Labadal and Túrin

Author: Dreamflower

Nominator: Dreamflower

2011 Award Category: Drabble Series: General - Honorable Mention

Story Type: Drabble  ✧  Length: Drabble Series

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: A series of drabbles about the child Túrin, and his friend the lame woodwright, Sador Labadal. I have long been fascinated by their friendship. Why would a noble child's best friend be a crippled servant?(A completed set of five drabbles)

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Reviewed by: Virtuella  ✧  Score: 8

Dear Dreamflower, I liked this series when I first read it and it bears a second reading just as well. I am not very familiar with the SILM, which is why I often can't make much of SILM fanfic, but this spoke to me very directly. It is an unlikely friendship you record here, between the crippled thrall and the noble child, and yet so unlikely as it may seem, because children are often known to seek out those who are different, and in any case, looks and status can mean nothing to the boy as yet and he will judge by a person’s action and very little else. The reason why the nickname doesn’t offend is because it contains no judgement, it is merely a description. The judgement lies in other things: he seeks out Labadal, as a friend, as a teacher, as a comforter. Labadal has wisdom to offer and skills to pass on, what is perhaps more, affection and compassion to give. The five scenes are very well chosen to render a convincing picture of this touching relationship. This is a gentle and heart-warming drabble series about an unusual set of characters which I enjoyed very much.

Author response: Thank you very much, Virtuella! I find much of the Silm rather lofty and inaccessible to me, but the accounts of poor little Turin's childhood really touched my heart-- that the man who grew to become grim and doom-laden had once been a sweet and loving little child really tugged at my heartstrings, and I found myself drawn to the servant who clearly had loved that child dearly.

Reviewed by: pandemonium_213  ✧  Score: 7

More often than not, one is likely to find Dreamflower in the Shire with her hobbits, rather than venturing into the territory of the sturm und drang that comprise the scary older brother of [The Lord of the Rings], namely [The Silmarillion.] But in [Labadal and Túrin], she presents a well-crafted series of drabbles from the point-of-view of a canon character we rarely see: Labadal. The use of first person gives a good sense of immediacy to the drabbles, and they hang together very well (think of a nicely crafted necklace — that's how a drabble series should work, and Dreamflower's does) to offer a fuller picture of the old, lame servant's relationship with the young boy, who will suffer Morgoth's curse and grow up to become one of the most tragic of Tolkien's characters. It is especially poignant that Labadal is the sole person in the household who offers the boy solace: [In my own rough arms I hold him, as his bitter tears wet my shirt. His father's grief has turned to vengeance, his mother's has turned to ice. Why is it left to me, the lowliest person of the household to wipe his tears?] and how true Labadal speaks here: [Were he a peasant’s child, his lot would be happier.] Although I enjoy visiting the Shire with Dreamflower, I do hope she returns again to the dark lands of [The Silmarillion].

Author response: Thank you, Pandemonium, for your wonderful and detailed review! I don't know if there is anything else in the era of the Silm that will capture me quite as much as little Turin and his humble friend Labadal, but if it ever does I will remember your encouragement!

Reviewed by: Oshun  ✧  Score: 5

You write both characters so beautifully in these vignettes. There is heart, foreshadowing and elven humanity shining through from both in the very best sense of the term. The story of Turin can be very difficult for me to leave. The relentless sorrow and missteps within eventually become almost more than I can bear and weigh down upon me making it dreary beyond toleration. Your accounts of each of these small interactions have the absolute opposite effect upon me. You bring warmth and gentleness and a softer sadness to the tale than I have ever experienced before. Thank you so much for sharing this with us here.

Author response: Thank you so much for the lovely review. This is, so far, my first and only First Age fic, so I am very glad that you like it. I found the Tale of Turin as set forth in the Silm to be unrelentingly sad, and Turin a dour and unsympathetic protagonist. And then I read about his childhood in CoT and UT, and it totally changed my perspective on him. He was a very sweet child and Sador a wonderfully wise confidante. What a shame it was he had to lose all that.

Reviewed by: Himring  ✧  Score: 4

Turin's childhood, I think, is a subject that deserves to have more fan fiction written about it. Dreamflower has picked out his friendship with Sador Labadal--one of Turin's more appealing traits, but one that will eventually end in disaster for Sador as so much else does in Turin's life--and uses it subtly to throw light on Turin's early history and development through Sador's sympathetic but not uncritical comments.

Author response: I agree that Turin's childhood needs more fanfic! I hope my little drabbles might inspire someone with more knowledge of the First Age to do a more extensive treatment of the subject! Thank you so much for your review!

Reviewed by: cairistiona  ✧  Score: 3

There are very few fics based on The Children of Húrin, so that makes this set of touching drabbles a double treasure. Exploring Túrin and Labadal's unlikely friendship, these are filled with warmth and a sense of joy that is nonetheless tempered by the foreshadowing of the child's dark future. Very well done!

Author response: Thank you! I wrote these because I have begged for some Labadal wee!Turin fics without luck, and finally decided to write a few myself, in the hopes it would inspire others. I am glad you liked them.

Reviewed by: Ellynn  ✧  Score: 2

This is a very touching story about relationship between Turin and Labadal, told from Labadal's POV. Nicely done.

Author response: Thank you!