Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Northern Lights

Author: shirebound
Nominator: Ellynn
2011 Award Category: Alternate Universe: General - Third Place

Story Type: Story : Length: Ficlet
Rating: General -- Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: Aragorn, Frodo, and Bilbo discuss a rare celestial event. This ficlet is part of my "Quarantined"-verse AU, and references my stories "Reflections of the Past" and "A Hobbity Halloween". Written for the LJ lotr_community "Believe It Or Not" challenge.


Reviewed by: Kara's Aunty -- Score: 9

*beams* Gosh I love snoozing pets! They are so cute. And the description of a sleeping Scamp was so vivid that it reminded me of my cat (Rosie Cotton). I couldn't help grinning all over my face and becoming instantly enamoured of this fic. The caramel-covered apple didn't hurt, either, mind you. Made me hungry for one, though (and me with no possibility whatsoever of getting one in the near future). Thanks for that ;) Of course the story itself, a spin on the Aurora Borealis and its significance as perceived by the Firstborn, is ingenious. Shirebound is to be applauded for the sheer originality of taking a legendary natural phenomena and applying it so poetically, so masterfully, to Tolkien's Middle-earth. I will never be able to read/see/hear of the Aurora(e) Borealis/Australis again without thinking of Melian seeking after her mortal daughter's spirit. The idea is so profound, so touching, so ... so ... staggeringly brilliant in its simplicity. But it was also the common touches, such as the sleeping pup and the sweet Hallowe'en treat, that really helped make this delightful little foray into the Shire shine for me. Outstanding work, shirebound!

Reviewed by: Virtuella -- Score: 6

Dear Shirebound, this is a wonderfully touching ficlet which I greatly enjoyed reading. The scene, while remaining sketchy, is so easily imagined. I have never seen Northern lights, whough I would really love to (I hear they can sometimes be seen in the North of Scotland, so not too far from me) and I can easily imagine the awe they would cause in those lucky enough to behold them. You have invented a wonderful bit of mythology here that fits perfectly into the Tolkienverse. It rings faintly of the myth of Demeter and Persephone. Aragorn's reflections on how persistently true love will seek a beloved person is particularly apt in teh context of this being Luthien sought by her mother. Thank you for a very well done story.

Reviewed by: Fiondil -- Score: 5

When I was about ten, I saw the northern lights: great sheets of rippling red that seemed to encircle us and the strangest and most awesome aspect of them was the absolute silence in which they danced. It is a sight I will never forget and I think it was at that time I learned the meaning of the word ‘awe’. Of course, in our modern age we are well aware of how and why these lights are formed, but older civilizations without our scientific knowledge would have had their own explanations. I like the one that Aragorn offers and the prayer he offers in the end is so beautifully written that you can only hope it will come true.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon -- Score: 5

A lovely little story in an AU where Aragorn knew Frodo long before their meeting in LOTR at The Prancing Pony. Shirebound paints a delightful word-picture of Aragorn, Bilbo, young Frodo, and Frodo's dog all watching the Northern Lights from the Shire. The way that Aragorn ties the gathering in with one of the most central stories of Tolkien's legendarium is a Neat Bit, and works quite well. This story will almost certainly put a smile on the reader's face while inspiring thoughts of happy hobbits, snacks, a relaxed Ranger, and one very relaxed little dog.

Reviewed by: cairistiona -- Score: 5

This delightful little ficlet shines with all the beauty of the aurora borealis itself. I love the peacefulness, the humor (who hasn't wondered how dogs can sleep with their legs all akimbo and their bodies twisted and noses buried in blankets!), and the legend that Aragorn tells that explains the Northern Lights. As someone who lives too far south to see the Northern Lights except on rare occasions, I can attest that this is a special event worthy of bringing a picnic to the nearest hillside for an unobstructed view. Aragorn's musings at the close of the story provides the perfect ending. Another gem!

Reviewed by: Erulisse -- Score: 5

Shirebound has a history of writing delightful stories that are hobbit-centric and filled with gentle love for the characters and normal, everyday situations. Here she has a young Frodo with his dog, Scamp joining Aragorn and Bilbo for a night of star-watching and the interactions between the characters are priceless. The story of Melian that Aragorn tells the young hobbit are echoes of what will be in his own unknown future, and the obvious love of Bilbo for his heir is clear. Shirebound never disappoints me and this story is just as sweet as I have come to expect from this talented, light-hearted, and kind author.

Reviewed by: Dreamflower -- Score: 4

I love Shirebound's "Quarantined" AU, in which Aragorn meets a young Frodo many years before the Quest and they become friends. This is a sweet and gentle vignette in which he and Frodo stargaze atop Bag End, and are treated to the Northern Lights. In answer to a curious young Frodo's questions Aragorn relates an Elven myth which seems very fitting for Middle-earth. As always the focus is on a warm friendship between the Man and the hobbit-tween. Gentle, perceptive, and thoughtful, as is usual with Shirebound's stories.

Reviewed by: Linda Hoyland -- Score: 4

I love all Shirebound's AU stories in which Aragorn and Frodo knew one another long before the events in the book, even generally I don't like AUs, but these stories are impossible not to be enchanted by. In this delightful story, Aragorn is out camping with young Frodo, Bilbo and Scamp and they see the Northern lights. Aragorn tells a story and reflects on keeping on hoping. Sheer joy from start to finish which left me hungry for more of these charming adventures.

Reviewed by: curiouswombat -- Score: 4

Shirebound is the writer par excellence when it comes to portraying hobbits, and her 'Quarantined' AU is always pleasure to read. This short tale, set therein, tells us of one evening; of time spent sky-gazing for the Northern lights. Yet in this one evening we see the friendship between Aragorn and Bilbo, and the developing friendship with the young Frodo - and also discover Shirebound's own perfect Middle Earth legend to account for this phenomenon. A pleasure to read on a cold winter night, for sure.

Reviewed by: Inkling -- Score: 4

A lovely addition to Shirebound’s Quarantined universe, and to the “mythology” of Middle-earth. True or not, it’s a fitting explanation for one of the most gorgeous and mysterious of natural phenomena, and I understand perfectly Aragorn’s feeling of belief despite his better judgement. His thoughts at the end are deeply moving.

Reviewed by: obsidianj -- Score: 3

This is a heartwarming little scene. I love the Quarantine universe. Aragorn has such good friends in Frodo and Bilbo and Scamp completes the family. I love the peace that comes through in this ficlet. At this time there is no thought of the Quest. Frodo can enjoy his youth and watch the night sky together with his friend.

-- Thank you! I'm so happy that you enjoy the "Quarantined" universe, and this short but happy tale. I appreciate all of your reviews. Janet ("Shirebound")

Reviewed by: Ellynn -- Score: 3

What a wonderful story! Being an astronomer, I always enjoy the stories in which celestial phenomena are mentioned. I love Shirebound's explanation of aurora borealis, as well as Aragorn's thoughts about it. And it is really touching that one day Aragorn will tell Luthien that her mother never stopped thinking and searching for her.

Reviewed by: Rivergift -- Score: 3

Shirebound's pieces always leave me with an indescribably warm, gentle feeling, and this one no less! It's such a quaint, charming picture of Shire life and the relationship between Estel and Frodo is beautifully drawn! This is a lovely story and an interesting take on what Middle-earth might make of the northern lights. Wonderful work!

-- Thank you so much! I'm pleased you enjoyed the story, and greatly appreciate your kind words. Janet ("Shirebound")

Reviewed by: Inzilbeth -- Score: 3

This story is a return to Shirebound's Quarentined universe. It's always fun to meet Scamp again and to see Frodo and Strider enjoying a relaxing time together but this story had hidden depths which touch Aragorn deeply. It's beautifully written with plenty of humour and just a touch of melancholy. Very well done.

Reviewed by: SurgicalSteel -- Score: 2

This was a lovely, gentle read and an interesting legend around the aurora borealis in Middle-earth.

Reviewed by: Independence1776 (Crystal113) -- Score: 2

A sweet story, about a celestial event that I haven’t seen and dearly wish to. I love the little detail of Scamp burrowing her nose in Frodo’s cloak.

-- Thank you so much for your lovely MEFA review for "Northern Lights". I was really surprised to be nominated for anything this year, and quite thrilled to have my stories honored. I'm so happy you enjoyed the story. Janet ("Shirebound") shirebound1@gmail.com