Hearts of Stone

Author: Marta

Nominator: Celeritas

2011 Award Category: Hobbits: Bagginses - Honorable Mention

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: Teen  ✧  Reason for Rating: Mature Language/Themes,Violence

Summary: "And Mr. Drogo was staying at Brandy Hall with his father-in-law, old Master Gorbadoc, as he often did after his marriage (him being partial to his vittles, and old Gorbadoc keeping a mighty generous table); and he went out boating on the Brandywine River; and he and his wife were drownded, and poor Mr. Frodo only a child and all." ("A Long-Expected Party," The Lord of the Rings)

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Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 10

There are a great many versions of young Frodo Baggins' life, and how he dealt with his grief at his parents' deaths, and how he came to be staying at Brandy Hall for seven years after they died. Each version has a slightly different take or twist on his circumstances, but I have to say that this is one of my favorite versions. It's told in a quiet and gentle way. There is palpable grief and desperation, but it is more subtle than the usual angst of such stories. The young Frodo here is a quiet child who is sad, but he still loves, he still has a generous heart. He's shown going through phases of grief and acceptance, and in each new chapter we see that he's grown a little in wisdom. I especially like the last chapter, in which a departing Frodo shows Merry how he will be keeping only his good memories of Buckland, and will dispose of the bad ones; I also love the glimpse of the hobbit Merry will grow to be one day as well. The title ["Heart of Stone"], is a phrase usually used to describe one whose heart has grown hard and cold, a heart that is bitter and impervious to love or the warmer feelings of life. But stone can also be a positive thing, symbolizing durability and immutability-- the qualities of loyalty and one true of heart. The story begins with a bereft child who has the first sort of heart, and ends with a young hobbit who has now the second sort of heart, and who has allowed his grief to be transformed into wisdom. This is a story I had hoped to nominate myself, but Celeritas beat me to it.

Reviewed by: Kara's Aunty  ✧  Score: 5

Frodo's bitter thoughts at his parents' funeral; the stark description of the condition in which their bodies had been found, the hobbit-lad's hatred of the pine boxes ... Gosh that was emotional! And then the attempt to share the same fate as his mum and dad ... You wrote the following confrontation with Saradoc very well: Frodo's disenchantment, his sense of stifling solitude despite living in the bustling Brandy Hall, the guilt at worrying his Uncle Saradoc. Poor lad. But Rosemary is a nice balm to his flagging spirits (or at least she is when Frodo's a little older) and the final chapter with he and Mery burning the old journals brings a welcome sense of resolution and acceptance to this bittersweet tale.

Reviewed by: Antane  ✧  Score: 4

A sad but sweet story, well done in showing Frodo's grief and also his love for his cousin-brother Merry. I liked his vow to be the best cousin there was to his little one and also the idea of burning memories, something I'm sure he wanted to do much later on too, but also being clear there were some memories and things he wanted to keep too, including Merry's first gift to him.

Reviewed by: Inkling  ✧  Score: 4

A fine treatment of a much-explored subject in hobbit fanfic: Frodo’s youth in Buckland following the death of his parents. I especially like the thematic structure based on the four elements: air, water, earth, and fire, tracing the stages of Frodo’s pain and eventual healing. The use of air in the chapter focusing on his parents’ drowning is particularly effective, as is the depiction of fire’s cleansing power in the last. Nicely done!

Reviewed by: Sevilodorf  ✧  Score: 2

A wretching description of a child's grief. A well crafted description based on a simple passage.