2011 Award Category: Hobbits: Bagginses - Third Place
Story Type: Story ✧ Length: Ficlet
Rating: General ✧ Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: There is a difficult and unspoken truth waiting behind the closed door of Bag End's master bedroom, one that not even Frodo suspects until a morning in the Spring of 1421. (The secondary URL will take you to Mechtild's LJ, where the ficlet is paired with lovely art work and an intro by Mechtild, featuring selections from "The Book of Lost Tales" and "The Silmarillion")
Reviewed by: Antane ✧ Score: 10
I have read this three times now and it remains moving, that being a testament in itself about its lasting power and beauty. I love this glimpse of Sam and Frodo together, brothers now, and closer than brothers. I love that Frodo knows he's in 'trouble' when Sam comes. Sam knows his place very well and it is by his Frodo's side. The most powerful part is when Frodo is afraid to tell Sam what he dreamed of and to raise his eyes to his beloved one because he knows then that all his secrets will be laid bare and Sam will see everything and that will pain them both. They can see each other's hearts and souls as no other can and nothing can be hidden anymore. Yet raise his eyes he does and they both face that the worst thing is near to happening but there is still this great love that remains in the ashes of hope that will rise again. Frodo now knows that Sam knows what his fate is, that they will be sundered, but still there is no doubt about Sam's love remaining ever true, something important for Frodo to realize, that he will always be held by his brother, always loved, always forgiven, always cherished, and Sam being Sam, there will be always hope that they will be together once more. Given enough time to recover from the first terrible time of loss, they will realize this is only a physical separation. They are still united heart and soul and nothing can ever break them apart there. That is what is so beautiful - that secrets can be trusted to be revealed and not break their bond, that love remains and that somehow they will continue to be together even with the Sea between them yet also as close as their next heartbeat, their next thought, even if they don't quite realize that yet.
Author response: dear Antane, you truly captured, in your review, the *heart* of the matter: that we are only limited, in our world, because of the nature of our organic, living bodies. It is as Antoine de Saint-ExupÃ©ry said, in THe Little Prince: '.... here is my secret, a very simple secret. It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.â€ And if Frodo should go across-Sea, it is only a separation of physical body, not of heart. Surely Sam is with him always, and, he, with Samwise. thank you again, Antane, and best wishes for a beautiful holiday to you and your family!
Reviewed by: Mechtild ✧ Score: 7
In this prose piece the author shows she can work her magic outside the form of poetry. A lazy morning in Bag End, Sam and Rosie and baby Elanor ensconced in the house, the sound of breakfasting, the rumple of bedding, the smell of tea and buttered cakes. It is all as evocatively homey as it can be, but against these the author sets first the darkest hours of the Quest, then the Sea. Simply, as if inevitably, the Sea slips into its midst, like the tide sliding into a quiet cove. The Sea, with all it means for Frodo (or what it will come to mean for Frodo, and for Sam), enters quietly yet with huge effect. This is accomplished in carefully chosen references, spare, simple, but just right. The exchange between Sam and Frodo towards the end of the piece, after Sam enters the room, is a poignant delight, nailing both characters in the particular situation perfectly. There is enough emotion showing to catch at the reader's heart, but it is not obvious or showy, and never pandering.
Author response: I always wondered if Frodo, with his 'fairer-than-most' (which implied possible Elvish blood) had experienced even an echo of a Sea-longing, and this was sort of my attempt to explore that, with the impetus of his illnesses and Arwen's gift as a reasonable starting point. Even after all these years, and even given the parts that I think work really well, I am not entirely happy with it. It misses something, and I've never been able to figure out what it is. (you are the only reviewer i will admit this to!). But I am happy that so many people like it. In the midst of revealing a very terrible truth, it yet feels comforting to me. And comfort is something sorely needed in our lives (sorely needed in Frodo and Sam's lives!). The events that need comforting too often are glossed over, but the wound remains, aching dully like Frodo's own. And so we look for comfort, in real life and in *unreal*. Comfort, like love, is, after all, where you find it. We are but beggars at the grand table of life, partaking of what we see as the entrees, but waiting, in the end, for the crumbs of comfort to fill us in place of all that we've ever lost. (I think this idea is stated even better in "They are but beggars" (posted to your LJ last year, i believe)) thank you, dear Linda!
Reviewed by: Darkover ✧ Score: 4
This brief story demonstrates that Frodo may have survived the burden of bearing the One Ring, but he has never completely healed. He dreams of release from his pain, even as Sam is settling in to a new life with Rosie and the children they will have. Sam senses that Frodo is not yet happy, but is not able to let his friend and master go just yet. A rather poignant tale, worth reading.
Author response: Dear Darkover, once again, thank you for such a lovely review. In thinking about Frodo one day, I wondered if he ever dreamed about the Sea, something that he'd only ever heard about and/or seen pictures of. There were always rumours that one of his ancestors had 'faerie' blood, which I took to mean Elvish. If he, in fact, had some Elvish blood somewhere, that might not only account for the 'fairer than most' but also might imbue him with a bit of the sea-longing the Elves were prone to...and all the more-so, I should think, as the truth about his ability to be at home in the Shire became clear. This seemed an odd story to me, even though I wrote it....and yet, it felt right, somehow. I'm glad you enjoyed.
Reviewed by: Inkling ✧ Score: 3
What a sad, gentle, and beautifully written ficlet! I should have guessed the riddle posed in the first paragraph, but it caught me by surprise when the answer came. Samââ¬â¢s final words are heartbreaking, and the use and omission of the titles of deference convey far more than words alone. An excellent piece!
Author response: thank you so much, Inkling. I'm very glad that you enjoyed!
Reviewed by: Sevilodorf ✧ Score: 2
Ah the sadness of the divide between Frodo and Sam. One looking forward to life and not understanding the other's view of wishing lay down the burden once and for all.
Author response: a divide not so uncommon in Real Life, but sad, still. Thank you, Sevilodorf!