Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Where You Are Bound

Author: jan-u-wine
Nominator: Antane
2011 Award Category: Poetry: Hobbits - Third Place

Story Type: Poetry : Length: N/A (Non-Fiction or Poetry)
Rating: General -- Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: What hope is left to Sam upon the desolate and hopeless plain of Gorgoroth? Please note that the secondary URL will take you to Mechtild's LJ, where the poem serves as a companion to her Gorgoroth screencaps.


Reviewed by: Mechtild -- Score: 10

This is such a devastating piece it makes me shudder and weep, yet it's so darned good I want to run around the block and whoop. Doing what the best fanfiction does so well, the poem opens up parts of the book -- Sam's experience caring for and worrying about and trying to encourage Frodo -- which Tolkien so often leaves undetailed. There is the wonderful, powerful book passage when Sam looks at his master, hands twitching feebly, near despair, just before he hardens his resolve -- which this poem recalls, along with other passages, such as when Sam warms Frodo with his body or when Frodo confesses he no longer has any sense memories of life before Mordor -- but that is the one of few that gives readers Sam's inner experience in depth. This poem recalls that scene, but takes the reader even more intimately into Sam's mind than does that book passage. It's not death, clearly, that Sam fears anymore, not his own, not even Frodo's. He's seen worse than death, seen it in his friend and master's Ring-crazed eyes, and in his Ring-crazed voice, horribly changed when he thought Sam was trying to take the Ring. He's also perceived it in the dulled, absent eyes, the voice made mute, the draining away of Frodo's memories -- even of his identity -- as the Ring and the Eye bear down on Frodo, overpowering him -- or so it seems at this dark moment. All of that is in the text for readers with the heart and wit to find it, but this poem makes it beautifully, powerfully explicit.

-- Always, always, you have a way of taking the pieces and amplifying them, dear Linda, making them, with *your* words, so much more effective and beautiful. In all honesty, I think my poetry should only be allowed to be read on your LJ, side-by-side by your own powerful words. thank you, my friend.

Reviewed by: Dwimordene -- Score: 6

Gorgoroth is a grind to write, whether you write poetry or prose. Jan-u-wine captures that in poetry that runs on, runs out of words, highlights some of them with their uneven fall across the page and isolation. Sam feels isolated and bereft, and at the very end of his rope, watching Frodo make the crushing journey to what can only be a fate worse than death. I love her calling death a [doubtful gift], and the recognition that she gives Sam: that it would be kinder to Frodo to die before he reaches Sauron, because otherwise, there is no escape that even death could provide. That feels about right. The symbolism of water and bread that run out and are broken piece by piece work beautifully - would we could all manage free verse like this! Another beautiful, poignant poem exploring the depths of the Sam-Frodo relationship. Highly recommended.

-- Dear Dwimordene, thank you again....it is doubly an honour to be reviewed by someone who is not, perhaps, all the comfortable around poetry...... (I must tell you a secret, though: this piece was written many years ago and, in the transfer to the scrapbook, much of the original formatting was lost (and never fixed). So, the uneven appearance on the page is not all at the behest of the author! But as they say....if it works, don't fix it..... In all truth, I wrote this poem to set off the little bit about the fox. For some reason, I kept seeing that fox in my mind, seeing him die before Sam's eyes. I'm right fond of that little fox. He appears in a couple of other poems, as well. Gorgoroth is a slog, isn't it? But then, it shouldn't be any other way! thank you again!

Reviewed by: Adonnen Estenniel -- Score: 4

As ever, jan-u-wine's poetry is strong and lyrical. The scene and rhythm are vivid and jarring (which, rather than being a less than desirable thing, is good, considering the poem's topic), and they have a wonderful, earthy Samwise Gamgee quality that is so hard to master, but delightful to find. Full of seeming paradox and nearly grotesque pictures, this piece seems to be an accurate reflection on this Hobbit's thoughts and feelings at the author's chosen time.

-- this is not vis a vis the poem at all.....but, just at this moment, it means a great deal to me that there are people out there that value these pieces. Thank you. Thank you, more even than I can say.

Reviewed by: Antane -- Score: 3

Sam's grief is wonderfully portrayed here and his love for his Frodo held in his arms, almost completely spent. I love the scene in the book mentioned here also - Sam kissing his treasure's hands and holding them, reverently, as if in prayer. Love the ending. How lucky Frodo was to be loved so. How lucky Sam was to know and love Frodo.

-- Thank you, again, Antane. I must say: how lucky all of us, for (if we only look) we will discover that those around us are worthy of our love, be it 'small' love or 'great'. It seems to me that Frodo most nearly typified agape-style love. I once heard it said, "Frodo loved everything/everyone. But Sam loved *Frodo*" That sort of love that encompasses all, selflessly, balanced and enhanced by its *seeming* opposite: a love that only attaches itself to a single object. In this case, by focusing on Frodo, Samwise embraces all that Frodo *holds* and loves within the fortress of himself. You could very well compare Frodo to the earth, beloved of gardeners, his love and sacrifice rendered as the beautiful flowers which attain from that 'soil'. Worthy of a Gardener's love, that 'earth' and the harvest it produced.