Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Another Sunless Dawn

Author: jan-u-wine
Nominator: Antane
2011 Award Category: Poetry: Drama - First Place

Story Type: Poetry : Length: N/A (Non-Fiction or Poetry)
Rating: General -- Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: March 22, the 'dreadful nightfall' gives way to a day without hope as Sam and Frodo approach the ending of their Road. (note: the secondary URL takes you to Mechtild's LJ, where it complements her screen-caps of Gorgoroth)


Reviewed by: Mechtild -- Score: 8

This poem does so well what fanfiction can do: it provides a crucial point of view at a pivotal place in a narrative where otherwise it is unprovided for. In my younger years, when I read Tolkien's novel, while I loved Sam and thought of him as a hero, I never gave Sam credit for the intelligence, insight and depth he actually had. Not only did I read the text more superficially than I do now, having read Tolkien's Letters, I took too much to heart Tolkien's quasi-dismissive remarks about his beloved character, as well as listening too easily to dismissive things other characters say about Sam within the text, rather than judging for myself based on what Sam actually says and does. The author of this poem convincingly, poignantly, gives a deeply thoughtful, internalized point of view for Sam, showing the reader what and how Sam sees, thus showing the reader a truer Sam -- not just the amusing Sam on the surface that gets teased for his rustic sayings, but Sam at a depth level. The reader of the poem, too, sees his insight and perceptiveness, the quality of his mind -- and his heart.

-- I think that, no matter what, you simply have to love Samwise. But I agree with you....in my younger days, I did not think of him in the same way that I do now. I was very caught up with my idea of Frodo as the sort of hero he is.....he is dazzling to the eye, in his own non-dazzling sort of way. Or I was looking at Aragorn, the model of honor among men. Merry and Pippin received much of my attention, as well. Sam? Not so much. But it was much the same in real life. I was not so aware, nor did I wish to be, of the seeming-small people. I only had eyes to see what was immediately before them, and not how all the puzzle-pieces must be there to make a complete picture. Life and its inherent experience taught me otherwise, and seeing Sam brought to visual life did, as well. (Sean Astin, for all his foibles as a person, did a beautiful job as Samwise). That Samwise is a hero in equal (but different) measure to Frodo is clear to me, that i love him equally (but differently) is also clear. That Frodo would not and could not have finished the Quest without Sam is too obvious to even state; that the Quest would also not have been achieved without Frodo is also plain. Beyond the physical deeds of Sam, the fetching and the carrying, the cooking and the unending tramping, are the emotional and mental processes that match the physical ones. Those batmen in the war were certainly not the social equals of their charges, but, for the grace of birth and the priveleges dealt out by birth, they were every bit as intelligent and mentally acute. They possessed what was needed for the situation: a firmly set sense of duty and devotion, melded with intelligence bred of experience rather than schooling. Their emotional manners may have been brusque, but the message dealt out, day by day, by their outwardly show of what was obviously more than duty, is crystalline. We cannot know for a certainty, of course, if these fellows loved their charges, or if they were simply esquires of modern-day knights. But we do know that Sam loved Frodo. And that, I think, in the end, brought them through. "Hope beyond endurance"? "Hope Unquenchable"? One might equally substitute "love" there and be just as (or more) correct. (in the end, what i learned from Sam is to listen and look at everything and everyone, for everything has its story and everyone is a hero, somehow, somewhere, somewhen. MOre-so if they are given the chance to be. and shouldn't we all be given that chance? There is a saying that people will live up to your worst expectations. Might they not, also, live up to your best ones? They might. Simple Sam, with his rough upbringing, with his not-a-chance-of-being-anything-but-a-common-hobbit, did. And thereby was pivotal in saving not only the master he loves, but a world that had been enlarged and made plainer to him along the Road of that simple feeling. when he left Frodo in Shelob's tunnel, he showed how far he'd come. He realized that the world, entire, was a larger thing than either he or his master, and that it was his charge to save it, if he could. Thank you, Linda, for your lovely review. I am certainly glad of Sam. And I am glad that you are, as well.

Reviewed by: Larner -- Score: 6

Jan-u-wine’s poetry so captures the poignancy of the apparently hopeless quest Frodo and Sam took upon themselves after they broke away from the Fellowship at Parth Galen, and how the Ring robbed them both of apparent hope and sanity. In this offering from Sam’s point of view we see his perceptions of the scouring he perceives happening within his beloved friend and Master, and the means he uses to try to keep Frodo alive in body and spirit through it all. This ability to capture those feelings makes the writer’s poetry that much more powerful. A poem I have rejoiced to read, that draws me so deeply into the characters of both Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee as they creep daily but a little closer to the Mountain….

-- Dear Larner: once again I must thank you for your lovely review. It means a good deal to me for people simply to *read* these works, to say nothing of being so appreciative. I did not write many poems from Sam's pov, so these few are especially (pardon) precious to me. They are my tow-headed children, as opposed to Frodo's solemn sable. Equally, if differently, beloved. Thank you so much. I am glad (ever so!) that you enjoyed.

Reviewed by: Adonnen Estenniel -- Score: 3

"Another Sunless Dawn" is a very strong, meaningful poem. The author captures the essence of the narrator's emotions very well, and paints a desperate scene with excellent word choice and imagery. This is one of the pieces that makes the reader think.

-- Thank you, Adonnen Estenniel. You know, it is especially generous of you to read and comment, since many of your works are also nominated in the poetry categories. Thank you. That is so kind.

Reviewed by: Darkover -- Score: 3

This poem expresses the dreadful toll bearing the Ring took on Frodo, through the POV of Sam as he realizes the Ring is slowly, but inevitably, killing his Master. A good composition, very moving.

-- thank you, Darkover. I'm grateful that you enjoyed it!

Reviewed by: Antane -- Score: 2

Another powerful poem about suffering and love, hope and despair. So truly named are they Hope Unquenchable and Endurance Beyond Hope.

-- thank you, dear Antane! I'm very happy that you found it powerful!