Where There's Life, There's Hope (and in need of vittles)

Author: annmarwalk

Nominator: Anoriath

2007 Award Category: Genres: Drama: Gondor Drabble - Second Place

Story Type: Fixed-Length Ficlet  ✧  Length: True Drabble

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: n/a

Summary: On the morning after the siege, the courage and resiliency of the people of Minas Tirith is made clear to Aragorn in a surprising way.(true drabble)

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Reviewed by: EdorasLass  ✧  Score: 7

It's amazing how such a little thing as fresh bread baking can lift the spirit, and this drabble shows that can the scent do that, it can also stand for so much more than just plain sustenence. I would think this would be particularly true to Aragorn, for as a Ranger wandering the wilds, he would have no access to *anything* fresh other than meat - bread seems a common enough thing, but one must have an oven and a house to put that oven in to create it. And I would assume that warm bread, to him, would stand for "civilization", safety, comfort, dry feet and a warm bed, and everything he had sworn to protect. If someone has the time to make bread, then all must be right with the world, or if not yet completely right, then well on its way. I wouldn't be surprised if Aragorn took himself right up to the kitchens and sat there, waiting, until Mag pulled the loaves out of the oven and cut him as many hot, steaming slices as he could eat.

Reviewed by: Dwimordene  ✧  Score: 4

I think this will resonate more if one knows annmarwalk's Mag the Cook, but even for those who do not, there's something primordially joyful about the idea that after such an ordeal as Aragorn and Minas Tirith have endured, the scent of a cook's ordinary activity should bring hope and relief. In all the chaos and horror after battle, when one is most exhausted and disoriented, the idea that somewhere, someone is carrying out the ordinary task of cooking a meal can be a sign of the endurance of the human spirit.

Reviewed by: agape4gondor  ✧  Score: 4

Oh! I like this one very much. One of the poignant pieces of the pre-battle preparations that disturbed me - was where Pip receives so little food for his poor Hobbit stomach. How long, I wondered, had the people been put on rations? What affect did this have on them? It was heartening to read that Aragorn was heartened by the simple smell of bread. NOTHING is better than the smell of fresh baked bread - and to have it at the beginning of a day that still portends grave deeds to discuss and plan - very, very nice!

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 4

This is not only a lovely, evocative drabble, it's one of the most Tolkienish in style that I can remember reading. It also reminds me of one of the elements I sorely missed in the movie RETURN OF THE KING - the courage of the people of Minas Tirith, which Tolkien wove into his narrative so well. And linking Aragorn's canonical weariness with a spiritual refreshment from the smell of Mag's baking bread - what an inspired notion!

Reviewed by: Marigold  ✧  Score: 4

I liked the way that the author shows us that the simplicity of an everyday activity can be so very important. Despite all that has happened the smell of baking bread is enough to bring Aragorn out of his dark thoughts and weariness, for a time at least. A gentle reminder to anchor him and us to the reality that life goes on and that the human spirit will endure through trials of the grimmest nature.

Reviewed by: Marta  ✧  Score: 4

Oh, this is simply lovely. It's exactly the sort of detail that would never have made it in to "Lord of the Rings," but I can see it so easily taking place. I hope Aragorn was encouraged by the smell of baking bread -- I know how encouraging that smell can be when I'm having a bad day. It's so nice to think of Mag's contribution to the war effort, as it shows just how easily the small things can make a big difference. *grins* Nicely told, Ann, I thoroughly enjoyed this touching drabble.

Reviewed by: Makamu  ✧  Score: 3

There is something so essentially life-affirming and nice about this drabble that the reader feels as overcome by joy as Aragorn is within the story. And for me it was the everyday part of the incident that made me enjoy it the most.

Reviewed by: Larner  ✧  Score: 3

Aragorn finds healing in the scent of new bread baked by Mags the cook. How very wonderful! A most appropriate welcome back to Minas Tirith for the one once known as Thorongil, who undoubtedly spent some hours in her kitchen, enjoying her simple and heartening company.

Reviewed by: Mechtild  ✧  Score: 3

Gosh, this is good, Ann. It's only brief, but you do so much with it. ["The staff of life"], wheat was called, the typical component of bread in the Western world. You have made that oft-heard saying come alive in your story so that it conjures up not just life of the body, but life of the spirit, and life of the will. Thus nourished and sustained, the King of Gondor will go on.

Reviewed by: phyloxena  ✧  Score: 3

Mag baking bread almost as good as the cock crying a day before. Life goes on! I wonder if Aragorn actually remembered Mag from his Thorongil time; probably not at the moment, anyway.

Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 3

I love annmarwalk's OFC Mag the Cook, and even though she does not even actually appear in this evocative drabble, her presence is keenly felt! A beautiful take on the quotation in the title!

Reviewed by: Linda hoyland  ✧  Score: 3

A delightful drabble with gives new insight into what helped Aragorn cope during his long night of healing- the smell of freshly baking bread !I can well believe that such an everyday and homely scent could indeed inspire the soon to be King.

Reviewed by: Dot  ✧  Score: 3

Oh wow! I love this! My heart went out to Aragorn as he suffers along with those he tries to heal – and then comes this wonderful sign of life and normality. What a comfort that warm, familiar scent must have been. This is wonderful.

Reviewed by: Lindelea  ✧  Score: 2

O yes, very cleverly done! You begin with an image from the book and segue into something new, but eminently believable. Nice play on the senses and emotions.

Reviewed by: Bodkin  ✧  Score: 2

Oh yes - I can see how that would remind him of life and hope and the beginning of another day. Mag is a great character. And reassuringly practical.