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Ten Thousand Years Will Not Suffice  by Agape4Gondor 4 Review(s)
SoledadReviewed Chapter: 999999 on 5/17/2008
Thanks for posting those lines - I didn't know them, and they do shed a whole new light on their relationship, don't they?

This story is the next on my to read-list, but I wait for the end of the term to have the peace of mind to focus on it. A Denethor story is something I've been looking for a very long time.

Author Reply: I'm sorry it took so long to respond, Soledad.

I'm very glad, as a Denethor lover, to have shed new light for you. It is important to me - for I do so love the Men of Gondor.

It's a long read - I do so hope your term end went well and, when you get the chance, you enjoy the tale of our Steward. I am so hoping to finish this sometime this year. Or perhaps very early of 2009. Been writing it a very long time......

Blessings

xiaoweisanReviewed Chapter: 999999 on 6/28/2006
Oh my. Why was my review so messy?? I hope this revision could do.

In fact, I don't think Ecthelion was a monster, either. As far as I know, his only "crime" was to favor Thorongil above his own son, which was terrible enough for any "normal" father. However, Ecthelion was not a "normal" father; he was a ruler. Having read a number of history books, I have found that, in ancient times, strained relations between a ruler and his grown heir were very, very common. Usually, the son would strive to prove himself and to shoulder more responsibility (= authority, for a member of the ruling family); but the father was often reluctant to give up some of his authority, and was even more reluctant to admit that he was already old. Such strife could lead to a lot of killings; I have read countless examples in history books. As Ecthelion and Denethor did not try to kill each other:-), maybe their relationships were not so bitter, compared to other rulers and heirs.

IMO, the tensions between Ecthelion and Denethor had existed even before Thorongil came to Gondor. As time went on, Ecthelion gave his paternal love to Thorongil rather than Denethor, because of the rift between the father and son; and because Thorongil was not only brave, brilliant, honorable, but also of the same age of Denethor, thus could serve as an excellent "substitute", if you understand me. I remember reading that Thorongil and Denethor even had similar looks, but I am not sure of that. Moreover, Thorongil might unintentionally encourage Ecthelion's actions, even if he knew well that would worse the bad feelings between Ecthelion and Denethor. Thorongil lost his own father at the tender age of two; and he was not at very good terms with his foster father, Elrond the half-elf, when he left Rivendell, because of Arwen.

Needless to say, Denethor resented his father's actions and tried his best to avoid the same error. As we know, he proved to be a good father to Boromir; yet he repeated his own father's error in another way. Faramir shared Denethor's intellect and insight, and in him, as in his father, the blood of Numenor ran true; he was more like Denethor than Boromir was. In some sense, Denethor's disfavor for his younger son was almost self-denial, which reflected the denial he suffered as a young man. He wanted to be someone different from Ecthelion, yet he repeated what his father did. What a tragedy. In reality, people who have been abused by their parents tend to abuse their own children; and those who have divorced parents are more subject to divorce after they get married. Even if they have realized their parents' errors and deliberately taken the opposite tacks, they will, more often than not, repeat those errors in a twisted way.

On the other hand, I believe Denethor was, or at least tried to be, a decent father when his sons were small. But things changed as Boromir and Faramir grew up. Boromir was a valiant warrior and a loyal and obedient son, but he had little interest in learning and lore. Naturally, he agreed with his father on most important issues. But Faramir shared his father's wisdom and DISAGREED with his lord father on many important issues, such as Gandalf and the One Ring. No doubt Denethor was frustrated.


Author Reply: I deleted the first one - though I really didn't care that it was a little messy - the message was important to hear...

As far as Ecthelion is concerned - I don't think he was a monster - but I think he was in way over his head - according to Tolkien - his father did nothing during his time as Steward - therefore, I felt Ecthelion inherited a worse mess than ever. I felt the duties of Steward weighed very heavily on him because of this and because of the activity of Sauron and the Ringwraiths. He needed to put all his time and attention into making up for his father's lack and trying to cope with all that was happening. Therefore, I felt it would be 'almost' natural to be as hard as possible on his only heir - to 'make' Denethor as strong, wise, etc. as Gondor needed, all the while, putting everything of himself into taking care of Gondor. I don't think there was a power struggle - just too much to do with too little time, too few allies, and too evil enemy.

And Thorongil was a definite issue. Though I cannot see Aragorn trying to usurp Denethor's place in Ecthelion's heart. Aragorn, I don't believe, was anywhere near ready to 'take on' the throne. From my understanding of Tolkien's quote in ROTK - "Pippin saw his carven face with its proud bones and skin like ivory, and the long curved nose between the dark deep eyes; and he was reminded not so much of Boromir as of Aragorn" - So I definitely believe that you are correct in your assumption of them (D & A) looking very much related - even more so than true father & son (D & B).

I do believe that D's problem with F was that they were too much alike. D and Gondor needed Boromirs - as many as they could get! And yes, I too believe the 'abuse' - though I do not believe D physically abused F - and I'm still struggling over whether he really did abuse F in any way - but I'm working on that!

The disagreements between D & F, I think, were the root cause of D's frustration and anger and self of hopelessness. The same hopelessness that finally caused him to try to 'save' Faramir from a horrible living death under the Nazgul...

MANY thanks for your thoughts!


Raksha The DemonReviewed Chapter: 999999 on 6/26/2006
I do agree that PJ botched the characterization of Denethor - Denethor was not a raving lunatic, at least not until his final moments on the Pyre. And his mistreatment of Faramir is far more subtle in the book. Also, Gandalf praised Denethor's intelligence and perception, rather than disparaging him to Pippin.

Author Reply: Gandalf's view of Denethor has always been a sticking point - it seems on a few occassions that Gandalf spoke highly of Denethor. They were two strong and stubborn people though Gandalf was not a human. Which makes his respect seem even more worthwile.

As for D's mistreatment - I hated the line in TTT that PJ makes Denethor say about Faramir's worth! Totally not in the books.

Again, striving always to keep to canon - but trying to discern what exactly relationships were.

Thanks again for your continued support. MOST appreciated.

Raksha The DemonReviewed Chapter: 999999 on 6/26/2006
I disagree with the contention that Tolkien meant Denethor to be perceived as a benevolent father to Faramir.

Tolkien never said that Denethor didn't love his younger son. I'm of the opinion that Denethor was not a total monster, nor an abuser of wife or children. But I wouldn't characterize him as a good father, regardless of his intent, at least from what is seen in ROTK. Nor do I think Denethor's conduct towards Faramir can be blamed totally on the Palantir - his maneuvering him into a dangerous mission when Faramir is physically exhausted, and his terribly cold refusal to give him a decent farewell, indicates more wounded pride and old paranoia/resentment of Mithrandir than madness.

As to Tolkien's intent, he did not intend the conversation you quote from the earlier draft to stand in the final draft. In HoME VIII, War of the Ring (softcover version) Chapter VI The Siege of Gondor, editor Christopher Tolkien quotes from a slip of paper where JRRT revealed why he changed the dialogue that indicated a kinder, gentler Denethor to the crueler version in the published book (it was not because he was pressured to leave out parts):


"The early conversation of Faramir and his father and motives must be altered. Denethor must be harsh , He must say he did wish Boromir had been at Henneth Annun - for he would have been loyal to his father and brought him the Ring. (Gandalf may correct this.) Faramir grieved but patient. Then Denethor must be all for holding Osgiliath 'like Boromir did', while Faramir (and Gandalf?) are against it, using the arguments previously given to Denethor. At length in submission, but proudly, to please his father and show him that not only Boromir was brave [he] accepts the command at Osgiliath. Men in the City do not like it.

This will not only be truer to previous situation, but will explain Denethor's breaking up when Faramir is brought back dying, as it seems."


So Denethor's harshness with Faramir in the final, published version of ROTK came about only because Tolkien himself wished it, not because of space considerations.

There is a tendency among some fanfiction writers to depict Denethor as a gentle, kindly father to both of his children - with all due respect to some skilled writers, I regard it as somewhat AU. Though we can't say for certain how Denethor treated his younger son when Faramir was a child, and I doubt that he ever consciously abused the boy, the narrative and Appendices by Tolkien himself paint a less appealing picture. Tolkien said that Faramir 'displeased' his father ("He welcomed Gandalf at such times as he came to the City, and he learned what he could from his wisdom; and in this as in many other matters he displeased his father"). And, as Steward of Gondor, Denethor would have had very little time to spend with his children, and by necessity would have spent what time he did have with Boromir, who as Heir to the Stewardship, would have been most in need of Denethor's guidance. Nannies and tutors would have spent more time with the boys. Nor do I personally see, from the depiction of Denethor in ROTK, Denethor as a man with much patience for young children, even his own.

I'm enjoying this story, Denethor's characterization is internally consistent (though to me, it is not particularly canonical) and the narrative compelling. I'm looking forward to seeing where you'll take it. But I can't agree that Tolkien meant Denethor to be perceived as a good father to Faramir in ROTK.




Author Reply: VERY grateful, Raksha, for these quotes - I knew there had to be more than the little I was able to find.

I hope that Denethor was a 'decent' father to both boys at least at the beginning. He must have learned something from Finduilas. For I don't think he had much 'training' from his father.

I myself had to 'learn' how to treat my mom when she became older. I just had always assumed she would be forever able to do everything she had when I was a child. My cousins, whose mom was the elder, showed me by their daily example how to change from daughter to caregiver - still giving mom all the love & respect she deserved.

What I'm trying to say is - I think Denethor needed training as a father. Once Finduilas was gone, he had no one. Also, as you stated, the affairs of state were great. And he did not trust people. So he probably did a lot more than he should have. And I do believe Boromir would have been his focus, especially after the coming of age ceremony.

Again - 10,000 thanks for your comments - always worthwhile - AND always extremely helpful!

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