Ch. 79 – Queen

Queen – Finduilas POV – 1 of 2

In which the queen chastises three of her faithful stewards and takes up again the contest with Beruthiel.


The force of the past no longer can be held in check, and Finduilas struggles not to drown in the deluge.

The timespan of this chapter is quite short, from the first day of September 2948 to late November of the same year. With the change in Steward, there is a flurry of activity in the capital and Finduilas is the center of much of it. Maiaberiel’s curse has everyone on edge and even ordinary events take on a sinister cast.

There are only six more chapters after this one.


8 thoughts on “Ch. 79 – Queen”

  1. One for hearing, one for seeing. Now it all makes perfect sense.

    Wow, Thorongil makes an appearance! Never thought that would happen. An interesting mirror to earlier talks in Finduilas’ study. “Her father said you would rise to a great height, or vanish into darkness. You have finally seen how great the height you must scale.” Yep. It’s interesting that he thinks himself worthy to come before Arwen, but not Denethor…

    Only six chapters left! I find myself in the unexpected position of wishing a story would be updated *less* frequently… dragging my heels as a reader. All the layers of this story are being peeled away…or rather the cloth wrappings are coming off some strange and terrible gem.

  2. Hi Wheelrider,

    I myself didn’t understand the division of labor (so to speak) between the two of them until quite a ways into the story. Denethor *can* see when he uses the palantír, but his innate “power” is to hear the story of stone, i.e., understand the past and the legacy of Númenor, while Finduilas’ “power” is to see the various threads of the future in the form of the swan dreams. Not that it does either of them any good.

    Yes, Captain Skulking Eagle sneaks back into town for one last visit. The Appendices don’t provide much in the way of motivation for what the guy does, and HotK offers a few possibilities. Why can he present himself to Arwen but not to Denethor? Because there is no real history between them – he saw her, he fell for her, she laughed (nicely) at him and promptly forgot he existed. Nothing has been ventured or lost when they meet again in Lórien, and he can simply look at her and be in love. That he now has maturity, depth and something interesting to talk about makes her take a keener look, and she falls for the big lug. With Denethor, he betrayed the person he loves. Thorongil knows how badly he fucked up in Gondor and how what he has done endangers the people he most loves. He is ashamed. Amends must be made. He doesn’t understand that Finduilas is right, Denethor will be angry with him, but will forgive him. He needs to trust his Steward. Which is kind of the problem from the start. If Denethor won’t forgive those who trespass because he won’t forgive himself, Aragorn will not trust those who would serve him because he distrusts his own worth. Or so it goes in the HotK universe.

    I hate these last chapters. They just get more grim and hopeless.


  3. I agree with you about the last chapters. 😦

    I’ve had the whole story on my Nook for a long time. Earlier this year I was bookmarking and rereading favorite scenes, finding them mostly by searching for “tricked” me or dance or beregar. I didn’t reread scenes from the last chapters, not much past the last meeting with Estel.

    Maybe since I got here late, I should catch up by (re)read backwards from this chapter rather than starting from the beginning, it would be happier. JRRT was unfair to Denethor, and a lot of other characters.


  4. For Denethor, it all hinges on being able to forgive, the lack of which is his fatal flaw, but there is no one he judges more harshly than himself.

    But Aragorn/Estel/Thorongil is not without his own weakness. One of the things that struck me in the books was how solitary this guy is. He doesn’t seem to have any human contacts, he comes and goes in various societies without a backwards glance, even after he becomes king, he spends much (if not most) of his rule off on war campaigns in the east and south. The movies made a big deal about him doubting his ability his own fitness to be king, which is kind of right, but I think it’s more subtle than that. He knows if he doesn’t do it right, he will drag everyone and everything he loves down into darkness with him. It’s not just his own fate that hinges on his success. At root, it is the same self-doubt that torments Denethor, but expressed differently – I won’t “bind” anything to me lest it suffer my own fate.

    So, he holds everything and everyone at arms length and will not acknowledge the faith that others have in him. In LotR, the moment when he finally has faith in himself is when the Fellowship breaks and he has to choose whether to rescue Merry & Pippin or to find Frodo & Sam. He chooses and commits himself fully to that choice. Until that moment, he had allowed himself to be directed by Gandalf in pretty much everything.


  5. Hi Julie!

    I had forgotten just how grim they are until I had to re-read and get them prepped for republishing. 😦

    When I’m done with this, however, I’ll be going back to the Shire and picking up Bilbo’s story again. I’m getting my notes together for the next story in the series, tentatively title “Century”, and have a few significant plot edits to perform, thanks to the stupid Boffin and Bolger genealogies in Peoples of Middle-earth (HoMe VII).

    Toodles – Ang

  6. Here are some notes about this chapter from several years ago that talk about why Thorongil would seek out Finduilas, but not Denethor. If Estel/Thorongil/Aragorn is so in love with the Hot Elf Chick, how can his affection for and attachment to Finduilas be explained?

    In a way strikingly similar to Denethor, Thorongil has spent the majority of his adult life avoiding emotional entanglements. He fell hard for Arwen the same day as he learned the truth about himself, and shortly afterwards left Rivendell/Eden – he partook of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge.  He spends a few short years among his own people, then hightails it to Rohan. He spends years there submerged in a false identity, in some ways hiding from the knowledge of who he is and what he wants, because that also makes clear what he has to do.

    Off to Gondor and slam into the fact that he is a stranger to his own kingdom, an outsider serving the people he intends to depose. To keep a lid on his own uncertainty and guilt, he remains distant and formal, even as he is drawn to a man who is almost his own twin and who is so, well, assured of his place in the world. Denethor is what Thorongil wishes to be. Enter Finduilas, and Thorongil goes ga-ga (remember, Arwen is only a fantasy at this point), and basically starts hatching a stupid plan to marry her, win support and wrest control of the kingdom. The fact that Ecthelion is playing mind games only confuses the matter.

    Finduilas is probably the first person in his life who looked him in the eye and told him to stuff it, refusing to be charmed or impressed. Arwen at least was nice. It really does break his heart, but he learns to accept it, and also to continue to love her and not just stomp off as the scorned suitor. His love for her opens him up (as it opens up Denethor) to the possibility of hope and gets him to regard others in a new light. So he comes to love and trust Denethor more. Until the moment when he loves something mortal, Thorongil is still in the immortal, Elven realm. He has to be, in a way, because nothing less than an immortal viewpoint is going to get him through his trials.

    Now, here’s an irony. Thorongil is not an intellectual type, and is at his happiest when he’s out tromping around in the undergrowth or singing Rohirric drinking songs. Even so, he’s this other-worldly person who is basically the hand of the divine made flesh, fated to do the impossible on faith and wed an immortal, thinking always of the beyond and the eternal. The love for Arwen keeps him focused on the high and beyond. Denethor is capable of conducting his life in abstractions, concepts and philosophy, happiest when investigating some arcane, esoteric bit of knowledge. It falls to him to sustain the mundane against the immortal, to keep the practical matter of survival first and foremost. Finduilas is his anchor, keeping him bound to a world that brings him little but grief. As the mariner alludes in their first meeting, Denethor has considered suicide before.

    Back to Thorongil. He hears of Ecthelion’s death, and all of the love and relationships he had in Gondor, probably the only ones of his adult life after leaving Imladris, come stomping down. He has to see them. The only one he trusts enough to speak to is Finduilas. She becomes a stand in for all of the people he loves but cannot approach. He is afraid of the fate before him and the danger that comes to those around him as this fate unfolds. It is also a reason why he is so willing to be alone – he risks harm to those he loves by being with them. he is tempted powerfully to do as Finduilas asks and beg forgiveness of Denethor, but in the end fears more for the harm he will do by staying than by staying away.   


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