't sure that the two people concerned had any belief that they were going to see each other again, and that alters the tone significantly from the book story. Ah, I see. Yes, that element has been altered. Way back when I wrote chapter 5, I wanted that element of uncertainty there, when Aragorn refuses to answer the question whether he'll come back because he just isn't willing to make any promises. In this chapter, that does haunt the Arwen-Aragorn "interaction", especially after the snippet added to 22. But what I mainly was aiming for was the acknowledgment that they are married now, even though Aragorn hasn't been thinking in those terms. LACE makes sex automatically a marriage, but that sense of simple default has to be challenged, I think, especially since Aragorn really hadn't considered their actions in that light, being caught up in other concerns, and that rather hurried coupling, out there in the dark and in secret, being rather far removed from what either of them had imagined. So Arwen's message, which reminds him that they are married and reminds him that so far as she is concerned, they were husband and wife as far back as Cerin Amroth is good news, in its way, something that would certainly lighten Halbarad's spirits. And it gave me a chance to let poor Arwen show some agency in her rather restricted capacity—she reminds Aragorn that he shouldn't be thinking about his night with her in terms of something to hide as unseemly—as he did when Gimli asked. If Arwen is willing to make that her wedding night, then he shouldn't persist in thinking that despite his private acceptance of the act, he's compromised Arwen's honor. So far as she's concerned, he hasn't, and though the rest of the world might not grasp the significance of her creating that standard, if any of the Dúnedain read that letter, they'd get the point immediately. So I imagine that Aragorn will now have some good news for his men the next day, to leaven a little the bad news of Gandalf's death. Or maybe I just angst too much. As a fellow angstficcer, I plead the fifth.

 

 

Re: LDID Updates 2

Hi Alawa, Just nipping in very quickly before work to say I did get a lift at the end. Yay! I was trying to end the last two sections on a somewhat more positive note—figured it was probably needed.

 

 

Re: LDID Updates 2

Bit of a lurker with too much time and on a rereading rampage. I didn't notice the newest chapter was up until I was about halfway in, which was veeeeery trying. Just a quick note: you're not the perfect writer, because that's kind of impossible, and if I ever found the perfect writer I'd barricade him in a cave with several Balrogs. But the flaws really don't bother me. I'm too enraptured by your wording and the story. At any rate, you're looking for commentary, so that said: I didn't mind the talking, although there was quite a lot of it. As far as the pacing goes, the only thing I noticed is that Halbarad spent quite a while coming to Theoden. But there's something there, not sure what... didn't really notice it until I looked for it, but it's there. Most of the fic thus far is very action-heavy, so of course it's a shift. Eomer has the reins of point-of-view for the majority of the chapter, and he doesn't a lot of what is going on. (Quite liked his segment with Theoden, but that's something else.) The most potent parts, really. He doesn't know anything of Aragorn's home, or Rivendell, or the Ring, so the conversation goes on without much interruption. He doesn't know Aragorn or Halbarad very well, so he can only read so much of those two. And then you add the element of his character... I got the distinct impression that everyone is rather hopeless but no one wants to dwell on it. They don't know what to do; there isn't much they can do. Really, they're just occupying their time while they wait for the final blow. Just what Halbarad said... getting some rest before they face it again. But there's no way they could have gone through that conversation without considering it. Aragorn and Legolas know very well that they're doomed. Halbarad, too. Theoden, I can't say. But Eomer... he can tell that something is wrong, but not too much, and he's not asking or speculating. I really don't know. Most of that was probably dead-wrong. Oh, well. From your local incessant babbler. =P

 

 

Re: LDID Updates 2

But what I mainly was aiming for was the acknowledgment that they are married now, even though Aragorn hasn't been thinking in those terms. I definitely got that (although not all the nuances of it that you describe), and the sense that it was a transitional point for Aragorn. I can't wait to be able to re-read the whole of this, as a full piece. And we have to wait till May for another part? *sigh*

 

 

Re: LDID Updates 2

Hi Tarawyn, Bit of a lurker with too much time and on a rereading rampage. Me, too. I'm trying to make up for lost time! Just a quick note: you're not the perfect writer, because that's kind of impossible, and if I ever found the perfect writer I'd barricade him in a cave with several Balrogs. One suspects the writer might be slightly hindered in the production of more writing with Balrogs for roommates! But the flaws really don't bother me. I'm too enraptured by your wording and the story. Well there's some good news! Makes the Revisions Slate seem slightly less frightening. I didn't mind the talking, although there was quite a lot of it. As far as the pacing goes, the only thing I noticed is that Halbarad spent quite a while coming to Theoden. But there's something there, not sure what... didn't really notice it until I looked for it, but it's there. It does take Hal a bit of time to get up to the tower, but since they're walking back, and then Éomer has to arrange things, I figure it's not an unduly long period of time. But I am a bit confused by he last sentence—I gather that you're not clear what the "something" is, yourself, but the "it" that follows seems a bit more concrete. Maybe you could elaborate a little? Eomer has the reins of point-of-view for the majority of the chapter, and he doesn't a lot of what is going on. (Quite liked his segment with Theoden, but that's something else.) The most potent parts, really. Glad you liked the Théoden-Éomer section; I have't done very much with Théoden so far in this fic, and I thought it was time to show a little more of him, and how his relationship with Éomer has developed. [snip] I got the distinct impression that everyone is rather hopeless but no one wants to dwell on it. They don't know what to do; there isn't much they can do. Really, they're just occupying their time while they wait for the final blow. Just what Halbarad said... getting some rest before they face it again. But there's no way they could have gone through that conversation without considering it. That's right. One of the big challenges for me writing this chapter was to confront the fact that at least two characters have this additional piece of information about the Song that leads them to believe that the real choice is not between hope and despair, but how to keep going when everything seems to be leading to one very dark conclusion. Also, without the palantir, the immediate need to respond is lessened, which makes this a much more uncertain conference than Aragorn's original one. At the same time, they don't want to speak too bluntly—Théoden and Aragorn talk about how Denethor, Boromir, and Ecthelion were always playing a game of words about what Minas Tirith's chances were once the war came, and they're doing the same thing, for the same reasons. But that can make for a sense of going through the motions that is boring and meaningless; it was hard to try to inject some genuine suspense, which is why I used Éomer as my POV character for most of the chapter. Plus, using him let me drag in Théodred again, who would be on his mind, I think. Aragorn and Legolas know very well that they're doomed. Halbarad, too. Halbarad actually doesn't know at this point. He has other reasons for being grim, namely what's happened in the North on his watch. But Aragorn didn't figure out the state of affairs until Moria. Halbarad has a much more complete picture of what is at stake because he is Dúnadan, with all the history that implies, and also because he is fresh from the battlegrounds of Eriador with bad news. But he doesn't give us any reason to think that he knows anything about the Song. Theoden, I can't say. But Eomer... he can tell that something is wrong, but not too much, and he's not asking or speculating. I really don't know. They've got a slightly more complete picture since chapter 22—they know the basics of the Ring Quest. But again, Aragorn is being careful not to tell anyone too much. His reasoning since his talk with Legolas in Edoras hasn't changed, and Legolas is doing a lot to convince him that it's better for everyone if they don't know what he knows. Most of that was probably dead-wrong. Oh, well. No, no, not at all. Thanks for the thoughtful comments!

 

 

Re: LDID Updates 2

I definitely got that (although not all the nuances of it that you describe), and the sense that it was a transitional point for Aragorn. Well, I do have "development of Aragorn/Arwen relationship; ref. reply to Altariel ch 31" on the Revisions Slate. Getting those nuances to show up is a multi-chapter undertaking, so I'll wait til I reach the point of revising on that scale to take a closer look at this. I can't wait to be able to re-read the whole of this, as a full piece. And we have to wait till May for another part? *sigh* I, too, can't wait for this to be a whole piece. *grumble* This was not supposed to take four years! And yes, unless I get extremely inspired between now and next week, it'll be May before I'm able to work on this, I think. However, fyi, this chapter just underwent a little tweaking, though it doesn't address the marriage point for the reasons mentioned. But I did insert a little more into the Aragorn-Halbarad conversation, and tried to fix the ending so it feels more like, oh, an ending.

 

 

Re: LDID Updates 2

But I am a bit confused by he last sentence—I gather that you're not clear what the "something" is, yourself, but the "it" that follows seems a bit more concrete. Maybe you could elaborate a little? Just that I felt changing currents in the story when I read it, but didn't attribute them to anything until I looked harder. Anything that's "wrong" in there - and that's too strong a word - is quite subtle. Halbarad actually doesn't know at this point. He has other reasons for being grim, namely what's happened in the North on his watch. But Aragorn didn't figure out the state of affairs until Moria. Halbarad has a much more complete picture of what is at stake because he is Dúnadan, with all the history that implies, and also because he is fresh from the battlegrounds of Eriador with bad news. But he doesn't give us any reason to think that he knows anything about the Song. Oh, I didn't mean he knows about the Song! But the fact that the Angle and Rivendell are overrun are hardly minor details. If I'm not mistaken, Rivendell wasn't harmed directly by the book's war. Of course, I could have made that up. Really, it's just general hopelessless - they have no way of winning, and, as Dúnadan, he knows what the end means. Otherwise known as "what you said."

 

 

Re: LDID Updates 2

Just that I felt changing currents in the story when I read it, but didn't attribute them to anything until I looked harder. Anything that's "wrong" in there - and that's too strong a word - is quite subtle. Well, if you do put your finger on "it", whatever it may be, let me know! Oh, I didn't mean he knows about the Song! But the fact that the Angle and Rivendell are overrun are hardly minor details. Ah, ok. I was reading the assertion of Halbarad's knowing they're doomed alongside Aragorn's and Legolas' sense of being doomed. You're right, the siege of Rivendell and evacuation of th Angle, at this point in the story, are both pretty dire signs. Neither event happened in the books (although the evacuation of a Dúnedain settlement could've happened; JRRT just doesn't say anything about them). I always found it interesting that Lorien was hit, but Rivendell wasn't, despite the orcs of the Misty Mountains and the proximity of the Ettenmoors, so here was a chance to play with the line that all places, such as the Shire and Bree *and Imladris* are islands in the storm.

 

 

Re: LDID Updates 2

Hi Dwim, I haven’t read it back to back with the previous one, but I like the pacing of this chapter. I enjoyed encountering Halbarad through Eomer’s eyes and it does have an island-in-the-storm type feel to it, I think. Aragorn and Legolas have to find a way of carrying on in the darkness and, even in the face of foresight or prophesy, I suppose this is one of the things you can do – just keep on doing what needs doing next – stay disciplined, get on with your duties, show courtesy to your guests, look after their horses, follow procedure and custom etc etc. and I think the steady pace reflected that. Despite the fact that the news from the North is heart-wrenchingly bad, I think there is a surprising amount of bittersweet warmth in this chapter. What causes the characters the most fear and pain – homeland and loved ones – also provides some sort of joy, however muted. The Theoden and Eomer scene was touching and I loved the Halbarad/Aragorn interaction – it just felt such a relief that he had arrived – though, of course, I’m now very anxious about his possible fate and Aragorn’s possible reaction to it – no auxiliary support from the sons of Elrond, either, it seems – I suppose they’ve got troubles of their own. I always like the way you play off the original and Halbarad and Aragorn sharing a few “crumbs of comfort” did seem like a sort of bleak and poignant “flotsam and jetsam” moment – no other members of the Fellowship, terrible news, no good cheer except a smoke, but companionship all the same. I’m still worried about Legolas though. I suppose with Aragorn there is some sort of feeling that, as a mortal, he has always lived his life, even when he had hope, with a darkness looming over him. So maybe that’s why I feel that he might be able to cope better than Legolas in the current circumstances. Now I’m very interested as to how the Legolas plotline is going to turn out, and how he interacts with Denethor – assuming he actually reaches Minas Tirith safely – and whether Pippin will be going with him or not. I liked the extra bit of Halbarad you put in – the reminder that Aragorn should not feel misplaced guilt – that in fact it is an insult to those who have acted not only out of duty, but out of love. Hopefully that might put him in a frame of mind to properly accept the gift that Arwen has given – and remember the joy. I did love the ending; standard or shroud, there is something unquenchably beautiful about it – in fact, it reminded me a bit of Sam’s moment with the star in Mordor. I do have to say, though, that I think I preferred the first draft. It was simple and poetic and evocative and open-ended and somehow spoke for itself, like the mystery of the design quietly revealing itself in the firelight from the folds of cloth. I can understand how you might want to introduce the ideas from Gandalf’s rhyme, but I’m not sure how effectively the rest of the chapter leads up to them. I guess it just pressed all the right buttons for me as it was – and goodness knows, those buttons are just waiting to be pressed. Just my personal feeling of course. Thanks for a great chapter – I don’t think I can bear to wait until May for the next one, though. Alawa

 

 

Re: LDID Updates 2

Hi Alawa, I enjoyed encountering Halbarad through Eomer’s eyes and it does have an island-in-the-storm type feel to it, I think. One of the fun things for me about this AU has been getting to see favorite characters through other eyes. Seeing the three hunters through Háma, Théoden through Legolas, Éowyn through the hobbits' eyes, and now Halbarad through Éomer has put a different accent, for want of a better word, on those characters for me. I'm glad others find it entertaining as well. Aragorn and Legolas have to find a way of carrying on in the darkness and, even in the face of foresight or prophesy, I suppose this is one of the things you can do – just keep on doing what needs doing next – stay disciplined, get on with your duties, show courtesy to your guests, look after their horses, follow procedure and custom etc etc. and I think the steady pace reflected that. And I meant to do that. *cough* Right, really, it's a happy coincidence of form and content, then. Despite the fact that the news from the North is heart-wrenchingly bad, I think there is a surprising amount of bittersweet warmth in this chapter. What causes the characters the most fear and pain – homeland and loved ones – also provides some sort of joy, however muted. *scratches hashmark on fanfictional bedpost* Yes! I always like the way you play off the original and Halbarad and Aragorn sharing a few "crumbs of comfort" did seem like a sort of bleak and poignant "flotsam and jetsam" moment – no other members of the Fellowship, terrible news, no good cheer except a smoke, but companionship all the same. Thanks. I'm glad the transposition worked there. I’m still worried about Legolas though. I suppose with Aragorn there is some sort of feeling that, as a mortal, he has always lived his life, even when he had hope, with a darkness looming over him. So maybe that’s why I feel that he might be able to cope better than Legolas in the current circumstances. That's probably right. I think it must also be harder for Legolas, who has had a more direct experience of the shattered Song and the silence, and is now unable to see anything without a very deep sense of alienation. Part of that is also a reaction to Gimli, to whom he was much closer than he ever was to Boromir But even Boromir's death, in tandem with that arrow wound that opened the crack in his defenses and left him vulnerable to the silence of the Song and the darkness as he might not have been had he been unhurt, affected him pretty strongly. Aragorn, of course, has seen a lot more mortals die than he has elves and his knowledge of the Song is just that one brief, intuitive flash in Moria, although its effects linger. But it's not a direct, daily confrontation. I liked the extra bit of Halbarad you put in – the reminder that Aragorn should not feel misplaced guilt – that in fact it is an insult to those who have acted not only out of duty, but out of love. Hopefully that might put him in a frame of mind to properly accept the gift that Arwen has given – and remember the joy. Yes, I was aiming to have the extra exchange with Halbarad put Aragorn in a position to recognize what Arwen is trying to do for him. In a sense, it's an effort to echo chapter 10's final scene, where Aragorn reminds himself that in fact, he can't be, strictly speaking, unhappy with his lot—he's doing what he uniquely can do, given the circumstances in which he finds himself. A lot has happened since then that makes it hard for him to hold to that attitude, but Arwen and Halbarad both serve to remind him of what Merry articulates separately in ch 30: there's nothing so wrong that there's nothing to be done about it at all. Arwen demonstrates with her letter that one can retroactively (re)determine the meaning of an act and so change its nature in a fundamental way that stands against the numbing effects of realism untempered by hope or love or joy. The extra scene also covers the hole in the original conversation, where Halbarad is asking all the questions and Aragorn doesn't ever ask how his friend is—which I think he would do, but I hadn't figured out quite how to integrate that into the rest of the A-H scene. I did love the ending; standard or shroud, there is something unquenchably beautiful about it – in fact, it reminded me a bit of Sam’s moment with the star in Mordor. I do have to say, though, that I think I preferred the first draft. It was simple and poetic and evocative and open-ended and somehow spoke for itself, like the mystery of the design quietly revealing itself in the firelight from the folds of cloth. I'll put this on the Revisions Slate. The first draft did have the benefit you name, and is actually closer to the "cinema" version in my head, which ends on the standard being partly unfolded, so you can see just enough of the design to recognize what it is. However, it felt kind of awkward to me, as if I hadn't done enough to earn the ending image, even though it was perhaps a mistake to undo the original "self-evidence" of the scene, as it were. I think it's a bit like the problem I had with "Heirs of Isildur", where the ending scene was very cinematic to me, but I was having trouble translating it into "flat" text. If you've got suggestions, let me know. Otherwise, I'll just have to fuss over it later. Thanks for your comments, Alawa, particularly on the last part. I wish I could get another chapter out before May as well, but I just don't think it's going to happen.

 

 

LDID 32: Before the Plunge

Before the Plunge. A lengthy non-action chapter as the title might suggest—can you believe we only make it to dawn of the next day, relative to "Storm Warnings"? I couldn't either, although I tried very hard to get Legolas back to Dunharrow. But it wouldn't work—Elf Boy and Still Not King Guy had a few issues they wanted to work out first. As did Merry and Éowyn. The quick refresher on where we are: Legolas has taken up the role of messenger to Denethor for both Théoden and, if he can pull it off, Galadriel. Aragorn has just gotten a letter from his wife, and a standard to match, and is resolved to ride the Paths of the Dead with the Rangers. Éomer and Théoden are catching up on lost years before they, too, head back to Dunharrow. And now that the angst and quasi-resolutions are in place, next time we should at least have some geographical movement...

 

 

Re: LDID 32: Before the Plunge

Hi Dwim, Just dropping in to say huzzah! for a new chapter. I feel I would need to go back and read from the beginning to really give you a proper review...[insert usual litany of excuses here, mostly related to too much RL work]...but at the very least I wanted to tell you how much I liked the following: - It was one of Aragorn's irritating habits to put things in such a manner that there was little room for misdirection. Hee! I do love your Aragorn. - Legolas in Aragorn's small room, wishing for a windowsill to perch in: again, such a small thing but it rings so true and says "Elf!" to me more effectively in a few words than other writers' whole paragraphs about inscrutable eyes and ethereal beauty and timelessness... - Legolas not quite grasping the import of Arwen's letter at first, and then being all confused that he can't "see" evidence of Aragorn's bonding with her...cultural differences (or gaps in understanding, at the very least) are *really* hard to write subtly, but you managed it beautifully there, and made it into a lovely moment between the two characters too. I've found that lots of fanfic writers tend to just ignore the potential for such moments of culture shock and write as though all the members of the Fellowship speak the same language (both literally and figuratively) and have the same social and/or cultural frames of reference...which seems a shame when part of what's so wonderful about Tolkien is how well-differentiated all the various races of Middle Earth are. - The bit where Aragorn explains why he will perservere in spite of his belief that the Quest is doomed is excellent too...I especially loved "since I am alive, it behooves me to act as one living should." I think this determination makes him and Arwen even more courageous than they are portrayed in LOTR - at least in the books they are shown as having some hope to sustain them, but you've even taken that away! (and the results are fascinating...) ...And the last image of the sun coming over the mountains as Legolas rides away was lovely. Sigh. I miss being around this place. Summer is coming though - I'm crossing my fingers for more time to read and write...! Thanks for the fine chapter --Jeannie

 

 

Re: Jeannie

Hi Jeannie, insert usual litany of excuses here, mostly related to too much RL work *sympathetic noises* Summer is at least officially here--solstice and all that! Hopefully you'll get a bit of a break soon. Thanks for taking time out to post on this! "It was one of Aragorn's irritating habits to put things in such a manner that there was little room for misdirection." Hee! I do love your Aragorn. Aragorn in interrogator mode is always fun to write. cultural differences (or gaps in understanding, at the very least) are *really* hard to write subtly... I've found that lots of fanfic writers tend to just ignore the potential for such moments of culture shock and write as though all the members of the Fellowship speak the same language (both literally and figuratively) and have the same social and/or cultural frames of reference...which seems a shame when part of what's so wonderful about Tolkien is how well-differentiated all the various races of Middle Earth are. It's an interesting thing to play with, certainly, and you're right, representing those differences so that they are effective, without overdone, is difficult. I like to think I've gotten better at this with time and practice; exploring those differences is definitely one of the more attractive things about Fellowship fics, where you get to see nine of the major characters interacting with each other. Legolas not quite grasping the import of Arwen's letter at first, and then being all confused that he can't "see" evidence of Aragorn's bonding with her I'm glad you liked that bit. I was a bit ambivalent about it, but decided to go for it all the same and see how it turned out between the two of them. Seems to have gone over well enough. TTFN, Dwim

 

 

Re: LDID 32: Before the Plunge

testing

 

 

LDID 33: Departing Dunharrow

New chapter here.

Way too much stuff crammed in here to make me terribly happy with the pacing, but otherwise, the next chapter was looking unmanageable.

 

 

Re: LDID 33: Departing Dunharrow

There's so much to absorb here, and I'm pressed for time, but I wanted to drop in and say I'm still reading and loving what you're doing.

The pacing seems fine to me, largely because each setting is so well-defined. I'm usually all over the Men and Elves, but I love the clarity of your Merry-and-Pip's-eye-view here -- all these towering and preoccupied heroes striding around above them, stooping to eye level only when the hobbits raise their voices.

 

 

Re: LDID 33: Departing Dunharrow

Hi Stulti!

There's so much to absorb here, and I'm pressed for time, but I wanted to drop in and say I'm still reading and loving what you're doing.

Thanks so much for that! And also, I have put another check mark next to S&S as per your previous post to another thread.

The pacing seems fine to me, largely because each setting is so well-defined.

Huh. I was worrying that because there are several different scenes and settings, I wasn't able to avoid a certain choppiness. And it feels full to me, like after Thanksgiving, when you are sure you're going to explode. I'm glad the settings seemed distinct and defined enough that that sense of surfeit and/or pushing through too quickly didn't come through for you.

I'm usually all over the Men and Elves, but I love the clarity of your Merry-and-Pip's-eye-view here -- all these towering and preoccupied heroes striding around above them, stooping to eye level only when the hobbits raise their voices.

They do have a way of pulling everyone else back down to earth in one way or another, don't they? I suppose that's why Gandalf liked them so much, at least in part.

 

 

Re: LDID 33: Departing Dunharrow

Hey Dwim!

I'm in the process of undergoing a large scale move, but I wanted to drop you a note to say that I read the chapter, loved it, and I'll send over a full review via email just as soon as I find a way to successfully transport my biggest bookcase three hours to the north.

Thundera

 

 

Re: LDID 33: Departing Dunharrow

I'm in the process of undergoing a large scale move

You, too? Must be the season or something! I wish you luck—those bookcases are blastedly heavy!

I look forward to your comments!

 

 

LDID 34: Setting the Board

Merry Christmas.

Sort of a tying up loose ends chapter before moving on to new and hopefully exciting things in Gondor.

The mini-summary of the last chapter posted six months ago: Legolas, new-made messenger to Gondor, arrives in Dunharrow to get a fast ride. He and Éowyn talk, and Legolas attempts a bit of healing. Éowyn gets a kiss, Legolas gets a certain horse of the mearas, and the news spreads that the cavalry are coming, if in separate companies.

Merry and Pippin meanwhile scheme to get taken to Gondor. Éowyn promises them a ride with the Muster, while revealing that Aragorn will be riding the Paths of the Dead. Crisis: Pippin was going to keep an eye on Aragorn, but this will put him well out of sight of him. However, he makes a heroic effort and manages to convince Aragorn to take him along on the Paths of the Dead.

This chapter picks up the next morning, as the Dúnedain prepare to set off, and the rest of Dunharrow waits for Théoden to arrive.

Dwim

 

 

LDID 35: Beneath the Shadows

Happy New Year (belatedly).

No summary since the last chapter was out so recently. But I would like to say:

THANK GOD NO MORE ROHAN!

Dwim

 

 

Chapter 33

Whew...finally, finally catching up with this story and enjoying every moment of it. Not really any concrit, but lots of great stuff going on here:

...at which Greta had broken into a startling grin that had had Merry smiling back, unable to help it...
I loved Greta's characterization. A very "atypical" man of Rohan, it would seem, and quite a delightful one at that. I hope we get to see more of him.

With Merry's words in mind, Legolas made his way up the crowded paths of Dunharrow, wishing just once to find a city not filled to overflowing with refugees.

Once more, Legolas's interactions with Eowyn are terrific--I'm glad that he was able to confer a small bit of respite to her. I must say that so far, the Legolas-in-Rohan strand of this story has been one of my favorites; it truly brings out different aspects of both him and of the Rohirrim and mines a lot of character potential that we never really see in the books. One more rich benefit of the format, and one that we rarely seem to see in A/Us. Likewise, the part with Shadowfax was a delight; the ritualistic yet magical nature of it all is lovely and you handled it well.

"Well, he is an Elf! We likely used all our luck on Gandalf, you know—lucky we were he didn't slip past us with Frodo."
Hobbit banter: lovely, and so in-character.

Black spots swam in his vision, and it seemed to Merry that his heart had plummeted right down to his toes. Visions of a shadowy shape in the fogs assaulted him, and memory of the cold heaviness of his limbs as the barrow had closed over him...
Merry's barrow-flashback is very appropriate at this point, and very well-done.

"I have patrolled the borders of the Shire and the Bree-land many long years—long enough to know that if we begin such talk, I shan't see the end ere dawn!"
Loved Halbarad's reaction to the geneology talk. Especially in the ensemble sections, you do a really nice job of mixing these little bits of levity in among the seriousness.

Pippin's outburst...absolutely heartrending. I like how it touches on one of the growing themes in this story, the slenderness of hope--even moreso than in the original, perhaps-- and how the characters do or do not stand up in the face of this.

Anyway, another great chapter...predictably, I can't wait to get to Gondor.

Cheers,
Ali

 

 

Re: Chapter 33

Hey Aliana,

Whew...finally, finally catching up with this story

Which is about what? More than 5000 words ahead of me already? *sigh* ;-)

Quick question:

You said of Greta: A very "atypical" man of Rohan, it would seem, and quite a delightful one at that.

That's quite interesting, since for me, the Rohirrim are distinctly less dour than the Gondorians and more energetic, high-spirited, and optimistic. So I'd actually have said Greta was more typically Rohirric than most of my Rohirrim! How do you normally perceive the Rohirrim, and what passages are you looking at, or do your comments pertain mostly to how I've been portraying the Rohirric characters in this particular AU?

Quick comments:

Especially in the ensemble sections, you do a really nice job of mixing these little bits of levity in among the seriousness.

Thank you, I certainly try for that, or the whole thing would just be unreadable.

Nevertheless, I'm quite happy you found Pippin's angsty argument with Aragorn moving and thematically appropriate. It was beastly to put together.

I can't wait to get to Gondor.

Just two more chapters and you're there!

Thanks for reading and commenting!

Dwim

 

 

Re: Chapter 33

That's quite interesting, since for me, the Rohirrim are distinctly less dour than the Gondorians and more energetic, high-spirited, and optimistic. So I'd actually have said Greta was more typically Rohirric than most of my Rohirrim! How do you normally perceive the Rohirrim, and what passages are you looking at, or do your comments pertain mostly to how I've been portraying the Rohirric characters in this particular AU?

I was just thinking about Greta's line:

"They say that we Rohirrim are mad about horses," the young man had said, as they had walked toward the next group of Riders. "'Tis true enough, but I do not love them for the hay they soil."

That made me laugh--way to buck the stereotypes, Greta! In the other senses that you mentioned, though, he does have more of the "typical" Rohirric traits, which is perhaps why he gets along so well with Merry. It's been so long since I've reread the earlier sections of your story that I'm afraid I might now be missing out on the broader character themes and patterns--the personality contrasts between the Rohirrim and the Gondorians, for example--but bearing that in mind, it will be especially interesting if and when the various "nationalities" begin to interact more. Overall I've found everyone eminently believable in their characterizations, which is one of the great pleasures of reading this A/U.

Nevertheless, I'm quite happy you found Pippin's angsty argument with Aragorn moving and thematically appropriate. It was beastly to put together.

I can only imagine; it reads very well, of course, but Pivotal Conversations like that can be so difficult to write.

Thanks for reading and commenting!

My pleasure!

Ali

 

 

Re: Chapter 33

[snip Greta's line]

Ah, I see. I had thought that you meant in general, his more cheerful nature was at odds with the general energy and spiritedness of the Rohirrim. But I can see how that one line might be taken to be 'atypical' (although personally, I love pets, but not for the messes they leave for me to clean up--and horses leave so very *much* in the way of smelly messes...).

<i>It's been so long since I've reread the earlier sections of your story that I'm afraid I might now be missing out on the broader character themes and patterns--the personality contrasts between the Rohirrim and the Gondorians, for example</i>

I suspect those differences are less than obvious, since I aimed for a darker characterization than we see in the books (for the most part).

<i>Overall I've found everyone eminently believable in their characterizations, which is one of the great pleasures of reading this A/U.</i>

Thanks!

I'm curious--w.r.t. "Fallen," do you have any idea whether you'll be able to put out another chapter or so between now and May/June, or are you on the same schedule I am and writing whenever the semester ends?

Dwim

 

 

Re: Chapter 33

Actually, the next chapter of "Fallen" is currently going through the beta-reading process, so I hope to have it posted fairly soon. My school is on a three-term schedule, though last year I developed the bad habit of writing the fic during finals periods (eep). I'm currently trying to find more time within the regular term to be productive. Ah, the challenges of trying to negotiate between fanfic and academic work...

Ali

 

 

Re: LDID 35: Beneath the Shadows

Hey, you got everyone out of Rohan!

I particularly liked Legolas's audience with the Steward; I was half expecting Denethor to spot the forgery.

Do we get to see Faramir in the next chapter, by any chance?

cheers,
Maya

 

 

Re: Chapter 33

Actually, the next chapter of "Fallen" is currently going through the beta-reading process, so I hope to have it posted fairly soon.

I'll look for it when May comes around, then.

My school is on a three-term schedule, though last year I developed the bad habit of writing the fic during finals periods (eep).

I get that urge, too, and occasionally succumb. Anything, if it means I don't have to think about the deadlines. Good luck finding that happy medium between work and fanfic.

Dwim

 

 

Re: LDID 35: Beneath the Shadows

Hey, you got everyone out of Rohan!

Thank God.

I was half expecting Denethor to spot the forgery.

It's a real long-shot that he'd be able to spot a forgery of something as intricate as an elven seal, which is why I think Aragorn was willing to go with that tactic if it would give Legolas something to back up his claim that he's speaking on her behalf. Just so long as no discussions of heirs and kingships and leadership get in the way of Denethor taking the message seriously, he'll be happy.

Do we get to see Faramir in the next chapter, by any chance?

Most likely, yes. If not the next chapter, then the one after that.

TTFN,

Dwim

 

 

LDID 36: The Road to Minas Tirith

This is part one of a four-chapter updating spree. "The Road to Minas Tirith" is now up, which starts the cycle of AU!Pelennor Fields chapters. Look for more updates in the near future, therefore.

Summary to date: In the last chapter, Ingold brought us up to date on the predicamment of Minas Tirith, and met Legolas as he rode in from Rohan with the enemy on his tail. And not just his tail, Faramir's too: word came that Faramir and his army had retreated across the river and was making his way back home.

Legolas delivered a fabricated message to Denethor, conveniently omitting any word of Aragorn in order to tell him the Rohirrim were on their way and deliver a little warning message from Galadriel.

Meanwhile, Pippin was riding the Paths of the Dead with Aragorn and not liking it one bit. We left off with the Grey Company crossing Ringlo just as Faramir reached the Rammas Echor.

"The Road to Minas Tirith" continues the story from Faramir's perspective. Denethor and Legolas also feature prominently.

 

 

LDID 37: Besieged

Besieged: the interview with Denethor, and then it's exactly what the title says: AU!Siege of Minas Tirith. Some definite nastiness in terms of gore for this chapter.

(And if you were wondering where Legolas and Denethor were in the last chapter, the answer is: here. I wrote everything in one piece and in the splitting up of chapters, confused myself. Oops.)

Dwim

 

 

LDID 38: The King's Banner

The King's Banner: The Rohirrim take the stage.

One more to go!

Dwim

 

 

LDID 39: The Turning of the Tide

The Turning of the Tide: The outcome of the siege. Grey Company and Pippin join the fray, bringing the Dead with them.

And that's it, folks, for the updating spree. Now I've got to go back to writing again. If I'm lucky and diligent, I may get another chapter out before next semester.

Dwim

 

 

Re: LDID 39: The Turning of the Tide

And he was not there to witness the Captains of the West, bearing with them biers upon which rested two young men, one fair and one dark, in sorrow ascending to the Citadel, where Imrahil knelt before the white-faced Steward of Gondor, and laid a great horn upon Faramir's breast, and said: "Your sons have returned, lord, after great deeds."

1.  You're not going to leave us hanging for several months wondering whether Faramir is alive or dead, not to mention Eomer, are you?  Ack. 

2.  I found this last passage a bit confusing.  How did Imrahil get Boromir's horn?  Why is Eomer being borne up to the Citadel?  Unless the fair young man is someone else? 

3.  You're not going to leave us hanging for several months without knowing whether Faramir is alive or dead, are you?  (though I guess in this AU, he won't meet Eowyn for a long time, that is, if he lives at all!)  Arrrrggggghhhh.  How do I stand the suspense?


"Et Eärello Endorenna utúlien. Sinomë maruvan. But not I alone: the charge of Elendil is given to all who dwell in dark times. And so I say unto you, heirs of Elendil by birth or by blood shed: from the waters we have come, and here we shall abide, and make our stand upon these shores until death take us or this day is won! Here we stand, and fear no darkness, for day shall come again!"

I particularly liked this speech; with the bit about heirs of Elendil "by blood", and the reprise of the classic line "day shall come again" (aure entuluva, woot-woot-woot!!!)


No Eowyn to slay the Witch-King; but bonus points for Halbarad's survival.

As always, excellent battle-scenes.




RAKSHA

 

 

Re: LDID 39: The Turning of the Tide

You're not going to leave us hanging for several months wondering whether Faramir is alive or dead, not to mention Eomer, are you?  Ack. 

Oh, no need to wonder. WiKi had his day before dying. That bookverse quote was entirely too good to pass up without modifying.

I found this last passage a bit confusing.  How did Imrahil get Boromir's horn?  Why is Eomer being borne up to the Citadel?  Unless the fair young man is someone else? 

From chapter 9 of LDID:

"Carefully, they laid their fallen companion within one, and Legolas glided over to join them. He and Gimli stood silently, uncertain of themselves for neither were familiar with southern custom, or with that of Aragorn's people. And so they said nothing, watching as Aragorn knelt once more to remove the great horn that Boromir kept ever at his side. Slinging it over one shoulder, he said, "If it be my fate and luck, I would return this to his family, for ere the Stewards ruled Gondor, this horn was a mark of their line. And I will do all I can to honor my promise, Boromir! Fare you well!" '

Aragorn has been carrying Boromir's horn ever since Parth Galen. Eomer recognized it when they met initially. I haven't made anything of it since then, because plot logic prevented it (Would the Dead listen to it? And would it be wise to use that particular horn when landing at Harlond? Probably 'no,' in either case), but he has always had it, and intended to return it. I probably should have done something to remind readers of this fact, but I had always only had the horn earmarked for this particular scene, once I decided it couldn't have a more active function.

So when Aragorn and the other captains met on the field after the battle, he gave the horn to Imrahil to hand over to Faramir or Denethor, as the case may be, just as he promised Boromir when they cremated him. More on that logic in later chapters...

As for bringing Eomer up, well, he is now the adopted son and late heir presumptive of Denethor's greatest ally, so why not bring him up to lie in state with Faramir? Or at least get the body off the field. That's what Eomer did in the original story, so I just reversed it. Plus, it makes for a striking image in my head, and I am a sucker for such images.

I particularly liked this speech; with the bit about heirs of Elendil "by blood", and the reprise of the classic line "day shall come again"

Thanks! I quite enjoyed putting that one together.

No Eowyn to slay the Witch-King; but bonus points for Halbarad's survival.

After all the death and mayhem inflicted in these chapters, I figured it would be appreciated.

I'm really glad you've enjoyed the last few chapters, Raksha. Thanks for your comments!

Dwim

 

 

Re: LDID 39: The Turning of the Tide

Faramir's dead?  Eomer too?

Well.....Bummer.   Particularly after Faramir's well-delineated suffering, thanx to his father and Sauron's assault.  I hope Denethor finally recognizes Faramir's worth.   Maybe he'll go off quietly and sit in a dark room somewhere holding Boromir's horn, while Aragorn becomes King. 

I guess Eowyn gets to be the first ruling Queen of Rohan, eventually. 

Great battle scenes, and tension and intriguing possibilities; but alas, for me, Gondor without Faramir is like breakfast without orange juice, no matter how well-written the story is...But thanx for not keeping me in suspense for several months.  I will keep reading to see how you tie it all up.

'Scuse me while I go off and bawl.   And reread Spartan Letters....

RAKSHA  

 

 

Re: LDID 39: The Turning of the Tide

Thanks for the update spree. I'm glad you waited and posted the 4 updates and quick succession. It kept the momentum going and was easier to keep track of the 4 different journeys converging. I hadn't seen that coming, though should have, that it was Merry coming to the aid of Eomer, since Eowyn wasn't there. Good symmetry, and also Legolas felling another fell beast was a big smile. Imrahil with Faramir & Boromir's horn was a shiver and a big whimper.

Any time Halbarad shows up is a treat; the standards bit worked well, and I'm glad Pippin walked him off the field to the healters.

Speaking of "Spartan Letters", did you realize you put an extra day in there? I was looking at the timeline a while back for sequencing. The way I read it, the council with Denethor, Imrahil, Faramir, camptains was the morning after Faramir returned, and he left the city again right after the meeting ...

Thanks again for more LDID

Julie

 

 

Re: LDID 39: The Turning of the Tide

Hi Julie,

Thanks for the update spree. I'm glad you waited and posted the 4 updates and quick succession. It kept the momentum going and was easier to keep track of the 4 different journeys converging.

You're welcome. I agree, I think it was necessary to post them more or less together in order to present that part of the story properly.

I hadn't seen that coming, though should have

I'm actually quite glad to hear that. I always fear I'm telegraphing way too much, so it's nice to know I haven't yet gotten to the point of boring transparency.

Imrahil with Faramir & Boromir's horn was a shiver and a big whimper.

It was rather a big trainwreck.

Speaking of "Spartan Letters", did you realize you put an extra day in there? I was looking at the timeline a while back for sequencing. The way I read it, the council with Denethor, Imrahil, Faramir, camptains was the morning after Faramir returned, and he left the city again right after the meeting ...

No, I think it's ok: Here's what I have:

'You are weary, I see,' said Denethor. 'You have ridden fast and far, and under shdows of evil in the air, I am told.'

'Let us not speak of that!' said Faramir.

'Then we will not,' said Denethor. 'Go now and rest as you may. Tomorrow's need will be sterner.' ...

The next day came with a morning like a brown dusk, and the hearts of men, lifted for awhile by the return of Faramir, sank low again... And now Faramir was gone again."
(RoTK, "The Siege of Gondor," 96-97).

So I read that as the Council happening around evening of one day, and the next day, Faramir rides off again. If the Tale of Years says otherwise, I'm inclined to say there's a mistake in there (which would be bad, since I'm using that pretty heavily to coordinate my own AU...).

Thanks for commenting, Julie!

Dwim

 

 

Re: LDID 39: The Turning of the Tide

Maybe he'll go off quietly and sit in a dark room somewhere holding Boromir's horn, while Aragorn becomes King.

Are we talking about Denethor, here? ;-) I have Plans for him and for Aragorn.

alas, for me, Gondor without Faramir is like breakfast without orange juice, no matter how well-written the story is... 'Scuse me while I go off and bawl.

Which is what I'm aiming for, in terms of the effect of his demise.

I was telling Una that I feel as if I could potentially write this whole story this year if I just had no other major writing projects to attend to. Unfortunately, I do have such projects, so it's not likely to happen. But we're getting there, slowly, and I know more or less what needs to happen next. So it's just a matter of writing it.

Dwim

 

 

Re: LDID 39: The Turning of the Tide

Hi Dwim,

I think you did the right amount of foreshadowing. I like it when author's surprise me that way, when a plot turn 'fits' appropriately. As how Gimli dies in this AU (ouch!).

On LotR chronology, the 3rd paragraph after "The next day" says the Lord of the City ... was in no mood that day [=same day as "the next day"], which is after Gandalf saying 'Good night!' to Pippin. The next sentence is Early in the morning the Council had been summoned, unfortunately. I think the crunched timeline is meant to help make Denethor seem more cruel, on his path to the pyre.

I don't see room for another night after the morning council. Plus there's the mummering 'They give him no rest.' (more "cruel Denethor"), which echos his 'Go now and rest' on the previous page. In the opinion of the remaining populace of the city, Denethor didn't give Faramir enough rest. Which agrees with the Tales of Years. So your LDID timeline should still be intact.

Good luck on the next chapter, I'm looking forward to it!

Julie

 

 

Re: LDID 39: The Turning of the Tide

On LotR chronology [snip pointing to correct page] Dammit! I really don't want to redo that, but it looks like I've got to or it just doesn't even fly.

I'll try to fix it sometime this week. Thanks, Julie.

In the meantime, I've got a LOT of reading I haven't been doing to catch up on, so I need to lay off the writing of new chapters for awhile.

Dwim

 

 

Re: LDID 39: The Turning of the Tide

Sorry. I wish I had noticed that when I first read the story...

Good luck with both, and have fun reading.

Julie

 

 

Re: LDID 39: The Turning of the Tide

I wish I had noticed that when I first read the story

Yeah, so do I.

Oh well. Such is life. I actually don't think, upon reflection, that it will be that difficult to alter the timing. There's not a lot of elaborate time references built in.

Dwim

 

 

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