Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Cuts Gone Wrong

Author: Dwimordene
Nominator: Radbooks
2008 Award Category: Times: Mid Third Age: Eriador - Second Place

Story Type: Story : Length: Short Story
Rating: General -- Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: For a Ranger, it's hard not to take a few wrong turns when even the right road leads to such unexpected consequences.


Reviewed by: Isabeau of Greenlea -- Score: 9

A delightful story about a young, unsure Aragorn struggling to find his feet among his Dunedain kindred after being raised in Rivendell. In Dwimordene's story, every young Ranger is given a time of trial in a relatively easy, safe post before being transferred to more demanding assignements. But even safe posts have their perils, though those perils may be more humiliating than deadly, and Aragorn, who violates one of the basic Ranger rules, finds himself delayed in the relaying of an important message. Pelhar, his superior, is well drawn as a captain of great experience in Rangering and a father well-versed in the education of the young. His patient mentoring of his Chieftain is an indication of his own worth. The Bree-folk, and their eternal suspician of the scruffy Rangers in their midst, who unbeknownst to them are their chiefest protectors, are a nice bit of comic relief. Barliman Butterbur even makes an appearance, as a very young (and hopefully not so forgetful!) lad, and the discussion between Aragorn and his captain of the political situation of the time makes for a very interesting gap-filler in a time and place that very few writers explore.

Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger -- Score: 9

Whenever Dwimordene gets her hands on the Rangers, their world absolutely shines. Well, it does once you wipe off all the mud and give them a good scrubbing down. Then it sparkles, too. And this story is no exception. There's a gritty loneliness that infuses these tales, and even though this particular story demonstrates how the Rangers managed to communicate across the Wilds, that loneliness can still be felt. And so can the head games that such a life gives rise to. Pelhar is an amazing character, brilliantly drawn and wonderfully nuanced. When Aragorn first shows up, one gets the feel that Pelhar has dealt with this kind of thing often, a fact later substantiated with the mention of his own son. His hidden amusement with the situation is contagious, and I love the bits of humor that pop up, such as waiting until Aragorn has eaten before springing the important questions on him. His response to Aragorn's question about dealing with the ignorant Bree folk was a nostalgic gem that timed itself perfectly with Pelhar's admission of a tree's involvement. Fantastic story that delves into the Ranger mindset and manages to give the rest of us a glimpse into an intriguing community.

Reviewed by: Imhiriel -- Score: 7

The story shows the grueling reality of being a Ranger in a world where they are looked down on, where nobody knows of and acknowledges the Rangers' work on behalf of them, where little comfort and peace and thanks await. It must have been especially hard for a young Aragorn after being raised in sheltered Imladris where he was certainly more well-regarded than now as one anonymous Ranger among so many others. I like the "everyday feel" to it; this and many episodes of small importance may likely have happened for generations, with no great consequences for anyone, and yet providing one teaching moment of no doubt many to young Rangers on their way to maturity. The original characters are well-written and give the story a very rich feel, as well as Aragorn's messages which give a very complex picture of the concerns of the Rangers, and how events beyond their immediate sphere of influence (I especially liked the references to King Fengel) influence their plans.

Reviewed by: annmarwalk -- Score: 6

Another rich and vibrant tale by Dwimordene! I can almost imagine I'm at the "Prancing Pony", sitting in my own corner, wondering why that ranger is there glaring so ominously. The crackling fire, bustling serving girls, young Barliman's fleeting appearance are all spot on. What is most memorable about the tale, though, is the characterization of young Strider, (slightly) brash, (somewhat) beset by self-pity, (occasionally) moody and morose in that way that only young men, just on the cusp of adulthood, can be. It's not that he's full of himself and his Grand Purpose; it's more along the lines of "We don't get no respect!", a hard-learned lesson for any ranger, and all the more humiliating and painful for one who is both Chieftain of the Dunedain and Isildur's heir. I like this portrayal of young Aragorn very much.

Reviewed by: Radbooks -- Score: 5

A fun tale of the very early days of Aragorn as a Ranger learning their ways and the way things work in the world at large - specifically in the area around Bree. It had to be hard for a Man raised in an elven stronghold to be out in the rough world of men and then to be dispised by most of those men - especially as he was trying to safeguard those men. I really enjoyed this as it was a gapfiller to a comment that appears in Lord of the Ring when Aragorn tells the hobbits that his shortcuts don't don't go wrong. I really like the older Ranger here - his quiet wisdom as he trains this lord... HIS lord. It must have been very difficult for him. A wonderful tale - as all of Dwimordene's stories are - and I highly recommend it.

Reviewed by: Gandalfs apprentice -- Score: 5

If you're wondering if you want to read this story, there's only one thing you need to know: It's Dwimordene. And nobody writes Aragorn better. Here we have a young Aragorn in trouble with a Bree farmer--in and of itself a dramatic situation fraught with interest. Add to that a long riff on Ranger business, full of fascinating detail and references to Middle-earth far and wide, so that you imagine yourself there at the table with them, beer and pipeweed in hand, and we fans of the Northern Dunedain are in heaven. I won't say more for fear of spoilers. Of course, I especially love this one because it was a birthday gift for me.

Reviewed by: Nancy Brooke -- Score: 5

When I began this story I thought 'well this will be a charming tale of growing-up Aragorn. Nice' though I noticed particularly how well the dialog was done. But as I continued I realized it was that and much more. This story incorporates wonderful, true-feeling, imaginings of Ranger heirarchy and practices, as well as Dunedain society. The characters are real and three dimensional, while still fitting neatly into useful archetypes. This is an excellent story, endowing a fairly common story - lessons of growing up learned - with extraordinary depth and richly, uniquely imagined details.

Reviewed by: Larner -- Score: 5

It's only the end of his first year of training with the Rangers of Eriador for this young Man, and he was chased by dogs into a ditch in the early part of the day, for Breeland farmers don't take well to trespassers. But he learns the lessons taught well--perhaps too well, his current captain comes to realize in time. A fascinating look at the organization of the Rangers of Eriador and the way in which they learn their craft, and the relationships between themselves and those they protect. And a nice introduction into this particular character as a youth.

Reviewed by: nancylea -- Score: 3

can we make this recommended reading for all chilhood care advocates: if you never enforce the little rules, they never learn to take in the long pitcure and keep looking for more and more chort cuts to the gooies in life. bet you hadn't got to that morale of the story yet?

Reviewed by: agape4gondor -- Score: 3

Not often does one read anything but Aragorn in Imladris and the fostering of the boy into manhood. I very much liked this look into Aragorn, the novice Ranger, and the wisdom he learned from Men. Thanks for sharing this look into the 'making' of a King.

Reviewed by: NeumeIndil -- Score: 2

I think this is the first piece I've read about young Aragorn as a Ranger and liked. It comes off as comforting and homely rather than fluffy or insipid. A very nice job.