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Call yourself Thorongil  by Nilmandra 24 Review(s)
DotReviewed Chapter: 1 on 5/28/2006
*looks around* Where are the elves? Ok, I’m willing to go with a worn-out, sweaty ranger for a while :-) This was really great, Nilmandra.

What a lonely life it must have been for Aragorn as he tried to prepare himself to be someone able to undertake all that has been set before him. And it sounds like Elladan and Elrohir, for all their experience and wisdom, could never know what it’s like to be truly alone.

Ah, Gandalf. He so calmly wanders onto the scene to give Aragorn a nudge in the right direction. I love how you write Gandalf. I really, really do. He’s straight from the pages of Tolkien. Poor Aragorn must have felt a bit bewildered there for a while. It didn’t help that he’d been caught with his trousers off. No doubt over the years he’ll get used to these appearances and deciphering the gruff and enigmatic comments.

I thought it was very touching when Aragorn has that moment of longing for his home and his mother. He will do what he has to but that doesn’t mean that he’ll forget what made him the person he is now. And, of course, he’s just a young man here – he must have moments of homesickness and loneliness. I just love that Cook has sent Aragorn some of his favourite food. Clearly, not only was he a cherished child, but he’s still thought of in Imladris by more than his family. It also proves to him that Gandalf is someone trusted by those of Elrond’s House. This restless, troubled Aragorn at the beginning of his journey has obviously thought much about the best way to walk the path of his destiny but he seems, naturally, to find it difficult to know which step is next. He needs guidance at this stage and luckily has the wisdom to accept it – or to at least recognise that he should listen to those trusted by Elrond. It was a fascinating discussion between the two, as Gandalf pushes him in the right direction, yet still allows Aragorn to voice his thoughts and see for himself why this step would be the right one. Plus, it must feel good to him to know that he has support. And I love your ideas of the meaning behind the star and eagle of “Thorongil.” It’s so much more symbolic than I would ever have thought. Isn’t it such fun to see all the bits and pieces fall into place?! I like too that Gandalf is the one to give him that name. Though I did laugh at the last line!

A/N: Come on, you knew there had to be some:

Uh, yes. Yes, we did. But I love it when you think too much because I always end up learning something :-)

Author Reply: I was thinking about Aragorn a lot with this... imagine 20 years as Estel in Imladris, then 5 years in the wild as Aragorn, then 30 years in the south as Thorongil, then back north again, where he is again Aragorn.. and Strider. Then he changes names again as King Elessar. Amazing the guy didn't have split personality disorder! He really did take the years in stride... learning all that could be taught to him, surrounding himself with wise people and growing wise himself. There is a lot to the making of the king... and how fortuante for Middle-earth that Gandalf was there.. and that the elves hung around until the end of the age.

elliskaReviewed Chapter: 1 on 5/27/2006
“What you really mean is ‘Why am I on this road at all? Where am I going?’ You must say what you really want to know.”

Oh my! That is so Gandalf! You have his character absolutely perfect in this. I loved it!

And I positively loved the interpretation of the name Thorongil and the reference to the Elessar and Gandalf's advice. One of the things I love about Gandalf is how he queitly moves all these events in the history of Middle Earth--just as he does here, reading Aragorn's heart and helping him make a decision that will have many important consequences. Wonderful!

Author Reply: Mithrandir was a wiley creature, wasn't he? There are really no chance meetings with him! Everything is somehow ordained or part of a bigger plan. Glad you liked the Thorongil/Elessar thing. I was looking through Appendix B and saw those notations about them meeting and thought... that might be a cool story. Then I realized how much of Tolkien's manipulations were involved. :D

SurgicalSteelReviewed Chapter: 1 on 5/27/2006
I really enjoyed this - Gandalf was just perfect!

Author Reply: Gandlalf came easy... imagining a 'young Aragorn' vs 'young Estel' was a little more work. :D Thanks for the review.

BodkinReviewed Chapter: 1 on 5/27/2006
Trust Mithrandir to turn up at a moment like this! I can just picture Aragorn prancing around in his smalls! And the poor lad. No sooner has he got used to being Aragorn than it's time for him to adopt his next alias. Still, he might as well get used to it.

I love the cook who sent Mithrandir off with a selection of Estel's favourites. It really reinforces the fact that Aragorn was not a duty, but a much-loved child of Imladris. And, at the moment, a very lonely one. And the wine ... “He stashed this in my pack with a long suffering sigh, indicating we had missed one.” Elrond is pretending here, I sense. And also sending something to warm the son of his heart.

And now Mithrandir has taken on the role of directing the whereabouts of Isildur's heir. Aragorn'll not be free of his manoeuvrings again until the king returns.

Thorongil. Named by Mithrandir for symbolic reasons. Makes sense. The Elessar and the Star of the North - and let's give Denethor clues to make him suspicious!

But at least Aragorn has a reason to visit Halbarad - and his mother and Imladris before he heads south.

And the image of of half-dressed ranger will linger with me...

Love the notes. Excellent supply of information. (I forgot to mention how impressive your history of the White Jewel was, too. Very comprehensive.)

Great tale. Loved it.

Author Reply: Gandalf really did have a lot to do with all the events of the age, didn't he? I think Aragorn was wise in that as a young man he submitted to the wise council of others... learned what they could teach him, followed their advice, and grew into the role they knew he would fill. There is prophecy of course, but at least some portion of it is self-and-other fulfilling. The time is right.. so lets groom him into it!

Nothing wrong with the image of a sweaty, dirty, bloody, half dressed ranger in your head. :>)

harrowcatReviewed Chapter: 1 on 5/27/2006
I love your A/N almost as much as the stories Nilmandra. I especially liked the Elvish version of the 'trail bar'!

Author Reply: I figured the elves were very creative in all things, including good tasting trail food. :D

Jay of LasgalenReviewed Chapter: 1 on 5/26/2006
I love Gandalf when he is being mysterious and obscure. Nothing he says or does is without meaning or reason - and no brief encounter is ever by chance.

There are lots of little snippets here I liked - Aragorn missing his mother; learning so much of healing from Elrond's teaching; the glimpses of Halbarad - and of course the entirely bewildering twins and their silent conversation. Really, I'm surprised Aragorn asked them that question - surely they're never alone in the wilderness?

Author Reply: Poor Aragorn... he should be able to ask those he's known his whole life such a question, but of course, being elves (or half elves) they can't really understand. He can't mind speak, he doesn't have a twin, and he's a baby in their eyes!

Gandalf is fun. I wonder how often they ran into each other in the next 30 years.

shireboundReviewed Chapter: 1 on 5/26/2006
Five years he had been in the wild, with only occasional visits to see them, and in some ways he had more questions now than when he had left. He had spent time among his people, but they were not dependent on him. He had learned what the rangers could teach him, and taken on responsibilities as one of them. He knew it was not enough. His eyes were drawn southward more often than not now; his desire to know what lay beyond the mountains filled his thoughts.

What a marvelously written encounter. Gandalf does seem to arrive exactly where and when he needs to!

Author Reply: A wizard is never late! Neither is he early. :D I love Gandalf's lines in the books. He has some of the best. And I like how Tolkien described this as the 'beginning' of their long friendship.

meckinockReviewed Chapter: 1 on 5/26/2006
Muddy, bloody Aragorn. Oh, yes, Precious, that is my favorite treat. (And to answer Iwarren, yes, mine do always seem to be in that condition, don't they?) And I was so excited to see that Gandalf was the person meeting Aragorn in the woods. I love seeing those two together.

Nilmandra, this is just spectacular. In addition to being wonderfully indulgent of my affinities, this story is really insightful. I'm with you; I sort of figured Gandalf meeting Aragorn in 2956 had something to do with Aragorn heading east in 2957, but I like the restlessness you've shown in Aragorn here, and his realization that if he's to fulfill the destiny laid out for him, he's going to have to do more and learn more than he can staying in Eriador as the Chieftain of the Northern Dunedain. I like the understated meeting between Gandalf and Aragorn, and Aragorn's initial wariness giving way to the beginning of trust. Aragorn is no dummy and he keeps his composure, but this match goes to Gandalf - he gets (almost) all the best lines, as always, and he's eager to start teaching his new pupil - You must say what you really want to know. How true! I wish someone had told me that when I was 25! The bit with the smoke-ring tower was a nice touch, too LOL. I like how easily Aragorn becomes at ease with Gandalf; although I suppose the care package from home was a nice enticement. It's nice to think of Elrond & sons siccing Gandalf on their wayward son. As always your research was impeccable, and where research did not suffice you drew logical conclusions based on the evidence. I like the idea that Gandalf bestowed the name of Thorongil on Aragorn.

The best line, though, I think goes to Aragorn for once - "Thorongil," he muttered. "I was just used to Aragorn." ROTFLOL.

Thank you! My whole weekend will be extra special because of this.

Author Reply: This was a good challenge to write a bit outside my comfort zone. The making of Aragorn would be a fascinating tale.. how he learned all he did, hid his identity, made a name for himself.. and then waited and served and waited some more.

Glad you liked how it came out.

lwarrenReviewed Chapter: 1 on 5/26/2006
Oh my, Aragorn caught with his pants down! Don't you just hate it when that happens? LOL I had to laugh at grubby, grimy, bloody Aragorn! I just read the latest addition to Meckinock's (Happy Birthday, Meckinock!) story and her rangers are ALWAYS in that condition, it seems! :-) The idea of this being the first meeting of Aragorn and Mithrandir is wonderful! As usual, your stories are always so informative, long with the interesting notes you leave at the bottom! I found it particularly interesting that Aragorn would be feeling discontented with living his life just in the north, while realizing that he would need to be 'in touch' with the peoples of the South if he is really to fulfill prophecy! I also think your means of tying in the Elessar was most plausible! This was a great vignette, and leaves open all manner of other little stories, too! :-) Thank you for sharing it with us!


Author Reply: I love it when something clicks in my mind to explain the (possible)'why' behind some facts in Tolkien's story. Gandalf came easy... he really does have some of the best lines in the boks. Aragorn though - I rather got the impression is whole life to the Quest was preparation - he went out and made himself into the hardiest man living. When he was good and hardy, he went and learned all about other people. But he still had to have some folks giving him nudges every now and again, especially when he was young. Glad you liked the story.

ElflingimpReviewed Chapter: 1 on 5/26/2006
As always I enjoy reading your stories,you seem to satisfy my craving for more and more of Tolkiens world.

Author Reply: Thank you :D Glad you liked this.

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