The Most Timid Hobbit

Author: Antane

Nominator: Dreamflower

2010 Award Category: Genres: Drama: Gapfiller - Second Place

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: What happened to Fatty Bolger from the time the four other hobbits left for the Old Forest to the time the Black Riders showed up? Fatty's story, told with a little help from Frodo and Sam.

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Reviewed by: Kara's Aunty  ✧  Score: 10

One of my favourite stories this year! I admit to being sceptical about ready a Freddy-fic, not knowing as much of his character as I do the other hobbits, but Antane really knows how to bring him alive! We watch young Master Bolger devolve (yes devolve!) from a confident participant in a dangerous ruse to waylay Black Riders at the opening of the story, to a terrified, angst-ridden hobbit who jumps at the merest shadow at the end. He has spent a few days alone with no other company than a few descriptions of those he is waiting for and his own very fertile imagination. His proximity to the Old Forest, along with the fact that the wizard Gandalf has not appeared as planned, probably didn't help to ease his poor addled mind; but one has to admire the fact that he remained as long as he did regardless, knowing full well that the other hobbits clearly fear them. Perhaps it was the semblance of normality - particularly the soothing of his worries with food (so typically, wonderfully hobbity) - that sustained him for so long; or maybe his fear for his friends - lost in the Old Forest as he imagined them to be - overcame his initial fears of anything else. Either way, Freddy displayed remarkable courage in offering himself as bait to deceive the Black Riders so that Frodo and Co could escape them - and all the greater was that courage as the days passed and his anxiety grew until, finally, the dreaded servants of Sauron were upon him ... Antane has woven a wonderfully angsty tale here and displays a good grasp of both the character and the more subtle side of courage. After reading this, I have a new-found respect and love for Freddy - and that is the sign of a great author. Well done, Cousin!

Reviewed by: Larner  ✧  Score: 10

The plan had seemed masterly--Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin would go through the Hay Gate into the Old Forest, and Freddy Bolger would stay behind in the Crickhollow house to keep up the illusion that Frodo was settling in. As he watched the others disappear into the gloom of the trees on the far side of the gate, Freddy was so very glad he'd chosen to remain behind, and even held vague thoughts of what he might do should he hear his friends calling for help. But they didn't call, and they didn't return. And his imagination began to work on the question of what he should do should the mysterious Black Riders find the house and attack it? The characterization of Fredegar "Fatty" Bolger is masterly, as is the depiction of his growing anxieties and continued wandering about the place, fretting as to the safety of his friends and his concerns as to whether or not the house might be attacked. I truly felt I was there, listening to Fatty alternately planning his meals and feeling worry for what might be happening or what might happen. This was a truly Hobbity story, and perhaps the best Antane has written. I had intended to nominate this myself for the MEFAs, but was beaten out by a friend. For those who love Shire-based gapfillers, this is perfect! Huzzah, Antane!

Reviewed by: The Lauderdale  ✧  Score: 6

Stories featuring Fredegar Bolger - the hobbt who almost went with Frodo but remained for his love of the Shire - always make me curious. This is a nail-biting account of the days immediately after Frodo and Company depart Crickhollow, leaving Fatty to keep up the ruse that Frodo is still in the Shire. Memories of exchanges witnessed between Sam and Frodo intimate an unstated sense of envy and emphasize Fatty's own isolation: it's just him now, alone, and something is happening. Someone is coming. We see how solitude and half-formed fears begin to tell on Fatty, as, through Antane's well-crafted narrative, they begin to have an effect on us as well: where are his friends, what is in the woods, why hasn't Gandalf come? Terror reaches its breaking point when the mysterious "they" actually arrive... A nice mix of horror and character study.

Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 4

Fatty Bolger is one of my favorite characters, and I truly enjoy seeing how many different writers of fanfic have dealt with him. This gapfiller, showing poor Fatty's POV as he waited all alone at Crickhollow after his friends had gone into the Old Forest is very well-done. We are shown his timid nature, and his growing apprehension as he gets more and more worried. And then comes the arrival of the Black Riders... A very atmospheric character study and gapfiller!

Reviewed by: Virtuella  ✧  Score: 4

This is a very skillfully written gapfiller that shows us Fredegar Bolger after the four questing Hobbits have left Crickhollow. His growing unease, gradually increasing to terror, is convincingly portrayed. Initially, Freddy is still primarily concerned with his meals, but towards the end, doors and locks take up almost his whole mind. The flashback memories of the other four hobbits were a great addition, and especially Sam and Frodo's conversation about the stars gave commendable depth to the story.

Reviewed by: Dwimordene  ✧  Score: 4

Antane fills in the gaps between the departure of Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin into the Old Forest and the arrival of the Black Riders. Fatty's vacillation between fear for his friends' safety, conviction that in fact all is well, and growing fears about his own role are very realistically portrayed. One feels with Fatty his nervous exhaustion, and his horror when the gate opens and closes by itself. A very tightly-written gap-filler, on a character whose capacity for transformation is bound to interest readers.

Reviewed by: obsidianj  ✧  Score: 3

This is a great gapfiller. Poor Fatty. The tension in this story builds and builds until the reader wants to flee right along Fatty. I love the little quirks of Fatty, his pondering which meal to take first or combining them and then his loss of appetite makes the tension all the more palpable. If he looses his appetite the situation is bad.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 3

A well-paced and increasingly chilling exploration of Fredegar "Fatty" Bolger. Hobbits are mostly not, by nature, solitary creatures; and the silence and solitude weighs heavily on Freddy after his friends depart on their outlandish and very dangerous quest. A very good look at Fredegar; and a story that hobbit-fans should enjoy.