Duty Bound

Author: Bodkin

Nominator: Pearl Took

2007 Award Category: Genres: Romance: Pre-Ring War - Third Place

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Medium Length

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: Denethor was not a man to leave much to chance. Not when it came to important matters like perpetuating the line of the Ruling Stewards. In a time of war, he would be sure to think ahead. Whilst the Fellowship travels south, Pippin asks a question that reveals something of Boromir's past. (The members of the Fellowship appear briefly.)

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Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 10

An outstanding Boromir romance that is all the more poignant because it is doomed. Bodkin undertakes to explain Denethor's apparent lack of interest in securing the succession by having him find a suitable maiden for Boromir to marry, despite the lack of interest from the two parties. Boromir's young, duty-bound bride Emeldis is an extremely believable character - she is unhappy in her predicament, but resolved to carry out her responsibility, proud, and rather prickly. Bodkin writes her so well that the reader can't help rooting for Emeldis and hoping she can salvage some happiness out of the situation. Boromir is also very well served here; good-hearted enough to want to be kind to his young wife, but not really understanding how to make her happy, or unselfish enough to know to unbend enough not to try, but to listen. His natural arrogance wars with his essential humanity here, and his lack of experience with women who are not his relatives is obvious. What gets me, in reading this story, is that Boromir and Emeldis do come to care for each other, and joyfully anticipate the child that will be born. And then it all falls apart, with sudden and devastating tragedy. Brownie points for excellent Faramir characterisation (he is quietly wise as usual), and a lively wife for Imrahil; also a good job depicting the entire Dol Amroth clan, especially little Lothiriel.

Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 7

Framed as a Fellowship story, Pippin asks Boromir an innocently personal question: is he married? Boromir's answer is a surprise to the reader, and as we follow his memories back to the occasion of his brief and tragic marriage, we begin to see that this is an all too plausible scenario--that Denethor would have made an arranged marriage for his son in order to secure the line of the Stewards, and that Boromir would have acceded to it. We see Boromir's efforts to please his bride, though he is quite unsure of how to go about it, and her efforts to be a good wife, in spite of her own problems. I really loved Imrahil and his family in this, the way they helped the young couple begin to appreciate one another. But of course, just as the relationship begun out of duty begins to bloom into the possiblity of mutual love, tragedy strikes. This is a very striking and thought-provoking story, very believable in all its circumstances, and adds a lot of depth to the reader's perception of Boromir.

Reviewed by: Marta  ✧  Score: 6

This is a really interesting look at what Boromir’s wife might have gone through, might he have been pressured to marry before the events of The Lord of the Rings. I tend to interpret Boromir as most likely gay and even with het!Boromir I have a hard time seeing him as ever having been married -- but Bodkin convinces me that he could have been married. This story connects really well with canon events, establishing Denethor’s motives in a way that avoids making him seem unreasonable, and the OC wife was charming. Actually, all of the OCs were, as I particularly liked Imrahil’s wife as well. And Lothiriel was charming. The ending was also believable, tragically normal for the times and making the story plausible. Nice work, Bodkin.

Reviewed by: Nancy Brooke  ✧  Score: 5

I really enjoyed reading this story. A confirmed and single-minded Boromir fan, the question of the Steward's succession has always nagged at me, despite Tolkien's precedent set for small families of late marraiges. This story explores a very interesting array of reasonable scenarios: arranged marraige, the necessity of begetting heirs, seasonable living and differing climates in Gondor, and how a small city might handle plague - but weaves them well around the central, engaging and very human story. I found the conclusion - that the sad end of the arranged marraige Boromir at first resisted, eventually reaffirmed his devotion to duty and country - touching and compelling.

Reviewed by: Larner  ✧  Score: 4

There must be progeny of the House of Hurin to see to it the Stewardship does not fail, and for Boromir--once--there was a marriage. It did not last long, and he was only just beginning to appreciate his young bride when he lost her and their infant son to death. Now Pippin's question brings that time back to him--the unexpected pleasure of finding she had merit and skills and her own tenderness. But he's unwilling to speak openly of that lost chance for happiness.... Very poignant, and well written as Bodkin's works always are.

Reviewed by: Linda hoyland  ✧  Score: 4

[spoilers] This somewhat Au story is beautifully told and quite heartrending. Pippin asks if Boromir has a wife which prompts the Steward's heir to tell his story. Boromir was indeed married, a match arranged by his father for a girl purely to serve as a brood mare. Boromir weds reluctantly but as time passes he grows to love his bride and look forward to impending fatherhood. The tragedy that follows and puts Boromir off ever remarrying will leave a tear in any reader's eye who is capable of feeling. Very well written.

Reviewed by: Pearl Took  ✧  Score: 3

This is an elegant story of something that might well have been. The Fellowship are getting to know one another and Pippin asks Boromir if he is married. From there issues a marvelous, tender and sad tale. It could have happened just this way. Bodkin weaves a stunning story well worth any readers time.

Reviewed by: agape4gondor  ✧  Score: 3

Wow - knocked my socks off with this one. Love Pip - love the question - first and last - and am stunned by the answer. Though Denethor did not marry till he was in his late 50's.... I'd expected the same for his sons.... But I like the idea - Bittersweet tale but beautifully written. Excellent tale. Thank you so much for sharing it. *wipes tears from her eyes*