Pelendur's Folly

Author: Marta

Nominator: Larner

2011 Award Category: Men: General

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: Teen  ✧  Reason for Rating: Disturbing Imagery/Themes

Summary: Every story has two sides. A long-lost letter between two lords of the reunited Gondor and Arnor sheds new light on the established history.

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Reviewed by: Larner  ✧  Score: 10

The folly of Pelendur in rejecting the claim of Arvedui for the Winged Crown has intrigued me for many years, and I’ve done my own take on the claim and its aftermath in my story “Stirring Rings.” But how Denethor might have felt about it years later—that has also intrigued me. I was certain that Denethor would have sought to follow the career of Aragorn once Thorongil left Gondor as precipitously as he did. I was equally certain that both Ecthelion and his son had entertained suspicions that this Thorongil was in truth the long-lost Heir of Isildur, and would have known mixed feelings about his presence within Gondor when he served its armies and about his decision to leave its service after the triumph of Umbar. It’s wonderful to see this letter and how well it fits with my own vision of Denethor as the last Ruling Steward of Gondor, and how Denethor would feel bound to respect Pelendur’s decision in spite of feeling it was indeed wrongheaded. And I love seeing the fellowship felt by Imrahil’s son and the equivalent of his cousin Faramir within Arnor. Well thought out and perfectly conveyed, this is a writing I was honored to nominate for this year’s MEFAs and that I hope places very well indeed. I hope that others are as moved as I have been by the thought taken and in the sensitive depiction of Ecthelion’s son and heir as he treads the paths of legality and diplomacy, and how that his remembered by his beloved and loving nephew. Well recommended.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 5

An interesting view of the late, lamented Lord Denethor, not written by his famous son, but by his slightly less known nephew-by-marriage, Elphir, heir of Imrahil. Marta uses the form of a letter, from Elphir to a grandson of Halbarad whose father, Halbarad's son, is the Steward of Arnor. I found the letter most notable for what it alludes to rather than what it says eloquently - the sad truth that the young men of Fourth Age Gondor lose touch with the values of their heroic past and have become softer. That sentiment informs Elphir's need to elucidate Denethor's character to the northern Dunadan who never knew him; and to tell how tragedy and long conflict with a terrible Enemy drove Denethor to madness.

Reviewed by: Darkover  ✧  Score: 4

This story offers an interesting view of Denethor from another perspective. Written in letter form, it reminds both the intended recipient of the letter and the readers themselves that Denethor was not always as he was in the last days of his life. There is also the sad implication that people tend to forget their history, and peace frequently results in the forgetting of past sacrifices. Eloquently written, even if the reader may not agree with it entirely.

Reviewed by: Adonnen Estenniel  ✧  Score: 3

A wonderful treatment of Denethor here, as well as Pelendur's rejections of Arvedui. Here the author has handled the topic matter quite well, and I do love the premise. The letter reads smoothly, and the note at the end is wonderful.