Making of Boys
2005 Award Category: Races/Places: Gondor: Houses of Healing - First Place
Story Type: Story ✧ Length: Short Story
Rating: G ✧ Reason for Rating: n/a
Summary: The men and women of the Houses of Healing prepare themselves and their young charges for war as best they can. Ioreth, Bergil, and the boys of Minas Tirith.
Reviewed by: ErinRua ✧ Score: 7
From the first time I read this, I was struck by the simply lyricism of Ioreth's thought. Here is a side to the Seige that one does not think of, the simpler view, the grim cost, the terrible risks for the ordinary, unsung folk who stood ready to support the battle to come. It is also nice to see the earthy goodness of Ioreth that lives beneath the commoner's chatter Tolkien gives her, and the practicality we know must guide her in her work. Lastly, it is Ioreth's bittersweet observations of the lads in her care that give this tale its heart, the grim realities they face, and her own detirmination to see that whatever the end, they will face it doing the best of their ability. "- although those who have not swords may still die upon them, not all those who die by swords needs must die as lions." A more perfect final line I cannot imagine.
Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger ✧ Score: 6
Ioreth always struck me as a very maternal presence in the Houses of Healing, and I get the same impression from her here, too. And given all the boys wandering around, I think that's not an unfounded feeling. I loved her thoughts on them and the idea that for now they should be lambs instead of lions. There was a lot of great introspection, but it never went so deep that it stopped sounding like Ioreth. It seemed to brush greater things and then move on to more practical matters. And I really enjoyed the bits of humor, too, such as the missing broom she spies in someone's hand. Very well-rounded story, and great character voice for Ioreth. She sounds just as I'd imagined her.
Reviewed by: Ariel ✧ Score: 6
Since the story I wanted to review wasn't nominated, I shall review this one instead. I am most decidedly a hobbit reader, but there are a few authors outside that realm that I enjoy. Dwim is always good for a captivating read and writes enough variety that I can usually find something that will tickle my fancy. Ioreth is a favourite already and this story is an insightful piece that shows her as a believable, empathetic character not the caricature that so many (even, arguably, Tolkien) present her as. You are led inside her feminine strength and intimately feel her strong dislike of the futility and waste of war. A classic example of 'showing' rather than telling and one to which I once referred a friend to illustrate the concept. Thank you for this.
Reviewed by: Marta ✧ Score: 6
I think what I love most about this piece is Ioreth's voice. She is definitely the chatty comic relief we see in the books, but there's more to her somehow. More weight. She has a wquiet wisdom that fit a woman of her station and class. She's also extremely protective of the girls, and has a maternal connection that I was surprised by how well it worked. Given that she seems old but still works outside the house suggests to me that she was never married or is widowed (and if widowed has no living children). The fact that she is respected says a lot for Gondorian society, that it has some place (albeit fairly limited) for professional women. And of course I loved the philosophising, Dwim... but you knew I would like that already. Nice job on this one.
Reviewed by: Rabidsamfan ✧ Score: 4
This story outlines the preparations of the Houses of Healing before the siege of Minas Tirith, told from Ioreth's point of view as she watches the boys who are being trained to run errands and perhaps, attempt to defend themselves at the last with daggers. It's a powerful, sober piece; well thought out in its details and drawing on ideas from sources which are (thank you!) cited at the end of the tale. Well worth the read!
Reviewed by: nerwen_calaelen ✧ Score: 3
An interesting view of Ioreth. You present her as a nice and sympathic character. It is also interesting to see this view of life in Minas Tirith during the time of the ring war. It is nice to see this portrayal of everyday life in this time and so see more about the life of ordinary people. An interesting story, cleverly written and enjoyable to read.
Reviewed by: Lindelea ✧ Score: 3
Heart-rending, and the story fleshes out minor characters who were more caricatures in the book, than solid three-dimensional people. Bergil and Beregond have got to be my favourite Mannish characters in JRRT's world, and I was glad to find this gem.