Author: GamgeeFest

Nominator: Larner

2011 Award Category: Hobbits: General - Second Place

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Short Story

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

Summary: Frodo struggles in Mordor as the Ring attempts to take control of his mind.

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Reviewed by: Larner  ✧  Score: 10

A most chilling examination of the relationship between the Ring and Frodo Baggins as the journey through Mordor takes its toll of the Hobbit. We see the Ring seeking to exert Its growing hold on Frodo, seeking to destroy his sense of self and his memories so that in the end It can influence him to take It directly to Sauron himself. And we see how close It comes this time to winning, how close It comes to severing Frodo’s last source of confirmation that he is NOT alone and nameless, even here in the land of the Enemy, even here where Its strength grows exponentially as he nears Its birthplace. I love the use of the quotation from “In the House of Tom Bombadil” here in this tale as we look at how it is becoming so aptly applicable to Frodo’s fading personality. And I love how the realization of the true nature of the “rock” It seeks to cause him to destroy frightens him back to himself, allowing his true, protective nature to successfully drive Its influence away. GamgeeFest’s dialogue between the Ring and Frodo is expertly written the perfect gapfiller leading to the interaction from “The Return of the King” she’s so well woven into the tale. This reads like a true expansion of the Master’s intent, perhaps left out of the finished book merely to keep down the word-count of the finished tome as well as to keep more true to allowing the reader to imagine what actual thoughts are driving Frodo at this point. And again, it reminds me just why the Ring is one of the most cordially hated artifacts that has never truly been seen in our world but that we know so very well because Tolkien gave It such life and power. Definitely thought provoking!

Author response: This story all started with that quote from "The House of Tom Bombadil." I couldn't even tell you now what made me even think of it at the time, but once it popped into my head, I couldn't shake it and this story took shape. It's probably a good thing that we see the Mordor chapters from Sam's POV, rather than Frodo's, for they would be even darker and more hopeless. We all know Frodo wouldn't have got far without his Sam, and it seems even the Ring knows this on some level, though it fails to understand the depth of their bond for each other. Thank you, Larner, for such high praise!

Reviewed by: Adonnen Estenniel  ✧  Score: 5

This was a very cleverly staged piece of writing. The author presented a very interesting internal debate, bringing the Ring from a sessile yet malevolent presence to a full-on character of Its own, complete with a voice to speak its thoughts. The progression of the dialogue between Frodo and the Ring was prefect, and as a reader I loved the steady decline in Frodo's strength of will as the Ring's own purpose dominated its Bearer. The author's use of logical mind-puzzles seemed to fit the Ring in this incarnation, and the word-play on 'nothing' was well-put. The last line was particularly poignant, and gave the reader something to chew on.

Author response: Thank you, Adonnen! I think that by this point on the Quest, the Ring would have become an internal voice in Frodo's head, which makes it both creepier and more personal than when it was just tempting Frodo with visions. The Ring truly is as deceptive as its master, and it doesn't even realize the deception it is creating for itself!

Reviewed by: Darkover  ✧  Score: 5

Whoa! A lot has been packed into this finely-written drabble. This brief tale gives the reader a glimpse into the relentless evil of the One Ring, as it grinds viciously against the mind, heart, and will of Frodo. It also makes it clear why he almost turned against Sam a time or two. This tale is indeed angsty, but very finely written; the story shows quite plausibly how anyone who carried the Ring would inevitably go mad if they bore it for too long. By the conclusion, the reader simultaneously feels sorry for Frodo, but also admires him. The last line is especially powerful, and open to more than one interpretation. Very well written.

Author response: Thank you, Darkover! The Ring was definitely working overtime at this point, trying to break the last strings of Frodo's will. It was also an interesting process to try to figure out just why Frodo was so short with Sam sometimes, what thought processes were taking place at those times. I'm glad you enjoyed this!

Reviewed by: Caunedhiel  ✧  Score: 4

Wow, what a little brain teaser that was, I liked it thought, very much! I absolutely love the way the ring messes with Frodo's head (it messed with mine as I was reading it - you have to read closely or it loses you) I loved this part: [To Nothing, any other thing is Everything. I am not Nothing, therefore I am Everything. Does Nothing know of anything else other than me? Nothing does not. Then I am Everything. You are Everything. And Nothing is nothing. Nothing does not matter. Everything does. Isn’t that the same thing?] Your's is such an interesting view into Frodo's head in a time that must have been extremely difficult for him and I think you have done a perfect job :) I really did enjoy reading your story.

Author response: Thank you very much, Caunedhiel! The Ring is quite a manipulator and a master at deception, just as its master. It truly is amazing that Frodo was able to withstand it for so long. I'm so glad you enjoyed this!

Reviewed by: Kara's Aunty  ✧  Score: 4

A chilling portrayal of how the One Ring may have destroyed Frodo's sense of identity and usurped his sense of self for its own wicked purposes. More chilling (though not surprising) was the One Ring's attempts to destroy the main obstacle to its complete domination over the ailing hobbit: Samwise - and using Frodo himself as its instrument ... Excellent characterisation of all parties. Very nicely done!

Author response: Thank you, Kara's Aunty! This was a chilling story. I know I was creeping myself out while I was writing it. ;) I had no idea how it was going to use Sam though, nor how Frodo was going to overcome it. This is a story that very much wrote itself. I'm glad you enjoyed it!

Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 4

A brilliant snippet showing one way in which the Ring might try to wear Frodo down, to overcome his will. It draws on so much that we see in cases of emotional abuse, which I suppose is what you might call the Ring's brainwashing. Clearly the Ring understands what is still anchoring Frodo to the real world as it tries to make him destroy that anchor. But it has no understanding of why that anchor is so strong that it's deceptions won't hold. Wonderfully done!

Author response: The Ring is certainly using all of its manipulative prowess on Frodo by this point, chipping away at him more and more, the closer they get to Mount Doom. It knows it has to get rid of Frodo's "rock" though it can never understand the strength of the bond between them. Thank you so much, Dreamflower!