The Ranger and the Hobbit

Author: Cairistiona

Nominator: Radbooks

2010 Award Category: Genres: Adventure - Third Place

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Medium Length

Rating: Mature  ✧  Reason for Rating: Somewhat graphic descriptions of violent scenes; non-canon character death

Summary: What if, as the Dúnedain patrol the region around the Shire, Aragorn has an encounter with an intrepid, resourceful hobbit, one with the same mettle as Bilbo and a similar yen for adventure? And what if Aragorn also has an encounter with some men with less friendly intentions? Tookishness and Rangerliness both abound in this tale of a quiet patrol turned disastrous.

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Reviewed by: Leianora  ✧  Score: 10

Oh my goodness! The heart-pounding suspense had me wanting to pull out my hair when this story was a work in progress. When it was finished, I enjoyed it so much that I went and read it again a second time. Ferdinand's constant distractions and babbling were a much needed balance point against the beatings and pain poor Aragorn had to endure and the moments of nail-biting angst I spent waiting for each following chapter, and finally a resolution. In chapter 9, there is a line in which a leaf is described as fluttering in a very light breeze. It is the only one moving and Aragorn likens its behavior to a living being who is getting frustrated because none of the other leaves are waving around. For some reason, that bit of personification made me giggle. It is strange what people think about when they first waken from an injury. I only wish this story hadn't ended on such a downer. As if he hadn't had enough to go through during the main part of the tale, poor Aragorn is forced in the epilogue to endure, yet again, the suspicion and scorn of others. It was a bit of a slap in the face which, in my opinion, should have been left out of the story altogether. His final words to Ferdinand should have ended things, I think.

Reviewed by: The Lauderdale  ✧  Score: 10

The Aragorn in this story is different from Tolkien's. Strider-Aragorn could be so RUDE and high-handed with people, particularly rustic or chatty types like Ferdinand. This story shows, in a way sympathetic to Aragorn, why that might have been in the final chapter with aggravating Butterbur (although again, I've always felt bad for Butterbur. Some personalities just don't mesh, and that is the case for Strider and Barliman.) Anyhow, as it happens I was glad of Aragorn's gentler disposition in this story. I do like his snippy side in the books (nice character flaw), but I would have hated to see him being rude to dear Ferdinand, who grew on me quickly. I was puzzled during Chapter 3: how did Ferdinand know that Bilbo was in Rivendell? Even Frodo didn't know that until he got there himself, and most other hobbits thought Bilbo dead to begin with (though I suppose a special hobbit like Ferdinand would like and be open to the idea of him still alive and off having adventures.) If I am wrong about this, please correct me. Small caveats aside, this story presents a charming original character and a suspenseful, entertaining narrative. Nice irony in the second-to-last chapter, with Ferdinand's remark, ["One small hobbit likely cannot save the world, after all."] One has to wonder what Ferdinand was up to during the Ring War - whether he was part of the resistance effort in the Shire or whether he got caught abroad during those troubled times and put his special talents to the service of others. Wherever he was, I doubt that he sat idle.

Reviewed by: Ellynn  ✧  Score: 10

This is definitely one of the best fanfiction stories I've ever read. Cairistiona's characterization is perfect: both canon and non-canon characters are so plausible and true to Tolkien's world and spirit. Her Dunedain are noble, brave and honourable men, and yet, Cairistiona skillfully avoids the trap of making them to perfect (which would make them too good to be true): they also have their flaws and fears, but they help each other and in their friendship they find the inner strength. Besides the Dunedain, there is one more very interesting character: Ferdinand Took, a hobbit. That is another original character, and just like Denlad (who is also OC), he is perfectly portrayed: sometimes clumsy and afraid in his hobbit-way, yet valiant and strong when necessary. We find this characteristics in some canon-hobbits too, but he is so well written that not for a moment a reader thinks that Ferdinand is a mere copy of other hobbits. He is unique. The plot is very tense and keeps readers on the edge of their seats, eagerly waiting for what is coming next; thanks to Cairistiona's writing style, reading this story feels like watching a good, tense action movie - it is so vivid. But not everything is grim, dangerous and scary: Cairistiona puts some humoristic elements in the story, just as much as needed - not too much and not too little - which are so well intertwined with the rest. Excellent story!

Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger  ✧  Score: 10

I'm trying to decide if this story is plot-driven or character-driven, and the fact that I can't make up my mind should say something about the amazing balancing act Cairistiona has performed. I think I'm going to have to talk about both, because there really is no way to determine which is more central: plot or characters. I'll start with characters. Ferdinand Took is a hobbit through and through, and not just a Tookish hobbit (though I love the way he uses that to explain everything surprising about himself). But the hobbit part comes through clear as day in his attitude toward Aragorn and his ability to assault the injured Ranger mid-healing with a bewildering barrage of gardening lore. As for that Tookish side of him, I loved it. He is every inch a Took, and he does his family proud. Aragorn, on the other hand, isn't feeling too well for most of the story, but he also presents himself as a man to be reckoned with. Far and away my favorite characters, though, were Halbarad and Denlad. I loved watching them trail Aragorn and Ferdinand, and I loved their conversations. The dialogue flows seamlessly and effortlessly, with many elegant turns of phrase. I particularly enjoyed Halbarad deciding the Southron was as dead as Glorfindel's Balrog, as well as his counter that Aragorn wouldn't have wandered off in hundreds of directions but certainly dozens. Strong, distinctive characterization flavored the entire story, and it pulled me in for the ride. Then there's the story itself, which is compelling, urgent, desperate, secretive, and explains exactly what Aragorn meant when he told Frodo in Bree that he had enemies, too. Here are some of those enemies, and they just keep multiplying. Cairistiona sets up nicely the idea that there are a few more of them out there, but the setup isn't forthright enough for any conclusions. This leads to some lovely false finishes as we think the heroes are safe only to find yet another Southron crawling out of the woodwork. I wondered if the "dead" Southron was going to come back to haunt them, and was excited to find that in this, at least, I was able to get ahead of the story. It was the only time I could. For the rest of it, I was along for the ride, enjoying all the unexpected twists and turns.

Reviewed by: Mirach  ✧  Score: 10

I remember the anxious waiting for every chapter as this story was being posted back in November. It was during NaNoWriMo, and I could not review all chapters properly, but I always read them immediately, when the note popped up in my inbox. I really enjoyed (retrospectively...) the tension building up with every chapter. Cairistiona didn’t show us only Aragorn – injured by a Southron, poor guy! – but also his comrades Halbarad and Denlad and their anxiety when finding traces and slowly getting the pieces of the puzzle together. Especially Denlad is a very interesting and believable original character, and I’m getting really fond of him in Cairistiona’s stories. And of course, I can’t omit another original character – Ferdinand Took! Typical hobbit, and typical Took, just as if I would see him before my eyes. I really enjoyed his interaction with Aragorn, and his eloquent off-topic monologues. Besides the characters, I loved also the descriptions in this story, the little details that make it very realistic and believable and convey exactly how the events in the story felt, especially for poor injured Aragorn. It was thoroughly enjoyable reading, and I’m glad that all chapters of the story are posted already, and I can read it again without the waiting...

Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 7

I just loved this tale of Aragorn's involvement with Ferdinand Took, one of those Tooks lured out of the Shire by the hope of Adventure and seeing new things. In fact, it was on my own list to nominate, and I was beaten to the punch! Ferdinand (who is actually accurately placed on the Took family tree) is a true hobbit, a good cook, cheerful, compassionate, clever and a fierce defender in his own hobbity way, of that which he feels he should protect. Like most hobbits, he is at his best [in a pinch]. Aragorn's reaction to him is lovely. Injured and alone, he is quite surprised to find himself in the tender care of this insouciant small being. But he and Ferdinand get along quite well. The later intrusion of some villains, and the timely arrival of Halbarad and another Ranger add some excitement and suspense to this h/c. Hobbit and Ranger interaction is always fun and delightful, and I was very pleased by this story!

Reviewed by: Larner  ✧  Score: 6

Not all Hobbits have been fearful of going outside their own lands, we know. A few with the strong Fallohide influence to them, particularly among the Tooks, have allowed their adventurous streak to lead them to wandering abroad. And when a Took finds himself faced with a wounded Man who appears to be stalked by dangerous enemies, he proves remarkably brave, resourceful, and helpful, allowing the Ranger he succors respite to regain his strength, and helping to defeat the apparent assassins who search diligently for this Chieftain of the northern Dúnedain. A remarkable adventure that is believable and delightful. Cairistiona herein proves herself able to successfully write Hobbits as well as Rangers, as we find ourselves cheering as Hobbit sense meshes successfully with Ranger competence. Definitely a tale I recommend!

Reviewed by: Inzilbeth  ✧  Score: 5

It was my absolute pleasure to beta this wonderful story. Cairistiona has a rare touch for mingling humour and angst with perfect timing and she pulled out all the stops with this story of the injured Aragorn being treated by the very tenacious Ferdinand Took. Denlad and Halbarad as the rangers seeking their missing chieftain are excellent, totally as you would imagine the rangers to be in the days before the War of the Ring, wandering the wilds, but the core of the story rests on the relationship between Aragorn and Ferdinand. The banter is delightful and the story exudes warmth yet the action scenes will have the reader sitting on the edge of their seats. This story is a must read. Very well done.

Reviewed by: obsidianj  ✧  Score: 4

When you love hurt/comfort stories and are an Aragorn fan, this story is for you. I has good characterizations of both canon and original characters, adventure and plenty of hurt with the necessary comfort. I love the hobbit in this tale. So reminiscent of Bilbo, but at the same time his own character. The enemy is just sketched out, but still the menace comes through.

Reviewed by: curiouswombat  ✧  Score: 4

I loved this story the first time I read it, and it has been a pleasure to come back and re-read for the MEFAs. I really like this adventurous hobbit, and he is such a well rounded character that I feel I know him well. Aragorn and the other rangers are so well drawn, and the drama is painfully well written; the whole story is a most original offering. I would certainly recommend others to read this - it will be time well spent.

Reviewed by: Linda Hoyland  ✧  Score: 3

A delightful story guaranteed to appeal to all Aragorn hurt/comfort fans as an injured Aragorn comes across an annoying but endearing Hobbit who is eager to help him. in the meanwhile,Aragorn's friends led by Halbarad search for their leader in this gripping and entertaining story.