A Question of History

Author: Marta

Nominator: Marta

2011 Award Category: Hobbits: General

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: Sam and Pippin discuss a puzzling passage from the Red Book.

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Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 5

A good many of Marta's stories give me what I call thinky-thoughts; there is a great deal of leeway in Frodo's words ["No hobbit has ever killed another on purpose in the Shire,"] as to what ["on purpose"] might mean. The implication that there might have still been wrongful deaths attributed to another hobbit are not ruled out. Something that is even more troubling is also touched on: that Frodo forbade killing _any_ hobbit, but only said not to kill the Ruffians ["if it could be helped"], and the conversation makes the reader wonder if Frodo actually put it that way, but that other hobbits would not like it if they thought he'd been soft on the Ruffians. As I said, thinky-thoughts.

Reviewed by: Dwimordene  ✧  Score: 5

Another interesting take on inter-hobbit violence. I love the way Marta uses the trope of the Red Book as an actual document, replete with all the exclusions, distortions, fabrications, and forgetfulness that attend real books: it's a springboard for considering both the pragmatic dimension, of making sure important points aren't lost because they are associated with people and events that trip trauma in listeners, and the question of where truth lies and in what it really consists. I love Pippin's suggestion at the end, too, for the question it opens: is the Red Book the draft that even Daisy Bracegirdle approved? Or is it the version in which Sam has Frodo say what he wishes Frodo had said?

Reviewed by: Larner  ✧  Score: 4

An interesting conversation between Sam and Pippin as Mayor and Thain discuss Frodo’s instructions not to kill Hobbits during the Scouring of the Shire as Hobbits have [“never deliberately killed other Hobbits,”] and not to kill anyone if it can be helped, and considering just how true that might have been in light of the possible role Pippin’s sister Pearl might have played in the death of Ferumbras’s mother Lalia. The author’s comments are as thought-provoking as the actual conversation. Definitely a tale to read and ponder.