Pippin's Crucible

Author: Pearl Took

Nominator: unknown

2004 Award Category: Genres: Drama: The Lord of the Rings - First Place

Story Type: Other Fiction  ✧  Length: unknown

Rating: PG  ✧  Reason for Rating: descriptions of carnage

Summary: This is a first person account of Pippin from his run through Minas Tirith to find Gandalf in order to save Faramir through to his being with Merry after Aragorn heals him.

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Review scores are not available for 2004.

Reviewed by: Larian Elensar  ✧  Score: N/A

You could see and feel Pippin's terror and despair as he looked for Gandalf. I think you captured it all very well. I also like the idea that Pippin knows he will heal too, and not be weighed down by the evil things he saw forever.

Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger  ✧  Score: N/A

Now THIS is drama. And angst. Wow, that was a heart-wrenching race through the city. Words are failing me, actually. It was so very real. I love the line "I have to hurry. I have to find Gandalf." It starts this fic out so well, giving Pippin a purpose and some haste. But then as he begins passing those who are dying and those who are trying to claw their way out of the rubble, it becomes much more than a simple purpose. It becomes his focus and his driving force. He's tearing apart inside, and the only thing that keeps him going is that eternal refrain that repeats in this fic over and over until we feel like hurrying to find Gandalf, too. The first time Pippin sees a hand trying to crawl out from under stone, the entire narrative crawls to a halt, too, and the use of ellipses is quite possibly the best use of punctuation I've ever seen. I actually held my breath when that happened. It was horrible! And then the drops falling down accompanied by Pippin's mind reminding him that it isn't rain. His insistence that the puddles are dark because it is night, not for any other reason. The rambling, denying voice of Pippin's mind was a character within its own right, and then there were other voices contesting it, and through it all, that pressing goal to reach Gandalf. And then when he reaches Gandalf and finds the Witch-king, the narrative gets choppy and abrupt, which is PERFECT because that's exactly what Pippin's mind starts doing. Absolutely stunning work of drama!

Reviewed by: Dwimordene  ✧  Score: N/A

The stuff of nightmares and worse than that are all written into this fic. The pacing is dead on throughout, excuse the choice of words. The sense of urgency and vertigo are relentless and constant, and every so often, Pearl gives us these chillingly simple observations, questions anyone would ask who hasn't lived in a war zone: "Don't your eyes just close?" Pippin asks upon seeing the slaughtered dead "staring" at him. Something about that questions instills the reader with a kind of horror. I found the reversal of idiom-usually we talk of wishing to wipe our hands clean, Pippin thinks of not wishing his feet attached to his body, of them never being clean again-very well handled. This was indeed a crucible. Well written!

Reviewed by: Marigold Cotton  ✧  Score: N/A

This is an incredibly powerful story, and is well told in the first person, something that not everyone can write well. The imagery is just amazing, especially Pippin's run through the streets of Minas Tirith in search of Gandalf. The thought of innocent Pippin running through blood, past dead, hacked bodies, and body parts, being forced to ignore the screams and pleas of the dying because of his self assigned mission, the stench of burned flesh, his feeling of smallness as he fights through the retreating soldiers ...well, Tolkien toned down Pippin's search for Gandalf because I think that it had to have actually happened just this way. Then he must do it again, when he goes to search for Merry. The thought that he has at the end, that his feet will never feel clean again, was the perfect ending.

Reviewed by: Llinos  ✧  Score: N/A

Wonderful glimpse of what Pippin must endure to reach Gandalf. Very gritty, and told quite well in the first person.

Reviewed by: Lindelea  ✧  Score: N/A

O Pearl... somehow I missed this one. I was idly going back through Marigold's "Best Bets" and found it, and followed the link, and was bowled over. Your descriptions of what Pippin saw and felt and thought brought me to the edge of my seat. You are an incredible storyteller, taking us right inside the character's head. Great job!