Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Lost and Found

Author: Branwyn (Lady Branwyn)
Nominator: Raksha the Demon
2008 Award Category: Times: Mid Third Age - First Place

Story Type: Story : Length: Short Story
Rating: General -- Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: While searching the library for ancient scrolls, Gandalf is assisted by the smallest scholar in Minas Tirith.


Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon -- Score: 10

I adore this story. Not only is it one of the best presentations of Faramir as a child, but it really captures Gandalf, as much as a character as great and deep and ancient as Gandalf can be captured. Here, Faramir is not just a scholarly child, he is an active little boy, confident, curious, and, as Gandalf noticed, very observant. In so many ways, he is indeed Denethor's son, but he seems less self-absorbed. And I love the way Branwyn portrays Faramir's restless nature; I've always thought he's a kid who would find it hard to keep still unless he was was reading, learning, or observing something of interest - then it would be hard to move him! Branwyn is a master of descriptions that pull in the reader without overloading or overwhelming. She shows, not tells, the reader, how the library looks and smells. And she conveys that Faramir is as much in his element here in the library as he will be in Henneth Annun many years hence - only here, of course, he is happier. This line is flat-out gorgeous, and so very apt for Gandalf and Faramir: [The wizard placed a hand on the boy’s shoulder and could feel the warmth and the tremulous spirit, as quick as the flutter of wings, that were bound in his flesh.] Here is the genesis and heart of the "wizard's pupil" connection between Gandalf and Faramir. A delightful and moving portrait of two people separated by age and species but united in friendship.

Reviewed by: nancylea -- Score: 10

here is a story that opens the archives of gondor as a place of adventure, and it all starts with faramir,gandalf, poetry and ballistics. without giving the story away, i think it is safe to tell you that we get a young energetic faramir who is dealing with gandalf if not the first time at least very early in their relationship. she had a cute plot and she keeps it moving in a very smooth pace and does not resort to cute-sy underdeveloped conversations or plays on words.it plays well with my own preconcieved views of these two characters and how they might have built their friendship. this is a little boy that you want to learn more about, it will be a joy to watch as he matures and grows into the man we have all read so many times. lady branwyn's wizard is niether the grumpy old crudgmudgeon or the indulgent loremaster that so often is how authors feel they should portray this keeper of great wisdom. he comes out in this story as an easy-going, dilegent loremaster who may not have been exposed to very many children. the only regret that i have is that there was not more interaction between her characters there were places where they were in the same area but not truly dealing with each other, though these moments were indeed well written and smooth flowing.

Reviewed by: Aervir -- Score: 10

The friendship between Gandalf and Faramir, which has endured since the latter's childhood, the everyday life in Minas Tirith before the War of the Ring and the Steward's family relations are themes only hinted at in canon, much to the delight of fanfic authors and readers, and Branwyn's treatment of the subject certainly does not disappoint. Her characterization of the protagonists as well as her foreshadowing of more important things to come are pitch-perfect. Gandal's kind and avuncular attitude towards the innocent that have no idea of his true powers is evoked in the friendliness, patience and seriousness with which he treats Faramir here, and yet the author doesn't us forget that he is more than a nice old man. His true age is brought to mind ["It has been far too long since I spent any time around children"], his ability to see beyond the surface ["( he) could feel the warmth and the tremulous spirit, as quick as the flutter of wings, that were bound in his flesh"], and his budding worries with regard to Bilbo's ring ["Though there are some things that were better never found"]. And wee!Faramir is definitely a joy to read about: He is an intelligent, precocious and amiable child, but I especially like that Branwyn nevertheless depicts him as a _child_ -- eager to please, prattling, impatient, fond of a little gossip, and a bit of a dreamer. Nonetheless, we can also see the character he is to become in LOTR: scholarly, but also clever in a quick-witted, pragmatic way; fond of lore as well as of the beasts in nature (whom he slays neither needlessly nor gladly, as he says), deeply bound to his father and by no means unlike him. As a Faramir fangirl, I am also very happy about the fact that he's now bound up in the Quest already; he indirectly helps Gandalf to uncover the truth about what Bilbo found by a find of his own; in the future, the Ring itself will find him -- and this ficlet might as well give us a small clue why he won't claim it: He is interested in learning and in helping others, not in possessing. A wonderful read!

Reviewed by: annmarwalk -- Score: 9

Another delightful, lovingly crafted Bitty!Faramir-and-Mithrandir story! There's so much wonderfulness here I hardly know where to begin. [The top of his head barely reached the wizard's belt, and perched on his silky hair was a tiny version of a scholar's cap.] What fabulous imagery! How could Faramir be any more adorable? I can just imagine Nanny smiling to herself as she stitches that tiny cap. Or would Denethor have ordered it for him as a surprise gift (SQUEE!) ['We must go through Poetry and Ballistics to get to the lower archive.' 'That sounds like a highly dangerous course, but I have great faith in my guide', the wizard said as he hurried after him. Faramir walked quickly, almost at a trot, and at times he bounded ahead then circled back to wait for the wizard.] Omigosh, now he's Faramir-as-a-golden-retriever-puppy! You did find a way to make him even more adorable! ['It smells like words here', Faramir told him, and the darkness of the archive seemed to lessen at the sound of his voice. The wizard placed a hand on the boy's shoulder and could feel the warmth and tremulous spirit, as quick as the flutter of wings, that were bound in his flesh.] Ok, all kidding aside, I had to catch my breath here, because this is just perfect. All Faramir's youthful love of lore, and the brightness and energy and joy he radiates filling up the room, and Mithrandir's recognition and affection for him as a kindred soul - oh, my, oh, my. Another endearing note, which I have shamefully forgotten to mention each time I have reviewed this story, is Faramir's obvious love for and pride in his father: ['Master Eradan says that no one but my father reads the scrolls in the lower archive. He says that my father would make a fine loremaster.' Even in the gloomy stairwell, the grey eyes shone in the boy’s upturned face.] This loving relationship between Faramir and Denethor is a recurring theme in Branwyn's works, and one which I always find particularly heartwarming. It's these tiny, perfect gems of stories, written by masterful authors like Branwyn, that continually renew my faith in our fandom.

Reviewed by: Dwimordene -- Score: 7

Branwyn takes what would be a sweetly amusing study of the relationship of two characters and turns a few allusions that give it a much more weighty significance in light of the larger story. A very young Faramir and Gandalf make for great interaction: Faramir's precociousness and Gandalf's ability to see the worth in whatever confronts him and be grateful to them for their surprises and lessons are both at the forefront of the story. I loved this exchange: [The boy pointed down the aisle. “We must go through Poetry and Ballistics to get to the lower archive.” “That sounds like a highly dangerous course, but I have great faith in my guide,” the wizard said as he hurried after him.] Great humor, that is jarred slightly by the uneasy presence of Denethor, another scholar but one whose interest, though unguessed by the characters at this time, is far more sinister than a boy's, as well the reader knows. I liked the paralleling of Denethor and Faramir that Branwyn creates, making both of them frustrated scholars forced to fight a war rather than do the more humane work that their talents best suit them to. Great fun, Gondor fans and Gandalf fans will certainly enjoy this!

Reviewed by: Imhiriel -- Score: 6

The characterisation of wee!Faramir is sweet without being cloying; I love how his earnestness and eagerness to help mingles with his pride and excitement about being "in charge" of this important visitor. I can really feel how Gandalf recognises in Faramir a curious soul worthy of befriending, teaching, of becoming a "wizard's pupil". The description of the library in all its chaos and vastness and intricate hallways is fascinating (and tempting to every book-lover, especially at Faramir's words, ["It smells like words here"]). I like how the different fragments of old and not so old history are woven into the narrative. In addition, the allusions to the importance of Gandalf's mission, and his compassionate musings about Denethor give the story a very appealing "gravitas" to contrast the overall light tone.

Reviewed by: Marta -- Score: 5

This is a really original twist on the "bitties" subgenre of fanfic. I love young Faramir that feels like he could grow into canon!Faramir (and this story certainly qualifies on that count), but I love even more the fact that this story involved more than just the usual suspects without feeling like a stretch in the least. I'm also now wondering whether (adult) Faramir realies the importance of this afternoon spent in the archives. It's an endearing moment in which both characters really shine, and lighthearted even in light of the reader's knowledge of future events. Really nice work, Branwyn.

Reviewed by: Dreamflower -- Score: 4

The canonical friendship between Gandalf and a young Faramir is all too seldom explored in fic. This particular story portrays an adorable and eager youngster, already quite at home among the many scrolls and books of the archives. Gandalf's bemusement as he finds himself trailed by an eager and able young assistant was delightful. I really enjoyed this very much, and only wish it had been longer--it was so fun to see the two of them interacting!

Reviewed by: Larner -- Score: 4

Ah, the desire of children to please, and the wonderful, sometimes illogical logic they can use. This look at child-Faramir helping Gandalf find a missing scroll, perhaps during the visit in which he found Isildur's own description of the Ring, is so delightful. My favorite line is his description of a certain portion of the archives when he says,[It smells like words]. How perfect a description!

Reviewed by: NeumeIndil -- Score: 3

A very sweet scene. I like the tendency within the fandom of portraying Gandalf as quite grandfatherly and kind with youngsters. You've done quite well with that here. I'm also taken with your Faramir as a confident little lad with a will to please.

Reviewed by: Tanaqui -- Score: 3

Young Faramir is charmingly described in this delightful short story by Lady Branwyn involving Gandalf, Faramir and the archives of Minas Tirith. While this is a mostly light-hearted read, we are given occasional glimpses of the deeper and darker things that lies beneath the surface in the White City. Nicely done.

Reviewed by: dkpalaska -- Score: 3

A very lovely interaction between kindred spirits! The characterizations are marvellous and well-drawn; I really enjoyed their conversations and exchanges as they walked through the library. The descriptions of the surroundings did an excellent job of staging the scene, and I love Faramir's already-budding deductive and intellectual skills!

Reviewed by: Nancy Brooke -- Score: 2

Lovely little vignette. My favorite moment was actually Gandalf's bit of insight and compassion for Denethor. That gave an additional dimension to the scene.

Reviewed by: Linda Hoyland -- Score: 2

This was just lovely,a most enjoyable story !I love to imagine what Gandalf and Faramir's early friendship was like.How fitting that Faramir should help find the needed scroll.