Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Down the Withywindle

Author: Clodia
Nominator: Adonnen Estenniel
2011 Award Category: Fixed-Length Ficlets: Immortals - Third Place

Story Type: Story : Length: Ficlet
Rating: General -- Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: 300-word Fixed-Length Ficlet written for Lotr_Community's 2010 July Challenge, Short and Sweet. Tom Bombadil goes a-courting... unsuccessfully. A ficlet from an age when the Old Forest was very young indeed.


Reviewed by: Virtuella -- Score: 10

Dear Clodia, I found myself utterly charmed by this wonderful ficlet. It is so delightfully whimsical, so irresistibly smile-inducing like few others I’ve read. From the initial vivid image of the hat bobbing down the stream to the final moment of it disappearing with Goldberry, the setting is crisp and convincing. And what wonderful dialogue! You got the tone just right there, the way Tom rumbles along in his accustomed babble and finds himself thrown out of his rhythm by Goldberry’s snide remarks. Goldberry comes across as so fresh and quick, too quick by far for Tom Bombadil's complacent stride. I can just see this, in fact, I’ve wondered before what attraction Tolkien had imagined someone like Tom Bombadil would hold for someone like Goldberry. Of course she would snigger at his pompous talk and steal his hat. Of course she would laugh at him and turn him down. Of course, of course - the question is only, how did she ever change her mind and accept him? I would like to see someone write that story, no, I would like to see I would like to see someone write that story, no, I would like to see YOU write that story. Im sure that would be a laugh and a pleasure, just as this one.

Reviewed by: Adonnen Estenniel -- Score: 10

Clodia’s short tale, Down the Withywindle, is a wonderful glimpse into the seeds of the relationship between the much-loved couple Tom Bombadil and Goldberry, daughter of the River. The beginning of their seemingly fairy-tale relationship is told here, and in such a way that the reader cannot help but ask for more. The author’s take on a saucy River-daughter and a less than suave Bombadil is amazing in its unique perspective, and I loved the unsuccessful nature of Tom’s proposal to Goldberry; it does seem odd that the self-assured Master would find himself so out of his element, and it's a situation Clodia handled extremely well. Beyond the ingenuity of the premise and context, Clodia writes with wonderful style that really fits the scene and the characters. The capturing of Tom’s diction and manner of speaking is perfect (near-rhymes and jaunty sing-song syntax), and Goldberry’s response to his over-confident overtures fits what the reader knows of her personality, and yet at the same time reveals a new side of her that appears to be completely plausible. I thoroughly enjoyed this piece, and thought the author’s take on this scene was funny and interesting.

-- Thank you so much for this lovely review, Adonnen Estenniel! I enjoyed writing this snippet; Tom and Goldberry both have such distinctive dialogue that it's a fun challenge to mimic it. And thank you once again for nominating this piece to start with! I really should continue the series one day...

Reviewed by: Dwimordene -- Score: 6

How delightful! Bombadil is rarely written, Goldberry might get her name mentioned occasionally, but they just don't make it into most stories - probably because we find them so maddeningly difficult to pin down and write. Clodia's ficlet is just lovely - descriptive, playful, and it seems to me to bear all the hallmarks of having practice with this sort of odd couple. Bombadil displays the myopic perspective of someone who can't see the nose on his face: Goldberry, rather than becoming frustrated, simply acts as she sees fit, and enjoys the whole episode. She's a water spirit who knows what she wants, and will accept no less than that - which strikes me as absolutely right. Thank you, Clodia, for this ficlet! I definitely recommend it to others.

-- Thank you so much, Dwimordene, for another so generous review! I really enjoy writing Bombadil and Goldberry, although normally I have to bend my head around them a bit, because they have such distinctive speech patterns. I tend to think of Goldberry as akin to a Wagnerian Rhinemaiden - somewhat reformed, perhaps, by the time LOTR comes round, but still wild enough underneath. I am so glad you like my take on her, and Tom too!

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon -- Score: 3

A charming ficlet with some beautiful imagery, as I have come to expect from this skilled writer. There are nifty hints that Goldberry is not just a pretty golden-haired maiden, but some kind of amphibious water-spirit; very nice. I love the teasing interaction of their dialogue.

-- Thank you, Raksha! It's always lovely to hear you like something I've written.

Reviewed by: Darkover -- Score: 3

A nicely descriptive drabble that does the difficult job of making two ageless, non-human characters seem like real people. Good for Goldberry for not making things too easy for Tom! Enjoyable.

-- Thank you! I like Tom and Goldberry a lot and am very glad you enjoyed this.

Reviewed by: Dreamflower -- Score: 3

This wonderful Tom/Goldberry was written for a fixed-length ficlet challenge, and in 300 words, Clodia gives us the lovely and whimsical beginning of Tom Bombadil's courtship of Goldberry! It's delightful, and it made me smile. There really are not enough Tom Bombadil/Goldberry stories, but this one certainly is a good one to take up the slack!

-- Thanks so much! I love Tom and Goldberry - I would like to write more for them one day, but finding the time is hard...

Reviewed by: Himring -- Score: 1

As the challenge said, "Short and Sweet"! A nice idea and well handled.

-- Thank you! I'm very glad you liked it.