Ch. 77 – Suffice

Denethor POV – 1 of 2

In which Denethor cannot allow himself to question whether it will be enough, nor to consider what is missing.


Faramir joins the family and, for a very brief moment, everything seems to be moving in the right direction.

This chapter takes place over almost a year’s time span, from Faramir’s birth in early July 2983 through late May, 2984. I also toss in a little climate change commentary.

Aiavalë shapes Faramir greatly, just as she did Denethor, but this time as a woman content with her life and no longer consumed by resentment. This is, I posit, the source of Faramir and Denethor’s different regard of the world – Faramir with trust, Denethor with suspicion. The son can view things with wonder and openness that Denethor simply cannot muster. Faramir is going to be much closer to his aunt than his brother will be, and once again Aiavalë will be a surrogate mother.

The tiny thaw continues between Steward and High Warden, due almost entirely to the children. It matters profoundly that Denethor tries to summon forgiveness for Ecthelion that until now he has only been able to grant to Brandir. As I’m re-reading the story, particularly these last few chapters dealing with the end of Ecthelion’s life, I begin to wonder about how he and his father, Steward Turgon, got along. Given Ecthelion’s affection for his grandchildren and the few glimpses we’ve been given of how he tried to make a normal life with Violet and their daughters, what kept him from bonding to Denethor the way they both have done with Boromir and Faramir?

Oh, and Denethor is dreaming again. Blood is the foundation of rule.

Sadly, it’s all downhill from here.



2 thoughts on “Ch. 77 – Suffice”

  1. Hollë! Haha, I guessed (when you hinted earlier) that little brother’s nickname would be Owl! How perfect.

    These nice last bits of happy home life are all the more poignant because I know the shit’s going to start hitting the fan soon. And that’s not just because of where we are in regards to the source material, but because of your storytelling — this feels like the calm before the final, big storm.

    Ah, your explanation of Aiavalë’s role makes a lot of sense.

    I thought it was a commentary on El Niño… either way. Keeping meteorological records surely did not start just 100 years ago.

    So I’m wondering about this forgiveness… it’s nice to see, and no doubt healing for both Ecthelion and Denethor, but not enough to create any rifts for the son…? Would he have had to do more earlier? (I thought I remembered some hint from the mariner that forgiveness was his only chance…though the “no rift” thing seemed pretty ironclad.)

    Thanks for that queenly pronouncement on Faramir’s name. I started to type some stuff after last chapter about how annoyed I have been with fanon’s assuming that his name was some kind of insult. Sheesh.

  2. Hi Wheelrider,

    There will be small moments of calm, but, yeah, it’s building to a crescendo as it did with Umbar, which is the chapter that starts this part of the tale. Whereas the previous crisis addressed outside threats and warfare, this one looks to internal destabilization and politics. Thorongil’s departure left a power vacuum and Denethor has not, and will never be able to, completely fill it.

    Underpinning the visible dynastic contestations (Rohirric as well as Gondorian) is the unseen but even more powerful playing out of fates. Finduilas’ role in the upcoming contest between the West and the Shadow is nearing its end. Her great deed is done, but one more thing remains for her to do. Denethor has also completed the first part of his fate – to prepare Thorongil for rule – and now embarks on the second; holding everything together until it *is* time. He’s not quite up to the task, but he will be by the end of the story.

    Aiavalë has forgiven Ecthelion. In truth, the two people who treated her like dirt were her mother, Emeldir, and her sister, Maiaberiel. Most of her demons were in her head, and with Mummy Dearest dead and Beruthiel banished (plus a well timed shoe to give her mobility), she has been able to overcome those as well. With Denethor, he was her “baby” though which she lived her life, pining for physical freedom. With Faramir, he is her “baby” with whom she will share her life, encouraging his delight in the world just as she has and does. Maybe more her grandchild than son. I once wrote a single scene story of Faramir taking Pippin to meet her in the Archives after the Ring War. I don’t think she’ll have lived that long, and if she had, I think her grief over Denethor’s death would have killed her.

    Yup, a little commentary on how geologic forces have much longer timeframes than most human civilizations. It also allowed me to toss in a little more background on Anárion and emphasize how freaking OLD Gondor is. There’s over 3,000 years of it as a kingdom, and almost 2,000 before that of it being inhabited by the Númenóreans. And this putz from up North with a broken sword thinks it belongs to him…

    No, the rift in fate is almost entirely ironclad. However, even the mariner hints that it can be… moderated …if only people will forgive. Denethor cannot bring Hope. Interpret that broadly and he is in permanent opposition to Estel. Interpret that very narrowly, and he can’t be the one who puts the crown on Estel’s head. As for the Rift, that would be “happily ever after” with Finduilas in this world, and that can’t happen. She will always die too young and before him. But the world he inhabits after that, the abomination as he thinks of it, it might be less cruel, his own end less horrific. It’s all based on what and who he will forgive.

    Forgiving the Powers is not in the cards for him. Never. That makes him a permanent outlaw to them, except for the mariner, who regards “his” mortal’s defiance with amusement, exasperation and respect. Ulmo’s an odd one that way. But there is the prospect of Denethor forgiving the trespass of other mortals, whose actions have caused him grief. Chief among them are Ecthelion and Thorongil. If he can let go his resentment of them, then he may be able to act from somewhere besides his anger, hurt and opposition to them. If Thorongil had spoken to him after Umbar, then they could have come to an understanding and Denethor would have taken up the “heroic” defense of his king, keeping him secret in the shadows and drawing down Sauron’s wrath. It is no different than what Denethor actually does, but the psychological foundation would have been stronger, the motives less selfish.

    He is starting to if not precisely forgive Ecthelion, at least relent in his antagonism. He is trying to see the Steward through Boromir’s eyes (and Aiavalë’s), and make his peace. He almost gets there, enough that the mariner will call it sufficient even if Mithrandir will not.

    Yes, I could not leave Faramir’s name in limbo. Finduilas speaks his doom, and Denethor accepts it, even as he can’t help but know that both he and Boromir have had their own dooms pronounced as part of it. His relationship to his younger son will always be more complicated than with Boromir, because Faramir is more like to him than anyone else and he sees in this second, fated child, what he himself might have been, and what he has failed to become. Faramir is also more like his mother than Boromir, and that stirs up a sense of danger and threat. If he loses this son, he loses her again. It’s a psychological mess that he doesn’t encounter with Boromir.

    Thanks for reading and commenting!


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