Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Go Not to Aunt Dora for Advice, for She Will Give It at Great Length

Author: Dreamflower
Nominator: Larner
2010 Award Category: Races: Hobbits - First Place

Story Type: Story : Length: Short Story
Rating: General -- Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: Frodo's Aunt Dora reacts to a very welcome Bit of News!


Reviewed by: Larner -- Score: 10

Our dearly beloved Aunt Dora Baggins is known to us from The Lord of the Rings as the intended recipient of a gift of stationery from Bilbo in memory of the reams and reams of advice she gave through her constant correspondence with her kin, including, of course, Bilbo; and as Frodo's aunt, older sister to his father Drogo Baggins, according to the Family Trees. Yet, in spite of the sparse nature of the information given us about her by the Master, yet she has become greatly beloved by several writers, usually seen as being a most proper Hobbit matron filled with a sense of Baggins predictability and practicality, most likely thinking and writing in Capital Letters to highlight the importance of what she has to say. I so love the visions of the dear Hobbitess as given us by Dreamflower, particularly in her "Book of Manners" and a few other gems she's written. And how well Aunt Dora is showcased here, in this letter to Bilbo Occasioned by his Great Decision to not only take young Frodo as his Ward, but as his Chosen Heir as well. The oh, so proper admonitions to offer the child a good, stable home with predictable meal times, free from disturbing influences that might be offered by vagrant Wizards and visiting Dwarves, is hilarious and delightful! Dreamflower's ability to bring the Shire and its citizens to life is nearly legendary. I am so proud to suggest this to other readers, and to declare its Great Suitability to those who love Hobbits and their ways, and the relatives of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins in particular. Enjoy!

Reviewed by: The Lauderdale -- Score: 10

What do we know about Dora Baggins? She is Bilbo and Frodo’s oldest female relation, and in honor of Bilbo's 111th birthday party he gives her a curious gift: a large waste-paper basket labeled ["in memory of a LONG correspondence,"] referring to the reams of good advice she has sent him over the past 50 years. From this funny gift Dreamflower conjures up a hobbit lady of almost Bracknellian proportions. With frequent recourse to capitalization and stern, formal diction, Dora Lauds her Dear Cousin for his Decision to Appoint Frodo as his Heir and Bring the lad to Live with him at the Family Seat. But this is not merely a letter of congratulations, for Dora has many opinions and admonitions to convey regarding Bilbo, Frodo, the larger Baggins clan, other hobbit acquaintances, certain Wizards and Dwarves, and the Strictest of Propriety in Matters of Deportment, Education, Health, Etcetera. Reading the letter, one wonders what the redoubtable Dora Baggins’ reaction was, 12 years later, to Bilbo’s gift. Brave and eccentric a hobbit as Bilbo was in later years, , I’m sure he would NEVER have given her this gift if he hadn’t known he would be well away from the Shire when she received it. …or not. Reading her letter again for the third or fourth time, I wonder if I detect a sense of humor on Dora’s part behind all that bombastic rhetoric. Maybe, just maybe, she would have found the waste basket funny.

Reviewed by: Leianora -- Score: 8

As I said to Dreamflower in an earlier review I left of this story when she first posted it, I can hear Maggie Smith reading it aloud. I have no trouble picturing her voice reading the part of Dora especially. This is the story of the Aunt so many of us have and love to hate. She is a bulwark of the family; the rock upon which younger family members can lean when they are in need of advice, but she also has compassion and a warm heart. This redeems the character of Dora very nicely. For the person who can give good advice without feeling anything for those she is advising can fall into some very unsavory habits and emotional patterns. Dora is practical, provincial, sometimes prejudiced, but always willing to state her opinions honestly. Yet beneath these character traits lies a hobbit. Dreamflower has done an excellent job of reminding us of this fact. All in all, this is an amusing look at a minor character mentioned in canon. She is brought magnificently into the light and given her chance to shine thanks to such a loving portrayal.

Reviewed by: Virtuella -- Score: 6

From the title of this fic one might expect a padory,biting sarcasm even. The actual text though is, while not without its humorous moments, rather gentle and quite thought-provoking. In a letter to Bilbo, Aunt Dora is giving heart-felt advice on the very important question of how to raise Young Frodo, and in many instances she is quite right. She is a prim and proper spinster right enough, but even her most straight-laced views are still infused with warmth and wisdom. Nothing escapes her notice, even the last little details, like Griffo's cucumber allergy, are given due consideration. I felt like I would very much enjoy taking afternoon tea with this lady, and most certainly I would like to be a fly on the wall when she teaches Frodo proper comportment.

Reviewed by: Dwimordene -- Score: 6

Dreamflower delivers on Dora Baggins's reputation as a correspondent of great fortitude and opinion. The epistolary style of course works beautifully, given the single throw-away line that gives us access to her character: Dora has her opinions, which are expressed with great confidence as being very close to matters of fact. One senses the vindication, here - it's a kind of polite passive-aggressive "I told you so," which holds whether or not she actually ever did tell Bilbo so. Dreamflower picks an excellent occasion for the letter, too, which gives us a new view on Frodo's upbringing among the Brandybucks before Bilbo adopted him. I can practically hear the clucking of her tongue as she discusses his tweenaged behavior, as well as Bilbo's bachelor lifestyle. Another great story, and a very entertaining and dryly humorous one, from Dreamflower! Give it a read!

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon -- Score: 4

A great vignette in the form of a letter from Bilbo's loving and loquacious Aunt Dora. Dreamflower gets Auntie's tone and style just right; as she imperiously but gently bombards Bilbo with advice about his impending adoption of young Frodo. And the occasional caps are a great touch; I found that very believable of a fond and somewhat pushy older female relative. Delightful; I loved Dora's running commentary on the Sackville-Bagginses and the unsuitable influence of Gandalf.