Shelob's Bane

Author: Kara's Aunty

Nominator: Kara's Aunty

2011 Award Category: Cross-Cultural: Gondor or Rohan

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: Teen  ✧  Reason for Rating: Disturbing Imagery/Themes,Violence

Summary: Gandalf explains the folly of angering a Gamgee to the Prince of Mirkwood during the journey from the Black Gates to the Field of Cormallen.

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Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger  ✧  Score: 7

Framed stories can be difficult to pull off well, but Kara's Aunty does just that and marvelously so. The framing story of Gandalf and Legolas has its own rhythm and momentum, and the conversation between the two is a joy to behold. They are clearly at ease with one another, free to jest and tease, and I particularly enjoyed Gandalf's method of emphasizing his points by illustrating them with smoke. I especially liked the curled up spider, though my favorite was probably the sun being accidentally inhaled by Legolas. And of all the tales to tell Legolas, this would certainly interest him the most! The retelling of the battle between Sam and Shelob was the story being framed, and it also took on a life of its own. It was more visceral and action-driven than the version we find in Tolkien, and I like the tighter-perspective from Sam. It gives this story a bit more bite than what Sam later related to Frodo and what eventually ended up in the Red Book. Well done!

Reviewed by: Larner  ✧  Score: 6

Tolkien and Lewis used to grieve that there were certain tales they desired to read that simply weren’t available because no one had bothered to write them—until they chose to write them themselves. So it has proved with Kara’s Aunty, who wished to read a tale in which Gandalf describes in detail the encounter between Sam Gamgee and Shelob, until she finally broke down and wrote it herself! And how well she has done of it, as Gandalf relates the tale to Legolas, realizing how the Prince of Mirkwood would relish the tale in light of the grief and pain Shelob’s offspring have inflicted upon his own beloved forest. Beautifully written, this is a tale all will relish! Well, well done, Maureen as well as Samwise!

Reviewed by: Darkover  ✧  Score: 5

This is a great story, with beautifully-written descriptions and excellent characterization. Your portrayal of both Gandalf and Legolas is exactly how Tolkien meant them to be, IMHO. The dialogue is written with the same consummate skill. I especially liked how Gandalf and Legolas referred to and discussed friends not present, such as Gimli and Sam, and talked about the need for pipe-weed! The story is thoughtful and has its somber moments as well as the amusing ones, as the reader is reminded of just how great the sacrifices of *both* hobbits were. I enjoyed reading this. Sincerely, Darkover

Author response: Hello Darkover, I'm really very happy that you are enjoying some of my older fics, too. This one was written because I couldn't find a tale anywhere about Sam's battle with Shelob and so had to write it myself. And what better person to have as a captive audience than Legolas, whose home has been plagued by the spawn of Shelob for millennia. He above all others would truly appreciate the trials both Sam and Frodo had to overcome when faced with the mother of all (of Mirkwood's) spiders! Thank you very much for your kind and constructive feedback, and also for letting me know which parts you enjoyed the most ;) Maureen :o)

Reviewed by: Rivergift  ✧  Score: 5

Ahh, I love just post-war fics- and this captures just the right amount of relief, joy, triumph- and sorrow and guilt. I am delighted to see humble Sam receive his due, at least in the heart of one of the Elves he admired so ardently, and the image of Sam waving Sting through Mirkwood with spiders lying prostrate in his wake was indeed amusing! This is indeed one of Sam's great deeds- that one small hobbit faced with the last child of Ungoliant defeated her! And then, of course, he only went on to prove his mettle further by rescuing Frodo from the tower... Lovely tribute to Sam and well-written story!

Author response: Hello Rivergift, I like newly post-war fics too! It's fascinating to read other authors' interpretations of what the immediate aftermath might have been like for those who survived. How did so-and-so cope? Were they relieved? Jubilant? Grateful? Or numb? This was my attempt to shed a litte mixed drama and joy into at least some of their lives after all that fighting (and also an excuse to see Sam shine). I'm glad you approved of it! Thanks for R & R-ing ;)

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 3

An intriguing look, from Gandalf via the sleeping Sam's memories, at the great Hobbit V. Spider Smackdown. I loved Sam's own memory of the fight, very hobbity; and also the Gandalf/Legolas discussion of Thranduil's future employment of Sam as a Spider Exterminator in Mirkwood...A good end-of-Ring-War fanfic, with shadings of comedy amidst the drama.

Reviewed by: Mysterious Jedi  ✧  Score: 2

This is a very fun story. Gandalf tells Legolas about how Sam attacked Shelob. Legolas is overjoyed that the mother of Mirkwood's spiders has been conquered by a hobbit!