Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Tales of the Innkeeper

Author: Allee
Nominator: Gandalfs apprentice
2007 Award Category: Genres: Drama: Incomplete - Second Place

Story Type: Incomplete : Length: Short Story
Rating: Teen -- Reason for Rating: some sexual innuendo
Summary: Tales of the Innkeeper is a series of vignettes, each originally written as part of the Middle Earth Express challenge. More vignettes are planned, and the series is approximately 75% complete. A series of vignettes in which a simple innkeeper (OC) plays host to a most important guest. The series provides a common man's perspective on King Elessar and 4th Age life in general.


Reviewed by: Dwimordene -- Score: 7

A very sweet set of vignettes, set in the middle of a very bad spell of cold weather and storms, featuring a king come in from the cold and the innkeeper whose house becomes, unexpectedly, the royal shelter for a time. Allee's innkeeper has a Butterburish feel to him, though he's a bit more overawed, I think, with Aragorn - no doubt it comes of not having known Aragorn in his Strider guise. The innkeeper keeps a certain covert watch on his king, unsure what to make of him, and by turns surprised by what he's actually confronted with. Most of the tension comes from the interactions between Aragorn and a secondary character, a young guardsman named Carandol, who seems to be Aragorn's perpetual personnel headache and pet project at one and the same time. It is Carandol who sets up the situations that enable the innkeeper to see his king dealing with frustration and some other less pleasant emotions that might otherwise have remained untapped. An enjoyable collection, Allee!

Reviewed by: Nieriel Raina -- Score: 7

It is not often that an author can write first person so convincingly, portraying the very personality of the character, his morals and wisdom, that the reader comes to feel they really know the character. Allee has done just that in these tales of the Innkeeper. The character voice is so richly done. At the same time, through his eyes, we see a well established character, King Elessar, and through the eyes of the innkeeper, we learn much about him. The innkeeper is thoughtful, reflective, kind, even marveling at the new king and his way of handling things. But not only do we see these two characters, but a few others original characters, one of them a young soldier in need of some fathering. Through the innkeeper's eyes, we can see Elessar's wisdom and nobility shine through. My favorite part of these tales is the feeling that I am in the inn, hearing these stories from the innkeeper himself. A wonderful series of Tales. Well done, Allee!

Reviewed by: Doc Bushwell -- Score: 6

As a relative neophyte in Tolkien fan fic, I have been surprised to encounter those who object strenuously to original characters (OC). This is a midguided tenet in my opinion. Some of the best stories I have encountered in the past year of reading JRRT flavored fiction use OCs to wonderful effect. [Tales of the Innkeeper] falls solidly in that category. Allee's OC is an engaging fellow. He's an archetype whose folksy, practical wisdom sees into the character of the new regent of the Reunited Kingdom. The author's style is appealing to me as well - nice balance of description, action and dialog. I'm kind of a post-modernist so I'm typically not keen on rustic vernacular, but Allee's innkeeper's voice is very well exectuted - his "salt of the earth" speech is perfectly natural and never grating. I now check HASA regularly to see if Allee has added another chapter to "Tale of the Innkeeper."

Reviewed by: Gandalfs apprentice -- Score: 5

We don't get to see too much of the "common folk" of Middle-earth in fanfic, nor in Tolkien--the Hobbits play that part, I guess--but Allee's stories make up for the lack. Her delightful vignettes capture in speech and tone the scene inside an Inn when a certain King comes to stay. In a few short strokes, she describes a personality and an interaction--several of them. Her portrait of Aragorn is very much in character, melding the Ranger and the King. I hope these stories continue--I'm longing to find out the resolution of the Carandol problem.

Reviewed by: obsidianj -- Score: 5

These Tales of the Innkeeper are a charming collection of little scenes in an inn during an unexpected stay of King Elessar, stranded there during a snowstorm. The reader gets to know King Elessar through the eyes of the Innkeeper. I love it that the Innkeeper, the inn and the place have no name. This is just a place up North, although Denethor made it there once in his life. The innkeeper is a wise man and his observations of the King are clear-eyed and astute. I like the language used. This is written as if the innkeeper is directly speaking to the reader which gives the innkeeper a unique personality.

Reviewed by: Nancy Brooke -- Score: 4

I imagine the hard part about writing a series, is to keep growing the story while keeping it from becoming repetitive. This author does an admirable job, but, collectively, the image that emerges of Elessar did seem to me a bit overly virtuous, even in his faults. And - a nitpick - having the Inn Keeper continually address both King and Steward by their names I found annoyingly informal.

Reviewed by: Linda hoyland -- Score: 4

These vignettes showing Aragorn through the eyes of a humble innkeeper are a sheer delight.We grow to see Aragorn gain the man's respect after initial apprehension. Aragorn even takes some of the regular customers under his wing and a mutual respect develops between King and Innkeeper until eventually the King even receives sound advice from the innkeeper who has a down to earth wisdom. Highly recommended.

Reviewed by: Dreamflower -- Score: 4

This is a delightful series of vignettes from the POV of the author's OMC--a Gondorian innkeeper, who due to bad weather, finds the High King Elessar himself wintering at his humble inn. His observations on the King's character are astute and lively. And while he tells us much about this wonderful king, we also get to know the innkeeper as well. I really like the voice the author has given her narrator--he really has quite a personality.

Reviewed by: Bodkin -- Score: 4

This is one very sharp innkeeper! And he's getting a very valuable insight into the mind and habits of the king - and I think the king is appreciating the exchange. But then, a monarch who warmed his feet at the fire in the Prancing Pony would value the down-to-earthness of a good innkeeper as he runs his own microcosm of a kingdom. Shame that the innkeeper is probably right - and that Elessar would need to become more of a monarch and less of a man, as time passed. Still. We can hope that he kept fighting against it.

Reviewed by: nau_tika -- Score: 3

I love this series and have looked forward to every new installment since the very first one! Allee brings a common innkeeper to life in a very real fashion and at the same time gives us some very special glimpses of our new King. Love Aragorn in these!

Reviewed by: Larner -- Score: 3

Ah, Allee has written a wonderful series of tales from the POV of an innkeeper who finds himself hosting the new King during a very cold winter period. Voice is superb, and the looks at the King and his court, particularly one young squire who's rather dissatisfied with life, is marvelous. Definitely worth the reading!

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon -- Score: 3

[This review includes spoilers of some plot details] Nice series of vignettes from the point of view of an OMC, a busy innkeeper who finds himself hosting a weary King Elessar and his men. Interesting contrasts between the down-to-earth innkeeper and the King; the crusty innkeeper finds common ground with and respect for his royal guest.

Reviewed by: Imhiriel -- Score: 2

Vivid narrative voice; addressing the readers directly as if they were part of the audience fit in the story's context. I liked this look at Aragorn from someone *not* close to him.