Last Defence of the City

Author: Branwyn

Nominator: Raksha the Demon

2006 Award Category: Times: The Great Years: Gondor Fixed-Length Ficlets - Honorable Mention

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

Rating: G  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: An alternate universe view of the Siege of Minas Tirith.

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Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 7

This Alternate Universe road is one most readers, and people of Gondor, would wish Denethor had taken. The writer has shown Denethor as the man he could have been, and should have been, but for the fatal combination of his overweening pride and Sauron's palantir-borne influence, a man strong and proud, but still graced with the humility of his office and responsibility, a man who places his duty above his personal sorrow. Denethor's treatment of Pippin is particularly well-written here, the mutual interest and kindness they felt toward each other bears fruit in Denethor's disposition - by allowing Pippin to keep his own pride in his service as a Guard, while sending him to a place of at least temporary safety. And there's an implication of Denethor's ferocity in the use of the adjective [snarling] in his orders to the servants bearing his unconscious son, a subtle and effective touch. The last line is particularly moving - and very appropriate.

Reviewed by: annmarwalk  ✧  Score: 4

Of all the AU scenarios we've encountered at the various challenges in which we’ve participated, this seems to be one of the least presented. It's also one of my very favorite of your drabbles. I’m so proud of your vision of Denethor, loving and compassionate of his injured son, generous and thoughtful toward his young squire Peregrin, and fearless and determined in his action to direct the defense of the City. Thank you for this marvelous vision of Denethor fulfilling his destiny as Last Ruling Steward.

Reviewed by: Marta  ✧  Score: 4

I like "happy-ever-after" AUs, but this is one I'd really like built upon. What does Pippin (or whomever) do to get Denethor to change his mind? It's certainly got my mind going. What I like most about this is how you've kept Denethor stern, which I have a hard time imagine him being in-character without. Not insane, but not cheery or light either. All in all very well done.

Reviewed by: dkpalaska  ✧  Score: 4

Oh, man - how I wish that this was the way it had happened. Denethor, who gets such a magnificent description for his younger years before despair and grimness took him, could have gone out in a blaze of glory and honor on the battlefield. Good job with incorporating some canon elements at the beginning; I was completely surprised when things went topsy-turvy. Denethor's voice sounded just right, still accurately the Denethor of the books even as his actions deviate from canon.

Reviewed by: Súlriel  ✧  Score: 3

I have to admit, not something I've ever read before. One of the most difficult bits of realism in Tolkien's world is the hard truth about men, that they fail and I truely enjoyed this alternate view of Denethor. Thank you for writing and sharing this.

Reviewed by: Imhiriel  ✧  Score: 3

Oh, if only...! This gives a very plausible scenario, skilfully using canon events and extrapolating from there. Denethor's portrayal is utterly believable: not twisted by grief, despair and the palantír, it's easy to imagine him acting in just this way.

Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 3

Now this would indeed have been a wonderful sequence of events. I find myself really wishing to see this particular AU--and what led up to it, and how it came out at the last. Brilliant!

Reviewed by: Llinos  ✧  Score: 3

This AU drabble raises some interesting possibilities; how would the subsequent events have changed, the events of that day especially. I liked the image of Pippin holding the ruling rod, showing Denethor's trust in him.

Reviewed by: Tanaqui  ✧  Score: 3

A well-executed AU story, that cleverly weaves moments and phrases from the book to create a powerful alternative that almost makes me wish Tolkien had chosen this route! Nicely done.

Reviewed by: Dwimordene  ✧  Score: 2

Another short AU--this one of the Denethor Lives! Variety. And it might have gone so--one wishes sometimes that it had.

Reviewed by: Linda Hoyland  ✧  Score: 2

If only Denethor had been like this,as I am certain the potential was there before his fall. A very well written glimpse of what might have been.

Reviewed by: Marigold  ✧  Score: 2

Denethor as he should have been! I wonder what the final outcome would have been had this actually taken place? Excellent drabble.