tehta: (stained glass tree)
[personal profile] tehta
So, today I visited the ruined castle of Durnstein with a (non-fandom, actually all-around-luddite) friend.

I don't know how many people know this, but Durnstein is where Richard Lionheart was imprisoned for a while. And there is an (improbable*) legend saying that he was released from obscure captivity only after he was found by his minstrel Blondel, who happened to be outside the castle singing a popular song when a familiar, royal voice picked up the tune. A further version of the legend suggests that Blondel had been actively searching for him, visiting various likely castles and playing his favourite songs under each.

The thing is, the castle of Durnstein stands 150m above its town, up a rather steep road -- and there are no helpful Eagles in sight. So my friend, who dislikes hiking, and (as mentioned) is barely aware of the internet, told me,

"You know, I have a theory. Blondel obviously had a HUGE crush on Richard."

...so there you go, Fingon/Maedhros shippers. Your ship follows a slash trope that is blatantly obvious even to innocents.

* Improbable, because EVERYONE knew where Richard was, anyway; they were just slow to pay his ransom. Allegedly, he even wrote a rather passive-agressive song about how his friends were letting him rot there. So now I am surprised never to have encountered such a song in Maedhros fics...

Date: 2013-07-14 02:08 am (UTC)
moetushie: Beaton cartoon - a sexy revolution. (elves → tragic gay elves)
From: [personal profile] moetushie

Date: 2013-07-14 03:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lenine2.livejournal.com
I have a lot of really profound, heavy-duty comments to make about this. Ones that would blow your mind. But I had to get up at 4:30 AM and my brain is a blob of mush the size of my fist, and I actually sat on my horse's neck today, and all I can say is "Go, Blondell!'

Date: 2013-07-14 08:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tehta.livejournal.com
Hey, but how big is your fist?

Date: 2013-07-14 06:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wulfila.livejournal.com
I remember that legend from my visit to Dürnstein (13 years ago, I believe - in any case, I have to admit, I did not go up to the ruin, because it was a sweltering day during a particularly hot summer, and spending any amount of time on a path between vineyards mostly devoid of shadow seemed very unattractive). Fun fact: The same story is told about Trifels, the castle in Germany where Richard ended up after Dürnstein, so for any Richard/Blondel shippers, there is a real chance of writing a multipart epic full of obviously failed rescues here!

(As for the trope itself, I suspect it is so obvious because there are tons of old stories about people rescuing their beloved or at least future love interest - not only the standard knight-and-damsel-in-distress narrative, but also those many Fidelio-style "wife rescues husband" tales. So love rather than mere friendship or duty being used as a rescue motive is culturally familiar, and suspecting its presence in a new tale easily happens).

Date: 2013-07-14 08:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tehta.livejournal.com
I know -- I thought that story was about Trifels only, but the amount of Blondel-themed hotels and gift shops quickly made the local claim to the legend clear. (Another thing it made clear is that Blondel wore very tight leggings, and probably lipstick.)

As for the trope, true! But isn't there a "rescuing one's relatives" trope, too? I seem to remember reading several stories where siblings rescue each other. And cousins could go that way, too...

Date: 2013-07-15 05:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wulfila.livejournal.com
True! (There is also a "loyal retainer" trope, I guess).

OT: I felt reminded of your Greek elves when I came across this, because it obviously shows Salgant (among others).

Date: 2013-07-14 11:48 am (UTC)
hhimring: (Default)
From: [personal profile] hhimring
Of course your luddite friend isn't the first one to come up with that theory (not that you implied that!) and it's not just on the internet that it's been aired (although I haven't read the Norah Lofts book that the Wikipedia article cites). I liked the Gore Vidal novel about Blondel--but do you know I actually can't remember whether Vidal explicitly refers to the theory or not?

I guess the most appropriate moment for Maedhros to compose a passive-aggressive song would be impromptu after Fingolfin & Co. failed to hear his cries for help--although he would have had enough time to compose a whole passive-agressive song cycle up there... But I believe Richard's quarters were slightly more comfortable.

Date: 2013-07-14 06:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] clotho123.livejournal.com
Come to think of it 'Maedhros didn't blame the rest of his family for not doing anything about rescuing him sooner' is a fanon ripe for inverting

My only other comment is that Tolkien clearly had a thing for the Blondel story. How many versions did he write?

Date: 2013-07-14 08:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tehta.livejournal.com
If that song were actually in English, and not in an old French dialect, I would totally filk it.

Date: 2013-07-14 10:37 pm (UTC)
hhimring: (Default)
From: [personal profile] hhimring
True--he uses it for Sam and Frodo in Cirith Ungol as well, doesn't he?

Date: 2013-07-15 06:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] clotho123.livejournal.com
Yep. And the sequel to Farmer Giles of Ham would have included a comic version if he'd ever got beyond a few notes. I'm sorry that wasn't written

Date: 2013-07-16 07:15 am (UTC)
hhimring: (Default)
From: [personal profile] hhimring
Oh yes, I agree, I would have loved a sequel to Giles of Ham!

Date: 2013-07-14 08:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tehta.livejournal.com
I have never read anything about Blondel as such, though I am at least aware of the way *Richard's* sexuality has been debated... But then, those academics and authors will debate anyone's sexuality. It was more amusing/surprising to hear a slashy interpretation from an ordinary person.

Where the song is concerned, the question is: did Maedhros believe his brothers thought him dead, or that they knew he was alive but considered a rescue impossible -- or that they knew he was alive and were failing to mount a rescue?

Date: 2013-07-15 09:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] anna-wing.livejournal.com
After five years hanging on a mountain I doubt if he was up to thinking about anything much.

I was in Durnstein last year, for lunch. A very pretty place. I was told about the Richard connection, but we didn't notice the Blondel theme, being occupied with buying apricot jam (fabulous), apricot fruit gums (nice), apricot schnapps (strong) and apricot liqueur (sticky).

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