Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

House with the Cedar Shingles: Ramson Spring

Author: Cuthalion
Nominator: Rabidsamfan
2006 Award Category: Times: Fourth Age and Beyond: Gondor

Story Type: Other Fiction : Length: Short Story
Rating: PG-13 -- Reason for Rating: Rated PG-13 for mention of mild angst and very mild sexuality.
Summary: As an offspin of the AU-tale "Winter Fire", this tale offers the first encounter of Samwise Gamgee with Noerwen, the Healer of Ithilien. And after having survived the meeting with her dog, they spend a strange and enlightening afternoon...


Reviewed by: Mechtild -- Score: 10

This was a complete delight, Cúthalion! From beginning to end, it was a pleasure to read, conveying me to a world and time in Middle-earth’s history that I do not know well. I’ve read only a handful of fics that take place long after the Quest (ones that don’t’ take place in the Undying Lands). This one was just great. The opening was light and fluffy: “the Gamgees at Court”; along with the treat of seeing Elboron (what a dish he’s going to be when he grows up!). Your powers of description, and your knowledge of growing things I’ve seen you demonstrate in other stories was put to excellent use here, especially in the scenes at Noerwen’s. After the fluffy start, you took us with Sam and Rosie to the home of people I did not know at all. In fact, with the divider indicator between the sections, I really did not know at first if I was still in Ithilien or in some other part of Middle-earth, or whether it was the same time frame as the first section, or what sort of folk Noerwen and Lírulin were (“Men, I think – but what sort?”). Surely not Dwarves or Elves. I stayed with you, to be utterly gratified to see Samwise stand his ground before the huge dog, Maethor. No wonder the Healer of Ithilien (as she turned out to be) was reminded of tales of this hobbit facing off with Shelob! Soon the tale was no longer light and fluffy, but grew more and more contemplative and profound, delving into the loss Sam still felt towards Frodo’s leaving, but in a beautifully understated way, revealing the understanding this woman seemed to have for what Sam and Frodo had been through, along with a glimpse into the profundity of her own relationship with her husband, the Ranger, Damrod. You even gratified me with a sense of the Great Tale of Frodo, and his “War of the Ring”, and how it would have been sung and handed down after his departure to the West. I was one happy reader. I had one question. In the scene between Noerwen and Damrod, he asks her... [“Did… did you ever regret it?” he suddenly asked. “What?” “That you left your world behind… to be with me?”] What did he mean by this? What world had Noerwen left behind to be with him? Does he mean that she left her sphere of “regular” humans (with normal life spans) to marry him, a Numenorean? And that she will probably pre-decease him? That is all I could think of. Perhaps I missed a detail that would have let me know what the issue was behind this discussion. This was a super story, Cúthalion. I am so happy it was nominated, or I might never have read it.

Reviewed by: Dwimordene -- Score: 7

A peaceful, reflective interlude in the life of Samwise Gamgee and one of the Rangers of Ithilien. Twenty years after the Ring War, Sam has a large and growing family, and he, Rose, and Elanor are for the moment visiting in Gondor, staying with Faramir and Eowyn. A chance visit by an ambassador from Harad provides the family an opportunity to take a little retreat with Elboron to the herbalist's garden. The OC herbalist has a steady, calming, wise presence as the conversation turns to Sam's first visit to Ithilien, during the Ring War, and how much Frodo's absence still hurts, despite all the blessings of peace. Noerwen apparently has had to learn a similar lesson, that sometimes, healing is harsh, but ultimately there is hope. Damrod's brief part in the story, which allows this point to come out, gives us a nice glimpse of him as well, and the man he has come to be since the war. Good job, Cuthalion!

Reviewed by: Rabidsamfan -- Score: 4

Confessions first -- this one was written for me, so I'm bound to like it -- but I'll take any excuse to visit Belegcuthalion's "Winter Fire" universe. Noerwen remains one of my favorie original characters in all LotR fanfic. In this story Sam, Rosie, and Elanor meet Noerwen in Ithilien during their visit south when Elanor is coming to be one of Arwen's retinue. The one thing I missed in "Winter Fire" was Sam having a chance to tell his story, and here, at last, we are rewarded for our patience.

Reviewed by: Dreamflower -- Score: 4

This story takes place during the visit of the Gamgees to Minas Tirith in SR 1442, and deals with Sam's homesickness, and his longing, even after all these years, to see his friend Frodo once more. There is a fascinating OC, about whom there seems to be a bit of backstory. But what I love is the gentle connection of Sam to the land of Ithilien. Very lyrically written.

Reviewed by: Bodkin -- Score: 3

A most enjoyable story - and, much as I loved the very Sam-like Sam, together with Rose and Elanor, and delightfuly as Elboron was - the healer of Ithilien is the real star of the story. Noerwen and her love for her husband - and his for her - and their delightful daughter are very appealing.