Elves and Potatoes

Author: Celandine Brandybuck

Nominator: Marta

2005 Award Category: Races/Places: Hobbits - Second Place

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: G  ✧  Reason for Rating: n/a

Summary: Mr. Bilbo "learns Sam his letters".

Read the Story

Reviewed by: Vistula the Dunadan  ✧  Score: 7

This is a very well-written tale! I generally love young Sam tales, and this one is no exception. I really enjoyed the detailed descriptions of Bag End’s gardens, the plants and their care. It’s obvious, Celadine, that you are either a gardener of great repute yourself or horticultural researcher extraordinaire. I really felt for Sam and his dilemma when Bilbo – assuming he can read – sends him into Bag End for a particular gardening book. You made the frustration real. And how nice of Frodo to both come to the rescue and set about to change Sam’s unlettered state by mentioning the fact to Bilbo. And being a book lover myself, I couldn’t imagine a more magical moment than receiving a first treasured book. I’ve always liked the Gaffer’s line from Fellowship about cabbages and potatoes suiting the likes of him and Sam better than Elves and dragons. This story is a great take on that viewpoint.

Reviewed by: Marta  ✧  Score: 6

This is a very well-written story. The characterisation of Bilbo and Frodo is well done of course, but I think my favourite aspect of this piece is the way that young Samwise and the Gaffer interact. The Gaffer clearly doesn't want Sam to read, and Sam clearly loves stories -- that's canonical -- but you managed to have these two in the same story without making either one seem dysfunctional. The Gaffer may not be that expressive in his emotions toward Sam, but he obviously loves the boy and wants what is best for him. To get that across takes skill. I also really liked how Bilbo was surprised that Sam couldn't read. Of course, being from the upper-middle class, it would never occur to him that boys wouldn't be at least literate.

Reviewed by: Nancy Brooke  ✧  Score: 5

This is an excellent story, from beginning to end and all along the middle. Whether meticulously researched or butressed by the author's own knowledge the small detials - types of flowers, composting - gave wonderful depth and texture without sounding showy. This story kept my attention throughout; each character was thoughtfully and authentically realized; the Gaffer particulalry deserves notice as he is present so little in Tolkien's text. I felt present at every stage.

Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 3

I really liked this account of how Bilbo came to teach Sam to read. It's very plausible. I love the description of Bag End's gardens, and the details of how the Gaffer and Sam care for it, and the account of how Frodo came to discover that Sam could not read. All of it was told in a gentle lyrical fashion. Very nice.

Reviewed by: Rabidsamfan  ✧  Score: 2

This story is rich in marvelous details, particularly the details about gardening and the kind of plants and flowers which might be in the gardens of Bag End. It's a wonderful, gentle story, and I thank you for it.

Reviewed by: nerwen_calaelen  ✧  Score: 2

A lovely tale. The way you show the interactions between Sam adn the Bagginses is very clever, You manage to make the interactions realistic and manage to keep the class structure shown well and cleverly.