Comparison of Contrast|
Summary: King Elessar attends a wedding and thinks pensive thoughts.
Many thanks to my beta for her speedy efforts!
“It is a happy occasion!” Elessar reminded himself.
At least, that it what weddings were meant to be, and, as he looked out upon the radiant couple, he had no reason to doubt this union would be a joyous one. They loved one another! One need only observe the way their eyes lit up when they looked upon each other to comprehend the truth of their love. Yet, Elessar found himself in a pensive mood as the proceedings began.
“He is a child of the plains,” he mused, glancing at Éomer – the young groom seemed fit to burst with radiant joy. “And she,” Elessar noted, shifting his gaze to Lothiriel, “is a child of the sea. Grass and earth and thundering hooves flow in his blood; sand and sea and thundering waves, in hers. They are opposites in so many ways…”
It was then that the realization struck, and he comprehended the source of his melancholy. “They are opposites, indeed, much like that union so long ago…”
His mind drifted back to the days when he used the name Thorongil. He had witnessed another wedding, then, of another daughter of the sea. “Lothiriel is very like her aunt,” he mused under his breath.
Finduilas! He smiled at the memory of her. She was beautiful! Though none could truly compare to his queen, he recollected that she was very like Arwen in appearance – “but perhaps the memory has become corrupted over time,” he reminded himself. He closed his eyes and let his mind drift back to that day.
His heart has ached for the young beauty as she approached her bridegroom. Finduilas had agreed freely to the union, and Denethor truly did love her, in his way – but Thorongil could not help but wonder if Denethor’s way of loving would be enough to satisfy this gentle heart about to bind herself to him.
“He is a good man,” Thorongil reminded himself. He was a proud man, as well. Thus, jealousy and bitterness had festered in Denethor’s heart as Ecthelion’s trust and affection for Thorongil had grown. Still, there was a wise, valiant heart within the man. “Perhaps her love will bring the goodness in him to the fore,” he hoped.
This hopeful thought did not, though, warm the chill that settled in his own heart as he observed the couple. ”They are such opposites…”
It was not simply the age difference that bothered him, though it was disconcerting to see someone so young and alive as Finduilas at the side of a man who was not only twenty-years her elder, but seemingly so much older than his years in appearance. Yet, it would not be the first union of young and old that he had witnessed. No, that was not what troubled his heart.
“It is the difference in their natures…,” Thorongil finally surmised. “He is a son of the stone – tall and powerful, but also grim and hard. She – she is a child of the sea – gentle of heart, soft and kind, full of light and laughter. Can such a match combine into a happy union?
He sighed, for there was no answer to the question to be found in his heart or his mind. “Perhaps,” he mused, hopefully, “those differences will combine into a more perfect whole and create something wonderful…” The thought did not banish the ache in his heart, though, as the union became official and the couple turned to present themselves to the crowd.
“That union did not end well,” Elessar noted under his breath. He was no longer in Gondor when news of Finduilas’s death reached his ears. Still, he had wept for the tragedy of her early departure of the world, and for the children she had left behind.
“They were more alike in appearance than these two,” Elessar considered. Finduilas and Denethor had both been dark-haired and grey-eyed, though Denethor had been tall and powerful of stature and Finduilas, slight and delicate.
Éomer was blond and broad, tall and powerful; Lothiriel, like her aunt, was dark-haired, slender and delicate. “Yet, I think, perhaps, their hearts are more akin to one another that were those of Denethor and Finduilas. She will never doubt Éomer’s love, nor Éomer, hers. She will not be left wither in loneliness; he will not be left to wallow in bitterness. They will be a joy to one other, and a comfort in times of hardship and sorrow – as no life is ever wholly free of such. It is a good union!” Elessar finally concluded, just as did the ceremony itself, and the couple presented themselves to the crowd, husband and wife, both, nearly bursting with the radiance of their love and joy.
“Nor was the union of Denethor and Finduilas not without value,” Elessar acknowledged, as he smiled at the enthusiastic cheering of his young Steward. “In its way, their union did indeed combine into a more perfect whole and create something wonderful…for it resulted in Faramir; I do not wish to imagine my life without his keen mind and steady heart supporting my rule. And if such greatness came come out of union of two so opposite, then surely only even greater will come from the union of these two, so opposite on the surface, and yet with so much akin beneath. This union, I am certain, shall indeed be glorious, in life and beyond.
With that realization, the pensive mood that had settled within Elessar’s heart lifted and soon found himself grinning broadly, as he cheered loudly for new husband and wife.