Reviews for Woman of the West
Ragnelle chapter 1 . 7/25/2009
Hi, I saw your request at Wendy’s forum and though I’d give it a look.

The problem with canon is not that you have made an AU and changed things, but that you don’t explain the changes and the motives. From this one chapter, it does look like you have not considered some quite relevant canon-points, either out of ignorance of canon (though I do believe you when you say you know it) or because it just don’t fit your story. That is because we don’t know what changes you have made, or why. You might have planed to reveal this later in the story, but I don’t think it is a good idea. It distracts too much, quite simply. We are forced to assume too much that we have way of knowing anything about, and so instead of just accepting the AU, we start asking questions.

Why isn’t Aragorn’s sister hidden too? Why is not Aragorn hidden, but merely given to Elrond to foster? Why would Elrond change his name unless there was some danger? And if there is danger, how is he going to avert it with Gilrean out of the loop? How would he keep Aragorn hidden if his mother is not in on it at the very least? Why would not Lothraen be in danger as well?

These are only some of the questions you raise, and if I had not known anything about you than what I see from this one chapter, I would probably think that you had not thought through the canon-issues your AU poses. Such major changes need explaining and justification if you don’t want people to think that you have just disregarded canon out of laziness or something. And for your story it is needed in the first chapter. An A/N might solve it, or you can find a way to include it in the story itself, but you need to solve the issues for us, or we will be distracted from the story itself.

As for Lothran, she could develop into a Sue – if she grows up to be the first female Ranger ever, joins the fellowship and fries nazgul with her glare while defeating a cave-troll all by herself to recue her husband Legolas…

She is not quite there.

The problem with her, as others has commented, is that she is not quite believable jet. That she is Aragorn’s sister works against her, as does her tom-boy rebelliousness, but the biggest problem, as others has said, is that we can’t determine her age from her behaviour. To me she also comes across as a bit too modern for a Dunedain. As a hobbit-lass I would have less problem in believing in her (the general attitude that is) as the hobbits are more modern that the rest of ME.

With this, I would say that you need to have it clear in your mind what the story you want to tell is, and why. If the difficulties of raising a tomboy daughter are the crux of your story, then maybe Aragorn’s sister is not the right character for you to use. It brings in so many issues that are irrelevant to the story, that it will distract form what you try to do.

If telling the story of Aragorn’s sister is your main interest, then I would suggest making her a little less of a tomboy, and consider if splitting the family will make more problems for you (in the sense of having to figure out the changes in canon and make it work) than it is worth.

Your writing itself is good enough. If this had been the beginning of an original story, I would not have had the same questions and problems. I would perhaps think the culture as more modern that how I imagine ME, and I would have wondered that the boy was sent to foster at the age of two; five was a more usual age for that, but these would be very minor things.

So, the question for me is; what is the story you want to tell, and is a LorT-fanfiction the best media for that story?
Clodia chapter 1 . 7/25/2009
Hello!

I can't comment on the linguistic points, because my knowledge of the various Elvish languages is limited to knowing who to ask about them. Your canon is AU, of course, but since you stated that in the summary I think it's rather unfair for anyone to complain about it. Maybe a note somewhere to make it clearer that you know *how* it diverges from canon might help?

Anyway, about Lothraen. I buy her as a moderately spoilt brat. Of course she hits a decent number of Sue-points (I expect she picks up quite a lot just from being Aragorn's elder sister, and quite a lot more for the gender aspects here) but frankly I've never been totally convinced by those tests: a mechanical application to root out Sueishness is going to play merry havoc with your average bratty adolescent, and this is what you're writing here. (Unless you're not, of course, in which case you actually may want to rethink a bit.) Assuming that the child is intelligent, strong-willed and profoundly bored, I think her behaviour is reasonably plausible, although I'm inclined to agree that you should possibly scale down the deer's size a bit.

I would agree with Wendy that specifying an age might help, but I'm not sure that all children would necessarily be in pieces after a trip into the woods. The girl is presumably used to the area; she's been brought up very differently to most of us in the modern world; etc etc. And (this may just be my latent feminist speaking) I can't help but feel that this complaint would not be very loudly made if you were dealing with an adolescent boy. Why should Lothraen not be equally capable?

In any case, the story is well written and I did like the lack of sentimentality in the women's approach to child-rearing. I hope this is somehow useful. Thank you!
AC2 chapter 1 . 7/25/2009
It's quite good, actually. The characters are vivid and the culture is well-rendered. For the most part, the story is believable, and AU or not, it does work. Until we meet Lothraen.

Well she's not terribly Sue-ish but the girl's behaviour isn't completely natural. I think it's because you haven't specified an age for her, so we don't know if she's nine or fourteen. After the age of eight, she would want to cover up down there. At nine, if she's gone into the woods by herself, she wouldn't get all self-sufficient, she'd return home after a couple of hours, or get very frightened when it got dark. It's unlikely that she would be all triumphant and bragging, she'd be sorry and weeping. As for the deer, it would have to be a fawn to be believable. A bigger deer would be able to escape. I'd like to see Lothraen's first kill from her point of view - you denied us that, so we only got "before" and "after." What's going on in that kid's head?

As an AU, it works, but the loss of his mother will haunt Aragorn, and it'll affect him in other ways than bed-wetting. He may become resentful later on. What's going on there? Tell us about the impact of Gilraen going there and leaving again, and what this does to both mother and son. Gilraen should be missing her child. If not, why not?

My own rule for people (or things) behaving unexpectedly is explain, explain, explain. You can have anyone doing anything if you explain it well enough. Culturally, mothers were expected to be with their children, though there are precedents for fostering young children when both parents were absent. Basically, you need to give us as good a reason as possible for Gilraen to have left one of her children in Rivendell while he was still small.

The psychology of this needs to be well-woven to make it work, otherwise you're messing with canon and will find yourself getting painted into a corner. To save yourself a headache, you might consider renaming Gilraen, and inventing a relative to play with instead. Then you can do pretty much what you like. The reason it's worth reading at all, flaws or not, is because it's well-written and flows well.

I don't completely agree with Fifi, but I can see where she's coming from and respect what she says. Her suggestions for the name endings sound right, so you might consider going with them. Overall, I think you should continue this, but consider what we've said and see if you can use the suggestions we have made. It's your story, so if you disagree, fair enough. Happy writing!
dreamingfifi chapter 1 . 7/23/2009
Hi! I’m your friendly neighborhood linguist. Normally I give reviews focusing on the linguistic side of writing, but occasionally I dabble in the prose aspect of fanfiction.

Before we get into the review, I'm going to give you a tip about links. The URL's will have (parentheses) around the “.” so this website won't know they're links and automatically delete them. So, before you try to use the links, remove the parentheses. If the links still don't work, PM me.

Your summary brought up a lot of questions about what you know about Aragorn's childhood.

If Aragorn had an older sister, she would have traveled with her mother and Aragorn to live in Rivendell. They went to Rivendell not for some sort of secret training, but for safety, to hide Aragorn from the enemy. Gilraen lived out her life in Rivendell, dying a few years before the Fellowship departed. So, I'm not certain I understand the premise of this story.

Now the fun part! Names. The nicknames you gave them don't really work. Instead of the English diminutive -y, I'd use the Sindarin -eg/-ig.

Lothy-Lotheg

Larry-Laereg

Laerethril should be "Laerlethril", you were missing a crucial L!

The time skips are quite confusing. All of a sudden we go from cheerful child to a whiny angst machine of a teenager. Maybe you should develop the character and the story a bit more before jumping into the future.

And lastly, please look at this website. It WILL benefit you in the end. It looks like you have an active imagination, put it to work! [ . ] Here's another one: [ . ]

Galu a teithad vain! (Good fortune and fair writing!)

dreamingfifi
Purple Gal chapter 1 . 7/22/2009
Wow interesting thought! Can't wait for her to meet Aragorn :D

Looking forward to you next update, please post soon!