Okay, NOW Panic!
2006 Award Category: Races: Cross-Cultural: Incomplete - Second Place
Story Type: Incomplete ✧ Length: Epic
Rating: PG-13 ✧ Reason for Rating: It's more to cover myself for battle scenes and extreme angst at times, though the vast majority of the fic is G-rated.
Summary: This is the sequel to Dont Panic! In that fic Penelope Baker (a twenty-four year old Tolkien fan who works in marketing) wakes up in her pyjamas a few miles west of Bree and is then faced with all the horrors of what it was REALLY like to live six thousand years ago in Middle- earth (latrines of doom being possibly amongst the worst of them). She is rescued by Halbarad, dour Ranger of the North, and taken by him to Imladris to see Elrond due to the clear knowledge she has of things she should not know, as well as her bizarre and extreme behaviour as she battles with her own sanity while she slowly comes to the realisation of just where she actually is. Once in Rivendell, arriving only a day or two before the Council of Elrond, she is questioned and, with much difficulty and Gandalfs help, manages to explain who she is, where she has come from and how she knows of them all and their futures. She then has to acquire a new language and new skills, and learn to fit in, all the while knowing full well of the impending war, of the death of Boromir and, worse still, the death of Halbarad. He has become her friend and slowly begins to look on her as a daughter, promising himself that he will protect her and look after her once the war is over. At the end of Dont Panic! despite trying to persuade Elrond not to send Halbarad south to Rohan, Penny watches Halbarad ride out of Imladris, holding the banner of the King that Arwen has made for Aragorn. She knows that she will never see him again. Now the story continues as she is invited to join the elves of Imladris as they travel to Gondor via Lothlorien and Rohan, while decisions are to be made about her future. It contains angst, but also a lot of humour, indeed it tries to span both the drama/angst and humour categories equally.
Reviewed by: obsidianj ✧ Score: 10
This is the sequel to Don't Panic. Penny gets a bit more comfortable in ME, the communication block gets less, but still there are lots of things to trip her up. I love it how it is more of the "little" things not the big things like being in Middle-earth in the first place that are obstacles for Penny like the different code of behavior at the Royal Court, the way people relate to leaders. Nobody would dare to talk to Elrond or Aragorn like she does, and she was out of line, but not as much as the people around her think if you look at it by modern standards. She is used to being independant and has therefore a lot of trouble fitting in. There are countless rules nobody even thinks to mention, and Penny has to navigate through the maze without knowing them.
I really like the development of all the characters, canon or original, especially Halladan. The last chapters deal with the aftermath of the war and the effect war has on soldiers. Surprisingly, for the people of Middle-earth, this is one area where Penny has some knowledge and can help in her limited way. But again she stands out. Females are not supposed to know anything of this
Reviewed by: Gandalfs apprentice ✧ Score: 6
This is a fun ride. Actually, it is more than fun--it's got some quite serious moments, like the beginning--a wrenching description of Halbarad's death. This sequel to "Don't Panic" continues Penny's story as she journeys to Minas Tirith for the King's wedding. I like your renditions of the canon characters, and your OCs are also terrific. Sometimes I think the blah-blah with the OC Elves goes on too long, but no doubt the Elf chicks would not agree with me. I really hope that Penny ends up marrying Halladan. You've set yourself quite a task, to describe an actual modern person "dropping into" Middle-earth, and you've done remarkably well following through realistically on that scenario. There's one thing you haven't put in yet: what about their teeth? What happens when Penny gets a toothache? (this is my worst nightmare, no wonder I wonder).
Reviewed by: Bodkin ✧ Score: 6
This, too, is tremendous fun. I'm not surprised that Penny finds life among the elves rather more civilised than, for example, among the people of Rohan. Her experience there was not good - and Minas Tirith doesn't seem much of an improvement. Yet Imladris can't be home for ever - and, if Gandalf is convinced that she just needs to live her life as if she's a permanent resident - well, what can she do? Many of the new characters are just as delightful as Penny's friends among the elves. Must admit I'm rather partial to the Northern Dunedain - I suppose it's no surprise that Halbarad's sons are delightful - and some of the inhabitants of the White City are great. Some aren't, of course! I love it that you don't shy away from looking at difficult topics like the effects of war on distressed warriors. And that Penny is still haunted by what she still knows about the future. Excellent follow-up story.
Reviewed by: Nancy Brooke ✧ Score: 5
This is an extraordinary story and should be required reading for aspiring fanfic writers - if only because it would scare away the dabblers. The author has taken on a huge task - to really see Middle Earth with a fresh, outsider's eye, and never stinted or taken an easy rode. The depth of research alone is amazing, but the characters too a well and fully realized. And just by thinking it through reasonably, the author has exposed our heroine to every possible terrain - physical, cultural, and social - imaginable, without ever having the story seem forced or overly manipulated. It deserves highest marks.
Reviewed by: Dreamflower ✧ Score: 5
This sequel to "Don't Panic" by the same author is perhaps even more exciting and intriguing than the original, as it begins to cover unknown territory. Culture clash still abounds, as the heroine, Penny discovers just how wide the gap is between the Elves with whom she has been staying and the other human societies of Middle-earth, in Rohan, and especially in Gondor. She must deal, once more, with a language gap. She must acclimate herself to the fact that Men are not as hygeinic as Elves. And she must deal with her growing uncertainty as to her fate in Middle-earth. I look forward to every update of this tale.
Reviewed by: Lindelea ✧ Score: 4
I certainly hope that RL will allow the continuation and completion of this tale. I find myself pondering Penny's fate, wondering what her outcome will be. From the first chapter (the most heart-rending account of Halbarad's end that I've read) to the present dilemma, this makes for thought-provoking and gripping reading. Exploration of timeless themes, such as the aftereffect of war on all concerned, is well done.
Reviewed by: elliska ✧ Score: 4
I was so happy when you started a sequel to your original Penny story. I really wanted to know what happened to her after the War of the Ring and to see how she ended up dealing with all the outcomes of that War. You have continued to do a great job with this. The sequel is a bit more serious in many places, which makes sense given that these people are facing the aftermath of a terrible war, but the way you have dealt with those topics has been really well done. Penny is such a great character. I am really looking forward to seeing how she ends up.
Reviewed by: Pearl Took ✧ Score: 4
This follow-up story is as wonderful as the first installment of Pen-ii's adventures. Boz deals beautifully with the issue of whether Pen-ii will live with in the Kindom of Gondor or will she return to Rivendell to live with the Elves. Or, will she find herself wisked back to her "own" time as abruptly as she was wisked to Middle Earth? As this is a WIP, we've yet to find out, but I know I'm very much enjoying the ride!
Reviewed by: Imhiriel ✧ Score: 3
Some intriguing sub-plots (social systems in M-e; post-war circumstances and issues, especially veterans), and enjoyable all-in-all, but slow/long in places. I also seriously doubt that the 31 of the Grey Company were all the Dúnedain had in terms of warriors in fighting shape (["We left men behind us, it is true, but a mere handful and many of them elderly, sick or young. Most of the strongest and best amongst us all rode south."]).