Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

If Ever a Fruit Ripens

Author: Pearl Took
Nominator: Cathleen
2011 Award Category: Other Beings: General - Third Place

Story Type: Story : Length: Short Story
Rating: General -- Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: Sam learns a good deal of history about the White Tree from a lady in the Court of the Fountain.


Reviewed by: Virtuella -- Score: 10

Dear Pearl Took, I remember well how delighted I was with this story when I first read it and I am glad to see it nominated here, certainly one of the most deserving entries this year. You have achieved something wonderful here: taking the vast and lofty panorama of history which the line of the trees encompasses and grounding it (quite literally) in a very intimate and personal story. By the same token you link a character who couldn’t be more exalted and elevated with a character who couldn’t be more down to earth, and let them share an understanding in the shade of the tree. Adding Aragorn to the mix here is a consistent move, since he has a stake in both the exalted and the earthly. I loved the elegant simplicity with which you combined the imagery of colours, of stars, sky, islands, seas and trees. Your descriptions have some wonderful detail, notably the image of the tree’s bark, which was vivid and tactile. I also liked what you said about the Gondorian woman and how they have a feeling of mountains about them. Finally, I enjoyed how you opened up the panorama into the future and swiftly sketch a vision of far-off years yet to come. Black and white, high and low, past and present all come together in this masterfully crafted gem of a story which I enjoyed very much indeed.

Reviewed by: Kara's Aunty -- Score: 10

The contrast between the dead tree and the cheery, living one reminded me starkly of the contrast between Frodo and Sam here. One could live no longer in the King's courtyard/Bag End, whereas the newcomer would bloom and thrive. Course, maybe I'm just talking mince, but that's what I was reminded of straight away, and it made me sad. The beauty of the history of the White trees is not to be underestimated, and I almost felt myself drift off together with Sam on his timeless journey as his mysterious benefactress bestowed him with this gift of all gifts. To see the Two Trees themselves sitting upon Ezellohar! To witness Yavanna create Telperion's successor and see Celeborn's offspring brought to Tol Eressëa, and from that the lineage of Telperion is followed until it brings us to the sapling Sam has been admiring. Such a wonderful, wistful and unexpected treasure to have been granted - both Sam by his new friend and we, the readers, by the author. And then she tops it with a masterful stroke, having Elbereth herself charge an unwitting Sam with the planting of the next sapling. Hope Unquenchable planting unquenchable hope ... It couldn't be more right. All this greatness was brought to pass in a such a simple, non-ostentatious way (striking a fitting parallel with the character of Sam himself), this seemingly casual meeting of the pair by the Tree in the courtyard, and because of that it struck me as all the more profound. *gasps, sniffles and applauds author's cleverness* Nice little cameo from Aragorn at the end too, though I would've liked to have discovered more about his thoughts after the event. But unless the author writes a sequel (hint, hint) I'll have to leave that up to my own imagination. Exquisite work!

Reviewed by: Larner -- Score: 5

How lovely, this look at the tale of the White Tree and its lineage, and the hope of it producing a successor carried away from Minas Tirith by Sam Gamgee! Pearl Took has managed to perfetly capture the wonder of the realization ot the history of the trees and the great hope it embodies, and the depiction she gives us of the meeting between the Shire’s most famous gardener and the strange lady who names herself to him as Elen is perfectly written. Indeed, a good reason for the Kings of the Reunited Kingdom to ever guard and honor the Shire and its inhabitants! Never can hope truly fade….

Reviewed by: Linda Hoyland -- Score: 5

What a lovely story,it sent shivers down my spine to read. I just loved the way "Elen", better known as "Elbereth" or "Varda" appeared to Sam and entrusted him with the precious fruit. In this transient world, it is comforting to know that some things endure. I loved it that Elbereth appeared in a homely guise to Sam and then in her full splendour to Aragorn. Both Sam and Aragorn are perfectly in character. As I live in an English "shire" I almost found myself hoping that one day the White Tree might spring up under my nose! A lovely story to be cherished like a fruit of the White Tree.

Reviewed by: Darkover -- Score: 3

Tolkien would have appreciated this story, for not only is is written with beautiful imagery, but it is about trees--and hope. Sam is very much in-character, and the lady he meets is impressive. This tale is a fine example of the proverb "where there's life, there's hope," and enjoyable to read, too.

Reviewed by: Antane -- Score: 3

Oh, I love that ending - Sam's choice of where to plant his gift. Truly a loving heart he has where it always has been. What a gift also that he saw the history of the Tree also. I wonder when it would bloom in the Shire? Perhaps when he came West he would discover who graced him with her presence as well. Sweet story!

Reviewed by: Cathleen -- Score: 3

This tale explores a mysterious encounter Samwise Gamgee has with the Lady Elen at the White Tree of Gondor. In her usual style, Pearl creates a touching, thoughtful piece that make her readers think deep thoughts and wish for more. "If Ever a Fruit Ripens" is a lovely story!