Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Those Darned Socks!

Author: AmandaK
Nominator: annmarwalk
2007 Award Category: Genres: Alternate Universe: Gondor or Rohan - Honorable Mention

Story Type: Story : Length: Short Story
Rating: General -- Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: During a quiet evening at home, Boromir watches Nîneth perform a menial task. The sight of a simple tool brings back painful memories. Missing scene from my AU-novel "The Long Road Home" and part of the sock!trilogy which also includes Edoraslass's "A Useful Skill" and "A Thankless Task".


Reviewed by: annmarwalk -- Score: 10

One of the joyful surprises of life within the fanfiction community is nuzgul-flinging: the way a word or phrase or fragment of imagery within a story can set another author off to expand on that theme in her own works. In this story, AmandaK has taken an event from EdorasLass's story “A Thankless Task”, moved it thirty years into the future, and set it firmly into her own alternate universe where it is both heartwarming and wibble-inducing, a deadly combination. Amanda's imagery, as always, is wonderfully vivid: the woman sitting by the window, catching the last light of evening as she works on her needlework; Boromir/Erandir's sudden stillness as, watching her, he is captured by a childhood memory; the amusing and realistic description of a hole [the size of a Far Harad gold coin] in Boromir's sock. Her incorporation of a part of EdorasLass's story is seamless, and transitions smoothly into adult!Boromir's rueful recognition that he should have heeded his Nanny's advice. This vignette is part of “The Long Road Home” AU, a world in which Amanda has given us an older, wiser Boromir. He's a lovely Boromir to read: it's very satisfying to imagine him making amends, even if only in his own mind, for the pain he has caused. I'm delighted that Amanda is continuing to expand upon that tale in this and other stories.

Reviewed by: EdorasLass -- Score: 8

This story portrays a very different Boromir than we are perhaps used to seeing, even in Amanda's AU-verse, a Boromir who is spending a quiet evening at home, sharpening his blade, and the sight of Nineth darning a sock is the unlikely motivation to bring back memories. The memories are very definitely a Boromir we're all familiar with - proud, stubborn, unwilling to admit that he might need help with anything at all, particularly when recalling a hole in his sock during the journey to Mordor: [The worst of it was, he suspected Aragorn had known; the ranger had offered him a meaningful look each time he failed to keep his pace steady. Pride had kept him silent, though, until the blister broke and a callus had formed in its place.]. But in this story, Boromir requests that Nineth teach him how to darn a sock, and in the context, it comes across as perhaps Boromir trying to make amends (no pun intended) for some of his past haughty behaviour. It fits well in [The Long Road Home] verse, for this version of Boromir is more focused on himself as merely a man like any other, not as Heir To Gondor. And the utterly mundane act of wanting to learn how to mend socks nicely expresses how Boromir is less prideful and at times downright humble, how much the events after Amon Hen have changed him.

Reviewed by: Rhapsody -- Score: 6

Okay, the title of this story baited me. At first I thought, that's an alluring title, but in the end, my curiosity got the better of me. Set within the allusive sock!verse and the long road home!verse, I love the opening sequence and Amanda establishes a vivid & homely scene. The ficlet is simple of nature, yet it is a treat to get this insight in Boromir's mind where he realises that in his pride he could have learnt to master a simple skill as mending his socks when he had the chance. The author wove the memories of the quest and Boromir’s youth into this little story very effectively, making sure that those who are not familiar with both verses still can find their bearings when reading this. Lovely written and now I just need to read the other piece in the sock!verse.

Reviewed by: Imhiriel -- Score: 4

Descriptive prose, setting the details of scene and mood carefully. The readers can really see everything through Boromir's eyes. It's amusing to think how such a little thing like holes in socks might develop into a problem, but also quite plausible, and I find it completely in character for Boromir to suffer something like this in silence, instead of requesting aid.

Reviewed by: Marta -- Score: 3

Great stuff. I'm sure that Boromir would have been a poor pupil at darning socks, and this is a nice tie-in with your universe – and a good character moment for him as he finally learns the necessary patience and humility.

Reviewed by: Larner -- Score: 3

Ah, yes, learning to darn socks had been suggested as a useful skill, one Boromir had disdained at the time. But now, after the quest is over and he is known now as Erandir, perhaps he might learn from the one he has taken as his wife.... A sweet, short tale.