From the Balrog-Slayer's Mouth

Author: Azalais

Nominator: Azalais

2011 Award Category: Drabble: General - First Place

Story Type: Drabble  ✧  Length: True Drabble

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: "Bilbo's 'Translations from the Elvish'…were found to be a work of great skill and learning in which, between 1403 and 1418, he had used all the sources available to him in Rivendell, both living and written." - LoTR Prologue, Note on the Shire Records. Bilbo's scholarly enthusiasm gives Glorfindel an uncomfortable moment. For the LiveJournal tolkien_weekly "Water: Sea" challenge.(100 words.)

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Reviewed by: Elleth  ✧  Score: 10

This drabble is lovely in so many ways. The gentle humor, Bilbo's perceptive hobbit nature, his scholarship and resourcefulness in using ['both living and written'] sources in his research, and the unexpected (or not so) appearance of Glorfindel (with the question of identity resolved, this one must have been the same elf-lord who died in defending the survivors of Gondolin in battling the Balrog at Cristhorn), and the recall of the power and age of some of Imladris' elves, which I could imagine being unnoticeable in daily life. I also loved the shout-out to fandom about one of the most-debated questions; does a Balrog have wings or not, if disguised in rather more poetic terms. I enjoyed this drabble thoroughly. Brief-to-the-point, and many-layered, this really deserves to be read and reviewed. All characters get fair treatment, sound and act believably, and seeing Bilbo at work composing what, in-narrative and going by Tolkien's idea that Middle-earth is our world some ages onward, would become the very books we have been reading, adds a fantastic meta-aspect to this drabble as well. Fitting all these associations into a hundred words is quite the feat. I'll definitely be bookmarking Azalais' drabble outside the awards as well, just for the occasional smile every now and then, or as food for thought. There, now you have me wondering about the nature of elvish scholarship...

Author response: Thank you so much, Elleth, for such a lengthy and detailed review! I really appreciate your finding so much to say about the piece. The footnote from the LoTR Prologue did set the plotbunnies going, and I have enjoyed writing Bilbo in Rivendell before (though not with Glorfindel!) so this did almost write itself. (And of course I couldn't resist the line about the Balrog's wings!) I'm delighted you liked the drabble so much.

Reviewed by: Kara's Aunty  ✧  Score: 4

Ah, dear Bilbo. So apt to be undecorous or thoughtless when absorbed in academia - though never, ever maliciously so. This lovely drabble captures his momentary ignorance and resultant contriteness very well indeed, and also displays the grace and forgiveness of an mighty elven lord who is willing to suffer a little for the sake of the studious hobbit's scholarly pursuits. Sweet.

Author response: I'm glad you enjoyed this - I do love Bilbo (and Glorfindel!) and I was pleased with the way this one worked out. Thank you for the review!

Reviewed by: Levade  ✧  Score: 4

Bilbo running ink-stained fingers through his hair as he calls to one of his 'living resources' in Rivendell is an endearing image. It might have surprised some of the other elves that the hobbit had the gall to ask Glorfindel such a question (if they didn't know this particular hobbit), but I love Glorfindel's reaction. Taken aback a bit, but the question was that of a scholar, not one of prurient curiosity. So do they have wings? ;) What a lovely drabble and a moment captured, Azalais!

Author response: Thank you! I'm very fond of Bilbo (and of Glorfindel), and I'm pleased that you liked this one. And I couldn't resist the shout-out to the Great Balrog Debate...

Reviewed by: Virtuella  ✧  Score: 4

Dear Azalais, this is a delightful little glimpse into a scene that I can very easily imagine. Bilbo, overeager and somewhat thoughtless, Glorfindel, very put upon but polite enough to oblige - he really is lucky that it's only Bilbo back in those days. Nowadays it would be a whole horde of papparazzi! This is a very cute drabble, well done and thanks for giving me a smile.

Author response: You're very welcome, I'm glad you smiled! I'm immensely fond of Bilbo and quite partial to Glorfindel too, so couldn't resist bringing them together.

Reviewed by: Russandol  ✧  Score: 4

This drabble has got so much to enjoy crammed into it! Bilbo as an enthusiastic researcher, so much like I imagine him; Glorfindel's brief shock turned into equanimity (or resignation?) at the unwitting mention of his deadly combat and, of course, the perpetual question about Balrogs! Bilbo certainly makes perfect use of the living sources available to him in Rivendell and not even tact can get in the way of historic research, surely. I read it and smiled.

Author response: I'm glad it made you smile - I'm very fond of Bilbo (and of Glorfindel) and I couldn't resist this when the idea came to me. Thank you for the review!

Reviewed by: cairistiona  ✧  Score: 4

This gave me such a smile. I can just imagine Glorfindel's face as he's all but dragged into Bilbo's study, and then the little flinch of memory that surely crossed his face. Poor Bilbo very nearly stuck his foot in it but he recovered nicely and Glorfindel is, as I always imagine, the soul of politeness and understanding. I also love the cozy feel of the ending, as I picture them sitting with heads together for the next few hours, translating and laughing and enjoying each other's company. Very nicely done!

Author response: I loved writing this, so I'm glad it gave you so much pleasure. I found the footnote about Bilbo's "Translations from the Elvish" and its 'sources, both living and written' irresistible in terms of plotbunnies!

Reviewed by: Dwimordene  ✧  Score: 3

So... did they have wings or not? ;-) Good use of the lines from the Prologue concerning Bilbo's scholarly work in Rivendell. It must be a rare occasion to see Glorfindel jarred or briefly put off balance by a question, but this seems like the right occasion for it! Bilbo's quick contrition and Glorfindel's excuse both work very well for this reader.

Author response: Couldn't resist the shout-out to the Great Balrog Debate. I do love Bilbo, so this was fun to write.

Reviewed by: Altariel  ✧  Score: 3

A wickedly funny drabble that plays with the never-ending debate as to Whether Or Not Balrogs Had Wings, and at the same time delivers a delightful little sketch of Bilbo the scholar: ["Running ink-stained fingers distractedly through curly grey hair"]. Good fun, Az!

Author response: I'm glad you enjoyed it! I think I was re-channelling the Rivendell chapters of Powers and Chances, really - and I couldn't resist the shout-out to the Great Balrog Debate...

Reviewed by: Liadan  ✧  Score: 3

It's always best to have first-hand accounts when writing histories and even better to have the actual participants tell you about in it, and in their own words. Even though it may be painful, it can also be healing.

Author response: Thank you! Clearly Bilbo believes in the importance of the first-hand account, indeed...

Reviewed by: Tanaqui  ✧  Score: 3

A neat take on an age-old fandom argument! Bilbo is very well captured in both the temporary blindness induced by his scholarly obsession and his quickness in noticing he has blundered and responding with empathy and contrition.

Author response: I'm glad you feel I got Bilbo right - I do love him, and couldn't resist writing this (and shouting-out to the Balrog Debate, of course) once that quote from the Prologue gave me the idea!

Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 2

That is indeed our Bilbo! I'm sure some of the Elves cringed to see him coming-- and yet, indulged him all the same. I love it when tiny tidbits of canon are expanded upon like this!

Author response: Thank you, Dreamflower! I did enjoy expanding on that little fragment - and indeed, that note has left more plotbunnies hopping around in the back of my brain; I'm glad you enjoyed the result.

Reviewed by: Adonnen Estenniel  ✧  Score: 2

I liked this look at a very resourceful Bilbo. His character is always so interesting to read of, and Azalais writes him so well. Excellent!

Author response: Thank you! I do love Bilbo; I'm glad you feel I've got him right.