Sometimes Wonder is Built, Brick by Brick

Author: Larner

Nominator: Dreamflower

2011 Award Category: Hobbits: Family - Second Place

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: Building miniature Hobbit houses has become popular in Tuckborough. When Pippin joins the craze, he decides on the perfect way to gift his creation to those who will best appreciate it.

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Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 10

For a great many reasons, this particular story taps into a number of things that simply make me smile. First of all, it's Pippin, and Larner's Pippin is among my favorite versions of Peregrin Took: he's quick and clever and capable. Like many versions of Pippin, he loves a joke. But this Pippin plans pranks that will amuse his victims rather than annoy them. When Pippin meets a brick-maker who's been making miniature bricks for the making of miniature houses, he's fascinated. Soon he has a new hobby, and finds that being engrossed in building a tiny hobbit house is far preferable on sleepless nights to tossing and turning and fending off nightmares. The crafter in me delights in the details of how the little house is made—for anyone who's ever made miniatures of any sort, it rings true! Before long the entire Took clan is involved in helping him with his project. But he has plans for it when it's finished, and the recipients will be not only mystified, but enchanted and overjoyed by the mysterious gift! I so agree with Larner's insight into the post-Quest friendships between Pippin, Merry and Sam. She puts her conclusions into the mouth of Pippin's sister Pearl, but they are conclusions which I find myself in hearty agreement with! A delightful read and re-read!

Author response: I was so honored to see this nominated for a MEFA, and this review is so wonderful, Barbara! Having written this artifact into my stories, I found I had to work on its backstory, and you know how that worked out. I've done my own share of crafting in the length of my life, and it was wonderful to find you feel it rings true, as well as the relationships between Merry, Pippin, and Sam I describe. Thank you so, and again, I am honored that this story touched you so deeply.

Reviewed by: Virtuella  ✧  Score: 9

Oh, Larner, this story gave me such a smile immediately, because I’ve been that parent who took over from her children. (Lego is a wonderful thing indeed…) It’s interesting to think why building a doll’s house is so fascinating to many people. We’ve built one for the Barbie dolls, rather rough and ready so it would be fit for children to play with, but we still put in lots of detail and it was great fun. You’ve described beautifully how this one came into existence – by chance at first, then as a therapeutic hobby to help Pippin cope with grim memories, and eventually as a project among a whole group, with people contributing whatever they found. I like how such idiosyncratic items as a box lid or a salt cellar find a useful place – this also reminds me of my own doll’s house project, where I used bottle tops as wall clocks and tictac boxes as sugar containers in the kitchen. How fitting that this lovely artefact is given as a present to Sam’s family to celebrate the friendship between him and Pippin. That made for a delightful ending to a charming story.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 3

A charming story; with a particular grace. The flavor of Tookishness blending with remembrance of Frodo is a lovely blend. Nice characterizations, particularly of Pippin and little Elanor. And that's a particularly apt title for the story...

Author response: It's always interesting to see where my imagination will take me when I start working on backstories either for artifacts in the Master's tales or for those that suddenly appear in my own. And having Pippin and Sam describe that miniature Hobbit house found in Bag End's gardens to Ruvemir, I found I had to figure out how it was built. Thank you so for this delightful review. And I'm so glad you like the title.

Reviewed by: Linda Hoyland  ✧  Score: 2

It seems very plausible that Hobbits might have their own version of doll's houses. I loved the idea of Pippin making one to keep nightmares away and giving it to Elanor.