tehta: (stained glass tree)
[personal profile] tehta
Old-ish meme stolen from [livejournal.com profile] moetushie.

Pick any passage of 500 words or less from any story I've written, and comment to this post with that selection. I will then give you the equivalent of a DVD commentary on that snippet: what I was thinking when I wrote it, why I wrote it in the first place, what's going on in the character's heads, why I chose certain words, what this moment means in the context of the rest of the fic, lots of awful puns, and anything else that you’d expect to find on a DVD commentary track.

Because you can't spell meme without saying (it's all about) ME twice.

I will not be sad if nobody bites. Also, 500 words is A LOT. But the awesome thing here is that, even though so many of my stories are OLD, I still have many of my (numerous) drafts! So I can remember a lot of what I went through when writing.

Date: 2013-06-20 02:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lenine2.livejournal.com
How do I count words? I want to submit either the first 500 words of Beleg's Doom, or the first 500 words of Chapter One of F&F, because you wrote those before I knew you. Is that allowed?

Date: 2013-06-20 11:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tehta.livejournal.com
You are getting the DOOOOOM, as I just did some G/E for Wulfila. But I am not sure I can say as much about this as about E/G, since this is before I started re-editing so violently.

As I wander through the Halls of Mandos, I have nothing but my memories to amuse me. For the most part, my good and virtuous life has been dull -- a long series of forest patrols that now seems almost as endless as these Halls. So, I find myself dwelling on the only tale that stands out: the tale of my Doom.

The interesting thing about this fic is that it’s a favourite among my readers, but my early-days beta claimed it was not as well written as my other stuff. She particularly disliked this paragraph, and said:

it feels to me like the beginning of a high school writer's craft course assignment.

To be fair, I did rewrite it a little after that comment was made. It used to contain a list of the boring elements of Beleg’s life -- thousands of forest patrols, thousands of arrows fired, and thousands of... something else, and she was really against repetition as a rhetorical device, so I removed it.

It all had to do with the strange race of Men.

I believe I speak for most of the people of Doriath when I say that the first Man any of us ever paid any real attention to was one Beren, son of Barahir. Not that we did not ignore even Beren, at first: after all, he was just another victim of Luthien's charms, nothing out of the ordinary. Half the creatures in the forest were obsessed with her at the time, including the trees.


I do not much like this running joke with the trees. Even though it was probably quite true, of Luthien. I do like the way Beleg explains things, though. He’s really trying to make sure we have all the background info.

Now, I was not one of those creatures, for reasons that will soon become clear.

I guess this statement may be a little too self-aware for Beleg.

This might be why Thingol considered me one of his most trusted warriors: for Thingol, quite naturally, disapproved of all those creatures making eyes at -- or dropping leaves on -- his daughter. Not that all the creatures were aware of his displeasure, since, curiously enough, he considered yelling at plants below his royal dignity. Still, Beren was animal rather than plant, and so Thingol felt quite free to express himself forcefully. When we, the people of Doriath, heard our King shouting at the mortal, we were not surprised.

Again, I find the jokes forced, but I like the voice.

We were, however, slightly shocked when Beren took the King's suggestion so deeply to heart. But then, I suppose that he could not have known that sarcastic comments about the Silmarils were one of Thingol's little habits. I can still hear him. "Sure, Beleg, you can have a better sword. I'll give it to you just as soon as you bring me, in your hand, a Silmaril!" "Sure, Mablung, I'll pass you the salt -- if you pass me a Silmaril from Morgoth's crown!"

This is one joke I still enjoy, as Thingol’s request was so extreme it seems very plausible that it was just an exaggerated figure of speech Beren misinterpreted. I mean, it even paints Thingol in a better light, if he did not MEAN to send Beren to his doom.

When in a good mood, he'd even try to say it in a Noldorin accent, and call it his Feanor impersonation. And then Saeros would stand there cringing at all the esses for some incomprehensible scholarly reason.

Ok, I like this too, and so do reviewers. I really like putting in little asides for the more attentive fan. (Note also the bit above, about Beleg asking Thingol for a new sword. Foreshadowing!)

Date: 2013-06-20 11:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tehta.livejournal.com
Really, it was all rather odd and embarrassing.

At any rate, Beren astounded us all by actually setting out to find a piece of Feanor's accursed jewellery. Then Luthien astounded us all even more by supporting his decision and claiming to love him, and a melancholy wind swept through the trees. As the strange matter was discussed throughout Doriath, I first heard the whispers that were the first harbingers of my Doom:


Augh, non-rhetorical repetition of “first”! Fortunately, “first harbringers” is redundant, anyway. I must change it over at AO3. (I do rewrite my stuff whenever it bugs me.)

"I suppose it is really true, then, what they say about male Men."
Now, I had, by that time, heard quite a statements about male Men -- that they were squat, and hairy, and that their lives were nasty, brutish, and short -- but none of these things seemed complimentary enough to fit the situation.


I don’t know, “hairy” might not be so bad. If Elves fetishized hair, why not body hair?

You see, I was very naive back then. It's only to be expected: after all, the deeds (and organs) of lust are seldom discussed among my people, even within the bounds of marriage.

And here it is: a paraphrase of the LaCE quote that inspired the whole fic...

Date: 2013-06-21 01:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lenine2.livejournal.com
When in a good mood, he'd even try to say it in a Noldorin accent, and call it his Feanor impersonation. And then Saeros would stand there cringing at all the esses for some incomprehensible scholarly reason.

This delighted me. I was totally new to the concept of fan fiction, and up until this, the only exposure I had to other "Shibboleth" readers were in David Salo's Yahoo group.

I absolutely adore your clueless Beleg.

Date: 2013-06-20 05:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wulfila.livejournal.com
All right, then I would like to read the DVD commentary for this section of "Strange Fortunes" (because I like it very much):

They left the command centre in silence. Once in the woods, they exchanged stories, sparing no detail. Ecthelion sounded eerily calm, considering the subject matter: he clearly felt the need to compensate for his earlier show of emotion. His careful walk reminded Glorfindel of convalescing soldiers, and made him think. Though Ecthelion's thought processes still confused him, he decided to be particularly kind to him in the future, as if he really were recovering from a deep wound.

"Look, Ecthelion," he said. "I am very sorry that you went through that. I cannot imagine what it must have felt like to believe I was betrothed to Idril. Or," he could not help adding, "how you could have thought such a thing possible. Tell me, has all that has passed between us over the past eighty-some years left no impression on you?"

"Of course it has," said Ecthelion in his neutral tone, eyes on the path ahead. "I just cannot help suspecting that... Consider the men participating in these Games. Some of them, those who were born in the city, have never experienced battle; no doubt they think this make-believe is close to the real thing, and not just a ridiculous training exercise. So, yes, I cannot help suspecting it could be the same for... for us."

"You underestimate the young soldiers. They know the Games are far from reality. We did not think our training in Valinor was real, did we? When we listened to old battle-tales, they still seemed strange and exotic. We did not fully understand them until we reached Middle-earth. Our men have heard plenty of similar stories. They can tell the difference."

"Perhaps, but we—"

"We have heard plenty of love ballads. Do they sound exotic and strange to you? Or do they sound trite, and yet oddly understandable and compelling, so that sometimes they get stuck in your head for hours on end?"

"That happens to you, too?" Ecthelion glanced at Glorfindel, finally regaining some animation. "I swear, if I ever meet the composer of that hair of sunshine song, I will not be responsible for my actions. But wait—what are you claiming here, exactly? That a tendency to find meaning in trite songs provides one with an understanding of what marriage is like? That is ridiculous."

"This whole conversation is ridiculous. But if you prefer, I will tell you instead that I can understand how my men feel when they express a profound irritation with their spouses."

Date: 2013-06-20 11:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tehta.livejournal.com
That section, hmm?
Well, that section has two aims: to set up the “crippled Orc” joke, and to give this semi-functional couple a chance to work on their issues. Without being too explicitly emotional, of course. (Not that the presence of emotion is really the big question here, commitment and trust are, so a shower of “I love you”s would not necessarily resolve anything.)

Also, I have looked at earlier versions of this scene, and it really only came together in the final drafts. The earlier versions were longer and meandered a lot more, to no good purpose. E.g. they began with G saying he wants a strange fate and not marriage (which is a bit abrupt when nobody has mentioned any form of commitment), and then E’s army metaphor went on and on, and near the end he would say that perhaps he should make Miriel’s choice to free G. This is too much even for him! Also, he occasionally looked upset. I prefer his dazed/controlled behaviour here.

Oh, and there was a sex scene in the tent at one point, which was so wrong for the flow of the story! In a way it’s cheering to read that sort of thing, since it proves that editing really works.
Onto the story itself...

Date: 2013-06-20 11:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tehta.livejournal.com
They left the command centre in silence. Once in the woods, they exchanged stories, sparing no detail. Ecthelion sounded eerily calm, considering the subject matter: he clearly felt the need to compensate for his earlier show of emotion. His careful walk reminded Glorfindel of convalescing soldiers, and made him think. Though Ecthelion's thought processes still confused him, he decided to be particularly kind to him in the future, as if he really were recovering from a deep wound.

So here we find what I consider one depressing theme of my stories: that true understanding between people is not possible, even when (as here) there is affection and goodwill and honesty, because we all so different. So G knows E enough to realize he has been in real pain, but he will never understand why E’s mind took him on the path it did. Sigh...

"Look, Ecthelion," he said. "I am very sorry that you went through that. I cannot imagine what it must have felt like to believe I was betrothed to Idril. Or," he could not help adding, "how you could have thought such a thing possible. Tell me, has all that has passed between us over the past eighty-some years left no impression on you?"

After the Ecthelion chapter came out I got a couple of comments about how E’s conclusions are horribly insulting to G (to his integrity etc.) Fortunately, G himself is only a little insulted.

"Of course it has," said Ecthelion in his neutral tone, eyes on the path ahead.

This is E being deeply emotional by concealing emotion. Also, below, he is being very personal by hiding the personal content of his question behind a metaphor. He does that a lot. E.g., with that vase.

"I just cannot help suspecting that... Consider the men participating in these Games. Some of them, those who were born in the city, have never experienced battle; no doubt they think this make-believe is close to the real thing, and not just a ridiculous training exercise. So, yes, I cannot help suspecting it could be the same for... for us."

"You underestimate the young soldiers. They know the Games are far from reality. We did not think our training in Valinor was real, did we? When we listened to old battle-tales, they still seemed strange and exotic. We did not fully understand them until we reached Middle-earth. Our men have heard plenty of similar stories. They can tell the difference."

"Perhaps, but we—"


I have no idea what E intended to say here. In earlier drafts he said, “Perhaps, and yet--”

"We have heard plenty of love ballads. Do they sound exotic and strange to you? Or do they sound trite, and yet oddly understandable and compelling, so that sometimes they get stuck in your head for hours on end?"

"That happens to you, too?" Ecthelion glanced at Glorfindel, finally regaining some animation. "I swear, if I ever meet the composer of that hair of sunshine song, I will not be responsible for my actions.


Naming a specific song was a late addition, and I think it really adds to E’s statement -- makes it more believable, as specific examples often do. (Plus, I got to reuse it in the next chapter.) But I think this whole little exchange is very useful, as it’s a “me too!” moment that makes them feel a little closer.

But wait—what are you claiming here, exactly? That a tendency to find meaning in trite songs provides one with an understanding of what marriage is like? That is ridiculous."

...and I guess the new closeness lets E drop his silly metaphor, and talk plainly for once.

"This whole conversation is ridiculous. But if you prefer, I will tell you instead that I can understand how my men feel when they express a profound irritation with their spouses."

So romantic.... *swoons*.

Date: 2013-06-21 05:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wulfila.livejournal.com
So romantic.... *swoons*.

Actually, the fact that I do find that statement somewhat romantic indeed was a huge part of why that scene stayed with me (after all, if you have reached the point of being very irritated with someone while not calling the relationship itself into question, that does say something).

In any case, thank you for the thorough analysis and the comparison to earlier drafts (I think it is especially interesting how you changed Ecthelion's showing of some emotions to his current state, and it is also fascinating how much attention you pay to the correct pacing of things).

Date: 2013-06-22 12:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tehta.livejournal.com
Well, yes, or course it's romantic. It's G trying to convince E of something by using an argument E is unlikely to dismiss out of hand: one that is at least slightly critical of E. It shows that he knows him well. Plus, I don't think it's possible to feel that sort of irritation unless one is intimate with a person.

Pacing kills me because I cannot build it according to a recipe, or even set of logical principles: I just have to try a variety of combinations, and see which ones seem to work. For me, at least. I am not sure whether others would share my taste.

Date: 2013-06-20 05:36 pm (UTC)
moetushie: Beaton cartoon - a sexy revolution. (Default)
From: [personal profile] moetushie
The last 500 words of 'Gathering the Pieces'?

Date: 2013-06-21 12:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tehta.livejournal.com
Have the last 436 words, because they start at a logical cutoff point.

I guess one overall thing to say about this fic is that I chose a rather spartan writing style to convey the, er, desolate state of Maedhros’ heart and soul, and I chose this very close (but not very intimate) third person (instead of, e.g. first) because Maedhros thinks of himself in the third person at this moment. Except of course neither choice was deliberate: I tried them, and saw that they work.


Maedhros is a king now. At least, he has followers who call him such, and a crown.

I forgot how clearly this Maedhros sees things. I guess the distractions that plague the rest of us (out of vanity, pride, sentiment...) are no longer relevant to him at all -- they are part of what he lost. Which is tragic but useful.

He also has an uncle who disputes his claim, and a cousin-friend who refuses to discuss the subject -- although his eyes say, "I am glad you are well enough to make trouble."

Yes, he sees things clearly... but I suppos reading Fingon was never really hard.


Maedhros twirls his crown around in his hand.

Treating it with the respect he accords it.

He remembers his father. Mostly, he remembers looking up at him: in a forge, at the court in Tirion, at the prow of a ship. The memories amuse him, for he was taller than his father even before the Enemy raised him so high.

Aside from his clarity (“oh I used to idolize my father unduly”), another characteristic of this Maedhros is making rather tasteless jokes about his captivity. I suspect he makes them in public, and then has to take a moment to realize why everyone is uncomfortable.

Now he thinks, Feanor: he played the game quite well, but he had one weakness, a tendency to let important pieces slip away. Those burnt ships, lost for ever, and the Fingolfinian host.

Again, I think M makes a good point. Feanor had charisma, but he was no strategist.

And young Maedhros was a hot-headed idiot, but he did one thing right: he opposed his idolized father the one time it mattered. He should have done more, but what he did has won him some trust.

And here he REALLY thinks about his younger self in the third person, and sees an emotional decision in a purely utalitarian light. Both behaviours are supposed to imply his traumatized state.

Maedhros will build on that trust, and fix his father's mistake. He will reclaim the lost army. It will be a reluctant piece, to be played only in emergencies, but he knows those emergencies will come.

Fingolfin is the key. Fingolfin needs a crown, and aid offered without pride. What a coincidence: Maedhros has a crown, and aid to offer. As to the pride, he will see.

He gathers his brothers, and explains that being king is not one of the objectives of the game, that the responsibility would only divert him from his true purpose. They are predictable as ever. What about pride, they say. He replies that being stripped of pride does not kill a son of Feanor. His words fall from his height with a clang, heavy with the weight of experience. His brothers have no words to outweigh them.


This is what I meant about uncomfortable jokes, or, in this case, uncomfortable statements that silence argument.

Incidentally, I am not 100% happy with the way the “pride” in this paragraph ties in with the end of the previous one.

Maedhros does not need a crown to lead his own kin.

Fingolfin gets what he wants, and it is far more than he expects. The ceremony is simple and moving, like all of Maglor's compositions. Maedhros will have his army when he needs it.


Ha, I forgot this implication that he got Maglor to write the crowning ceremony! I have a feeling they did not exactly have one, before this. Feanor did not think he needed to make any official gesture, and Maedhros did not need to.

Date: 2013-06-21 12:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tehta.livejournal.com
Back in his room, Maedhros pulls out a map and lays it flat, horizontal, on the table. He takes an eagle's-eye view of Arda. His finger moves, taps three times, rests: the Thangorodrim. It still amuses him to find himself so far above it. Is it too morbid to say, "I have transcended it?"

Thangorodrim, three times. Did you see what I did there?
Also, there is the bit about an eagle’s eye view, which I like, and the whole “transcended” “joke”, which I find a bit belaboured.

He lifts his hand, taps again. Himring. Maedhros likes hills. He leans in towards the game-board. He has many pieces to place.

Ok, so now I have a confession to make: I am really not crazy about how I force the game-playing metaphor on the reader in this fic. Maybe fewer mentions would be more? I do still really like the way M’s mind works, though.

Date: 2013-06-21 04:00 am (UTC)
moetushie: Beaton cartoon - a sexy revolution. (Default)
From: [personal profile] moetushie
Three times. Three Silmarils, three kinslayings?

Yesssss. I adore this, it's one of the first Maedhros-centric fic I read when I came into this fandom and it had a big impact on me/my interpretation of the character. I do like how distant he is, from his perch of massive, numbing trauma, so to say. Y

I like the comment about Fingon a lot. He isn't that hard to read, no, but I like him anyway. *pets*

Oh man, the part about uncomfortable jokes though. I dig it.


Date: 2013-06-21 02:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] anna-wing.livejournal.com
Ha, I was going to choose "Gathering The Pieces" too, and then someone beat me to it. Thanks for the analysis!

Date: 2013-06-21 10:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] anna-wing.livejournal.com
It would also be nice if you wrote more of "Legends".

Date: 2013-06-22 12:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tehta.livejournal.com
It would be nice if I wrote more of ANYTHING.

I have tried poking at Legends, so I guess it's more advanced than it was before my long writing hiatus. It's slow going, though.

Flawed and Fair

Date: 2013-07-01 11:22 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
You're probably still not doing this... but that bit in Flawed and Fair where Ecthelion believes that he is in a dream and DOES STUFF to Glorfindel. What was going on in Glorfindel's head? I'd put in the words, but I'm on my iPod.

Re: Flawed and Fair

Date: 2013-07-02 07:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tehta.livejournal.com
Argh, not that scene! I still worry that it does not work at all.

Anyway, I suppose that G’s general response is arousal mingled with surprise. He is quite aware of his own feelings, but, in spite of his general optimism, he does not expect any reciprocation from E.

At the start, he is a bit worried about E, but is also enjoying his proximity. And probably letting himself fantasize that this is a more normal situation for them, and that E returns his affections.

In spite of the light, Ecthelion felt chilled, and very grateful for the body heat at his back. His chest was cold, though. He turned around.

"You are awake." Glorfindel's smile was the one Ecthelion had learned to associate with Aredhel, the one tinged with sadness. In the dream it was, of course, meant for Ecthelion and Ecthelion only. But Glorfindel was pulling away now, even as Ecthelion responded to his embrace.

"You must drink something," said Glorfindel.


G is shocked to feel E actively embracing him, just like in his fantasies. This is WEIRD. But at least E’s conscious. Time to be practical! And act normal!

Maddening dream Glorfindel with his ridiculous games. Was this some reference to the poison Ecthelion had consumed? Glorfindel's thigh, neatly bandaged just where the real wound had been, alluded to it already. Or was it one of those clumsy dream innuendoes? Ecthelion looked at the area above the bandage with anticipation, waiting for Glorfindel to strip, but his hopes were dashed when he was handed a flask instead. He took a sip. The cool liquid made him shudder even though, as he now realized, he was dressed warmly, and wrapped in two cloaks.

G is conflicted. On the one hand, E seems to be looking particularly attractive. Less controlled than usual, a bit disheveled, with a certain light in his eyes... On the other hand, however, this is proof that he is not well, which is cause for concern.

"Are you cold still?" Glorfindel touched his hand. "You were near frozen when we brought you here—we suspected that it was an effect of the paralyzing poison, but it was rather worrying. That is why I... why I am here with you. We used to do that during the Crossing, share the heat of our bodies."

"Yes, I remember huddling together for warmth." Ecthelion set the empty flask aside. "Never with you, though; I hardly knew you then. But we know each other now." He moved towards Glorfindel and slid his arms around him again. Glorfindel tensed for a moment, then reciprocated. Ecthelion felt warmer at once.


Okay, this intimacy seems extremely weird to G, but E is doing it out of his own free will, and he is so attractive and so obviously cold, and what is G supposed to do, push him away? Anyway, it should be fine as long as G does not get too excited. It’s actually a very nice moment. Maybe they are closer friends than G imagined.

Re: Flawed and Fair

Date: 2013-07-02 07:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tehta.livejournal.com
"I remember visiting your camp to listen to you sing." Glorfindel spoke into Ecthelion's hair. "I know now that you sounded terrible by your current standards, but your singing cheered me. It was inspiring just to know that some among us were still willing to devote energy to something other than mere survival. I remember thinking about how cold you looked... and...

G decides he might have let himself get too caught up in the moment, and started over-sharing.

Of course, we were all cold, back then."

The real Glorfindel never babbled like this. Anyway, talk of those miserable days on the Ice sounded very strange, coming from someone so warm, so obviously healthy, so... well-built. Ecthelion ran a hand across Glorfindel's back. The muscles under his fingers were too tight to be real. Glorfindel seemed to be made of sun-warmed metal, hard and immobile.


OK, so E is now pressed up against G, and caressing him. If G stopped to think about it, he would realize that such behaviour is not very platonic, but as it is he is too busy keeping still and trying to keep his body from responding.

"You do not feel cold now," said Ecthelion. His mouth was at Glorfindel's neck, lips moving against hot skin.

Now E is practically kissing G’s neck. Well, clearly he is not doing it intentionally, but still, those are his lips on G’s neck. This is something G would never, ever have thought possible. It’s amazing. Wrong, but amazing.

He pulled in closer. The feel of the firm body pressed against his own made his head spin with excitement, in spite of his suspicion that, in reality, he was simply sleeping on hard ground again. At least it was a particularly fortuitously chosen piece of ground, with largeish rocks in all the anatomically appropriate places.

G’s self-control has failed him.

"Ecthelion." Glorfindel jerked away. "If you are still cold, we should probably go outside, where you can sit by the fire."

Ecthelion did not feel up to facing the piles of singing spider corpses the outer dreamland would probably contain. "I like it here," he said.

"Well, I need to go outside, at any rate." Glorfindel sat up.


OK, E is being really weird now, but G has only one priority: to regain control before E notices! After all, E is likely to freak out and detest him forever, right?

Clearly, this dream Glorfindel was more temperamental than usual. But then, he was also more impressively built than usual: those anatomically suggestive rocks had implied it, and now, as Ecthelion studied Glorfindel's breeches, he found visual confirmation—and felt himself grow almost equally impressive in turn. He realized then that, if he let Glorfindel leave, this dream was going to prove even more painfully frustrating than the last one. Well, he would not let that happen, would not play any more silly counting games. It was his own dream, and he could be as direct as he liked. Ecthelion looked Glorfindel straight in the eye, eyebrows raised.

"You cannot deal with that outside." He flicked his gaze downward.


Oh no, E HAS noticed!

"Let me help you in here."

It was absolutely amazing that someone who would decapitate Orcs without a second's thought could still turn red for no good reason. Glorfindel shook his head mutely, hair swaying against his flushed cheeks, and shrunk back against the shelter wall.


G is in shock. Obviously, the idea is very enticing, but E himself cannot possibly want it, even if he is being all commanding and looking especially hot. None of this makes sense.

"You want me to." Ecthelion rose up on his elbow, ignoring a strange twinge of pain.

"You know, then." Glorfindel looked away. One strand of hair had fallen across his half-open lips; it trembled slightly as he shuddered. "I admit that I do want it, but—"

Ecthelion silenced him by touching the bandage, then sliding his hand upwards. "Lie back down," he said.

Their eyes met again.


Between the touch and the eye contact, G stands no chance. He goes along with things until their inevitable conclusion, even if he sees no evidence that E was into the situation. So, he feels ashamed of his loss of control, and worried that things between them are ruined forever, and resentful of E for being so confusing and wrong.

Chapter Four: F & F

Date: 2013-07-09 06:20 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Okay, you've probably stopped doing this, but.......:
"Glorfindel," he said. "I just wanted you to know that I find Aredhel's recent attentions... puzzling. I mean, I have done nothing to encourage them, and I am not interested in her."

"I did not think you were." Glorfindel's hands moved down his back, pressing so lightly that the pain was easy to ignore. "But why do you want me to know this, exactly?"

"Well, I am quite aware of your... feelings." The pressure ceased; Ecthelion was almost sure that Glorfindel had paused in mid-breath. He realized that bringing up his friend's unrequited passion was inconsiderate, but it was too late to stop. "I mean, I know that you have some interest in the lady, and I just wanted you to know that I—"

Glorfindel laughed, a little oddly. "You believe that I am interested in her? Valar, but that is too strange. I mean, Finwe's Grandchild... I would sooner court a Balrog." He exhaled, and his hands resumed their motions. "No, wait, that was discourteous. Would it be better to say that I believe Aredhel would sooner court a Balrog? She is always saying that you cannot have true passion without irritation."

Ecthelion felt dizzy. His mental landscape was shifting confusingly, and then there were the hands on his back. "But the way you have been acting: paying her so much attention, speaking to her of love..."

"Well, I do know her quite well, and what I know evokes my compassion. She has ambition, but no direction. She is proud, and all the more lonely for her pride, because she views her brother's vassals as her inferiors; so, she has no-one to love except an overprotective older brother who will not let her seek the excitement she craves, and a niece who is happy with the sort of life that bores her."

Ecthelion's back tingled as the balm began to work. He shivered. "You do sound fond of her."

"I understand her, but... Ecthelion, she is risking all our lives for a frivolous reason, traveling to visit a cousin she vaguely likes in the hope that time has intensified her feelings. It is, of course, quite possible that recent historical events have made a Feanorion more irritating, but I do not believe love works like that. And surely you have seen how she baits me?" Glorfindel sighed. "Truly, she has taught me that it is possible to feel irritation without passion."

The pain of the bruises was almost gone now, its memory growing as faint and ridiculous as the memory of Ecthelion's suspicions. "In that case, you have been demonstrating remarkable restraint. As I have not. I suppose that explains why she shows interest in me now; she must have noticed my irritation."

"Perhaps. More likely, it is your fighting skills." Glorfindel shifted. "And that aloof and slightly rude air of yours. A lot of people find that attractive. And your looks, of course."

"What about my looks? Do I remind her of some other cousin?"

"No, I was referring to, you know, the whole 'fairest of the Noldor' business," said Glorfindel evasively.

Ecthelion had heard that description applied to himself often enough, but this was absurd. "Come on, you know as well as I do that Pengolodh only calls me that because I always pay my share of the beer money."

"You mean that!" Glorfindel sounded almost outraged. "Do you never look at yourself in a mirror?"

"Certainly, when I need to fix my hair or my clothes. So, I am well aware that I look quite normal."

"Normal? But what about your jawline, and the way your... Never mind. If you do not believe me, ask someone else. Ask Aredhel herself. At any rate, I think I am done here." Glorfindel's hands came to rest on Ecthelion's shoulders. "You know, there is one thing I have been meaning to ask you—do you do any particular exercises for your lower back?"
~~~
I think that was more than 500 words. Just do the last 500.

~ L

Re: Chapter Four: F & F

Date: 2013-07-10 12:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tehta.livejournal.com
I am always happy to go on and on and on about G&E. Also, I actually like this scene! I think the two guys’ emotions are pretty clear.


Glorfindel laughed, a little oddly.

Glorfindel thinks Ecthelion’s conclusions are ironic.

"You believe that I am interested in her? Valar, but that is too strange. I mean, Finwe's Grandchild... I would sooner court a Balrog." He exhaled, and his hands resumed their motions. "No, wait, that was discourteous.

Both of Our Heroes believe in the value of courtesy. It is one of the ways in which they are well-suited. (I put in a lot of bits of evidence as to how they share values and interests, but how their personalities are complementary.)

Would it be better to say that I believe Aredhel would sooner court a Balrog? She is always saying that you cannot have true passion without irritation."

And here the author explains her meta-theories on Aredhel/Eol by sneaking them into a scene of Unresolved Sexual Tension.

Ecthelion felt dizzy. His mental landscape was shifting confusingly, and then there were the hands on his back.

It’s mostly the hands, actually.

"But the way you have been acting: paying her so much attention, speaking to her of love..."

"Well, I do know her quite well, and what I know evokes my compassion. She has ambition, but no direction. She is proud, and all the more lonely for her pride, because she views her brother's vassals as her inferiors; so, she has no-one to love except an overprotective older brother who will not let her seek the excitement she craves, and a niece who is happy with the sort of life that bores her."


Yep. Meta on Aredhel. And proof that Glorfindel is a compassionate person.

Ecthelion's back tingled as the balm began to work. He shivered. "You do sound fond of her."

"I understand her, but... Ecthelion, she is risking all our lives for a frivolous reason, traveling to visit a cousin she vaguely likes in the hope that time has intensified her feelings. It is, of course, quite possible that recent historical events have made a Feanorion more irritating, but I do not believe love works like that. And surely you have seen how she baits me?" Glorfindel sighed. "Truly, she has taught me that it is possible to feel irritation without passion."


So, actually, the relationship between love an annoyance has been a bit of a theme in this fic, hasn’t it? Except that Aredhel is one of those people that believe that there is a thin line between the two feelings, while Ecthelion, who does not agree, is half-deliberately cultivating annoyance to mask love.

Re: Chapter Four: F & F

Date: 2013-07-10 12:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tehta.livejournal.com
The pain of the bruises was almost gone now, its memory growing as faint and ridiculous as the memory of Ecthelion's suspicions. "In that case, you have been demonstrating remarkable restraint. As I have not. I suppose that explains why she shows interest in me now; she must have noticed my irritation."

"Perhaps. More likely, it is your fighting skills." Glorfindel shifted. "And that aloof and slightly rude air of yours. A lot of people find that attractive.


Yes, it is a quite the cliche. But note how Glorfindel is talking in terms of public opinion, not of his own. It amuses me!

And your looks, of course."

"What about my looks? Do I remind her of some other cousin?"

"No, I was referring to, you know, the whole 'fairest of the Noldor' business," said Glorfindel evasively.


Again, public opinion!

I really like this moment, though, because it is the first time in the story that the reader is given any indication of how attractive Ecthelion might be. Through someone else, of course: it always annoys me when authors write elaborate descriptions of the POV character when that character is not supposed to be vain. Ecthelion is both modest, and focused on other matters.

I have always wondered whether readers would be surprised to hear this description. (Although most fans would already know it, surely.)

Ecthelion had heard that description applied to himself often enough, but this was absurd. "Come on, you know as well as I do that Pengolodh only calls me that because I always pay my share of the beer money."

Well, he does always pay it, of course...

"You mean that!" Glorfindel sounded almost outraged.

Glorfindel is like a chivalrous knight defending his beloved’s beauty from the cruel knight who insulted it! He should challenge Ecthelion to a duel over, er, himself.

"Do you never look at yourself in a mirror?"

"Certainly, when I need to fix my hair or my clothes. So, I am well aware that I look quite normal."

"Normal? But what about your jawline, and the way your...


I have quite deliberately not described Ecthelion’s looks in detail, so everyone can picture whatever they think a very attractive person with a good jawline would look like.

Never mind. If you do not believe me, ask someone else. Ask Aredhel herself. At any rate, I think I am done here." Glorfindel's hands came to rest on Ecthelion's shoulders. "You know, there is one thing I have been meaning to ask you—do you do any particular exercises for your lower back?"

This is a shout out to something Ecthelion thought earlier, about Glorfindel -- and another illustration of their many similarities.

Re: Chapter Four: F & F

Date: 2013-07-10 01:32 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Thank you!

Your G & E are wonderful. I actually fell in love with them over the story. Your characterization is spot on; the characters are so REAL. And the way you write is awesome too ~ I had a grin on my face throughout almost the entirety of F & F.

In fact, there have been very few fanfictions that have touched me like yours have. I haven't determined an order of precedence yet, but you're definitely in the top five, if not the top three.

PLEASE WRITE MORE. Like, now.

- L

Re: Chapter Four: F & F

Date: 2013-07-10 10:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tehta.livejournal.com
I am totally overwhelmed! It is always so wonderful to discover that others enjoy these characters and stories, just like I do. (My secret is that I write these fics because they are what I want to read myself. E&G are my idea of protagonists I want to spend time with...)

As for writing more... It will happen, but I am a very slow writer, and the next couple of stories in my pipeline are not about these guys at all. One (for a fic exchange) even features a different version of G - very hard to write. I suppose I might past a vignette or two about Gondolin, just to blow off steam. I presume you have seen all the stuff over at Archive of Our Own? That is where the vignettes live now, and it is also where I intend to continue G&E's Second Age adventures. That is still only in the planning stage, though.

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