Troth – Finduilas POV – 4 of 4
In which Finduilas’s choice becomes known to all and various vows are declared.
The girl does know how to set things off.
Some notes added after the cut. Also, fair warning, I may not post another chapter for a few days due to Real Life.
This chapter caused some serious consternation when it was originally published because of Thorongil. The chief concern was that he is simply not the person we know from LotR, or even from the appendices. He comes across as immature and mean-spirited in his confrontation with Finduilas.
That’s intentional. He isn’t and can’t be the person we’ll meet in 40 years. The picture I present of him is not nearly as kind or sympathetic to him as most fanfic, but (as he politely requested), I’m willing to hear him out. This chapter marks a decision point for him as well as for Finduilas and Denethor. A path has been closed to him, one he thought was his destiny. What’s he going to do about it? That means thinking about what he was before, and what he can now become.
For 20 years, the Elves weren’t teaching him anything directly, but kept him in ignorance of who and what he was. I think the lessons learned in Rivendell only become useful after he’s been out and about in the world – how to think, an existential center, a trans-historical sense of destiny, an immortal perspective on being. He’s perfectly trained to be a divine warrior-king, but has no sense of the mundane and ordinary above a very simple level.
Now, he is in the thick of the most political, urbane, and sophisticated human society left in Middle-earth, or at least in his corner of the globe. He’s just had his ass handed to him by a woman half his age making him face up to the damage he has inflicted because of his cluelessness. He can no longer pretend to be innocent of the world and of his own choices.
- Retreat north – but that means abandoning any hope of claiming Gondor, plus he will break some pretty serious oaths
- Respond antagonistically – that’s his gut reaction, and one that many lesser men would follow. You take my girl away? Fine, see if I help you. That way lies civil war.
- Reflect on what he’s seen and heard, and understand that there’s more to know if he would be king, and that his seeming rival may have his own destiny to follow.
But what about Arwen? Doesn’t he know he’s betraying that love when he pursues Finduilas. Not really. When he leaves Rivendell, he has even less proof of affection from Arwen than he does from Finduilas when he is being rejected and has no reason to believe that Arwen will ever look at him with love. Right now, what he has received is a clear message that he can’t daydream his way into happily ever after. Two part-elven women have been put in his path and both are (as far as he knows) unattainable. Time to do some serious thinking on what the future holds. Which he will do, and will do well.