Ranger, Ringbearer and Resolution

Author: Linda Hoyland

Nominator: Nath

2011 Award Category: Ring War: General - Third Place

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: When Aragorn meets the Ring Bearer, he is far from impressed. Written for the "Teitho" Challenge "Resolutions."

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Reviewed by: Nath  ✧  Score: 10

When I first read this story, I almost leapt at the chance to nominate it for the MEFAs. This may well be one of Linda Hoyland's best stories so far, examining what goes through Aragorn's mind as he attempts to convince Frodo and the other hobbits to trust him to take them to Rivendell. Aragorn's thoughts and emotions ring true. He is frustrated by Butterbur's distrust of Rangers, worried about Gandalf's absence, grieving for the good men lost in the Nazgûl attack on Sarn Ford, not to mention that the Ring is trying to tempt him, and here he is in the Prancing Pony with four hobbits who at first seem to have absolutely no sense of danger. Only Frodo seems to have any sense, and we even see the first inkling of respect when Frodo meets Aragorn's gaze. The tale then proceeds much as per the book, except recounted from Aragorn's point of view. The final scene, where Aragorn's attempt to intimidate the hobbits turns into him being tempted by the Ring (something which is not suggested in the book, but which is very likely), is chilling if one stops to consider that he might have reached out to take It there and then, but his noble nature immediately asserts itself, and Aragorn rejects the scenario the Ring dangles in front of him. To conclude, an excellent retelling of a pivotal scene and well worth the read.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 10

A lesser writer than Tolkien might have written the chapter where the hobbits first meet Aragorn, son of Arathorn and Heir of Isildur differently. There might have been a battle against trolls or orcs or human agents of Sauron, with Aragorn saving the hobbits and the hobbits gratefully welcoming the royal ranger's assistance. As we all know, the actual meeting was quite different. In this short story, Linda tells of that meeting from Aragorn's point of view. And it's a delightfully, and justifiably, cranky Aragorn, alias Strider the Tired Ranger. After all, he's footsore; bearing the weight of half of Middle-earth on his manly shoulders, come to escort the Ring and its bearer through Nazgul-haunted wilds to Imladris, and what does he find in Bree? The Ringbearer's young companions babbling away about their ancestry to anyone with ears in the Inn of the Prancing Pony; the Ringbearer's jumping up and singing a silly song and then using the Ring to vanish, and then Sam accusing Strider of being a spy. It's enough to discourage any Heir of Isildur from doing his Gandalf-sent duty and shepherding the pint-sized fools! There's also a nice touch, in Aragorn's resentful thoughts, of how his Dunedain comrades died at Sarn Ford to protect the hobbits, making the hobbits' lack of caution at the Inn even harder for Strider to bear. I particularly liked Linda's handling of Strider's unveiling his power in a rather sinister way to the frightened hobbits; she shows a man sorely tempted to take the Ring himself, for the good of all, of course. The way that he comes back to himself is very well written and credible. I totally enjoyed the entire story, as a look at a very human, though still strong and cunning and ultimately noble, Aragorn.

Reviewed by: Virtuella  ✧  Score: 9

Dear Linda, when I first read this story, I found myself thinking, yes, of course! I had not hitherto given any thought to the impression Frodo must have made on Aragorn, since the novel so firmly plants its point of view on the side of the Hobbits and their unfavourable impression of him. The latter, however, is based on ignorance, prejudice and superficial factors and as such is soon dismantled by Tolkien. The former, though, Aragorn’s impression of Frodo – yes, I think you have thought this through very thoroughly. How foolish, childish almost and weak Frodo would have appeared - partly due to unfortunate circumstances, but also because he is taken out of his usual environment and has not yet found his feet in the great world he has been thrust into. He finds them later and Aragorn will see that, in fact, Aragorn will be one of the characters instrumental to that. For now, though, he seems laughable, and the reaction this triggers in Aragorn is very believable, as is his resolution. This is a very successful gap filler which convincingly adds new insights through a change of perspective.

Reviewed by: Darkover  ✧  Score: 5

You have done an excellent job of capturing Aragorn's character, that of the mysterious, shabby-but-imposing Strider who, unknown to most, is also the heir of kings. This is indeed the strong but subtle Ranger of whom Tolkien wrote, not the timid boy scout of the PJ movies! The reader can understand his exasperation with the hobbits, especially when you remind us that Aragorn has lost good men protecting these folk of the Shire. Aragorn's temptation by the Ring, his brief but intense realization that he could have all he ever wanted just by taking the Ring--and then his realization that this way lies corruption and madness--is superbly written. Well done.

Reviewed by: Ellynn  ✧  Score: 3

Wonderful story, in which Linda describes Aragorn's resolution to protect Frodo and save Middle-earth, at all costs, even if it means he has to give his life for it. Beautifully done.

Reviewed by: curiouswombat  ✧  Score: 3

What an excellent retelling of that first meeting between Aragorn and the hobbits in Bree. Poor Aragorn must have wondered, indeed, how on Earth those four innocents abroad could be expected to make it to Rivendell - or to make it out of the inn alive, for that matter.

Reviewed by: Caunedhiel  ✧  Score: 2

It's interesting to see Aragorn's thoughts of the hobbits in a pivotal point in Tolkien's plot. The rings effect on Aragorn was also a nice touch. A lovely piece of work :)