Waiting – Finduilas POV – 1 of 3
In which Finduilas exchanges thoughts with her mother, stories with Thorongil, and one book for another.
This is a chapter of politics. We get to see the playing out of all the actions Denethor has been taking since Thorongil showed up at his door with a certain letter in hand. However, we see it from the perspective of the women. What do they make of the decisions passed in counsel chambers and private conversations?
Something that is always irksome to me in much fantasy writing (not just fanfic) is how incompetent and/or stereotyped the women are. While there are clearly gender roles and mores, the tendency is to portray women as fundamentally passive within a society, as home bound wives and mothers or else as shrews and whores, but almost always as people who do not have lives and concerns independent of their relationship to father/husband/lover/son/etc. .
So, one of the themes I am trying to address throughout HotK is what women do aside from cooking food, sewing stuff, having sex, or bearing children. And to do so in a way that doesn’t sound like I’m reading out of a social science textbook. With this chapter, I’m taking a peek at how knowledge of roles and rule is passed on between generations of women, and what someone like Finduilas would be expected to be able to do as a socially and politically prominent woman.
It also continues to develop the relationship between her and Denethor, in particular how politics is an integral part of what they find so attractive in each other. She likes matching wits with him, and finds Thorongil’s earnest adoration irritating and dull, even as she is coming to like the man himself quite a bit.