Slipped Under the Door of the Master Bedroom, September 25, 1444
2010 Award Category: Genres: Character Study: Vignettes - First Place
Story Type: Story ✧ Length: Short Story
Rating: General ✧ Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: A heated argument with her father leads Elanor to some serious self-examination. A letter.
Reviewed by: Virtuella ✧ Score: 10
At last year's MEFA, Celeritas impressed readers with a subtle and moving story about the little girl Elanor and her relationship with Frodo Baggins. She showed us Elanor as a child who, for reason we can guess at even if we cannot be certain, develops a very deep understanding of Frodo and his sorrow and hurt. In this story, we see Elanor grown up, a young woman with all the intensity of feeling and all the uncertainty about Self and world that is so typical for adolescence. Her special bond with Frodo has remained, his departure to Valinor notwithstanding, and it now prompts her to confront her father in a matter that might seem trivial, but is in fact deeply significant. Elanor refuses to speak of Frodo by any other address than simple "Frodo." No honorific, no special reverence. To Sam, this appears disrespectful, but disrespect is really the last thing Elanor intends. She writes a heart-wrenching letter to her father in which she explains her view of Frodo, her bond with him; she even with amazing self-perception describes how she has idealised him in order to fulfil her very deep need of someone who understands her and cherishes her without judgement. The intimacy of the address becomes the sign of Elanor's desperate need for this spiritually nurturing relationship. I cannot, in the space if this review, do full justice to the layers of meaning and the psychological insights of this excellent story, but I will say that I wish it many attentive readers.
Reviewed by: Dwimordene ✧ Score: 10
Celeritas has a real affinity for writing Elanor. I remember last year, one of my favorite MEFA finds was her [A Golden Flower]. This story has a simpler structure, but the Frodo-Elanor connection remains pervasive, as does the importance of triangulation, even if in this instance, the third is absent, and the second as well. This story is much more a delving into Elanor's own perception of herself and of Frodo, and the tone is gorgeous. She really captures very well the inner voice of a particular sort of girl - the bookish, introspective sort, who always has always been a bit of a dreamer, who finds herself under the influence of a dislocation. Celeritas gives this a temporal articulation: the difference between the Third and Fourth Age, which difference is what shapes Elanor in her sense of self: caught between past and future, unable to identify with those who are firmly grounded and formed by one or the other Age. One can see from her writing why Frodo is her true contemporary, and how vital that link is for her, partly composed of imagination and truth. I love that Celeritas has Elanor say that she knows Frodo best when she is "[in a particularly selfish and idealistic mood]": there's a certain amount of overlap in these terms, and also an essential distance, and both the proximity and difference are required to grasp Elanor's perception of Frodo, and why, despite its falsity, it is also true. It is the truth of that identification that gives her a vital link to her father, and though I don't know the story behind this, I get the feeling that it is almost more Sam than Elanor who needs absolution here. It's because of that link that Elanor has to Frodo that he might have a chance at it in his lifetime, in Middle-earth, perhaps. In any event, this story is a brilliantly written letter, one that tells us so much about Elanor and her peculiar time, about Frodo and about Sam. Great work, Celeritas! I highly recommend this story.
Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger ✧ Score: 10
Tolkien hints that there is something unique and different about Elanor. From the way the trilogy reads, it seems to be something that might be celebrated. But Celeritas finds the flipside and reminds us that hobbits aren't always quick to accept change. As different as Elanor was and as strangely insightful as Celeritas characterizes her (which I love, by the way), she was probably a bit of a lonely child. Or if not lonely, then somewhat adrift as to what her place in hobbit society might be. And when combined with the typical trials of uncertainties of adolescence, that sense of isolation was probably unbearable. To have a sense of someone as different and as isolated as she was probably a great comfort, and the absent Frodo provides it. I love the idea that Elanor herself isn't certain if her sense of Frodo is real or imagined. She can't say whether or not she has actual memories or simply read too much of Frodo's adventure. It's an unusual level of honesty for one so young, but from Elanor, I would expect nothing different. By the end of her letter, I feel she has come to an understanding about herself and about Frodo. There is still much left unknown and unsaid, but that can be saved for a later day.
Reviewed by: Kara's Aunty ✧ Score: 9
A sweet little letter from Elanor to her father contradicting his opinion of how well she knew Frodo against the actual reality of her memory of the former Ring-bearer. Her father almost seems to (not unkindly) thrust an imagined scenario of their relationship onto his daughter, and she has clearly submitted to this view for many years, working it into wistful remembrances as she desperately tries to grasp onto an Age which has more meaning to her than the one in which she has spent the majority of her life. But with maturity she reflects more on the situation and realises that what she recalls is no more than a wish, be it her father's or her own. I felt quite sad for her when she wrote that she found elves intoxicating, knowing that she would likely have few opportunites to encounter any in the Fourth Age; though I was a little irked at her arrogance in stating her father was merely [fond of elves in your time]. Perhaps she didn't mean to be so blasé, but one would think that she knew her father a little better than to state his fascination with elves had been little more than 'fondness'. Still, it does not detract from the fic overall. Poignantly written stuff and well worth the read.
Reviewed by: Dreamflower ✧ Score: 7
This is a marvelous examination of an adolescent Elanor. Celeritas paints her as a lass who thinks a great deal about things. I have a feeling that, as is the case with many young people, she even overthinks them. . In this case, what she has been thinking about is Frodo, someone who is a barely remembered presence in her life, and yet someone who looms large. Considering how Sam would feel about his Master, who is gone from the Shire but never gone from his own heart, there are bound to be some clashes if one of his children does not perceive Frodo in quite the same way that he does. Elanor's personality as revealed in her letter rings very true to a certain type of young person, introspective and intelligent, but prone to romanticizing certain things. It's clear that she respects what she knows of her father's friend and Master, but one suspects she may have what amounts to an infatuation with her own idea of who he is. Wonderfully done!
Reviewed by: Larner ✧ Score: 5
Celeritas is best known for her tales of Kira Proudfoot, the crippled Hobbit lass who insisted on learning to read and was therefore profoundly changed as a result. But in this story she shows an equal love for Eleanor Gamgee/Gardner, who was apparently so well loved by Frodo Baggins before he left Middle Earth. Eleanor has quarreled with her father, for she will not speak of Frodo Baggins as Mr. or Master. In a letter she explains just why this is so in carefully chosen arguments. In doing so, she demonstrates just how much she does honor the former Master of the Hill and her father, and how much she honors her father as well. A truly lovely, lovingly presented work, and one I am proud to recommend.
Reviewed by: Adonnen Estenniel ✧ Score: 4
This is a truthful look into the mind of a young Hobbit. Elanor, I think, would have had a very hard time dealing with the stories of the past and the pleasantries of the present. After all, not just any normal Hobbit-lass would be chose to live in Gondor with the Queen. The author portrays beautifully the juvenile doubts and wonderings that most teenagers have, I think. Tweens are the time when a people discovers themselves, and here Elanor is having trouble doing just that. This is wonderfully written.
Reviewed by: Linda Hoyland ✧ Score: 3
I've always liked Elanor and enjoyed this story which shows her as a thoughtful and independently minded young person.I also enjoyed the very human portrayal of both Sam and Elanor, who have the same differences of opinion as most growing girls and their fathers.
Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon ✧ Score: 3
An interesting look at the young Elanor, written very credibly from her own viewpoint in a letter to her father. Her sense of displacement, belonging temporally to the Fourth Age but so strongly drawn to the Third Age, rings very true. A must-see for hobbit-fans; and an unusual, thoughtful vignette.
Reviewed by: Mithadan ✧ Score: 3
A clever and touching glimpse into the private life of a Hobbit family. This is a subject Tolkien hints at in his writings but leaves undescribed in favor of grander tales. Yet he clearly envisions Hobbits as living in a simpler way, equally admirable in comparison to the great ones he dedicated so much ink to. Well done!
Reviewed by: Cathleen ✧ Score: 3
As a hobbit fan, I have a real appreciation for the way this author displays such wonderful and astute characterisations of the Shire folk and this tale is no exception. Also, I got to know a character, Elanor, that I have not read very much about. A lovely response to a Challenge!