Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

In The Midst Of Summer

Author: Cuthalion
Nominator: Cuthalion
2008 Award Category: Genres: Drama: Final Partings

Story Type: Story : Length: Short Story
Rating: Teen -- Reason for Rating: Mentioning of character death and grief
Summary: In June 1482, Samwise Gamgee has to bear the fact that his wife has passed away, leaving him behind. Between deep grief and bittersweet memories, he understands that the life he was used to is ultimately over, and that a new way lies ahead of him.


Reviewed by: NeumeIndil -- Score: 6

Oh, you've made me cry! I always love your Sam and how normal and down to earth he is, though he never loses that touch of sadness earned when his Mr. Frodo left, and it only makes sense that those old feelings of loss would creep up now, even amid the comfort of his garden. Having gone through my share of possessions and houses after funerals, the way he saw the details of the place as though for the first time, and in a way, truly for the first time as a new person, rang very true. What makes this story, like your others, so poignant is the sort of details you include, specifics of a type of cloth or tangents of thought about someone's reactions; they read much more like thinking than a story, and that's very much a good thing in my estimation!

Reviewed by: Dwimordene -- Score: 6

Sweet and gentle look at Sam's relationship with his wife and family after Rosie passes away. The opening sets the mood, and I like the descriptions of the garden and their memories. Sam's sense of the invasion of meaninglessnes under the guise of new meanings - now the flowers remind him that Rose isn't here, that their bed has no purpose, that children must adapt to loss - would be enough, in many ways, to make us understand Sam's decision. But the intervention of fear in his son that Sam interprets as the need for him to act or do something to get everyone settled - to get himself settled in the path he'll take - is makes for a more positive look at his imminent departure. Not just a passive falling away, but an active letting go for others.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon -- Score: 5

A lovely and nigh-Tolkienish treatment of the transition in Sam's life, from the beloved gardener and Master of Bag End to the voyager he will become for his final journey. The descriptions of Bag End and the grieving Gamgees, and the loss of the much-loved Rosie, are wonderful, but it is the transition towards the end, in Sam's heart and mind, from his daily existence to that yearning he had long ago released when Frodo took the white ship, now found once more and waiting to lead him into the West. Cuthalion mixes the prosaic and the magic seamlessly; and the ending sends a shiver up at least this reader's spine.

Reviewed by: Imhiriel -- Score: 4

Oh, this is a lovely story. The description of the garden and the various flowers painted a colourful picture in my mind and made me long to stroll through and sniff here and there. It somehow mixed in my mind with Sam's memories of how Rosie ["has always been the center of the smial, the warmth and the hearth fire"], how ["the kitchen was always filled with her singing voice, her infectious laughter, with the clatter of pots and pans and the delicious smell of the food she used to cook"], until I thought the garden, too, was a reflection of her, despite Sam regarding it usually as his own domain. I do wonder if Sam deludes himself when he things his going would be easier for his family than bearing (and eventually overcoming) their grief together.

Reviewed by: Larner -- Score: 4

It may be just after midsummer, but for Samwise Gamgee, newly bereft of his beloved wife, it may as well be winter. And there are the children--and grandchildren--to think of also, who are likely to be drawn to his side no matter what. But then, in the blue of the heliotrope---- Poignant and rich with detail, gently and lovingly described. The sadness and hopefulness of his position becomes clear at last.

Reviewed by: SurgicalSteel -- Score: 3

This is a gorgeously heartbreaking tale exploring the emotions of a very freshly widowed Samwise Gamgee. The love he had for his Rosie is clearly evident and his grief is almost palpable. Beautifully done - but I expect no less from Cuthalion.

Reviewed by: Marta -- Score: 3

This story does a touching job of portraying Sam in the wake of Rosie's death. I could easily see just this combination of emotions leading to his decision to sail west at last. Nicely done.

Reviewed by: obsidianj -- Score: 2

This is a bittersweet story with an uplifting end. I love the description of Frodo lad with his son watched through the eyes of his father.

Reviewed by: nancylea -- Score: 1

such sweet sorrow