Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Surprise Inspection

Author: AmandaK
Nominator: Tanaqui
2008 Award Category: Genres: Humor: Gondor - First Place

Story Type: Story : Length: Short Story
Rating: Teen -- Reason for Rating: Possibly overrated, but set to Teen for mention of nudity.
Summary: Something is not right in the city of Osgiliath.


Reviewed by: Tanaqui -- Score: 10

Although I have very much enjoyed reading AmandaK's stories in other fandoms over the past year, I'm hopeful that she'll return to the Tolkien fandom occasionally so that we will have the privilege and pleasure of reading more stories from her in these awards in future. In this particular tale, AmandaK weaves a wonderful story full of rich description, narrative tension and humour. Boromir, setting off on a surprise inspection of the garrison at Osgiliath, is stymied by one irritation after another, not least the baking heat of a Gondorian summer. AmandaK's language evokes clearly how hot, bothered and frustrated Boromir is. Arriving at Osgiliath, Boromir is in for a few surprises himself. Here, AmandaK cleverly builds the tension and confusion – making sure that the reader remains as uncertain and concerned as Boromir right until we reach the denouement. At that point, Boromir's quality as a commander shines through in his response to the situation. This is a humorous, witty and yet highly perceptive character study of Boromir in the years just before the Ring War, showing the qualities that so captivated Merry and Pippin and won their admiration during the journey of the Fellowship. It's also laugh-out loud funny in places. An excellent, light-hearted yet nevertheless extremely well-characterised tale from Middle-earth!

Reviewed by: annmarwalk -- Score: 10

A very enjoyable story, particularly since I'm experiencing the same weather described in the story today * g * AmandaK is justly famed for her extraordinary descriptive skills, words that flow seamlessly together to build mood and setting. Those skills are very well demonstrated here, in phrases like [“strands of sweat-darkened hair plastered against dirt-streaked foreheads”] and [“the bright hot glare of the sun reflecting off the river in the distance”]. In addition to her marvelous descriptions (and some very enjoyable visuals they are, too), Amanda is also highly skilled at character portraits, and the many years she's devoted to the study of Boromir really shine through here. Rather than just an amusing summery anecdote, this story also focuses on Boromir's exemplary leadership skills, his attention to detail and ability to swiftly study and appraise the situation at hand. Amanda's also shown us, though, the side that explains why all those who serve under his command are so devoted to him – his understanding and empathy, his pragmatism, and his recognition of the human potential of his troops. What could have been a very difficult day for a young lieutenant becomes an unforgettable opportunity and a story he'll share with his grandchildren; one which we can enjoy over and over as well. Very well done, and a lovely surprise gift! Thanks, Amanda!

Reviewed by: nancylea -- Score: 10

Amanda, this story has so many possibilities as a repeatable theme, i believe that the nasty minded of us might call this a short arms inspection but this is supposed to be a family ratings award so cut that theme short. this was one of those days that boromir should have called off last week. i was always amazed when i worked for a company with nation wide shops just how aften we had more than twenty four hours to prepare for a surprise inspection, sometimes by so simple a trick as the secratary calling to leave a message with us for when the owner arrived. or the one where the owner called ahead and asked which ski area had the most new snow so he could call in a reservation, ah and could one of us pick him up at the airport. yes true surprise inspections can be surprises for both sides.i loved the way you handled it from the garrison officer who wanted notice to the actual spot where the inspection was supposed to happen and then i just fell off the plane with how the inspection and its aftermath went. if this is your style of writing, you are a writer that i shall look for in the coming year. i hope you have lots to say and say it frequently. i may not personally like boromir but this is one more reason why i have to respect him he looked at the situation and saw more then the surface, he noticed details that let him find reasons and rewards for jobs done and done well.

Reviewed by: dkpalaska -- Score: 5

I've read ["Surprise Inspection"] before, and it's still great fun even when you know what is coming! The setup is carried out very well, and bit by bit, Boromir notices one clue after another that eventually leads to the final revelation. The descriptions lend themselves to wonderful visuals, particularly near the end (inside non-spoiler comment, there), and I love Boromir's characterization: he expects performance and adherence to duty, but he is also just and flexible, as a good leader should be. Lieutenant Gornir is a definite favorite. Brave enough to face the fire of his foremost commanding officer, forward-thinking, and his last suggestion - well, I think his perception may have guaranteed him a promotion down the line...

Reviewed by: Dwimordene -- Score: 5

This reminds me of the horrid pre-school/law court/performance whatever of great significance dreams, where you find yourself suddenly at the appointed venue without a stitch of clothing on. Except in this case, no one will be waking the lieutenant or his soldiers from the nightmare. Fortunately, Boromir isn't without sympathy, and it would appear that despite festivities, none of Gondor's soldiers would be caught with his trousers down should there be an attack. AmandaK gives us a light-hearted interlude in the tedious discomfort of warfare - an enjoyable read!

Reviewed by: stefaniab -- Score: 4

A sassy, yet very realistic bit of fun, in which Captain General Boromir decides to spring a surprise inspection on the garrison protecting the ruins of Osgiliath--and catches the whole crew skinny dipping on the bristling hot day. Although "Surprise Inspection" has perfectly fluffy intentions, what works best for me in this story is its depiction of life in a Medieval army base. Boromir comes across as a business-like and capable commander, sympathetic to and understanding of the soldiers that he leads.

Reviewed by: Isabeau of Greenlea -- Score: 4

My air conditioner has died and my refrigerator/freezer is on the fritz as well, so I have no ice. So this story about an overly warm Boromir resonated with me! Fed up with his father's Council, Boromir flees Minas Tirith to do a surprise inspection in Osgiliath. Once there, he momentarily fears the men have forsaken their duty, but when he finds that their readiness is not harmed, he allows them their respite from the heat. This is a nice portrait of Boromir as a caring and conscientious commander.

Reviewed by: Marta -- Score: 3

This was a delicious romp, very enjoyable. I could feel the heat, and found myself chuckling at the right points. Irreverent to good affect - thanks for this read, it was really a lot of fun.

Reviewed by: nau_tika -- Score: 3

This is a perfect fiction to read in summer. I'm not sure I would have thought of using a Lt. instead of a captain, but that certainly is the making of the story. Poor man, I cant imagine how it would feel to have the Captain General show up at a time like this! Great story!

Reviewed by: Larner -- Score: 3

Oh, but it WAS a HOT day. That was, after all, part of the reason Boromir himself wanted an excuse to leave the White City. But as to what the men of the garrison there in Osgiliath were doing to ease their discomfort.... A wonderful laugh, well paced!

Reviewed by: Nancy Brooke -- Score: 2

This is very cute, and well-executed and evenly paced regardless of its light-heartedness.