Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

The Tower Hills

Author: DrummerWench
Nominator: Gandalfs apprentice
2008 Award Category: Genres: Drama: Final Partings - Third Place

Story Type: Story : Length: Short Story
Rating: General -- Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: A gap-filler set at the very end of ROTK, as Frodo, Sam and the Elves travel toward the Havens. They pass through the Tower Hills, and pause at the Tower of Elostirion.


Reviewed by: pandemonium_213 -- Score: 10

Drummerwench's [The Tower Hills] reads as a seamless extension of the final chapter of [The Return of the King]. She captures the Tolkienian "voice" so well here yet it is not a self-conscious imitation, but instead flows in a natural style which stands in great contrast to those stories that attempt to be so canon-compliant and Tolkienomimetic that they become stiff and uninteresting. This is not the case here. DW creates a pensive atmosphere, a time of transition and melancholy. This is a journey of farewell as the elves look out from the height of the tower east over the lands of Middle-earth which they will soon depart. DW emphasizes this further with the use of her poetry. That melancholy song (and a well done poem, it is) strikes the chord of [The Tower Hills]. I also liked the fact that DW gave Sam those dark discomfited feelings while he was inside the tower. That adds a sense of reality -- that Sam would be affected by his experiences on the journey to Orodruin and might translate these to other situations. DW captures Sam's real and abiding fear, but then Frodo reaches out and reassures his boon friend within the darkness of Elostirion. The haunting voice of the sea - a mysteriously anthropomorphized chant -- is also an excellent touch to add to the atmosphere. Finally, I relished each and every detail of the architectural features of Elostirion, from the metal bound doors and arrow-slit windows to the stairs to the stone walkway to copper half-dome and the contraption of metal and gears. An excellent gap filler!

Reviewed by: Gandalfs apprentice -- Score: 8

This lovely little gapfiller has a unique charm, and rings so true to Tolkien that it could simply be added to its place in the chapter "The Grey Havens." But it is not, however, imitative. DrummerWench's voice carries through in each word: a gentle, flowing rhythm that enchants like the sea itself. I especially love the poem at the beginning, so full of the regret and sea-longing of the Elves of Middle-earth. Too often in fanfic this is given a whiny tone, but DrummerWench avoids that altogether, and captures the otherworldly beauty of Tolkien songs like, for example, the Lay of Nimrodel. It is quite an achievement. Then we've got Sam. DrummerWench writes Sam better than any, capturing his "man in the street" quality without turning him into a buffoon. There is a bittersweet melancholy to the interchanges between him and Frodo, knowing, as we do, that Frodo is soon to depart. I always had trouble believing the Tale of the Years in the appendices, that Sam really did follow Frodo over sea after Rosie's death. This tale makes it much more real to me.

Reviewed by: Dwimordene -- Score: 6

I love the atmosphere of this story, filled as it is with copper and stone and heights, and the foreboding of things to come. Everything changes in the Fourth Age, even though some things are never left behind. It seems fitting that Sam should struggle with memory of the horrors of his journey as he climbs Elostirion's stairs, the tower so long a momument to the past. It is changing now that the Elves are leaving it for the newly crowned king and the Fourth Age, and Sam's departure from it is a step into a new world and away from crushing memory, yet it is not an escape from such. The poem in the first half of the story haunts the fic, and seemingly Sam as well, suggesting his future departure from Middle-earth. Very enjoyable!

Reviewed by: Imhiriel -- Score: 4

The language is wonderfully "Tolkien-ish", it really feels as if this is an expansion of the chapter that just got left out of the book. The descriptions are evocative, and I thought it particularly well-done how the scene within Elostirion is infused with the slight ambiguity, the unease Sam feels about the Tower. I liked the determination of Sam in overcoming his fears with a view to the future.

Reviewed by: Antane -- Score: 3

A sweet story of friendship and care given for almost the last time in Middle-earth and this time Frodo being the care-giver and Sam the one comforted by his beloved master's touch and presence. There is not much time for them to be together on Middle-earth, but each new memory would be a treasure for them both. Thank you for adding another.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon -- Score: 3

I like the descriptions of the Tower and also the Tower Hills. And there's a nice sense of finality, and a gently melancholy atmosphere, as Frodo and the Elves take their last journey in Middle-earth. The comradeship of Frodo and Sam is well-written, and it is something of a shock to see the other hobbits traveling back home without him.

Reviewed by: Dreamflower -- Score: 3

This is very evocative and atmospheric: the idea of this last visit to the Tower, and that it would trigger bad memories for Sam is altogether plausible. I loved the way that Frodo comforted him--Frodo may be leaving, but he still will take care of those he loves.

Reviewed by: Larner -- Score: 2

Sam accompanies Frodo up into another tower, and knows the peace of it. A melancholy yet lovely piece.

Reviewed by: nancylea -- Score: 2

once more sam follows his master at the cost of his own comfort and once again they trudge on together through all.