Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Cousin Calla

Author: Dreamflower
Nominator: Lily
2006 Award Category: Races: Hobbits: Pre-Quest - Second Place

Story Type: Other Fiction : Length: Medium Length
Rating: PG -- Reason for Rating: Rating for character deaths (minor canon characters and OC)
Summary: Frodo and Pippin help Merry through a sad time, and Frodo renews his acquaintance with a beloved relative.


Reviewed by: GamgeeFest -- Score: 8

Centered around the deaths of Merry's grandparents is this most unusual and fascinating tale of Cousin Calla. There are many strange connections between Frodo and Calla, of which both characters are aware of yet do not speak of. The strange visions that Calla receives and draws are of ancient and mythic times, or even glimpses of the future. Frodo recognizes some of the drawings, though he has yet to find out why. The mysterious debilitating disease that Calla has is also a precursor to Frodo's condition after the War, in the way that Calla keeps herself locked away, ashamed of her state, and allows only a very few select family members to visit her, opting to spend her days drawing in her sketchbook. She is wasting, in body as well as spirit. The most delightful part of this sad tale was when she allowed Merry to visit her, in lieu of his grandparents, and she gives Merry paintings of his grandparents from their younger days, as well as when she later gives Frodo a drawing of his parents looking over him from the beyond.

Reviewed by: Lily -- Score: 7

This is a story full of sentiment, friendship and the coping with loss. The deaths of Rory and Gilda cause old memories to awake again in Frodo and yet he manages to keep up a mask. He is some kind of rock to cling to for Merry during these terrible days even though his own grief is ever present. Pippin is the only one who senses this and it is upon him to look after both his older cousins and though this costs him quite a lot of energy he is there for them both. This is real friendship, and as always the characterizations of Merry, Frodo and Pippin are perfect, as well as that of the other folks like Paladin or Saradoc. Then there is Calla, of course. At first I did not know what to make of her but as I read on this poor old woman somehow became dear to me. And her drawings and the fact that Frodo recognises them in a way are an amazing tool to add to the constant tinge of melancholy and foreboding throughout the story.

Reviewed by: Pearl Took -- Score: 6

I just re-read this wonderful story, though I didn't really need to. It is a story one remembers. Death is not an easy topic, but this story handles it gracefully. Rorimac Brandybuck is dying and word has raced through the Shire. Merry, who was visiting at Bag End is whisked home by Paladin, along with Frodo and Pippin. They arrive in time to say goodbye, with the feeling of the story being that Rory had waited for this special grandson to arrive. He also has a special farewell for Frodo. Frodo and Pippin help Merry hold up as the mourners arrive, with Frodo eventually taking Merry off for a very special visit. They go to see Cousin Calla who has been a reclusive invalid for many years. It is a rich, beautiful story of love, friendship and strength. Thank you Dreamflower!

Reviewed by: Bodkin -- Score: 4

I feel for poor Merry here. The first losses can be very traumatic - even if those who die are old and infirm and willing to go. It can be the first indication that your world is not inviolate. I'm glad Rory and Menegilda waited long enough to say goodbye to their grandson. Frodo was good for him - and Cousin Calla was an interesting inhabitant of Brandy Hall. Remarkably talented. The glimpses into another world were interesting - and her gift of sketches suggested that she, too, knew her path was ending.

Reviewed by: Marigold -- Score: 4

What I like the most about this story is the love and support that Frodo and Pippin provide grieving Merry. Even though it is hard for Frodo to deal with this loss as well, and even though it is a strain for young Pippin to be as strong and supportive as Merry needs him to be, neither relaxes even a moment from their self imposed task. Wonderful characterisations of every hobbit in this story. Cousin Calla is a great OC, and the foreshadowing of her work as they pertain to Frodo is really intriguing.

Reviewed by: pippinfan88 -- Score: 4

I just love Cousin Calla! She is that dear old auntie--the eccentric of the family that everyone whispers about but never speaks of in detail. She is a recluse in her own apartment, yet a extremely talented artist with a deep love for her young cousin, Frodo. I love the idea of artists in the Shire; obviously, they didn't have cameras back then, lol, so sketching or painting was one venue of passing down family history. I found this story of Cousin Calla very sweet and endearing.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon -- Score: 3

This is a sensitively written story of Frodo, several years before FOTR, and his relationship with a cousin of his who is a precognitive artist. The story has a lovely hobbity feel to it, with good characterisation of Merry, Pippin, their fathers, and of course Frodo, with a great cameo by Sam.

Reviewed by: Larner -- Score: 3

Here we meet Cousin Calla, a Brandybuck relation to whom Frodo is greatly indebted for the comfort he found in Brandy Hall after his parents' deaths and for the instruction he received in artwork. A lovely study of characters and relationships.