A Useful Skill

Author: EdorasLass

Nominator: Branwyn

2007 Award Category: Genres: Humor: Children - First Place

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: Denethor finds Faramir learning an unexpected new skill: sewing.

Read the Story

Reviewed by: annmarwalk  ✧  Score: 10

This is quite an endearing story – I'm loving the fact that, although the Faramir and Boromir are growing up, they still manage to be quite winsome. There's never a dull day for Nanny, that's for sure! In this tale, Faramir, prince of small motor skills, is caught out by his father mending his own socks. Denethor takes offense and Faramir's lip trembles, just a bit, yet he holds his own very well in explaining why he's performing what Denethor considers his Nanny's task. In a priceless moment of guilt and embarrassment, it dawns on Denethor that, rather than engaging in a useless hobby or whim, Faramir is actually learning a valuable skill. I really liked the brief glimpse of flustered!Denethor when he realizes that at some point he, too, had to do his own mending while in the field; even better is his discomfort at not being able to remember who taught him. You can almost see him frantically worrying over forgetting such a tiny detail, the way senior citizens panic over the idea of Alzheimer's when they've forgotten to write something down on their grocery list. And I laughed out loud over the fact that, once again, Denethor has underestimated Nanny. The score stands: Nanny 482, Denethor 3. Nanny for the win!

Reviewed by: Dwimordene  ✧  Score: 7

Ok, I admit it, this one just makes me go "Awwwww!" I love the father-son dynamic here – Denethor, usually so very on top of matters, gets to do a classic double take: [Faramir, not surprisingly, was sitting on one of the couches, his head bent low over a – Denethor blinked, sure he must be mistaken. But he was not; it was no book which held Faramir's attention, it was a sock.] Surprise, and confusion, plus a confrontation with boundless, innocent childish enthusiasm, have him a bit set back on his heels. This, alas, comes off as irritation with Faramir, who, in the manner of young children, senses that he has somehow offended the Order Of Things, but isn't sure how or why his newfound abilities rouse paternal wrath. Fortunately, Denethor does back down, after getting a reminder that even for the highly born, soldiering demands the ability to take care of one's own things. Nanny, Faramir's teacher in this as in other matters, gets a brief appearance and is understandably slightly flustered to find Denethor presiding over his son's efforts. That Denethor finds her relief amusing is telling of his rather imposing personality – a comic but revealing end to the ficlet.

Reviewed by: Rhapsody  ✧  Score: 6

Oh, this was very touching and I am glad that I followed the link from AmandaK's story [Darn those socks] to this one. I love Denethor’s close involvement in his son’s upbringing, his concerns and worries that Faramir learns the right skills is so understandable here. Faramir’s eagerness to show what he’s doing (aww, so cute!) and Denethor’s reaction to it shows me a Denethor of who I think he is: a complicated man but a good and devoted dad. What I specifically liked about this short story was how Denethor stood still and tried to remember who taught him to darn those socks, making him very human to me. The author mingles memories of the past with the present in a very effective manner. In addition, please stop flinging with those nuzguls: no wonder that they bite our ankles so hard, they must be preparing for the slinging around like you girls do! ;)

Reviewed by: NeumeIndil  ✧  Score: 5

This is a lovely scene between young Faramir and Denethor, and much more like what I had always imagined their relationship to be before war came to Gondor. The child's voice is very strong and rang true to my minds' ear. Denethor, too, seems very in character with canon (as little as is directly stated about him). A particularly strong moment is the one in which Denethor realizes his son is not obsessing over yet another book; his surprise and confusion, combined with his canon-assisted reputation for impatience with his younger son, make that quite an exciting moment for readers who are automatically cheering for Faramir to be worthy of his father's praise.

Reviewed by: obsidianj  ✧  Score: 3

That was a lovely little scene. I loved Faramir's earnestness and, naturally, he is good at what he does. Very clever from Nanny to have a 'manly' excuse to teach her charge sewing, pardon darning. But I don't think Boromir will be very pleased when this new subject comes up ;-).

Reviewed by: Nancy Brooke  ✧  Score: 3

This is a great view of Denethor. Rather than cold, bitter, or resentful as he is traditionally described, you give is a portrait of a thoughtful, if somewhat distant parent. Well done. I particularly liked the detail of his self-chastisement for being so long away from the field and forgetting the necessities that make men equals.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 3

Another of EdorasLass' charming 'Bitty Mirs' tales of young Boromir and/or Faramir - this one has a surprised Denethor see that his younger son has learned to darn his own socks, a task suited for women and servants but also for soldiers in the field who have only their own hands to keep their clothing whole. Good characterisation of Denethor.

Reviewed by: Marta  ✧  Score: 3

This story does a good job of pointing out something I (and many people) forget: Denethor is *old*. Not by historical standards to marry, but certainly by modern standards, and he might have forgotten more of what it was like to be a boy. Good of Faramir (and Nanny) to remind him of that, even if it wasn't intentional. And it's a fun read anyway. :-)

Reviewed by: Larner  ✧  Score: 3

Ah, yes--darning socks and repairing holes in clothing would indeed be a useful skill for a future soldier and Ranger. So Faramir learns, and so, unwilling, perhaps, Denethor approves.

Reviewed by: Bodkin  ✧  Score: 3

Very good training - and just what a future soldier needs to know. Nanny is really pretty good at Denethor-management ... shame she wasn't around for the Palantir-years. Although I suppose she wouldn't have stood a chance once his marbles started to go. I love Nanny with her duckling and her rabbit. They are adorable.

Reviewed by: agape4gondor  ✧  Score: 2

Very nicely done. I love that you have Denethor take a part in F&B's lives... and not an unkind one!

Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 2

I love all the reactions in this. They are all so true to character--Faramir, Denethor, and Nanny!