Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Quality Time

Author: EdorasLass
Nominator: annmarwalk
2006 Award Category: Genres: Drama: The Steward's Family - First Place

Story Type: Other Fiction : Length: Short Story
Rating: G -- Reason for Rating: n/a
Summary: Denethor muses on his young sons, their Nanny and her relationship with them.

Reviewed by: annmarwalk -- Score: 8

What a complex, and original, view of Denethor you’ve given us! I like that you’ve taken that well-known ominous air of his, that coolness, and shown us how he uses it to manipulate those around him. At the very same time, though, there is that hidden flame, that warmth that he would share with only those very nearest and dearest to him. He wants to be a close and loving father to his children, but circumstances, and his own nature, prevent him from participating in their daily life as fully as he would like. The very premise of the story, that Denethor would take advantage of the Nanny’s day off to spend some time with his sons (and begin to put his child-rearing theories to the test) is quite a startling one, and not anything I’ve ever read before. I particularly like the interaction between Denethor and Nanny: haughtiness and respect; wariness and surprising gentleness. They have both have the opportunity to learn a bit more about each other this night; the knowledge they’ve gained will help them in the loving and raising of those two dear boys.

Reviewed by: Branwyn -- Score: 7

It is so easy to forget that Denethor was not always bitter and bereaved and that it must have taken years of strain to bring him to the final breaking point. This gentle story shows him as a father in happier times. The image of Faramir snuggled against his shoulder, a tiny fist clenching his hair (in that amazingly strong baby grip), is so sweet and unexpected. I love that he is reading "The Fall of Numenor" to little Faramir as an experiment in early childhood development. It seems to have had the intended result, lol. Denethor's high opinion of Boromir and prediction of his future greatness is amusing since the child is only five years old, but it also the normal reaction of a father to his own children. His reaction to Nanny is interesting. Her nervous mannerisms annoy him, but that annoyance is outweighed by her usefulness as a governess for his children. I sensed a hint of his characteristic possessiveness in [I did not want or need her presence], as if he resented how much time she was able to spend with his children. Very well done!

Reviewed by: Dwimordene -- Score: 6

An interesting and intimate portrait of Denethor with his young children, though in point of fact it's as much about the relationship with their nurse as it is about them. Not the most rational of relationships, apparently: she's to be close, yet distant; he does not understand why she expects censure, yet he also knows very well he intimidates her and is not displeased with that, or with the rumors of his clairvoyance that aid in that process of intimidation. She seems to be both in and outside of the family sphere, so that we are surprised both by what Denethor knows of her, but also what he does not know (that she reads Sindarin, for instance). Nice touch about reading Akallabeth to Faramir as a sort of experiment in stimulating intellect. And while his sons may now give him peace, oh just wait 'til thirty years down the line, Denethor...

Reviewed by: Marta -- Score: 6

We usually only see Nanny with the children, so this story where she interacts with Denethor gives her a chance to interact with an adult. It adds a lot of depth to her character, even though the story seems more about Denethor than her. I understand the demands on his time - if Faramir is born Ecthelion is probably dead or dying - but he still suffers from the fact that his duties keep him from his sons more than he'd like. That was really touching, and the ending with him watching Faramir sleep was precious beyond words (and in a completely non-gollumesque way!) One thing I noticed: Nanny was chosen by Finduilas! Which makes good sense but is never made explicit anywhere else that I've read. If Denethor is intimidating now, she's in trouble when Finduilas dies, especially if she is connected to Finduilas in Denethor's mind. That would be an interesting idea for a future story *nudge, nudge*

Reviewed by: Acacea -- Score: 5

There is a lot I like in this fic. There is so much that expressed here. I liked most that we get to see an aspect of Denethor as a father that comes in so few fics. We get to see the ftaher who wishes to spend time with his sons, and who is painfully aware that this does not happen as often as he'd like. And at the same time, there is his thoughtfulness, his shrewdness and his intelligence all coming to the fore. Of course, he is already seeing Boromir as the captain, and trying to read to Faramir about Numenor. And I loved the little scene where he puts Faramir to bed. It's tender and sweet, and Denethor's thoughts and actions are so perfect. And i like too that we get to see nanny from Denethor's point of view.

Reviewed by: Bodkin -- Score: 4

Denethor is a good father - a bit remote and more than a bit scary - but a good father of his young sons. And I reckon that Nanny's tendency to say a little more than she intends probably recognises that, while Denethor has the sense to realise that his sons could not be in better hands. Gorgeous ending, just watching Denethor engaged in Faramir-worship. Scary to reflect on what life brings to us all.

Reviewed by: Dreamflower -- Score: 4

Denethor and his very young sons are sharing a few peaceful moments. I love all the subtle underlay here of Denethor's relationship with the boys' Nanny--his slight jealousy, his amusement at discomfitting her. And her touchiness and wariness around him. I have read some of these stories, but not enough of them to be sure of the timeline--the boys seem too young here to have lost their mother yet, so I wonder at Finduilas' absence. Still, this is a very touching picture of this family before grief and bitterness destroy it.

Reviewed by: Jenn_Calaelen -- Score: 3

A very nice view of Denethor. It is nice to see him portrayed as a good father. You show him well, as a sane man. It is a very nice piece using everything to build up a deeper perspective of Denethor's character.

Reviewed by: Llinos -- Score: 3

This story paints a very complex view of Denethor and I find him to be almost likeable in a grim and aloof way. His clear devotion to both of his children was very nice to see for a change. Nanny is a well done OC. I do wonder where Finduilas is though, as the children are quite young and there is no mention of her.

Reviewed by: Marigold -- Score: 2

How lovely to read a glimpse of a time before Denethor had hardened his heart against Faramir. Interesting that it was he himself who had first awakened Faramir's love of books.