Forum: Hands of the King

Discussing: Ch. 37 - Mated

Ch. 37 - Mated

A special Hallowe'en treat - a new HotK chapter! Ch. 37 - Mated

Denethor POV. Warnings for frank treatment of sexuality. He wakes up the morning after he and Finduilas make love for the first time and... well, it's Denethor. Trick or treat, indeed. Denethor has to scramble and come to grips with the change that has happened. He learns that being clever can be exhausting. And that deception can destroy. In the chapter is an extended contemplation of the bonding of souls that Tolkien presented to us, and how such a thing affects humans and elves. Denethor ponders what it means to be mated, and wonders at pairings rent assunder or incomplete. One love opens him to another.

Mostly Denethor and Finduilas, though there is a major scene with Brandir, another with Ecthelion, and letters from Thorongil. I will be doing some coding the next few weeks, so do not look for a new chapter until late in the month. Nath and roh_wyn saved me from many missing words and grammatical lapses. This chapter and the last one, Fortress, are specially dedicated to Julie. Ang

 

 

Re: Ch. 37 - Mated

Trust dear Denethor to make a mountain out of a molehill or to even create a problem when there's none... He just can't content himelf with being happy, can he?

Also, instead of dealing with the more technical aspects of sex, he'd better tell Finduilas what's on his mind. (Though I admit I was grinning ear to ear imagining him trying to improve his performance by a lot of reading.) Locking her out, figuratively speaking, is what hurts her, not a little awkwardness and a few bruises because of inexperience. Still, I was very surprised at her actually slapping him in the face. But apparently Mr. Bonehead needed such treatment.

Poor Brandir is more clever than it would appear at first sight. Seems the most stupid thing he ever did was to fall in love with a bitch like Maiaberiel. I very much liked the idea of seeing others in a completely different light now. I've heard about soul bonding, but don't remember where the Professor (mostly) elaborates on it. (?)

 

 

Re: Ch. 37 - Mated

I am relatively new to HASA and just read all of your chapters of Hands of the King. It is truly an amazing work. (Which I am sure you have been told over and over.) The characterization and just pure old-fashioned storytelling flair knocked me out! You have me on the edge of my seat. Thank you and just keep going!

 

 

Re: Ch. 37 - Mated

Trust dear Denethor to make a mountain out of a molehill or to even create a problem when there's none... He just can't content himelf with being happy, can he?

Now, now, there is a bit of a problem. Finduilas has not bonded to him in return. What does this portend? It is not a small matter, as time will show. And, along the way, we get to find out more about what this kind of bonding can tell us about the person.

A few things are at work here. First is his own difficulties dealing with sexual situations. At some level, he can't think of it except as the man demanding something icky from the woman, or as a woman behaving obscenely. Ecthelion or Maiaberiel. He needs reassurance that Finduilas is pleased, that he did not harm her or use her wrongly. In short, he needs his own attitudes towards sex and eroticism changed, and that will happen. The other part will become more clear as he understands phenomenologically what went on in their love-making. His insecurity, ironically enough, made it more likely that he would resist less once he reached a certain physical/emotional crisis point - repeating his pattern of abruptly throwing himself into a situation in an uncontrolled manner. Facing the Mumakil in south Gondor, deciding to defy Ecthelion, asking for Finduilas's hand, confronting Saruman, looking in the palantir; Denethor has a habit of impulsive acts that sometimes work, sometimes don't, and are in stark contrast to his more methodical planning. It is a habit that both Boromir and Faramir inherit from him. Finduilas did not withold anything, certainly not deliberately, but she is also already secure in the bond that she has with him. She went into the encounter determined to be in command, and she did as she planned - she made him surrender to her.

Also, instead of dealing with the more technical aspects of sex, he'd better tell Finduilas what's on his mind. (Though I admit I was grinning ear to ear imagining him trying to improve his performance by a lot of reading.)

What else would he do? He certainly isn't going to have a talk with dear old Dad about it. ;-) I like the idea that Denethor would try to figure things out. He will acknowledge (to himself) when he is lacking, and he doesn't just blame Finduilas for not bonding to him. It also makes sense that he wouldn't just read dirty books/scrolls, but would seek out thoughts on how to incorporate sexuality into an ethical life.

It is hard to write about sex and sexuality where the culture does not have a concept of sex as sinful, and where modesty is as much a virtue for men as for women. Sex as such is not tainted with original sin. A married woman would not be viewed as unfeminine for having a strong libido as long as her desire is for her husband - and he would have reciprocal feelings towards her. Denethor's reluctance thus is very problematic, even unnatural.

As for slapping him, Denethor's been slapped by Luinil, spat upon by Lark, threatened by Maiaberiel, and has had Aiavale haul off and belt him a number of times as he grew up, so I don't think he is particularly upset that his wife took a swing at him. He's definitely been brought up in the "Boys don't hit girls" school of social behavior, and it takes a lot of antagonism to make him overcome that training. He knows he's being a jerk. The masochist in him kind of likes it, too. ;-) Denethor digs tough women. It's where Faramir gets it.

Poor Brandir is more clever than it would appear at first sight. Seems the most stupid thing he ever did was to fall in love with a bitch like Maiaberiel. I very much liked the idea of seeing others in a completely different light now. I've heard about soul bonding, but don't remember where the Professor (mostly) elaborates on it. (?)

But he couldn't help it. He and Maiaberiel were meant to be together. It is cruel that he is so devoted to her while she jerks him around, but he also stands as a guard agaisnt her worst impulses (remember, she accepted his admonition not to try to interfere with the betrothal) . Something no one is really picking up is that Maiaberiel doesn't hide much from him. It causes him a great deal of pain when what she isn't hiding is her infidelity, but it also means that he always knows what she's up to - and will tell anyone who asks the right questions. In the end, she will love him as he deserves, but only after they die.

Brandir's role in HotK is to be the Holy Fool, the person who is so innocent that he can speak the truth to the great and powerful and not be in mortal danger because of it. A more cunning man would have found himself dead at some point, or at least in political battles. Scorn him as they do, still Denethor and Ecthelion have to accept what Brandir says. I think Thorongil hurts for Brandir, hating the cruelty inflicted on this gentle and loving person. It is not a mistake that Brandir is the best friend Thorongil has in Gondor, even as it only comes out around the edges of the story.

The parts of JRRT's writings I use for this are mentioned in the story - the Athrabeth and the Laws and Customs from Morgoth's Ring (HoMe X), as well as what can be inferred from the tales of love like the Lay of Leithian, Erendis and Aldarion, and Galadriel and Celeborn, as well as extrapolating from those starting points. The idea that Men would both be capable of an unbreakable bond, like the Elves, has to be reconciled with their ability to ignore such relations - how to explain it within the Ardaverse? The concept of Men as visitors to M-e from the Athrabeth is the ground. So, in that way, Denethor's rejection of bawdy tales in preference for how the carnal and the spiritual are connected to each other through marital sexual relations is a way to understand the fundamental moral structure of Arda itself.

Toodles - Ang

 

 

Re: Ch. 37 - Mated

Squee! A new commenter! 

I am currently working on the outline of chapter 57, so there is a lot more to come. I publish a chapter each time I finish a draft of a new one, to make sure I keep making progress.  I'm not much of a prose stylist, but I like a well-told yarn. Think of it as a B-movie serial - half-noir, half-screwball comedy - and you're on track.

Welcome ot the Hotk mad house!

Toodles - Ang 

 

 

Re: Ch. 37 - Mated

Here is another new commenter. I am not a new reader, thought, but an old lurker. *lol* You know that I call HotK an epos and it is by far the best story I have ever read in fandom. It is so perfect, everything seems plausible, complicated like real life. It is all in it; politics, society and what makes it interesting are these two characters finding themselves in the middle of it. I personally prefer the chapters with Denethor's POV.  I think he is so very much in character, a master in subtlety. But you achieved something that nobody did before you. I wanted to hit Thorongil more times than I have fingers on my hand - and he is my favourite character after all.

But I stil do not know why you called it Hands of the King.

~Vil

 

 

Re: Ch. 37 - Mated

Call it what you will there is nothing like a real page-turner. (I can't call it a B-movie serial--there is way too much imagination and honest work here!) Sorry, I can't make any propound "points" right now. When I read something that moves like this piece it has to get cold for me before I have anything analytical to say.

Again, thanks for the great read. I'll be with you to the end.

 

 

Re: Ch. 37 - Mated

Welcome aboard, Vil!

Now you're making me blush with the praise.   (But don't stop!

The chapters from Denethor's POV are stonger because he is a more extreme character than Finduilas, more prone to doing daring (and stupid) things, and because he is out in the world more. Her life is more circumscribed, and the changes that happen to her are psychological rather than physical - at least for now. There's also more at stake for Denethor's character - we know how he will eventually end, mad, suicidal, homicidal, and in despair.

Thorongil has had enough thwaps upside the head that he is finally  figuring out he's not going to get the girl. Again. Look for him to develop a new relationship with Finduilas. Watch Thorongil start turning into Aragorn.

But I stil do not know why you called it Hands of the King.

And you won't until the very last few chapters. Trust me, it will make sense.

Toodles - Ang 

 

 

Re: Ch. 37 - Mated

Thorongil has had enough thwaps upside the head that he is finally  figuring out he's not going to get the girl. Again.

Somehow he is a poor guy; I do not know about the Dúnedain, but a norml man would eventually yearn for a woman/wife. In a 'no sex outside marriage' society (or at least for an honourable man) he has to live chastely for about 88 years and 68 years yearning for one. But I think you emerge all the stronger for it. Looking at it this way there is some logc in it for Denethor never wanting to marry. Him not loving anyone gives Maiaberiel no chance to hurt him from this side.

Look for him to develop a new relationship with Finduilas

 So it is like: If I cannot have you as my wife, let us at least be friends. That made me remember some AU story where they did marry but I never read it, I am someone who sticks as closely to canon as possible. Such AUs would make me bad. Just imagine the consequences on both sides. What would Denethor have done? Married someone else? Your Denethor would not, I think. There would have been no Boromir and Faramir. Aragorn would eventually have to return home. What would Elrond have said? I think Thorongil is blind to those consequences and even a bit selfish.

And you won't until the very last few chapters

Oh my, you made me very curious! Good that we will know, but mad because it will be at the end and what will I do without HotK

I am looking forward to the next chapter, is there perhaps some military action involved?

~Vil

 

 

Re: Ch. 37 - Mated

Oops, I haven't answered this yet.

specially dedicated to Julie

Thank you! ... usually I'm doing my commenting on Romenna It was fun rereading these chapters. So (even more so) thankyou thankyou again for writing this story. Even if your Denethor totally contradicts my Denethor in S&K. Not that I could change much in mine without changing my plotline. (Luckily, S&K is more about Boromir than Denethor.)

As always, looking forward for more,

Julie
happy D&F fanatic

 

 

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