Reviews for The Sun Sets in the West
Gemm13 chapter 59 . 12/19/2020
Arakano should be renamed Prince Douche
LoveMaddy chapter 1 . 5/24/2020
One of my all times favorite stores, so well written
NarniaAndMiddle-Earth chapter 26 . 5/21/2020
Ah, it feels great to be back! I'm terribly sorry for the long delay, but no, I haven't given up - not on this review and not on my own story. I'm just fortunate now to get back to it :)
Of course, I hope you and all your readers have been doing well, and hopefully in the coming days I can get more of this done.
On with the review!
Chapter 23: 'Requests' (Continued):
If any other Lords or Princes died without leaving heirs, find someone to fill the void. There is literally no other job to be done. I’m sorry, it’s just that this ‘resettling territories’ sounds like they’re going to make some profound changes.
Okay, so you explained why Éomer forgave Vezely. It was terrible, whatever heart I have left is completely shattered, but you gave an explanation. But why is he being at least kind of nice? I mean, Éomer, she is partially responsible for nearly getting your sister killed. Screw her.
I’m assuming "As did you and your éored” is actually more of an insult than anything else, and I’m surprised Éomer didn’t take it as such. He was raised amidst politics, he should know wordplays.
So… these Western assholes saw on the battlefield the Easterlings didn’t surrender, no matter how badly things went, and didn’t think that maybe they were too proud to accept mercy? That it was an important cultural thing? If they didn’t hate Gondor before, I’m willing to bet they do now.
"Yet if you can persuade them that our intentions are honorable, that they will be provided escort to their lands in hopes they will rebuild a prosperous civilization, that the West is merciful to their enemies and would prefer them as allies, then perhaps, it is a start towards this optimistic future." I would be very skeptical of this, too. These warriors are going to forgive Gondor for dishonoring them because ‘they didn’t mean it that way’? I don’t think I would. These people don’t WANT mercy.
Still, all the more props to Vezely for taking this job. Though maybe the Westerners should’ve thought this through a little better…
Vezely, for apparently knowing Éowyn really well (that appears to be what we’ve been told anyway), really has a terribly… warped view on her relationship with her brother. If I had to compare Éomer and Éowyn to two other siblings, I’d compare them to Zuko and Azula (in the ‘Search’ trilogy, not the main series, because we see Zuko actually caring about Azula there).
Yeah, I could say Vezely had these doubts about her relationship with Legolas before… but honestly, I think it fits here. It’s suddenly getting all too real. They’re more or less officially together now, but she’s still possibly considered unworthy.
Also, thanks to Vezely I now remember: the Valar have now shown what good her bloodline, or understanding her bloodline, does her in regards to her redemption. Not a lot.
Vezely quite readily assumes the prisoners will gladly accept mercy, given they can be convinced that the offer’s sincere. Weird, since earlier she’s the one who points out the Westerners didn’t do them a favor by keeping them alive.
It’s kind of neat how awkward Vezely is. I can only imagine actually liking someone romantically for the first time is, but she has no idea how Legolas believes this should go. What is he comfortable with? What does he expect from her? This is actually really well done. I have to give you credit.
I generally really like the third part. Why do I get the feeling I’m still going to be a jerk?...
That’s neat, that the more difficult – and awkward – things to adjust to are everyday life, not the big things. The big things she may have kind of heard as stories, or accept the way you accept stories or reports. Even to participate in rare occasions can be pretty easy, it can even be done out of mere curiosity. But to live in a very different way from what you’re used to permanently, that’s a hard thing.
I like Vezely’s sarcasm. As much as I hate her bashing the customs, traditions and philosophy of the West, such dry remarks about what the West itself considers its greatest achievements are… awesome.
Having read the full story, re-reading this bit about Vezely returning to the land she was born is nothing short of heartbreaking…
That’s another thing that I can’t or don’t understand. Rhûn, Khând and Harad are all three vast desert countries – and Rhûn is separate. Even Umbar is kind of separate, but let’s forget about them for a while. Rhûn is explicitly stated to have ‘hundreds’ or even ‘thousands’ of cultures, by Clan, related in many cases, but still separate. But the Variags are one giant tribe who also happen to closely resemble the Balchoth – from Rhûn, which is a long journey away – in culture? Even the Haradrim are portrayed to be very similar to each other and the Easterlings (or at least the Balchoth). Which, in context, doesn’t make any sense.
I have to admit, this end was pretty good. It makes me want to immediately read on. How is she going to solve this? In fact… is she going to manage to solve it? She did fight for the West, against the East and the South. So this could very well go wrong. This plan, while good at the surface, actually wasn’t a stroke of brilliance.
I actually don’t feel like I’ve been bashing this chapter in particular, and I want you to know I really do feel guilty for being harsh a lot of times. It’s almost like I can’t help myself; I need to get the complaints and questions off my chest. Here… I still feel I’ve been unfair. This chapter is a highlight. This is up there with chapter 13. I skimmed through it again and I think this chapter is better. The cultural thing is there – Vezely is asked to do this because she (supposedly) understands the prisoners better, and she struggles with Elvish courtship rituals and daily life. And it all feels really natural. I can believe this is the kind of trouble someone in her situation would have.
Chapter 24: ‘Cultural Differences’
I did remember this chapter pretty well. That’s on itself a good thing. It kind of kick-starts the ‘new’ plot, if you wish. And it’s certainly well-written. That being said… I’m afraid it’s time for me to be an asshole. I’m sorry, I just genuinely have problems here.
I will start by saying the paragraph with the Captain being properly introduced and checking who Vezely is was really good. Beautifully done.
"Finally, you send someone of fucking worth to hold council." I kind of understand this response, though equally appropriate would be: “First weaklings, now traitors. What do you take us for?”
Alright, on itself, I like her revenge having some kind of consequence. Though… it may have been better if it had remained just vengeance, but this wasn’t on her mind at the time, so it’s all good. However, I have so many problems… and ‘if he would uphold the custom of their people, for they stood not on the soil of Rhun’ isn’t even one of them. They seem to be clinging to the warrior pride thing pretty fiercely. Why would the soil they stand on matter? Better yet, why would these VARIAGS, from KHÂND, need to stand on the soil of RHÛN? That doesn’t make any sense. What I’m worried about are things like: Doesn’t being a member of the Clan kind of matter? Isn’t there a law that prevents outsiders from usurping the Clan or something? Vezely’s uncle opposed her because he didn’t consider her Balchoth, right? And Vezely herself emphasized that yes, she was Balchoth right after the fight. So… that must’ve mattered. And at least with the Balchoth, she was raised among them and stuff. To the Variags, if she’s an outsider isn’t even a question. She is, period. Also, she is now officially an Elf. She has allied herself with the West. She’s a traitor to all of Rhûn. Shouldn’t she be hated throughout the land when her tale spreads? This is so… wrong that it’s absolutely ridiculous these assholes are still sticking with the ‘if you kill the leader, you deserve to be the next leader’ rule. Thinking back, that “I make the challenge” stuff from chapter 19 is baffling. They’re fighting over leadership? LEADERSHIP OF WHAT? I just don’t get it. Also, challenges are valid even when made on a battlefield, by someone from the other side? Crap, any random asshole could interrupt a Clan war, challenge the enemy Clan’s leader and take over. Clan wars could be ended with a single duel, which then unites the Clans. But we know that’s not how it’s done. Should the Variags technically have switched sides in the middle of battle?
I know it would cut his role short, but I can’t even imagine how I would’ve been in awe of the Captain if he’d been like: “Screw it. I don’t care if it gets me killed in a minute, I don’t care who she killed, but I am not handing my men over to a traitor.”
“Robbed of the glorious death of a warrior on the field of battle, nursed back to health by enemy's hand, and now beholden to your leader's sworn adversary.” Hey, that kind of sounds like what happened to Vezely. Irony.
I like Yaban and his loyalty. Though, of course, for the sake of the story, he’s an obstacle for Vezely to overcome. The way she did so (at least for now) I’m on the fence about, but I agree with Faramir: they’re prisoners of Gondor. They shouldn’t allow anyone to do this crap. The line was CLOSE to being crossed? To me, this looks like all Gondorian rules have been thrown out the window.
Holy crap, Legolas’ doubts about whether or not he should actually kill – or wound, or at least shock – Vezely was AWESOME.
Wait, do these guys prefer death or not? This guy was awesome and fearless just a few moments ago. Now he’s scared of being killed – which undoubtedly is no fun, especially since it wouldn’t count as dying in battle, but sounds better than having to serve a traitor. Or is that just me? I bet it’s just me.
I thought mercy was an insult. Why does she think these words will in any way help her?
‘"Variags do not know peace or accept mercy, General," the captain told her proudly.’ This Captain is a badass of Théoden levels. I may hate this plan, but I sure as hell love this guy.
Let me make Vezely’s answer explicit. “No, you do not, nor do any Easterlings. But now you do, because I fucking tell you to, damn it!” No, seriously, what exactly IS her answer, if it’s not that? There is no answer. Please don’t tell us any significant numbers of people are going to agree to this traitor coming back and changing their entire way of life…
Uhm… I thought the implication so far was the Variags and Haradrim were more or less unified. I guess Khând and Harad are like ancient Greece, culturally essentially the same, but politically divided? While Rhûn – or this Easterling Confederation (to which the Variags never should have been allowed, by the way) – is like the Roman Empire: a lot of cultures inside, but a unifying State? Just so we’re clear.
Sorry, that was just a clarifying note. I was a little confused by the idea that the Variags and Haradrim, elsewhere always treated as a block, now suddenly have to worry about potential invading tribal armies. I get that Sauron didn’t mass all of them together; he’d be smart enough to understand the idea of having reserves. But okay, I can actually buy all of this. It’s a little confusing, but okay. No, where this plan gets really ridiculous is here (and to be completely honest, I somehow missed this on my first read, mostly because I was actually engaged and the awesome writing style made me want to read on, not stop and think): there’s 34 men in that prison, as we all remember from last chapter. How tiny do tribal armies have to be that even all 34 of these are going to matter a damn if the neighboring tribe decides to come shopping, but doesn’t feel like paying? I would’ve loved a scene after a year, maybe a few years, when one of the Haradrim returns to Vezely and tells her: “General, we did as you said and returned home to defend it, and we were attacked, as you said we might be. Unfortunately, the four of us couldn’t stop them, and I barely escaped with my life. As for my tribe, they’re mostly bereft, enslaved or butchered.” Seriously, why does anyone take this idea seriously? Even if every tribe kept some men back, and Vezely’s messengers are merely to warn them from danger, wouldn’t the tribes that didn’t send anyone massively outnumber the ones that did send forces to be slaughtered by Westerners? Did every tribe send just a small fraction of its manpower? Because in that case, why is anyone even worried? I’m sorry, this plan doesn’t sound like it’s going to do anyone a lot of good.
If you lose your honor on the battlefield and that’s such a big deal, I don’t understand how you can regain it in another place entirely.
Seriously? If Aragorn, or Faramir, wanted these guys dead… Why hasn’t he executed them? Why did he bother having them healed? What kind of logical sense would that make? In what world does someone have you nursed back to health after you were knocked unconscious and probably injured, housed and fed, release you, give you an escort back home, and then has that escort kill you? In what world is that an easier or smarter plan than… just making sure you’re dead on the battlefield? Or leaving you to die of your injuries? Or putting poison in your food? Or executing you? Obviously, they have no intention of killing.
And now, Vezely gets to decide she’ll get these people home herself… basically because it’s convenient. Can we at least agree that, assuming there was ever a line to start with, the line has NOW been crossed?
Sure, Vezely’s going to check in regularly. I mean, why the hell not? She forced harder things on Gondor.
Why is the Captain – WHO JUST TOLD US VARIAGS DON’T KNOW MERCY – suddenly grateful over what you could interpret as extra concessions? Come to think of it, wouldn’t that be considered weakness, which these badass warriors despise? Have these Westerners ever displayed any tendencies towards mistreating their captives?
I’ll admit, I have to re-read some future chapters, but at this stage, I really like Remi. It’s interesting, having him there. I mean, I don’t like him, obviously. He’s a traitor, not a shred of decency in him. But… I guess it’s a rather different kind of character, and he’s interesting.
Faramir is awesome. I think a lot of people would be furious and freaking out, probably including me, but he’s in control, calm, collected. A great leader. Are we sure we need Aragorn? At this stage, it looks like we’ll be totally fine with Faramir – who also was raised in high political circles and probably would be more or less okay with being the new ruler. Okay, okay, the law is the law, that’s also what makes Faramir such a great leader, so he has to crown Aragorn, I know it can’t be helped.
"These are Vez's men, it is her choice." … What. The. Hell. Faramir is still in charge, right? Now I’m convinced Aragorn shouldn’t be given power. These men are Gondor’s captives. Faramir is responsible for them and is rightfully concerned about their well-being. Please don’t lie to us. The line wasn’t close to being crossed. The truth is, as I said before, there was never a line to start with.
Well, I may hate this Remi guy, but I’ll be damned if I don’t respect him keeping up his sass in literally every circumstance. “You kill me? Cool. You don’t? Fine.” He’s treacherous scum, but he has that redeeming quality. It’s kind of morally complex, he’s not at all what you’d expect an opportunistic traitor to be like. He gambled and lost, but is, in a way, a dignified loser.
Is Vezely angry with Derufin? Because, honestly, I can’t begin to imagine a reason for her to be.
"Liberty would be stating it mildly." Okay, it’s obvious Faramir is basically the new Éomer, though handled much better. While, as I will explain later, I absolutely hated Éomer being basically a sexist dick in concept, here it’s very hard to not sympathize with Faramir from these beginnings. Honestly, I’m all with Faramir. She didn’t think this plan may not qualify as regular procedure? Hell, this deal is just something the West wants, they don’t need it. Like, at all. I’ll admit I’m borderline paranoid, constantly worrying, but I can perfectly imagine anyone in this situation never trusting Vezely again. I know I’d constantly drop hints I can’t wait for her to leave. Yes, I know, I’m a bit of an asshole by my own admission, and I’m really not helping my own case right now. But you know what? That doesn’t even matter. This isn’t an argumentative piece; it’s not like I’m writing a presidential speech. Though I would totally watch a debate between Trump and Sanders about the question if ‘The Hobbit’ was a fun ride or a barely watchable mess. (Actually had a blast imagining it.) Anyway, this is merely me stating what I do and don’t like, and trying to explain why. The point is, Faramir entrusted her with a very delicate government operation, and while technically she did get through to the prisoners, her job was to get them to understand the Westerners were trying to be nice and that was about it. If you pulled this crap in any modern day military, I’m pretty sure you’d be court-martialed. I don’t know, and I’m not testing it out.
Alright, I like Vezely acknowledging how hard it is for this plan to actually work, but that also makes me sigh that it still did happen. A plot point that somehow escaped my attention, but is fortunately brought up by Vezely (seriously, I’m not being sarcastic; thank you) is that the duel between Vezely and Öldur was in the middle of a larger battle and the Variags probably didn’t gather around to watch. Apart from that, though, my main problem is that this shouldn’t be valid. This is like Harry Potter’s name coming out of the Goblet of Fire. Something’s obviously wrong, someone rigged this thing, you’d expect in these circumstances they can overrule Harry’s participation… But for some reason, they apparently can’t. Shut up and don’t question it. This rule shouldn’t allow traitors of Western blood who were at no point in any way Variag to begin with to usurp power among the Variags. But it does… somehow, and it’s bloody helpful.
Yeah, she accomplished more than expected from her. But honestly, it’s… stupid, and I try not to use this word too lightly, as is often done, that she just assumes this radically altered situation doesn’t mean serious re-calculation. She gave the actual rulers here an accomplished fact, UNDERMINING THEIR AUTHORITY. Yeah, I’m surprised Vezely didn’t think of this. It would’ve been really nice to warn them this was her plan, so they could talk it through. Maybe then, she could’ve gotten it approved and Faramir would actually support her on the basic plan, leaving the differences on practical issues more easily resolved. Now, Faramir is understandably pissed at being ignored on… basically one of his first days in office as ruler of Minas Tirith. Honestly, I would even have rooted for Faramir if he had said: “Derufin, tell them the deal is off. I want all of them out of my city when they’ve fully recovered.” Which honestly should’ve been the plan from the start. They’re healed back up to full strength, and then they’re free to go. Maybe they’ll go die somewhere, or choose to live as exiles, maybe they’ll tell their people the Westerners don’t like killing people and are thus a relatively safe destination for merchants, maybe they’ll warn against the consequences of marching against the West. Worst case scenario, they convince their tribes to take up arms in revenge. But Sauron is gone. The tribes would stand alone. Gondor and Rohan still have organized Royal armies and fortresses and whatnot. And the very idea is pretty unlikely anyway. Sometimes simple plans aren’t bad plans.
"You are in no position to make those demands." It’s a little hard to root against Faramir when he’s just… right.
"Am I to simply trust you will not march this army of yours on our settlements as you pass our lands to your own, that you will not rape and pillage Ithilien for your own spoils?" Again, I’m a semantic jerk, but I have no idea how you
snowlands576 chapter 62 . 4/12/2020
Thank you for writing this fic. I don't have words good enough to describe it but it's the best amongst many I've read. In depth story and characters. It was just so beautiful and also heartbreaking. I'll keep this story close to my heart and return to it someday. Thank you, you're a wonderful writer!
WherewasLokiinEndgame chapter 62 . 3/28/2020
I looove this! Thank you so much for this story! :)
chaehyde chapter 62 . 9/27/2019
This was so good! Thank you so much for sharing your creativity, imagination and talent for writing with us. The character of Vezely is so special, unique and believable. I love their love. Love the story! Again thank you for sharing!
Suzanne chapter 24 . 8/22/2019
LaraTass chapter 62 . 8/6/2019
Just finished rereading this story after many years, still so good and well written! Thank you so much for sharing this story with us all.
lalalalalalalalalalalalalalal chapter 62 . 12/2/2018
I absolutely loved it! Honestly so happy I read this it left me feeling really fulfilled and I loved that you went deeper into easterling culture! I will always remember this ff!
krasivaya chapter 36 . 11/4/2018
Amazing amazing amazing. The last few chapters, as you left the story of the books and movie and created new scenarios, has finally made you one of my favourite authors and the same for this story.
I searched so long for an OC not falling into the LOTR World accidentally or one who had to depend on the members of fellowship. And you gave me, and I'm guessing all the other readers exactly what they wanted. A character truly worthy of belonging in the tolkeinverse. Female characters like Vezely are always needed to give strength to the female readers. For our world is not unlike the one in the story, with different cultures who often undermine women's strength and value.
So a huge thank you. I am truly enjoying each and every chapter, and the wonderful dialogue you have created between the characters, and the atmosphere each scene evokes.
I was weary before when I found some repeating grammatical errors (like the misplaced use of 'would' where there should be the past tense of the verb or action involved), and also when I could not sense the love between the main pair initially when they professed it for each other, and if that was intentional on your part, then that is an amazing skill. I have a lot more words of appreciation to spare but my mind is running ahead of my speed to type, so I will stop here and just say to be confident for you did an amazing job with this story and I'm sure you'll keep growing even better.
iRanNoodle chapter 62 . 8/21/2018
It took me many days to finish this story, and I am so glad that I did. What a great story
iRanNoodle chapter 54 . 8/20/2018
Lol how to kill a first date: talk about psychological torture
iRanNoodle chapter 46 . 8/20/2018
You said you were going to write other stories, but on your profile, you said you stopped writing. I wonder what happened. You have a gift when it comes to writing
iRanNoodle chapter 26 . 8/13/2018
Lol, Thrandy
iRanNoodle chapter 25 . 8/13/2018
I am halfway reading through this story, and I just amazed on how good this story is. There are spelling mistakes and grammar mistakes, showing how English is probably not even your first language. However, despite this, I would argue that you have written one of the best LOTR fan fictions ever.
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