Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

The Riddle of Strider

Author: Cairistiona
Nominator: Inzilbeth
2010 Award Category: Genres: Drama: Hurt/Comfort - First Place

Story Type: Story : Length: Short Story
Rating: General -- Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: He shepherded them all the way to Rivendell... but do they really have any idea who this mysterious Strider is? A gapfiller in three chapters.


Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon -- Score: 8

Cairistiona writes a gentle, but not bland, tale of Aragorn's arrival in Rivendell in FOTR - complete with the gradual discovery of Pippin, Merry and Sam that the grim Ranger is far more than he seems. The notion that Aragorn was suffering from the Black Breath after the encounter on Weathertop works well here; since we know that Merry had been affected, though not fatally, in Bree; and the effects can be cumulative, since Aragorn's condition is not so grave as the Black Shadow that will eventually overwhelm various people in Minas Tirith. I loved the turnabout; rather than having Aragorn care for suffering hobbits; Pippin and Merry do their best to care for Aragorn. Aragorn's reaction to the food Merry brings him is priceless - a light snack for a hobbit can seem overwhelming. And it is very hobbity that Pippin goes off to instruct the cooks of Rivendell on baking birthday-cakes... And I loved the good relationship between Aragorn and Elrond; not to mention Aragorn and Arwen doing their best to steal some alone time... A great gapfiller!

Reviewed by: Dreamflower -- Score: 6

Cairistiona does not often write hobbits, and when she does it is always in relation to Aragorn. I really loved her previous Aragorn and hobbit story ["The Ranger and the Hobbit"] in which he encounters a hobbit OC. But this one is just lovely, as Aragorn, wearier than he wants to admit after the long, arduous and dangerous trek from Bree to Rivendell, is tended by grateful hobbits. First Pippin, and then Merry, decide to show their gratitude to him by taking care of him as he has taken care of them. Cairistiona has their personalties down perfectly: Pippin's insouciance and innocent generosity and Merry's more thoughtful gallantry. Sam also makes a later appearance, and she handles him well also. I loved his little oath [""By my gaffer’s favorite spade"]. A very enjoyable and fun story!

Reviewed by: Gandalfs apprentice -- Score: 5

This is a lovely, moving and funny vignette wherein the Hobbits find out a bit more about that strange fellow, Strider, who guided them from Rivendell. They don't actually learn the whole Riddle, however. And I'd like to see a sequel where that comes up. I always thought that moment in Minas Tirith where Gandalf sets Pippin straight was one of the great scenes in the book. Tolkien's habit of never following up on such things gives us fanfic writers such opportunities. I also really liked the warmth of the relationship between Elrond and Aragorn.

Reviewed by: Fiondil -- Score: 5

Aragorn has gotten the Hobbits to Rivendell and now all he wants is a hot bath and to fall into bed and sleep for a week, but visits from Pippin and Merry prevent him from getting either immediately. This is a gentle, hurt/comfort story where the Hobbits learn a little more about the mysterious Ranger who saw them safely to Rivendell. I liked the uncomplicated way in which both Hobbits showed their appreciation to Aragorn for all that he had done for them. And we see something of the loving relationship between Aragorn and Elrond as well. A lovely feel-good story from a master storyteller.

Reviewed by: Linda Hoyland -- Score: 5

A very enjoyable story concerning Aragorn and the Hobbits, always a delightful combination to read. I especially liked the way that Pippin and Merry attempt to care for Aragorn, a fact that the often lonely Ranger finds heart-warming. The story also has a delicious touch of humour when Arwen comes to see Aragorn,who is recuperating in bed after his perilous journey, and Elrond bids Merry to play chaperone(or is it gooseberry?) The betrothed pair waste no time in evicting the Hobbit from the room. Pippin and Sam's speculations about who Aragorn might be are quite hilarious and I loved the moment when Aragorn appears kingly to the Hobbits.

Reviewed by: Inzilbeth -- Score: 4

This is another wonderful story from the very talented Cairistiona. The hobbits get to know Strider very well on their journey from Bree to Rivendell but not all his secrets are revealed to them at that time. Cairistiona does an excellent job of peeling away the layers in a unique and yet totally plausible and canon friendly manner. As always with her stories, the delightful blend of humour and angst perfectly executed.

Reviewed by: obsidianj -- Score: 4

This is a wonderful gapfiller. It makes you all warm and fuzzy feeling and leaves you with a smile on your face. I love the interaction between Aragorn and the hobbits. Arwen's appearance thrown into the mix rounds out the story. The characters are spot on. I love it that the discovering of Aragorn's relationship with Elrond and Arwen leads to the hobbit's favorite pastime of discussing genealogies. I recommend this story to any Aragorn or hobbit friend.

Reviewed by: elliska -- Score: 4

This is an absolutely wonderful story. For whatever reason, I find the idea of the Hobbits discovering who Strider really was very amusing, because it had to have happened and it had to be a shocker. And you really captured it well here. You also captured the hobbits' personalities extremely well. I particularly like Sam and Pippin, but they all were great. I thoroughly enjoyed this story. Thanks so much for sharing it!

Reviewed by: Larner -- Score: 4

Wonder and genealogies abound in this tale, as Aragorn is aided by Pippin to remove his boots, is brought a "snack" by Merry, is freed of the vestiges of the Black Breath by Elrond, awakened by Arwen, and breakfasts with Sam. And what are Hobbits to make of the idea that Aragorn sees Rivendell as home and Lord Elrond as his father, much less that Elrond's daughter is his beloved? Now, just how closely related does that make prospective bride and groom? Just the right balance of pathos and humor!

Reviewed by: RS -- Score: 4

A very delightful story. The interaction between the hobbits and Aragorn are so characteristically believable. Slowly the hobbits find out the different layers of "who is Aragorn" and their reactions are priceless. The interactions are so...hobbity! I really enjoyed the story. Though the story is under "hurt/comfort" it's also downright humerous! It makes you feel good and leaves a smile on your face.

Reviewed by: Ellynn -- Score: 3

In this lovely story we see how Aragorn and the hobbits develop their relationships and become good friends, while staying in Rivendell. As always, Cairistiona describes characters and events with great skill, making this a perfect gapfiller. Her stories always have a true Tolkien spirit. Well done!