Sansukh Re-read Ch.1
Okay, first, FlukeofFate and a-sirens-lullaby did amazing art for this and it always reminds me of the cover art on certain books, fancy and giving you hints of what the book’s about but not spoiling anything. That really doesn’t have anything to do with the writing, but it’s amazing! Also, all of the art people have done for this? Amazing!
This is also probably a good time to admit that I read this before I had finished reading The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings books and before I’d watched all the movies. I knew that Thorin, Fili, and Kili died, it was impossible to avoid those spoilers on tumblr, but I’d put off starting this (despite how cool it sounded) because of that. I caved, however, and thus there were a few things that I read here before I was able to read them in the books (I think there were fifteen or twenty chapters of Sansukh by the time I finished reading both books).
Where was the Hobbit? Where was the frozen lake? Last he recalled, he had been bleeding to death at the edges of the silent battlefield. His madness had passed, but it had exacted too high a price. His family was spent and gone, his nephews cold and stiffened in death and rent with many wounds. Their soft-handed and great-hearted Burglar had forgiven him, even as he wept over Thorin’s broken body.
He did not deserve such forgiveness.
Poor Thorin, he’s got so much guilt and it takes him so long to work through it :’( I really just want to wrap him up in a soft blanket and tell him that he’ll be okay.
Thorin opened his new, useless eyes and glared into the darkness. “Then why, may I ask, did you make me so flawed?”
Thorin yelling at his Maker is both heartbreaking and a bit funny. Heartbreaking, because everything that he says, he believes. He really thinks that Mahal made a mistake, that he was flawed, that he was the reason things had gone wrong and that nothing else contributed it. A bit funny, though, because Thorin is literally yelling at a supremely powerful being who can’t even touch Thorin without him feeling the amount of power Mahal holds. And Thorin literally doesn’t care, he’s speaking his mind and Mahal just lets him vent.
“I lived less well. And amends are not of use,” Thorin spat. “That is not the point of them!”
Thorin understands this better than 90% of people I interact with on a daily basis.
“Everyone, this way! Found him, finally, how many sepulchres are there in this place?”
“Mahal only knows. Actually, he probably does. We should ask.”
As soon as I read the summary for this story, I was honestly hoping that someone would make a ‘Mahal only knows’ 'Well, then why don’t you ask him’ joke, and it happened in the first chapter!
“Best move out of the way,” Thrór muttered, and Thráin chuckled again.
“Aye, she won’t be patient much longer.”
“You mean she can be patient?”
“Don’t insult my wife, you old coot.”
There’s a lot of feels in this chapter, but it’s the funny bits like this that help me keep from breaking into tears so soon. I need to pace myself, after all, or there’ll be none left by the time I get to Dís and Dísith.
“By the way, Grandma is kind of terrifying,” Kíli said, and then he yelped as the lady Frís, daughter of Aís, Princess Under the Mountain and wife of Thráin, presumably pinched him.
“Behave, young one,” she said sternly, pulling back to stroke Thorin’s face again and thread her fingers through his close-cropped beard. “I’ll get to you two in a moment.”
“Terrifying,” said Fíli admiringly. “I kinda see where Mum gets it from, now.”
“Our grumpy little Dís as a mother,” said a young, laughing voice, a voice that rang like bells. “Let Middle-Earth tremble.”
Have I mentioned that I love Frís? Because I do, so much, and it’s things like this, as well as how compassionate she is, how organized she is, how loving…okay, there’s a lot to love about Frís. She’s one of my favorite Sansukh OCs.
“Shut up,” Thorin choked, and Frerin threw back his head and laughed his silver laugh and oh, Thorin had missed him, missed him so much.
“You shut up,” he said gently, and then Frerin was pulling his braid and abruptly Thorin was struck with a memory so vivid that he reeled with the strength of it, sent back to a hazy, golden time when he was five years old and the new baby kept chewing and tugging at his hair.
How every sibling reunion ever probably goes, minus the hair pulling. Or with more of it, depending on who the siblings are.
“I’m dreaming, yes?” he asked of no-one in particular. “Thorin doesn’t tease. He got brought back wrong. Mahal made a mistake.”
“Oh, you think you two were bad?” said Thrór archly. “These two had you beaten.”
“Why do you think he already knew most of your tricks?” added Frerin. “We thought up that stuff a century before you two.”
“It was always your idea,” Thorin muttered.
“And you always led the way,” Frerin said, and nudged him. “Such a dutiful Prince!”
Kíli wailed aloud, and Thorin could just picture the look of betrayal on his face. “Everything I knew is wrong,” he moaned.
Thorin smiled through his tears and Fíli chuffed a laugh. “Poor Kíli. He’s pulling at his hair again.”
“Tell him to stop. He doesn’t have hair enough to spare,” Thorin said, and Kíli’s outraged yelp made him smile all the harder.
Poor Kíli, he doesn’t know half of the things Thorin and Frerin got up to before he was even thought of. His pranking title is in serious jeopardy in light of this new information.
“I have a bone to pick with you,” said Fíli into his ear. “Why didn’t you or Mum ever tell me I looked like your mother and brother? I always thought I was the odd one out!”
“In this family?” Frís snorted. “When it comes to odd, we are rather spoiled for choice.”
I’ve said something similar to this so often in real life, that I actually laughed when I read this bit for the first time. My dog looked at me funny, apparently I’d woken her up from her nap.
“You weren’t so nice to us,” accused Fíli. “Mobbed us, you did! I thought we were under attack at first! I punched my own father on the nose!”
That surprised a true laugh out of Thorin, thought it hurt his chest. “You hit Víli?” he said.
“He did. And I stamped on Grandfather’s foot,” said Kíli.
Thráin cleared his throat. “And bit my hand,” he added sternly.
“Well, you try being blind as a bat and naked as a mole and having your dead grandfather commenting on your lack of beard, see how you like it,” Kíli grumbled.
Poor Víli, that’s probably not how he expected his reunion with his sons to go.
“Oh, it’s Thrór all over again, someone stop him,” groaned Frís. “We’re going to drown in the combined guilt of the Line of Durin before we ever lay a stone of Arda Remade.”
If all of the Durins are like Thorin, then Frís is probably right about that.