Reviews for Hearts of Men
sirensbane chapter 6 . 2/23/2016
I'm really enjoying the story. You have all the characters down to a T. Hopefully, Faramir will know his king well enough that the deception when Bregon takes over won't last long. Assuming that Arwen is not around. I hope you will eventually update this; I will put it in my follows just in case.
DeepRootsAerNotReached chapter 6 . 5/15/2013
Alright, truth be told, I hate those damned goodbyes in this story (and with that I mean RotK)... I am appreciating the rest greatly though, but where is the rest? More please? •tries to resemble a puppy, not very successfully so•
Feafea chapter 6 . 8/18/2011
One month has already passed! Where's the update? .

Deandra chapter 6 . 7/23/2011
This is coming together most interestingly. Nice to see the reactions of Arwen and Elrond in this since Tolkien never really addressed those. These renditions are well rendered, and it's good to see Aragorn's parting from Elrond also as that is usually overlooked and surely he would feel it very strongly.

- Deandra

Some typos, things to consider and simple further comments on the story:

...She smiled and took his arm, a comfortable silence lying between them until they departed ways at her camp. - not necessarily wrong, but this is an unusual use of the word "depart"; usually the phrase is "parted ways"

...Gesturing for the man to follow him, the younger man pulled himself off the dirt and followed the sword master to a shady oak just outside of the pen to rest under. - Very awkward sentence, mainly because you start off with Rangil's POV (gesturing for Bregon to follow him) and then switch mid-stream to Bregon's POV (doing the following). Possibly: At Rangil's gesture for him to follow, the younger man pulled himself off the dirt...etc.

"Soon he concluded that being compared to a dead, respected war captain was no bad thing. It was certainly leagues better than being the mirror image of some royal usurper from the Wilds." - *snicker* Yeah, right...!

"Smiling, the wizard winked and replied, "All in a day's work, my friend. All in a day's work."" - nice, very Gandalf-ish!

"I have since long come to terms with my daughter's choice, and have long since accepted it." - awkward phrasing; might be better to simply omit "since long" from the sentence

"The chapter seems to say that they have Théoden's funeral, then his funeral feast straight after, and right after the feast, leave Edoras, with no hint of really any time passing." - sometimes you just have to kind of make a choice and go with it. Tolkien changed some details but didn't get it changed in all places (harder to do in print than online) and there are several discrepancies. The Appendix also indicates Eomer returns for Theoden and leaves the next day, but the text makes it clear that he remains a few days before they take Theoden back to Edoras for burial. And the Appendix says Eowyn returned for Theoden with him, but she is not mentioned anywhere in the actual text. Just base your choices on one or the other, and maybe mention the discrepancy at the end (like you did) for anyone who might argue the point. We probably can never know whether Tolkien would claim the text or the Appendix was his "final" version, since the "final" version changed so much over time.
Sarahbarr17 chapter 6 . 7/19/2011
Good to see another chapter. Keep up the good work!

Sarah x
Deandra chapter 5 . 7/4/2011
I keep having this thought and then forget to mention it once I get to the end of the chapter to review (so I'm sneaking ahead to do it before finishing the chapter!) - hasn't anyone noticed Bregon has gone "missing"? I mean, he did have friends, and customers, before all this. Wouldn't there be whispers or rumors or something?

idly swishing her tale from time to time as they worked. - oops! should be "tail"

Oh, my! These boys really are in over their heads - Rangil knew Thorongil. But he doesn't seem to recognize Bregon's resemblance? Hmmm...the plot thickens.

- Deandra
Deandra chapter 4 . 7/4/2011
Feast for two weeks? Man, that Elessar knows how to throw a party! Who said Elves are boring and stuffy with carousing like that!

Together they walked down the isle, acknowledging the applause and cheers with smiles and laughter. - um, yeah, I got a chuckle out of that myself (isle)!

Lovely wedding, though. I don't know that I've ever read much of a wedding scene - or certainly not one so extensive - for Aragorn and Arwen. Very nice.

- Deandra
Deandra chapter 3 . 7/4/2011
Galdir shot Meluion a dark look as the other man finished brushing down the king's steed and went to brush down his horse, humming as he did so. Humming! There were situations for humming, and this was certainly not one of those situations. Their king was all but alone on an uncharted mountain path, in a world where evil things still stirred despite the Dark Lord's fall, and this man had the audacity to hum as if everything was all right on Arda.

Oh, I do love Galdir! Though I rather like Meluion, too! You have some wonderful original characters. Even more, your canon characters are proving decidedly "dead-on". Gandalf, in particular, you can be tricky to render so that he sounds wizardish and not just like any other man.

Well done! Good chapter.

- Deandra
Deandra chapter 2 . 7/4/2011
Even seeing where this is likely heading, the differences you are denoting between Aragorn and Bregon are so marked it is difficult to expect success in their venture. Still, after three years, presumably you do still have a card up your sleeve!

- Deandra
Deandra chapter 1 . 7/4/2011
One advantage to being slow in reading is getting to read several chapters at once!

This makes for an interesting start. I am put in mind of The Prince & The Pauper, which may or may not be intentional on your part. Or there is the other story, but I forget the name of it (connected to The Man in the Iron Mask). It will be interesting to see your take on this, and even if there are similarities, it will be the first Middle-earth setting for this plotline that I have seen.

One thing jumped out at me in this chapter that I should mention:

"Then come with me, Master. I imagine my lord will keep you preoccupied throughout the day, so you may want to close shop." Bregon nodded and, as they stepped outside, pulled out a key and closed his small store for the day. They then started the long journey up to the sixth level, where, Falasgal explained, his lord resided.

Several times you have had a tendency to essentially repeat what you have already said, sometimes almost in the same words. (above: "throughout the day; close shop" vs "closed for the day") You may want to keep an eye out for that. Redundancy can be useful at times, but isn't necessary here.

- Deandra
Sarahbarr17 chapter 5 . 7/4/2011
Good to see another chapter. Very well written.

I am concerned now that not only Elessar but the Lady Arwen will be targeted by the plotters!

Happy writing!

Sarah x
singinginthedrain chapter 4 . 7/4/2011
I am enjoying your story. Especially liked Arwen's arrival and the pre-wedding jitters displayed by Aragorn. It was quite well done. I would like to have *seen* the reaction of those noblemen who questioned whether Aragorn's bride was of *inferior* nature. At any rate, well done. I am wondering though, how it would be possible to pretend to be Aragorn for very long without being found out. Bregon doesn't have the advantage of personal knowledge of Aragorn's life, things that would be a dead giveaway to those close to him. I am willing to suspend belief, of course, but it does seem it would take a very long time for this to be pulled off successfully. You're a big enough fan that I'm sure you can do it. Looking forward to more.
Estel chapter 5 . 7/4/2011

Great as always:) Looking forward where you take your story and what you will do with Arwen, since I can't imagine that she wouldn't notice the difference...

Thought so that midsummer is on June 21st, but then I don't understand why in your 4. Chapter there you have June 26 at the very beginning? And once you write Lithe and then July again...?
Feafea chapter 4 . 6/30/2011
It's really rare to find good stories these days. I'm really glad that you have posted this fic!

Love the way you portrayed the feelings of the characters. Especially the mental battle Aragorn upon seeing Arwen. 'I will keep my composure. I will keep my composure.' I literally laughed out at that!

Keep it coming yeah? :)
Ragnelle chapter 4 . 6/25/2011
All the parts that describe Aragorn's joy at seeing Arwen, or finding the sign that she will come, are wonderful. You really capture and convey his joy, and it is delightful to read.

I also like the family-ties you have created between Aragorn and the Dú makes it feel more real the connection between him and those that have been his men all along.

Bregon's acceptance of Balandor's plan is too quck for me, though. I do not follow the leap from "I want my life/identity back" to "I'll take his place". Of course this plan has been easy to see from the start, even if Bregon has not been able to see it, but I don't buy his easy acceptance. Yes, he hesitates, but to me it seems a token resistance at best.

The problem is that the motivation you have given him to hate Aragorn, is so focused on Aragorn taking his identity, and that he wants it back. This plan is not giving him that back, it is taking his identity further away. Why would he agree?

Also, it is quite a leap from drunken, malcontent whining (which is what Bregon has been doing) to agreeing to commit treason, which is quite serious and dangerous.

I am not saying that these transitions can't be done, but that they need more work to be convincing.

The other thing that threw me a bit off, is a small thing, and easily fixed if you want to fix it: Repeating the wedding-vows 4 times. Too much. Does not work well in writing (and that is speaking as one who love repetitions and is prone to have too many herself). A simple "Yes", or to have them say the vows themselves without needing Gandalf to say the words, would work much better. Or just state that they repeat Gandalf's words and focus on something different, like how Aragorn smiles when he says the words, or perhaps he stumbles on them. Or his voice is clear, or soft or something. And the same with Arwen. You don't even need Gandalf saying the words more than once: they are right there on the page. We have just read them. We will not forget them.

It is not even necessary to give the words of the vows, as the important part is that they are wed, not what words are used. But not giving the actual words is what I would have don, not what you have to do. But I will maintain that four repetition of almost identical words is too much, and unnecessary.

When it comes to dates, then Tolkien does not state explicitly when Hobbits begin the new day, but he does say that the Elves recon the day from sunset to sunset, and it would not be strange to have the others follow the same. Thus any time after sunset would give you the right day ;) (App D, about the calendars, also gave that little tidbit)
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