The Steward's House
2009 Award Category: Genres: Alternate Universe: Gondor - Third Place
Story Type: Story ✧ Length: Short Story
Rating: General ✧ Reason for Rating: This story emerges out of an mpreg AU, but contains none of the obvious triggers for a higher rating, e.g. violence, sexual content.
Summary: Boromir has returned to Gondor and to his Captain and King with their son, Arin; however, as he discovers, rebuilding Minas Tirith is not as simple a task as it might at first appear.
Reviewed by: ebbingnight ✧ Score: 10
This is a lovely piece from the "Cold Pressing" AU that Alex_Quine has so carefully created, in which Boromir survives Amon-Hen and bears Aragorn's son (although Arwen is his much-loved queen and has also borne him a son and heir). The life that the three of them (Aragorn, Arwen, and Boromir) make together in Minas Tirith is fascinating, as it becomes increasingly obvious that all three need each other in surprising ways. "The Steward's House" demonstrates the narrator's craft in that it is deceptively simple and straight-forward: Boromir builds a dove-cot for Arwen's doves as a gift, and then realizes that small birdhouses throughout the city will ameliorate the havoc created by rats that have plagued the city's stables since the sparrows have been driven out in the massive rebuilding effort since the Ring-War. The underlying theme, however, is that Minas Tirith is still so scarred by war that it will take much time and care, not only by its rulers but by everyone, to return it to its former state. The fact that the most popular design for these birdhouses becomes that of "The Steward's House" seves as a symbol of hope for the future. These stories should be read as a whole, as the author is indeed building an alternate universe for Gondor, and each story builds on the others, but each of these is worth reading on its own merits. (Though I suspect that anyone reading this one will want to find and savor the entire series!)
Reviewed by: obsidianj ✧ Score: 3
Little things can have unintended consequences. Rebuilding the city is not easy and who would have thought that holes in gables had such an important role to play to keep the city clean. I liked the way Aragorn and Boromir became aware of what was missing in the stables. Watching the grains fall led from one thought to the next. Nicely done.
Reviewed by: Larner ✧ Score: 1
Okay. Nicely written, but I can't quite buy it.