2010 Award Category: Genres: Humor: Eriador or Shire - First Place
Story Type: Story ✧ Length: Short Story
Rating: General ✧ Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: Even the wise can get burned out. Gandalf trades one peril for another when he indulges a hobbit in conversation.
Reviewed by: The Lauderdale ✧ Score: 10
Ever wonder *how* Gandalf first became interested in hobbits, or what he thought of his first experience with pipeweed? In this story, we see a Gandalf who is questioning himself (["Had he really become so grim?"]) and feels he has lost something along the way. Seeking the advice a peer, someone wise and immortal and concerned, like him, with matters of consequence (and who better than Cirdan the Shipwright - right?), he all but stumbles over Tobold Hornblower, a hobbit of the Shire. Tobold, with his quick familiarity and desire for conversation, prevails on Gandalf's sense of politeness and quickly exposes the hapless wizard to all of the befuddling and endearing qualities that (stereo-)typify hobbits, which Tobold possesses in spades. We don't know much about the temperament of Gandalf of old: Olórin fresh-off-the-boat as it were, and thick with the grim work to be done in Middle-earth. It would make sense that such a Gandalf, weighed down by heavy matters, might start to become stern, absorbed and insular - not so different from another member of his order. But Tobold provides the fresh perspective that this harried Gandalf needs, which is to be found, not with the wise and powerful, but with someone who enjoys the simple pleasures: good food, good tobacco and good conversation with a passing stranger. It is no wonder that Gandalf became fond of the Shire. He needed it, as much as ever the larger lands of Middle-earth needed him.
Reviewed by: Larner ✧ Score: 9
When Gandalf warned Theoden not to encourage Hobbits to chatter incessently with [undue patience], he was speaking from experience, apparently. There had been the time he himself had been hurrying across Eriador, intent on having a visit and long talk with Cirdan, when he'd found himself caught for the sake of courtesy, firmly held in place due to the rambling and yet charming discourse of a Hobbit named Tobold Hornblower. Before the poor wizard quite knew what to think of having been so waylaid he'd managed to spend the greater part of an afternoon and evening with old Toby and his wife, learning a good deal about the growing and smoking of pipeweed, Shire history, and Toby's family connections running back, apparently, to the founding of the Shire! And we find ourselves equally flummoxed with Gandalf as to how to deal with such things, and truly empathise with his final decision, one that led to another Hobbit encountered smoking on his doorstep some time later finding himself quite flummoxed and put out of countenance on his own part concerning Gandalf's address of himself. As charming as Hobbit hospitality itself!
Reviewed by: Dreamflower ✧ Score: 6
A delightfully hobbity encounter between Gandalf and Old Toby Hornblower, famous discoverer of the virtues of pipe-weed! Gandalf's in a dreadful hurry, but finds himself trapped by courtesy into a long and rambling conversation. On the surface, it's all fluff and humor-- until you realize that the theme of the story is peril. And at the beginning of the story, Gandalf is indeed in peril: in peril of taking himself too seriously and forgetting the importance of other people. His "peril" in being trapped in conversation was a bit silly-- but the peril of pride and thinking his business the only important business was a far greater one. For at that point he was in peril of falling the way another Istar did. Thought provoking as well as delightful.
Reviewed by: Virtuella ✧ Score: 4
Quite charmingly, Celeritas shows is Gandalf's first encounter with a hobbit, to be precise, with Tobold Hornblower. It is anything but love at first sight, Gandalf being rather put out by the foul pipe weed and the endless ramblings of the hobbit. Nevertheless, he finds that the halfling makes him laugh, if only in retrospect, and, well, we can see that this will be the beginning of a wonderful friendship...
Reviewed by: Cathleen ✧ Score: 4
Oh, this was totally delightful! Celeritas has given us some wonderful tales and I love them all, but this ficlet is particularly amusing. So *this* is how Gandalf "acquired the habit" of smoking pipeweed? Too funny! And I liked seeing the humorous side of the wizard's personality in this, especially the laughter. Lucky for us that Gandalf went on to make such good friends in the Shire thus providing us with so many more wonderful tales! I highly recommend this story!
Reviewed by: Elfique ✧ Score: 2
What a charming little gap-filler-type-fic! A very amusing concept that was well executed. I love the fact that Mr Hornblower hopes Gandalf will take up the habit - very funny!
Reviewed by: Mithadan ✧ Score: 1
I always wondered how Gandalf acquired that nasssty habit. Very clever and funny!