On Being the Youngest

Author: Bodkin

Nominator: Dreamflower

2006 Award Category: Races: Cross-Cultural: With Hobbits - Second Place

Story Type: Other Fiction  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: G  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: Whilst in Rivendell, a certain blond elf and a young Took have a conversation.

Read the Story

Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 10

This is such a lovely story: it is sweet, and yet it has the sharp snap of cleverness as well. On the surface, it is just a very nice getting acquainted tale between Legolas and Pippin, while they discuss something no one would guess they have in common--the experience of being the youngest members of their respective families. While this author seldom writes hobbits, she has a sure handle on Pippin Took. His wit and dry sense of humor are perfectly canon, as is his obviously serious determination to go on the Quest, no matter what, even though he finds the whole venture mad. And she shows beautifully how the young hobbit fascinates his Elven companion. For it turns out that Legolas is just as curious as any Took, and is amazed to discover just how clever--and devious--his young companion is. One thing I found quite funny and touching was the observation that eventually, as is the way among mortals, Peregrin Took will one day find himself no longer the youngest, while for Legolas it will never change, and he will forever be surrounded by Elves who are many millenia older than he. Legolas finds himself sort of in a little mini-conspiracy with the wily young Took, and in the process learns a few things about himself as well. I just adore this wonderful little moment of bonding between them, and there is the funniest little twist at the end!

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 10

What a great little vignette! The image of Pippin and Legolas sharing a tree-branch and a conversation in Rivendell is endearing enough, but their conversation, and the differences and kinships it reveals between the two future Walkers, is delightful. The writer characterizes Pippin beautifully, as a very young, buoyant, hobbit, but not an utter nitwit, frightened of the horrors that would await him if he is chosen for the Fellowship but also wanting to go to support Frodo, and also showing considerable native cunning in his assessment of the most desirable qualities for the dangerous adventure. Legolas is friendly, yet distant from the hobbit because of the gulfs that lie between hobbit and elf as well as the difference between the beloved heir of a provincial squire in a sunny, peaceful land and a warrior-prince raised in a land besieged by darkness and monsters. Yet there is respect and liking between the two future comrades. The speech patterns are perfectly appropriate to hobbit and elf, which is not an easy thing to write, let alone bring off so well. I loved Legolas' line: [‘And when you are talking to elves who remember the War of Wrath, you know you will never have a hope of being considered truly adult.’] It really brings home the otherness of the Elves, by noting that there are those among them who recall battles fought 6000 years before! Yet the sentiment of mild frustration by a person looked upon as youthful by older ones who have seen war a long time ago, is universal. A marvelous look at two beloved LOTR characters.

Reviewed by: Lindelea  ✧  Score: 6

This story left me chuckling. Though Bodkin is better known for Elf-centred stories, she has a deft hand with hobbits. Pippin is certainly bright, inquisitive, thoughtful and devious! His conversation with Legolas is an eye-opening delight. Here is not the simple-minded, mischief-making hobbit so many make him out to be. (And here is not the "pretty-boy" Wood-Elf, either!) I love the two of them commiserating... I think the only thing left out was the statement "You'll understand when you're older." Otherwise, all the cliches the youngest hears were there. I like Pippin's reasoning that they are perfect for the Quest in the very fact that they would be a little less, um, *obvious* in the landscape than, say, Glorfindel. [Three hobbits and a Ranger have passed beneath this tree...] *snork*

Reviewed by: Dwimordene  ✧  Score: 6

Pippin is young enough that it's easy to find stories that use this element to get everyone in more trouble than one finds easy to believe is possible. It's good to see that aspect of his character put to a use that makes it an *advantage*, and that shows that he does sometimes think fairly well. That the youngest of those who will eventually go on a quest should bring some comfort and optimism about the benefits of use to Legolas, of all people, is ironic, but Pippin's confidence is so unprepossessing and straightforward, it's clear that it's genuine. Legolas' youth is also referenced convincingly to draw the two into conversation over a common topic. Clearly, there's a lot to be said for the hobbity habit of being more than appearance might make give out. Very nicely done!

Reviewed by: elliska  ✧  Score: 5

This story is absolutely wonderful. I have always loved your dialogue and this is a perfect example of why I love it. You capture the voices of the characters so well. Moreover, although this is, on the surface, a very simple conversation on an initially very light topic, it manages to reveal tantalizing bits of information about the places Legolas and Pippin live, their personalities and truly improtant matters such as why Elrond chose who he did. I particularly like the part when Pippin hints that he knows Legolas was looking for him. I also like that most things are not said straight out--Legolas has to learn about Pippin, even in this short little conversation, and so do we along with him. Great story!

Reviewed by: Marta  ✧  Score: 5

Oh, this was just delightful. Not just any first meeting of Fellowship members in Rivendell - there are quite a few of those stories floating around, not to discount the sub-genre - but this really takes into account a similarity between two of the most dissimilar members. The whole thing reminds me of the Star trek episode where the ship escapes a trap by cutting off all but the absolute essential power. Just like that episode, this story shows that there are two ways to victory: overwhelming through strength and underwhelming by evading the enemy's attention. Hobbits seem to take the second path, and so it's perfect of Pippin to be the one to remind Legolas of this value. Well done.

Reviewed by: Rhapsody  ✧  Score: 5

Delightfully light, but yet a story with darker undertones. I love the way in which this story is set up and how the conversation between Legolas and Pippin, but heirs of a title, meander from apples and cider to who will be chosen to go on the Quest. And who can beat this kind of Pippin logic: [‘Well – I’m young enough to be optimistic.’ Pippin’s sharp eyes assessed the fair prince. ‘And so are you. If we’re going to sneak, we need to be people who can get by without being noticed. You can’t not notice Glorfindel.’] So true!! And I think Bodkin has it spot on here how these two characters were so valuable to the quest (well besides disrupting things or ending up in trouble). At the same time the author explores the differences and similarities between these two. This story reads so pleasantly with the right balance in dialogue and narrative: a treat to read!

Reviewed by: Elanor  ✧  Score: 4

Who knew that Legolas and Pippin had so much in common? A clever story about two “youngest” children that highlights the insight of the very youngest. A rare glimpse of Legolas’ underpinnings and a Pippin who’s been hiding his light under a bushel! Very cleanly and cleverly rendered in thoughtful dialogue that doesn’t require any help from extraneous exposition. Really nicely done!

Reviewed by: grey_wonderer  ✧  Score: 4

I enjoyed the conversation in this story between Pippin and Legolas very much. I loved seeing their friendship in this and the dialogue is wonderful. I haven't read too many stories that allow Pippin to interact with Legolas on his own and this is a welcome surprise. Legolas is so entertaining in this story and I enjoyed the fact that even at his age he is still young among elves.

Reviewed by: Larner  ✧  Score: 3

A wonderful conversation between Pippin and Legolas regarding the advantages of sending the relatively young and inexperienced on the quest. We certainly see both participants shown off to best advantage, I think.

Reviewed by: Garnet Took  ✧  Score: 3

This is a type of story we see all too seldomly. One with Pippin and Legolas enteracting as equals and friends. Pippin smart, if young, and Legolas is not stuck up, as so many people portray him. I like that Legolas is open to learning new thimgs and can admit to being less than purfect. This story as a lot of good things going for it.

Reviewed by: Marigold  ✧  Score: 2

I had never really considered all of the things that Pippin has in common with Legolas! Lovely story!