Many Branches

Author: Baranduin

Nominator: Inkling

2008 Award Category: Races: Cross-Cultural: Frodo and Faramir - First Place

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: Just as Faramir promised, one afternoon he and Frodo sit on the wall of Minas Tirith and get to know each other a little better.

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Reviewed by: Inkling  ✧  Score: 10

One of my favorite friendships in LOTR is the one between Frodo and Faramir...perhaps because it is so unexpected, coming as it does on the dark, lonely journey to Mordor. It felt more fully developed and convincing to me than some others, such as the affection between Frodo and Aragorn, which is more stated than seen. This may be why I always wished Tolkien had given us the scene Faramir promised in the quote that opens this story: ["If ever beyond hope you return to the lands of the living and we re-tell our tales, sitting by a wall in the sun, laughing at old grief, you shall tell me then."] That not so much as a word passes between them after the War always seemed to me a shame, and a missed opportunity. "Many Branches" is just such a scene, demonstrating the virtue of gapfiller at its best: its ability to fulfill a longing in us unmet in the canonical work. As Frodo and Farmir relax on a warm afternoon in the Sixth Circle, sharing a flask of ale, they joke and talk about nothing important--and at the same time, everything important: everything Faramir has fought for all his life, and Frodo has sacrificed for: home, peace, and the luxury of [chatting about the most inconsequential hobbity things]. And while the reader may feel a pang at the thought that for Frodo, this luxury will prove short-lived, itÂ’s a relief not to find more than the merest foreshadowing of that here. Rather, Baranduin's emphasis is on respite and healing, and the bond between two gentle souls that will remain as strong as that of the branching waters flowing to the sea. A lovely tale!

Reviewed by: Marta  ✧  Score: 6

This story has a wonderful levity to it, a perfect fulfillment of Faramir's promise that he and Frodo would talk more after the war. I love the author's portrayal of peace, where Faramir's (all-too-believable!) struggle grasping the hobbit family trees is the biggest problem either hobbit or man has for a moment. The more somber ending, though, brought the story back home and I remembered all too well that, for Frodo at least (and I expect for Faramir as well), there is a real sense of "[you can never go home again]." I do think that Fourth Age Ithilien will be perfect for Faramir to find a real lasting peace, and this is a lovely promise of deeper peace still to come. In short: a very enjoyable glimpse of two of my favorite characters. Nice work, Baranduin.

Reviewed by: annmarwalk  ✧  Score: 5

[Sitting here with Frodo under the hot sun and chatting about the most inconsequential hobbity things seemed to Faramir the very essence of all he had fought for all his life without complaint. ] A very enjoyable story. I'm a detail girl - no sparse writing for me, please! - so I just love phrases like [pottery cool and damp against his palm] and [bitter ale] and [infuriating smirk] (Oh, how I laughed at loud at this description of Frodo the Noble!). In fact, there are any number of droll turns of phrase: [Faramir saw an opening, and like any good Captain of Men, he darted into it though to his mind, it was a quick, slithering sort of maneuver, subtle-like.] If I quoted them all, there would be very few eligible characters in the review. I also deeply appreciate the fact that Sam is nowhere in evidence, that Frodo was able to get away from his hovering (or, conversely, that Sam presumably got to go do something fun for himself, while someone else was minding Frodo for a hour or so.) The imagery of the flask rolling off the edge to crash several levels below, as Frodo and Faramir watch helplessly, just made me howl with laughter. A very fun read!

Reviewed by: Claudia  ✧  Score: 5

WE KNOW THIS IS SEKRITLY SLASH OMG!! :) Okay, seriously, this is definitely one of my all-time favorites of this author. Exploring that scenario in which Faramir promises that he and Frodo will talk under a new sun. I remember when I first read that section in the book that it depressed me so much. I remember misinterpreting it to mean that Faramir's friendship with Frodo was conditional and he would only talk to him if he succeeded. Of course I realized later that duh, the only way they WOULD get to talk to each other is if Frodo succeeded because well, the quest and the end of the world and all. Anyway, this scenario portrays their deep friendship with such tenderness and hope.

Reviewed by: SurgicalSteel  ✧  Score: 4

This feels like a quiet moment that could and should have happened: Faramir and Frodo sit on the walls of Minas Tirith and trade stories of their homes. There's discussion of hobbit geneaolgy and gentle teasing about events that happened in Ithilien during the Quest and Faramir sounding scholarly, and two wounded souls watching a river flow. There's a sense of calm and peace that seems to permeate this story, and I liked it very much!

Reviewed by: Larner  ✧  Score: 4

Bilbo's poem goes, "The road goes ever on and on," and he had cautioned Frodo that the Road was as a river with its springs at every door, and that if you didn't keep to your feet there was no telling where yoy might get swept off to. I was very much reminded of both of these by this description of Frodo describing family trees and the Water, both with so many branches. A gentle tale.

Reviewed by: Antane  ✧  Score: 4

A lovely, gentle, loving tale of two friends reunited beyond all hope. I do hope they did actually have such a meeting or something like it. I think Faramir is a hobbit in a man's skin because he has such a gentle heart and no wonder he and Frodo would get along so well, both being scholars also, and be able to tease each other. How nice to see Frodo not suffering but just enjoying the company and the day. I love the thought that they would be united in heart by the water. Bravo!

Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 4

The passage in TT, when Faramir speaks wistfully of the possiblity of meeting Frodo again is one of my favorites. This story is as warm as the sunshine in which they sit, discussing the small minutiae of Shire life. I really got a kick out of Faramir trying to figure out Frodo's family tree, and I loved it when Frodo laughed. This was such a peaceful and delightful scene.

Reviewed by: agape4gondor  ✧  Score: 4

There is nothing in this tale NOT to love. The descriptions are beautiful, the phraseology is crisp, and the friendship is sincere. I just loved it. The intricacies of Shire life and Hobbit geneology is too much for my simple brain - and drinking ale at the same time. I'm surprised neither fell of that wall. A peace-filled, lovely moment of renewed friendship and love.

Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger  ✧  Score: 3

This is just what I might expect from a conversation between Faramir and Frodo, especially after Pippin and Merry have had a chance to educate the Steward regarding family history! Very light-hearted, though it does touch on darker matters, and I can feel the summer of Minas Tirith as Frodo and Faramir both stretch out against the wall. Great descriptions!

Reviewed by: nancylea  ✧  Score: 1

neat tidy story, messy drinkers!