Now the Green Blade Riseth

Author: annmarwalk

Nominator: Branwyn (Lady Branwyn)

2008 Award Category: Genres: Drama: Ring War Drabbles - Third Place

Story Type: Fixed-Length Ficlet  ✧  Length: True Drabble

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: The Gaffer is surprised by Sam's behavior following the Scouring of the Shire.(100 words)

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Reviewed by: Branwyn (Lady Branwyn)  ✧  Score: 10

This joyous drabble was written for the Renewal challenge at Tolkien_weekly, and the title refers to a church hymn of the Resurrection-- “Now the green blade riseth from the buried grain, Wheat that in the dark earth many days has lain.” After the destruction of the Party Tree and of so much else that was good and beautiful, the Gaffer witnesses a small miracle. Ann captures the personality and speech patterns of the old gardener perfectly. The Gaffer uses diminutive words to describe the young tree, conveying his own tender feelings for all that grows and his wonder at this special plant, unlike any other he has ever seen. He calls the mallorn seed a [silver nubbin], and he says that Samwise fusses over the seed like [a hen with one chick.] Ann’s touch with his dialect and homely sayings is light and skillful, adding color without allowing the language to become comical or a distraction. It is all too easy for him to be reduced to comic relief. This drabble is a lovely tribute to Samwise’s father. Though less educated and less sophisticated than his son, these two are one at heart. It is clear where Samwise learned to cherish the green blade that riseth. The Gaffer is often overlooked among the characters of the Lord of the Rings, so thank you for sharing this glimpse into his thoughts.

Reviewed by: Dwimordene  ✧  Score: 7

Ann knows how to get the most out of a hundred words, and often creates these lovely 'green' moments where her love of nature shines through. Being a city girl, I can only envy her this talent. But it's not just the lyrical descriptions that draw me into this drabble. I like the contrast between the Gaffer and Sam, and precisely over a point that so often plagues us. Our ends and aims and desires are diverse, and they do not often form a coherent whole that could be achieved. In the wake of the Shire Occupation, with so many shattered lives, the Gaffer focuses directly on the people, while Sam looks to the ravaged Party Tree (and so many others, as we know). The title aptly hints of the triumph of the tree (the [green blade rises]), but in the end, the rise of the Shire's green is also the rise of its inhabitants - or at least of one Gaffer Gamgee. In the cohering of the healing of the land and of Hamfast, we get one of those Tolkienesque moments when we believe that a redemption of the whole is possible. Well done, Ann!

Reviewed by: Imhiriel  ✧  Score: 5

The personalities of the characters are captured very well. The gaffer's voice feels very authentic: no-nonsense, a bit querulous and suspicious of all that doesn't conform to the "proper" and regular order; but with a soft core and a love for and pride of his son. And you can almost see him melting in contentment at the sight of that lovely tree, emphasising, again, just how connected he is with all things green and growing. Considering that Sam is only described with a few single words, it is remarkable just how present and alive he seems in the drabble. The descriptions are completely spot-on in characterisation.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 4

One reason I don't often write hobbits is that I find it hard to capture their voices, much less their points of view, on paper. Ann appears to accomplish these feats rather effortlessly in this absolutely delightful drabble. And she doesn't take on one of the four questing hobbits, but that tough-and-true provincial gardener, Gaffer Gamgee himself. Everything rings true as if Tolkien himself wrote the piece. And it's a novel perspective on a wonderful event in the Shire...

Reviewed by: Nancy Brooke  ✧  Score: 4

This is a moment when the brevity of the drabble form really adds to the content. With more words, this might have been over wrought, but as a drabble feelings and actions remain between the lines and, to my way of thinking, come off all the stronger for having to be fully imagined. Plus, one can well imagine the gaffer being a Hobbit of few words. It's also a nice touch that Sam trades in his sword for little green blades of growing things, and that those same blades bring peace to the Shire inhabitants.

Reviewed by: Elen Kortirion  ✧  Score: 4

The use of accent to create an auditory image here is exemplary. The Gaffer lives and breathes in this short piece and the reader can so easily imagine him, trousers tied up with bailing string, shapeless felt hat securely clamped to his head as he stands and nods sagely, dispensing words of advice - be they wanted or not - to his returned son, a son he is secretly so proud of even if he scarcely says so. They might say it takes a gardner to know the heart of another gardner, annmarwalk certainly does.

Reviewed by: Marta  ✧  Score: 4

I tend to be a bit weary of fics written in the first person because it is so hard to do well; never more so than when that point of view is the Gaffer, because it is a thin line to walk between making him sound like a hick and gentrifying him. Annmarwalk walks that line with grace here, and the use of the mallorn seed as the element around which to center this drabble was inspired. It seems so like how I view the Gaffer, that he would be at first dismissive but eventually won over. I really enjoyed this drabble.

Reviewed by: dkpalaska  ✧  Score: 4

The dialect and phrasing are exceptionally well done; I can see this being the Gaffer exactly. His view of his son comes through clearly, too, in one brief reference. But my favorite is how this old, cranky and suspicious plant-lover ends up viewing the new Party Tree. I can see it being the same reaction among all those stout-hearted Hobbits of the Shire: a resurrection of hope for an entire community. Sam's lovely, lovely, deep and homespun wisdom...

Reviewed by: Larner  ✧  Score: 3

A most beautiful look at the planting of the Mallorn by Sam, from the POV of the Gaffer. Imagery and descriptions are, as always with Ann, perfect! A wonderful glimpse into the renewal of the Shire.

Reviewed by: viv  ✧  Score: 3

This story has such a nice pace and voice. It's almost like I fell into step beside the Gaffer on a stroll down a cart path in the shire, and this was something he was going on about. It was reflective and crochety, but genial also. Peaceful, like.

Reviewed by: Súlriel  ✧  Score: 2

I find this to be a wonderful glimpse of Hobbity life-as-usual - to see something as both common and special in the same moment.

Reviewed by: kitt_otter  ✧  Score: 2

Now this was perfect Gaffer-speech. Very like him to shake his head over Sam's 'fretting'. I am glad he saw in the end why it was worth fretting for.

Reviewed by: Bodkin  ✧  Score: 2

The Gaffer might not realise it yet, but the Wrath of Sam has become something of which to be wary!

Reviewed by: Avon  ✧  Score: 2

Such a sweet, peaceful story. I hate to think of the burning of the Shire, but this truly shows the hope that peace will come and stay. Very nicely done, as always.

Reviewed by: nancylea  ✧  Score: 1

and think of oll the wonderful parties that little mubbins going to bless.