The Life of a Bard

Author: Dreamflower

Nominator: Lindelea

2005 Award Category: Races/Places: Cross-Cultural: Pre-War of the Ring - Third Place

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Novella

Rating: G  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: Young Pippin considers a career…(Takes place three years before the Quest.)

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Reviewed by: Lindelea  ✧  Score: 9

I first stumbled across this story when I was in the middle of one of my own with a similar theme: a Man wandering the Shire, not because he was a ruffian but because he made his life as a wanderer and performer. And so I am afraid that I never read more than the first few chapters, not wanting to distort my own vision until I finished my lengthy tale. But I loved the story enough to nominate it for MEFA... and now, having finished my writing, and thereafter the reading of this story, I find it to be all that was promised, and more. Dreamflower excels at painting scenes of hobbit life, casually inserting the little details on hobbit customs and mores (such as the difference between Tuckborough and Bywater in tweens' drinking) that make you think you are actually sitting in the Shire, taking in the scene. The relationships between hobbits are deftly drawn, and the contrasting view of the Shire from hobbit POV and the man's is well done. The dialogue and inner thoughts are realistic and believable. And of course I must mention the wealth of folksong in the tale! I have met some old "friends" and become acquainted with new ones that I hadn't heard before. A marvellous tale, which leaves me wanting more. (And what ever did happen to Menelcar, anyhow? Here's hoping he found a good end.)

Reviewed by: Marigold  ✧  Score: 7

Menelcar is a welcome addition to Dreamflower’s list of well-written OC’s. I loved all of the mentions of Pippin’s musical ability here, but the dirge on the Tookland Pipes is just such a wonderful image, full of tweenaged angst. This is a very hobbity tale, full of details about family and day-to-day life. I thought the story was very plausible given Pippin’s talent and personality, and it is lucky that Frodo found out what was happening. I feel sorry for Paladin, as it seems to me that he is largely behind Pippin’s no longer being so sweet and happy as he used to be, but perhaps he will have learned from this. Imagine, telling Pippin that he was a burden to Merry! All of the interaction between the cousins was lovely, and I was so pleased for them both when Pippin and Merry were reunited. The songs were perfect choices! Another excellent addition to Dreamflower’s universe!

Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger  ✧  Score: 6

Pippin might be the star of this little story, but I found myself more interested in Frodo, and, in particular, Frodo's position in the Shire. He's apparently trusted enough by the Thain to be able to take responsibility for Pippin with naught much more than a letter. Granted that Paladin shows up later, but even then, it's obvious that he respects Frodo. And Frodo respects him in return, but he's not afraid to turn a rather condescending look on him. (I love that Bilbo's "look" is even more effective when Frodo uses it.) But back to Pippin, I liked his relationship with Menelcar, and I liked the growh Pippin experiences because of that relationship. It leads nicely into what he does on the Quest.

Reviewed by: Bodkin  ✧  Score: 2

Such an enjoyable tale - Pippin is so delightfully young and irresponsible. Thank goodness Frodo sorted it out when he did. Menelcar is an interesting addition to the usual suspects.