Author: Larner

Nominator: Eärillë (Virodeil)

2011 Award Category: Hobbits: Bagginses - First Place

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: As he prepares to leave Michel Delving for the final time, having filed his final will and the papers in which he adopts Sam as his brother, Frodo Baggins has one last encounter with one who has come to know him well in the past two years particularly.

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Reviewed by: Levade  ✧  Score: 9

What a beautiful story, Larner! Fitting for a Memorial Day story -- we owe so much to those who have served and still do serve. I love that you tell this story mostly from the humble voice of the stablehobbit. He's the everyman who does the jobs most of us probably take for granted, and yet he makes some of the sharpest observations. For all of his simple ways of speaking, and his voice came through so clearly, he has some beautiful things to say. So very hobbity! "First time I was but a lad, dreamin’ in the gloamin’, like." None the wiser, yet he saw the elves. His longing to travel and see other places comes through very clearly. I loved Bilbo's answer that it wasn't as glorious as it might seem, travelling and sleeping away from the comforts of home. The last part seems very fitting with Tolkien's ideas. That life is not fair, that some sacrifices are worth it to see that others can live freely and that some wounds never fully heal. Your Frodo is lovely, fragile and yet still so compassionate even as he's longing to end the farewells. Great job, Larner. Thank you for such a beautiful story.

Author response: And thank you, Levade, for such a gentle, warm, and loving review. No, life has never been fair; but I do believe Frodo realized it WAS worth it in spite of recurring pain and grief and growing loss of ties to this world. And it was wonderful to flesh out my character of Pease a bit more in this story. Thank you so!

Reviewed by: Kara's Aunty  ✧  Score: 8

How lovely to read a tale of a hobbit (who is neither family nor one of the other Travellers) having a high opinion of Frodo, and who expressed delight in hearing Bilbo's tales and a wish to meet elves. Though, coupled with his vernacular, it does make Pease seem rather like Sam (but given how wonderful Sam is, this is not a bad thing at all). And what a beautiful, unexpected gift Pease gives the former Ring-bearer, his memory of seeing him together with his parents when he was but very young. I nearly teared up myself. Bespoke saddles = win! Loved that their friends Outside had taken the time to decorate them with symbols best suited to each of the four hobbits. A brilliant and typically thoughtful touch that makes Larner the great writer she is. The farewell itself was very moving, and I am sure Frodo was as deeply touched as I to know that more hobbits in the Shire valued his sacrifices in their service than he previously thought. Larner has done Frodo great credit with this little gem, and I believe that both he and her beloved father would burst with pride at the tribute. Terrific work!

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 6

In this bittersweet story, Larner conveys the powerful influence that Bilbo Baggins has had over the Shire; through the stablehobbit Pease and his conversation with Frodo. We see the appreciation of Pease, a somewhat lower class hobbit with dreams and appreciation of higher things kindled by the tales Bilbo told after his return from Erebor. Pease is written quite well, very hobbity, but with a strong interest in matters outside the Shire; an appealing mixture of shrewdness and gentleness. I loved the dialogue about the horse tack that the hobbits brought back from Gondor and Rohan; a Neat Bit that added to the credibility of the story. The point of the story of course is Frodo's effort to say farewell to all the people and places that he has known in the Shire, and what that effort is costing him; and that is also conveyed, quite poignantly.

Reviewed by: Erulisse  ✧  Score: 6

Over the years I've been reading Tolkien fan fiction, Larner's finely-crafted stories have always impressed me. I knew I would have a difficult time choosing one to review this year, but after reading Leave-Taking, the choice was evident. This small encounter between a Frodo who is exhausted, ill, and ready to leave the shores of Middle Earth because his life-force is leaving him, speaks kindly, of course, with a common hobbit. This normal hobbit who has interacted with Frodo on a business basis for years, is perceptive and gives a beautiful foil to Frodo. His health balanced by Frodo's illness, his common framework contrasted with Frodo's stature in the community. It is a lovely and bittersweet tale that left tears in my eyes.

Reviewed by: Antane  ✧  Score: 4

Sweet ending to a sad story. What was it like for Frodo the last few months in particular knowing he will not be returning? This shows part of this agony. He thought before he left on the Quest he wouldn't be back but now he really knows it. How difficult it must have been and to try to keep it all inside too. How many farewells were said silently? Very true his words about Sam. At least he has some hope of healing and that is good but it certainly doesn't make it easier to have to leave to heal.

Reviewed by: Adonnen Estenniel  ✧  Score: 3

What a beautiful story! I really appreciated the fact that Larner chose a member of the "lower class" to be the focus of the exchange. Aside from Samwise, most of the Hobbits Tolkien exposes his readers to are members of the gentry. So this was a nice change. And I found that the simpler, more rustic side of the Shire was captured beautifully here.

Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 3

Larner specializes in interesting OCs who can learn and appreciate what the canon characters have gone through. Her use of this technique never grows old, as each OC has his or her own personality and POV to bring to the tale. In this one, a perceptive stable groom is able to understand more about Frodo than Frodo himself may realize. Very nicely done!

Reviewed by: curiouswombat  ✧  Score: 3

A lovely tale of Frodo's final preparations to leave The Shire - and his meeting with a very perceptive stablehobbit. The sense of wonder and melancholy, of wistfulness, are all so well portrayed here - just as we have come to expect from this accomplished author.