Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

There and Back Again

Author: Elena Tiriel
Nominator: sulriel
2005 Award Category: Races/Places: Cross-Cultural: Drabble - Third Place

Story Type: Drabble : Length: True Drabble
Rating: G -- Reason for Rating: n/a
Summary: "'And what has become of Balin and Ori and ”in?' asked Frodo. A shadow passed over Glůin's face. 'We do not know,' he answered. 'It is largely on account of Balin that I have come to ask the advice of those that dwell in Rivendell.'" (The Fellowship of the Ring, "Many Meetings")

Reviewed by: Marta -- Score: 6

I think my favourite thing about this is that, on one level at least, it's really not about dwarves. On my first few readings I thought it was about the saga of the dwarves as perceived by the hobbits, but it's really Frodo's growing up. Before he came of age (when Bilbo was still in the Shire) and before he was found by adventure he's naive in that he thinks such things are just tales to be entertained by. In a way it reminds me of Sam's comment on the stairs to Cirith Ungol, how he (Sam) thought adventures just happened to people who didn't have anything else to do. But by the end of the drabble I can see Frodo moving into the realisation that (to borrow Aragorn's phrase) "this is no hobbit's walking party". That's quite a way to bring us for just one hundred words!

Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger -- Score: 5

The tale becomes sad when it's reduced to "there" and no longer has a "back again." I loved the quiet recounting of the way Frodo looked up to Balin and remembered his stories, and this drabble hit a wonderfully mournful tone when Gandalf closed the book on Balin's last story with the words "I fear their end was cruel." Very powerful drabble with such a light touch that it almost feels as though all the events prior to Moria were nothing more than a dream. And at that point, they might as well have been, because they're only memories now. Great mood work.

Reviewed by: elliska -- Score: 4

Oh what a tragic moment this is. You start out reading this thinking what a nice portrayal of Frodo it is--I like thinking of him as fascinated by his uncle's stories and all that. And the drabble makes you even hear Balin's voice it makes you feel like you are in his presence with Frodo--it creates such atmosphere. And then you hit that last line and are made to remember and realize what happened to him. The reader can really feel as Frodo did the impact of this tragic news.

Reviewed by: Tanaqui -- Score: 3

Hmm, I suspect Frodo was only fascinated by memoirs with a happy outcome.... The Book of Mazarbul made rather grim reading. I love the way Elena Tiriel has shown us Balinís unrest and desire even in the middle of contentment. Itís also impressive that we donít realise exactly which moment weíre in until the last line. A very nicely constructed piece.

Reviewed by: sulriel -- Score: 2

"A hint of longing" ... isn't that what we all feel for those long-ago days. Are we so far removed from Middle-earth? I think not. This Wizard and Dwarf, and Hobbit, are too close to our own hearts not to be real.

Reviewed by: Dwimordene -- Score: 2

A nice contextualizing of the Book of Marzabul through Frodo's love of memoirs. It gives both Frodo and Balin a little more depth.

Reviewed by: Dreamflower -- Score: 2

I, too, have often thought Frodo's words in Moria indicated a previous meeting with Balin. This drabble explores his feelings about it beautifully.

Reviewed by: nerwen_calaelen -- Score: 1

An interesting drabble.