The Long Road Home

Author: AmandaK

Nominator: AmandaK

2006 Award Category: Genres: Alternate Universe - Third Place

Story Type: Other Fiction  ✧  Length: Epic

Rating: PG-13  ✧  Reason for Rating: Violence, sex

Summary: Against all odds, Boromir survives Amon Hen. Ashamed and filled with remorse, he goes on a quest for redemption. Bound by his promise to a sick man, Faramir keeps the secret of his brother's survival. But as secrets are wont to do, the truth comes out eventually and Aragorn journeys north to bring Gondor's prodigal son home.

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Reviewed by: nau_tika  ✧  Score: 10

This story was the first I'd read by the author and I was extremely impressed. The part that stays with me especially was the dog and I can still picture her in my mind, though I originally read the story some weeks ago. I like how she made him laugh and how she seemed to be almost a person - which is totally true to life for some dogs. And of course, when she rescued him, ["A pale red-golden blur streaked through the air, snarling, striking the orc and tearing it off of Boromir. "] Something I think was resolved, though I dont remember heavy focus being placed on it was ["an empty hole of longing Boromir feared would never fill again"] when the ring was destroyed was ultimately filled. I liked how the author connected what Boromir had done to Frodo with how he had once treated Faramir as a small child and the promise he'd made then It was so frustrating watching him delay his trip home year after year, knowing that he was the only one who would not want him there. Knowing all the times that Faramir wanted him home, for his wedding and other important events in his life. It was presented so well, I wanted to shake the elder son of Denethor! I also hated the position he place Faramir in by asking him to keep the secret. Faramir could never have felt fully comfortablel with Aragorn or the others and he could never be sure what differences it might have made had he broken faith with Boromir and revealed he still lived. I loved the variety of people that Boromir met. The original characters were all very well done. I had never considered a scribe for those who could not read or write nor have I ever seen one mentioned in fanfiction before. Poor Faramir! Finally receiving word from his brother and then having it tell him practically nothing! And then when the woman finally arrives with the letter and shares her story of her time with Boromir, Aragorn interrupts and embarrasses them! How nice of Eowyn and Faramir to keep a discrete eye out for her welfare! It was good to see Boromir adopt Hallas and teach him to use a sword. I liked that Boromir thought of getting an animal for him to ride, too! I particularly enjoyed the men of Rohan teaching Hallas the song. I wish I could hear the tune and learn it. Boromir's reaction to it was well done. It was heart wrenching to be reminded that Aragorn let the boat slip and blamed himself for Boromir's loss and then later to hear something similar from Gimli brings home the fact that secrets can have devastating effects - Denethor's death perhaps included. Watching Hallas mature was interesting. Hard to believe he would battle a troll. I cried when Híril died. "...he was not yet ready to say farewell to the animal. She had been his first companion on his journey, a friend who gave affection with no expectations in return." I could still cry with very little prompting! If she had to go, I am glad it was saving Hallis and not Boromir. He would have really struggled with that guilt. I wish that Boromir and Frodo could have met and discussed the pull of the ring. They could have understood it like no others, except Bilbo, I suppose. Poor Sam, thinking first of Frodo: ["Mr. Frodo would have been so pleased to know. And now I can never tell him." ] It is a sad thought! The ending with the trumpets is perfect. I'm still hoping for Hallas training at the Citadel and to see what happens after that! The one negative thing I have to say is that I feel the summary here gives too much away to those who havent read it before.

Reviewed by: EdorasLass  ✧  Score: 8

Your supporting characters are very real, and Boromir's relationship with each seems completely natural. I'm so glad you didn't make Nineth his redemption - I find it mildly to extremely irritating when redemption comes through a romantic relationship. Yet it's very true to Boromir's personality that he made sure she and her son were taken care of. It's also a logical progression that he'd fall into defending the lands from stray Orcs - of course he would. That's what he was taught to do his entire life. And yay, now he's a folk hero! And poor Faramir, having to keep his brother's well-being a secret! What stress that secret must have given him! But it makes sense, whether or not Aragorn agrees. I particularly like that Boromir is full of regrets and guilt, yet not crippled by those things. He's haunted by the past, but doesn't dwell on it so much that you want to smack him for being self-indulgent. He just takes each of his doubts as they come, deals with them, and doesn't fall into self-loathing for any amount of time. Very nicely done!

Reviewed by: annmarwalk  ✧  Score: 7

[Boromir had never had to deal with personal failure, real or perceived and when at last he found himself not up to the task, he simply was not equipped to handle it.] That’s pretty much the story in a nutshell, isn’t it? How the “finest man of Gondor” learned to deal with his guilt and self-loathing, finally conquering his demons. To me, what distinguishes “The Long Road Home” from other Boromir!Lives fic is the intricacy of the plot. Action, adventure, political intrigue, drama, and humor all play significant parts in the telling. Another outstanding feature of this tale is the incredible attention to detail – the tale could easily have be illustrated by Bruegel, with everyday life, celebrations, market places and towns described in loving detail. I particularly enjoyed the variety of characters within the tale. Each of the original characters, whether human, canine, equine, or orcish, are well-drawn, realistic, and distinctive. The story-within-a-story, of the She-orc and her litter, is vivid and startlingly original, as well as a bit heartrending. Who would have imagined we’d ever feel sympathy for the orcs?

Reviewed by: obsidianj  ✧  Score: 5

This is a very satisfying read when you can accept that Boromir survives. It is a very long way home for Boromir. I like the way he picks up strays along the way and either let them stay with him or helps them along with a recommendation or some money from his hard earned wages. I felt sorry that he lost his canine companion, but some things have to be sacrificed. Better the dog than the boy. The reunion with his former comrades was touching and I loved the solution to the political entanglement that Boromir's survival caused in Gondor. That is always somehow lacking in other Boromir survives stories I have read.

Reviewed by: Marta  ✧  Score: 5

This is an alternate universe fic as this genre should be written. It departs from book and movie in that Boromir lives past Amon Hen, but except from that it stays remarkably faithful to both canons. In a "Boromir Lives" story one might expect the angst to overwhelm the piece and it is certainly there, but never so much that it buries the piece. This was as lighthearted a read as I can imagine this sub-genre ever being, and the many original characters that populate it were all lovely. I really liked seeing how this piece has evolved since RL forced me to give up betaing it. You've carried it out nicely.

Reviewed by: Imhiriel  ✧  Score: 5

I find the premise rather improbable (Boromir "The Bold" wanting his secret kept from anyone, even his grieving father and the Fellowship & being so inordinately afraid of Denethor's reaction), and have some quibbles about how canon characters are portrayed now and then. BUT the story is very well-written: with a rich, gripping plot; clear, vivid descriptions, especially of nature; a very good feeling for atmosphere; and interesting, convincing original characters (although the episode told from the PoV of the female orc seems oddly out of place).

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 4

An engrossing BoromirLives! AU tale, taking its time and taking us on a dramatic, action-filled journey from Rauros to Gondor and back to Eriador where it all began. Of course, my favorite part was Boromir's adoption of the young dog he finds. Minor quibble in that I didn't find Boromir's hesitation to show himself to Denethor as the 26th Steward rants on the pyre quite as convincing as it could have been. Boromir is very credible in the role of orc-slaying vigilante that he embraces in his quest for penance.

Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 3

A very interesting take on the "Boromir lives" type of AU. I like the plausibility of his survival in this one, and the idea that Faramir kept that survival a secret. I also like the way it all plays out in the end, and the interaction of all the remaining Fellowship members. Nice tale!

Reviewed by: Marigold  ✧  Score: 1

This is a wonderfully detailed story.