Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Diplomatic Relations

Author: annmarwalk/EdorasLass CoAuthors
Nominator: annmarwalk
2006 Award Category: Genres: Romance: Gondor

Story Type: Other Fiction : Length: Short Story
Rating: PG-13 -- Reason for Rating: non-graphic slash
Summary: "Diplomatic Relations" chronicles the first meeting of Boromir of Gondor and Theodred of Rohan, and the beginning of a deep and satisfying relationship that will last all their lives."


Reviewed by: Mechtild -- Score: 10

This was high-quality Lotr romance-fanfic, I have to say. Whatever you made of the cultural approaches towards same-sex love in these two realms (vis-à-vis Tolkien), it all sounded totally authentic within your world. The setting, the people, the ambiance, the diction of the characters, all sounded like the world of the books. The formal, staid Gondorians sounded more familiar, the Rohirric culture, more exotic. They aren’t really like the Greeks or Romans, even if they share a tolerance, even support, for same-sex love, especially for their youth. I don’t think the Greeks or the Romans welcomed women in their practices for sexual initiation, for instance, which makes the Rohirrim quite ahead of their time. (Where was I during this era?) But the cultural practice is described convincingly. As for the romance between the two men, it was “love at first sight” (the sensitive reader intuits that it’s not going to be merely lust at first sight), but I believed it; it seemed perfectly plausible for these two characters. The erotica was handled very tastefully, but adult readers certainly got the point, so that the references to their love conveyed a sense of their pleasure and excitement, without pressing the mechanics of it. This story definitely made me want to read more. It normally read hobbit slash which tends to be very different. A lot of it falls in the genre of Bawdy Romp, since hobbits are supposed to be creatures of appetite with a lot of spare time on their hands. The rest is mostly angsty, with characters driven to find themselves and self-actualize. Your story of these two men is a story of two *men*, people with real jobs in the world – men’s jobs – which they go about doing to the best of their ability, with very little time taken for personal pleasure. I feel as though I’ve left a world of prolonged adolescence for a world where adolescence is short: the goal is adulthood with an adult’s duties and responsibilities. This burdened quality to your characters’ lives makes the time they are able to spend together that much more precious. P.S. Loved the philosophical, live-and-let live Theoden. No wonder his nephew and niece loved him before Wormtongue got to him.

Reviewed by: Dwimordene -- Score: 10

Annmarwalk and EdorasLass have been producing quite the set of stories depicting the long relationship of Boromir and Théodred. This would be the one that gets everything started--their first meeting, when Théoden comes to Gondor to negotiate with Denethor. The two heirs are expecting a rather dull, formal visit--perhaps pleasant enough, but ultimately unsatisfying. It quickly turns out to be as far from their initial expectations as possible. It's a plausible set-up, and Théodred certainly benefits by becoming a character, rather than a name in the list of honored dead mentioned briefly in TTT and slightly more substantially in [Unfinished Tales]. Different customs and the need for diplomatic caution and reserve hold the relationship back for a time, but given the look they initially give each other, all roads lead to romance in the end. It's nice, too, that Boromir and Théodred are not alone in their universe--there are fathers who watch, one approving, one disapproving, soldiers and guardsmen and discreet old friends who conspire to help the two find time to meet and to break them apart when things threaten to become unable to be ignored. We get a sense of the difference between Rohan and Gondor, between the father-son relationships that show in this story. Sensual, hopeful, and warm, those who like their slash to have a bright side and also a tincture of cultural difference as a setting should enjoy this story, as well as many others written by Ann and EL. Well done, both of you!

Reviewed by: Marta -- Score: 8

So this is how it all got started, eh? I rather like your images of both Boromir and Theodred here - Theodred hating the court of Minas Tirith and longing for the plains, Boromir as both sure of himself and a little vulnerable especially to his father. Theoden was also well-drawn, and it's obvious that he loved his only son very much. I can imagine how his death affected him as much as it did. I am not sure I completely buy your version about just how open Rohirric culture was to homosexuality. Not the initiation rites, those I can accept easily enough, but that Theoden would be so open in his acceptance of it. I think Rohan would be more accepting because they seem less concerned with propriety, but perhaps not *that* much? But that is just my personal feeling, as Tolkien never gave us anything concrete about the sexuality of the Rohirrim. You certainly convinced me for the duration of the story, and that is why I bring it up: a story that entertains me in spite of a difference in how I might view Middle-earth, is a truly spectacular accomplishment.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon -- Score: 4

A spirited, romantic slash story. If one believes that some Tolkien characters could go in that direction, than Boromir is a natural for the genre. And this story sets him and Theodred up nicely, as two splendid young men who instantly yearn and burn for each other. The allusions to sex are convincing but not too graphic. I do have a little trouble believing that the Eorling culture would be so understanding of homosexuality, particularly in it's King's only son, but that idea is made to work in the context of this story.

Reviewed by: Larner -- Score: 3

I am not a big fan of homosexual relationship stories in Middle Earth; but if there is a possibility of any of the characters we know having such, certainly Boromir and Theodred are a logical enough pair. Well done, and realistic feel.

Reviewed by: Dreamflower -- Score: 2

A bit of Theodred/Boromir slash--but what I found interesting were the contrasting attitudes of Denethor and Theoden.