A Time to Reap
2010 Award Category: Times: Post-Ring War and Beyond - Third Place
Story Type: Story ✧ Length: Short Story
Rating: General ✧ Reason for Rating: n/a
Summary: Pippin and Frodo share a moment of friendship, and Pippin has a flash of insight into his cousin's plans.
Reviewed by: Dreamflower ✧ Score: 10
I think that this is possibly the finest of Cathleen's shorter stories. While she does mischievous wee Pippin beautifully and with great affection, and often shows the humorous side of Pippin at any age, here she shows that she can write post-Quest Pippin with not only affection but with tender understanding of how he has grown in wisdom and insight, and how he has learned restraint and judgement. The story is nothing more than a quiet moment between Pippin and Frodo, beginning in a bit of light-hearted play and cousinly banter. I especially liked the beginning of the story because it is so seldom that we see a laughing and active post-Quest Frodo. It's quite a nice and refreshing change. But the tone very gradually becomes deeper and more solemn, and we see Pippin's realization of the changes that have come to his beloved cousin Frodo, and what those changes mean. What I like best is how Pippin's sudden understanding of what is to come is subtle and understated, as is Frodo's acceptance that Pippin just knows. Neither of them make a big deal out of it, but put it aside in the manner of hobbits. It's not to be spoken of anymore. The ending is abrupt and stark and poignant, a perfect contrast to the lightness of the beginning. A really lovely vignette.
Reviewed by: Celeritas ✧ Score: 6
This is one of my favorite of Cathleen's fics: simply told, simply delivered, so that the reader can easily see all that lies beneath its surface. It's a quiet moment between Frodo and Pippin, that should be happy, but isn't, because every time Pippin looks at his cousin he knows that there's something just a little bit off. But despite all that the fic never gets to the point of angst or melancholy--just a little bittersweet finish reminiscent of the Havens themselves. My favorite part has to be the very end, when Pippin looks at Frodo and just knows, asks him about it--and Frodo's departure is confirmed in the sparest of words. And between two cousins who have grown so close through adversity, no more words are needed.
Reviewed by: Pearl Took ✧ Score: 6
This is a gentle, quiet yet powerful story. Cathleen artfully uses the fall of the year to set the scene and emotion of her story. Not only do we see the joys the season brings - jumping in a pile of raked leaves, going to pick and eat freshly ripened apples - but we also experience the other aspect of the autumnal season; things passing away. Frodo knows his time is coming to leave Middle-earth and the Shire forever. He doesn't say anything to Pippin as they ride to the orchard nor as they pick and munch their apples, but the younger Hobbit figures it out anyway. There is an understanding of the good accomplished, of the task completed and a job well done and this brings some measure of peace to the knowledge that the resulting peace will not be for Frodo to share. The last line of the story is pure magic. A marvelous story!
Reviewed by: Larner ✧ Score: 5
Frodo comes to visit, and offers Pippin advice on how to deal with his new maturity. And Pippin senses that Frodo plans yet one more escape. How difficult it must have been for those who loved Frodo to watch him withdraw after his return from the quest, and to sense he planned yet once more to slip away from them. At least they had an ally in Gandalf, and he did not allow Frodo to leave with no wishes of farewell given or received. A most gently written story of the caring shown Frodo by those who came to know him best. Most poignant, with images to touch the heart.
Reviewed by: Antane ✧ Score: 4
Oh, right there towards the end really catches the heart: Pippin's fearful question and surprisingly for someone who wanted to slip away quietly a quick, honest answer, just one word, but with a world of pain and the next words that followed. Pippin doesn't protest, doesn't try to stop him, just accepts it and grieves for its necessity. Love Frodo's other words about what he appreciates more now.
Reviewed by: Virtuella ✧ Score: 3
How refreshing to read a post-quest story in which Frodo is not frail and angst-ridden, but contented and at peace. Cathleen presents a warm and intimate vignette here, set in a delightful autumn atmosphere that fits both the Shire and the theme of the story.