A Path of Wisdom

Author: Dana

Nominator: Dreamflower

2008 Award Category: Genres: Alternate Universe: Other Fixed-Length Ficlets - Third Place

Story Type: Fixed-Length Ficlet  ✧  Length: Fixed-Length Ficlet Series

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: A drabble set, between SR 1418 and SR 1421, somewhat detailing the reasoning for an AU.(a series of twenty-four 100-word drabbles)

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Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 10

This is a very beautifully constructed drabble-set placed in one of my favourite of Dana’s AUs: in this AU, Lotho survives the Occupation of the Shire and the Traveller’s return. In twenty-four drabbles, Dana alternates Lotho’s point-of-view with that of others. She does not name the other points-of-view, but to the reader the voices of the other characters are fairly clear. We see through their eyes and through Lotho’s how things deteriorate, and how he finds himself a prisoner deep within Bag End--so far, all perfectly correct and according to canon. But it is there that the story diverges into a new course. Dana’s explanation of how that happened seems perfectly reasonable, as does her explanation of what happens in his life afterwards. This is an introspective and character driven piece, as most all of Dana’s stories are. The interest lies not nearly so much in the why and how of things, but in the way the characters think about the events and what those thoughts mean to their lives. And in spite of the alteration in circumstance, each character *remains* in character--their motives and reactions are very much in keeping with Tolkien’s own view of Middle-earth and the place of certain things like mercy and grace in the overall scheme of things. Normally, I do not have much sympathy for Lotho, but I do in this story.

Reviewed by: Dwimordene  ✧  Score: 6

Dana's writing always shines - she writes surely, smoothly, and with spareness, and manages somehow to get everything important into little spaces at need. Her hobbits continue to testify to Tolkien's vision of them, as a people whose looks belie their power for endurance and for forgiveness. The tale of Lotho surviving is a story that makes one realize how much easier it was for him to die, canonically. Not that it makes murder by night less awful, but it isn't a continual labor and struggle for all who come in contact with him. Wisdom is more than proverbs and beyond any strength of arms - it's a strength of soul and a willingness to suffer the harder path without any promise of reward. Frodo leads others along that path, and Lotho, almost miraculously, manages to follow, begins to change. Stunning series of drabbles, worth the reading - thank you once again, Dana, for a terrific story!

Reviewed by: Larner  ✧  Score: 4

Now, here's an AU version I'd never thought to even consider. HAD Lotho survived the Time of Troubles, what might have befallen him? With whom would he have stayed? Who might have helped him recover? What lessons would he have learned, and under what tutelage? A fascinating thought, thinking of Lotho undergoing his own apprenticeship learning compassion and understanding. Sometimes difficult to appreciate the changes in POV, but definitely thought-provoking in the most positive manner possible.