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An Evil Cradling

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Every muscle in him clenched as those mutters only came louder, bolder; instinctively he flinched as gravel pattered over the tip of his boot, but from despair glowed anger, and it burned afresh in his veins. Had I not had any sisters, the mothers of the street would have selected two of their own daughters for the job. Harsh fingers fumbled with the straps of his bracers, with the buckles that secured his cuirass; he squirmed as hands groped between his thighs to unfasten his cuisses, but a sharp cuff to his shoulder stilled such protests, and hatefully he endured their touch. Someone, trying to be clever, once said that the Irish are sentimental about causes but never about people. A savage pike-thrust he swiftly turned, the blade skidded upon his sword’s tang with the rending squeal of metal upon metal, yet into the momentum of that parry he twisted himself.

For all his suspicions it seemed the uruk spoke earnestly, no trace of a lie could he sense within its guttural tones, and its dismay as he whittled down its audacious proposals seemed starkly genuine, yet remorselessly Maedhros pressed his advantage.For smoothly he nodded to his soldiery, and bade them be watchful, and grasping the banner then in one gauntleted hand he vaulted down the final crag of rock, and strode out towards the epicentre of the hollow. Today, Brenda and Elaine still live in Belfast, but the three siblings see one another regularly and he talks to them a lot on the phone. In fact, an ordinary life bringing up children is, Keenan admits, the perfect antidote to four years of hellish captivity in Beirut. Sixteen years on, it's hard to believe anyone could have been pessimistic about their union: Audrey – warm-hearted, easy-going, open – is the perfect foil for the edgy, angst-ridden, complicated Keenan.

Quickly he ducked the axe sent swinging towards his head, with one agile twist he sent his assailant flailing to the dirt below him, but even as the orc fell he glimpsed the company that lurked behind it, an evil light in their eyes and eager weapons in their hands. Gothmog watched his motions neutrally, but as a wince crossed Maedhros’ face as he settled himself, the Valarauka reached for the gag once more.A roar of anger arose from the Noldorin party; it crested even to the pinnacles of the hills as ignited in their fury the elves leaped forward, bright weapons in their hands and wrath scored in their hearts. Its rumpled feathers were matted in crimson gore, weakly it cheeped as he cradled it within his palms; tears had streaked down his face as he had brought it to his father, as he had for begged him to heal it, to save it. Much as Turlough was able to reconcile his two worlds - Ireland the physical place with all its history, "which, though he couldn't see what was going on around him, he could sense", and his own inner life, through music - this book becomes Keenan's reconciliation, the means finally by which he can take control again of his own destiny. This portrayal of himself, of ‘flesh’ and ‘heap of offal’ is dehumanizing as it reduces him to something repulsive and purely physical, thus overlooking the details that makes him human, such as feelings, mind and judgement.

Such examples include ‘ecstatic embrace’, ‘torrents of tears’, ‘great rage’ and tears that seem to ‘tear the skin’.There is some irony but no coincidence that Keenan was born in Belfast - "the most political city I have ever been in". Too many had fallen; the warning blared through Maedhros’ mind as he stabbed through a narrow slot of the shields, too many lay gasping or sightless upon the churned dirt, but fiercely Maedhros held his nerve, and as one the Noldor made their steady retreat. Yet even as that resolution turned in his mind, unbidden anger churned in his blood, and hard he gripped into the edge of the table to still the shake in his fingers. I defecate (…) and then I carefully wrap my excrement…’ These short, blunt sentences imply that Keenan wants to describe his condition as close to reality as possible, therefore not sparing the reader from any brusque or less polite words, because he was not spared from any unpleasantness either. Solemnly the Balrog nodded: and as the confirmation of that horrible truth crashed down upon him in all its undeniable clarity something in Maedhros’ chest seemed to buckle.

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