Wow, the last line is very powerful - *because* Denethor truly believes what he's saying. I wonder what feeling would have won, had he lived to see Aragorn become king. Bitterness at seeing his rival on the throne or happiness to see Gondor prosper.
You touched on so many things here that I found fascinating: Is the source of everything really the fact that Ecthelion takes a liking to Thorongil in combination with a inferiority complex on Denethor's side (he certainly feels usurped - even though Thorongil tries his utmost to give Denethor his due). The little bit about Thorongil actually being Ecthelion's illegitimite son (very interesting!). And Finduilas basically fading, because she's being smothered in this city of stone.
Many thanks for your much appreciated review. I wish more people would write AUS about Denethor living as it is an interesting idea to explore. I've read a couple of very diferent interpratations.
I'm so pleased you found this fascinating.I found the story a very tough one to write and felt I'd bitten off more that I could chew with Denethor.