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When the King Comes Back ( Brandy Hall )  by Dreamflower 2 Review(s)
GryffinjackReviewed Chapter: 8 on 12/26/2005
You have such a lovely style and way of distinguishing the letters from these different races of Men! Eomer's letter sounds much like poetry or a verbal history that would have been handed down from generation to generation, as was the custom of his people. OT - how do you get the accent mark to print when writing Eomer's name?

Aragorn's letter is completely different in tone and style. It is that of a man writing about a friend. I do wonder that he has so many more accolades to say about Merry than he does about Pippin. For not only was Pippin in service to Aragorn as his knight, but he also saved Faramir's life and slew a troll. And while the slaying of a troll is not nearly as important as helping to slay the Witch King, it is still quite a feat for one so young and small. I also wonder at Aragorn's saying that he found Merry to be the most observant of all of the Hobbits. In what way? For while Merry and Aragorn travelled together, Merry felt quite useless and did not really do much other than support Frodo, as they all did. True, he went out for a walk in Bree on his own and encountered the Black Breath, but that I do not see as a good thing. Merry also questioned what the Elvish word for "friend" was while they were at Moria, which was one of his more observant times. Still, I find Frodo to have been much more observant than Merry during their travels together with Aragorn. It was Frodo who realised that Boromir's behaviour was disturbing at times. It was Frodo who trusted Aragorn from the start and who recognised that he was the one who needed to take the Ring to Mordor. Frodo it is who also recognised that his path on the journey could not continue to be the same as the rest of the members of the Company. So how did Merry show himself to be more observant than Frodo?

I also wonder as to why Aragorn did not include something similar to what he wrote in "Great Smials" in his letter to Paladin regarding Pippin:

"I know that you will at some point come to hear of the horrors and hardships so bravely faced by your son and his companions. Believe me when I say that such things cannot but scar the spirit, and weigh upon the heart from time to time. I hope that at such times, he can rely upon the love and support of his family."

It seems to me that writing as a friend, it would be important to Aragorn that Saradoc know of the troubles his son was likely to incur, albeit that his son had come of age and was not a child as Pippin was still considered to be. Perhaps he thought that Eomer would have included such a thing in his letter to Saradoc.

Aside from these issues, both letters were beautifully worded and sounded as if they were written by the king who penned them, particularly Aragorn's. His letter was indeed written with the voice of Aragorn and with all of the love, understanding, and heart that characterises Aragorn and makes him a great king.

You write letters so well! Every single one I have read that you have written has sounded precisely like the character who wrote it.

I also like how you have set up future stories with this chapter, particularly the events in "A New Reckoning." Merry is indeed a very rich Hobbit!

Author Reply: *grin* I love compliments like that! And I'm glad that you think the letter from Eomer sounds like poetry--there is a reason for that, you will find out a bit later.

When I'm working in my document, there is a pulldown called "Insert". I select "Special Character", and then have to find the letter with the accent or the umlaut or whatever mark is needed, click on it, and then click "insert". It's a real pain, for the spellchecker does not recognize the character, and always treats the rest of the word as a misspelling, and when I cut and paste it into the site, it leaves a space between the special character and the next part of the word, which I then have to fix manually. But once I have the name, I can highlight it and copy it a few times, so then I can just paste the whole name in later. I wish there were a simpler way.

Well, we know from Merry's characterization in "A Conspiracy Unmasked" how observant he is, and I don't think the signs of that will have escaped Aragorn's notice over months of travel together, even if it is not always shown in canon. But there is one occasion, between Bree and Weathertop, when he takes both Frodo and Merry scouting with him, and almost all the questions and observations then are from Merry. I am sure he also noticed the time Merry spent with the maps in Rivendell. Many of Frodo's observations had a bearing directly upon *his own role* as Ringbearer, and also he had his senses heightened by his experience with the Morgul-wound and the Ring. Still, it may have been a slight exaggeration to think Merry was much more observant.

I think some of the differences in tone in the letters was due to the information Aragorn had been able to glean about their recipients: remember that he consulted Frodo on the documents he sent, and I am sure that he also questioned Gandalf a bit. And he may perhaps have overheard the cousins talking of their fathers' probable reactions. To Paladin, he emphasized Pippin's growth in maturity, and downplayed the physical dangers his son would have been in; knowing or guessing that Paladin had a temper, and also knowing that Pippin was underage, he included the appeal for understanding and support.

On the other hand, I think that he may have heard enough about Saradoc to realize that a bit of bragging about his son would not be taken amiss. So he indulged in a bit of praise there. (And I do think that too much bragging about Pippin might not have gone down well with Paladin if he had still been in the first flush of his anger when he received it.) But, again, I think anyone as wise and canny as Aragorn would have learned as much as he could about the ones he was writing to. Saradoc would have needed no plea for understanding--he'd already be giving it.

I am so glad that you like the different "voices" I give to the letters. I truly enjoy putting letters into stories--it's one way to get a bit of first person POV in without switching out of omniscient or limited omniscient POV.

I just really did not think that Eomer would allow Merry to get away with rejecting his generosity, LOL! To a Saxon culture such as JRRT modeled the Rohirrim on, gift-giving was a *major* function of kings and leaders. So he got a bit sneaky and went over Merry's head to his clan-leader, Saradoc.

PIppinfan1988Reviewed Chapter: 8 on 3/23/2004
Lovely letters you've written! I believe I noticed that Aragorn and Eomer's letters contained a different tone, derived from the roots of their native tongues. If this was intentional, it was very perceptive on your part. Take care.


Author Reply: Thank you. The letters were great fun. Yes, the differences were very intentional. I used the Saxon alliterative form for Rohan. The letter from Gondor, I made very formal and pompous. I'm really quite used to that kind of thing, as I am a scribe/calligrapher in the SCA, and have penned many a pompous sounding awards scroll. 8-) What I had the most fun with were the personal letters from Aragorn; I wanted them to sound like *him*, as he tried to make his friend's fathers understand what they meant to him.

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