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Book Learning  by Branwyn 11 Review(s)
LarnerReviewed Chapter: 1 on 11/4/2006
According to my own research back when I was on college, the Khama Sutra was VERY popular in Victorian England. And of course I had to (ahem) do a bit of exploration so as to understand quite why....

Author Reply: Hee! Burton translated it, right? I haven't read it, but that must have been hot stuff in Victoria's day! Given that human physiology hasn't changed, I would guess that most of the advice would be pretty good (as long as it was based on experience and not on philosophy).

BodkinReviewed Chapter: 1 on 6/13/2006
Sweet Faramir. He would count on a library being the place to find the information. Others might seek out someone who would know ... an expert in the field - but not him! Perhaps Eowyn needs to take him in hand a bit. I'm sure Arwen could provide her with all she needs to know.

Author Reply: I think he would prefer to talk with someone (though it would be an embarassing chat for him), but unfortunately, the people he would feel comfortable asking--Boromir, Imrahil, his Dol Amroth cousins--are not available. Don't worry--in the next part, Eowyn takes to the field.
Thanks for your kind comments!

StefaniaReviewed Chapter: 1 on 6/13/2006
Hi Branwyn -

What a sweet and funny tale this is. Like your other reviewers, I trully enjoyed the description of the pages from the instructional manual. Did they have such things in Middle Earth? Hmmm. They certainly had, ahem, "instructional" wall murals in Ancient Rome, and as for the pots in Ancient Greece, well ...

I'm of the school of thought that Faramir is fairly experienced in sexual matters, due to his long duration in the military. That's just my take, however. Faramir's relative innocence works well in your story, especially since your goal seems to give him a well-rounded education :) I can't wait to see how you are going to educate him.

Very good job.

- Steff

Author Reply: Hi Stefania--
I apologize for making such a late reply to your kind and thoughtful review. One of the cats became ill, and I spent a great deal of time last week at the veterinary hospital.
Before starting this story, I did do a little research on medieval sex manuals. There were books which gave advice on the proper food, clothing, and activities for a healthy life (a bit like some modern women's magazines). If you want to see an example, search the Internet under Tacuinem Sanitatis, the name of a 14th century lifestyle guide. Some of the advice does relate to sex. Medical experts of the late Roman era and early Middle Ages regarded sex as a necessary and even beneficial bodily function for both men and women. Having frequent and enjoyable sex was seen as good for your health (hee...). Medical advice on specific sexual practices seems to have been geared more toward procreation (what is most likely to produce offspring) and prohibition.
I am glad you thought his relative inexperience was believable in the context of the story. I did agonize over that. Because Faramir is hott and adorable (and the son of the Steward). When he was not slogging around in the woods, he would have had women throwing themselves at him. However, I do not doubt that Tolkien would say that Faramir was a virgin when he was married. In part, this is probably because Tolkien himself was a virgin when he was married. However, JRRT was wed at a young age; poor Faramir is about 37! My compromise was to allow Faramir a one-night stand with a tavern maid, so he isn't entirely inexperienced.
Thanks again for reviewing!

Author Reply: Oops, spelled that wrong--
Tacuinum Sanitatis

annmarwalkReviewed Chapter: 1 on 6/12/2006
Oh, this is lovely, and so wonderfully in character for Faramir. Never having had the opportunity to watch loving parents playfully and gently interact; with a brother who, for whatever reason, had little interest in such things; deprived of the steady companionship of a cousin who could have answered his questions thoroughly and honestly; of course Faramir considers himself woefully inadequate in the area of amorous arts! So he goes to the Source of All Knowledge, the Library.

Your passages from the book are priceless - exactly what would be expected. I can just imagine the illustrations! (I actually searched the Chester Beatty Library for something along those lines, to send you, but to no avail - they must keep those things locked up to protect the young and innocent of all ages). It's difficult for us, in these lascivious days, to understand how truly shocking that text must have been. I can just imagine Faramir's ragged breathing, his sweaty palms, even as an adult and completely within his rights to peruse such a book. The librarian's dry comment, stunning Faramir,is an absolutely perfect finish to the chapter! Very, very well done!

Author Reply: Yes, cousin Eldahil would have set him straight. Though it might have taken several bottles of wine to get the conversation going. "The Source of All Knowledge, the Library"--LOL! Being a rational type (for a medieval man), Faramir goes straight to the most scientific source of knowledge available, the healers. Someone at suggested that, if I were evil (mwahahahaha!) I would have the treatise give him incorrect information. However, Tolkien says that the healers of Gondor are quite skilled, so that book is probably a reasonably reliable source, even if certain parts of the illustrations are a bit out of proportion. Did you really look for a medieval medical text for me in that Irish museum? :-D Anyway, thanks so much for the wonderful review!

LiannaReviewed Chapter: 1 on 6/12/2006
Poor Faramir. No father or older brother to ask about such things.

Author Reply: It is very sad--he has lost his entire family, though at least there seems to be great love between him and his uncle Imrahil.
Thanks for reviewing!

JuliaReviewed Chapter: 1 on 6/12/2006
Trust Faramir to turn to the library for help even with *that*!

Author Reply: Though he might have learned just as much reading graffiti on the City Walls. :-D Glad you enjoyed the chapter!

ellethillReviewed Chapter: 1 on 6/12/2006
I really like how this story is written - it makes great sense, and it has an appropriately delicate approach to a delicate subject. I couldn't stop grinning, while all the while feeling for Faramir.

I am eagerly looking forward to reading more!

Author Reply: This has been great fun to write so I am glad that you are enjoying it. Though Part II takes a somewhat less delicate approach *cough*
Thanks for your kind comments!

utfrogReviewed Chapter: 1 on 6/12/2006
This is hilarious. PLEASE keep going with it. As a librarian, I am pleased our Faramir thought to look in books, but some practice would also be a great idea.

Author Reply: The application of Faramirís new-found knowledge comes later in the story, but at least he now has some grounding in the theory. :-D
Thanks for reviewing!

harrowcatReviewed Chapter: 1 on 6/12/2006
Oh poor Faramir. In need of Fatherly advice and having to turn to a book to get it!

Author Reply: Though I am not sure how much advice he would have gotten from his father:
"Son, you need to learn the facts of life. Do you know where you and your brother came from? Your riding lessons in the stable? No, I mean how you were born. How dynasties are perpetuated and domestic tranquility secured. I marked the pages in this book, "Treatises on the Art of Healing." Just read it and let me know if you have any questions."
Thanks so much for reviewing!

Raksha The DemonReviewed Chapter: 1 on 6/11/2006
Good to see this delightful story posted at last! Faramir's dilemma is sensitively written here; he's in a situation where his self-sufficiency works against him, rather than for him; as a new bridegroom who is ignorant of the pleasures of the flesh, and has no nearby male kinsman who can give him some useful advice.

Faramir's quest to find more information on sexual pleasure in the Minas Tirith library is funny, and poignant.

I am very much looking forward to seeing more of this story!

Author Reply: I am glad that you like your very late birthday present (just think of it as a birthday present on the installment plan). Yes, from his experience as a ranger, Faramir would be used to solving his own problems and keeping his own counsel; also, I think that even Faramir, the most sensible of men, would not want to have to admit his inexperience in matters of love.
Thanks for reviewing!

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