Mirrors of Numenor

Author: Dostoevsky's Mouse

Nominator: Gandalfs apprentice

2006 Award Category: Races: Men: Incomplete - Second Place

Story Type: Incomplete  ✧  Length: Medium Length

Rating: PG-13  ✧  Reason for Rating: Violence.

Summary: Eleven years after Sauron's return, a young Denethor meets Aragorn for the first time, and finds in him an equal, an ideal, a comrade -- and, ultimately, a rival.

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Reviewed by: Gandalfs apprentice  ✧  Score: 10

I only have one complaint about this story: it isn't finished! This tale has everything that I look for in the best fanfic: Aragorn, flashing swords, Aragorn, interesting interpersonal dialog, Aragorn, fine writing. I love Thorongil stories, but so many are disappointing. Yours provides a fine portrait of both Denethor and Aragorn and establishes an intriguing respect and wariness between them. I could see them becoming fast friends--or enemies. I am very eager to see where you will take the tale. There are already several threads to be followed and resolved: Denethor's discovery of Thorongil's identity--or not; how much will he find out about the healing powers (which should already be raising big questions--they are hardly common, I should think); more to be revealed about Thorongil's time in Rohan. The battle scene was very well done. Graphic, full of action, but not going on too long. Your knowledge of ships is thorough enough to be convincing. One thing jarred me, though. With the story being told from Denethor's point of view, it is odd that Aragorn is called by his real name, and not by Thorongil. After all, the reader knows who he is, if Denethor does not. I am glad also that you show a reasonable tension between Ecthelion and Denethor without making either one a villain. There is too much "taking sides" in fanfic.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 10

This story has an almost lyrical quality about it, the language is wonderful. I really like the relationship built between Thorongil and Denethor. Denethor is depicted as proud, somewhat arrogant, and underneath it all, rather starved for affection and friendship, and warming to Thorongil, perhaps in hope of getting both from one of the few men who can be said to be his equal, at least in quality. I am not sure whether the writer intends to make their relationship a sexual one eventually; but the idea of a friendship, however brief, between these two [Pale mirrors of Numenor], is fascinating. Though I wonder; if Denethor felt a need for trust from Thorongil, and Thorongil could not of course confide all his secrets in Denethor, was that the root of the painful anger Denethor feels towards the returning king in the first chapter, which begins the flashbacks that form the chapters here. The notion that Thorongil raises in Ch. 8, that Denethor expects total trust from others, yet trusts no one himself, is interesting. Given the idea of Thorongil and Denethor being each other's equals and mirrors, and Thorongil's expectation that others trust him without his revealing his own true self, we have quite a complex interplay going on here. I hope the writer will finish this very readable story.

Reviewed by: Dwimordene  ✧  Score: 10

Thorongil and Denethor together in their early days is a subject of much fascination to this reader, as both reader and writer. Dostoyevsky's Mouse builds a complex relationship and a Denethor whose pride and confidence, and indeed, his leadership, are as great as his lacks: of trust, of friendship, of fatherly affection. He and Ecthelion are Gondor's sons--both of them hard men and stern, even handed in praise and rebuke, save that the former is impersonal, the latter all too personal. Denethor at this stage of his life is as desperately desirous of his father's personal approval and warmth, and clearly this is the one thing he is doomed to be denied. Denethor is also clearly intelligent, clever in his words, a shrewd young man who confronts Captain Thorongil's omissions and his neatly crafted excuses about such silences, pointedly and clearly, yet is confident enough, despite his mistrust, to leave his new captain's secrets alone... for a time, at least. Aragorn shows himself a doughty fighter and a bold counselor, as well as a budding healer. Yet he is also properly enigmatic, hard to read, and an object of fascination. Fans of Aragorn and Denethor, and particularly of the two of them together in one story, should not miss this tale, which promises to be interesting as it continues to unfold. Write more and soon, Dostoyevsky's Mouse! Thanks for a satisfying read!

Reviewed by: Marta  ✧  Score: 8

This is a really nice read. I think you captured the relationship of Denethor and Thorongil so well, and the politics of the realm in general - Denny's suspicions were right on. But what was *really* refreshing about this piece is the chapter length. Your chapters are to the point, they are manageable in a single setting, but they do not feel unduly constrained. The descriptions are nice and the emotional impact is there, but for a slow reader like me I really appreciated the way I could read such an enjoyable without a huge input of time and energy on my part. Not that that's the only thing worth praising, by a long shot! I recommend this to anyone interested in this era. It's a good read, a realistic and true to canon portrayal of these characters. And both Denethor and Aragorn are so well developed -- it was recommended to me by a hard-core Aragorn fan, and I am similarly devoted to Denethor (and picky about the fanfic involving him that I enjoy). The fact that both of us enjoyed it so thoroughly is high priase of this author's ability to write a well-rounded story.

Reviewed by: annmarwalk  ✧  Score: 6

Your descriptions are extraordinary! The Battle of the Poros, the eruption of Mount Doom, Ecthelion taking his son’s hand in poorly-disguised shock and fear. Denethor’s cool appraisal of Thorongil, upon their first meeting, is particularly memorable: [this young wanderer, in his tarnished mail and muddied boots, was no stranger to the halls of great men…] I really like the way you’ve shown Denethor as almost-but-not-quite recognizing who Thorongil must be. Is the truth just beyond his reach, or is he in denial because of his own too-human desire to be his father’s favorite, despite the conflicts between them? Your language is like poetry ( I was delighted to see, on your website, that you do also write poetry.) I found this line particularly enchanting [He had about him a bold but graceful strength that called to mind old songs of Elven warrior-kings, and tales of lost Númenor.] I don’t usually read works-in-progress: I’m all about instant gratification! but I’m looking forward with great anticipation to the continuation of this unusual tale.

Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 3

This is a fascinating examination of a younger Denethor's relationship with Aragorn/Thorongil. Beautifully written from Denethor's POV, it explores what he might have thought of this strange man from the North. I am very much intrigued with it, and hope that it will be completed.