A Woman's Touch

Author: Linda Hoyland

Nominator: juliaaurelia

2011 Award Category: Drabble: Men - Second Place

Story Type: Drabble  ✧  Length: True Drabble

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: It is a truth sometimes acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a silver star and a Dúnedain heritage must be in want of a wife. But what virtues might inspire a Ranger in the making of so important a choice?(Written for the Tolkien Weekly. 100 words as counted in MS Word)

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Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 10

Most of us are accustomed, in today's world, to going to the nearest store to buy a new pair of gloves or a scarf when holes start to appear in a well-worn accessory. But the Rangers of both North and South could not exactly hop in the car and drive off to the nearest L.L. Bean or even Wal-Mart to get new pairs of socks suitable for constant walking and running and fighting. This outstanding drabble intertwines two of a Ranger's greatest needs, the desire for the love and comfort of a wife and the desire for something even more necessary to a Ranger - socks free of holes! You know a drabble is going to be good when it begins with a familiar, homey conversation between three Rangers. Even those doughty descendants of forgotten kings need to decompress and chat of normal, everyday things after a hard day or month of tracking through wind and rain and snow. Linda sets the scene with the three - Aragorn, Halbarad, and the boyish, still-young OMC Gilavir, then moves on to the meat of the piece. Young Gilavir seems to have found true love and future happiness; announcing his intent to marry soon. Aragorn's surprise shows the improbability of a Ranger who is still a boy getting married; there is an age taboo in the Northern Dunedain, Tolkien brought it to light in the Appendices with the concern of Gilraen's family that she was, at 22, much to young to consider marrying anyone, much less the Chieftain's son. The ending is delightful and very realistic, when young Gilavir that he is not so much actually planning to marry a specific young lady, but willing to marry just about anyone as long as she can knit a pair of socks! The dichotomy of the notion of marrying soberly and lovingly and marrying anyone [young or old, fair or homely] as long as she can keep a Ranger in socks is amusing and realistic, given that it is a young man, still mostly boy, who articulates it. Linda skillfully contrasts Gilavir's irreverence and realism with the remarks of the older Halbarad and Aragorn, who both admit to missing their mothers - whether they speak of yearning for Mom's home-and-hearth comfort or just the certainty of Mom being able to efficiently patch up Sonny's socks, they speak of a real, actual connection to someone they love, not, as in Gilavir's case, a funny but fanciful relationship with a bride desired for her knitting prowess. The drabble gently and humorously, but also realistically, emphasizes both the hardship of the Rangers' lives, their own resourcefulness in dealing with those daily chores (they are actually knitting up their socks, since there are no mothers or brides with them in the dangerous wilds); and the importance, in terms of security and actual help, of women in their lives. I just love the image the drabble evokes, of the three mighty Rangers sitting around patching up their socks! But it would be something that had to be done; even if the guys brought a few extra pairs, those would eventually get holes too...

Reviewed by: Virtuella  ✧  Score: 7

Oh, dear Linda, this one really made me laugh out loud! First of all, I do of course approve of the delightfully Austenesque summary for this drabble, which is just the kind of thing I like to see. :) Next, I wondered what the task in the first sentence might be, but I did not connect it with the men saying that they were missing their mothers, which seemed a little strange to me at that point. The young man's marriage plans then sent my mind down a different track, and the conclusion was just hilarious! You realise, of course, what these poor men really need is neither wives nor mothers, but a photocopy of the very sensible and clear instructions which my friend Petra once wrote for me. They may apply to me for these by post or e-mail. I have knitted a fair number of servicable pairs of socks based on those instructions, but only you wrote a clever and funny drabble about the knitting of socks. Thank you for that!

Reviewed by: rosethorn59  ✧  Score: 5

This drabble is hilarious! I love this one! I would just love to see the three of them with their big, rough hands bent over a fire with poor light, trying to knit tiny little stitches, with their hair falling over their faces just to knit..socks. Men can be so helpless, sometimes, without a woman around to help. I love that they miss their mothers, to help them with their task, and spoil them of course. The last line is great. I adore the fact that Gilivir says he wants to marry..anyone..who can do his unsavory chore(s) for him. With knitting and sewing at the top of the list, I am sure. That's a man, or Dunedain in this case, for you..grin. Thanks for the humorous drabble, Linda. It is very, very good!!

Reviewed by: Darkover  ✧  Score: 3

I laughed out loud at the final line of this story. Clearly, even the young Rangers are becoming realistic about what to look for in a wife! A very enjoyable drabble that should not be missed!

Reviewed by: Adonnen Estenniel  ✧  Score: 3

Very funny, very unexpected, but most of all: very appropriate. This drabble effectively infuses Rangers with humanity, and it brings down some lofty preconceptions. Perfectly handled, in my opinion.

Reviewed by: Elfique  ✧  Score: 2

Haha, a very amusing insight to the life of a ranger. The solemn start serves to make the end all the funnier!

Reviewed by: Nieriel Raina  ✧  Score: 2

Okay, the summary totally threw me off and I found myself blinking then laughing at the last line. Young men are so funny sometimes. Great job!

Reviewed by: Nath  ✧  Score: 2

Very funny. The homely scene in this drabble finishes with a surprise twist, that makes one go back and re-examine the meaning of what the other two protagonists just said.

Reviewed by: Ellynn  ✧  Score: 1

Funny, lovely drabble. I like the humor in this little story.

Reviewed by: Tanaqui  ✧  Score: 1

Cute drabble – very unexpected punchline!