Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Exploring the Wild

Author: EdorasLass
Nominator: annmarwalk
2007 Award Category: Genres: Adventure: Pre-Ring War - First Place

Story Type: Story : Length: Short Story
Rating: General -- Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: Young Boromir and Faramir get a day of exploring the countryside and learning some new skills with two Ithilien Rangers. Also features my Nanny OC.


Reviewed by: annmarwalk -- Score: 10

EdorasLass’s Bitty stories are always overflowing with laughter and color and pure joy. This delightful excursion had its origins in a single drabble, now seamlessly incorporated into the story of Boromir and Faramir’s first “field trip”, a day of introductory skills training with two Ithilien rangers and a night spent under the stars. This tale is a bit longer than many of the others, and introduces several new characters, each of them perfectly realized for their purpose. The rangers who “volunteered” to lead and guide the bitties are both impressed with and amused by their young charges, taking back with them an appreciation both for the constricted lives of city children, and an understanding of the youngsters who will grow to become their commanders and leaders. The young guardsman who sings them to sleep with a ranger lullaby is boyishly endearing, and a fine foil for Nanny. Events in the rollicking tale are alternately hilarious and winsome: the boys’ wide-eyed disbelief when Nanny reveals the planned adventure; Boromir’s banishment of Nanny from their tent because ["There aren't any girl Rangers, Nanny, and you are a girl, so you can't play."]; bittyRanger!Faramir refusing to go to sleep without his beloved stuffed rabbit. EL’s love for, and understanding of, young children shines throughout with vividness and affection. It’s such a treat to read these tales and see the beginnings of the men our heroes will become.

Reviewed by: Dwimordene -- Score: 10

Another in the Nanny series, and a delightful little tale. Boromir and Faramir may live in wild and untamed lands by comparison to what most readers of fanfic, decked out with computers in homes replete with climate control and electronics, but by comparison to how most people of less than noble rank live, they are quite sheltered from the weather and the land. It is easy to forget this, given our own perspective, and this story, about Boromir and Faramir camping out for the first time with some off-duty Rangers in the gardens of Minas Tirith, does a good job of bringing out what a difference class makes in Gondor's stratified society. The two Rangers are great characters – Halhigil seeking to escape boring precautionary confinement in the Houses of Healing after an illness, Elchim apparently just off-duty, and neither of them, apparently, with children of their own – prove well able to handle the two young boys, with only a minimum of warnings and coaching from Nanny. Nevertheless, even they have to admit that looking after the energetic brothers, who are eager and curious to know anything the Rangers care to tell them about the art of Rangering and living off the land, is a full time job and not an easy one at that. The brotherly dynamic is well-portrayed: EdorasLass writes Boromir and Faramir with voices that are appropriate to children of their age and class, and she shows their closeness very well. Nanny's sense of the quiet of her nursery, and her anticipation of 'empty nest syndrome', provide a sobering counterpoint to an otherwise light-hearted story. Well done!

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon -- Score: 10

This is a wonderful story that should not be missed by anyone who enjoys stories of Boromir and Faramir's youth, or stories of children in Tolkien's Middle-earth. In this excellent tale, the boys, aged about nine and four years old respectively, enjoy a day and a night outdoors, camping in the garden and wandering on the Pelennor in the company of two Rangers detailed for the task. The characterisation of the children is outstanding; Boromir bold and impetuous and a bit arrogant; Faramir restless and quite intelligent for so young a child but still a little insecure about being out of the nursery for the first time. EdorasLass has not forgotten that Tolkien said Boromir was Faramir's protector during their youth; the scene where Boromir helps Faramir out of his wet clothes shows that the older brother is used to helping take care of his little brother, regardless of the expertise of their Nanny. I like the way the boys are written as real children - bright and good-natured, but still subject to the impatience and physical constraints of childhood. There's also a fine cameo by Denethor, who whole-heartedly assists in the arranging of his sons' camping adventure. I found his taking Boromir to task for the latter's unkind remark to Nanny very typical; Gondorians seem to place great value in courtesy in TTT and ROTK. And of course my inner Faramirist was delighted to see evidence of little Faramir's affinity for woodcraft and tree-climbing even at a tender age! Very engaging and entertaining!

Reviewed by: Bodkin -- Score: 6

Beautiful. I love the excited, bouncy loud boys - having the most wonderful day of their lives in the company of real Rangers, and with their own favourite guard to watch over their sleep. I love it that Denethor is out there himself putting up their tent - and that he won't let Boromir get away with arrogance towards Nanny. He goes up in my estimation enormously! Then - Faramir's need for his rabbit is just so typical of a small child ... and his need for Nanny to settle him to sleep. And, come to that, his literalness about trench foot! Yet another absolutely gorgeous episode in the life of Nanny and her charges. And, sad to say, a sign of times to come. I hope you are inspired, one day, to write about a Nanny whose boys have grown up. And about her meeting with Faramir after the war.

Reviewed by: obsidianj -- Score: 4

This is a lovely little story about Boromir's and Faramir's first time camping. Nanny is at first concerned and I can understand that, Faramir is only 4 years old in this tale, but she lets them go. I loved it that Denethor helped them put the tent up, and the Rangers he charges with teaching his boys wilderness skills are a delight. I think Edorasslass gets the characteristics of two young boys on their first outing just right.

Reviewed by: Imhiriel -- Score: 4

An entertaining story that had me smiling often at the picture of the two boys on their first "adventure". The characterisations of the boys are delightful, and those of the original characters distinct and realistic. I liked the portrayal of Denethor very much. It is seldom that the focus is on his capacity as a father, much less a good father to *both* his sons. But I did miss at least a *brief* mention about Finduilas' whereabouts, because judging from this: ["grouchy four-year-old"], she was still alive at the time.

Reviewed by: Isabeau of Greenlea -- Score: 4

A sweet story featuring a 9-year-old and 4-year-old Boromir and Faramir. Their nanny plans a camp-out for them in their gardens and Lord Denethor adds a few touches of his own. The children are well-drawn for their ages, and the simple adventures they share that day are the first taste of what Faramir's grown life is to be. The Ithilien Rangers are patient with their small charges, and poor Nanny has to endure a first taste of what will be a final parting all too soon.

Reviewed by: Nancy Brooke -- Score: 3

This is a sweet tale and a nice portrait of your OFC. Your Boromir strikes me as a bit young (there are five years between the boys), but the brothers certainly act and interact truly, as do all your characters.

Reviewed by: agape4gondor -- Score: 3

Delightful tale. I loved Denethor's part in this. Putting a tent in the garden turned into such an adventure for the boys. And the Rangers who came to help them 'grow' were just perfect. As I said, a delightful tale.

Reviewed by: Marta -- Score: 3

This was a lot of fun to read. Your young Boromir and Faramir are always so full of life, and Nanny was laugh-out-loud funny at points. And I got a definite giggle at the revelation that even Haloth doesn't know Nanny's real name. I guess nobody does. Nice work, EL!

Reviewed by: Marigold -- Score: 3

I really enjoyed this tale of Faramir and Boromir's adventure! All of the characters are well drawn and realistic and the plot is believable. I appreciated that the children are written appropriate to their age and that Denethor was still a good father at this point in time.

Reviewed by: Larner -- Score: 3

Ah, the joys of introducing small boy to the outdoors. Streams, trees, and fox dens--and a fair amount of dirt. Wonderful look at the building of two exceptional Men, and the premature nostalgia of those who know the children will outgrow them one day.

Reviewed by: Llinos -- Score: 1

I am always glad to find a new instalment in this series. Very enjoyable!