A Thankless Task

Author: EdorasLass

Nominator: Branwyn

2007 Award Category: Genres: Drama: Youth - Third Place

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: Nanny is attempting to teach Boromir to sew, and finding it a less-than-pleasant experience.

Read the Story

Reviewed by: annmarwalk  ✧  Score: 8

A companion piece to [A Useful Skill]. What fun to see Boromir the Bold as a spoiled, temperamental, self-centered git! He's just at the age here to be very full of himself, just discovering (and quite pleased to discover) his Rightful Place In The Universe. Faramir and Nanny are there to burst his bubble, just a bit; but to the surprise of those two, and the wide-eyed readers of the story, things do not turn out quite as expected. The characterizations here are perfect: Boromir pulling a hissy fit over being forced to do something he's not good at, Faramir being an obnoxious prig as only a little brother can be, Denethor being overly indulgent of his darling firstborn, Nanny washing her hands of the whole matter. It's an interesting conflict, and a symbol of what most certainly would have come about more often, had Nanny stayed around just a bit too long with her boys. I really like Nanny's insight and instinct as to how to choose her battles - she knows just when to speak up, and when to pull back and let the chips, and learning experiences, fall where they may.

Reviewed by: Rhapsody  ✧  Score: 8

Oh, this was another gem of Edoraslass set in the sock!universe: it almost picks up after [A Useful Skill] where Denethor decides that Boromir needs to learn how to mend his clothes. This time the story is told from the nanny's perspective who is not blind for the weaknesses and strengths of both boys. When reading these short stories in this universe, we eventually will know that Boromir will regret not having mastered these skills in [Darn those socks!]. The author brings in a great deal of foreshadowing too and I love her interpretation of this young Faramir who is so thirsty of knowledge and wants to learn new skills. I don’t find it easy to like Boromir as a canon character, but this little story showed me as a reader how he could have become so haughty and well yet I feel for this teen. It seems like he managed to convince his father extremely well that he doesn't need it. After all, an heir will not stray far from the city he vowed to protect. Faramir's glimpses of foresight just gave me the shivers. I really loved reading the stories in this !verse, so thanks to both authors for writing this!

Reviewed by: Bodkin  ✧  Score: 8

I hope Boromir is made to do his own mending when on campaign. I can just see him handing the task over to his Gondorian equivalent of a batman - and feeling smug that Nanny had been wrong. Or there would always be someone willing to boot-lick the Steward's heir by darning his socks! Good move on Nanny's part to send Boromir to speak to Denethor - and I'm not happy to see her picking up on his father's lower tolerance level of Faramir's wishes. Or, come to that, that Faramir will lose Nanny's support when he hits twelve. Twelve is too young to become a man. True, he won't need a Nanny then - but he will continue to need the love and support of a mother-figure. Faramir is a clever boy - and he will benefit (in the end) from his love of learning whatever there is to learn. While Boromir ... Nanny knows him better than anyone. Poor little duckling. I do so love these stories of Nanny with her duckling and rabbit. They make such a wonderful family - regardless of her actually connection to them. I'd love to see Nanny with Faramir's children. Some day.

Reviewed by: Dwimordene  ✧  Score: 6

… and this one makes me smirk slightly and imagine a very nasty road for Boromir to tramp upon, which would require the mending of many an article of clothing. Boromir's efforts to get Faramir to sympathize with him, or else to agree to do his sewing for him, are typically elder-brotherly, when brothers discover what their siblings are for (the doing of the chores they don't want to do themselves). Faramir's willingness to stand up to his brother, whom he adores, and argue with him, suggests he ought to be able to do so with his father – a subject that is briefly discussed, though only as a hypothetical possibility at this point. Alas, we know that when it counts, he isn't able to do it – he'll still ride out to defend Pelennor, and without having challenged Denethor's will about it. That casts a shadow over an otherwise light-hearted story.

Reviewed by: Isabeau of Greenlea  ✧  Score: 5

As a costumer for several years at a university, I had my share of run-ins with students who didn't know how to sew and couldn't see the need for learning, so I enjoyed this piece. Boromir and Faramir's nanny has the unenviable task of teaching her two charges basic sewing so that they can repair their clothing in the field. Faramir takes the lessons well-Boromir is another matter. Family politics come into play when Boromir has to plead his case to his father himself in order to be excused. Faramir is more assertive in this piece than in some, needling his older brother a little smugly, and I liked that. It is a much more equitible relationship than is often portrayed between the two brothers.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 4

This story is as well-written as I have come to expect from its talented author; especially in showing young boys who are not perfect - Faramir being something of a know-it-all and Boromir showing his arrogance. And we see evidence, from a distance, of Denethor's favoritism of his firstborn. EdorasLass is one of the best writers of children in Tolkien fandom, and she puts her skill to good use here.

Reviewed by: Marigold  ✧  Score: 4

I really enjoy this universe. This was a lovely instalment and I especially enjoyed the characterisations of Boromir and Faramir here - I liked the way that Faramir is already the patient one and is comfortable enough in his relationship with Boromir to tease his elder brother. Boromir is already a young man preferring action, definitely at the age where his Book-haughtiness is beginning to show. Their later relationship is already very clearly defined in this story.

Reviewed by: Nancy Brooke  ✧  Score: 3

What really makes this story work for me is the OFC. She is terrific, and well realized. The boys are good, but not so unique. I particularly like that we hear Nanny's inner monologue, demonstrating how much she doesn't say, her choices, the battles she picks and those she lets slide.

Reviewed by: Llinos  ✧  Score: 3

I especially enjoyed the interaction and banter between the brothers here. I can't help but think that it would have ultimately been better for Boromir's character if his father had insisted he continue his lessons. Perhaps he would have turned out less haughty and impatient.

Reviewed by: Marta  ✧  Score: 2

This is a nice interlude. It seemed very like Boromir not to want to do “women’s work”, and Nanny’s practical wisdom shown through well.

Reviewed by: Larner  ✧  Score: 2

We truly see the differences between the two sons of Denethor in this tale of trying to teach them to mend their own clothing. Well contrasted!

Reviewed by: Linda hoyland  ✧  Score: 2

A delightfully amusing tale in which nanny attempts to teach the very reluctant Boromir to darn socks.Not an enviable task at all! Delightfully told with a deft touch.