Strength of a River
2006 Award Category: Races: Men: Gondor
Story Type: Other Fiction ✧ Length: Short Story
Rating: G ✧ Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: Lessons in life - Interludes in Ithilien and Minas Tirith - Faramir, the Rangers, Boromir and Finduilas
Reviewed by: Branwyn ✧ Score: 8
This lovely story is written as a series of short scenes where Faramir contemplates the nature of inner strength. Finduilas tells her sons that a river is patient yet unyielding and ["...there will come a time when the hardest stone will give way to its tirelessness. There is more to strength than size and hardiness."] The dialogue between Faramir and his brother and mother is written with a deft touch, as are Faramir's childish impressions of the conversation. I love the "fish story" about the giant, black fish that swam from Mirkwood to the Anduin. One of the rangers tells an incredulous audience, ["They have strange beasts there. Big, black squirrels and big, black fish.'] I also love how the author works in Faramir's prohobition against bloodsports, an edict which the men uphold because of their respect for their Captain if not because they agree in principle. Yet Faramir wisely recognizes that progress is being made, if slowly. Faramir's remark that he will follow the path before him until it changes sounds very Zen-like to me. That strategy of yielding before and redirecting the strength of others is so very characteristic of him and it is perfecty suited to his partisan fight in Ithilien. This is a story which is not only a lyrical joy to read but also leaves the reader with a great deal to think about.
Reviewed by: Marta ✧ Score: 6
I know a boy who lost his mother at about the same age Faramir lost his, so fics like these where he does have some memories of Finduilas have a very special place in my heart. And it's true, it's amazing the capability a young child has to retain memories. I think Faramir would have remembered some things beven if he didn't realize he knew them until something in later life brought them up. But this story is much more than a sappy memorial to Finduilas. It is a tale of Faramir's hidden strength. He really is likie a river: quiet, persistent, but with the ability to crumble mountains given the time. And the use of that memory to give him strength at a critical canonical moment is what really tied this piece together, at least for me.
Reviewed by: annmarwalk ✧ Score: 5
A wistful tale, full of longing and nostalgia. I love the imagery of the Rangers of Ithilien, taking their wary leisure by the river, recalling the grace and beauty of Ithilien of days past. They speak of happy memories of their own youth, or stories told to them as children, and recent moments of fleeting enjoyment in the White City; but they do not speak of the Shadow, and how they have pledged their lives in the defense of their land Faramirs bittersweet memory of childhood conversation with his mother and brother is a lovely element, reminding us of she who was the source of Faramirs quiet strength.
Reviewed by: Dwimordene ✧ Score: 4
This loose set of scenes, revolving around Ithilien and Faramir's long, patient struggle there, gets its titular image (one repeated in other fics) from a young boy's desire to be a river. Faramir's affinity for Anduin and the sea, and the unstoppable force of the river flowing becomes a metaphor for his life and work and the story itself. The river can hold many things, and the story, too, holds together these little scenes from Faramir's life, opening out in the end onto an uncertain future.
Reviewed by: Imhiriel ✧ Score: 3
Wonderful evocation of the beauty and peril of Ithilien and those who guard it with dedication and love, especially, of course, Faramir. His unusual wish to be a river so he can see the sea ring very true to Faramir and his Númenórean heritage. The words about the Anduin and the ["strength of a river"] are poignant and moving.
Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon ✧ Score: 3
Lyrically written exploration of Faramir's connection to Ithilien, with a wonderful sense of the flow of time, and a lovely glimpse into the relationship of Finduilas and her two young sons.
Reviewed by: Dreamflower ✧ Score: 3
Beautifully poignant and lyrical as Faramir muses upon the river Anduin, and what it has meant to him and the lessons it has taught him over the course of his life. I love the way his mother's presence hovers over all.
Reviewed by: Bodkin ✧ Score: 3
Oh yes - Faramir has the strength of a river - pliant but relentless and powerful in spate. Quiet, too, and patient, but never giving in. Finduilas's input is sad - she seems very fatalistic. But then I suppose she is close to her own end. I hope she finds what she seeks as she flies. I love the tone of this - it is very effective. Good stuff.
Reviewed by: Nancy Brooke ✧ Score: 2
This is a sweet and very understated story, no less profound for its gentleness. In that its style echoes its subject.
Reviewed by: dkpalaska ✧ Score: 2
A gentle and reflective story. I like the emphasis given to Finduilas, especially in the brief epilogue where a twist is given to Faramir's gaze upon Mithrandir's face.
Reviewed by: Marigold ✧ Score: 2
Very lyrical and reflective story. I liked the shifting through time, and Faramir and Boromir's scene with their mother was lovely. It is easy to see that Faramir is much like her.