Forum: Hands of the King

Discussing: Ch. 1 - Assumptions

Ch. 1 - Assumptions

Assumptions I have been working on this story since early 2003, and finally have some chapters in shape for posting. The story is told entirely from Denethor & Finduilas's POVs, alternating between the characters. My chief goal was to make the two characters more complex than they are usually shown to be in most fanfic, and I figured it would take 8-10 chapters to do this. Somewhere along the way, they sort of took on lives of their own, leaving me a bit astounded, challenging my own presumptions about them. So, there's no end in sight, the cast of second-tier OCs expands exponentially, and I have no idea when it will all wrap up. Ch. 1, Assumptions, introduces most of the the main players in the tale, and sets up a few situations. To forestall questions, the medical condition Finduilas endures is something I myself had, pulmonary bronchial sequestration. The symptoms closely ape asthma, it cannot be discovered through ordinary chest x-rays, the symptoms come and go, leaving you mostly functional for most of your life, and it can kill you if it takes a certain turn for the worse. It could cause the physical conditions described by Tolkien. Ang

 

 

Re: Ch. 1 - Assumptions

You have hooked me in nicely, I want the rest. The character dynamics are excellent!

Lyllyn

 

 

Re: Ch. 1 - Assumptions

There is a handful of strong personalities there, to be sure. Adrahil and Luinil are two of the bit players who demanded better parts, Luinil in particular. I was intrigued by how long the princes of Dol Amroth lived, and have always been curious that the founder of the dynasty was called "the Numenorean", despite being centuries after Numenor sank. So, why? I attribute it to strongly upholding Numenorean/Faithful customs, like relinquishing rule before death. Not sure when I'll be posting chapters. I think I have 9 or 10 in readable form - the rest are very rough. Toodles - Ang

 

 

Re: Ch. 1 - Assumptions

I can only second Lyllyn's praise. You have me hooked as well. Your bunch of OCs seems to be an interesting lot and I always enjoy reading stories that deal with the subtle details of the relationship between Thorongil and Denethor. And "Hands of the King" is very promising in that respect. fliewatuet

 

 

Re: Ch. 1 - Assumptions

Ang's already heard me say this (I'm a happy beta reader ), but what I like best about what's happening with the story is the backingtracking from certain sparce datapoints, such as what it might mean that Thorongil was secretive (wouldn't give his name) but was still trusted. What was happening culturally in Rohan and Gondor to make that possible?

I like the answering speculations.

 

 

Re: Ch. 1 - Assumptions

It took a long time to get the story going because of the need to reconceptualize Denethor and his relationships with Finduilas, Ecthelion, Thorongil, etc., in ways that conform to the descriptions of the character in JRRT, but which were not simply rehashing fanonical conventions of what he must have been like. He is a very difficult character to get a handle on. Finduilas has turned out to be scarcely less difficult, and conventions surrounding her are, if anything, stronger than those applied to Denethor. The OCs help to set up situations in which the usual approaches can be shaken up or avoided by giving the protagonists other concerns and different kinds of emotional baggage to deal with. I hope to have the second chapter posted tonight or tomorrow, depending on how site coding goes. Ang

 

 

Re: Ch. 1 - Assumptions

Well. I'm coming in late, and since I'm enjoying the story so much, I thought I should say something about the various chapters. I've just thrown this at a friend to make her read it and she's currently exclaiming how beautiful the first three paragraphs are. So pat yourself on the back for those! As for my comments on the first chapter: From there, one could continue walking east to the point of the promontory, or could turn north or south and follow the circuit of the wall. The Stewards House stood against the wall to the south. Southern breezes brought Should it say "Steward's House"? Or "Stewards' House"? I got a little confused about the Lost. You say: Most of these ostensible northerners never departed, and often married reasonably well. and then you say: There were no known marriages between them and Gondorian women. Is there more than one type of Northerner? Or am I missing something there? The introduction of the ladies blew my mind, but not in a good way. I was utterly bewildered by the interspersal of the families of Dol Amroth and Ecthelion. Having read the story again a number of times, now I have a hope of puzzling through it, but as it is... it's unclear at times which person is talking, and so Emeldir is someone's mother, Luinil is somebody else, Maiaberiel is Denethor's sister, Aivale comes out of nowhere, Ivriniel is at first glance Maiaberiel's daughter unless you reread the paragraph... So I was so confused by that that it took me until well into the next chapter to figure out why the heck Aivale was wearing a veil and what that meant. And I was distracted by the time Finduilas turned up, so she didn't make as strong an impression on me as she ought to have at first. I sort of figured it out by reading the list at the end, but I wasn't going to go back up and reread the chapter with my new understanding of the characters. I just think that scene may have to be rewritten to be less charmingly conversational (I do like it from that point of view) and more... explanatory.

 

 

Re: Ch. 1 - Assumptions

Should it say "Steward's House"? Or "Stewards' House"? No, just the Stewards House. Not a typo or an oversight. It's become a proper name over time. I got a little confused about the Lost. You say: Most of these ostensible northerners never departed, and often married reasonably well. and then you say: There were no known marriages between them and Gondorian women. Is there more than one type of Northerner? Or am I missing something there? The "ostensible" northerners are actually illegitimate sons of Gondorian families, sent up to Rohan to let the paternity be lost, then brought back as "Lost" to be reincroporated into society. Think of it as bloodline laundering. True Dunedain from the north, the Lost, take no wives in Gondor. That's one of the ways you know for certain who they are. Meg Thornton who gave me the idea for northern mercenaries disagrees with me that the Lost would not take wives, but sees how I use the device in the story. Hmm, I didn't think the opening scene with the women was that confusing. Other opinions? Hard to follow? Just fine? Ang

 

 

Re: Ch. 1 - Assumptions

On the women - I am quite taken by the Finduilas/Denethor relationship so I had no problem being riveted to Finduilas as soon as she was introduced. As for the others - I was just surprised by the culture. Was not at all what I thought - though I am not adverse to it - it just surprised the heck out of me. But I could see it. So therefore, the suspension of disbelief worked fine and I truly enjoyed the chapter - enough to stay awake WAY too late the night before a VERY early morning meeting. So I chided myself - but who cared! Great first chapter - goaded me onto the next. Thanks! Agape

 

 

Re: Ch. 1 - Assumptions

Hi everybody, this is my first post on these forums. I just wanted to give Anglachel some feedback as well as to peek into other people comments ;) An enjoyable first chapter, it nicely set up relationships, power balances, games, little mysteries etc. Meeting all these semi-OCs at once wasn't at least confusing. I was rather intrigued by them. I felt curious why one sister was dangerous, why the other one covered herself with a veil and what the Dol-Amroth family was up to. Liked the detail about Luinil's "banal" eyes. That for some reason pinned her down for me as a very down-to-earth gal. A couple remarks about Chapter 2: Your Aiavale is not a little scary (I don't mean her appearance.) She comes through as someody totally ruthless. The scene when she made Maiaberiel trip over left me a little shaken. She is also a little witchy, with her ability to order cats around About the dreams: the name Denethor means "eagle", doesn't it?

 

 

Re: Ch. 1 - Assumptions

About the dreams: the name Denethor means "eagle", doesn't it? [Total surprise] Does it? I don't remember that meaning. Off to the Resources section to look thigns up... Aiavale and Maiaberiel are both very ruthless and more than a little scary. I'm still waiting for someone to figure out the canon character with whom Aiavale is paired. Toodles - Ang

 

 

Re: Ch. 1 - Assumptions

[Total surprise] Does it? I don't remember that meaning. Off to the Resources section to look thigns up... I remember having read it somewhere, but where... Can't think of a serious resourse. I found only this, for what it worth: http://de.geocities.com/dantesvillian/history.htm Oh well. Aiavale is scarier than Maiaberiel, because the latter is a story villainess of sorts, but Aiavale is a friend of the characters we root for, and unjustly spurned by society as well, so our inner chid wants to like her, but some of her behaviour can't but disturb the inner child BTW, what do you mean by "paired"?

 

 

Re: Ch. 1 - Assumptions

Oh, now this is interesting. I'm going to pop this over to the Research Questions forum and see what the langauge mavens have to say about it. There are aspects of Aiavale that are deeply troubling. Yes, she has suffered a great deal of misfortune, but she is also smart, vicious, and more than capable of taking care of herself. There is a part of her (shared with Maiaberiel *and* Denethor) that enjoys making other people hurt. One shudders to think how monstrous she would have become had she not been deformed. By paired I mean a canon character to whom she may be compared/contrasted, with whom she shares many traits. Toodles - Ang

 

 

Re: Ch. 1 - Assumptions

I'm still waiting for someone to figure out the canon character with whom Aiavale is paired You mean, apart from Denethor? So far she seems to be pretty much the female version of his character, skewed by unhappy circumstances, but still... Especially she reminds me of the older Denethor, ruling form his seat, weaving webs like a patient spider. But you probably mean someone else ;)

 

 

Re: Ch. 1 - Assumptions

Especially she reminds me of the older Denethor, ruling form his seat, weaving webs like a patient spider. But you probably mean someone else ;) Oh, SO close.... Yes, someone else. Toodles - Ang

 

 

Re: Ch. 1 - Assumptions

Especially she reminds me of the older Denethor, ruling form his seat, weaving webs like a patient spider. But you probably mean someone else ;) Oh, SO close.... Yes, someone else. Ye gods Ang, you don't mean Shelob, do you? *keels over in a dead faint*

 

 

Re: Ch. 1 - Assumptions

Ye gods Ang, you don't mean Shelob, do you? *keels over in a dead faint* An old female with an injured foot occupying a cavern complex under a fortress, a monster no one really remembers clearly, but know she should be feared, living off the people who are brought to her caves. Yup, Shelob & Aiavale. Which makes Denethor comparable to Gollum in a few ways. Lunch over, back to work, Ang

 

 

Re: Ch. 1 - Assumptions

Which makes Denethor comparable to Gollum in a few ways. I think he is comparable both to Gollum and Frodo.

 

 

Re: Ch. 1 - Assumptions

Now you lost me, Ang and Twoflower. Which kind of similarities do you see between Denethor and Frodo and Denethor and Gollum? As to Denethor's name, I somewhere read that it meant 'lithe and lank.' Howenver, since 'Thorongil is supposed to be 'the eagle of the star' (if I remember correctly), I also assumed the syllable -thor indicates something aquiline. I just have no idea what 'Dene' would be.

 

 

Re: Ch. 1 - Assumptions

Hello Astara! Thanx for reccing this story ;) Denethor as Gollum: obsessive; death in fire while hugging his precious; ruined by a magic object beyond his control; at one moment on the brink of redemption etc. Denethor as Frodo: cracks at the very end of a long journey, under the weight of an impossible burden, but unlike Frodo, not saved by higher forces Yeah, I had always thought "Denethor" had an aquiline meaning, and I interpreted the prophetic dreams of Finduilas, having this in mind, but it turns out (surprise here) the wordplay with the name wasn't the author's intent ;)

 

 

Re: Ch. 1 - Assumptions

Ah, now I see, Twoflower. I've long given up on interpreting Fin's dreams. (Sorry, Ang! *sheepish grin*) Though I love detective stories, I'm lousy at putting all the hints and clues together to get the full picture before the end. I'm not really the most perceptive of persons. *rolls eyes at herself*

 

 

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