Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Hark! How Blithe the Throstle Sings!

Author: Dreamflower
Nominator: Dreamflower
2009 Award Category: Races: Cross-Cultural: Eriador - Honorable Mention

Story Type: Story : Length: Short Story
Rating: General -- Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: Young Frodo Gamgee, serving the King for a year in Annúminas is a bit homesick, but a visit from his father cheers him up.


Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger -- Score: 7

One of the most amazing things about Dreamflower's stories is how very carefully everyone is characterized, and I do mean everyone. Even characters appearing briefly, like Tomias Hornblower, have personality and depth. It makes these stories such a pleasure to read, because everyone brings something to the tale and no one is a throw away character. In Mr. Hornblower's case, I love the way his opinion of Sam changes as introductions are made. It was also great fun to see Arwen's effect on someone who was meeting her for the first time. But the best moments were those between father and son. Sam has grown quite a bit. He's still that grounded hobbit who was able to support Frodo all the way through Mordor and still hope to go home, but he handles himself with more confidence and he's much more at ease around others than he was in the books. It's a natural character growth that Dreamflower writes beautifully, and his son is very much like his father while still being his own hobbit. Wonderfully done!

Reviewed by: Virtuella -- Score: 6

You know, I thought of this story only today, because I was thinking about how we write our own experiences into our stories and it had suddenly occurred to me to wonder what personal experience lies behind this one. I am almost sure that you had a particular real life garden in mind when you wrote this, and I feel that might have even been the trigger for the whole story in the first place. Your description of this place is so vibrant, so sensory, and I imagine /you/ walking there and taking it all in and making notes! It has all the marks of a real place, and in fact has become like a real place in my mind, like a memory. Needless to say that the other aspects of this story are also great, the characters, the themes and the language. But I wouldn't expect anything else of you anyway! ;-)

Reviewed by: Imhiriel -- Score: 6

Good use of perspective. It was enjoyable to see the people and the goings-on in Annúminas from the point of view of Frodo-lad - as someone quite young and who was not one of the "famous Hobbits", he offers new insights into familiar people. His character is conveyed very well right from the start. I can see he is devoted to his family, loves gardening so much he immediately compares Arwen's dress to the appropriate flower, and is feeling a little homesick and out-of-place. I liked the idea of alternating his letters to his many siblings (which also come alive in the little snippets Sam provides for his son). The descriptions are evocative, particularly of the outdoors: the garden and the picnic spot sound so very inviting. And I thought the idea of some "random" Hobbit coming to initiate trade, and "Foregate" interesting and credible details for the Fourth Age.

Reviewed by: Celeritas -- Score: 6

Dreamflower excels at writing fics about the simplest of things—and yet creating a kind of beauty in this simplicity. (Very hobbit-like, if you ask me.) [Hark! How Blithe the Throstle Sings!] is a fine example of that, by giving us a delightful little tale about Frodo Gardner feeling just a little homesick during his time as page for the King in the North. A surprise visit from Sam, and a few candid words with his son and the King quickly set things to rights, and if you’re looking for anything edgier than that you’d best turn your attention elsewhere! A solid piece of entertainment is given a few extra bonus quirks here and there—this reader particularly appreciated Sam’s self-effacement and the shock of his guest as he realized how much the Mayor truly was honored in the Outlands.

Reviewed by: Larner -- Score: 5

The LOTR Community Challenges are becoming a joyous tradition now, particularly when tales such as this come from them! Young Frodo Gamgee-Gardner may love his King and the chance to serve as Lord Elessar's page; but there are moments when he feels almost unbearably homesick. Listening to the song of the throstle and watching his small and youthful page with his father, the King realizes one thing that will undoubtedly help the young Hobbit--and such a simple and obvious activity to help him deal with the separation from his land and people! Beautiful and sensitive--this is a lovely story to read and reread!

Reviewed by: NeumeIndil -- Score: 3

Aww. Your Sam is a good father, and even better friend, I think. I can imagine that Frodo lad isn't the only Northerner at court that would get homesick for the old ways and names. "Mr. Strider" made me giggle. Thanks for a sweet little story.

Reviewed by: WendWriter -- Score: 3

I like this finely nuanced story, and the way it depicts the characters I know and love. The birdsong scenes are a delight, and the way Frodo-lad pines for the Shire is poignant and sweet. The endearing rendering of the characters is heartwarming, and makes me want to read your other works. Beautiful stuff! Good luck in the MEFA's.

Reviewed by: Sevilodorf -- Score: 2

Obvious that you have your 'verse well established. A well written window into your version of the Fourth Age.