Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Witness to a Crime

Author: Dreamflower
Nominator: Dwimordene
2010 Award Category: Races: Cross-Cultural: Friendship - Third Place

Story Type: Story : Length: Short Story
Rating: General -- Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: N/A Gandalf has an important encounter as he crosses the Shire.


Reviewed by: Dwimordene -- Score: 10

Dreamflower's writing always has a very Tolkienesque flavor to it, and better than most authors I can think of, she seems able to write in a style that puts you in mind of [The Hobbit]. She puts her stylistic abilities to work in this story to give us Gandalf, from Gandalf's own perspective - maximum props for taking on his POV, which can be very difficult to handle! The story itself shows us the first meeting of two people who would go on to be semi-legendary friends: Gerontius and Gandalf. Dreamflower captures both the youthful sparkle, mischief, and indignation of a tween-aged hobbit, and Gandalf's innate sense of justice and capacity for keeping his own counsel. He never gets flustered or breaks character, just lets events unfold and gently nudges them in the proper direction once he has all the pertinent facts at hand - which state of affairs is helped immensely by his ability instantly to befriend people. He feels like the wizardly ideal he is meant to portray - wise, compassionate, down-to-earth. I loved that his one use of his powers was to warm a cold pie - hardly an earth-shattering use, but appropriate to the moment. A very enjoyable story, and thank you, Dreamflower, for providing the recipe for said pie!

Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger -- Score: 10

This was absolutely brilliant! I think a large part of its brilliance comes from the way Dreamflower characterizes Gandalf. The wizard really is a paradox, and he proves it here. The narrative is filled with beautiful turns of phrase that seem to capture the power and elegance one might associate with the elves and then apply to such mundane things as deciding to take cover. One of my favorite sentences from the narrative was this: [It seemed the course of wisdom to step behind a nearby elm.] And of course Gandalf would take cover, wishing to see what was happening before deciding what to do about it. Being the paradoxical wizard that he is, I couldn't decide if he was going to give up the young thief in the thicket or become an accomplice to the crime. In the end, as is utterly fitting for this particular wizard, he seemed to do both and neither. I do so love it when such capable authors get their hands on Gandalf! He's such a fun character when that happens! But this story wasn't just about Gandalf, and I love how a sudden fracas seemed to roll into the plot suddenly and disperse in multiple directions. Gandalf knows how to pick his time and place, and I enjoyed meeting Gerontius the not-quite-so-old-yet. As she does with everything she writes, Dreamflower layers both the character and the subplot, so that a simple thief isn't quite so simple and a robbery isn't quite so black and white. The end provides the perfect solution, pie and all. Beautiful and nuanced. Thank you, Dreamflower!

Reviewed by: The Lauderdale -- Score: 6

I've read a number of stories lately in which Gandalf makes the acquaintance of certain named hobbits of the Shire for the first time. This one concerns his first encounter and the start of his friendship with Gerontius Took, better known to readers as The Old Took - although it takes place when Gerontius is very young indeed. Gandalf handles the crime in his usual wizardly fashion: craftily choosing his words to avoid revealing the culprit, but using his formidable authority to impel the lad to come clean. Loved the fact that, while Gandalf is all for truth and accountability, he shows no compunctions whatsoever about eating that pie afterward! This is also a recipe-fic, which means a tasty-sounding recipe at the end.

Reviewed by: Larner -- Score: 6

What a wonderful first meeting, as Gandalf spies a number of Hobbit lads fleeing past his resting place with a great pie in hand. When the lad carrying the pie hides near at hand, Gandalf must decide whether to betray the young Hobbit or to send the pursuers off elsewhere, and then how to deal with the lad afterwards. Humorous and delightful, I love this glimpse of the youth of the one who will one day be renowned throughout the Shire as the Old Took, and of the beginning of what was to become one of the defining friendships between Gandalf and the Hobbits of the Shire. Dreamflower's characterizations are wonderful, and it again makes me wish I could go there and stay for a time, exploring the Great Smials and perhaps ambling through the Westfarthing and elsewhere throughout the Shire as well! And I'd so love to have enjoyed a piece of that pie!

Reviewed by: Virtuella -- Score: 4

In this charming story, Dreamflower introduces us to a youthful Gerontius and shows the beginning of his friendship with Gandalf, a friendship which should become the foundation of Gandalf's close ties with the Took family and with hobbits in general. Gerontius is both hobbity and Tookish here and Gandalf handles the dilemma with true wisdom. A very convincing story.

Reviewed by: Aiwendiel -- Score: 4

A delightful and delicious tale of the Old Took on the other end of his long life -- in his tweens. As usual, the old Wizard happens along at just the right moment to bear witness, intervene ever so slightly and importantly, teach a lesson that won't be forgotten for many many years, get in the last word, and oh yes, don't forget... produce some excellent magic! A wonderful touch at the very end, makes my mouth water just to read about it. A truly nutritious and satisfying story, and a free recipe in the bargain!

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon -- Score: 4

A delightful story that describes the beginning of a beautiful friendship. The characterization of the hobbits, and (especially) Gandalf, is just perfect. Very richly written by an outstanding hobbit writer. And as a Gandalf fan; I just adored the wizard's interaction with young Gerontius; and the bit where Gandalf reheated the cooling pie was just wonderful! Dreamflower's actual recipe is just the icing on the cake for this very enjoyable tale.

Reviewed by: Cairistiona -- Score: 4

I wish I could give points by default simply because this story contains what looks to be a really delicious recipe! But it also contains a wonderful moment between Gandalf and Hobbits, and that's always fun. This time the old wizard is a reluctant protector of a young thief, but there are certain spoils to be enjoyed for his troubles. This tale is probably best read while eating chicken pie... because that's exactly what you'll find yourself craving by the end of it.

Reviewed by: DrummerWench -- Score: 3

What a great little story! I thoroughly enjoyed our glimpse of Gandalf among the Tooks of an earlier age, though naturally displaying that Tookish curiosity. Also, though I do not cook, I find stories accompanied by recipes so entertaining.

Reviewed by: SurgicalSteel -- Score: 1

This is a fun look at how Gandalf might have first met Gerontius Took.