The Dwarf Dagger
2007 Award Category: Genres: Drama: The Shire - Honorable Mention
Story Type: Story ✧ Length: Short Story
Rating: Teen ✧ Reason for Rating: Angst and OC character death
Summary: The annual summer visit of the Whitwell Tooks to the Great Smials takes a tragic turn.
Reviewed by: Elanor ✧ Score: 9
I remain fascinated by this story, which I first read last year, in which we meet an earlier generation of Tooks and Brandybucks, focusing on Adalgrim and Periwinkle Took, parents of Paladin and Esmeralda. A young Bilbo Baggins and Rory and Primula Brandybuck make appearances, along with an infant Paladin, and the dreadful Lalia Took perpetrates a senseless tragedy on Paladin's older sister Pearl--which, one is satisfied to note, will come full circle a generation later when another Pearl, Paladin's daughter, is present at the old lady's long-in-coming death. The author has a command of canon and character here that makes this work as a history as much as it does a story: well-written, authoritative and poignant, it opens a window on the Shire in the days before the heroes of The Lord of the Rings were born. There is a strong sense of family, of community, and of social order, and we are treated to the earlier manifestations of family traits that come to be so important later. I think this is a significant work, well within the bounds of canon, thoughtfully conceived and constructed and written with confidence and subdued passion. Very well done indeed; Bilbo would be proud!
Reviewed by: Larner ✧ Score: 7
Now and then we are moved to write a tragedy, and that Dreamflower has done here. As Adalgrim's children explore the Great Smial under the guidance of young Ferumbras and are led into the Took Treasuries, events are set into motion leaving them accused of having stolen a dagger crafted by Dwarves, intended as a gift from Lalia to her husband the Thain; and we see one child so upset she leaves alone to return to the farm in Whitwell, although she fails to reach her objective. It's not often anyone looks at the childhood of the older sisters of Paladin and Esmeralda. They often appear as maiden aunts living in the Great Smials and doting on Pippin and his sisters; but to see their developmental years is a pleasure, if a solemn one in this case. A wonderful look at the lives of those who preceded our beloved four, and the Shire as it was then; and also a wonderful look at the self-centered Lalia before she made herself the Took and the terror of Tookland.
Reviewed by: Dwimordene ✧ Score: 5
A thoroughly unpleasant tragedy, spurred by the spiteful, arrogant behavior of one Lalia and tweenish hurt feelings that come of it. It is the sort of thing that leaves one wondering how this disaster managed not to be averted it seems like it so easily could have been. And yet, fortune doesn't follow logic and angry, upset hobbits don't either. Bilbo is right never neglect the courtesies, or at least, don't trample on them in such a way as to indicate that courtesy itself is unimportant. The ending felt a bit rushed, but then again, there is nothing, in a sense to dwell on the senselessness of the tragedy is appropriate to the circumstances and requires no dwelling.
Reviewed by: grey_wonderer ✧ Score: 4
In this story, it was the string of innocent events that caught my attention and held it and later had me asking myself, what if? If no action that we perform in our lives fails to leave a mark on someone's future then this little story serves to show us all that very well indeed. The chain of events that actually lead to a very sad event in this story are never pieced together by those involved and that makes it all the more chilling. A startling and unforgetable story by a very talented author.
Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon ✧ Score: 4
A fine short story, sharp as Lalia the Great's temper, about an unfortunate incident and the misunderstanding it causes, triggering a tragedy in the Took family. This is set during the early childhood of Pippin's father Paladin; with Bilbo a young hobbit coming into maturity, and Paladin himself a very young child. Excellent characterisation; not to mention outstanding knowledge of Hobbit family relationships.
Reviewed by: Bodkin ✧ Score: 4
Easy to see who Hyacinth used as a role model. Evil, evil Lalia. Totally self-centred and using everyone around her quite ruthlessly. Lobelia must have taken a lesson or two from her when it came to son-rearing. Poor Ferumbras - just as he was beginning to care for his cousin, too. A moment when he was even more likely to settle on eternal bachelorhood - young dreams being rather more influential than perhaps they should be. I'm only surprised that the Whitwell family were ever coaxed back to the Great Smials.