2008 Award Category: Genres: Humor: Shire - Second Place
Story Type: Story ✧ Length: Short Story
Rating: Teen ✧ Reason for Rating: Vague sexual innuendo
Summary: Sam picks the *worst* times to heal the Shire
Reviewed by: Inkling ✧ Score: 10
Frodo's last days in the Shire seem to inspire more angst fic than comedy. And while I enjoy such works as much as the next Frodo-angst fan, I find Aratlithiel's "Labour Pains" a refreshing---and hilarious--change of pace, as Rosie Gamgee proceeds to demonstrate that the wrath of a woman scorned is as nothing compared to the [Wrath of a Pregnant Person Denied Her Craving.] The verbal sparring between Frodo and Sam that opens this story--Sam managing to be simultaneously patronizing and politely deferential--is simply priceless. A "gardening emergency" is the purported reason for Sam's departure just as Rosie's time is approaching, and Frodo is understandably skeptical: [Frodo's eyes narrowed further and he crossed his arms over his chest. "Pansies running amok and threatening the neighbours, are they?"] And Sam's explanation as to why the Gaffer can't go in his stead deserves extra points for creativity: ["And anyway, if I gave him my box of dust, he'd likely try to snort it or smoke it and there ain't that much left."] The whole exchange reminded me a bit of Bertie Wooster and Jeeves. I was almost as sorry to see Sam go as Frodo was! But the real fun begins when Frodo and Rosie are left on their own. Among other indignities, poor Frodo suffers through nine straight meals of chipped beef, pretends to still be working on the already-completed Red Book in order to hide out in his study, and scours the Shire for sweet potatoes in March, dogged by the ridicule of every produce vendor in Hobbition [He didn't give up, though; he was Endurance beyond Hope, after all]. By the end, we have learned the truth behind Frodo's anniversary illness and reason for leaving Middle-earth. Wickedly funny from start to finish!
Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon ✧ Score: 7
This is a gem among hobbit-fics; also a gem for anyone who relishes funny Tolkien fanfiction. In this wonderful story, Sam goes to minister to various trees and bushes in need in the post-Ring War Shire for a few weeks, leaving a very pregnant Rosie alone with a nervous Frodo. A more conventional writer would have Rosie go into labour and Frodo end up heroically delivering baby Elanor; but Aratlithiel does not go for cliches. Frodo does suffer, and heroically copes with the cravings and mood swings of poor Rosie, and tries his bachelor best to ease her situation. But navigating through Mordor seems to have been easier than satisfying Rosie; Frodo is just plain out of his depth. The ending is very funny and plausible. I love Aratlithiel's interpretation of Frodo's thought processes; and his dialogue with Sam and later Rosie is terrific. I particularly like that Frodo and Sam are very much at ease with each other in the manner of old friends who know each other quite well. Unusual and well worth reading.
Reviewed by: Mews1945 ✧ Score: 6
What does a bachelor do when asked to take care of his gardener's pregnant wife for a fortnight while Samwise has to be away taking care of an emergency of the gardening sort? Frodo is first horrified, then disbelieving, but somehow finds himself manipulated into staying at Bag End alone with Rose, who promises to tell him the second anything happens. For the next two weeks, Frodo must somehow deal with Rosie's mood swings and cravings and keep his sanity at the same time. And he can only hide in his study for so much of the time. When Rose goes into labor early, Frodo suffers panic when he can't find the Widow, but does send Gaffer Gamgee off to fetch Rosie's mum. This is amusing and sweet and kept me laughing all the way through.
Reviewed by: Dwimordene ✧ Score: 6
One imagines that this is a story that only someone who has given birth or been in Frodo's position could possibly write. Aratlithiel hits all the hightlights of hormonal swings, mood swings, anxiety, and the merciless ironies of bad timing as she depicts Frodo Baggins, Ringbearer and savior of the world thereby, the hobbit who has been stabbed by Nazgûl and bitten by Gollum, thoroughly and utterly cowed and beaten by the travails of Rosie's pregnancy. Sam, too, in fact, which is how Frodo ended up in his position of hapless and clueless male support. I particularly loved this exchange: ["Gardening emergency." Sam nodded and swung his cloak about his shoulders. "Aye, sir." "You've made that up," Frodo told him. "There is no such thing as a gardening emergency." Sam stopped in the act of reaching down for his pack, peered at Frodo with wide, innocent eyes. "O'course there is, sir, else I'd not have said it." Frodo's eyes narrowed further and he crossed his arms over his chest. "Pansies running amok and threatening the neighbours, are they?"] Personally, I would love to see pansies run amok and hold up the neighbors - if trees can do it in Tolkien's world, why not flowers? But it's just the start of the entertainingly undignified travails of Frodo Ringbearer. The last lines - priceless.
Reviewed by: Larner ✧ Score: 5
Ah--Wodehouse in the Shire! Rosie is expecting her first child in six weeks, and suddenly Sam finds himself facing a [gardening emergency] of epic proportions, leaving a decided bachelor trying to deal with mood swings, cravings, and false labor. I've not laughed so much about a post-quest Frodo in a LONG time, poor dear! Humor is expertly done, and one almost expects Jeeves to come out with a pithy comment and some off-the-wall scheme that still manages to save the day! As for Sam--he well deserved the repercussions Frodo planned for him but managed to withhold. Well worth the read!
Reviewed by: Linda Hoyland ✧ Score: 4
This story is just delightful.It tells of the trials and tribulations of Frodo when left with a very pregneant Rosie. The story gives a quite different and very plausible reason why Frodo,accustomed to a quiet batchelor life,should accept the invitation to sail to the Undying Lands. Great fun and a most enjoyable read. I also loved the attractive layout of the site it was posted on.
Reviewed by: crowdaughter ✧ Score: 4
This is a funny little story with a woefully beset Frodo in a most irritating, and very funny, situation. It also sets a very different light on the reasons why he might have chosen to sail, in the end. After all, the situation in question is not likely to stop being repeated, anytime soon... Lovely done, and very, very funny, indeed. And I normally even do not like Hobbit-centered stories, that much! This one, however, was well worth the read. Every single minute of it! Thank you! ;)
Reviewed by: NeumeIndil ✧ Score: 2
This was *hilarious*, even though I've not had the dubious honor of assisting in any way with a pregnancy.
Reviewed by: Dreamflower ✧ Score: 2
I laughed so hard that I not only cried, but my stomach hurt. This is one of the funniest AUs I've ever read. And it's all too believable!
Reviewed by: nancylea ✧ Score: 1
and the truth will out; but did you have to make us laugh so hard?