The Long Winter

Author: Baranduin

Nominator: sophinisba solis

2007 Award Category: Races: Hobbits

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: What really happened during the Long Winter as it was passed down to Sam, who passes it on to Elanor one snowy night at Bag End.

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Reviewed by: Inkling  ✧  Score: 7

This is an enchanting and beautifully written story, with a framing narrative that captures the style and spirit of Tolkien’s epilogues. I like Sam's guess that Holman may have heard the story from that master storyteller Tom Bombadil, although I could as easily imagine it as a tale that grew up among the hobbits themselves. Most intriguing to me was the close parallel drawn between the tale and the Quest of the Ring, and between the respective protagonists. Could it be that Sam is grafting something of his own experiences onto his recollection of the folk tale? Such is the way of stories passed down orally: they change subtly with each telling, according to the times, tastes, and memory of the teller and the audience. While directly inspired by "Saving Spring," a Scandinavian legend, "The Long Winter" contains echoes of so many other tales as well--"The Last Unicorn," "Spirited Away," "The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe." The great themes of fairy tales are universal...

Reviewed by: Mews1945  ✧  Score: 6

This story is based on an old legend called "Saving Spring". Sam tells the story to Elanor one cold, snowy night, seated by the fire, the perfect place and time for telling old tales. It concerns a long, hard winter in the shire, as recalled by an old hobbit who once told the tale to small Samwise. Sam and Elanor's conversation frames the story, but gives a very clear portrait of a loving father-daughter relationship, deeply based in the prosaic world of the Shire hobbits. The legend itself is a weaving of myth and fairy tale, with magic, enchantments, talking beasts who were once hobbits and men and elves, a wicked sorcerer and a lovely maiden imprisoned in a dungeon. The writer guides us from the cozy fireside of the hobbits to a lonely castle made of ice, and brings us back again with assurance and deftness. A beautifully told tale.

Reviewed by: Larner  ✧  Score: 4

Hero Baggins and Sam Greenhand volunteered to go off in search of help and missing Tooks in this Ardaish adaptation of a Scandinavian folk tale, written to meet a challenge. A tale of the Long Winter, this is marvelous as our intrepid searchers seek out news as to why Spring doesn't appear able to make an appearance and help save--well, not the day but the season. Wonderfully done!

Reviewed by: Imhiriel  ✧  Score: 4

Written in a lovely, intimate, warm and almost cosy style that perfectly fits with Sam telling a story by the fireside on a night of fierce snow. Sam's voice is captured very well. The charming "real world" folk take is transferred smoothly into a Middle-earth context as seen from the points of view of Hobbits. I like the way themes of Sam's and Frodo's "own" Quest are woven into the tale.

Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 4

I love the wonderful way this story mingles RL mythology with Middle-earth legend and history, to come up with what might have become the Shire Fairy-tale version of the Long Winter. I especially liked the way Gandalf was used in this--very much his mysterious, cryptic self. And the personification of Spring rather reminded me of Goldberry. Framing it around young Elanor was a lovely stroke as well!

Reviewed by: PipMer  ✧  Score: 3

This was a lovely story. The descriptions of the snowy surroundings were very vivid and detailed. I stories that give a sense of history to the Shire, and this one did just that. Well done!