Reviews for Pale Faced Tark
Eavis chapter 2 . 10/27/2009
This is absolutely incredible. The word that comes to mind is Power. Raw power.

Bado go ErĂ¼,

Eavis
Emily chapter 2 . 10/23/2009
That was a brilliant story. Thank you so much! I loved it. Yes, the ending of Chapter One left me knowing that Aragorn would survive, but I didn't know HOW, which is an extremely relevant question when Aragorn is tied up in the middle of the desert without water, food, or friendship.
Mirach chapter 2 . 10/22/2009
Finally I can review this! I had no time until yesterday, and then, when I had it already written, FFN said "error, sorry..." and deleted it... But I'm stubborn, too! :D What I wanted to say is that I'm glad that you have written this appendix. Now the story feels complete, and you have dispersed my worries (almost...)

I like the paragraph where he comares the gentle northern Sun to this God of Death. Actually I like this symbolic in the whole story. And while experiencing such cruelty, he finds himself a war criminal! He regrets the deaths of innocents that he couldn't prevent... after a day of torment! That is just so Aragorn-like...

Then you are breaking my heart with "Did they not understand that he needed water?" Did they not understand? They did... but didn't care, because he is a tark... I really don't like that man in the russet robes! How can he be so cruel do deny him access to the well now? The next paragraphs are so painful!

And as I said before, you really shocked me with the idea of Aragorn having to give up the ring of Barahir! Tolkien often underlined the meaning and tradition of such heirlooms in the history of Middle-earth, that it almost feels wrong to part with it. But that is what led to the fall of Doriath... Aragorn is wiser, and knows that however great its price, it can never have the price of life. That was a very deep message of the story, and maybe the most important.

And the end... he turned South! Not North, South! What a small change, and how it changes the meaning! The God of Death didn't break him, and despite what they have done to him, he has still something to learn about these people, he wants to learn about them... Maybe it was the old man that influenced this decision at the crossroads. By the change of this one word, you created another message of the story. Awesome!
RS1 chapter 2 . 10/20/2009
And I thought chapter 1 was hard to read! Aragorn...crawling..? This left no room for imagination. Everything was there for the reader. I just cringed at every description.

I just wanted to cry at the end. My heart goes out to the old man.. I just want to hug him and say "thank you". His character is so endearing and realistic that you've got me worrying about him during the war (and he's just a character in a story!) I know Aragorn will be ok, but will he?

This old man not only showed kindess towards Aragorn but also made him see the other side of the "enemy".

This was beautiful. I am so glad you wrote this epilogue.
Gord and V chapter 2 . 10/20/2009
Beautiful, amazing from first word to last. Your details were perfect, I could see everything so easily. It was quite nice to see not everyone was so cruel to Aragorn, just a little kindness goes so far.

Peace out boy scout,

Gord and V
Alone Dreaming chapter 2 . 10/20/2009
I may have read this on the teitho website but it did not have this last bit there or I missed it or I did not finish it. Whatever happened, I found this to be excellent in the second reading. Well-written, canon, excellent characterization.

Bravo.

-A. Dreaming
Inzilbeth of the Dunedain chapter 2 . 10/20/2009
Ah I was thinking of exactly that quote as I was reading this!

I'm so glad you posted this sequel, Canafinwe. It really was too unbearable to leave Aragorn as he was. He may not yet be healed but he is in a lot better shape, thankfully.

You so drew me into this story with your brilliant writing and great descriptions and I feel you captured Aragorn's thoughts perfectly. I too feel he would have been sickened by the brutality of war and would bitterly regret it, no matter how much it might be a necessity. And it's very reasonable to think he would come across people who had been affected by that raid at Umbar. Of course he would encounter kindness too and I wonder if that affected his decision to make peace with harad once he was king. That's an interesting question about why the ring came to Elros and not Elrond. [I must post my version one day!]

Thank you so much for posting this sequel. It's a marvellous story though I won't say it's all been a pleasure as it was painful to read at times, but, as always, you've done an excellent job!
cairistiona7 chapter 2 . 10/20/2009
I'm so glad you posted this appendix... or even an epilogue, if you will. It completes the tale in a wonderfully satisfying way, and the quote at the end ties it wonderfully to canon, giving that line so much weight for the possibility that he could have earned that wisdom through this very hard experience. I felt so for him when in desperation he gave up the Ring of Barahir in exchange... and felt my own tears prick when the old man gave the ring back. Simply wonderful, and now all my questions are very happily answered... except for that all important one of "What will you write next?" :)
avidreader-new chapter 2 . 10/20/2009
very powerful and moving yet realistic. Just so you know, I like your other stories too.
Elenothar chapter 2 . 10/20/2009
Yes, now I like the old man even more! Though I wonder how much he guessed about Aragorn...
Aelaer chapter 2 . 10/19/2009
Wow! I wasn't expecting such a solution- and I love it! And I think it's wonderful that he decided to spend more time down south- great ending.

I, to say the least, want more. Thorongil, Aragorn, goodness, I'm not picky. I feel spoiled by all your wonderful stories coming so quickly. I can't wait to see what's next, whether it's a multi-chapter or a one shot.
ilysia chapter 2 . 10/19/2009
I'm quite excited that you've added this companion chapter, of sorts, to the first. While the original chapter worked very well on its own, it did leave some rather urgent questions, and this chapter, while not leaving us with a happy ending, exactly, does give a measure of closure that is always lovely to have. These two chapters create a nice juxtaposition- different men, different cultures, but the same humanity.

Something that really struck me was the "intrinsic value of rope". God, what an awesome way to get across how frugal everyone in this culture, by force of necessity, is. It's something I never would have thought of, but even such things as rope are to be valued and preserved in a land where water is the most precious and rarest commodity in life.

It's unusual and interesting to see Thorongil's thoughts on the sacking of Umbar after the fact, after he's seen just who it was that died there, besides the corsairs and the agents of the enemy. Simple people, good people. These are the casualties of war. It's not pretty, but he knew that before and he knows is even better now. He's seen the price of war in an enemy country. I can see this working to form who he is later in life and, after the war, being a reason why he 'sued for peace' with Harad, as you said.

I love, too, how you've tied in the quote from Two Towers; it's a good quote, but I'd never considered how it might be based in Aragorn's own experiences. But then, most things are based in his experiences, aren't they? Trading the Ring of Barahir for his life seems like a simple choice at first, but when you go on to list its history, from Valinor to Middle Earth before the destruction of Beleriand all down the line of hidden kings... then things become more complicated. But when weighed against a life, what is a piece of jewelry, no matter how storied? Aragorn made the right choice, the only choice, but it was far from simple. Poor man.

The old man has developed in this addition, and I find myself wondering what went through his head when he opened his door to find a dying tark leaning there. And I wonder, too, what the villagers thought. Did they know that the hated pale-face was being sheltered in the house of one of their own, or did they think he had gone off into the desert to die? It seems as though they must have surely known that Thorongil could not have simply wandered off.

'I will not forget.' These words- and his decision to carry on southward despite his brush with oblivion- bode well for the man that Thorongil is, and the king that he will become. I thank you once again for giving us this brilliant glimpse into the things that made the ever-familiar Ranger of Tolkien's tales who he is. Bravo!
RS1 chapter 1 . 10/18/2009
Read this on Teitho and didn't know it was you! Wow! I cringed reading this.

As I was reading this, I had a feeling the "tark captain" was Aragorn (with your description and all) but at the same time, I was thinking, "It can't be him... how the heck would Aragorn find himself in this predicament"...it can't be him!

I immediately liked the basket weaver. He is a person who is coping with the situations that life has dealt him...a very likable person.. A person who's seen so much that he has been numbed to everything..but yet he still felt empathy..A kind soul.

Your descriptions were very vivid and the whole story was playing right in front of me...which made reading this story so difficult.
cairistiona7 chapter 1 . 10/18/2009
It speaks well of the strength of your writing that even though Aragorn as Thorongil doesn't appear until five paragraphs have passed, I was drawn in completely into the world of this old basketweaver. His worldview is fascinating, for it is so markedly different from the familiar Northern denizens of M-e that we know and love. He is a desert-dweller, one of a people who view the sun as enemy as much as life-giving friend. And the old man himself is an enemy, for we all know of the troubles his people have given Gondor. And yet this old man immediately demands our sympathy. Enemies they may be to Gondor and the North, but can honor and kindness exist here despite that? This is the spark of hope that drives this story.

And then comes paragraph six and the dreadful realization that this man tied to the pillory is Aragorn. That you give no real reason for his arrival in such terrible straits is most compelling, for it leaves it to the imagination to answer the questions, "Why? What happened that Aragorn is so desperately poor and thirsty? How did it come to pass that our mighty Ranger and future King is forced to beg in this wayside place?" The same is true at story's end, when we read of the basketmaker's kindness and sigh with relief. We're left to wonder how in the world Aragorn will survive, even when he is set free. Will the old man take him in? Will someone else step forward with water and comfort and mercy now that the punishment is fulfilled? Or will Aragorn stagger away from this village only to find the same reception waiting in the next?

Answers to those questions are less important than knowing that even if his troubles continue, he will survive, because you've shown so beautifully the hope that waxed strong after waning so perilously low. One can only imagine what Aragorn's prayer was (again, it's the lack of that sort of detail that is a strength here), but we are left in no doubt that he has found a well of strength that will not run dry.

A simply masterfully written tale!
estelcontar chapter 1 . 10/18/2009
That was a most difficult story to read, but a very well crafted one and it got my vote for first place. Well done.
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