Betwixt – Finduilas POV – 3 of 4
In which Finduilas deals with the attentions of a swan, a harpy, a viper, a rat, an eagle, a hound, and the High Warden of the White Tower, and in doing so comes to understand her part in the tale. Not that she cares to play along.
Finduilas and Denethor share the trait of impulsiveness, which serves them both well in this chapter. Of course, those words will come back to haunt them both. SPOILERS after the cut.
Finally, Finduilas figures out how to speak of love to Denethor and it is a terrifying thing.
Way, way back in the mists of conceptualizing this story, I came up with Finduilas’s rejoinder to what was then just an idea of what Denethor might have said. That was where the title and the guiding thread of the entire story comes from.
The theme of fate winning out is a powerful one in LotR (indeed, throughout all of the Ardaverse tales), so what happens when fate appears to have been thwarted?
When they speak at the first party, that is when they both realize that behind the falls of Henneth Annûn, they are both present in mythic form, as creatures literally touched and sustained by the poems and legends of the past – the ink of Elendil’s book and the feathers of Finduilas’s swan form (the Swan of Dol Amroth becoming the swan of Vinyamar becoming the symbol of Tuor and his affinity for the waters) saving the King from the Sea from the malice of Sauron. The connection between them is of a kind as that between Lúthien and Beren, Tuor and Idril, Aragorn and Arwen, a mortal hero sustained by his Elven love.
It is not a mistake that the book Finduilas gave Denethor for his birthday was of Tuor, Idril and the Fall of Gondolin, even if it was purely by chance.