The Oathbreakers

Author: Branwyn

Nominator: annmarwalk

2006 Award Category: Races: Men: Aragorn Fixed-Length Ficlets - Second Place

Story Type: Fixed-Length Ficlet  ✧  Length: True Drabble

Rating: G  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: Aragorn recognizes a face in the ranks of the faithless dead.

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Reviewed by: annmarwalk  ✧  Score: 8

What an extraordinary image – the oathbreakers, the [faithless dead] watching silently as the flag of the sovereign whom they had betrayed and abandoned is finally raised. Though the man for whom they waited, foresworn, is long deceased, his heir and Isildur’s finally came with strength of will to call them forth and demand their fealty and service. One, though, bears particular guilt for his sin of despair; his king would grant him mercy, concealing the humiliation of his pity, but Boromir would not have it so; lonely, anguished, he stands silently with his fellow oathbreakers. too heartbroken to risk a special farewell, he drifts away with the others. Alas for Boromir! That his own sense of guilt caused him to number himself among the faithless. And poor Aragorn, noticing his presence too late to offer forgiveness and reconciliation. What a fabulously intense depiction of a brief, frequently-overlooked scene. You’ve given the scene itself such desperate, fleeting life; your addition of Boromir adds such poignant, emotional intensity.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 4

Scary good. Aragorn's regret for the loss of Boromir is obvious, and infuses this other-worldly drabble with human warmth. The ending is sad but rather beautiful. My only quibble, and it is a minor one, is that I would have also liked to see a somewhat longer version of this story. But then one wouldn't have had this one searing moment of recognition and, for a second time, loss.

Reviewed by: Nesta  ✧  Score: 4

I think this is most unfair, certainly in bookverse terms! Boromir didn't break his oath to fight against Sauron, or any other oath. And none of the wise characters in the book - Gandalf, Galadriel, Argorn, Faramir (though admittedly the latter might be seen as prejudiced) has a word to say against Boromir after his redeeming death. If this is AU, it predicates a very different Boromir from the Boromir I know. But then anything's possible in an AU.

Reviewed by: Dwimordene  ✧  Score: 4

Now this was quite the surprise. I had thought Isildur might be among the Dead, but it's a much more recent ghost that Aragorn recognizes. This is very well done, and heart-wrenching, as Aragorn struggles against the impulse to call out to this particular shade, desirous of his company and perhaps some better peace than they had been able to make with each other, but equally too afraid to speak and doom the other to linger still instead of departing to a deserved rest. Creative and concise—well done, Branwyn!

Reviewed by: EdorasLass  ✧  Score: 4

This is definitely an angle I'd never seen before. I hate to think of Boromir considering himself an oathbreaker, but in all honesty, it does feel right that he would. Fortunately, he doesn't have to remain in limbo for years upon years. Aragorn's reaction is perfect, right down to being afraid he will curse the dead if he speaks the words he wants to. Unusual and very effective.

Reviewed by: Súlriel  ✧  Score: 3

Oh, this is tear-wrenching, to consider Boromir amoung those, but also fitting, for what he did and to grant him release from that. This is the kind of drabble that I especially love, one that will settle the reader in and then throw them out for a loop and leave them gasping for breath at the end.

Reviewed by: Linda Hoyland  ✧  Score: 3

A chilling and thought provoking piece. I could just imagine Boromir's spirit still wanting to join in the fight against Sauron. Aragorn must have found it heartbreaking not to be able to speak some word to his dead comrade.It is frightening just what power he has, but we know he would never abuse it.

Reviewed by: Gandalfs apprentice  ✧  Score: 3

Very moving and spooky at the same time. My only quibble is that I don't consider Boromir one of the faithless dead. He died redeemed, didn't he? Or is he there as good will? Who knows with ghosts....Aragorn would feel it this way, in any case.

Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 3

What a fascinating idea! I can see that Boromir might have accounted himself among the oathbreakers, and taken this opportunity to make amends--though surely he'd already done so in his last defense of Frodo's cousins. And I can see Aragorn having this reaction, wishing to keep his friend by him, yet knowing it to be unwise. Very moving!

Reviewed by: Bodkin  ✧  Score: 3

I think Boromir might well be his own worst critic. He expected a lot of himself - and pride comes into play again. Still - would he have refused to fight in his last battle for Gondor just because he was dead? Probably not. I'm glad Aragorn had the wisdom to release him.

Reviewed by: Rhapsody  ✧  Score: 2

What a haunting drabble! Aragorn just in time realises not to speak of another curse over the dead. This drabble says so much in well chosen words. It simply gives me the chills!

Reviewed by: Imhiriel  ✧  Score: 2

Very original premise, rather AU, but fascinating. Lyrical style. Strong emotions captured in so few words.

Reviewed by: Marta  ✧  Score: 2

I'm not sure I buy this as 100% canonical, but it still touches on interesting possibilities! Even with my doubts, the character of Aragorn especially is particularly true to form.