Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
2006 Award Category: Genres: Drama: Gondor Fixed-Length Ficlet
Story Type: Fixed-Length Ficlet ✧ Length: True Drabble
Rating: G ✧ Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: A drabble written for the LotR drabbling at HASA, on 'Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit".
Reviewed by: dkpalaska ✧ Score: 10
It is difficult to believe now, but the first time I read this drabble I did not even "get" the brilliant and unusual crossover. I took it as simply yet another unique and well-imagined perspective from this particular author. (It had been an embarrassingly long time since I had devoured Watership Down, although I loved the book deeply when I had read it. Nothing else Richard Adams wrote ever quite measured up for me. And I have never again looked at rabbits in quite the same way...) I was doubly flabbergasted when I finally clued in on a later re-reading. Altariel is masterful at the art of making every single word count in any length story, but it is especially evident in her drabbles. The history and current state of Ithilien, Gollum's hunt, the battle with the Haradrim, and Sauron's influence are all portrayed - from the point of view of one of the humblest dwellers in the land. Before I clued in to the crossover, I thought it was a very believable perspective from a "canon character" that I had never considered before. Once I realized the connection to WD, however, I couldn't believe how many elements from the book were oh-so-smoothly worked in. It is beautifully wrought and believably portrayed - one of my favorite true drabbles! And now I will never look at that chapter in [The Two Towers] in the same way again, either - there will always be this furry little narrator in the background...
Reviewed by: Dwimordene ✧ Score: 6
Back in the dark days of elementary school, my fourth grade teacher read 'Watership Down' to us. We all loved it, and I am certain we secretly hoped our pet rabbits had fascinating lives and their own language. So it was a trip down nostalgia lane to see Watership Down crossed with Lord of the Rings--and it works! Ithilien under threat is not just home to Faramir's Rangers: as we discover in the chapter 'Of herbs and stewed rabbit' there are coneys out there. One of the companions of the unfortunate rabbit that Gollum catches speaks of the darkness of the land, and the overwhelming sense of evil in terms anyone will recognize who has read Richard Adams' tale. A great skewed perspective on this chapter that succeeds in making it feel new--well done, Altariel.
Reviewed by: Marta ✧ Score: 4
Mmm, very nice. I don't think I've ever seen a drabble incorporate so many non-canonical details, and still make sense, but this weaves them in seamlessly. I imagine the author has spent a lot of time working out Haradri culture, and it really shows here. But I think what I like most is the subtlety Altariel infuses into the soldiers of Harad. They really aren't that different from the Gondorian rangers, when it comes right down to it.
Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon ✧ Score: 4
Excellent crossover between two epics not normally linked in fandom! Alas, poor Rosemary, her demise at Gollum's hands is well-told from the point of view of her quicker and more lucky comrade. I liked the narrator's mention of the elders' knowledge that Ithilien was once a garden; a theme also found in the wider story of TTT and ROTK. Hopefully the rabbits will have more places to [silflay], free at least of danger from [embleer] critters. Well done!
Reviewed by: Isabeau of Greenlea ✧ Score: 3
This is a crossover that wouldn't immediately leap to mind, though when you read it you know that it works. Poor Rosemary-at least Gollum sang praises of her youth and freshness to Sam...And it serves as a good illustration of how all of nature was being oppressed by Sauron's rise.
Reviewed by: Bodkin ✧ Score: 3
A fascinating point of view! And I was always very impressed by the rabbits on the Down - life must seem very dangerous to a bunny at best - and the presence of orcs and rangers can't improve their prospects.
Reviewed by: Elen Kortirion ✧ Score: 2
Nice crossover. It's very interesting to read little views that come from other 'universes' so to speak, and yet they provide another dimension to Middle-earth
Reviewed by: Dreamflower ✧ Score: 2
A *most* unexpected, yet logical, crossover! Poor rabbits, to fall to Gollum's strong fingers. But at least they provided Frodo and Sam with nourishment.
Reviewed by: Nesta ✧ Score: 1
Jawdrop! Watership Down meets Lord of the Rings... Altariel, you are brilliant, may I join your warren?
Reviewed by: Gandalfs apprentice ✧ Score: 1
Unusual point of view, but so valid. The Black Rabbit--good one.
Reviewed by: Marigold ✧ Score: 1
A well done cross-over between two of my favourite worlds!
Reviewed by: Llinos ✧ Score: 1
Nice crossover that gives a new layer to this chapter of LoTR.