Babe in the Woods

Author: Dreamflower

Nominator: Cathleen

2011 Award Category: Cross-Cultural: Eriador - Third Place

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: Aragorn and Halbarad find themselves on a mission of mercy as they travel through Staddle. (Written for the B2MEM March 7, 2011 challenge.)

Read the Story  ✧  Backup Story Link

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 7

A sweet and entirely believable story. Aragorn and Halbarad rescue a hobbit child lost in the woods. I really liked it that the hobbit child was not one of the future LOTR characters; but an unknown kid from a family in which the reader is not automatically invested. The older hobbits looking frantically for the lost child are well-drawn, torn between suspicion of the disreputable Rangers and desperation to find the little boy. Even the child is initially scared of the two Rangers, both because they are Rangers and because they are Strangers; even after they have driven off the fox who was menacing him. But the essential good nature of most hobbits prevails, especially after the two Rangers reunite the older hobbits with the child. Dreamflower conveys the hardships of certain parts of Middle-earth very well here; and offers the solution that trusting the right people, whether of one's own family or of different races/kinds, can prove helpful in surviving and prospering.

Author response: Thank you so much! I think that over the course of years and their extensive patrols of the Shire and the Bree-lands, Aragorn and Halbarad would have met any number of hobbits. I enjoyed showing how they earned the trust of this particular small family.

Reviewed by: Nath  ✧  Score: 6

I’ll start by saying that there aren’t nearly enough stories with Halbarad in them. This particular one features both Aragorn and Halbarad who encounter (and help) several OC hobbits as circumstance forces the hobbits to accept the help of the two Rangers, even though they don’t really trust them. ‘Trust’ is at the core of the story, as Aragorn and Halbarad find the missing child the hobbits were looking for, and gain the young lad’s trust so that he comes out of his hiding place and lets Aragorn carry him back to his folk. There is of course an “awwww”-factor in that, but the real effect of the story for me is in the scene where the small boy’s gaffer apologises to Halbarad, admitting that he was wrong to have initially judged him and Aragorn by their appearance and reputation.

Author response: Thanks! I do like to show Halbarad and Aragorn on their patrols once in a while, and this seemed just the sort of thing they'd be doing. And it's nice to think that once in a while someone would learn that the Rangers' bad reputation was undeserved.

Reviewed by: Virtuella  ✧  Score: 4

Dear Dreamflower, a child going missing, even just for a short time, is such a terrifying experience. At such a time, one would be willing to enlist any help available. Just lucky for the hobbits that two capable rangers are at hand! They take care of the child, and furthermore it’s a good opportunity for these hobbits to learn to judge people by their deeds and not their appearances.

Author response: The theme for the day was "overcoming prejudice", and I thought at once of the prejudice against the Rangers, and how it was possible that on occasion, their true nature would shine through! Thank you so much!

Reviewed by: Linda Hoyland  ✧  Score: 4

I just love this story, which depicts one of the many ways in which the Rangers must have helped the Hobbits, though Aragorn and Halbarad have difficulties in convincing an anxious father to let them help search for his missing child.The ending is lovely when the relieved father invites the Rangers for a meal in gratitude and realises that the Rangers are not the threat he falsely believes them to be. A beautifully written and truly heart-warming story.

Author response: Thank you, Linda! Your review means a lot coming from one who is such a big Aragorn afficianado!

Reviewed by: Ellynn  ✧  Score: 4

This beautiful story was written for Back to Middle-earth month, and the challenge was "overcoming prejudices". Aragorn and Halbarad meet a hobbit family in need, because their child is lost. I read the story "in one breath", as we say in Croatian. Aragorn and Halbarad are simpy perfect. I especially love the moment when Aragorn didn't let Halbarad kill the fox. I am sure this old hobbit will never have prejudices against rangers any more. So wonderfully done!

Author response: Thank you so much dear! What a lovely compliment!

Reviewed by: Marta  ✧  Score: 3

A very touching story. I particularly liked seeing how hobbit attitudes toward big folk might differ in the Shire and outside of it; I can easily see this heightened suspicion happening out of the Shire, where the world is much more dangerous. Neddy was very cute, too! Very nicely done.

Author response: Thank you very much! I think that these sorts of encounters must have happened at some point, during those years the Rangers guarded the people of the North.

Reviewed by: Darkover  ✧  Score: 3

A very good story about Rangers and Hobbits. The Men are in-character, and although the Hobbits are OCs, they behave much as Shire-folk would. The dialogue is especially well written. The Rangers do the Hobbits a good turn, and the story ends happily. What more could a reader ask for?

Author response: *grin* Thank you! I'm so glad you enjoyed the story-- I enjoy showing Rangers and hobbits together!