Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Worth Two in the Hand

Author: Dwimordene
Nominator: Elena Tiriel
2009 Award Category: Genres: Character Study - Honorable Mention

Story Type: Story : Length: Ficlet
Rating: General -- Reason for Rating: n/a
Summary: One-shot. Complete. "Radagast the Fool! Yet he had just the wit to play the part that I set him." The fool plays his proper part.


Reviewed by: Elena Tiriel -- Score: 10

Dwimordene's ficlet, "Two in the Hand", is a lovely birthday gift: a fascinating look at the relatively unknown Istari, Radagast the Brown. There is very little about him in the books, except we do know that he is scorned by Saruman (which is probably more of a compliment than an insult), yet here in Dwim's ficlet he exercises his considerable powers over -- or rather, affinity with -- the beasts of the air. I really enjoy the language Dwimordene uses here. Descriptions like [chittering, cawing, cascade] evoke visions of great flocks, as of starlings, flying and turning and diving almost as one living organism, in a fascinating phenomenon scientists call emergence. In the books, Gandalf asked Radagast to ask the birds of the air to gather tidings and report them back to Gandalf (or Saruman, before Gandalf discovers his perfidy), and here we see Radagast passing along that request. His power and mastery are evident, but it is not power to dictate, but the kind of leadership where people (or, in this case, birds) do your bidding out of love and respect. This ficlet really gives due to one of the quiet, unsung (except by birds) heros of the War of the Rings, who played his role ably, but without fanfare. Very nicely done, Dwim, and thank you!

Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger -- Score: 9

When he gets any attention at all, Radagast seems to be a pretty enigmatic character in fanfiction. I think a lot of this comes from his treatment in the books. Saruman certainly thinks him a fool, but this alone is reason enough to take a closer look at the brown wizard. And I think Dwimordene has nailed him in this little ficlet. Gandalf mentions that Radagast's a master of shapes and hues, and I think the imagery in Dwimordene's writing captures that. The birds swirling around the Carrock, the rising sun, the creeping shadows... It's all brilliantly painted and so easy to visualize! I especially love the image I have of the birds scattering away, leaving a lone eagle high in the sky. What a powerful picture! I could hear and see everything! Finally, I love the thoughts that Radagast regarding Gandalf. Saruman may consider Radagast the unwitting fool, but though he didn't have Gandalf's responsibilities in the upcoming war, he had his own role to play and he played it well, to the undoing of Saruman. His demeanor here suggests that he certainly has a sense of that and that he's ready to rally his own form of defiance.

Reviewed by: Erfan Starled -- Score: 5

Picking titles blind I'm finding all sorts - this is part of a fascinating set of ficlets that I'm pleased to have come across. The way it's written is all the better for - I mean it very well - not being exactly 'perfect', in some terms - giving a strong, vibrant effect. I'm thinking of the '[then! Shrieking assent]' passage. That whole sentence and others is full of life and feeling. I liked the way strong vocabulary fills the piece, such as '[chittering, cawing cascade]' and morning, creeping '[banishing shadows - but for one]', as well, which not everyone gets away with when they write. Here, for me, you do: I liked this dramatic, visual, heart-felt look at Radagast facing the fight alongside Gandalf, each in their own way. It ends with feeling and a sense of the future. Nicely done.

Reviewed by: Virtuella -- Score: 4

I don't normally identify total favourites, so I wouldn't say birds are my favourite aspect of nature, too, but I certainly like birds very much. You have brought them into this story beautifully and captured a moment that, minute as it is, was important to the whole plot of LOTR. And it's nice to see a story in which Radagast is not some kind of dim-witted old fool, but has his own wisdom and power.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon -- Score: 4

A lovely snapshot of a moment in the travels of Radagast the Brown. Dwimordene illustrates the Brown Wizard's affinity with birds with a visit from the ones who fly free of Sauron's influence, small birds and great Eagle alike acknowledge Radagast's kindly influence. An unusual and persuasive look at the wizard who is less grandiose but no less noble than his Grey and White brothers.

Reviewed by: Larner -- Score: 4

This glimpse at Radagast doing what he does best, setting his own spies in order against Sauron's doings, is marvelous! How fortunate all of Middle Earth proved that he remained true! Yes, a wonderful vignette as we see the power of the Brown Wizard in action as he draws all of the birds of Mirkwood to assist in the watch on the doings of evil! Well done indeed, my friend.

Reviewed by: Clodia -- Score: 4

This ficlet is extremely well done: the language is stately and evocative, the description beautiful, the setting rich. I get a real sense of the misty dawn landscape and a flock of birds stirring and scattering around Radagast the Brown from this piece. Radagast the Brown is such an underused and interesting character and this is a truly delightful glimpse of the Wizardís activities on the periphery of the main action.

Reviewed by: Ignoble Bard -- Score: 4

Radagast got kind of a raw deal in LOTR, not really doing much, not much known about him. I like to think of his talents being used in this way to aid the quest. I can see his relationship with the birds and animals as being very useful behind the scenes and this story brings that out beautifully. I especially like the image of him standing with his head thrown back singing all the birdsong while they fly around him, and the eagle's winged salute. This is an excellent little vignette.

Reviewed by: Ragnelle -- Score: 3

I liked this very much. The swarms of the birds were vivid. Since I am a horsy person: a bay is a brown horse with black mane, tail and legs, so [a bay mare brown as he] looked a little strage to me. A niggle, but it earned you a few more points and the story was good enough to deserve them ;)

Reviewed by: Nancy Brooke -- Score: 3

Tihs is a wonderfully rich vignette that really captures this little-known character in a telling moment. The author does a great job of imparting the feel of this morning, this setting, this character at this moment. Nice!

Reviewed by: Inzilbeth -- Score: 3

Radagast, it often seems to me it treated as a bit of a fool, a lesser wizard than his two more esteemed contemporaries, Saruman and Gandalf. It was good, therefore, to see his contribution to the war against Sauron receive some recognition. This is a beautuifully written ficlet.

Reviewed by: obsidianj -- Score: 3

This little ficlet brings Radagast to life. It shows his special connection to living things. Saruman was the fool in underestimating Radagast. I love the picture you paint of an early morning at the Carrock.

Reviewed by: Marta -- Score: 3

I love the imagery in this ficlet of the different types of birds flying past Radagast, it's very evocative. And somehow it seems fitting that this is what he would remember, details every bit as important to him as are troop numbers and locations to the likes of Denethor and Theoden. A nice view of our brown wizard.

Reviewed by: Jael -- Score: 2

Very nice. Radagast doesn't usually get enough respect. This is exactly the sort of thing I see him doing without much fanfare. This is very well written, too.