Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

I Shall Not Be Supplanted

Author: Larner
Nominator: Starlight
2011 Award Category: Pre-Ring War: General - Third Place

Story Type: Story : Length: Short Story
Rating: General -- Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: The Steward's son overhears conversations he was not supposed to know about.


Reviewed by: Starlight -- Score: 10

I fell in love with this story from the first moment I read it for many reasons. It is such a unique look into the idea of Denethor and thorongil's enmity that I could not but help become engrossed in the situation. Thorongil's reactions are in keeping with what they should be, and Aragorn certainly has his own set of reasons to delay his claim to the crown of Gondor, despite the obvious temptation/inducement. It must have been bad enough for Denethor to have to seat through the whole thing; but, when it is revealed that his own father has been not only overhearing the whole conversation, but is also the hand and brain behind it-- it almost made me gasp. Even though I can see Ecthelion's side, and how his responsibility to Gondor would influence him in this particular matter, I cannot but feel his disloyalty as a parent-- even though what he said was true, as far as we know it-- not in the sense of disloyalty to Denethor's position, but the inherent wrongness of discussing your child's shortcomings and failings so openly with a stranger. Especially a child of Denethor's personality and temperament. I cannot imagine anything more destructive and humiliating than having to sit through the whole recitation, and I find Denethor's reaction of shifting the blame from his father to Thorongil quite believable and true to life. Another aspect I find incredibly insightful is in the clear similarities we see between Denethor and his own son, Faramir. This is just as I have always imagined it to be, but Larner paints it so eloquently in this story! When Denethor closes the book, never to open it again, I ache for what could have been. But, as we see similarities between father and son, also the differences between them are present, for Faramir also had to ensure constant comparison to an older brother against whom he could never measure up, yet that did not tarnish his character at all. It is a wonderful story, Larner. Well done, and thank you!

Reviewed by: Virtuella -- Score: 6

Dear Larner, I always find it interesting to see how a fanfiction writer tries to make sense of Denethor, such a difficult character as he is, and you have made a really good job of it. The first overheard conversation is just how we would imagine it to go and would make a good story in itself, but it is the second conversation that gives this piece its particular point. The dialogue is vivid and convincing and Denethor’s reaction is very understandable. The first conversation would probably have left him with only minor resentment at Thorongil being so smooth and virtuous, but the second one must seem to him like a huge betrayal by his father. No wonder that he begins to hate Thorongil thereafter. Well done indeed.

Reviewed by: Linda Hoyland -- Score: 4

A fascinating look at Denethor as he overhears a conversation between Thorongil and a lord of Gondor who guesses the captain's true identity. This story illustrates vividly the the old warnings against eavesdropping. Denethor's insecurity and pride can almost be pitied and the reader sighs why Denethor and Thorongil could not have been friends and ruled together as Aragorn and Faramir did.

Reviewed by: Darkover -- Score: 3

This is excellent! The introductory sentences were a bit misleading, as I suspect they were meant to be. Aragorn is well-portrayed here, and he does a very good job of verbal sparring. A very well-written tale of power politics in Gondor, as well as being a nicely-written character piece.

Reviewed by: Ellynn -- Score: 3

I really like this talk between Aragorn/Thorongil and Meredorn, a nobleman from Gondor. Aragorn's answers are so neutral and diplomatic - he shows his great wisdom. In the end we see Denethor; although Aragorn didn't say anything against him, he remains paranoid and hostile against Aragorn. Larner portrays the characters perfectly.

Reviewed by: Adonnen Estenniel -- Score: 3

This is a very interesting and unique piece. Larner has captured Denethor's emotions and motivations perfectly here, and I love the insight she gives to this often misunderstood and misrepresented character. Excellent!