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Wizards' Pupils
 [1] Reviewer:Raksha Date:September 5, 2007 5:18 PM
This is a lovely story; beautifully written, as always. You capture the essence of Faramir here, his innate intelligence and strong will, his tendency toward compassion, his inquiring mind - and it seems like Elboron has inherited much of that.

I particularly loved the flashback to the encounter of Saruman, Denethor and Faramir - it sent shivers down my spine. Lovely Mithrandir/Faramir interaction, too.

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 [2] Reviewer:Dwimordene Date:September 5, 2007 11:42 PM
*am not gloating* *at all*

Stories within stories - and on the edge of one (Barahir's latest history, indeed)!

I can definitely imagine a meeting like this, with poor Faramir too young and daunted by his elders to be able to think through his uneasiness. What was Gandalf doing hanging about (dangling on Saruman's coattails, I guess) at just the time Saruman was sweeping into town? Had he intended to come and hear Saruman's talk, and to talk strategy with Denethor and Saruman, or was it a 'coincidence' that brought him to Minas Tirith just when Faramir would need him?

So... how's that Galadriel nuzgul?

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 [3] Reviewer:obsidianj Date:September 7, 2007 1:33 AM
This is such a lovely tale. I remember in the epilogue to A Game of Chess that Elboron was bound for a year in Rohan and that Farmair was a bit sad that he wasn't as close to his oldest as he would wish. Seems like the situation changed with Elboron getting older.

That meeting with Curunir was chilling. Luckily for Faramir there was this bird. That didn't get send by Mithrandir by any chance? It seems like this meeting and the fall out from it laid the groundwork for Denethor's slide into madness and his disenchantment with his son.

Was the parallel on purpose? Faramir was a year away and grew apart from his father. Elboron after a year away grows closer to his father. I like this.

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 [4] Reviewer:Linda Hoyland Date:September 8, 2007 8:13 PM
This was very well told and gripping story.I liked the way you showed Sauraman corrupting Denethor and the seeds of Faramir's problems with his father. You contrast the wizards and the fathers and sons well.

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 [5] Reviewer:Bardess Date:September 10, 2007 9:14 PM
Bravo! This tale enhances the telling of the greater tale. The Chicago summit is already producing great results. Is this a parable for our times?

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 [6] Reviewer:Larner Date:September 12, 2007 4:22 AM
Indeed, wizards' pupils, and what different lessons each learned, Denethor choosing the sleak and slick Saruman, and Faramir choosing Gandalf's straight thinking instead.

Not all that is lovely to look upon or hear is worthwhile accepting as valid, as Faramir had already realized. And I wonder if Radagast also might have played a small part in breaking the spell of Saruman's voice.

Very well done.

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 [7] Reviewer:Denise Date:October 30, 2007 11:16 PM
Ah, this review grew a bit as I went through the story, but I enjoyed it so much sorry for the length!

I think you accurately capture a young mindset for both Elboron and Faramir. Elboron's love and respect for his father, how he has learned to read him and appreciate him, are marvelous and heart-warming. It all meshes with "Inheritance" and "Fair Game" very well; plus there's nice foreshadowing of the conflicts in "Red River". I also love that although this is an Elboron/Faramir/Denethor story, your two offhand lines concerning Eowyn speak volumes about her. :)

The distance between the war generation and their children is nicely developed; the very concept of the Ring War being fought for anything besides the destruction of Sauron seems laughable, but I can see those nave enough to buy into the "it strengthened Gondor" argument. It is a measure of Faramir's impressive mind and manner that he can approach such a ludicrous belief equitably. Your descriptions of Faramir in general are, as always, insightful and ring of utter truth. And it being called the "Last War" perfect; the War to End All Wars, of course...

Wonderfully drawn contrast between Saruman and Gandalf, leading me right into the contrast between their pupils. Faramir's memory of Saruman is excellent, particularly the effects of his voice on those listening the metaphor felt new to me and is very evocative. The breaking of Faramir's trance is well done, especially because it occurred due to two of his most impressive qualities: his mercy and compassion, notably missing in the other witnesses. His fear and revulsion at watching his father afterwards... Brrr. Such disturbing foresight and a reason to grant Denethor at least some pity: that in his self-imposed isolation he was influenced by this wizard, and could not see the downfall in such advice.

A nice contrast, too, that Mithrandir can comfort Faramir and give him enough to feed his wisdom in that single short exchange, against the entire afternoon Saruman spent spellbinding Denethor, et. al. Cheese in the beard: brilliant, that bit of humor to help ease the worrisome topic just discussed, and a final line drawn between Gandalf and glittering Saruman.

And wise, wise Elboron, so much his fathers son: "It would be no good only to hear said to me what I already think. If I am ever to trust my judgment, then perhaps it is best to hear what I do not think, so that I can see why I do not think it."

By golly, I wish we taught that better in our schools. It took me all my twenties to fully understand the importance of knowing why you believe what you believe; and I meet too many people who either never think to question precepts, or bristle when you do.

Somehow, despite all your Faramir stories, I think this is the first time I truly realized how alone he is. It makes his strength all the more apparent, his wisdom and fine nature all the more astonishing. Thank you for enhancing yet another facet of his character for me!

What does Elboron remember of the times in AGoC? Do the children ever learn of their parents' marital troubles (or does clever Morwen figure them out)?

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 [8] Reviewer:Agape Date:May 13, 2008 3:53 PM
Really loved this tale. Found it at MEFA. I will write a review there, but I wanted to say how much I enjoyed it. Even being a Denethor fanatic, it was very profound and well written. My heart cried out for Denethor, but I could accept what happened. I loved Faramir's gentle teaching of Elboron and Elboron's passing along such teaching.

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