2009 Award Category: Times: Post-Ring War and Beyond: The Shire
Story Type: Story ✧ Length: Short Story
Rating: General ✧ Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: Written for the Waymeet community's Vice and Virtue challenge using Apathy and Hope. Frodo finds hope in unexpected places.
Reviewed by: Dreamflower ✧ Score: 10
As soon as I read this beautiful little story, I knew that I had to rush right over and nominate it for a MEFA before anyone else managed to beat me to it. This story, about Frodo's attempts to adjust to his life in Bag End, with Sam and Rose is heart-breakingly honest. He is trying his best to hide his loneliness and his emptiness and his fragility after the trauma of the Quest, and he is trying to hide it from those who love him the most and who see him every single day. The way the author contrasts Frodo's inner sorrow and turmoil against his frantic efforts to pretend to Sam and Rose rings utterly true. What do most of us do in such pain, but try to hide it from those whom it would hurt? His pain is their pain, and he knows it, and tries as hard as he can to shield them from it. As the birth of Sam and Rose's first child looms, Frodo's fears of burdening them with his pain grow greater and greater and his desperation deeper. The descriptions of his pain and his trauma are visceral. You can tell, easily, that Claudia has poured her own heart and soul into showing us just how Frodo felt after having his normal life torn from him so cruelly. The ending, as is only appropriate for a story set in Tolkien's world where joy and sorrow are so inextricably mingled, is one of hope, yet bittersweet hope, like the ending of LOTR itself.
Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger ✧ Score: 5
One thing I appreciate about this story is that it doesn't mince words. It paints a very realistic portrait of Frodo's struggle to adjust to life in the Shire, not overly dramatic but not overly simple, either. The balance is perfect. And I love the way Frodo thinks about how he is constrained to ["go through the motions of living"]. The idea of being a ghost, especially given the Ring and its effect on mortals, is powerful. Even more than that, though, I appreciate the lesson taught by a newly-born Elanor. The idea of things coming full circle, which both Sam and Frodo hint at in the books when they talk about how the old tales never really end, is a lovely way to conclude the story and really anchors this in canon. Excellent portrayal of all involved!
Reviewed by: Larner ✧ Score: 4
A rather sad tale, yet hopeful in the end, as we watch Frodo pretending--pretending to live, pretending to recover. But in his heart he is empty, watchful, wary. To appear to be alive and well is taking so much effort. We know that it was near the time of Elanor's birth Frodo Baggins realized he was not getting better. This gapfiller makes us privy to the whole sequence of events leading to his decision. Sad, but in his eyes necessary. Beautiful and sad. But to know now he'll live, but elsewhere.... You can write so beautifully, Claudia.
Reviewed by: Isabeau of Greenlea ✧ Score: 3
A vivid description of Frodo's state of mind after the Ring War and a possible way that he came to the conclusion that he needed to go over the Sea. Sam's and Rosie's newly wedded state does not keep them from caring for him lovingly, but it is not enough, and his emptiness is well-depicted without being too heavy-handed.
Reviewed by: Antane ✧ Score: 2
Well done. Everyone needs a reason to go on and Frodo has found his. I love most all the thoughts and prayers he sent to his Sam and Rose and Elanor as they waited for the birth.
Reviewed by: NeumeIndil ✧ Score: 2
Wow. After all the bitter-sweetness turns just sweet, that last line hits like a punch in the gut. SO well done!
Reviewed by: SurgicalSteel ✧ Score: 1
Exquisite - heartbreaking and hopeful at the same time.