Comes Now The Plaintiff, Frodo Baggins

Author: EdorasLass

Nominator: Raksha the Demon

2007 Award Category: Genres: Humor: Parody - First Place

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: Frodo files a lawsuit against a number of people, demanding compensation for his mental and physical anguish. References to many characters.

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Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 10

A novel and completely delightful 'real life' interpretation of certain aspects of the plot of LORD OF THE RINGS, in the form of a legal complaint, on Frodo's behalf, against Gandalf, Aragorn, and Faramir. EdorasLass knows her legal forms and this is straight-on accurate. Not only is the legalese perfect, but there actually is cause for action, if one applies American law, here. Gandalf's habit of being cryptic and not telling the whole truth can be used in a suit for the infliction of emotional distress via magical coercion; Aragorn did put Frodo in harm's way at Weathertop, and Faramir did take the hobbit from his appointed path to Henneth Annun and subject him to interrogation and (more) distress. And when one considers all the other cross-jurisdictional factors, all sorts of legal hijinks can ensue. I could almost visualize some shady ambulance-chasing lawyer, catching up to a weary Frodo after the Ring War and persuading him to bring suit against all sorts of folks. I loved the slyness of the "a.k.a."s - Gandalf as "Magneto" (referencing one of Sir Ian's other movie roles) and "Stoned Old Guy In the Hat"; poor Faramir as "The Spare", and Aragorn as "Frankie 'The Hammer' of Pelargir" (which I could actually visualize, don't ask me why). Chock-full of reasons to chuckle. I personally could not stop laughing while I read this.

Reviewed by: Anoriath  ✧  Score: 10

Oh. My. God. I'm not sure I can stop laughing long enough to collect my thoughts and write something with any reasonable degree of coherence. *deep breath* Oh my. How to distill what is so funny about this piece? A truly daunting task. I think, perhaps, one of the factors for me is Edoraslass' use of a delightful tension between the thoroughly modern language of legal action and the heightened pitch of epic fantasy. The lawyerly narrative voice looks at it all with a wry eye and takes the grand and moral point of view of the epic fantasy author down a peg or two, or perhaps three. And then there is the truly aggrieved tone that speaks to the divide between the medieval world of Men and the Edwardian land of the Halflings. Oh dear, that plaintiff Baggins was threatened with nude feet and the denial of a second breakfast. How dare they! And not to forget the believability supported by endless details (e.g., attached exhibits and references to related and counter suits) that only a high degree of familiarity with legal jargon engenders. All in all, the above combine to bring about a very effective, wry, dry, tongue firmly ensconced in cheek sense of humor to the piece that I thoroughly enjoyed. Particularly *snork*worthy moments, for me, include: [(see:Bilbo Baggins vs. Gandalf the Grey vs. Surviving Members of Thorin Oakenshield and Company, LLC).] [Instead sending only an all-but-incoherent letter at The Prancing Pony ] [an individual of questionable mental health called “Tom Bombadil”] [Defendant Faramir took to speaking in a disjointed, rambling manner, quoting lengthy passages from poems, while continuing to interrogate Plaintiff Baggins in an unlawful manner.] [even though the borders of said area were not clearly marked] *g*

Reviewed by: Aranel Took  ✧  Score: 10

This is one of the funniest things I've ever read. The legal language is perfect, which makes it all the more funny because legal language can be very funny on its own just from the ridiculousness of how things are worded. A lawsuit makes perfect sense for what poor Frodo has gone through, because this complaint makes perfectly clear that the actions of Gandalf, Aragron and Faramir really were that bad! They abused him, abandoned him and used him! Poor hobbit! I also like the reference to a similar lawsuit Bilbo brought against Gandalf and Thorin's Company. The aliases are hilarious: ["Frankie 'The Hammer' of Pelargir", "Magneto", "Stoned Old Guy in the Hat"]. There is also insightful analysis of certain characters -- ["an individual of questionable mental health called “Tom Bombadil”"]. I always suspected that one. ;-) And regarding Faramir -- ["Defendant Faramir took to speaking in a disjointed, rambling manner, quoting lengthy passages from poems, while continuing to interrogate Plaintiff Baggins in an unlawful manner. Exposure to such obvious mania constitutes yet another form of harassment."], which is hilarious to me because my husband always complains about that scene in the books, for those very reasons. So the complaint is spot on! Even Faramir's entrapment of poor Sméagol is brought up, as the pool of Henneth Annûn was not clearly marked as a restricted area. What makes this especially good is that the humor is not forced or overdone, it just fits together perfectly. I could probably spend all day quoting out the funny bits, so I'll just say that it's a brilliant and very funny look at Frodo's point of view of the events.

Reviewed by: stefaniab  ✧  Score: 9

What a comment on our litiguous society this story is. "Comes Now the Plaintiff, Frodo Baggins," is a legal brief that answers the question, "What if Frodo were to sue for damages the very heroes that persuaded him to go on the quest to destroy the Ring of power? The prime defendent cited in the brief is the nefarious Aragorn son of Arathorn, aka Strider aka Thorongil aka Elessar aka Estel aka Frankie “the Hammer” of Pelargrir (who?) and many more aliases. The second defendent is the murderous Maia Gandalf Greyhame aka Gandalf the White aka Mithrandir aka Olorin, and not to mention Stoned Old Guy in the Hat and Magneto. The last is the criminal kidnapper Faramir, Son of Denethor, House of Hurin, aka The Spare. This band of miscreants, according to the brief, conned poor Frodo, sent him on a fools errand, and kidnapped him, among other crimes. Surely Frodo Baggins must be awarded a vast sum of money for the pain and suffering these three have inflicted on him! Edoraslass taps on her experience typing legal briefs for these riotous parody on lawyers and Lord of the Rings. Her brief and legalesse are the real thing and very worth reading. I was bellowing with laughter.

Reviewed by: Marta  ✧  Score: 8

This was a really fun read. Besides being true (!)--Frodo really did have a hard go of things on the Quest to destroy the Ring--and in our modern lawsuit-happy culture I don't doubt for a moment that he would have won a pretty gold-piece or two. I am not overly familiar with legal language, but what you have here seems realistic, and somehow that made it all the more hilarious. On one level this piece works as pure humor. All of the names given for Gandalf, Aragorn, and Faramir at the beginning are simply hilarious, and the reference to other fictional cases was similarly chuckle-inducing. And it was all so hobbity! This reminded me of Tolkien's references to convoluted Shire legal customs, and I could very easily see this happening. It also strikes me as a particularly hobbity way of dealing with being forced to go off on a (horror of horrors!) adventure. Yet under all of that, there seems to be a biting commentary on honour and its place in Middle-earth versus our modern world. Even so, it doesn't forget its humorous roots. Quite a nice piece of comic writing all around.

Reviewed by: Inkling  ✧  Score: 5

A hilarious look at a litigation-crazed Middle-earth, written by one who clearly knows legal gibberish all too well. I would have loved to see Edoraslass continue this with the trial, at which [...Orc, Uruk-Hai, and also, Shelob] will be called as witnesses. I'll be they get some sweet immunity deals for *that* testimony! Love all the side-suits and countersuits, especially the Estate of Boromir suing everyone in sight! I can just imagine the defendants' countersuits for slander, libel, and defamation of character against Frodo Baggins, aka FRODO OF THE NINE FINGERS aka ELF FRIEND aka MASTER UNDERHILL aka THE RING BEARER aka THE HALFLING aka FRODO OF THE SHIRE aka FRODO THE WANDERER aka MAURA LABINGI aka MR. FRODO aka MASTER...

Reviewed by: Dwimordene  ✧  Score: 5

Rather than take aim at fanfic writers, this time Frodo is going after his erstwhile companions for damages inflicted during the course of the Quest. And he's suing for change of venue, given the obviously high possibility of an unfair trial in Gondor or Arnor. I'd like to see the Haradric court take this one up without inciting Armageddon III in Middle-earth. Cute – has all the style of a court document (in this context, a compliment, rather than the usual curse), although I think Plaintiff Baggins might want to make sure he's getting a movieverse court for charges 19 and 20 at least, or the bookverse one may find him guilty of PTSD-induced memory loss. ;-)

Reviewed by: Fiondil  ✧  Score: 5

Suffering through three years of Law School and having written many a “complaint” myself, I was laughing hysterically at this. The language is so lawyerish at its worse and I just loved such matter-of-fact statements as [Venue of this action is improper in this Court pursuant to 19 G.A.C. § 128. As one defendant is King of Gondor and Arnor, and another is Steward of Gondor, counsel for Plaintiff Baggins will be submitting a motion for change of venue, for fear of drawing a prejudicial jury] and [Defendant Aragorn gave his honourable word that Plaintiff Baggins would reach Rivendell safely, only to abandon Plaintiff Baggins and his party on Weathertop, aka Amon Sûl. This led to Plaintiff Baggins being stabbed by a “Morgul blade” wielded by a “Nazgûl”. (Exhibit “E” for effects of said blade and description of so-called Nazgul.) Plaintiff Baggins would have died of his wound en route to Rivendell, if not for the intervention of a third party of Elven lineage, one “Glorfindel”]. The mixture of proper legalese with direct references to events in the book make it even funnier. And while this was clearly written with tongue-firmly-in-cheek, one can just see the poor solicitor’s clerk staring at this document and wondering how he dares file it, especially when one of the defendants is the King himself! I thoroughly enjoyed this.

Reviewed by: crowdaughter  ✧  Score: 4

Bwahahahahahahahaha! This is such an odd and mind-boggling idea, that it takes the readers at a complete surprise; and at the same time, it is completely brilliant! The complaints against the defendants, here, are so very substantial, and at the same time are taken into legalese so completely believably, that I really would love to see that complaint taken to court. Great idea, and a wonderful execution! I like!

Reviewed by: Larner  ✧  Score: 2

Humorous, and yet tragically indicative of the litiginous attitudes of today's society.