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Discussing: OMY Ch. 6. - Seduction

OMY Ch. 6. - Seduction

Seduction Strong warnings - If accounts of abuse of children and adolecents distress you, do not read this chapter. In which Merry makes a mess, Esmie makes a move, Bargo makes a fuss, Rory makes a point, and Frodo makes a very big mistake. This was a chapter that was carefully plotted and outlined one direction, and took its wretched self off in the other, dragging me (and Frodo) along behind it. Ouch. Ang



Re: OMY Ch. 6. - Seduction

Most of this chapter was spot-on (and consequently very terrifying), but I have one quibble. Merry seems written too young for his supposed age. His reaction to breaking the crock seems more appropriate to a 2-3 year old, who is still sufficiently unclear on cause and effect to be startled by the crash, and who isn't verbal enough to say, "Oops." I suppose he could already be halfway to tears, through being sick or cranky or having already been scolded 20,000 times this morning, so it's not an impossible reaction, it just strikes me as unlikely.

Furthermore, I would expect Merry to ask more questions, especially the awkward ones that Frodo would not want to answer, like "Why is Bargo meanto you? What does 'bastard' mean?" I'm basing this on my newphew, who is now almost seven, and who would definitely keep asking "Why?" Merry does not need to be a major character in the story, but he should be less of a self-aware terrain feature.

On a separate note, regarding the line "'Yes, Mama, I will. I promise!' Merry earnestly lisped. 'I'll be good and I'll be clean!'", I really dislike the use of the word "lisped" to describe the way small children talk. It's just too twee and precious for me.



Re: OMY Ch. 6. - Seduction

Excellent points about Merry.

I wondered about the "lisped", too, so it can go away, no problem.

Something I don't have as part of the appendices on this story that I do have on Legacy is an age conversion chart. I posit a longer physical and psychological development growth pattern for Hobbits than for humans (playing off of JRRT's assertion that tween hobbits are comparable to teen humans) and while Merry's chronological age is 8 human years, I do an age factor which makes him an old 4 years old/young 5 year old.

But I think I do have him as too young. Hmm, OK, more verbal, more independent, more observant than the folks around him would like to think (like the author, eh?). He has definitely been a brat all morning, which is why Merle is so amused that he is all messy and in trouble. He's also picking up on family tensions (which are only going to get more tense), which from observing my neice and nephew do tend to make them act less mature than I know they are.





Re: OMY Ch. 6. - Seduction

Typo catcher at work:

Chapter 3 at about 1/5 text: Frodo thinks about sharing a room with Bilbo: "Rat, a small voice rebuked him,..."
the middle part of this sentence should be not in italics.

Chapter 5 at about 2/3 text: Bilbo's thoughts: "He can be cared for by others."
Shouldn't it be "can't"?

Chapter 6 at about 2/3 text : "Frodo.... to mention Tom"
No period at the end of sentence.



Re: OMY Ch. 6. - Seduction

I'll have to look at the Ch. 5, Bilbo's thoughts one. I think he's having an internal argument with himself:

What about Frodo?
Others can care for him.
But they have misused him before, you can't leave him

I need to go take a look and see if got the order right... :-)




Re: OMY Ch. 6. - Seduction

Maybe it was a misunderstanding. It wasnot clear to me, so I mentioned it.



Re: OMY Ch. 6. - Seduction

If it isn't clear, then I should take a look and see if there is a better way to explain it, though.




Re: OMY Ch. 6. - Seduction

Rory and Frodo:
That was heart wrenching, for both of them
At first, Frodo is extremely calculating and manipulating. He bargains with Rory to get what he wants, and play-acts the rueful sinner. And then , suddenly, he lets go all caution and confronts Rory with the full truth about Sara, and does not care about the consequences.
At first reading I simply loved him for his courage, which I felt was born from trust, because he still sees Rory as the fatherly person who will act righteous if he knows everything.
In this courage I see a glimpse of the future Frodo.
But I think now that the anger about Rory, who speaks so proud of his son, and the simple continued habit of obedience - Rory repeats at least three times he wants to hear the full truth - might have something to do with it.
And clearly Frodo is still childish enough that he lacks imagination of how hard he really hurts Rory. He has no empathy of what a father feels toward his child.
The mix of Frodo's adult and childish thinking and behaviour in this dialogue is very well done.
Al in all, I think the characterization of Frodo in the story so far (still haven't read all) is very good. He is unbalanced, clever, foolish, calculating, generous, trusting, reserved, and all in all unpredictable. Given his age and his personal history, he is absolutely believable.
And I do so not envy Bilbo for having to take responsibiltiy of him!



Re: OMY Ch. 6. - Seduction

This was a very difficult chapter to write because I have two characters whom I love dearly acting in ways that I don't want to see, yet which are consistent with their characters. In particular, it was hard to show Rory's shortcomings in such a brutal way. Rory does not have Bilbo's self-control or imagination - he is frightened by things that challenge his way of seeing the world. In chapter 9, you'll get a better picture of what is going on in Rory's mind such that this would be a reasonable reaction for him. But it really hurt to write this, and it hurt even more to write chapter 9.

Frodo is courageous in a very stubborn, ordinary way. This is one of his great virtues and is what, along with his compassion, allowed him to achieve what he did on the Quest. Something that surprised me a good deal as I wrote OMY was how forgiving Frodo can be, even at this young and self-centered age, even when being treated quite badly. He is far more judgmental of himself than he is of those around him. But sometimes, his indignation at injustice bubbles over and he shoots his mouth off.

Frodo is in a bit of an in-between situation in OMY. He is slowly becoming attached to Bilbo (though it is complicated and confusing for him to sort out his feelings, and some of his less appropriate feelings leave him frightened), but he is not able to let go of his very strong attachments to Rory and Gilda. He has lost his parents before, and strongly resists losing parental figures again. He definitely resents being handed about by his elders.

One thing that was important for me to explore was how annoying Bilbo would be to live with. Bilbo in large doses is not necessarily a good thing. Much of OMY is Bilbo and Frodo accepting that they do not automatically love or even like each other, that they have to understand each other better and work towards caring for each other. One interesting thing was to see how Frodo was unconsciously copying Bilbo's actions and mirroring Bilbo's opinions.

Thanks for the comments!




Re: OMY Ch. 6. - Seduction

This is entirely my opinion (and I am probably biased to begin with) but your use of the word faucet in this chapter really grated. American words similar to English like gotten I can live with (I read it as got anyway) but faucet is such a different word. I checked with some friends a while ago and even though they (and I) watch some American TV series (like Buffy for example) we all knew it had something to do with water and plumbing, but thought it was something else.

Now why do I think this? As I'm English myself I am biased. Not least because my argument makes my own fic writing easier. But the books were written in English (although slightly older English) which suggests to me that fanfic ought to be too.

I can, however, see the other side of that argument, because I'm essentially saying write in English, but not necessarily Tolkien's English.

Its only really come to my attention because I recently read a Stargate fic written by an English friend of mine and reading things she had written in American was really odd. But it was the right thing to do because the whole thing is set in America and has mainly American characters in it (the only ones that aren't are aliens anyway).

I'm writing it here, Anglachel, because you have the unfortunate distinction of being the only LOTR fic I've really noticed this in. Sorry.




Re: OMY Ch. 6. - Seduction

Well, I wouldn't know that "faucet" isn't a word used outside of certain American situations if you had not told me, so now I've been educated! :-)

What word would be a better choice, do you think? Spigot? Tap? I am trying to convey that this is a bit of technology that may be totally unique in the Shire (Elvish, perhaps, or Dwarvish) so I was trying to be very clear what it was. It would stand in contrast to a bucket down a well, or a handled pump (such as we saw in the movie whrn the kitchen at Bag End was shown) which I assume would be present in the homes of most hobbits, poverty being as rare as great wealth.

Thanks for the comments - I find liguistic use information fascinating!




Re: OMY Ch. 6. - Seduction

Having looked it up in the dictionary it says that a faucet is:

1. a tap fitted to a barrel
2. US & Canad. a tap

and the first definition of a tap says:

1. Chiefly Brit. a valve by which the flow of a liquid or gas from a pipe can be controlled. Usual US word: faucet

I looked up spigot as well (which I've never heard of) which is essentially the same as definition 1 of faucet.

So getting all technical and looking at how you defined it in the text you could use any of them really. I think though tap would be the best way to not get too technical about exactly what its attached to, given that it has a wider meaning.

I've have used tap automatically, in the same way that you'd use faucet I think.

I've actually learnt quite a bit from this discussion as well! (and managed to get away with doing very little work at work today)




Re: OMY Ch. 6. - Seduction

Amusingly enough, I find faucet is actually a UK English word, first used in 1400s (with citations including Shakespeare) and now mainly archaic, except in the US.

The OED suggests that 'spigot and faucet' was the original version, denoting a tap consisting of a straight wooden tube, closed with a peg or screw, such as used in barrels; it suggests that most properly the tube is the spigot, and the peg the faucet, though the usage has become very confused.

Hope this helps, Ang!




Re: OMY Ch. 6. - Seduction

Oh, now *that's* interesting! Yes, this gives me some to chew on.

Thanks to both of you for bringing all of it to my attention! I'd much rather learn new stuff than work. ;-)




Re: OMY Ch. 6. - Seduction

First of all, in case the rest of this post seems hypercritical, I have to say that I only noticed these flaws, if flaws they be, because I found the whole to be a work of such high standard. I *cared* enough for what you have written to worry over minor details which (in my eyes, I hasten to add) affected what I felt to be the wonderful quality overall.

Being English, I also noted your use of the word faucet, and it jarred with me too. There are other American phrases and terms (one of which Paranoidangel mentioned) which also jolt my enjoyment, because *Tolkien would never have used them* . You convince me so thoroughly that this is the Shire history that he might have written had he had the time, that I can't help registering the fact when you part company, occasionally, with the language he would have employed. It happens all the time in other fics, and I can pass over it except in the few for which I feel strongly. In most, in doesn't matter as I'm not going to return to them again and again, but in an exceptionally good story, then, to me, it does. I sha'n't detail them here as it is your work and for you to decide whether you think I'm just a picky so-and-so or whether they matter to you too.
A few of us tried to start a discussion of this subject on another list, and were rapidly shut up by the moderator, so I have hesitated to mention it here - wouldn't have done so at all had it not been for the faucet post.
Please do not take umbrage (which I have always thought *should* be the collective term for a gathering of umbrellas!) at what I have written.
As I said, only a deep admiration for the scope and complexity of the whole makes minor 'flaws' stand out - and probably only to me and a few other obsessives!
Thank you for the time and love which so obviously go into your work.

Tiriel * Hoping not to give offence, but trying to be honest*

PS. Have a list of typos too....



Re: OMY Ch. 6. - Seduction

No, no, no! Please I *want* to hear this kind of thing!

I don't know what UK usage would be in all cases, and I do try to stay away from modernisms and obvious Americanisms. Even so, I don't always succeed.

This story is in Beta right now. The basic plot, tone and scenes are set, but it is not final. The comments about language are prefect for this stage of writing.

As for someone closing down a discussion of UK vs. US vs. whatever English usage, their loss! I say we should have a discussion here on HASA. I think more than a few people here would be interested in knowing about different linguistic approaches, espcially if we can get some historical info about why we have and use the wwords we do.

I'm not the slightest bit offended or upset by *any* of this. :-)

Thanks so much,




Re: OMY Ch. 6. - Seduction

Hi, I'm quite the newbie, so I'm a tad skittish of jumping in here, but I will, since you seem pretty open to me. I'm with Tiriel, only bringing up mechanical things, because this story is *so* well written, and of such quality, that you *care* that everything is "just so".

I was just going to point out that in the list of characters for Chapter 3, and the accumulated one in Chapter 24 at the end, you list Merry's father as "Saradas Brandybuck". In the appendices, (and, for example, "The Road to Isengard", when Merry introduces himself to Theoden, et al) it's stated that his father's name is Saradoc. (Rory's brother is, however, Saradas).

That's all for now. I *truly* enjoyed this story, as I enjoyed "Legacy". Your attention to detail, characterization of Bilbo, and in-depth treatment of social mores, among other things, made this an extremely pleasurable read.

Hoping for more Frodo/Bilbo stories from you!




Re: OMY Ch. 6. - Seduction

Oh, fiddlesticks!

Yes, I definitely need to correct that one. Thank you so much for helping me avoid making a total ass of myself.

I do have four more stories tentatively planned for Frodo & Bilbo, and I have a story partly underway that is about Bilbo & Gilda in their younger days. Unfortunately, no ETA on when I will get going on them. There is one chapter of the Bilbo & Gilda story "The Mistress" available in the beta section, though it is not even up to beta quality. It's pretty much an alpha (first-draft) chapter.

Thanks for your kind words & encouragement. Thanks even more for the correction!

Toodles - Ang



Re: OMY Ch. 6. - Seduction

FOUR MORE bilbo/frodo stories?!?! i'm awfully sorry, ang, but i have to give you a great, big, wet, slobbery KISS!!! i don't care how long i have to wait for them (i mean i do, but i don't want to push my luck...), you just made my day!

dances happily away, kete



Re: OMY Ch. 6. - Seduction

Four tentative ones:

"Lithe" - A story that covers from a few weeks after Dalin leaves through the Free Fair in mid-June. Bilbo foiling Odogar's plots and Frodo learning just what Bilbo has done with the dragon treasure.

No title - Bilbo's 100th birthday. I think there will be elves in this one, somewhere. A lot of looking backwards due to the occasion.

"From the South" - Several years later (not sure how long a time span) and the major clan heads & their heirs all gather in the Great Smials to discuss the problem of strange things from the south coming into the Shire.

"Quick to Anger" - A few years later again. Gandalf finally shows up, and a certain party is planned.

All of them involving a good mix of love, sex, politics, economics, social analysis and casts of hundreds. There may or may not be a trip to Bree mixed into all of it. Dalin will probably reappear a few times. Since they will be set mostly in Hobbiton, Sam will be making himself known.

Of course, it's all just plot ideas at this point...




Re: OMY Ch. 6. - Seduction

och, this is too good to be true.... of course very unwise of you to tell me ;o) now i will keep pestering you until you ban me from the board.... could you please retire from whatever you're doing in RL and start WRITING!?!?!

kete, greedily grinning "four more, four more"



Re: OMY Ch. 6. - Seduction

Tell Dwim & Lyllyn & Kirixchi & Enros to quit having multiple personalities!

Sorry to say these all come after a few other stories I'm working on, so possibly not until Fall. That just gives time for ideas to develop.

Place to go, people to see, code to look at and wail "Why!?! Why is it doing that!?!"....




Re: OMY Ch. 6. - Seduction

There are still strong warnings for this chapter - If accounts of abuse of children and adolecents distress you, do not read this chapter. This was the second chapter with a poor characterization of Merry. I have worked on it quite a bit, and I think I have him closer to a 4 or 5 year old. He is definitely an instigator (hey, he *is* the one who formed the conspirtacy to watch Frodo years later), and he's being a royal brat. Almost all significant edits are in the first half of the chaper. Ang



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