A Length of Haradric Silk

Author: annmarwalk

Nominator: Branwyn

2006 Award Category: Times: The Great Years: Gondor - Second Place

Story Type: Other Fiction  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: G  ✧  Reason for Rating: n/a

Summary: A visit to the markets of Minas Tirith results in an impulse purchase by Sam.

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Reviewed by: Branwyn  ✧  Score: 10

Sam is so wonderfully in character in this piece--sensible, self-effacing, yet a poet at the core. From the description, I can almost see that fabric--silk shot with an irridescent blue and green shimmer. I love Sam's comparison of the shifting colors to the lights of the aurora borealis (which, of course, he does not call by that name). His remark that even his underwear is embroidered is funny and true to form; he would be a bit uncomfortable with so much attention from the grateful people of Gondor. That Haradric shopkeeper shaking out the fabric to show off its beauty is a realistic and vivid detail. She is no fool--it isn't likely that either a man or a male hobbit would be interested in such fabric for himself. Frodo's knowing smile is very sweet; Sam is not fooling him for a minute. I am sure Mrs. Cotton will know exactly what to do with that fabric, lol! This is an outstanding vignette--Sam's interior monologue is beautifully written, and the visual descriptions are vivid and poetic. His indecision about whether to buy the fabric shows a juxtaposition of everyday practicality with a love of beauty which is so characteristic of this hobbit. What a wonderful birthday present--thank you, Ann!

Reviewed by: Mechtild  ✧  Score: 6

Oh, Ann, what a charming story. Your sense of humour is always witty, but warm, affectionate towards your characters. How you tweak Sam’s cheek! Buy the silk to give to Lily Cotton – she’ll know what to do with it – really! I’m sure she will! Won’t Rosie be pleased. (And if they made a dress for Elanor from that fabric, I’d be ecstatic.) And the bit about his initials embroidered on his underwear – how I chortled. But my favourite part of this fic was the description of the fabric itself. I felt as though I could see it, touch it, feel the soft puff of air when the shopkeeper shook it open. That she [“snapped”] it made me think of a magician saying, Presto! And magical it was, such fabric. And not wasted on a hobbit like Sam. A practical fellow, but with a strong taste for what is high and beautiful.

Reviewed by: Bodkin  ✧  Score: 5

Sam is such a practical hobbit - and determined not to move above his station - but, in a way, this fabric represents him and indicates that his station has moved above and beyond that of almost everyone in Middle-earth. Gleaming above the sober, sensible goods beneath. Some fabric is just so beautiful you have to have it. And I'm glad the shopkeeper offered Sam just the right incentive to get him to take the silk back to the Shire. I can just picture Rosie dressed in Haradric silk - marvelling at the texture and the gleam of contrasting colours. Beautiful. It catches at the imagination just as the fabric caught Sam.

Reviewed by: EdorasLass  ✧  Score: 5

This is just lovely. The description of the cloth, with its changing colours, is absolutely gorgeous, and I love how Sam's context for comparision of those colours are all somehow linked to the Shire. Frodo doesn't really have a big presence here, but I get the distinct impression that he's not only amused by Sam's fascination with the fabric, but that if Sam doesn't buy it, he will, as a gift. And I love Sam's reaction to the seller's suggestions - there's embarassment, but I caught a bit of dreamy hopefulness as well, though that could be just me projecting.

Reviewed by: Larner  ✧  Score: 4

Another of Ann's short treasures, in which Sam, walking through the markets of Minas Tirith finds the perfect fabric to take home to his Rosie, and from which she makes her wedding dress (in my version, at least). To say so much in so few words is quite a gift, and the imagery of this short vignette is very fine and moving. And it says a good deal of the wishes Sam is now finally able to face and look forward to fulfilling. A beautiful short scene.

Reviewed by: Súlriel  ✧  Score: 3

I really enjoyed this, both your tone and your style. Your Hobbits are wonderfully Hobbity and well in character. I especially loved your description of the Haradric Silk, I can well imagine it. I am glad that Sam didn't resist the purchase and how happy it will make Rosie.

Reviewed by: Imhiriel  ✧  Score: 3

Wonderfully descriptive. The different shades of the silk evoking memories of the Shire are a subtle yet poignant way to show Sam's homesickness. His denial of the merchant's suggestion, only to bring in the name of Mrs. Cotton instead, is amusing and touching considering future events.

Reviewed by: Dwimordene  ✧  Score: 3

Sam's fascination with a beautiful bolt of cloth, though he himself has only the crudest and most class-conscious appreciation of fabrics and clothing, ends with a sales pitch that is all too prophetic. No doubt, Sam and Frodo will laugh over it once he returns to meet his bride-to-be.

Reviewed by: Marta  ✧  Score: 3

This was such fun. Sam as a plain hobbit is so effacing here, and it's charming, but I disagree - he did so much more than any loyal servant would have, and deserves a king's wardrobe at the very least. The fact that he thinks he isn't worth the fabric, but that Rosie is, was very touching.

Reviewed by: Marigold  ✧  Score: 3

Ah, Sam! This fabric will be used exactly for what the shopkeeper suggested, and I'll bet in his heart that he knows it! Lovely descriptions of the silk! I can just imagine Rosie's awe and pleasure when she receives it.

Reviewed by: dkpalaska  ✧  Score: 3

Beautiful and evocative description of the silk - I had such clear images of the Shire in my mind that I almost missed it as much as Sam obviously does. Very sweet and charming ending, and Sam's characterization felt spot-on.

Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 3

I've always loved this little story, imagining the knowing and affectionate smile Frodo would give Sam for buying it, imagining the look on Rose's and Lily Cotton's face as they open the parcel, imagining Rose in the dress, and then Elanor when she's the Queen's handmaiden...just a delight little vignette that keeps on giving...

Reviewed by: Llinos  ✧  Score: 2

Lovely imagery here; the cloth especially is beautifully described. I liked that Frodo urged Sam to buy this as Sam deserves some beautiful reminders of the Quest.

Reviewed by: Jenn_Calaelen  ✧  Score: 1

A lovely story. Sam seems to be perfectly in character in this story. It is a nice read.

Reviewed by: GamgeeFest  ✧  Score: 1

Sam's voice is perfect here and the details bring this delightful piece to life.