Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

A Mother's Lament

Author: agape4gondor
Nominator: Linaewen
2009 Award Category: Genres: Character Study - Honorable Mention

Story Type: Story : Length: Short Story
Rating: General -- Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: Pippin has been gone over a year while rumors fly about the Shire that he is dead or lost in the Old Forest. What is a mother to think?


Reviewed by: Linaewen -- Score: 10

This truly is an amazing tale which speaks strongly to me in a special way; having a son who attended boarding school overseas, I am someone who has experienced "loss" of a similar kind to this dear mother. This story by Agape4gondor is such a poignant look into what goes on in a mother's mind and heart when she is separated from her child for many, many months! A mother truly does find it difficult to be unable to see first-hand how her child is growing and changing, and when her child goes away suddenly with little word to her, it can be even more difficult to deal with the changes she will discover upon his return. No one really realizes how grievous it can be to miss those times in between the going away of the child and the return of the man. It's not something that can be easily shared or even explained, either. This makes it all that much harder to recover from the sense of loss, because grief that can't be explained in words is grief that must be borne alone. That's what makes this tale so marvelous -- the mother in this story becomes a representative of all mothers who have experienced such loss, and shares their sorrow in an appropriate way, so that others who do not know it can understand better. And it is done by taking a character who is little more to us readers than a name in a genealogy, and turning her into someone very, very real and very precious. My thanks go out to Agape4gondor for this marvelous and special tale which I will always treasure!

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon -- Score: 7

In this very compelling story, Agape steps outside her comfort zone as a respected Stewardist writer; and into the heart of Tookland in the Shire. Through the increasingly desperate eyes of Eglantine Took, we see the worry and fear that the four hobbits left behind when they left for parts unknown with no word. The year grows harder and harder for Pippin's mother, who tries to keep her hope alive. Agape shows, not tells, through Eglantine's more and more obsessive domesticity, the toll that her youngest child's prolonged absence takes on her. The saddest and most poignant part of the story is the ending. With Pippin's return, all should rejoice. But, as perhaps with all boys who go off to war, Pippin comes home with maturity and confidence, and his mother hardly recognizes him. Eglantine's wondering where her baby went, and her grief over the slow, gentle transition from tween to adult that she should have witnessed and now never will, is heart-rending.

Reviewed by: Virtuella -- Score: 5

We see some excellent psychology in this story. Eglantine's responses to the situation appear convincing throughout, the way her mind is occupied with this one thing, the displacement activities, the anger, the sorrow. It must have been a shock to see her child so changed. I wonder if the relief to have him back would not have outweighed the grief over having missed that important phase in his life, not just on a rational, but on an emotional level, too. But I suppose that would be a question of individual temperament. The prose flows smoothly and pleasantly in this piece. It's a very good read, which offers a missing perspective.

Reviewed by: obsidianj -- Score: 5

It is very touching to witness Eglantine's desperation during the time of Pippin's loss. Although sad to watch I had to laugh at the one hundred scarves. And when Pippin finally returns, it is not the Pippin she remembers. Logic says she should be happy to have her son back alive, but I can understand her sorrow at missing seeing him growing up. For her it is as if Pippin is really lost to her, since she barely recognizes this young full grown man. Too great is the contrast to the boy that left. I hope with time she can reconcile the little boy she knew with the young man Pippin has become.

Reviewed by: Silivren Tinu -- Score: 5

I have to admit I have never given much thought to how Pippin and Merry's parents must have felt when they left with Frodo and did not come back for such a long time, and how hard the waiting must have been for them, without any news about their sons and without knowing where they were and if they were even still alive. You made me feel very sorry for Eglantine and Esmeralda. Especially Pippin must have been almost unrecognizable when he suddenly came back taller, grown-up, and as a warrior! This story offers a great glimpse into a previously untold chapter of LotR.

Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger -- Score: 5

There's no shortage of the bittersweet when it comes to Tolkien, but I have to admit that I hadn't really connected it to the reunions that went on when the Travelers returned. I know there are lots of fics on it, but none of them really seemed to address the sorrow that someone like Eglantine must have felt. Because Pippin was considered very young when he left, and coming back having grown the way he did, it would have been quite a shock. I like the fact that his own mother doesn't even recognize him until she hears his voice. And though she's grateful he's alive, there's still something that she's missed and that she can never get back.

Reviewed by: Garnet Took -- Score: 4

Watching her children grow up is one of a mother's greatest joys. Missing a part of that would be one of a mother's greatest heartbreaks. Poor Eglantine has to face the probability that her child is dead, and when she should be joyful to be proven wrong, she faces the sorrow that he grew up without her. She has her son but not the son she remembers. This is such a sad story but so reflective of mothers everywhere who see their children go off to war and return as adults they no longer recognize.

Reviewed by: Celeritas -- Score: 4

We usually don't hear much about the mothers' side of things (they tend to die a lot in Tolkien), so stories of this sort are always welcome. And it's especially fitting to hear it about Pippin's mother, since he was the one character who grew up the most. While of course Eglantine is relieved that someone named Pippin is back, her lad is gone forever. The concept of motherhood resonates well throughout this fic.

Reviewed by: Larner -- Score: 4

How true this feels, reading the thoughts and griefs of Eglantine Banks Took first on the disappearance of her youngest child, and then her feelings on his return, seeing how little she shared in that final growing up he's done, both physical and psychological. For Pippin is not a child any longer, and she was denied the chance to see each of those final milestones and celebrate them with him! As a parent, I understand her pain and loss! A beautiful, bittersweet story, well worth the reading. Give it a try!

Reviewed by: Dreamflower -- Score: 4

It's most unusual for this particular author to write hobbits, except in the context of their relationship to the Men they met on the Quest. This beautiful and melancholy piece is a rare exception, as she shows the reaction of Eglantine Took to the return of her son, Pippin, to the Shire. She captures so well the heartbreak that comes to a mother who realizes that her child has grown up, suddenly and under traumatic circumstances, without her presence. A very touching character study.

Reviewed by: Isabeau of Greenlea -- Score: 3

A great gap-filler about a minor character who is central to Pippin's life, though she is never mentioned directly in the story. Though brief, the story does provide an insightful view into Pippin's parents' characters and their relationship with each other and with their son.

Reviewed by: Sevilodorf -- Score: 1

The ways that Pippin's mother deals with her sorrow are very true to life.