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Discussing: Ch. 34 - Forever

Ch. 34 - Forever

Forever

Fourth of six Finduilas POV chapters. No warnings. At long last, after delays and frustrations, Denethor and Finduilas are finally wed.

My deepest thanks to my great betas. I swear, someday, I will learn how to use hyphens correctly...

Ang 

 

 

Re: Ch. 34 - Forever

Yay!

I must admit to almost having joined Finudilas in crying at several instances. "The stars, the sea, and thee" -- whoaaa!

As to the wedding night - you're cruel, Ang! Though I'd have been very angry with our dear Denethor had his actions been less noble, and I can't really see him treating the love of his life differently.

 

 

Re: Ch. 34 - Forever

As to the wedding night - you're cruel, Ang!

I'm waiting for the political repercussions, and the stunned expression, when Finduilas realizes that her continuing virginity is the talk of Minas Tirith and the evil grin on dear sister Beruthiel's face.  Oh, foolishness to hand her such a weapon!

 Gwynnyd

 

 

Re: Ch. 34 - Forever

I see your point, Gwynnyd, but who's going to tell anybody? Not as long as you don't believe Beruthiel set up a spy in her brother's house. The couple's servants at least appear to be trustworthy. But you're right insofar as the longer the marriage isn't consummated, the more likely it is that truth will be out by accident.

 

 

Re: Ch. 34 - Forever

but who's going to tell anybody?

Well, it's Ang's universe, but I imagine the state of the sheets is pretty common knowledge down at the laundry, and the focus of a lot of speculation down on the servant's level.  Surely Beruthiel has, um, 'loyal retainers' on the laundry staff.  It would be even more highly suspiscious if the Steward's household doesn't send the sheets off to be washed in the normal fashion?  Unless you think the sheets ought to be saved and/or displayed to 'prove' the marriage is consummated and that she was a maiden?

Gwynnyd 

 

 

Re: Ch. 34 - Forever

Astara - I see your point, Gwynnyd, but who's going to tell anybody? Not as long as you don't believe Beruthiel set up a spy in her brother's house. The couple's servants at least appear to be trustworthy.

Gwynnyd - Well, it's Ang's universe, but I imagine the state of the sheets is pretty common knowledge down at the laundry, and the focus of a lot of speculation down on the servant's level.  Surely Beruthiel has, um, 'loyal retainers' on the laundry staff.  It would be even more highly suspiscious if the Steward's household doesn't send the sheets off to be washed in the normal fashion?  Unless you think the sheets ought to be saved and/or displayed to 'prove' the marriage is consummated and that she was a maiden?

Good questions all the way around! Let's see what I can answer without it being a spoiler.

  1. Checking the sheets is something that would be considered rather rude at that level of Gondorian society because it would imply that the woman is not honorable. I also suspect it is not uncommon for a couple (worn out from the festivities) to delay consummation a day or two, and no one would think twice about it. There's also the possibility that this is just a public confirmation of an already-consummated marriage, which Denethor has hinted at to various people.
  2. The wedding linens would not be washed and would become the property of the wife as proof of her honor should someone be so crude as to make an issue of it. This would be the case regardless of when the marriage is sealed. As far as law and custom are concerned, what matters is the act, not the timing. The ceremony is political & social spectacle. A good portion of the audience probably presumed that there had already been some hanky-panky, and even Luinil had to ask (though she was inclined to think not).
  3. The servants of the Stewards House are utterly trustworthy. They are loyal to their lord and lady, and would have been selected by Beregar for that quality first and foremost. Indeed, you'll be hard-pressed to find anyone in the City who would spy on Finduilas who isn't already one of Maiaberiel's creatures - and Beregar would know who those people are. Such people do exist, as you will find out.
  4. The nature of Denethor and Finduilas's intimate relations are of extreme interest to a number of people, and there will be quite a bit of subtle (and not so subtle) questioning as to what is happening. Until Boromir is born, you can expect a constant whisper campaign. Now, the fun part is who is whispering what to whom.

And, to forestall questions, at some point they will sleep together, it will happen no sooner than the next chapter, and it happens at least twice. More than that I'm not saying.   

Toodles - Ang

 

 

Re: Ch. 34 - Forever

Interesting stuff. I have to admit, the non-consummation didn't bother me so much. I figured it would just be assumed by all that the event had taken place.

I hadn't considered the sheets angle and how, given Denethor's position in society, there might be some need to ensure consummation and thus ensure continuation of the Steward's line. However, a bloody set of sheets has to be the worst proof of virtue and paternity of all time.

As a matter of virtue, the sheets prove only that a woman had "honor" when she was first married. She could be completely unfaithful to her spouse after the wedding and nobody would be the wiser. Also, it's not like the had DNA tests, so even the birth of a child is only proof that the mother is not barren. It doesn't prove/ensure paternity.

Makes you wonder if Beruthiel will spread some vicious rumor about Boromir not being Denethor's son....

 

 

Re: Ch. 34 - Forever

Checking the sheets is something that would be considered rather rude at that level of Gondorian society because it would imply that the woman is not honorable.
Oh, good! I've always been disgusted at this custom in LotR fanfics anyway.

The nature of Denethor and Finduilas's intimate relations are of extreme interest to a number of people, and there will be quite a bit of subtle (and not so subtle) questioning as to what is happening.
In contrast to the sheet testimony, this 'custom' is apparently alive and kicking in RL. Someone even had the nerve to ask the question at my grandfather's funeral. The obligation to provide heirs must have hung like the sword of Damocles over past generations of wives.

And, to forestall questions
Believe it or not, Ang, I wouldn't have asked, since it's pretty obvious it must have happened at some point.

Makes you wonder if Beruthiel will spread some vicious rumor about Boromir not being Denethor's son....
I wouldn't be suprised, roh_wyn. And it would even make sense, in contrast to the basic idea many anfic authors have come up with, making Faramir Thorongil's son. Obviously they are seeking to explain the strained relationship between Denethor and his second son, but I've never bought it and never will. It's too closely connected to the popular concept of Denethor as an abusive husband (and father) who made Finduilas' life miserable. [/rant]

 

 

Re: Ch. 34 - Forever

I liked the scheme to make us all wait--really. It seemed more realistic and more like Denethor than some straight-from-a-fairytale wedding night. I liked the wedding and everything... but I am missing my favorite, love-to-hate-him, ragamuffin Ranger! I am sure he will poke his head up from whatever pile of leaves he is hiding soon enough.

 

 

Re: Ch. 34 - Forever

Hi Astara,

At a funeral? Argh. However, you will find out that the inquiries in the story are not just for when a baby will be born. There are more complex reasons, both sympathetic and malicious. The rumors that get spread, ah, they will be very interesting.  

I have what I hope is a reasonable explanation of the distance between Denethor and Faramir that does not require any hint of dislike, abuse, and/or neglect on Denethor's part. My argument is that while the two may have disagreed on many things, and that an increasingly despairing and paranoid Denethor would have become antagonistic towards Faramir over any act that ran contrary to Denethor's wishes, the two fundamentally loved and cared for each other.

Stories that have Denethor being hateful/abusive towards Faramir when he was a child or young man have no canonical basis. Stories that allow no concern, love, or normalcy to enter their interactions when Faramir is grown aren't particularly interesting, because there is nothing at stake in the relationship. It becomes a tale of a good man bearing up under a tyrant. This doesn't mean there can't be significant conflict - I think you can see there was, particularly after Boromir left and crisis loomed - but the possibilities are so much richer if you allow more range of feelings and interactions.

Toodles - Ang

 

 

Re: Ch. 34 - Forever

Thorongil appears in the next chapter and will have to answer a few pointed questions from Finduilas, never fear.

Ang

 

 

Re: Ch. 34 - Forever

the two fundamentally loved and cared for each other.

Do you see any parallels between Denethor's relationship with Faramir, and Denethor's relationship with Ecthelion? At least in the HotK universe, it doesn't appear that Denethor has much respect or affection for his father (although perhaps he just really longs for some paternal approval). On the other hand, even as bad as you make Ecthelion seem, I keep thinking at some point he'll actually show Denethor he cares...


 

 

Re: Ch. 34 - Forever

Do you see any parallels between Denethor's relationship with Faramir, and Denethor's relationship with Ecthelion? At least in the HotK universe, it doesn't appear that Denethor has much respect or affection for his father (although perhaps he just really longs for some paternal approval). On the other hand, even as bad as you make Ecthelion seem, I keep thinking at some point he'll actually show Denethor he cares...

That's a good question, and the short answer is kind of. In my conceptualization, his relationship with Boromir is more directly affected by his relationship with Ecthelion than is his relationship with Faramir.

Denethor has never really looked at Ecthelion as a father. That roll was filled by his grandfather, Turgon, just as his psychological and emotional "mother" is Aiavale, not Emildir. In some ways, I see Ecthelion's affection for Thorongil being less because he likes Thorongil so much as because he's trying to get back at Denethor for his emotional distance. In the next chapter, there will be another clue about the relationship between Turgon and Ecthelion.

To my mind, the contempt with which Denethor views Ecthelion will work in a good way upon his sons, at least when they are young. He is determined that his sons will not find such fault in him, so makes an effort to be a very good father. He pays attention to them, he treats their mother with respect and love, he is conscious of how he behaves so as to set a good example. His own weaknesses, particularly his desire to be in control, will keep this from being too perfect, but it will fundamentally be a caring and supportive environment, one that will help the boys become the honorable, enduring men we meet in LotR.

I think Ecthelion has tried to reach out to Denethor on several occasions, but they are both such proud, stiff-necked so-and-sos it never quite works. There is something in that dynamic that will repeat in Denethor's relationship with Faramir, but not in the personally hateful and malicious way it does here. And, to be fair to Ecthelion, we're getting Denethor's view of the man, not how other people see him. His faults are exaggerated in his son's eyes, in great measure to deny the points of similarity. Denethor will *not* give him a break, not while he's alive.

I can't really say more without it being a plot spoiler.

Toodles - Ang

 

 

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