Healing in the Halls of Mandos

Author: Pearl Took

Nominator: Cathleen

2011 Award Category: Cross-Cultural: General - Honorable Mention

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: How love that is twisted into something it was never intended to be can cast a shadow of sorrow for generations. But, right love will eventually heal the hurts and set a new course.

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Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 7

I think this is one of Pearl's best stories. It deals with OCs and with minor characters on the Baggins Family Tree, and yet it holds so much significance for the larger story. Why was there so much resentment and envy of Bilbo on the part of Lobelia Sackville-Baggins? Where did the seeds of her selfishness and unpleasantness stem from? As we meet the hobbit who was once her father, he has found himself in the Halls of Mandos. Not, of course, the ultimate destination of any mortal-- a waystation rather, and a place where he can unburden himself of the troubles of his former life. As he tells his story, we gradually come to understand what a tangled web of hurt and anger and resentment was created through what are simply the normal vicissitudes of life, and of trying to live within a family. Sometimes a seemingly innocuous action when taken through spite can have an effect that ripples down the years, affecting much more than was ever meant. A wonderfully thoughtful story with a good lesson for the reader as well.

Reviewed by: Fiondil  ✧  Score: 5

This is an interesting take on the Hall of Mandos and the healing that is accomplished for one Hobbit who is only a name in the Genealogies. Pearl Took does an excellent job of giving us a backstory to one particular Hobbitess and why she is the way she is. I loved Envinyata here, so compassionate and non-judgmental, and the use of the flowers was excellent, especially the winter rose. I often incorporate specific flowers with specific meanings into my own stories to help illustrate some great truth and I’m glad to see Pearl doing it here. A must-read for any Hobbit fan or those who just enjoy a good story.

Reviewed by: The Lauderdale  ✧  Score: 4

Philip Larkin's [This Be The Verse] ran through my head as I read this story. In the Halls of Waiting Blanco Bracegirdle recounts the causes and consequences of his unhappy marriage, and learns of implications for others that he could never have predicted. In some ways I was surprised to discover the simple root causes behind such lifelong unhappiness. It is interesting to think of the story his wife Primrose might tell in her turn, and the reason for her apparent animus against men, or to hear her parents' stories and learn why they were as they were.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 3

A very interesting take on the background of Lobelia. I particularly liked this sort of back-door approach, from the point of view of her saddened father as he looks back on the sorrows that Lobelia's mother visited on him, and the twisted legacy he helped to give his daughter from her birth. It's a very nice and plausible gapfiller.

Reviewed by: Darkover  ✧  Score: 3

This story reminded me of the proverb, "Old sins cast long shadows." This story of how unhappiness and discontent in a hobbit-family was passed down through several generations, to the detriment of not only the hobbits of that family but that of other folk both in and outside of the Shire, was well written and plausible.

Reviewed by: Cathleen  ✧  Score: 3

This is a highly sensitive tale, and one in which Pearl Took demonstrates her talent for delving into the heart of the matter and moving her readers in a way they hadn't expected. A somewhat sad tale, yet uplifting too, and one of my favorites by this talented author.

Reviewed by: Mysterious Jedi  ✧  Score: 2

This is a unique look at a character not discussed in the books. We see here his life story, full of sorrows and regrets. There is hope, however, and he finds healing after death.