Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

"In Mordor Where the Shadows Are" (Vol 3 of 8, of "The Adventures of Frodo Gardner")

Author: Dreamdeer
Nominator: Dreamdeer
2009 Award Category: Times: Post-Ring War and Beyond

Story Type: Story : Length: Novel
Rating: Mature -- Reason for Rating: (For the entire series.) SEX: Implicit except for explicit pollinization. Sexual crimes are never eroticised. LANGUAGE: euphemized in translation. VIOLENCE: Infrequent, but no holds barred. OCCULT: Sauron and other ghosts and demons. SHOCKS: Sooner or later this series will push any button you have. Not for PTSD sufferers in the avoidance-phase of recovery.
Summary: Frodo Gardner has finally made it to Mordor, and must begin the work of teaching Shire farm-lore. There's just a few problems: 1) it's the worst farmland in all of Middle-Earth, 2) the citizens were raised by orcs, 3) Monsters still prowl, 4) Frodo didn't arrive in the best of shape, and 5) Sauron's ghost won't stop kibbitzing. AU for reasons explained later.


Reviewed by: Celeritas -- Score: 10

I have not, alas, been able to finish reading this magnum opus; however, I did get to the end of this particular volume (and intend to finish my work in January, when I shall have considerable time) so I ought to leave it a review the whole piece deserves. First of all, people who do not want to think when they read fan fiction should not read this, because it will make you think whether you want to or not. In this volume Dreamdeer really begins to “warm up,” as it were, setting the stage even more for future conflict and dropping various plot hooks for future books (I assume) left and right. The village of Seaside is a good microcosm for all of Sauron’s experiments, and the people of Mordor who are struggling to recover from them without quite knowing how (because it has been so long). In particular I liked—and shuddered at—the real-world parallels with the way we apply modern mechanics to, say, chickens—and how Frodo’s discovery of the Seasiders’ complete and utter ignorance of the concept of marriage turns him (a hobbit with above-average amorous inclinations) utterly cold towards Mayor Aloe. The plot in this section is quite solid, and the parts surrounding Bergil and his beloved lend themselves well to some beautiful writing. But ultimately Book 3 only makes the reader want to learn more, as Frodo’s guest begins to form a noose around him and as Mattie Heathertoes slowly turns from an interesting side character to the hobbit around whose life Frodo’s will revolve.

Reviewed by: Larner -- Score: 8

If Sam and Frodo were surprised to find green things in Mordor, even if they boasted spiky thorns that tore through their clothing, Frodo Gardner is even more surprised--and pleased--to learn that the variety of plants to be found is far greater than he'd imagined. Guarded by an Entwife, courted by the Mayor of Seaside, assisted by Bergil and the one-handed former sailor who named himself Fishenchips, already in love with the thought that the Hobbit messenger who carried the mail between Gondor and Mordor is truly a lass rather than a lad, and taught by Beebee, who lost her star-bright eyes and much of her facial integrity to poison-spitting snakes, Frodo is seeking to bring life back to a poisoned land. And in doing so he must fight against the wiles of Sauron, who reduced to a spirit of malice nevertheless retains many of his old wiles and powers--and they didn't call him the Necromancer for nothing, after all. Again, a unique vision of the recovery of Mordor after the fall of Sauron as Frodo Gardner seeks to see the land reclaimed, and its people redeemed.

Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger -- Score: 4

Far and away my favorite thing about this story are the pearls of hobbit wisdom. Like Sam's observation that lying to oneself is much worse than lying to others because in lying to others, you know you're doing wrong. Or Bilbo's observation that without Morgoth to introduce decay, the world could never have cheese or wine. Absolutely priceless! These gems litter this complicated and intricate story, giving it a spice and a variety that keeps it alive all the way through.