The Fire: S.R. 1392

Author: Dreamflower

Nominator: Pearl Took

2011 Award Category: Hobbits: Bagginses

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: Teen  ✧  Reason for Rating: Disturbing Imagery/Themes

Summary: A night's sleep at Bag End is interrupted by a fire on Bagshot Row...

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Reviewed by: The Lauderdale  ✧  Score: 8

During LOTR Frodo has a number of dreams that turn out to be prophetic, or at least to have some significant resonance with events that he should have no way of knowing about. This story is framed by dreams. During a particularly pleasant dream, a young Frodo, only 29 years of age, is woken by the terrible clamor of the Shirriff's bell, alerting all to the fire at a nearby home. Though the fire is put out, it is a grueling enterprise, and a life has been lost. Little wonder that fire should have a role in Frodo's next dream, but the particulars of this dream go beyond the conflagration of the Rumble home. I actually became a bit teary-eyed at the end of this story, and I didn't know why. It seemed out of measure to the plot. I suppose I see it as a loss of innocence, the loss of Frodo's first dream. His unhappy dreams in LOTR come to him after he has already taken up the Quest, when he has effectively made the Ring his responsibility. This story depicts a Frodo years before the Quest, entirely innocent and unknowing of the Ring, but whose second dream shows him already bound to that unhappy destiny.

Author response: What a very lovely review! I am so glad that it touched you that much! It's my conceit that Frodo's prescience is only partly from the Ring-- that it stems in part from his Tookish blood, and then strengthened and honed by the possession of the Ring. And I did want so much to contrast the innocence of his first dream to the sadness of the second one. Thanks again for your kind words.

Reviewed by: Pearl Took  ✧  Score: 6

A well crafted story with wonderful touches of Frodo's proclivity for premonitions. Before and after joining a bucket brigade to help put out a fire at the Rumbles hole, Frodo is having precognitive dreams. First of the land he and Bilbo go to when they leave Middle Earth. Gandalf is there in this mysterious silvery place. Mr. Rumble had fallen asleep with his pipe lit, igniting their hole and losing his life in the process, so we also have here a story of how Mrs. Rumble becomes the Widow Rumble mentioned in the books. After returning to Bag End and taking a much needed bath, Frodo then finds himself dreaming his second precognitive dream of being in a place of fire and desolation with a companion he knows is there but doesn't see. He is saddened that they are going to die and then wakes up. Dreamflower writes a deft tale.

Author response: Thank you so much, Pearl, for taking the time to read and review this one!

Reviewed by: Virtuella  ✧  Score: 4

Dear Dreamflower, it is interesting to see an adolescent Frodo being put to the test here, and you do a good job of weaving in some foreshadowing of things to come. And you know, I’ve heard of and read about bucket chains before, but I’ve never before thought of the fact that someone has to take the empty buckets back! Well done for attention to detail.

Author response: I did a bit of research on bucket chains, and learned they were known of as far back as Roman times. It was interesting to read of how they functioned, and to realize that this was how communities responded to a fire for thousands of years before the advent of modern firefighting. I was glad of a chance to show that Frodo was brave and competent long before the Quest. Thank you for the lovely review!

Reviewed by: Kara's Aunty  ✧  Score: 3

Sad and lovely. Even in the idyllic pre-Ring War Shire, accidents can happen, as the hobbits found out to their distress. An admirable account of a community pulling together to help their own, and the prophetic dream the unhappy event evokes is a poignant reminder that the trials are not ended for some, merely on hold until later.

Author response: Thank you, dear! I did want to evoke a sort of melancholy mood with this piece; I am glad I succeeded for you.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 3

A nice slice of life in pre-RIng War Bag End and Bagshot Row; showing the impact of a fire in the neighborhood. The hobbits' sense of community is well described here; and the use of dreams adds a little something extra-and-beyond the scope of the Shire.

Author response: Thank you! I wanted to show that even in so idyllic a place as the Shire, there would be the occasional occurrence of natural or accidental disaster. And I also wanted to showcase a touch of Frodo's prescience, for I have always felt that was a quality inherent in him, and was only enhanced by his Quest.