Ch. 43 – North

North – Denethor POV – 2 of 2

In which Denethor reflects on the concept and reality of north, and comes to a decision.


Thorongil makes a promise he really should not have made. Denethor takes oaths seriously.

The boys are starting to find some common cause that is not so oppositional. It’s mostly Thorongil doing the conceding, which is probably something he should have been doing more of earlier on. In my mind, the captain is pondering the possibility of not becoming king.

I bounce between debates about theology and economics in this chapter, trying to draw attention to the usual fandom idiocy about both. In some ways, the religious argument reflects arguments in current Real Life events. The idea that punishment or harm is something a “good” power would willfully inflict (the plague as punishment for the wickedness of Umbar) is heresy, and Thorongil, the representative of an uncorrupted view, sharply rebukes Ecthelion for claiming such. Denethor offers a more subtle, and more phenomenologically accurate, account – if there is evil about, the good can punish by simply refusing to protect. Thorongil really doesn’t have an answer to that, because it isn’t, at base, an argument about good and evil, but about exercise of power.

With the economics, I’m just tossing some cold water on stupid fangirl arguments that divine kingship is enough to justify Thorongil’s ascent, and to condemn anyone who offers any resistance. Kingdoms have to be paid for. People need stable mediums of exchange. Etc. The Stewards have been doing this shit for as long (and in the case of Arnor, longer) than any ruling house, and are far better suited to ordering a kingdom than some scruffy mercenary from the north. It’s one of the reasons Thorongil is taking a step back from the kingship route and offering Denethor more respect. He’s finally really seeing the sausage being made.


4 thoughts on “Ch. 43 – North”

  1. And it perfectly sets up that Thorongil/Aragorn will need someone who knows how to make sausage when he finally does become king… because that someone’s parents didn’t get to finish teaching him everything he should know. 😉

    “Tell me, Thorongil, what happened to your desire to treat with the Lord Steward honestly and openly?”
    I had the same question… looking forward to see how Thorongil breaking his word not to leave — or, one could say, making good on his threat — will go down.

    Of course Denethor would keep a menstrual calendar for his wife. In deep. 😉

    Have a lot more to say about this and the previous few chapters but am typing on the run. For now — very much appreciate the steady diet of this story!

  2. Hi Wheelrider,

    As Denethor noted quite a few chapters back, a king is always in need of a steward, though a steward does not necessarily need a king. You can bet Faramir knows this stuff inside and out.

    I think Thorongil has finally understood that honesty is not always the best policy. He’s also realized that his love for Denethor is little (if any) less than what he bears towards Finduilas. And, no, you shouldn’t look forward to seeing Thorongil leave.

    Well, duh. Denethor is a compulsive over-controller. His little calendar comes in handy later.

    I won’t post again for a few days. I have some busy evenings ahead.


  3. Well, for this story, “looking forward” ≈ “dread” for the most part.

    Whatever your schedule I’m happy to read!

  4. Dread is a good attitude to have towards the story. I think I can count 5 “happy” chapters out of the remaining 40+. And that’s a very equivocal kind of happy.

    Thorongil’s departure is both necessary and devastating. I like to think it is also more explicable than the pompous departure chronicled in the Appendices. I am someone who Does Not Like the character of Aragorn. He is so flat and one-dimensional (vs. Strider, who originally was a Hobbit and is a generally cool and bad-assed fellow), constantly protected and helped along by demi-gods and immortals, and never seems to have had a single moral doubt in his entire Prince Valiant life, I just want to give him a shove off the bridge in Moria.

    By the time he leaves Gondor in this story, he’s human.

    Next chapter is up.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s