Encounter in Ithilien
Nominator: Pearl Took
2009 Award Category: Races: Cross-Cultural: Gondorians
Story Type: Story ✧ Length: Short Story
Rating: General ✧ Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: Mablung never expected to see such unusual travellers in Ithilien...
Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger ✧ Score: 10
This story took me completely by surprise. I've seen other stories portraying the Rangers' view of events after discovering Frodo and Sam in Ithilien, but never have I seen so convincing a story. It's as though Dreamflower has climbed into Mablung's head and completely shut off any knowledge of events happening outside of Ithilien. A common temptation would be to hint at happenings in the wider world or drop some offhand comment about Rings or tidings from distant lands. But Dreamflower keeps the story firmly in Mablung's perspective, and as a result, she treats everyone to an insider's perspective on the Rangers and the situation in Ithilien. The attack on the Haradrim is given a unique context, and it feels as though a much larger world unfolds through this tale. I love the idea that Boromir's fate was still in doubt, even with rumors flying from Minas Tirith. And Mablung isn't quite above starting his own rumors concerning the mission of the two strange Halflings. But perhaps most of all, I loved seeing Frodo and Sam from Mablung's perspective. Sometimes it takes an outside view to showcase how different and also how special something is. Beautifully drawn! Thank you so much, Dreamflower!
Reviewed by: stefaniab ✧ Score: 5
This story provides illumination on one of my favorite parts of the "Two Towers," where Frodo and Sam have a close encounter with Faramir and the Ithilien Rangers. This time, however, we see the events from the point of view of two of the rangers, Damrod and Mablung. As ever, Barbara's use of language is excellent. There's a bit of action, too, wherein the characters are plopped right in the middle of the attack by the Haradrim. One thing I found amusing is how the rangers change their speech from Westron to Sindarin to prevent their unusual captives from understanding their talk. If I recall correctly, Frodo can understand a bit of Sindarin. So the ranger's secret talk is not as secret as they might have thought.
Reviewed by: Larner ✧ Score: 5
A joy to read this again, and a skillful blending of book dialogue and descriptions with the point of view of one of Faramir's Rangers. What must Mablung and the rest thought as they watched their Captain deal with the Hobbits found wandering in their lands, as they saw him make the unprecedented decision to let them go on with their journey and ordered supplies given them? An excellent expansion on the original, and good use of an alternative point of view. A bit choppy feeling in some places as Dreamflower attempted to keep from repeating the entire chapters of "Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit" and "Henneth Annun," but that is perhaps to be expected. And the epilogue is perfect!
Reviewed by: Pearl Took ✧ Score: 4
This is a beautifully written account of the meeting of Faramir and his men and Frodo and Samwise in Ithilien told from the point of view of some of the Ithilien Rangers. There is wonderful insight into how these Men of Gondor may have responded to the halflings and how they perceived their captain's treatment of the two small travelers. Dreamflower handles Frodo and Sam perfectly, having them be frightened, bold, road weary and Ring oppressed without their being sappy or maudlin. A joy to read!
Reviewed by: Dwimordene ✧ Score: 4
This is a fun "lower decks" story, giving a new perspective on the encounter between the Ithilien Rangers and the hobbits. Dreamflower writes it well, in a style reminiscent of Tolkien's. I particularly liked her expansion on the claim that the Rangers were [slow and cautious] to give their names and say anything of their business, and Mablung's take on why Faramir would let the hobbits go - a matter that surely would warrant intense gossip in the ranks. Anyone need this gap filled? Give this a try!
Reviewed by: Virtuella ✧ Score: 3
How lovely to see some of the Ithilien rangers come into their own here. It's sweet that they are so quickly charmed by the hobbits, but then, who wouldn't? Elegantly written and very enjoyable, as always.
Reviewed by: Imhiriel ✧ Score: 3
It was very interesting to see the familiar story from the other side, what the Men thought about the Hobbits and what they were told by them about their errand, about Boromir, etc. The narrative wove seamlessly between canon and the "new bits".
Reviewed by: SurgicalSteel ✧ Score: 2
This was a fun read - an interesting look at the interactions between Frodo and Sam and the Rangers of Ithilien from the Rangers viewpoint.