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The Ranger and the Eagles  by Cairistiona 14 Review(s)
layneReviewed Chapter: 7 on 2/11/2011
Gandalf helping Aragorn with his hoses ( all three pairs! ) - now that's a picture I would very much like to see! And Aragorn trying to wiggle out of being carried by the eagle's hooks, no, claws, no, *talons* ( *grins ) is way, way too adorable it just melts my heart.

The attack by the black eagle was unexpected. I initially thought it was the Fell Beast itself but thank goodness it wasn't!

And yay for Aragorn coming to terms with flying!

Author Reply: Thank you, layne! So glad you're enjoying all the different scenes in this story. And no, no Fell Beasts--they don't show up until the Ring War, as far as I know. But cowardly eagles, yes. Tolkien mentions them in "The Hobbit", not really specifically but by saying that unlike other eagles who are cowardly and basically useless, the Northern eagles are brave, noble, all those good things. :) I just figured since so many things to the south were nasty, an eagle from that area wouldn't be too nice, either, even if he's not an official Fell Beast.

Hope you enjoy the rest of the tale!

LisaGReviewed Chapter: 7 on 1/25/2011
Oh dear! What a scary and perilous flight! I don't doubt this experience will NOT enamour Aragorn to future air borne activities. ;) The poor man was also much too hard on himself for his fear of's one thing to do it in a plane...I've even been on a hot air balloon, but I can't imagine the paralyzing fright of doing it in the grips of a bird's foot, hitting turbulence, an attacking eagle and of all things, in a FACE DOWN position! :o

Author Reply: Thanks, LisaG! I think you're right in that Aragorn was a little too hard on himself, all things considered! He did better than most men would have managed, I think! But you know Aragorn, he tends to be his own worst critic. *g* Glad you enjoyed the chapter!

EstelcontarReviewed Chapter: 7 on 1/22/2011
Another great title for a most exciting chapter. I enjoyed the first part with Aragorn still trying to come to terms with his irrational fear of eagles, and his determination to ride atop of Durvain. The dialogue between him and Galdaf is very lively and delicious. The lumpy sack of potatoes is priceless. The second part when you have him and Durvain flying together is even better. I felt as if I were Aragorn flying over Middle-earth.

Having Durvain tell Aragorn that he had carried a dwarf once and that the dwarf hadn't appreciated his flying antics either was a stroke of genius. The battle between the two eagles is just breathtaking, and Aragorn's great whoop of sheer joy is the perfect ending for this most exhilarating chapter.

Your Durvain has got such a great personality it's going to be hard saying goodbye to him when the story is over.

Author Reply: Thank you, Estelcontar! So glad you enjoyed both halves of this chapter, and I'm glad especially you liked the reference to the dwarf... there's not a lot of fic out there that ties LOTR to The Hobbit and I wanted to make sure I did that in as many details as I could with this story. I like drawing connecting lines throughout all of Tolkien's works where I can, and I think to properly understand Aragorn's character, you have to see it in all contexts from The Silm to The Hobbit and then LOTR.

Who knows, Durvain might fly again through another tale... I have a feeling I'll hate saying goodbye to him, too!

Linda HoylandReviewed Chapter: 7 on 1/22/2011
Ah,poor Aragorn, I would have been scared stiff too even if it all went smoothly!Durvain reminds me a little of Temeraire,with his adorable personality.

A most enjoyable chapter.

Author Reply: Thanks, Linda... I do wonder how much having read and enjoyed the Temeraire novels played into my creation of these two Eagles. I'd say they were definitely an influence, along with the true story of Freedom the Eagle. It's interesting all the influences that go into writing a character, isn't it. I'm so glad you're enjoying the tale. :)

ElentarriReviewed Chapter: 7 on 1/21/2011
Oh Thank you! for posting another Aragorn story. This is brilliant. I love your characterisation of Gandalf and Aragorn. Please post more soon. The eagles are great too. :D

Author Reply: Thank you, Elentarri, and you're welcome. :) I'm glad you're enjoying the story--chapters get posted on Mondays and Thursdays, in general (and if I can't post on either of those two days, I try to post the evening before). Hope you enjoy the rest of the tale!

LarnerReviewed Chapter: 7 on 1/20/2011
No, the Dwarves didn't particularly like it, either! And I'm so glad that in the end Aragorn actually found himself enjoying it! Delightful!

As for the southern eagle--he has a lot to learn, doesn't he? Thinking he can take on one of the Great Eagles, no matter how small!

Author Reply: Thank you, Larner! Yes, that southern eagle learned his lesson, I think. I'm not sure what went on once Durvain chased him beyond sight and after Menelris joined her mate, but I have a feeling it was painful!

Glad you enjoyed the chapter!

MirachReviewed Chapter: 7 on 1/20/2011
Wonderful chapter! Aragorn can be very stubborn if he wants to, but he stood no chance against a wizard here. And personally, I love flying, although I had the chance to fly with a parachute only once. So I can totally understand the last paragraph, but I can easily understand the rest, too. The thought of flying had to be much more unusual to the people of Middle-earth then to us, and it was almost funny when Durvain enthusiastically showed his shadow to Aragorn - it's quite understandable the dwarf didn't like it either! Durvain is really an amazing eagle, and I love to see that Aragorn can finally trust him after the fight.

It was a few times that I tried to read this chapter today but had no more time then a few minutes, but when I finally had the time to read it to the end, I loved every bit of it.

Author Reply: Thank you, Mirach! I'm probably more like you than not when it comes to flying (although not sure I could do the parachuting thing), so it was a bit of a stretch for me to write Aragorn's troubles. Far easier, like you, for me to relate to that last paragraph! But in thinking about the residents of Middle-earth and flying, it's pretty easy to see where it would probably be more common than not for someone to look on that experience with a lot of trepidation. Add in Aragorn's unfortunate childhood incident and it's little wonder he was squeaking with fright. :)

I'm glad you had a chance finally to read the entire thing to the end... it was a bit longer than most chapters but I didn't want to split it into two. There's enough cliffhanger chapters as it is in this story!

Thanks for the review!

Silivren TinuReviewed Chapter: 7 on 1/20/2011
I knew you wouldn't make things easy for your favourite ranger, but I have to admit I never thought he'd be attacked while flying through the air! Given the circumstances, Aragorn handled his first flight far better than I could have done - I probably would have died from fright. *g*

Durvain really is "great of heart" - I bet that rogue eagle was quite surprised when he turned on him! I'm just glad both Aragorn and Durvain survived mostly unscathed. Since Aragorn seems to be able to enjoy flying now, I guess the attack was good for something. ;-) I'm really not surprised that Durvain's erstwhile dwarven passenger wasn't really keen on admiring his shadow, too. I pity that poor dwarf, lol!

Author Reply: Thanks, Almut! I'm glad I stirred up some pity for that unnamed dwarf--it was nice of Tolkien to have left some of those details out in "The Hobbit" so I could play a bit. *g*

Durvain really is a scrapper, I think. He's small, but he really can't be pushed around, which is a good thing for Aragorn! I think by this point of the story, Durvain has taken on Aragorn as a surrogate son, for all that he was talking earlier about this experience being good for Menelris. I think it's actually given Durvain the healing he needed as well.

Fingers crossed the rest of the flight goes more smoothly. *g*

Ainu LaireReviewed Chapter: 7 on 1/19/2011
Aragorn has no fears... except this!

I like how you paint him human in these last two chapters, showing that even men like Aragorn have very human, somewhat irrational fears. Fearing the large eagles even though logic completely dictates against it, for instance... that's fantastic. And I do not blame him for fearing to fly. Perhaps when he was a young man, he would be more bold, but an older, wiser Aragorn... it makes sense.

I love his bonding with Durvain. I smiled at the name; I named my character's horse in LOTR Online the same thing, and it is likely a name I'll use in a fanfic sometime or another. Glad to see you noted the mutation too! Anyways, the eagle... he cracked me up quite a bit in this chapter. I love how he is a bit oblivious to Aragorn's paralyzing fear. Like, he knows he doesn't like it, but doesn't quite seem to realize that he is absolutely stricken with terror. I laughed when he showed him his shadow and then stuck him out! Oh, what a fantastic character... I don't see him appearing again in any story, which is a pity, for I've really grown to like him. Menelris is likeable, too, but he is just fantastic.

The battle with the other eagle and Aragorn's shout of joy at the end was just perfect, too. I love how Aragorn evolved from fearing him to really respecting and trusting him. Perhaps he could help see to his wing or something.

I also noted how Gandalf used Aragorn's real name at the end, there. I wonder if the Eagles will also notice and comment about it.

One question about Beorn... is this the same Beorn as in the Hobbit? I guess you viewed Beorn as rather young in the Hobbit? Because with 60 years passing, he must be outright ancient. I imagine that Grimbeorn will be around, or at least mentioned... and maybe a wife for him, too? Unless Beornings procreate by budding... :D

Looking forward to more.

Author Reply: Thanks, Laire! Glad you enjoyed this wild flight of a chapter. :) I too like the idea (obviously) of Aragorn being beset by a few of those things that are common to man, like childhood phobias. He might handle them a bit better (or not!) than most, but I still think he might struggle with them.

My take on Beorn and his age... after researching everything I could find on him, and not finding an age anywhere, nor even a time of death (other than he had the span of a "normal" man), I knew I had a clean slate. So, after discussion with my trusty betas, I decided that in "The Hobbit", it wouldn't be out of line to assume, for my "universe", that Beorn was around 30... I figured it wasn't a stretch to have him fairly young and vigorous when he went to war at the Battle of Five Armies. So that puts him near 90 at the time of my tale--and some 90 year-olds are very strong and active still. And since Beorn is a man, by Tolkien's own definition, he would have had a wife to have produced Grimbeorn. So no budding or cloning involved. *g*

How cool you also have a character named Durvain! As for my Durvain not ever showing up in other tales... one never knows. *g* He really is a fun character--I wanted him to be far less aloof and serious than Menelris, but still with a sort of innocent dignity about him. And of course, that caring nature that one wouldn't expect in an Eagle. He's been great fun to write, and I confess to being surprised a bit at the chemistry that sprang up between him and Aragorn. Funny how your own characters (and borrowed characters) will surprise you like that.

Thanks for the thoughtful review!

Lily BagginsReviewed Chapter: 7 on 1/19/2011
Oh my goodness, what an AWESOME chapter! I'm sitting here grinning like a total fool.

First off... let me say that I sympathize GREATLY with Aragorn. I have an incredibly intense fear of flying in airplanes. The last time I had to get aboard one, years ago, I remember closing my eyes and making quite a number of deals with God if he'd just let me survive it. I get nervous for days before I have to fly... now, I just won't. I would rather do ANYTHING than fly in one of those unnatural silver machines that have a gazillion parts to them---any one of which could go wrong and lead to a spiraling, fiery death.

So, I understand. I do. I don't blame him a bit.

Aragorn is utterly adorable here---if he can be called such---with his petulance and pouting and stubbornness. Oh, I adored his bad attitude about flying so very much . . . I can't tell you how amusing I found it. And his attempt to hide the fact that he can't even sit up on his own---oh, Aragorn, you try to fool a wizard but you can't! How awesome is that? This is h/c I live for!

VOMITING AND THEN PASSING OUT---MY ARAGORN DREAM FIC! You rock, you SO rock---I am speechless! I am overcome!!! I can't even express my facial expression at the whole "stand up, collapse, vomit, pass out" episode. That was superbly done, and I will see it in my mind's eye for years. Oh, Aragorn was so pitiful and trying so hard... it was just perfect. And Durvain does make me laugh---the shoes comment was priceless.

I loved the humor in this chapter to bits. I think I did laugh the most at Durvain's innocent attempt to show Aragorn the scenery! How hilarious!

But oh, oh---you wicked THING. Poor Aragorn just actually lived through his worst, most horrible nightmare---the fear of an eagle wanting to eat him and trying to grab at him! I would be in fetters. Now that is some bad luck---I'm very surprised he even got back in the air! But I suppose it's like falling off a horse and having to get back on.

Gandalf's concern for Aragorn in this chapter was just lovely... especially the sweet embrace and calming Aragorn's fears as he shivered and quaked... adored every moment of it.

Gosh, I could just babble on all night if you let me. I can't possibly relate to you how happy this story is making me! Words cannot express.

Author Reply: LOL, Lily!!!! Thank you so much... I figured you'd be in raptures at a certain scene in this and I'm relieved to find I predicted well. *g* I honestly didn't think Aragorn's condition was going to lend itself to that, but as the story went on, and then this chapter came along and he started acting so foolish--well, let's just say that he asked for it, silly Ranger!

You make an interesting point that I hadn't really thought about--that Aragorn's "grab him and eat him and spit out his bones" nightmare might have actually come true had that southern Eagle gotten him. Now I wished I'd touched on that a bit! Ah well. I think, though, that to my mind, the moment Aragorn finally was a bit free of those fears was when he looked up at the wound on Durvain's wing and felt the battle surge rise. It's hard to be fearful when you're wanting to get your sword out and go to war, even if you are 8,000 feet above Arda!

And I wondered how many people who are afraid of flying would read this and relate. I'm actually not afraid of flying--I better not be, as my husband is in the aviation industry! So I had to go a bit by "insight through imagination", to borrow a line from a Dick Francis novel. And I had to make sure I didn't make Aragorn TOO craven. He is Aragorn, after all. Inzilbeth helped immensely in guiding me in keeping Aragorn frightened but still Aragorn. But I thought it safe that even Aragorn might be afraid to fly, since less than 1% of the population of Arda ever had the experience!

Don't take off your seatbelt or pull down the tray table in front of you just yet... still more flying to come in the next chapter!

Thanks for the review!

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