An Unexpected Party

Author: Azalais

Nominator: Marta

2005 Award Category: Genres: Crossovers - Second Place

Story Type: Vignette  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: G  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: An eleventy-first birthday tribute to Professor J.R.R. Tolkien. Waking from a doze in the snug of his favourite Oxford pub, the Professor finds he has been joined unexpectedly by a few old friends.

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Reviewed by: Dwimordene  ✧  Score: 10

You can't help but love this story. If there's so much as a flicker of love for Tolkien's Middle-earth in the reader, this story will appeal on probably all possible levels. One always hesitates to write Tolkien himself as a character—I suppose we're all far too well-acquainted with the unhappy ways in which we can foul up the representation of our favorite characters to want to risk it with Tolkien himself, but Azalais pulls it off. She also manages to incorporate, in slightly altered form, several lines or snippets of lines from the books as Tolkien's actual thoughts—and it works! It doesn't feel stale, although the nostalgia factor is certainly ratcheted up quite a bit, thanks to the context. The atmosphere is just wonderful. One of the things that makes this story feel right is that the Fellowship, despite being "real" for this time and space, are nevertheless fictional characters, and they themselves know this in a way. They have a sense of themselves as the subjects of stories—stories that Tolkien wrote, and which other fanwriters are writing (great quasi-slashy moment there, Az! That aside was terrific and tastefully done). Their gratitude, then, is all the sweeter, as if they've come to thank their father, without becoming themselves infantalized or rendered less than solid. Although I'm not sure I'd call this a crossover, "An Unexpected Party" is beautifully done. Thanks, Az!

Reviewed by: ErinRua  ✧  Score: 7

This is the absolute utmost in crossover enjoyment! Yes, I am sure the premise of Tolkien meeting his own characters in "real life" has been done before, but seldom if ever with such engaging charm. Azalais makes it all seem so very real, and perfectly captures the endearing if slightly befuddled train of the Professor's thoughts and subsequent actions. LOL, loved the hobbits nearly bursting buttons to join him, and Aragorn's "cool" demeanor, and Gandalf having "a word" with the inkeeper - LOL! Oh, the delightful tumult of the characters coming on stage - what a joy to read. And Tolkien's reactions remain so marvelously British, the stuffy, adorable, dear old granddad. One likes to suppose that somewhere, somehow, the Professor did at last enjoy just such an evening, and many many others just like it. Well done!

Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger  ✧  Score: 5

Great fun! I loved the good Professor's confusion as each of the characters were introduced. Aragorn's introduction, particularly, had some fabulous imagery to back it up, but I think I actually liked Gandalf's entry best as he manages to block the entire door. How very like a wizard to make an entrance. I loves the ties to a certain chapter in The Hobbit that bares an identical name, right down to Gimli's deep bow and the fact that he hung a green hood on a peg. Brilliant touch! Wonderful idea and great tribute to the Professor for his eleventy-first birthday. Loved it!

Reviewed by: Nancy Brooke  ✧  Score: 3

Nicely done. I enjoyed how the author didn't try to explain anything or make the characters fit in to a present time and place, but made a place apart and let the characters be themselves. I only found the use of text from the books a little disorienting, wondering if the characters would really repeat themselves that way.

Reviewed by: Inkling  ✧  Score: 3

Ah, just the kind of heavenly reward that the good professor eleventy-first birthday party with his favorite fictional creations! Azalais certainly knows her Tolkien biography, and this was a delightfully imagined tribute. Maybe next time they'll invite Jack!

Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 2

Absolutely riveting, just the kind of thing you would wish *could* indeed happen for the Professor; it made me grin and sniffle at the same time.

Reviewed by: Marta  ✧  Score: 2

This paints a very convincing picture of a possible dream visition the professor might have had. I really like the idea that his creation became friends of a sort.

Reviewed by: nerwen_calaelen  ✧  Score: 1

An amusing and clever tale. Your discriptions make it come alive.

Reviewed by: sulriel  ✧  Score: 1

What a wonderful birthday present!

Reviewed by: Bodkin  ✧  Score: 1

Beautifully done. Very impressive, very enjoyable - the characters shone through, including that of the Professor.