Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Balm

Author: Armariel
Nominator: Antane
2008 Award Category: Genres: Adventure

Story Type: Story : Length: Short Story
Rating: General -- Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: Frodo remembers his escape from the Tower of Cirith Ungol with Sam.


Reviewed by: Imhiriel -- Score: 5

The narrative structure complements Frodo's gradual awakening and broadening of awareness well, as his focus slowly broadens, more and more questions and worries crowd in, and his total confusion becomes clear. I am glad that although this story shows more of what happened to Frodo, it still leaves much unsaid. I thought it also a good touch that the more comforting aspects of the scene are expanded as well, namely Sam and Frodo's reunion, their touching concern for each other, the sharing of comfort and courage. ["Balm"], indeed, in more than one sense, and whether or not it really existed, Frodo is right that ["if there was no balm, there was Sam."]. ["Innocence sits on him like a butterfly after a storm."] I just had to quote this line, it was such a lovely image, as if the butterfly was actually there with them.

Reviewed by: Larner -- Score: 4

It is difficult to tell how much of what Frodo remembers is real, and how much the effects of his dreams and his desires as he and Sam made their way through the desolation of Mordor. Surely the balm he remembers Sam applying to his wounded and dehydrated body must have been real--at least on some level! A story that is achingly beautiful and poignant, with that lyrical quality for which Armariel's poetry is famous. Definitely a keeper, one to be reread frequently.

Reviewed by: Antane -- Score: 3

Frodo reflects on the love he received so unstintedly from his Sam on the Quest. Was the balm Sam spread on his beloved master's wounds truly a salve he had brought along from Strider's gear or was it the love itself that he gave so fully that brought such solace and relief? Another wonderful celebration of true love. Namarie, God bless, Antane :)

Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger -- Score: 3

I really enjoyed this story's dreamlike/nightmare tone. The heavy use of metaphor, especially in the opening, seems to suggest a situation that defies description. It's a very poignant way of narrating Frodo's situation, and it's compounded by the idea that even afterwards, Frodo isn't sure what is dream and what is real. Fascinating little vignette.

Reviewed by: Dreamflower -- Score: 3

This memory of Frodo's is so movingly accounted, Frodo remembering his misery in Cirith Ungol, and Sam's rescue of him. The sensory details are acute, and yet there is also something decidedly surreal about it as well. The ending lends it all a sharp poignancy.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon -- Score: 3

An effective story with a bit more punch than most hurt/comfort pieces. I really love the last paragraphs, as Frodo looks back on the horror of Mordor from the peace of Valinor. Armariel always uses beautiful language, words that sing, and so it is in this story as well.

Reviewed by: nancylea -- Score: 1

balm of and for the soul, thank you for rubbing it in nicely.