Coming Home to Crickhollow

Author: calanthe11

Nominator: Marta

2008 Award Category: Genres: Romance

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Medium Length

Rating: Mature  ✧  Reason for Rating: slash, semi-explicit descriptions of gay sex, mature themes (violence in war, psychological impact of war)

Summary: A "coming home"-story of Pippin and Merry which explores how their friendship is changed by their experiences of war and service for Rohan and Gondor. "Well here we are, just the four of us that started out together," said Merry. "We have left all the rest behind, one after another. It seems almost like a dream that has slowly faded." There are memories which cannot be left behind, dreams which will not fade.

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Reviewed by: Keiliss  ✧  Score: 10

Dear heaven, this was stunning. What an absolutely amazing fic. I write and normally read elves, so this was on a shot list of stories with interesting summaries that I kept to look at if I had time. Tonight I was sorting out which ones to bookmark and which to scrap and glanced at the first paragraph… and was lost. To say this is about friendship, love, and how to pick up a life when you are no longer the people you were a handful of years ago barely scrapes the surface. At regular intervals while I was reading, I would stop and wonder how on earth they were ever going to fit back into the world they had left and be content and whole again. They have travelled so far, seen so much, grown and changed in ways that have nothing to do with age. The memories of other places and times contrast with the present, underlining the difference, the otherness that has become part of them. The writing itself is almost sensually inviting, pleasing to read, with some quite breathtakingly lovely phrasing. The way words are used to paint pictures with clear light and subtle shading is pure joy. I wanted to include a few passages I particularly enjoyed but that would necessitate pasting half the story here, so I’ll rather say how they made me feel. Reading this, I could see the countryside, smell the air, shiver from the cold breeze on my skin. I could picture an ordinary kitchen scene, note the incongruity within it of a knife with the crest of the white tree on the hilt. I sat with Merry on the windowsill, seeing and smelling the night. And I could feel the subtle (and not so subtle) dance of sensations and emotions taking place between Merry and Pippin. Anyone who has ever fallen in love, anyone who has ever desired someone and not been certain of the level of desire in return, will recognize those moments when breathing is difficult and the heart hurts and the world shrinks. This is a woefully inadequate review. Just – of all the stories I have read for this year’s MEFAs (and I have written reviews for 44 so far) this is the one that has had the greatest impact on me, and is one I will certainly read again.

Reviewed by: Marta  ✧  Score: 7

This is probably one of my favorite post-quest hobbit stories. Set after Merry and Pippin settle in Crickhollow, it offers a nice glimpse into what their lives would have been like. There are some really stirring images of how the two hobbits might have been changed by the quest, and what pressures they might face from their families on their return. I was actually pleasantly surprised by how convincing and natural this felt given that I usually struggle to accept the pairing, but it was very well-written and believable. Yet it's more than *just* a romance, it takes a really nice view at how a sexual relationship between these two hobbits might have played out beyond the bedroom. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys hobbits with emotional depth and resilience - it's all of that, and has some nice touches that make Merry and Pippin still feel distinctively hobbity. Having tried to walk a similar line in my own fic, I know how difficult it is. Calanthe pulls it off admirably.

Reviewed by: Imhiriel  ✧  Score: 5

A sensitive exploration of a difficult relationship. There is a tense undercurrent throughout the story, keeping you reading even as the tone is still and the complex, confused and confusing emotions are conveyed subtlely, so much only hinted at or left unspoken. Wonderfully descriptive writing, every detail of the surroundings and of the action comes alive. Good handling of PoV; and I particularly liked Merry's incisive observations which at times were truly poetic. I was very interested in the exploration of how shocked the Hobbits were at what had happened to the Shire during their absence (and the still lingering effects of what they themselves experienced).

Reviewed by: obsidianj  ✧  Score: 4

This is a beautiful story, which has a very gentle feel to it. It is written from Merry's pov, who tries to discover who this new and mature Pippin is. They have to find the old friendship under all the changes the year away has brought, which is not easy. They are back in the Shire, but they have changed so much that the familiar feels suddenly strange. I like the way the friendship between Merry and Pippin is depicted.