Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Weregild

Author: Isabeau of Greenlea
Nominator: Dwimordene
2011 Award Category: Men: Faramir - Second Place

Story Type: Story : Length: Short Story
Rating: General -- Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: War has many victims besides the wounded or slain soldiers. As Gondor begins to bleed herself dry fighting the long war with Mordor, Captain Faramir comes up with a less-than-legal plan to see that the families of his soldiers and his crippled ex-Rangers are cared for. How the events of Lossarnach Yule came to pass.


Reviewed by: Dwimordene -- Score: 10

[Lossarnach Yule] is one of my favorite of Isabeau's Ranger stories - it's sweet and compassionate, hopeful and filled with good humor to balance out the difficulty of the situation that families of slain Rangers are enduring as Gondor and Mordor engage in an undeclared war of attrition, each side avoiding major, do-or-die battles but slowly trying to bleed each other dry. Into a dire situation ride three of Faramir's Rangers with company-funded relief for these families that turns the tables on what could've been a greater tragedy than the loss of a husband and father to war already was. [Weregild] serves as a prequel to that story, and shows the genesis of Faramir's "weregild" program of quiet, under-the-table, company self-help. As such, it doesn't require knowledge of [Lossarnach Yule], just a realistic appraisal of how well humanity has ever managed to take care of its war orphans, widows, and widowers. Fans of Isabeau's Rangers I am sure will be happy to see Hethlin and Lorend again, and to see her version of Mablung out in fine form, as their captain struggles to find a way to help the increasingly hopeless families without either going bankrupt himself, exhausting his people, or coming under the eye and ire of the Steward of Gondor, who, if not pleased by the situation, isn't able to correct it. And in fact, Faramir isn't really able to correct the problem, either - he can only do so much, but what he does accomplish he manages by showing that in addition to being the son of the Steward, he can organize to secure the future of his company's most vulnerable: the families left bereft. They may not be at the front, but as he and the other Rangers fully appreciate, they are nevertheless the most important element of the Rangers: the reason to fight the war. So cheers, Isabeau, for a Faramir we wish we could clone and insert into every level of government!

Reviewed by: Altariel -- Score: 10

It's rare to find a story that thinks through the economics of Middle-earth, so this one is treat. And of course, it involves my favourite, Faramir, and many other favourites from the Unabeauverse. Confronted with the unfairness of the poverty of the widows and orphans of the war dead and the war-injured, as set against the showy wealth of the war profiteers, Faramir has to act. First stop is his father, but Denethor, while sympathetic, has nothing to spare. The war is bleeding Gondor dry. Boromir can't help either, so Faramir falls back on his own resources. And his own resources involve him deliberately holding back a portion of the gold taken from the Haradrim killed in Ithilien, and using that to pay the pensions due to the families of his own Rangers. Faramir is anxious that his Rangers will be horrified that their commander has taken up a life of crime - but the Rangers are nothing if not pragmatic and, besides, they're his Rangers, and they'll back him to the bitter end. As well as the thought-through situation, and the usual lovely character interaction, I like how Isabeau has put Faramir on the first step towards breaking the law when it comes to sending Frodo on his way. It's a thoughtful, intelligent, and satisfying story, with a clever nod towards a crucial moment coming later in Faramir's life. Thanks as ever for a good read, Isabeau.

Reviewed by: obsidianj -- Score: 5

I love this story. Faramir taking care of his rangers is always a good story. I like his reasoning for what he does and in this story, I can even understand Denethor's reasoning. It is unfortunate, but Denethor is right looking at the big picture of the whole army. There is no one size fits all solution. If he angers Bacarth too much the whole army might suffer. Denethor thinks he has more important things to do to defend Gondor than focusing on Bacarth and their ilk. As long as Bacarth doesn't overstep the line. Faramir's actions might be illegal, but his reasoning is sound. He is the procurer for the crippled, orphans and widows as Bacarth is a procurer for the army. I love the last line. It says it all.

Reviewed by: The Lauderdale -- Score: 5

Faramir and his Rangers are frustrated by the long line outside of the stipends office, and Faramir takes the matter to his father. Though Denethor acknowledges that there is some price gouging on the part of merchants who supply the army, and that the stipends are not going out as quickly as they ought, he will only say that [there are hard choices to be made ... and not enough money to go around.] Problem is, he's right. Faramir's illegal (and, ultimately, only partial) solution is a risky venture that could get him reported - if his people weren't so wildly enthusiastic about it. I enjoyed intimations toward the end that the ever noble and proper Faramir finds some pleasure in his new [life of crime], particularly a scene where the Rangers open up to him to to a degree that they hadn't before: [Apparently they will unburden themselves to a brigand before they do so to their Captain!]

Reviewed by: Linda Hoyland -- Score: 4

I enjoyed this story very much and this is something I can easily imagine Faramir doing, bending the rules so that the injured, widows and orphans are provided for.It is all too easy to overlook the forgotten casualties of war, both in fiction and real life. Trust Faramir to be thoughtful enough to find a way to help. I also liked the way his Rangers were portrayed.

Reviewed by: curiouswombat -- Score: 4

This is a readable, well written, story set in Ithilien in the year or two before the events of Lord of the Rings. It seems to me to be so very like Faramir - to recognise that a problem exists, to approach his father and brother as seems only right and then, when they cannot do all he would want, to come up with a workable solution of his own. A working solution that hurts no-one, and surely makes his Rangers even more determinedly loyal to him. An excellent tale, indeed.

Reviewed by: Dreamflower -- Score: 3

Faramir is a wise man, and a compassionate one. This seems very much like something he *would* do for his men. I like that he did approach his father and brother first, and that he understood his father's reluctance to apply to Imrahil. I also love to see the faith his Rangers had in him.

Reviewed by: Darkover -- Score: 2

Good portrayal of Faramir, showing his compassion and his problem-solving ability. Nice plot, and the OCs are good, too. Well written!

Reviewed by: Ellynn -- Score: 2

Very interesting idea. I love Faramir's plan. Well done! And I am so glad that you added a female ranger to your story!

Reviewed by: Antane -- Score: 2

A great story about a great man. I love Faramir already and this just gives another reason. What a gentle man and gentleman. Thank you for this!

Reviewed by: Sevilodorf -- Score: 2

While I don't agree with your characterization of Denethor, I will agree that Faramir was a captain who would have dealt with a problem like this as well as he could.

Reviewed by: Liadan -- Score: 2

Sometimes, when the official system is too slow to offer help when and where it is most needed, the only thing to do is unofficially rewrite the existing rules to make it work.