The North Delving Incident

Author: Dana

Nominator: Dreamflower

2008 Award Category: Genres: Drama

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Medium Length

Rating: Mature  ✧  Reason for Rating: Dark elements and themes: angst, violence, minor character death, other dark implications, and the acts of Ruffians

Summary: A village occupied by ruffians, a year after the Scouring of the Shire and the Battle of Bywater, and how they are freed.

Read the Story

Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 10

This is actually three stories woven into one, and yet all three are the same story. A year after the Battle of Bywater Pippin finds himself passing through a small village in the North-farthing, and makes the horrifying discovery that a handful of Ruffians have been hiding out there the whole time, terrorizing the villagers. And he soon finds himself their captive. In “Overlooked” we are shown the incident through Pippin’s eyes. I love his attitude as he wakes to find himself once more in captivity. He’s not afraid, not in the least, but he immediately begins to calculate how he can get away, and what his advantages and disadvantages are. His characterization here is solidly book-Pippin, a clever and curious hobbit, with a full allowance of Tookish stubbornness. We are introduced to an OC who plays a pivotal role in what happens, and as with all of Dana’s OCs, Citrine comes vividly to life, as does her family. It is her POV that we follow in the second part of the cycle, “Left Undone”, and we learn for the first time just *how* those Ruffians came to be in North Delving. Citrine is an engaging character, as are her family. Pippin’s arrival is the catalyst that will bring the story to a climax. The recounting of the horrors of life in the village as the Men hold the town hostage is heart-breaking, and we come to understand Citrine’s desperation. I know of no one who has such a sure grip on just what the Occupation of the Shire must have meant to the hobbits who endured it. Dana does not shrink from letting us know the things that JRRT drew a veil over. And yet, her hobbits always manage to remain hobbits. In “Following Through” we have Merry’s POV, as he worries about a Pippin who has missed meeting him, and we finally learn how Merry and the others managed to arrive at the end. One of the things I loved in this part was the hobbity banter at the beginning, as the hobbits riding with Merry tease one another about the prevalence of sheep in the North-farthing. This is a really fine story-cycle, and shows that Dana is perfectly capable of writing not only character studies and vignettes, but a tight and well-constructed plot as well!

Reviewed by: annmarwalk  ✧  Score: 6

[ ...Men so often don't take the hobbits with as much seriousness as they ought to.] And so I must stand, and apologize profusely, for I'm one of those Men (Women) who still seem to think it was all Rohirrim and Rangers and a Wizard, maybe an elf or two, who did it all. And completely forgetting that there was another whole war going on, more savage, more long-lasting, more terrifying and widespread. And I always forget, until I'm reminded by powerful writers like you and RubyNye, that the folk of the Shire were no less fierce in defense of their homeland than any of the taller, flashier races. The characterizations here are particularly vivid and heartwrenching: we can feel Pippin's self-recrimination, Citrine's desperation fanning the flames of rebellion, Merry's tenderness and relief in his rescue of Pippin, and his pride at the courageous actions of the North Delving community.

Reviewed by: grey_wonderer  ✧  Score: 6

I always enjoy this author's writing and this story stands out as a favorite of mine. This story is very exciting and she managed to keep me on the edge of my seat as I read it. With each new development and each new twist of the plot the author brings more suspense. The characters are so well written and so very in character from the beginning to the end of this story. The original characters are delightful. They are so well written that you feel as if they must be canon. I dearly love the little bits of humor that turn up unexpectedly within this tale. You will also enjoy the dialogue. I thought that every word out of Pippin's mouth in this story was perfectly Pippin and fit the mood and the scene. I won't include any spoilers except to say that this is an excellent story by a very talented writer.

Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger  ✧  Score: 5

The thing I love most about this story is its tense. Not tension, though that's good, too, but rather verb choice. Which probably sounds like an odd compliment, but the tense does so much to set the tone. It's a present tense story, and I'm usually a bit leery of those. But it works so well here! There's a real sense of immediacy to the action. You feel as though you are living it right alongside the hobbits. The first section, in particular, had some brilliant pacing and excellent POV work for Pippin. It was just hazy enough to give us a sense of his physical wellbeing, but it was never too fuzzy that we lost track of the narrative completely. Great balancing work by the author. I was very impressed.

Reviewed by: Larner  ✧  Score: 4

It appears that not quite all the ruffians were run out of the Shire at the time the Travellers led the Battle of Bywater; five found their way to North-delving where they took hostages and settled in. A year later Peregrin Took found himself caught in the midst of this situation, and tries--almost singlehandedly--to rectify matter. An interesting tale that examines courage and motivations from the points of view of three different characters going through much the same situation. Loved Merry's POV here.

Reviewed by: Cathleen  ✧  Score: 3

This is an extremely well conceived, well written story, by a talented author. It's not the type of story I usually seek out because of its dark theme, and those can be very difficult for me to read. But this one is tremendous and I'm glad I read it.

Reviewed by: nancylea  ✧  Score: 1

this might have fared better in the horrors category, well written but horrifying