A Place for Gandalf
2008 Award Category: Times: Mid Third Age: Eriador - Honorable Mention
Story Type: Story ✧ Length: Medium Length
Rating: General ✧ Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: Bilbo prepares for a guest, and for some changes in his life, as Frodo comes to live with him and Gandalf comes to visit.
Reviewed by: Imhiriel ✧ Score: 10
A hightly entertaining story with two interesting plot threads: Bilbo builds a room for Gandalf; and his reasons for making Frodo his heir. The tone of the story is overall light, but its occasional "dips" into more serious matters are managed without a hitch, and without jarring, and there are a nice variety of little canon references strewn in. Dreamflower manages to capture the characters extremely well; from their behaviour to their speech patterns - you just "see" and "hear" them as they appear in canon, or as can easily be inferred from canon. The ensemble cast is handled expertly, the dialogues in particular are very lively and make each character distinct. Occasionally, I thought the narrative flow was a bit disturbed by abrupt breaks, but on the whole, this kept the story at a brisk pace. Bilbo is especially well-drawn, and his buoyant spirit, his love of good things like food and friends and good living (and his dislike of the S-B's *g*) are conveyed very vividly. I also love the way the children are portrayed and the relationship between them and towards the adults. I also like the details of Gandalf's room being built and furnished and the fun everyone has with it, and later Gandalf's joy, expressed in what is one of my favourite passages: ["But this--this was a place for *him*, made for him with love and care and a deal of thoughtfulness. This was as close to a home as he could know until his task was done and he returned across the Sea. Tears stood in his eyes."]
Reviewed by: nancylea ✧ Score: 10
In a sub-catagory that could almost have read "Pip Fest" I had to make a really tough choice. The stories you competed against were all to my liking; over all I would deem that this story was less troubles by small glitches. I would encourage readers who like young hobbits, non- angsty plot lines, and just a tiny dab of dwarf for flavor to read and enjoy this story. You bring out many traits in most af the known characters that are so classically Tolkien. Yes, Bilbo is a good planner, but occasionally even he needs a feminine minder. You bring four of the main family groups in and mix them nicely, one might even say properly. In my mind you have used this story to show that to most of the to-be-major players, CLASS is an issue not of social standing but of ethical training. You give our two young hobbits a chance to work on the right way to handle bullies. I feel that too often now a days the use of 'violence' is overplayed and in many cases over-punished, yes I can understand that might does not make right but some villians leave you with few options other than brute force. you play the fine line between turn the other cheek and protect the youngest. But most importantly you write a great story! you have taken several good story lines and woven them together as a multi-layered cake that tempts a reader to hurry and get to the good parts.
Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger ✧ Score: 5
As much as this story concerned itself with making a place for Gandalf, it seemed to be equally concerned with how Bilbo made a place for Frodo. The inner politics of the Shire really came to life, and they did so in a way that was shrewd, clever, and entirely hobbit-like. Bilbo was definitely in his element, and the cleverness that he'd shown by the end of his journey with the dwarves cropped up again here in dealing with less than appreciated relatives. But he wasn't the only clever hobbit around, and I very much appreciated Saradoc's involvement. All in all, a wonderfully rich story boasting an ensemble cast in which everyone gets to contribute.
Reviewed by: Marta ✧ Score: 4
This is a fun romp, drawing together some nice events from the time around Frodo's adoption. I particularly liked that the author gave the hobbits a dark undertone (like with Frodo's suicidal thoughts, and Bilbo's self-serving motives naming Frodo as his heir), but didn't descend completely into angst. It seemed very in keeping with how Tolkien portrayed this race as resilient and basically cheery. Good work!
Reviewed by: NeumeIndil ✧ Score: 4
I like the concept of Gandalf being offered a home in the Shire, though there was the odd moment where I felt the narrative sat on that welcome a little heavily. The characterizations were splendid, and I like how the group is coming together already, even at such young (or younger, at least) ages. The conversation on the doorstep was, really, a brilliant move to close the piece, bringing everyone's grievances full circle. Just an excellent all-round tale.
Reviewed by: Larner ✧ Score: 4
What does one do when one finds one cannot stand one's proper heirs? Well, finding a new, congenial heir might be the start! Plus, when one is expecting a visit from the Grey Wizard there are special considerations to be made, and Bilbo is working on those when the decision to take a new heir was made. But how will Esmeralda and Saradoc take it--or, worse yet, their son Merry? A joyful story in which we see another idea as to how Frodo came to live in Bag End, and in which we rejoice alongside Gandalf for the friendship of Hobbits!