The Haradric Whore and Her Son

Author: annmarwalk/EdorasLass CoAuthors

Nominator: foxrafer (csevans8)

2008 Award Category: Races: Cross-Cultural - Honorable Mention

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: Mature  ✧  Reason for Rating: Contains implied historical rape and murder told from third party's present-day POV, male and female prostitution, two fairly explicit instances of male sexual intimacy (the same scene from two points of view), portrayal of younger man kept in comfort by Boromir

Summary: A Haradric woman and her son struggle for survival in the White City. When the young man catches Boromir's eye, life becomes both simpler and more complicated for all involved.

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Reviewed by: foxrafer (csevans8)  ✧  Score: 10

I've tried to write this review several times but haven't known where to start. I love this story so much and finding the words to explain it is hard. This story is engaging from the very beginning. The depth in this story is incredible. Between the vivid characters and how they bring Minas Tirith to life through beautiful details of the streets and buildings, they create a well-defined background that is incredibly enjoyable to see this story unfold from each distinct perspective. Knowing that Boromir senses he won't ever return to Gondor adds even more gravity to what we know will occur from his mission and journey. The care with which he introduces himself to Gaersum and his mother is both respectful and a little crafty, and it provides so much insight into Boromir's character. And the conflict of Boromir's feelings about his tastes, his attraction to men, is so realistic. I can't help but feel for his dilemma and also feel proud that he doesn't deny his feelings and his affection for Theodred and Gaersum. Ciranoush's story is sad and compelling, but there is also so much strength in her that it also feels full of hope. Finding her way to a good and comfortable life, practical choices and taking things as they come, she is a beautiful character, yet another non-canon character that annmarwalk and edoraslass create that not only bring Gondor to life but add a distinct color to the culture and its people. Gaersum shares his mothers practicality, and I particularly enjoy how they portray his love for his mother and Boromir. They have created a character that I believe anyone reading the story would want to meet. I want to know more of him, to have more stories written about him. The authors show their great skill in completely involving you in this families' life and wanting only good things and great joy in their future. This is a wonderful story, beautifully crafted and full of strong emotions. Every time you read it you notice another detail or aspect that adds to the richness of the tale. This will be a favorite that I'll return to again and again.

Reviewed by: Oshun  ✧  Score: 10

I truly enjoyed this story on so many levels. The underlying relationship with Boromir and Theodred is beautifully portrayed if largely implicit. The poignancy of the interpretation of loyalty in the context of lengthy separation is handled in a human and sensitive manner: not all high-flown, angsty, and unlikely, which is more the norm for stories of this sort. The descriptions of the OMC Gaersum (OMG, isn't he gorgeous) and his mother are beautifully detailed. He was fascinating to me, because at first I couldn’t really follow where you were taking him (almost had a moment there where I wondered he is fell somewhere on the autistic spectrum, but you cleared that up and gave him a plausible explanation for his social reservations and inward-looking personality). His mother’s story is sad and beautiful in its own right. I was entranced by the level of Boromir’s consideration of the boy, his sensitivity to the cultural elements involved, and his growing admiration for the mother. Instead of feeling that Boromir had some how been selfish, I was left feeling that, in the end, he made both of their lives a whole better by his choices and how he sought to handle them. This is a beautifully written, complex, without being either rigid and preachy or blithely ammoral, and a fundamentally human story.

Reviewed by: Isabeau of Greenlea  ✧  Score: 10

If Boromir can't be with my Andrahar, then I like him best with Theodred. It's a true meeting of equals, as both men are Heirs to their respective countries, and they're both warriors. They even die on the same day. That being said, given the distance between Gondor and Rohan, they can't live in each others' pockets. So a vow of physical faithfulness would be hypocritical-particularly since they both are expected to eventually marry to continue their dynasties. Thus in this story Boromir's rather deliberate forays into womanizing, to hide the true nature of his desires, are cataloged very matter-of-factly by the Steward's Heir, as is his desire for the Rohir boy whore rumor describes as living in the first circle. Gaersum and his Haradric mother, who did indeed serve her time in a brothel, are survivors. And though they sell their bodies, they truly can't be bought in any meaningful way. There is some very nice exposition of Haradric culture in this story and I absolutely love this Boromir. This passage, particularly, seems to sum up his character [Sometimes I almost cursed my life: why had I not been born as other men, able to take a wife in joy, raise children, live without shame or fear? But I could not forswear my love for Théodred, or even my affection for this golden-haired boy. I am what I am; whatever Power it is that creates us, gives us form and being, had made me thus, and so I must live as I can: true to my own understanding of right and wrong, honor and duty.]. Boromir's treatment of the boy is considerate and in its way, affectionate. It seems that at this point in his life, he needs more than just physical release from a succession of random partners. And he is careful to see that Gaersum's welfare and that of his mother are seen to before he takes his final journey North. Very nicely done, Annmarwalk and EdorasLass!

Reviewed by: Marta  ✧  Score: 10

I think that annmarwalk and EdorasLass do to original characters what Degas does to ballerinas. I mean, we all knew that someone cooked the bread that made its way to Denethor's dinnerplate, but these two authors make the cooks and consierges and yes even whores as integral to Tolkien's world as any characters that Tolkien gave them. Like Degas's ballerinas, Gaersum, Ciramoush and Mag are graceful and endearing; their simple work becomes an art form in itself. There is so much to love about "The Haradric Whore and Her Son" that it is hard to even know where to start. Mag is in a close tie with Mormegil as my favorite of Ann's original characters, but for an entirely different way: she is delightly earty, an indomitable and unsinkable woman, and I always am reminded of why I love Gondor so much whenever I read her. And she shines in those scenes that she is privy to (I particularly like that she has to keep reminding herself that Faramir is no now steward!), but she is relally only peripheral to the story. Ciramoush is a woman that you could see scoring high on a Mary Sue litmus test. Her family is killed, she's forced into prostitution, and she bears a child that just refuses to be aborted to a mysterious golden-haired stranger… yet, somehow she doesn't come off at all as suish or cliched. I think it's the fact that her reactions are so understated. She also is a woman who is very pragmatic and I can see why she and Mag become such good friends. Mag hasn't suffered nearly as much, yet here is a character who is every bit as indomitable as our beloved cook. Gaersum… I could write a whole essay on why Gaersum is so delightful, and still not explain it all. He just rocks. I don't want to gush so much that I embarrass Ann and EdorasLass, so I'll leave it at that. And it feels like I'm just touching the iceberg on why this story has always meant so much to me. It is doubtless different than what many people in fandom envision when they think of Gondor and Boromir, yet I always find it a very enjoyable and thought-provoking view of Middle-earth. By the end, when Ciramoush comes to the Houses of Healing, I always find myself cheering along, often out loud. (I actually started clapping at one point!) Thank you, ann and EL, for this story.

Reviewed by: Larner  ✧  Score: 3

An excellent tale of Boromir and a lesser love, set in the Boromir/Theodred universe. Characters are extremely well drawn, and motivations and actions well described. One can come to love these two people and those who came to care for them, including Boromir.

Reviewed by: nancylea  ✧  Score: 2

as much as i don't like boromir, i enjoy when people can make me believe he was a better person than i give him credit for, thank you for helping him be his best.