Making Acquaintance

Author: Bodkin

Nominator: Pearl Took

2007 Award Category: Times: Mid Third Age: 2851 - 3017 TA - Honorable Mention

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: First meetings may, perhaps, be of greater significance than it would seem at a casual glance. Two young hobbits meet a wizard who will come to know them better than they might expect.

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Reviewed by: Marigold  ✧  Score: 10

This was a very hobbity tale filled with subtle foreshadowings of the future, from the characterisations of both young hobbits to Gandalf holding Pippin ["...the big person had caught him and swung him round, clasping the young hobbit to his chest as if he was meant to be there."] to their offers of future service and Merry's sudden thoughts that he might someday like to see the wide world outside the Shire. I found the actions of both Merry and Pippin to be very in character, both as hobbits in general and as Merry and Pippin in particular. She has captured their different personalities very well and also their similarities. Their comfortable and close relationship with each other is very well described and isn't overdone or overly sweet and I liked that very much. They display so many hobbity characteristics here but still the writing is subtle I think - what I mean by that is that the author is simply writing hobbits as they *are*, she does not overwrite them to impress upon us that they are hobbits and so, different from us, nor does she explain every motivation behind their hobbity behaviour as if we, the reader, aren't familiar with the race. I know what I mean to say here but don't know if I am getting it across very well! Suffice it to say that I think she does a grand job. I also liked that the hints of foreshadowing weren't grim and terrible but spoke more of comradeship and adventure. And the last line was just right, because a well-mannered young hobbit wouldn't fail to issue such an invitiation, lol.

Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 6

I always wish that Bodkin would be more often moved to write hobbits. She does so with such a natural understanding of their characters that it is a delight to see. I do not believe she had ever before written them so young as in this little tale, but that too, she brought off effortlessly and elegantly. Little Pippin and young Merry are very clearly themselves--Pippin, uncurably curious and impulsive and insightful, and Merry determined and responsible and protective, as they encounter their first Big Person. And said Big Person was also perfectly in character, as well! I also loved the beauty of her descriptiveness, which I won't quote here for fear of spoilers, and the aptness of her dialogue. And the last line was wonderfully hobbity, and a perfect ending to the story.

Reviewed by: Imhiriel  ✧  Score: 5

Vivid scene setting that really makes "Pippin's tree" and Pippin's progress along it come alive in all its details; which I thought especially remarkable because the readers see it all from Merry's PoV down on the ground. Engaging character interaction and dialogue. It was fun to witness how a Hobbit might see a Big Person - and Gandalf at that - for the first time. The characterisations are wonderful, and spot-on. Not even an almost deadly drop can quench irrepressible Pippin! I like the idea that this meeting was "meant to be". Gandalf has, after all, some experience with fateful encounters that had more wide-ranging consequences than happenstance could account for. ["Thank you for droppin by"] - Bwhaha!

Reviewed by: Elanor  ✧  Score: 4

I quite enjoyed this warm, witty story of Merry and Pippin meeting Gandalf for the first time. The very young hobbits are skillfully drawn. Flashes of their older selves are visible now and again, and their defining characteristics are already in place--Merry's serious sense of responsibility and Pippin's gleeful impulsivity. Gandalf is a splendid figure, and the whole business comes across as quite authentic. Excellent dialogue and a fine writing style; this is a story to be proud of!

Reviewed by: Larner  ✧  Score: 4

It is said that the Wizards, having begun as Maiar, were intended to be serving angels--GUARDIAN angels. And so Gandalf proves as he arrives precisely when he means to--just as an adventurous and rather reckless Peregrin Took starts to fall from the beech tree he'd been climbing. Young Pippin and Merry--you can see their disparate natures already as they have their first encounter with [Bilbo's Gandalf], and as he looks his first on the Brandybuck and Took he must one day convince others to trust to see things done properly.

Reviewed by: Inkling  ✧  Score: 4

A charming "first meeting" story in which Bodkin captures the personalities of the three characters very nicely: a pragmatic, protective Merry who musters his courage to face down a Big Person; a reckless, impulsive Pippin who has no fear to conquer (perhaps because he has already recognized said Big Person from Bilbo’s stories); and a kind yet enigmatic Gandalf. I especially liked the hobbit's-eye-view of the wizard, [enveloped in enough rather threadbare grey cloth to dress a dozen hobbits, hairier than a sheep before shearing]. Another "chance" meeting that seems meant to be!

Reviewed by: Pearl Took  ✧  Score: 3

A absolutely marvelous possibility of the first meeting of Meriadoc Brandybuck and Peregrin Took with Gandalf the Grey. How kind of the old wizard to show up in time to rescue an errant little Took! Perfect from beginning to end!

Reviewed by: obsidianj  ✧  Score: 3

This little encounter might be AU, but it is charming. Merry and Pippin are just as I imagined them to be as young lads. That vow to Gandalf will come back to haunt them, but I don't think they really mind ;-).

Reviewed by: Nancy Brooke  ✧  Score: 3

I really liked this story. It is full of fun, character, action, foreshadowing and foresnickering but in no way too full. The style remains uncluttered but rich, the story straightforward but sweetly told. I particularly like the detail of Gandalf's coming to the Shire as if to rendezvous with fate while not know what that fate might be. Very nice.

Reviewed by: Linda hoyland  ✧  Score: 3

[spoilers] A delightful story in which Merry and Pippin meet Gandalf for the sirst time. The two young Hobbits are gathering nuts and afraid when a tall stranger appears, though as ever, Merry tries to be responsible. I especially enjoyed Gandalf's meeting with Pippin.