OUTLINE OF NOTES SECTION
I. The World Threatening Peril of the Ankh
- what it was
- why it never truly existed
II. The Recurring Themes of LOTR and as followed by FEE
- Letting Go
- Self Discovery
III. The Plot of FEE
-Parallelisms of FEE with LOTR
-Twists on the LOTR story in FEE
IV. Middle Earth Geography and the Geography of FEE
V. The Scale of FEE
VI. On the Persistent Use of High Technology in FEE
VII. On Some of the Characters
1. On Anatalia Craxi and Gambling with OFC's
2. On Legolas and the Loneliness of Immortality
3. On Aragorn and the Death of Adrian Aarons
4. On Emmett Rigare, the Evolution of Eomer, and Why Some Characters Remained 'Asleep'
5. On the Irrepressible Haldir.
6. On the Much Beloved Gimli.
7-8. On the Twin Sons of Elrond.
9. On Grima Wormtongue and Philosophy.
10. On the Characters You Might Have Been Looking For.
VIII. On FEE as a Trilogy – the Plots
IX. Massive Thanks and Replies
I. On the NEW WORLD THREATENING PERIL. At the end of the story, the question is, WAS THERE REALLY A WORLD-THREATENING PERIL to begin with? I'll leave it up to you, haha. Seriously, though I contemplated it. But ultimately, as the story came to life, I lost my taste for spawning a new ring-like evil. It seemed misplaced somehow—we were already very deeply entrenched in the story at the point where the actual evil enters that to encase it in an artifact of some sort was like dropping a Martian in Middle Earth.
I realized as I worked that the way the story was progressing, the true evil is inside the self, not some external factor. What do you do with the time that is given to you? Change for the better? Relive the past? The 'evil' concentrated on a physical thing was almost simply incidental. The true question was if you can defeat the part of yourself that was destructive to you as a good person. Upon reflection, this is similarly applicable to the Lord of the Rings. The Ring (though hardly incidental) provided a catalyst for the ultimate battle that rages more pointedly within the self than against a big, evil, bad guy figure.
This is best illustrated in my depiction of the only actually discernable bad guy in FEE, Grima Wormtongue. There was no true One Ring in this story, only a man chasing ghosts and dreams of domination. Remember, in Chapter 24:
"Wormtongue asked me where the ring was," Legolas said, his voice wavering with his fatigue, "He said if we're all here, then something like it must be too. But there's no ring, is there, Mithrandir?"
"Not to my knowledge, no," the wizard replied.
"But if Wormtongue anyway follows the story so faithfully," Legolas said, "He will know where to look for that ring or whatever its incarnation is now. The hobbits. He asked me where they were. He's going to try to find them. We have to find them first. We have to get to the hobbits."
Gandalf's eyes clouded with frustration. There might be a ring, there might not be a ring. There might be a new evil and there might not be a new evil. Is there really still a graver threat than Grissom Warrington? Or are they just trying to stop a man who feared repeating his past so greatly he unwittingly fell into evil anyway?
Evil or no, Grima Wormtongue is going to look for power where he believes it will be…
And though there was indeed an artifact, remember it was always said that the work was an unfinished one. Remember, in Chapter 31:
"Does anyone know what this is?" Bob asked, and the slide featured the symbol of an ankh. It resembled a 'T' topped with an inverted teardrop.
"The ankh is best associated with classical Egypt," Bob Baggins said, "this knowledge should be common enough. It is widespread in their art. You might also know this as the Crux Ansata, or the 'eyed' cross in Christian iconography. It is widely-recognized to mean life, yes. But it has other meanings too… would you believe me if I said the ankh has a sexual symbolism by virtue of it resembling a sandal strap? It also resembles the knot of Isis. It's also once represented the womb. It also has symbolized the union of Isis and Osiris…
"But the most fascinating thing to me," said Bob, "is that scholars have long believed that though this symbol is prevalent in Egyptian art, it stems from an older, unknown culture. You see it's like in PersiaIndiaAmericaSardinia… It's a combination or development of the t-shaped cross—a tau-- which symbolizes death, attached to the sign of re-birth. So the ankh, in its wide range of meanings, not just indicates life; it specifically symbolizes life after death. Because it is often held by the gods in the manner of one holding a key, you can say it is they Key between Life and Death."
"Bob Baggins found the Key to Life and Death," Haldir informed Legolas, "Bringing back to life and toward immortality, one who has died."
"As I said, scholars have long theorized the ankh stems from an older, unknown culture than Ancient Egypt," Bob Baggins said gravely, "I believe we found proof of that."
The slide showed a picture of a gleaming, silver ankh that was three-quarters of the way well-preserved, missing but half of the top loop…
"Stunning isn't it?" Bob Baggins breathed, before Legolas or any of the New Fellowship who heard the information could reply, "How do we know it is not Egyptian, you might ask. The script is different, for one. It is of a kind no one has ever seen before. And the material… it glows far too greatly for silver, does it not? As if it has a light within. It is of an element that is new and also never been seen on Earth in recorded history. Until now."
The crowd oohed and ahhed. Only Haldir knew Bob Baggins was talking about mithril.
"The element is so strange," Bob Baggins continued, "That we cannot even date this. No technique of ours could tell how old this is. It is also so… invulnerable, in our tests. It is just so stable that I suspect it will take quite an impossible effort to destroy it."
"But it looks broken," someone pointed out.
"'Tis not broken," Bob Baggins said evenly, "It was unfinished, it seems. The lines are smooth and gradual, but this material cannot be melted because of its strength, and if it was indeed broken or snapped, the years could not have tempered the edges at the points where it broke because we found this in the anoxic layer of the Black Sea, where nothing decays. And so we have concluded that the work is unfinished. As if a master artist was interrupted, or halted. The craftsmanship is exquisite, is it not? It likely would have taken a making of more than just one go. Beautiful…"
And in Chapter 39:
He drew out the Ankh from his coat pocket, turned it over in his hands, fingers toying with its odd curves and corners, the curious break on the ring that topped the cross. He knew about it well enough, his uncle headed the expedition after all, and was never shy about his passions. The Ankh was just a great excitement to him, a great treasure. It was indeed beautiful, and heavy with rich history.
He ran the tips of his fingers over the tau part, the cross that symbolized death. What fine craftsmanship. Someone's soul went into the work, there was little doubt of that. The long vertical stem of the cross flowed right up to the tear-shaped, ring that topped the tau. The break gave it a curious character. His Uncle said the material was unknown and seemingly unbreakable, yet here was this little gap that failed to complete the ring of life after death, as if the craftsman simply… stopped. It was unfinished work.
The T symbolizes death, and it's complete. The loop topping it, symbolizing life after death is the unfinished part. That is why though there is an artifact, it never could have been used to resurrect Sauron because it was never completed.
I wanted to show that ultimately, it is not the artifact that makes the best danger, but the man seeking it and made insane by desire for it. The ring, or any artifact I would have chosen to represent it in my fic, would only serve to symbolize the internal battle that I think I've already depicted long before the appearance of the artifact itself.
II. ON RECURRING THEMES. I know its modern but I didn't want it to be too alien from the original Lord of the Rings. So I tried to seek out some literary criticisms and essays on Tolkien's masterful epic and relate it to my own fic.
Theme 1: Reincarnation and Tolkien. The latter's Lord of the Rings asks us what we are to do with the time that is given us; the epic is bombarded with the idea of finiteness (mortal love, immortal love), eternity (elves), how they help form what we do with our lives, how they craft what happens to us, who we are, the things that we do. Like, do you see things from a wider picture? Do you just live day by day? Even who you love is being raised as an issue (i.e., Arwen and Aragorn, Luthien and Beren) just by virtue of the time given you.
The former (reincarnation) is one of those infamous archetypes that are irresistible to a lot of fanfiction writers and readers. Reincarnation asks the same thing, only it adds the dimension of not just what do you do with your time, but what do you do this time? If there are things that you could do over, mistakes to correct, etc. This is applicable to all the characters, particularly Boromir, Frodo, Smeagol and Wormtongue.
The entire fic attempts to answer it (the What-if's), just as the characters are pondering the same question (once again, in accordance with my favorite literary tool of the medium being the message).
Remember in Chapter 27:
"You should be scared," Legolas said wistfully, "But you are safe now. You're here. Away from… everything."
Brad stared at him a long moment, weighing his words, weighing his desire to know all the things he's been wondering about. "The last time we were all in a situation like this, I died, didn't I?"
"Yes," Legolas replied, "I… I watched you. I watched Aragorn say goodbye. I was there."
"And the last time we were all in a situation like this," said Brad tentatively, "No one else died, right? And we won too."
"Haldir," Legolas said quietly, "Harding died too. But yes, we ultimately won."
"What if me being here," Brad asked, "What if it changes things? I don't mind dying, we're all headed that way. I mean not you," he paused, closed his eyes in confusion, attempted to gather his thoughts, "But you know what I mean. If we win, I don't mind. If I have to die for us to win, I don't mind."
"No one has to die," Legolas told him resolutely, "I look upon that day with constant regret. If I moved faster, if I did not tarry as long here or there, if I took this turn, this step instead of that… The world opens up to infinity, and I lose the ground beneath my feet. So many questions, so many possibilities, so many regrets and yet no second chances. Or so I thought. Now you are here, and I can at last… try for another way. Maybe we can all live, and we can all win, eh?"
Legolas' reaction to Borormir is about how the world opens up beneath him because the options, the what-if's are so many, the world you know is just turned upside down. That feeling is what I'm trying to invoke in the readers for in the fic. WHAT IF.
Theme 2:Letting Go and Tolkien. This is the aspect that is one of those things that are pointed out when the Lord of the Rings is explicated in terms of being a particularly Christian text (as Tolkien himself says). 'No sooner do you find what you seek that you have to let go.' Other Christians out there would likely know what I mean; Christ, after all, was truly revealed to be the Messiah when he died and was in a sense, not as accessible to us. Frodo's quest along the Lord of the Rings was a mission of letting go. The truest test in the epic was not of physical might, but of resisting hanging on to the Ring, as in Gandalf, Galadriel and Aragorn, and basically all who have encountered it and lent themselves to the quest. Aside from the apparent letting go (literal and figurative!) involved in the Ring, there was also Elrond letting go of Arwen, the three Hunters letting go of Sam and Frodo, Merry and Pippin parting, even as far as Legolas and the elves leaving for Valinor and letting go of the Earth.
In my fic, I invoked this theme in its central character Legolas, restless immortal with beloved ties that are truly difficult to sever in the big picture:
Remember in Chapter 3:
"You've sent us along a merry chase, mellon-nin," Elladan told Legolas, "It really was terrible of you not to have called upon us. How long have you been back?"
Legolas frowned in thought. He left the mortal world the year Elessar died, sailing for the elven haven of Valinor with Gimli the dwarf. The years passed slowly there, and though for awhile he found his peace, the death of Gimli and the years that followed it were fraught with restless frustrations. He never was quite as complacent as the other elves, he was just too fiery. The sea called for him to return from where it was he came, much as it called to him to get to where he already was. The wanderlusting was persistent. His fruitless wanderings about the theoretical haven and his palpable loneliness bought for him a passage back to the lands that he loved. Although it was a courtesy often not granted and hardly ever requested, he was allowed back to Middle-Earth, back into the circles of the world, that he may at last see for himself precisely where he belonged, that he may cease to wonder, that he may find his peace (or resignation…).
As well as in Chapter 29:
"You look like you're gonna go bury someone," Goran said with a grunt, shifting his position beside the glum elf.
"Oh I am," Legolas sighed, "I'll kill them and bury them myself…"
"Seriously?" said Goran wistfully, "I don't know. Your face… like this… it makes me sad too, suddenly. I mean I can't explain it. It's just so strangely familiar."
Legolas glanced at him, said nothing. Funny that the dwarf should remember this look of all things. In afterthought, however, if anyone would have seen much of it, then that would indeed be Gimli the dwarf— he was there when Gandalf fell, when Boromir died, when all the folk they loved died all around them, when Aragorn died… likely, Gimli had seen the same look when Legolas said goodbye to him, when he himself died all those ages ago…
"I'd forget about it," Legolas muttered.
Goran frowned at him and fell silent a long moment. "You've got issues, man."
And then in the smaller picture, having to learn to yield his perceived responsibilities and trust that his friends can get by without him.
Remember in Chapter 6:
My mind is going in circles, I cannot think straight. Some nights ago I found myself prowling the streets in search of a homeless old Istar, for the Valar's sake, I'm losing my mind. I did not succeed, so I focused my attentions virtually stalking Adrian Aarons—old habits die hard, I suppose. I remember how it felt like every time I took my eyes off Estel… it always made me nervous, wondering what in the world kind of brand new magnificently terrible strait he'd get into without my watchful eye.
He caught me once, and he looked at me as if I was manic, but he had an easy way about him, and he said he remembered me from the hospital and asked if I was all right. Embarrassing. I said I saw him and wanted to catch up, because I had a health-related question. I made up some silly old thing and he said I should see him in his office in a few days. Of course I did not go, and I decided not to bother him for now. He's stayed alive without me this long.
As well as in Chapter 27:
"Just so," Legolas breathed, turning toward Elrohir once again, "Well? When are we leaving?"
"I was afraid you'd ask that," Elrohir winced, "We're going in an hour. You're staying here to get better."
"You know I won't let that happen," Legolas told him stonily.
Elrohir favored him with a long, measuring glance. Harding, Goran and Brad watched with uncertainty. In a flash of movement, the Rivendell elf made to strike at Legolas, hand taught with tension in a jab intended to stop a hair away from his friend's neck. The Mirkwood prince sidestepped it neatly, but he moved quicker than his body preferred and he wavered where he dodged. Elrohir steadied him with a grip to his arm, and Legolas favored him with a very royal glare.
'Stay that princely temper,' Elrohir said to him in their language, and in his serious eyes Legolas found no triumph at all, only grim determination. 'We can both admit my point has been successfully made whether or not you wish it. Legolas… you've stood in a distant shore long ago, and let people go where they must and do what they ought. You can do so again.'
Legolas' eyes softened. Ah, yes. He could not forget Parth Galen, one of those great moments in his life when he learned that sometimes, one needed to step away, that there was considerable strength and courage in letting go rather than holding on.
At the end, the irony here is that in loving and finding or re-fiond ties, our elves learns release at last. This is a paradox of finding and letting go working together, as in Christian texts, as in the Lord of the Rings.
Theme 3: Self-discovery and Tolkien. Coupled of course with asking what you do with your time is who you ultimately are. As in all stories, the defining moments of Tolkien's epic, as well as the everyday trivial things that the characters do form an idea in the reader's mind of who they are. This is as true of who we all are as persons. Once more, a very Christian slant— people act, and in a lifetime of acts mold themselves as people. There is a dynamic between the man making the choice and at the same time, the choice making the man.
We see this most apparently in Aragorn accepting his destiny as a King. In Arwen making her choice and becoming a mortal. In Sam and the other hobbits discovering a strength that their stature in life once made to seem impossible.
In my fic, this is a self-discovery that is made more apparent because it isn't just figurative; the self-discovery in the manner of remembering a past life is literal too, but the message is the same. Man making a choice and choices making a man.
III. ON THE PLOT. A bit of twists and parallelisms of FEE with the Lord of the Rings…
Parallelisms. Aside from the recurring themes, I also included some parallelisms with events. I know AU's can be a long shot, and I really didn't want my fic to seem so incredibly impossible, so I felt the need to kind of add in a few more familiar images, just so For Every Evil wouldn't feel like such an alien leap.
At the beginning of LOTR, Bilbo uses the ring to vanish from his party, right? In For Every Evil's Chapter 31, after his speech in Sinop, there was a kind of vanishing too. And note that Bilbo's There and Back Again detailing his adventure is also addressed in For Every Evil's Black Sea Expedition, albeit in a distinctly modern format. Note also that in the LOTR, Eowyn deals with the Witchking. In FEE's Chapter 32, she deals with the watchman, haha. In Chapter 39, I also made use of a fellowship of 9 out to dispose of the Ring, even if the Ring was an Ankh and the composition of fellows are different. Recall also Gandalf's fall in Chapter 35, and Aragorn's in Chapter 40. There are a few others you may have spotted and I may have forgotten to write about here. But anyway, I hope you saw some of them :)
Twists. I wanted to keep to the Lord of the Rings but its fun fanfiction also to kind of reverse things a little. What in the world does that mean? For instance: The Lord of the Rings begins with searching for a ring incidentally in the possession of a hobbit, right? In my fic, the order is reversed. It becomes a search for hobbits, who incidentally have a ring. Also, we see some twists in that Gandalf now finds himself talking of sensible things primarily with Peregrin Took in Chapter 38! And then, in Chapter 39, we have Frodo telling the elves what he was told by them ages before. Also, in Lord of the Rings, the last of the Fellowship to leave the Earth (in dying or going to Valinor) was Legolas, right? Now, it's hinted that he'll be the first to leave. Another bit of reversal is that in the Lord of the Rings, as Elrohir tells Legolas in For Every Evil Chapter 27: "you've stood in a distant shore long ago, and let people go where they must and do what they ought. You can do so again." Back then, letting go was to stand ashore and let people leave. At the end of For Every Evil, letting go is leaving and letting those ashore take care of themselves as the elves sail for the West.
I know it's weird and obsessive and often I wonder if people even see it, but anyway, just to give the tale more texture and kind of in-jokes to remind people of where the inspiration comes from, not just in the very apparent sense (i.e. that it's fanfiction and therefore has a borrowed universe).
IV. ON MIDDLE-EARTH GEOGRAPHY. Okay, guys. Grab a map of Europe and grab your map of Arda 'cos this is going to be a tough one to explain :) I read that Tolkien's Middle-Earth is likely just Europe, which once was called Middel-Erthe, back when they considered themselves the center of the world. I read that Tolkien used the term also to give immediate perceptions just by giving directions; in old lore, the idea of the 'East' was as exotic and threatening as they were in Tolkien's tales. It was also hypothesized that Tolkien's England must have been Hobbiton, as in Oxford! So although I am profoundly unsure and not particularly well-versed in this issue, I made Rivendell Austria, just by a hypothesized location, imagining the old Middle-Earth shifting and moving to become present Europe in my head. Mirkwood I imagined to have shifted far northwards, maybe Norway, Sweden, Finland. Gondor I imagined to be Greece and Rome once joined together by virtue of location and because these are the two old great European empires. Rohan is now Switzerland, by location and because Switzerland was once part of Rome and Rohan was once part of Gondor. Mordor I made out to have sunken beneath the Black Sea, by location, by implied meanings, and because in the movie the land just sank, and also by reference to the Sea of Rhun which I now consider to be the Sea of Azov, etc., etc. The countries situated are not all that important, though I put them in because they were fun to think of. If more readings on Tolkien yield that Middle-Earth and Europe are not analogous, then consider the piece a profound AU then :) I'm very flexible, haha.
V. ON THE SCALE. Since I was trying to parallel the Lord of the Rings (much lesser, I know, but that was the inspiration), the fic had to feel just as sweeping. The characters absolutely had to go to strange and wonderful places. I wanted the story to feel big—fancy houses, parties, exotic locations, wide seas, storms and world-altering events. It just had to be BIG and intricate. When some of you guys said I was beginning to feel a bit like Dan Brown, I was totally floored because I'm like a gigantic fan of his, and all this fascination with art and history was enriched by his books, so thank you!!!
VI. ON TECHNOLOGY. It's quite a shock, isn't it? Computers, e-mails, cell phones and complicated lattes… I wanted the feeling of technology and modernity infused into the story as kind-of persistent and a bit alien. The experience of the fic is supposed to be as much of a 'walking dream' as seeing old friends in modern incarnations was to Legolas. Once again invoking my favorite style of the medium being the message. Just as Legolas feels that seeing everyone in a modern state is strange, it should feel strange to the reader to sit through a modern-day AU and see 'old friends (i.e., beloved characters)' in modern states as well.
Regarding elves and technology, I always did feel that elves were very forward-thinking. Highly tradition based, of course too, a symbol of older and grander days, yes. But they also knew the best in healing arts, architecture, stuff like that. I considered them to be adaptable, and also quite indulgent (they certainly have the time and resources to). So that's why I figured, living in modern times, they would be well off (I think technically it's called the time value of money. Properly invested dough compounded by the years can yield millions and millions, right? And these guys have lived ages, so I imagined they'd be wealthy, not only by virtue of the stigma related to elves, but also practically speaking from a business point of view), and they'd be surrounded by the best things—fancy homes, cool cars, designer clothes… things like that.
VII. THE CHARACTERS. Okay. So, for those of you who may wonder at why some characters were awakened and why some were not, or have any problems with the depictions, or those who liked the depictions and wondered where they came from, you may want to read this part :)
Character 1: On Anatalia Craxi, and the Gamble of OFC's.
The style's a gamble, the premise is a gamble… but the OFC is likely the biggest gamble of all. I wanted her to be involved, but not intrusive. I wanted her to feel like the reader who is suddenly pushed into the situation—feels a bit left out, a bit uncertain, but still pivotal. So I'm really hoping you liked her even just a bit, or at the very least, I hope you didn't mind her because she's basically a representation of all of us. OFC's are pretty risky. They can really ruin the mood, I think, if not carefully situated. I was very careful with her, I think… I wondered what kind of following my fic would have considering the very, very first chapter made her so important—it was even from her perspective! She is one of the biggest doubts I had in posting For Every Evil. I genuinely worried no one would read my fic because it pretty much began through her eyes. But she kind of just came alive, I guess, and out for the world to judge and see. Please be kind, haha. She's very bold, I think, very daring. I made her out to be almost perfect—wealthy, intelligent, beautiful. But more than anything I wanted to ensure she was 100 modern—a company president, a socialite, and get this—even a divorcee. We're talking about a worldly person who's been around a lot. But the trick is, she's not been around enough, especially compared to her new friends. Once again, the medium being the message, I wanted us to feel like her—you think you know a lot, but you don't. Her function in the story is also always the mover of events; she starts it, after all—she chats up Elladan, she finds Legolas' photographs, they get known by the world because she is hounded by the paprazzi, etc., etc. Once again, the medium is the message—when Elrohir told her anyone there is meant to be there in Chapter 13:
"Everyone here," she replied, "has either lived forever, or lived once before, and have this… this definite place, this great part to play. I'm like… I'm like… this spectator, an accessory, this… this… incidentally-here character. You know, like one of those 'girlfriend' roles in the cinema."
He smiled at her knowingly. "I hate ending up sounding like Gandalf, right? It makes me feel old. But anyone here is meant to be here. Wait and see."
That's like my writing teacher talking about the elements of a story. The presence and existence of everyone and everything must be justified. If a gun's in the first act, there's going to be a body in the third. Anatalia Craxi is the gun, and so along the story 'bodies' or events spurred by her very presence can be spotted.
Character 2: On Legolas, and the Loneliness of Immortality.
Obviously my favorite character! I've often been told that I have this habit of building tales around his ultimate loneliness. I'm irresistibly drawn to this aspect of his fate because most elves seem so calm and complacent. Legolas in contrast is so passionate, he just burns. It's so hard to imagine him suddenly without these ties that make him alive beyond the literal sense of being immortal. I personally had to find a way to reconcile it (as a fan and a thinker), just as the character tries to reconcile it as well. We aren't quite told how he lets go, so I've always guessed; if you've read my fics "Last Stand" and "An Unknown Place," they share the theme except this one is not just an introspective piece, but action and reflection. In For Every Evil, large, epic-like events push him to make choices, to understand his position. And this is a position that brings him to that resolve in the Epilogue:
"I have a feeling…" the Mirkwood Prince hesitated, "I have a feeling I have to learn this… this crazy release business. A more definitive goodbye, of sorts. One I've never made, before." The more he spoke of it the more it was beginning to make sense, "I have to leave while there are things that still bind me, Haldir. I have to cease this madness, of departing only when there is nothing left, as if I was fleeing, as if my hand was forced. Because I will always be left behind, I know that too well, and for so long I've seen myself as a mere pawn of the fates, as if this life was an injustice, and it lends no sense or credence to my freedom, my choices. I have to learn to make my own goodbyes. I have to know that I can depart. Because I must."
I think it's just tragic to leave when everyone's dead. That's because you have no choice at all to make. This is arguable, of course, and it's just my personal opinion, but you know what they say. Sometimes strength lies in letting go, rather than in holding on.
Character 3: On Aragorn and the 'Death' of Adrian Aarons.
I have this initially inexplicable sadness over the 'vanishing' of Adrian Aarons. Don't get me wrong, I love Aragorn to pieces, but the doctor was growing on me. Ultimately though, It's the loss of innocence, I guess, even if we emerge more knowledgeable as people, its loss is always naturally coupled with some regret. This is why the hobbits' return to the Shire was also very pensive in the movie. Or why people in everyday life look to childhood with a really poignant mix of joy and sadness. I know he lives in Aragorn, just as Strider, Estel and any other incarnation of the Raqnger does. But the feeling of regret was so potent that for awhile I was contemplating shocking you all and never reawakening Aragorn.
The first version of the story was that Adrian Aarons was not awakened by the encounter with Anduril and he just pretends to be Aragorn to assure everyone, especially after Legolas was made out of commission because of his injury. And then he confesses in the end, or Legolas has guessed and known all along but let him do as he pleased anyway. Remaining as Adrian Aarons therefore still would have been heroic, and of course we all know he wouldn't have been less-loved. But then, to skip Aragorn entirely was also… not quite right. He was a pivotal figure in the Lord of the Rings and it wouldn't have been as just a parallel to the original tale without him. And I suppose I wanted to give him back to lonely Legolas too, and his brothers. Anyway, my attachment to Adrian Aarons is likely why Eowyn was just as faithful to that aspect of him, why Aragorn assures her that Adrian Aarons was never lost, in Chapter 28:
The Shieldmaiden of Rohan knew the very breath their eyes met that Aragorn was at last restored to them. She felt a measure of sadness, for the 'loss' of the Adrian Aarons who feared he wasn't quite enough to the task. But Aragorn was always assuring to her, and they needed all the assurance they could get since the role previously played by Legolas was for now vacant with the elf's injuries.
Aragorn murmured in Elvish to Elrohir and Gandalf as he gave them quick embraces. His eyes were heavier set and a bit lonelier, but calmly determined as always. His strides were broader, his presence more remarkable. He emanated power and wisdom, even in his faded jeans and loose sweatshirt beneath a distressed leather coat. In him the worlds have crashed together, and things ought to move faster now…
"Eowyn," Aragorn greeted her, "How do you fare?"
"Welcome back," she said to him with a smile, "I am fine. How are you, Adrian?"
He smiled a bit, endeared that she would insist upon the more troubled doctor's name. "I am still alive," he said wryly, "I am all of myself all at once, in here."
And why Legolas was always a bit regretful of always pushing Aragorn (In Chapter 27), and why he and Aragorn had to have that heart-to-heart about him in the end in Chapter 39:
The mention of the doctor's name dulled the elf's humor a little. His eyes dimmed, and Aragorn caught it easily.
"I'm all of us all at once," Aragorn assured him.
"But I cannot help think as if some part of you died," Legolas said, "Adrian Aarons' cares were less, you see. He is like… you, without all of the… the crueler history, the grander responsibility."
"You forget," Aragorn smiled, "It was a glorious, beautiful and loving history too, my friend. You take the good with the bad. You've given me a gift in seeking me, in wishing for my recollections."
"You have to leave soon," Legolas said quietly, "And we might both perish this night. But you have to know… if you had stayed as Adrian Aarons, if you simply loathed me and regarded me only as the shatterer of your life's peace… even if you did not awaken, I'd still have given my life for you. Always. You'll never change it. I'd never have loved you any less, brother."
"I know," Aragorn said jauntily, then smiled as he gently added, "That is why I'm here."
Truthfully though, it still felt like Adrian Aarons died or something, like I killed him off, and that can be tough for a writer because in a great sense, he was an original character too. This is also why I've made Legolas to have regrets that are very similar to my own, and why I felt it imperative for Aragorn to assure us that the awakening was for the best, and that Adrian Aarons is not dead inside. Curious irony, though, is that Legolas (and myself as a writer and maybe some of you readers as well) so desperately wanted Aragorn awakened, and then felt some regrets over the consequent loss of Adrian. Well, there are always costs, after all.
Character 4: On Emmett Rigare, the Evolution of Eomer, and Why Some Characters Remained 'Asleep'
Emmett Rigare was not always so debonaire. The first version of the reincarnation of Eomer of Rohan, was actually the ringleader of a gang of Harley-riding men called the Roadhogs! I figured, those brash boys from Rohan as modern knights with big, bad horsepower seemed sound.
It sounds quirky, doesn't it? And such a leap from Emmett Rigare, heir to a multinational company! The first version of FEE, after all, was not even meant to have Grima Wormtongue as the bad guy. By the time the story was truly coming to shape (and I regard this as the time when there is a truly discernable villain with a truly discernable cause), it made little sense to create the Roadhogs, and so a just-as brash Eomer makes his way into the story into fiery, modern royalty with his multinational company.
One of the things that you may have found a bit odd is that I never quite 'woke up' Eomer within Emmett Rigare. Recall that in Chapter 25, the rules of awakening was detailed by Elladan:
"But why can I not recall?" Adrian asked, "Fred remembered at the touch of one whom he loved. Even that blasted Wormtongue remembered. I cannot believe I would not recall my brothers, my dearest friends…"
"I've been contemplating this myself," admitted Elladan, "And I believe I have some measure of an answer. There are some constants in life, things you get so used to, that are always available to you that you do not think about them. Friends, perhaps. Love, family. Food, even. Not to say you take them for granted, just that they've always been there, yes?"
"Yes," Adrian replied, not quite certain where this was going.
"Let me tell you something about Faramir of Gondor," said Elladan, "Or Fred, if you should insist. He knew not much love in life. He knew duty, and brotherhood, and responsibility. Very little of love. A brother, yes, but one that was lost only too early. Constants, remember? And then he meets Eowyn, and she opens for him a wondrous world, and he could love and be loved more than he thought possible. A sudden change, a twist, an epiphany, an awakening, wouldn't you say?"
"I guess I would," Adrian said.
"And then let me tell you about Grima Wormtongue," continued Elladan, "He's known servitude all his miserable life. It was rife with impotent ambition, desperate betrayal, ultimate rejection. And then he awakens to himself and kills his own master. Once again, constants, and awakening. Any life is filled with this. See: Fred goes to Messina and touches one who had awakened him from an old life long ago, and once again he receives an epiphany. As for Wormtongue, I can only guess. Remember Emmett said he changed after a discovery in the U.K.? Roundabout there is where he killed his master long ago, and where he himself was killed. An awakening in the past, parallel to an awakening now."
"What about me?" Adrian asked, "And Brad? And Emmett? Even the hacker?"
"I have to think about the others," said Elladan, "But you… you've always had love and friendship in your life. Family, brothers, laughter, mischief… These are your constants. But there was one great awakening for you in the past. Then as now, we all knew who you were even if you did not know it yourself. You were born a king, born to lead, and born to serve. You woke to a duty destined. And a victory only yours to take, if you chose to. As now, if you choose to."
The Awakening Rule then is simple: drastic change that jolts you and shatters all the things you thought you knew, breaks the barriers of how you understood the world. Faramir's, Eowyn's, Wormtongue's and Aragorn's awakenings were detailed in the quote above. For Boromir, it can be deduced that he was beginning to remember in Chapter 31:
I've never been looked upon with such distrust and fear.
The experience was theoretically new, but it felt so hurtfully familiar, so greatly overwhelming and brutally heartbreaking, that Brad figured Boromir of Gondor must be stirring awake within him somewhere, because Brad of L.A. was not quite raised knowing such earth-shattering devastation.
Boromir was a son of Gondor, her hero, her hope. And then to be looked upon with distrust and fear was an awakening of what demons might have been inside him. So this is another example of constants and an awakening. Another awakening comes with the realization of his own death, as was detailed in in Chapter 37:
Brad stared at the staunchly determined elf. The wound was burning, it was filling him with coldness and emptying him of himself. It was not a new feeling. Boromir was coming back and ironically, he was returning toward death.
But not to die, he thought determinedly, Boromir did not return simply to die…
He returned, at last, to live.
For immortal, impervious Haldir, the process of Awakening was not quite addressed. Aside from the fact that I was a bit unsure how to go about it, I also decided to use the medium as the message again. This is the cool guy who never lets on much about himself. And so he surprises us all, as he surprised Legolas in Chapter 30:
Goran, Anatalia and Legolas stood about each other uncertainly, as the impervious Harding fixed his tie in front of the mirror.
"Don't worry," the Interpol agent said to them distractedly, making Legolas smile a bit. Harding finished with a flourish and stepped toward the door. Goran followed before clasping Legolas' arm in reassurance.
"Arrogant Agent's right," Goran said, "This is going to be a breeze. Just don't mess up my files."
"I'll try," Legolas said wryly, "Be safe, evellon."
Goran smiled at him wistfully, his heart knowing exactly what the strange word meant, just as Harding stopped before the door and turned toward Legolas with a magical, familiar gleam in his eye.
"Long ago," Haldir said to the prince, "we fought and died together. I am proud to fight alongside you once more."
The troublemaker threw the stunned Mirkwood elf a jaunty look before he stepped out of the room and shut the door behind him.
But before that, you may have spotted some signs of him referring to Goran as a 'dwarf,' with some emerging biases of the elven kind. But the excerpt above shows he's already remembered. One rule I established in writing this story is that when I detail action, generally a character is referred to not by his true name but by his reincarnation's name until he's remembered himself. For example, note that Emmett has always been Emmett throughout the story, except when his friends call him by Eomer.
A few other vital awakenings were in Pippin, who in LOTR learned real grief and a tearing from innocence with the fall of Gandalf, parallelized in FEE's chapter 36:
The sight stirred in him a strange… memory of a dream, he decided, for there seemed no appropriate term. The sight was nightmarish in quality, a story he's heard of, a tale he knew, a tragedy close to his heart, but something he's never actually seen unfold before his eyes such that his mind oft conjured up all sorts of strange versions and the version this night must have been just one amongst many he's imagined ages ago.
Except it's real…
The old man's body fell as if it fell forever.
It's like a dream, and it's like a memory, but it's not my dream and it's not my memory…
"Gandaaalf!" Peregrin Took exclaimed, his scream slicing across the the stormy night, slicing through across ages of memories, slicing across time, and space, and all the knowing and unknowing of his mind and body.
Peregrin Took was awakened in 2004 with the same pain that showed him in the 3rd age that truly, bitterly, inescapably, even a small hobbit of little renown, little ambition, little cares, was to have his slice of the great tragedies of the world.
And then of course, there was Frodo, who was awakening to the greatness of his responsibilities. In Chapter 38:
Finn Baggins, uneasily settled in the backseat next to Sam, was staring at his face from the rearview mirror. He was always very perceptive. People were getting hurt. People were likely dying. All for this silly, little thing…
"I wish the Ring had never come to me," he said suddenly, slicing across the palpable silence.
Elladan glanced up at him from the rearview mirror. He knew that after all these ages, his eyes were setting upon some fragment of Frodo Baggins once again.
No one in the car corrected Frodo, or considered the reference to a ring as a confused mistake. Perhaps Sam and Sean found it trivial. Or perhaps, somewhere deep in their own minds, in their old spirits, they knew that in speaking of the Ring, they were also speaking of the Ankh.
And again in Chapter 38:
They heeded their elven friend's warning, and looked upon each other uncertainly. The perceptive Finn Baggins was staring at his companions with his wide penetrating eyes. The grave expressions on the faces of the older ones, those who knew what was happening, was stirring something in him that he vaguely felt he'd rather keep silent and asleep.
He was feeling strangely responsible, strangely guilty. He turned to Elladan pleadingly, wanting to know what was happening.
"They are holding all of our friends captive," said Elladan quietly, "They are looking for the Ankh."
"Which I now hold in my possession," Finn said softly. He fingered the artifact in his coat pocket, thoughtful. He considered handing it to the others, they seemed more knowledgeable of the situation than himself. But for some reason they let it stay with him wordlessly, and he remembered what Brad said to him earlier this night about the story of the Ring. Another artifact that they let stay in his hands, trusting him to…
"It must be destroyed," he said softly, "By me."
And lastly in Chapter 39:
"What in the world are you doing?" Sam whispered urgently, and Finn made placating gestures at him, imploring him to calm down, not wanting to alert the others in the adjoining room of what he was doing.
But there was never any secrets from elven ears. Finn's eyes drifted up behind Sam, and there stood the twins, looking at him with burning eyes, as if they did not quite know what to do with him.
"Let me do this," said Finn, "If I can't find a way, no one can."
Elrohir winced. He's heard about that. Funny that it was grandmamma who once said that to the hobbit, and it was now the hobbit whi was saying this to the elves.
"The Lord and the Lady," said Finn, a bit panicky, as he was confused for it seemed that Frodo was fighting his way through memory; the Rivendell twins were certain he was referring to their father Lord Elrond and their grandmother the Lady Galadriel, "They remind me of you, and they trusted me, they all did. I need you to trust me too."
A much-awaited Awakening in Jimmy Goran may have been perceived as a tad bit late, for I know it was looked for constantly and came only toward the end, in Chapter 40:
Jimmy Goran stood by the door. The man was deeply asleep, it seemed, his back to the hacker rising and falling. The sight was strangely warming, and though the dwarf felt he should sleep in the empty bedroom instead and leave this room of Aragorn's for Legolas to share for when the elf returns later, he could not leave either. At first it was in want of that warmth, the man's assuring sight before him. And then he realized he also wanted to one-up the elf for some reason…
…Jimmy Goran listened because he couldn't stand not to. The voices were comforting. These are voices his heart knew.
He was profoundly weary, but now he could not seem to find the heart to sleep, for he was excited too. Fire was coursing through his veins, warming him, and warning him that Gimli Son of Gloin was going to burst forth from him at any time now. It was good to be with old friends. It was invigorating.
He kept his eyes open and his mind awake, as those two voices permeated memory after memory that danced across his thinking. He wanted to be awake, he wanted to feel that exact moment when all that he knew, all of himself was reclaimed and at last complete, as complete as he felt long ago, blazing through life side by side with a friend…
Gimli was coming back. And he knew he was himself again and at last, when he felt his heart hammer with excitement at the prospect of looming over the elf when Legolas wakes up, and greeting him good morning just before he says, Ha! Look it here, lad. I'm taller than you.
The reason for the delay can be simple; as surely as writers are moved my instinct and inspiration, I simply found no need to awaken him any sooner. Upon deeper reflection though, I guess I pictured that quasi-criminal Jimmy Goran the Hacker was a bit of a recluse; untrusting, with no real friends. I did not want to just 'push' him or force him into relationships simply by virtue of the recollections of Gimli. I wanted Goran to find friends, and then in finding friends, to find himself. Of course, he'd awaken to a moment amongst the Three Hunters, and have bits and pieces of recollections because of Legolas, as in Chapter 29 and he sees Legolas' mournful face and remembers seeing it before.
Another reason for the delay of his recollections is that he's been hanging around Haldir instead of the Mirkwood Prince. He was magnetizing to a bit of a challenge, the antagonism of Haldir, just as he was first drawn to Legolas in LOTR… which he did not find in Legolas of FEE, because by then, the elf had more caring for him by virtue of their history together. This was recognized by Haldir in Chapter 38:
"I'm going with you," Goran said flatly, booking no arguments.
Haldir glanced at him with a bit of a smirk.
"You have a bit of an affinity for elves, Mr. Goran," said Haldir, "When you come back to yourself, however, you'll find you've been mistaking me for some other blond, pompous fellow."
But the definitive moments were of course, in Chapter 40.
So now that I've reiterated the ground rules concerning awakening, why were certain characters never fully and definitively awakened?
For Eomer, I thought that his Awakening would have had something to do with either bitter exile or someone's death. The latter did not happen in FEE, even though there was a schism between him and his uncle, because he was never really torn from Rohan or his family, seeing as Eowyn was with him. As for the death part, it felt a bit of reaching to have Theoden die because he wasn't in the fic long enough or vitally enough for the passing of so-beloved a character to have any true impact. So I passed on it, and decided the Awakening was not necessary, for even though Eomer remained asleep within him, Emmett still shared the same loves anyway.
The same is the case for Sam. In LOTR, that love of friend has always been constant, and particularly characteristic of him. He never wavered. So I found no need for an awakening in Sam.
As for Merry, I'm sorry to the Merry fans out there but I guess he was not quite so pivotal in this story, which made his Awakening not so much of an important plot point. As I said, everything in the story had to have a justified place, and because the story is complex already, I decided to be economical and not try to force certain events that I did not feel was truly necessary.
Lastly, there was Bob/Bilbo, Dean/Deagol and Sean/Smeagol. I never really stirred them awake, because I never really completely brought them into that darkness that they knew in LOTR that was so life-changing that it would have made an Awakening then and now. Deagol stayed alive, Smeagol betrayed but never killed, and Bob Baggins never had the regret of passing the Ring onto Frodo. So that is why I basically let them be.
Character 5: On the Irrepressible Haldir.
Haldir is like my sweet tooth. In truth, we did not see all that much of this character in the movies, but he is just well-loved for some reason I've yet to discover :) I only know that I myself am guilty of this affection.
So. Haldir in Interpol, how did that happen. The original version of For Every Evil didn't even have Haldir in it, and no Agent at all. It's funny how he kind of just literally and figuratively appeared at the door, and how the Agent character turned out to be very well-connected and vital to how the story unfolded.
Handsome, aloof, efficient Haldir is in afterthought as close to some 007 supercop as LOTR can get, I suppose, alongside Legolas. But of course, the Mirkwood elf is more 'accessible.' It was truly enjoyable for me, to try and make this really very dry, secular Haldir in Agent Horace Harding. I hope the character was both likeable and familiar (i.e. not such a leap from how he is perceived).
The question, I suppose, is why he's somehow been turned into a human, for it does indeed break some pretty vital rules. And the answer, I guess, is that I have no answer. This same issue is addressed in the end, in the Epilogue:
"I wonder, yes," replied the ex-elf, "But I find I cannot question. Or at least, I cannot question in anger, or as if I knew a better way. I dare not, for I can only question living once again as a human if I can question why I once was an elf. There is no questioning to be made, because there are no answers to be had. We appear in whatever way the gods make us, and the gods make us how the world needs us. Or how we need to be. This is as true for myself, as surely as it is for you and all whom we know."
"Well," Legolas hesitated, "Does it not make you feel any… any…"
"Less?" Haldir finished for him with a laugh, "You bigot."
"I was seeking another word," Legolas retorted primly.
"I bet," said Haldir, indulging him, "Mellon-nin, truly, how much does it matter where we are, what we are, who we are with, as long as we are happy? I have a feeling I found something here."
I was not shy over some vagueness, the fact that there will be some things left unanswered. The fic is actually a whole lot of questions. Primarily, the WHAT IF which can be seen in the ideas regarding not only the AU timeline, but also the possibilities of second chances. And then Horace Harding of Interpol somehow came alive, and it's simply another What if in a story that was based precisely on that question.
Other questions, are of course if you noted, more philosophical ones that question the relevance of Choice and the force of Destiny. Can we change our path? In Aragorn's case, it seemed like he couldn't because he made the same choice as before. And in the cases of Bob Baggins and the Malcolm cousins, they were unknowingly traveling the same destructive path. But then here we have a living Boromir, an Eomer that does not awaken, a Frodo who tosses away the 'Ring.' All this, once again, points to an open-ended question that leaves you, the readers, to ponder yourselves.
Character 6: On the Much Beloved Gimli.
I knew from the very start of FEE that there would be hackers, forgers, etc. to legitimize the place of the immortal elves in the modern, beurocratic world. What I did not know was that along the length of the story, this would turn out to be Gimli.
It just struck, suddenly, and the wordplay of 'hacker' pertaining to an axe-bearing dwarf was more an accident that I noticed, rather than intentionally pursued!
Characters 7 and 8: On the Twin Sons of Elrond.
Ah, I feel like I've known these guys more from fanfiction and personal resulting imagination than from any other Tolkien source. Onbe of the reasons why fanfiction is so dear to my heart, they just widen your world, don't they?
So, Elladan. For some reason I make him out to be the straighter arrow. Maybe it's the calm of that name. Anyway, it stuck, and you'll see in my fics that this is generally how I depict him.
Elrohir was just a joy to write. You may have noticed just how much fun I had tossing him in crazy situations, giving him the quirkiest lines. If I should write the sequels though, the part he plays will be a bit darker, the choices he'll make will be harder and greater.
I have great love for this pair of characters, and whether or not you guys agree with the depiction, I hope that at least you'll see my effort, and my respect for them.
Character 9: On Grima Wormtongue and Philosophy.
As I said, FEE is a story of more questions than answers. I tried to put myself in that villain place, and I guess I found that it wasn't that he was evil… it was just that he was brokenm and misled. Once again echoing the sentiments of the Eowyn that I wrote, in chapter 40:
There was no excuse for villainy, there never was. But the helpless feeling was no stranger to her, that thrownness, the absurdity. Perhaps… perhaps one life is not enough to understand it all.
I know I made him out to be despicable, but I hope he did not lose that human, realistic face either.
On the Characters You Might Have Been Looking For.
Inescapably, we have to bring up the subject of Arwen Undomiel. The Evenstar, Elessar's battlecry and lady love was a pointedly absent character. She's never really had a place in my fics (as those of you who've read my works may have noticed). I have this strange feeling that I don't know her quite well. She's like, the Appendix to the story, and at the same time still quite loved. She is actually one of the main reasons why I'm seriously pondering on working on a sequel. I already have her reincarnation, and it may or may not come as a surprise to all of you. Anyway, I'll talk about this more in my notes concerning the sequel. Also, expect Lord Elrond and a few more beloved elves appearing in the coming installations. I suppose the only reason they were not in For Every Evil is because I couldn't come up with a very vital place for them. I try to be economical; the story is complex enough, without me having to 'force' characters into a fic just because I feel 'they have to be there' when I cannot yet think of a real purpose for them. As I said, if there's a gun in the first scene, there's a body in the next. Everyone has to have a place, and I hope I managed to show that each of the characters placed in For Every Evil had something to do with the bigger picture.
VIII. THE FOR EVERY EVIL TRILOGY. It's too soon to say if these will ever even come out, but the basic plot is certainly in existence already. I want to branch out a bit into other fandoms for awhile (specifically the strangely entrancing King Arthur), and for those of you who've been following my writing, I have plans and then something else comes before them suddenly, when I get inspired by something else. Besides, For Every Evil has a pretty good reception so far, it's kind of scary to release a pair of follow-ups that may not be as good (I say a pair, because you know I have a compulsion; I can't end with one and two, it has to be a round three).
Anyway, FOR EVERY EVIL 2, presently untitled, is going to be drasticaslly modern. I look to For Every Evil 1 as a bit of a transition from the original LOTR to the modern AU. It's style, the parallelisms and themes, were all geared toward helping the reader make a comfortable shift from seeing beloved characters in older times to seeing them in modern day. Once that is established, I feel more comfortable going into second gear—a really modern piece with really modern themes.
For Every Evil 2 is going to tackle bioterrorism. An artificially engineered epidemic hits the hospital where Adrian Aarons (Aragorn) works, and everyone inside is quarantined. This means we'll be seeing Brad (Boromir) and Fred (Faramir) at work with Aragorn. We'll also see an outpatient who was incidentally at the wrong place at the wrong time (or the right one?)-- Arianne Underhill, a movie star, and also incidentally the reincarnation of the Evenstar (I figured, modern 'royalty'). We'll see romance and medical drama in the hospital. Outside it, we'll see action and mystery with Leland Greene (Legolas) hard at work trailing a suspect and working with Horace Harding (Haldir) of Interpol, and the agency's rawest recruit, Jimmy Goran (Gimli). Far from L.A. and in Europe, we'll see a few more elves have come from Valinor to go to a wedding: Anatalia Craxi now has to meet the parents of fiancée Elladan, as he has to sort out his differences with her protective father Marcelo. I also liked the idea of tossing this renewed conflict on Elrond, about the immortal child loving a human, so the topic will be revisited.
For Every Evil 3 is a story of 'going back,' as a closing to the trilogy. After a horrendous accident on the job, Leland Greene's life hangs in the balance, and the identity of Legolas Greenleaf is at last made known to the world when his fading body requires a transfusion from one with like blood: the blood of the elves. Elladan and Elrohir must now make the choice of whether or not to reveal themselves and save their friend, a much harder choice for Elladan now that he has a family and risks their safety also. Rafe Montes, Leland Greene's partner, must now struggle to make the choice of where his heart truly lies, as he ponders spiriting his friend away, or following his orders. As it becomes clearer and clearer that the elves left in the earth must flee its circles once again as they are hunted and hounded, the Fellowship reunites for a daring rescue and escape.
If you've read my other 'big' trilogy, the Exile Trilogy, the final installment "Return" also ends with basically where the story began. As is the case in FEE 1, where the last scene mirrors the first, and where the trilogy, if it should ever come into fruition, will be similarly structured. This is because I look upon a journey like an oddessy. There has to be a return, and though the place is the same, the person looks at it now in a different way. That is why FEE3 will ultimately bring our characters back to Valinor, from where Legolas came from at the start of FEE.
A very important note, though. These are just plots and well, I always have plots. This means that I make no promises in their completion. I put them down here so that I won't forget about them, and for those of you who are very much interested in the timeline to have an idea of where and how far FEE can go. But this is by no means a promise.
There are various reasons for this:
First, For Every Evil turned out to be a much bigger tale than I thought it would be—almost 300 pages in MSWord, and very expansive. I do not yet feel that my sequels could have the same grandiose scale, and I do not feel right about a trilogy wherein the succeeding installments do not meet the quality of the first, or feel as large because it would then feel disjointed and misplaced. I do not want to disappoint readers, and ultimately myself, if I come up with a piece that does not have the same standard.
Secondly, because I will ultimately try and make the sequels feel as 'large' as the first, it will take a lot of time and effort I likely do not have.
Thirdly, I've also been wanting to expand to other fandoms and its like an itch that won't stop until I've tried it out, as in all my ventures in all these years.
So there. No promises guys, and please don't be mad, haha-- I hope you know by now that always and inalienably, I do try my best in whatever piece I release.
IX. MASSIVE THANKS AND REPLIES
guys, I hope I didn't miss anyone because this fic never would have been made or finished without your help and inspiration. You're all here, I think, and in alphabetical order too :) If you aren't, tell me because I'll make the necessary corrections—I do want to thank you and thank you just so much. I can't say it enough. I know we're all pressed for time, and I thank you so much for sharing some of yours with me. I'm forever grateful and I really hope it all turned out to your liking and enjoyment. Love always. THANKS TO ALL WHO READ AND ALL WHO READ AND REVIEWED!!!
Ainu Laire, Aislynn Crowdaughter,Alatariel Narmolanya, Aldariel, Aldaron's Nahar, Alexis Revenlockes, Amlee, Ammerz, Amy, Ana, Angelhereal, Anita H ,Anne, Anya,
Aranna Undomiel – I hope it somehow turned out to your liking :) thank you for taking the time, I know you were very tentative at the start :)
Arayelle Lynn, Artemis, Astievia, Athena Odessa, Azalaire, Bakuscrazdfangrl, Barbara Kennedy, Benign Sadist, Beregond, Bill-the-Pony, Celias 23 ,Chica, Child of the Golden Leaves, Chris/Unplugged 32, Cold Like Fire,
Cosmic Castaway – oh, yes, Legolas would make for a hot cop, wouldn't he? haha
Cotume- Anatalia's name came from a woman I met while in line, can you believe it? She was just a wonderful person, with a wonderful name and so I decided, why not? :)
Crecy, crimsonskye, Dagni, Darlin'DarlaDawq, dd9736 ,Deana, Delphine Pryde, Dogmartix, Dora, Dragonfly, Dragonfly32 ,Eathiln, Eile Igen Briain, Elessar-Lover, Elfchic02, Elliroc ,Elrohir Lover,
ElvenEyes – haha, I don't do government work; I'm a college student. But if you read Bilbo's speech in chapter 31, I'm like that—dreamy eyes and books and movies. I also have a passion for history and knowledge, and in writing, I also value research.
ElvenKitten, ElvenRanger 13 ,ElvenSailorGirl, Emma Laraliean ,Emily, Emily V, Emma Lara Liean, Erin/Sangfroid, EverKitsune ,FacetedMind, Fellace ,Freak Moister ,Frodofreak88 ,Frozen Flare, Gissela,
Grecian – oh I'm so glad you liked Anatalia. OFC's are a gamble, they always make me nervous!
Grumpy, Gwyn, Hanyou Demonness, Happy Yaoi Lover 2, Hermes09, hi, u dont no mi ,Hobbit Killer, hyper-health-critic, Ice Dragoness 1, Idle Mind ,Ilirium, Immortalwizardpirateelf-fan, InkaCajo, Irish Anor,
Ithiliel silverquill – wow, thank you! I'm so happy I managed to get you to stick through all my craziness, as wary as you were at the start. Thank you so much :)
Jedi Cosmos – Ah, yes, Arwen. The great question… I guess its strange to have an adventure without her but I wasn't quite certain how to fit in her conflict into the story. The fic was a gamble enough, but I put it out because I was at least certain of the general direction. She did not make her way into the 'cut' because I thought it would be more of an injustice to have her hovering about with my uncertainty, and that's why she is not there, though her presence is ultimately promised (in Aragorn's future) too. See my note in the afterword for more on this topic. It's at VIII CHARACTERS.
Joee1 – haha, if I can live on writing and making people excited and happy, I would (even without your caffeine bribe)! I'm just real pleased you're all so receptive. I'll try and do the sequels but I'm not all that sure about them. We'll see :)
Jule, Juno Magic, Just Another stupid idiot, K, Karone Evertree, Kasmi Kassim ,Keeperspaz15,
Kirsten – you can translate it if you want. I'm actually quite honored that you would want to. My policies with regard to this have always been that as long as there is proper credit (to me and to you, of course, for translating), and it reaches more people, it thrills me :)
Kirsten Z ,Kit Cloudkicker, K'lara7,
Knight Kenobi of Eryn Lasgalen – You asked me about Legolas' looks very early in the fic and I guess I was vague because I was unsure. We love the long hair, we all do. But then how's it to fit in the timeline? This is why I was very much not keen on the description of his look, so as the reader can imagine exactly how he/she wants the elf to look right at the onset, and it's one less thing to try and absorb; the genre is a leap as it is, I did not want to make in anymore alienating by injecting my own version which may or may not be what is most acceptable :)
Koriaena, Kuro Kyoko ,Lackwit ,Lady Eleclya, Lady Isowen ,Lady Laswen ,Lady Lenna, Lady Lunas,
Lady of the Twilight Woods – actually I'd love to refer to the twins' profession as 'idle rich' but I know there's more to it than that. Money grows in banks, compounded by the years. So whatever they put in as principal, it grows by interest. If the principal is big enough, and therefore the interest is big enough each year, they can live on the interest alone and never have to touch the principal at all. So they'll always have money (especially since they're so old that all that money would have grown so much over the years). But they spend their time managing an estate too, and ironically, they have so much that their work is managing their investments and savings. So that's what they do :) I think Elladan talks about this in Chapter 4 to Anatalia and Elrohir talks about this to Legolas in Chapter 7 and it's also in my Afterword in the section entitled TECHNOLOGY.
Lady Readalot, LadyDeb 1970, Laebeth, Laer 4572, Landorie Lani Leap, Lil'layah
Linaeve – well, no more elves than the twins of Elrond, their servants and Legolas. I guess you can count Haldir too, haha. I hope it still turned out all right though :) More elves will come in the sequels if I should ever write them. The plots are in the Afterword.
Lisette – ah yes, why is Haldir a man? It's a bit of an irresistible plot point to me, much as the writing of a genre that up to now I've strayed away from was something irresistible suddenly. I always say that every single element of a story must have a reason, must justify their place. An Interpol agent is justified along the course and I guess the archetype fit my impression of Haldir. Because he is generally perceived to have died (going by the movie), I wondered how I'd put him in the story considering I'm a fan of the character. So what I did was to merge the agent with the much-beloved character. The agent was almost just incidentally human, and truly I can't think of a rationale because while I insist on order, I also understand the occasional thrownness of inspiration. I guess this was why the same question was tackled in the epilogue. My afterword, and generally everything near to the end of my fics are always a point of reflection—where this came from, why this was there, et cetera. And that's why the epilogue tackled the same question and had the same answer—simply put, I don't know, haha. The idea was appealing at the time, and I guess I'm learning that I don't mind the occasional ambiguity. The story is, after all, open-ended when it came down to the questions of destiny, resurrection, what the gods really wanted of them, where will they all go now, et cetera.
Little Me, Littleneko, Lolly pop 3, Lost, LOTRFAith, Lukeyoung,
Lulu Belle – welcome back! And I don't know where my ideas come from either, haha.
Manders1953, Mariko, Morwen, Mischakitsune ,MSL ,Mystic 23, Mystic Catface ,Narwen, Almiriel,
Newmoon- actually I never read "Brothers in Arms." I think quite some time ago, I stumbled upon it and bookmarked it to read, but I never got to all of it—you know how it goes, time constraints and stuff. But since you pointed it out, I checked it out again and am intrigued. I hope I'll find the time to really get into that because I'm curious to see how others recreate the modern LOTR concept too :) thank you!
Nikki1 – haha, the technological stuff was a big gamble, but as you'll read in my notes, it's really like a huge part of the style and feel that I'm trying to evoke for the story. I'm glad you like the whole phone-stuff :)
Ningwen ,Obsydia, Orchi, Orlandochick05 ,Pethron ,Phoenix Golden Fire, Phydothis,
Platy – ah, yes, Dan Brown. I love him to pieces and I guess you can say he's a major influence in this line of storytelling to me, although there have been some lesser-known influences like him in my writing, he's the one who really got me thinking in all sorts of directions. I'm flattered you'd think of him in relation to my effort.
Prettyfoot, Princess of Legends ,Psycho Elf,
Ptath – I'm sorry, no Arwen or Elrond. The idea is tempting though, hence the possibility of the sequels in my Afterword. I'm unsure though :)
Purple Rose 44 ,Quiet Infinity,
Rae132 – I'm so sorry for all the confusion! I don't know how to remedy it, I just hope you don't feel like I wasted your time! :)
RandomInsanePersonW/Explosives, Rasha, Reader, Red Minerva ,Reion, Rikkali, Rougish Smile, Sabrina ,Sailor Elf, Sareh/Aldaron's Nahar, Sesshyangel, Setrinan,
ShadowHeart6 – haha, a fellow Starbucks aficionado!
Sharon ,Silvertongue ,Sky ,Sorry u don't no mi ,
Specialfeel – I'm sure you found this story pretty wild, along the course of it. I just hope it turned out okay :)
Starcat1, Starlit Hope ,
Starlit Jewel – The hobbits are the normal size of young men. I considered making them smaller, but I wanted to make them less eye-catching in an age when they aren't so common. By the way, belated happy birthday to you!
Stoneage Woman – I hope you know that you're highly instrumental in my efforts to improve. I don't correct the fics that I've already posted, I'm sure you've noticed this, I just don't have the time. But your work is never in vain, for all the knowledge I've picked up from you always makes iyself known in the next project. Really, I'm sure you can trace the improvement of the quality of my pieces from when you started to point out my errors. Thanks always for taking the time :)
Templa Otmena – oh yes, the story was a wild, wild risk for me. I was just really terrified. It's been hanging around in my computer for awhile before I decided 'what the heck,' who knows… I'm a fan of fanfiction and if it works for me, it just might work for somebody else. And then For Every Evil made its debut. Thanks for the time and the trust :)
The Archer 777 ,
The Cheese Turkey – haha, I do think of it as a movie too, in a sense. When I write big stories like this, I know that movie-scope is how it should feel. I really work on that 'big' feeling (as you'll see in my afterword in the part entitled the SCALE) so I'm really happy you see it :)
The Penumbra, Tina ,Tineryn, Tinlaure ,Tinnuial ,Trill, Trouble Maker Queen ,Tsurugi-Chan ,
Tychen – haha, I'm not surprised you don't quite have a liking for my OFC… they're always a gamble. I just hope you didn't find her too intrusive to the story. Also, there are no orcs… even if they'd likely fit the modern setting best of all, haha.
Vicki Turner – thanks so much for giving it a try; I was very wary of venturing into this genre myself, actually :) glad you liked it!
WeasleyTwinsLover1112, Yavannie Leaves, Yavie Aelinel ,You Never Know ,Young Storyteller and Z21
THANKS SO SO MUCH AND I HOPE FEE DIDN't DISAPPOINT! 'Til our next adventure :)