The Steward and the Wizard

Author: Acacea

Nominator: Acacea

2006 Award Category: Genres: Drama: Gondor Fixed-Length Ficlet - Third Place

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

Rating: G  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: Denethor, Gandalf and a meeting

Read the Story

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 5

There aren't enough Mithrandir-and-Faramir stories for my taste; and this one is only a brief slice of the daily lives of Gondor's first, and possibly most dysfunctional family. But the drabble works, conveying, in a mere hundred words, the distance already existing in the relationship of child-Faramir and his father, and the trust that the boy already has in Mithrandir. And of course, Denethor already resents that friendship; while not realizing that his own disapproval of Faramir only strengthens the bond between child and wizard.

Reviewed by: Marta  ✧  Score: 5

This really makes me feel for Denethor. Not that it excuses how he handled his sons at certain key moments, but he is dealing with an *awful* lot: ruling a country in decline and gearing up for war, the death of his wife and father just a few years earlier, and now sole father to two sons. And probably too proud to ask for help, and too high-born and austere for others to easily offer it. I can see very easily how his relationship with Faramir would take on the chill that we see in this little ficlet. And it would certainly explain his later jealousy and poor feeling toward Mithrandir. You've made me feel bad for all of them, which is good in a story of this type.

Reviewed by: EdorasLass  ✧  Score: 5

I find this to be a quietly telling moment. Faramir is so wholehearted in his excitement to see Gandalf, yet a single look from his father stops him in his tracks. It's rather poignant to see how uncertain and reserved Faramir becomes when confronted with his father's displeasure, even at this young age. And even though you don't state it explicitly, Denethor's envy at knowing that Faramir is in some ways more comfortable with Gandalf comes through quite clearly. When written so well, as this is, it's easier to understand why Denethor was not overly fond of the Grey Wanderer.

Reviewed by: annmarwalk  ✧  Score: 4

Oh, what a sad and bitter tale. How well you’ve portrayed Denethor here, the strict and cold taskmaster who nevertheless craves his son’s love. So sad that Denethor was not able to see (and would not have agreed, had the suggestion been made) that the unhappiness of the relationship if of his own making. Thank goodness Faramir consciously chose not to follow in his father’s footsteps in this matter.

Reviewed by: dkpalaska  ✧  Score: 4

It begins already, Faramir as the ["wizard's pupil"]. Denethor certainly has enough reasons to be grim, after Finduilas' death and with the Stewardship to contend with. It would only be natural, however, for a perceptive young boy to be drawn to Gandalf, who has a great reserve for hope and joy. The author had no trouble painting out the beginnings of this little triangle for me, despite how few words she used to do it with.

Reviewed by: Isabeau of Greenlea  ✧  Score: 3

Ouch! Poor Denethor! An interesting idea is put forth here in this short piece-that perhaps Faramir is at least partly responsible for his father's favoritism of his elder brother by favoring others over his father himself.

Reviewed by: Elen Kortirion  ✧  Score: 3

An interesting look at Denethor and his need to be the focus of his sons lives. It lays the very plausible foundation of another possible cause of enmity between himself and Gandalf with great subtlety and economy

Reviewed by: Llinos  ✧  Score: 3

This drabble reveals a wealth of information, both directly and veiled. That Mithrandir is a familar figure in Minas Tirith, his relationship with Faramir, the dynamic between Faramir and Denethor, the reason behind the resentment that Denethor later has for Mithrandir. Well done to make so much so very clear in so few words!

Reviewed by: Dwimordene  ✧  Score: 2

Jealousy rears its head, as Denethor observes Faramir's joy in Gandalf's presence--a joy that never seems directed at *him*. Acacea hits the nail right on the head.

Reviewed by: Marigold  ✧  Score: 2

I liked Faramir's wariness here - he knows his father. The jealousy that Denethor has for Gandalf is plain. This drabble paints a very clear view of Denethor, well done!

Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 2

Very astute. Yet this Denethor would do well to ask himself why his young son is wary in his presence, and happy in the wizard's, rather than indulging his envy.

Reviewed by: Bodkin  ✧  Score: 2

Does he show himself anxious to hear his son's voice though? Or show any signs of approving of the child speaking? Some outcomes are self-fulfilling.

Reviewed by: Tanaqui  ✧  Score: 2

Poor Denethor! Children simply can't hide their feelings easily. A nicely drawn moment in how Denethor's simmering resentment of Mithrandir may have developed.