Oliphaunts and String
2007 Award Category: Genres: Drama: Other Fixed-Length Ficlet - Honorable Mention
Story Type: Fixed-Length Ficlet ✧ Length: Other Fixed-Length Ficlet
Rating: General ✧ Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: A grandmother's sorrow unfolds.(Three hundred words per Microsoft Word)
Reviewed by: Imhiriel ✧ Score: 6
This little story captures well how torn the grandmother must have been between her love for her grandson, and her responsibilty for her community. It's clear to see that Sméagol did have his lovable side, and that it already shows signs now of disappearing under the influence of the Ring, as well as his own dark, "sneaking" It seems to be able to call forth rather effortlessly. The casual cruelty against the frog - which might symbolically stand in for Déagol - and the whiny denial of any culpability are apparently nothing new for the grandmother, and the fact that the finding of the body with clear marks of the murderer are no great surprise, are chilling touches. The ending was haunting, with the well-known idea of Gollum (and later Frodo) losing their senses of seeing, hearing and so on.
Reviewed by: Larner ✧ Score: 5
Poor Deagol is missing, and sweet Smeagol has changed, what with insisting the little frog he's tied up with string is an Oliphaunt he's going to train. But his grandmother suspects the situation is much worse; and when Deagol's body is found at last she realizes whose hands left those bruises on the poor lad's throat. But turning Smeagol out in painful in the end.... To think of Smeagol starting as a sweet lad, the apple of Gran's eye, with so much promise that went to naught once he saw the Ring in his cousin's hand...well! A sad tale of descent.
Reviewed by: dkpalaska ✧ Score: 5
An excellent descriptive title - one that had me wondering about the subject, only to find its oblique reference poignant and perfect for Smeagol's descent to evil under the Ring's influence. A powerful perspective of a pivotal moment, told by the one who perhaps loved Smeagol most. It was all the more difficult to watch with his grandmother as the village leader, forced to choose between her people's safety and her grandson. Very clever use of Smeagol's voice to show the passage from who he was into who he became (Gollum); and of the frog as a symbol for attempting the possession and taming of the unpossessable and untamable.
Reviewed by: Llinos ✧ Score: 4
The grandmother's sweet and simple character throws what Smeagol has become into sharp relief. One can imagine that he too was once sweet and innocent and yet there must have been *something* in him to make the Ring take hold so quickly. The author gives us a hint of this underlying oddness that I really like. Very sad, that he was destined for such an evil path when without the Ring he might just have been considered rather simple and eccentric amongst his own folk..
Reviewed by: Marigold ✧ Score: 3
Very sad, especially the grandmother wondering where Deagol had gone in death. I liked the simplicity of the people as a whole which to me helped explain how Smeagol was so wholly corrupted by the Ring almost instantaneously, enough to commit the murder of his cousin so soon after It was found.
Reviewed by: Marta ✧ Score: 3
Oh, now this is sad! Nice exploration of how this period in his life might have unfolded. I particularly liked the first part of the ficlet; it's probably the best examination I've ever seen of the way Smeagol would have turned into Gollum at the very beginning, and I found the transition both unsettling and very believable.
Reviewed by: Inkling ✧ Score: 3
The whimsical title of this ficlet gives no hint to the sad, disturbing story that unfolds. That Smeagol calls the captive frog an oliphant hearkens back to happier days listening to the folk tales of his grandmother...days that, like his sweet voice, are now gone forever. Well done!
Reviewed by: Cathleen ✧ Score: 3
A somewhat haunting little tale, very creative and from a different pov than I have seen before. We don't get to read anything about Smeagol and Deagol very often. This was wonderfully done and I enjoyed reading it.
Reviewed by: phyloxena ✧ Score: 2
I like this piece very much. I certainly feel for helpless grandmother -- charismatic, clever, spoiled, cruel child is evil enough without powerful artifacts.
Reviewed by: White Wolf ✧ Score: 2
This is a very chilling prelude to what we know is coming for this tragic character. Good imagery and dialogue.