Watch Every Shadow

Author: Anso the Hobbit

Nominator: Marigold

2005 Award Category: Genres: Drama (includes Angst): War of the Ring - Honorable Mention

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: PG  ✧  Reason for Rating: PG for frightening descriptions

Summary: What did happen that night in Bree when Merry took a walk? Drama/angst, Hobbits, LotR

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Reviewed by: Marigold  ✧  Score: 10

I like the way that Merry thinks in this story. In my opinion everything he does here is wonderfully in character. He doesn’t go to the Common Room in the Pony because he understands that someone needs to think about what they are facing and what steps they need to take because Gandalf is not in Bree. When he goes outside it is to memorise the lay of the village, and to survey the Road they will need to take so that he can have as much information as possible, to keep Frodo safe. I see Merry as someone that likes to be in control of a situation, and who appoints himself largely responsible for the safety and well being of those around him, attributes that have no doubt been encouraged all of his life, as he is to be Master someday, and Anso is very good at writing him in this way. It is really interesting what the author has done with Tolkien’s mention of Merry’s saying that he had “fallen into deep water” as I think that Merry has a fear of drowning, look at his dream at Tom Bombadil’s. Yes, some of the Brandybuck’s are comfortable with bodies of water and can swim, and Merry can certainly handle a boat, but by the same token living by the Brandywine might have exposed Merry to witnessing the aftermath of actual drownings from an early age and he would of course find that to be a terrifying death. I think that a Nazgûl would probably be sensitive to the fears of its victims, in order to better control and terrify them. Merry feels “drawn” to follow the black shape, to learn what he can, and I wonder if the Nazgûl had something to do with that, planting that thought in Merry’s head to draw him on, when Merry, who has a lot of common-sense, might have resisted. The dream itself is frighteningly vivid, and the way the imagined drowning is described is very dramatic and realistic! I love how Merry resists giving up any information about Frodo. This is not quite the same as Sauron trying to rip information from Pippin’s mind, but it is a close second, and Merry stands the interrogation steadfastly despite the terror that he is forced to endure. A very exciting story, completely in canon, and Merry is in wonderful character!

Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 2

A very nice gap-filler, for a moment not often covered in fanfic: Merry's first encounter with the Black Breath in Bree. Very deft and perfectly in canon.

Reviewed by: Dwimordene  ✧  Score: 2

This is a nice spot to write in. One does wonder what Merry was thinking when he left the inn, particularly when he decided to follow the Black Riders.

Reviewed by: Bodkin  ✧  Score: 2

'a darker shadow in all the blackness'. So much spookier - so much more creepy than spur-jangling, door-crashing Nazgul. As is Merry's experience of being interrogated. A horribly eerie feel to the tale.