Ch. 23 – Betwixt

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.


2 thoughts on “Ch. 23 – Betwixt”

  1. You may *think* you know what fate is trying to tell you… and trying to follow fate is when things get really screwed up.

    So this appeared as I was falling asleep last night (you must stay up even later than me, or live some time zones west), but I read it anyway, too excited. Had to read again today with a clear head. Oh these two… of course declarations of love are in the form of an intense argument.

    Once again I love how all the complications and intimations are solidly anchored in the mythology we all love. I knew the book was not a chance find, it was meant to fall into Finduilas’s hands as a second talisman for Denethor. (And I have a strong suspicion from whose library it was recently released…)

  2. Fate will always find her instrument, though it may take a while to hone the blade.

    I’m on the US West coast. Heh, that’s the kind of reader I like.

    Well, they are both possessed of rather passionate natures, so they enjoy a good argument. It won’t change that much when they are (eventually) married.

    Yes, I suspect you’ve guessed from whom Golasgil obtained the book. The book will become more important over time as the mythological focus shifts from Beleriand to Gondolin. They are not the heirs of Lúthien and Beren – another couple has that claim – but of Tuor and Idril.


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