Appearances Can Be Deceiving

Author: Dreamflower

Nominator: Marigold

2006 Award Category: Genres: Adventure

Story Type: Other Fiction  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: G  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: Bilbo encounters a mysterious stranger in Rivendell.

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Reviewed by: Dwimordene  ✧  Score: 10

I love Bilbo and Aragorn stories. Clearly, there's a fairly lengthy history between the two by the time we meet Bilbo (or rather, meet him again) in Rivendell, in FOTR. But we don't know how long they've known each other or much else about their friendship, other than that there's some poetry beta-reading that involves some rather brutal honesty... This first meeting of the Dúnadain and the hobbit is plausible, humorous in the way of mistaken identities and misconceptions that turn out well in the end, and shows us Bilbo's adventuresome spirit. His decision to tour the valley of Rivendell on his own gives us a lovely glimpse of the enchanting landscape, and has that sense of an extended holiday that I imagine fits Bilbo in his adjustment period among the Elves. That holiday feeling is interrupted by Aragorn's unexpected arrival at the ford. Bilbo's determination to warn his new fellows of the entry of a strange, unkempt, and rather wild-looking Man, injured but able to cross into the valley unhindered, is touching. His eventual meeting with Aragorn, and the almost immediate friendship they strike up, as they introduce themselves and tell their respective tales, is well written, and we see the genesis of the poem Bilbo recites in the books--the one he had composed when Aragorn originally told him his story. Very nicely done, Dreamflower!

Reviewed by: meckinock  ✧  Score: 10

This is the absolute best part of the MEFAs: finding stories you would not have otherwise discovered. This one had me smiling from beginning to end. I love how you've drawn together so many elements in the canon timeline here - Bilbo's trip to the Lonely Mountain, his return to Rivendell, Aragorn's secret mission for Gandalf, Bilbo's previous trip to Rivendell in "The Hobbit." I't's wonderful seeing how adventurous Bilbo still is at his age - he seems a little long in the tooth to be out camping for two weeks, but Tolkien did say he went all the way to Lonely Mountain, didn't he? I was already enjoying Bilbo's journey, but my pulse really started racing when he spotted the scruffy looking and limping stranger and, assuming he was a ruffian, decided to follow him. Of course you let us guess the stranger's identity, so it relieved me greatly when Bilbo ran into Elladan, Elrohir, and Glorfindel before something really bad happened. Great touch with the snippets of Sindarin Bilbo was able to catch (which he did not understand the significance of but we did - hee), and I loved how Elladan and Elrohir knew instantly from the description of Bilbo's ruffian who it really was, and bolted without a word. And later, when Bilbo finally met cleaned up and rested Aragorn, It gave me goosebumps when Aragorn announced his name and Bilbo instantly grasped the significance of it, learned hobbit that he is, and looked to Elrond for confirmation. What a perfect way to conclude the story by revealing that this meeting was how Bilbo came to write his famous verse. I'm so glad I found this story, Dreamflower.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 5

This vignette chronicles Bilbo's first direct encounter with Aragorn. Excellent use of Aragorn's facade as a wayworn Ranger. To a hobbit who had never known him, he would seem dangerous if spied from a distance, especially if the tall Ranger with the wicked-looking knife hadn't bathed in awhile, as is the case here. Good characterisation of Bilbo; his love of nature and courage, his determination to warn the Elves of a dangerous-looking stranger, even though it meant he had to miss three meals in his haste! And a great tie-in with Bilbo's famous [All that is gold does not glitter] verse. Very entertaining as well as credible.

Reviewed by: Marigold  ✧  Score: 4

Bilbo is wonderful in this story. I like the way that his sense of adventure and his Tookish curiosity is so evident even after his retirement. The descriptions, particularly of Rivendell and its environs, are lush and detailed. The best thing of all though is Bilbo’s bravery and determination to warn Rivendell of the approaching “brigand”! This is a very plausible recounting of the way that Bilbo and Aragorn may have met, and so inspired Bilbo to write the verses describing the Man.

Reviewed by: Bodkin  ✧  Score: 4

I love the way that brave Bilbo runs to the rescue of Rivendell - only to find he had instead been delivering timely help to a brave and injured ranger. One he remembered from a brief meeting with a curious child, too. This really is a good beginning to their friendship - one you can see leading to Poetry! I'm impressed, too, that an ancient hobbit still manages to pack to much resilience - and power in his legs. He may be old, but his spirit is still young! I thoroughly enjoyed this story, Dreamflower.

Reviewed by: obsidianj  ✧  Score: 3

This is such a delightful first meeting between Bilbo and Aragorn. I loved it that Bilbo mistook Aragorn for a Brigand. Shows that Aragorn's change into a King might be even more of a challenge, since he seems to look disreputable for such a long time. Bilbo reminds me here strongly of how he is depicted in The Hobbit. Well done.

Reviewed by: Imhiriel  ✧  Score: 3

An answer to the question of how Bilbo and Aragorn first met - with a nice twist. Lovely descriptions of the valley of Imladris. I liked Bilbo's attention to details, regarding his environment and Aragorn both.

Reviewed by: Marta  ✧  Score: 3

This was a really fun read. It's not the high adventure that we see in a lot of these stories, but rather just a normal every-day romp. I also liked the details you gave us, and the origins of Bilbo's poem.

Reviewed by: Oshun  ✧  Score: 3

Great fun short piece. Bilbo is most charming and believeable. Easily my favorite Hobbit. I've always loved that poem and was happy to read an interpretation of it. I recently read another, but this one is different and delightful as well.

Reviewed by: Llinos  ✧  Score: 3

This story is an entertaining example of how Bilbo and Aragorn may have met. The elderly hobbit has lost none of his bravery, and I admired his tenaciousness as he strives to reach Rivendell with his news. It turns out that it is a good thing that he did so, but for another reason entirely. A believable beginning to a long friendship!

Reviewed by: dkpalaska  ✧  Score: 2

What a charming story! Bilbo's voice was very much in-character, the description of the valley and wildlife were beautiful, and his perception of Aragorn apt and humorous.