Reviews For The Prisoner and the Hobbit

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Reviewer: Yuhamara (Signed)
03/15/16 - 11:11 pm
Chapter 1: Incarceration

I can't gush enough about how much I love this story! The interaction between Mairon and Bilbo is simply wonderful and gives us so much insight into both of their characters! This is just so lovely and in-depth and the background in your world is simply amazing! I sincerely hope that you continue expanding on this part of the panieverse, I'm practically going out of my mind from anticipation for a next chapter! 



Author's Response:

Thanks so much, Yuhamara!  I'm really glad to hear you're enjoying the story, and I am certain Dreamflower will be, too.  Actually, we're not too far from wrapping the story up.  Bilbo has been exceedingly patient waiting for his nefarious correspondent! :^)  Thanks again!

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Reviewer: Keiliss (Signed)
09/06/12 - 04:39 pm
Chapter 1: Incarceration

The Tree and Flower Awards have found me reading and enjoying stories I wouldn't normally try, and it's also given me a chance to catch up on a few I was curious about but never seemed to find time to read. This was one I've been curious about for a while now. No review yet, just wanted to say I was absolutely hooked by the end of the first paragraph. I was halfway through the second chapter before I looked up from the screen again. Rather than rushing through the chapters, I'll spread them out a bit and savour them. I love the concept and that two writers who know these people so well have decided to collaborate is really exciting. 



Author's Response:

Oh, thank you so much for giving this out-on-a-limb epistolary a chance, Kei! :^)  It has been fun for Dreamflower and me to write because of the spontaneity:  Bilbo never knows what the DL will write and vice versa.  Because of RL demands, my contributions have been quite slow in coming (I tend to channel my "Dark Muse" to work-related writing), but DLS sent a draft (in need of polishing) to Master Baggins recently, so we hope to get a chapter up in the near future.  

 

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Reviewer: curiouswombat (Signed)
06/07/12 - 02:05 pm
Chapter 8: An Unexpected Visitor

How good to see another chapter of one of my favourite tales.  I do like the image of Eönwë turning up and transmogrifying from eagle to man as he lands.

And I did enjoy this exploration of Bilbo's younger life.



Author's Response:

Since pande had included Eonwe in the scene with Sauron, we thought it would be fun if he delivered Bilbo's letter!

I've been wanting a chance to set out some of my idea of Bilbo's backstory, and this was the perfect chance to do so.

 

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Reviewer: Raksha The Demon (Signed)
02/09/12 - 03:44 am
Chapter 7: Revelation and Reaction

A fascinating chapter.  Poor Bilbo is getting a much deeper look into the Life And Times of Sauron the Deceiver than he'd bargained for; isn't he, learning about Sauron's foray into family life and more...Sauron as the annoyed father-in-law disliking Glorfindel is rather amusing and very human.  Sauron reminiscing about those poor boys he gave to the Witch-king is also human, and far less amusing. The fact that Sauron did know on some level that what he was doing was wrong (of course, not the first time) makes his evil all the sharper.  I'd like to know more about Sauron's deliberate campaign of psychic terror with Denethor via Palantir...

Loved the ending.  Bilbo's pity once, indirectly, helped save Middle-earth by assuring Gollum's survival until the time that Gollum's greed and obsession was most needed.  I think Bilbo's pity is playing a role in the salvation of Sauron...

Interesting that Sauron is being given a tablet.  Olorin has one too and his is white, very funny!

 

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Reviewer: Raksha The Demon (Signed)
02/06/12 - 06:45 pm
Chapter 5: Of Marbles and Golf

Some fascinating revelations about Sauron's past and present.  

The correspondence with Bilbo is helping him as perhaps nothing else could; because Bilbo is both a historian and a Ring-bearer, as well as a person from a race/culture removed from much of the Morgoth & Sauron & co. v. Valar/Maiar/Eldar/Edain etc. conflicts. Bilbo is both forcing Sauron to confront his past misdeeds and helping him understand them, as few others could - like Olorin, but without the eons-long personal history that Olorin has with Sauron.  I think he's right that Sauron is, to some degree, testing Bilbo by the revelations of some his most terrible actions.

Sauron's forcing himself to calm down and relinquish the rage and malice that still flares up was rather remarkable, and shows some progress.  

I would really, really, really have loved to have seen Sauron's interaction with Finrod in Valinor - must have been an interesting conversation!

 

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Reviewer: Kaylee Arafinwiel (Signed)
11/29/11 - 01:13 pm
Chapter 6: Distant Kindred

I enjoyed this chapter thoroughly, though I'm not much of a Darwin (The Origin of Species one, not the golf one) fan. I do like mini-golf; regular golf is too much for me to manage. But I'll look up this Darwin! 

 

I want the story behind that pepper-pot! hehe! Eagerly awaiting the next chapter!!!



Author's Response:

And again, thanks very much for reading this story, Kaylee. :^)  It may be outside of quite a few folks' comfort zone, so it's gratifying that there are readers out there.

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Reviewer: Kaylee Arafinwiel (Signed)
11/29/11 - 01:05 pm
Chapter 5: Of Marbles and Golf

I think Sauron would be a most intriguing, if terrifying, teacher to have. *shudders* I admit math of any stripe (at least, once I got past basic decimals and fractions) has never been my thing. (My sister had a calculus teacher whose catchphrase was "CALCULUS IS YOUR HAPPY PLACE!" shouted out in an enthusiastic sort of tone. Crazy woman...Well, anyway...)

I do love all the references, and I caught the "Trotter" and "Ancestress" ones easily enough! I also recognized most of the planet names from Fiondil (my atar indonyo)'s story "Wars of the Valar", though I do not think they're all identical. I will have to re-check that. 



Author's Response:

Heh.  Well, Sauron in his guise as Aulendil in my work takes some inspiration from a couple of professors on my doctoral thesis committee.  They were most certainly scary-smart. Although I wasn't wild about pure calculus, I really liked it as applied to physical chemistry.  I didn't shout about it though. :^)

There could be some variation in the planets' Quenya names.  Mine were nabbed from the Ardalamberon site and cross-checked with HoMe X, Morgoth's Ring.

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Reviewer: Kaylee Arafinwiel (Signed)
11/29/11 - 12:16 pm
Chapter 4: The Years of the Trees/Riddles in the Dark

Now, Sauron having a sister is very interesting! I do like this chapter very much, though the letter was so difficult for Bilbo to finish. I'm wondering exactly how much they'll reveal to each other by the time this story is over...



Author's Response:

My interpretation of Tolkien's legendarium is considerably more humanistic, and I don't regard the Ainur as "angelic spirits" but...something else.  Yet the Ainur so powerful and strange that they would appear to be so to the Eruhini.

I'm wondering how much they will reveal, too!  This is a lot of fun for Dreamflower and myself as we never know what one character will write to the other.

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Reviewer: Kaylee Arafinwiel (Signed)
11/29/11 - 11:44 am
Chapter 3: Of Rings

The mention of the sacrifice in the temple made me shudder! Bilbo's correspondence was fun to read, though! :)



Author's Response:

Ah.  Then be aware that Downfallen deals with the sacrifice directly, although not graphically, as Sauron ignores his conscience and takes a step beyond which there's no return.

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Reviewer: Kaylee Arafinwiel (Signed)
11/29/11 - 11:20 am
Chapter 2: On Language

Hmm, now to see what D.L. Sauron thinks of this letter from Bilbo Baggins, Esq.! LOL! I do love Bilbo's Tookish curiousity here. *grins*



Author's Response:

I'm a fan of Bilbo's Tookish curiosity, too, and he has that in common, i.e., inquisitiveness, with the Dark Lord. 

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Reviewer: Kaylee Arafinwiel (Signed)
11/29/11 - 11:12 am
Chapter 1: Incarceration

Now this is most interesting! I've read what there is of it over at SoA, and I have to say, this story as a whole intrigues me. The idea of Sauron reading a book by Hitler of all people...wow. (And the fact that my Nook is sitting on my lap right now just made the idea of Sauron having an e-reader, too, just as amusing). 

Sauron and Bilbo corresponding...if that's not an original idea, I don't know what is! This is great. I've never read any Pandeverse before, but I'm an ardent reader of Dreamflower's, and this makes me definitely want to try your stories too, Pandemonium. Where would you recommend I start (after this) with your stories?



Author's Response:

Oh, thanks so much, Kaylee for having a read!  Glad to know that it intrigues you!

Dreamflower's stories are wonderful, and likewise, I enjoy reading them.  Her interpretation of Bilbo is spot-in IMO.

With regard to my stories, hmmm.  There's a chronology here on my profile on the SWG. I recommend starting with Trinity (set in contemporary times, but that's the foundation story of the Pandë!verse), and insofar as the Sauron-centric stories are concerned, then Light Over the Mountain (that's still a bit mysterious and definitely scientifictitious), How the East Was Won, Driftwood, Cat's Paws, The Apprentice, Till Fire Purge All Things New, Broken Star, Downfallen, and Into This Wild Abyss.  There are a few more, but those are fundamentals.  There are dark themes therein, and Sauon is definitely not a nice guy, but neither is he a cardboard cutout of a villain.  All the other stories are interconnected with these in some way.  

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Reviewer: SurgicalSteel (Signed)
11/27/11 - 08:40 am
Chapter 6: Distant Kindred

Another fantastically rich chapter!

Although all we've seen of Mairëa so far is this letter, I'm intrigued enough to want to see more. This line:

 You and I both know how that is, and for all of us who join with the Eruhíni, the endings are invariably bittersweet.  Yet we cannot help ourselves, can we?

Particularly intrigued me in her letter, because it suggests that she knows about this from experience.

And Sauron's 'I Do Not Approve Of Glorfindel' had me giggling.

The explanation of the Balrogs' origin was very cool and creative!

I also liked the nod to Sámaril, and Sauron's recognition that this is another person to whom he needs to make amends.

I liked Bilbo's astonished delight that there are books about golf, and his reminiscences about Sam.

I appreciate the shout-out and look forward to more!



Author's Response:

Thanks so much, Steel!  Glad to know that you're continuing to enjoy this joint effort.  Mairëa will certainly be showing up in other works, and her comment that intrigued you will be answered.  My Maiar are more akin to the minor gods and goddesses of the Greek pantheon, who, shall we say, "interacted" more intimately with humans.

I loved Bilbo's response to discovering that there are BOOKS about GOLF!  :^D

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Reviewer: Raksha The Demon (Signed)
11/27/11 - 01:01 am
Chapter 6: Distant Kindred

A juicy chapter full of all sorts of entertaining nuggets - Sauron's dislike of Glorfindel, a letter from Sauron's fond but very un-Dark sister (love it that she refused to call him Sauron), Sauron's mentioning to Bilbo that they are kindred through Bilbo's Maiarin blood, and Sauron's memories of the Luthien episode and being vanquished by her and her very large furry friend.  

I wonder if Sauron's former apprentice will turn up - they certainly would have a lot to say to each other.  And I'd have loved to have seen that conversation between Sauron and Finderato and Sauron's apology...

More soon, I hope!



Author's Response:

The Dark Lord couldn't resist the bit of a dig with regard to being related to Bilbo, and I love Bilbo's response, which is spot-on.  

Thanks so much for having a read and the comments.  Oh, and I made those tweaks to the last bits in The Glitter of Swords.  Thanks muchly for the critique!

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Reviewer: SurgicalSteel (Signed)
11/20/11 - 09:57 am
Chapter 5: Of Marbles and Golf

Heeee! I thought I saw a nod to my fic in there! :D

I liked reading Sauron's reminiscences on Ost-in-Edhil. Although some of the details were disturbing, we get a really good insight into his state of mind in the Pande-verse at the point when he's captured Celembrimbor. I also enjoyed the banter between Olorin and Sauron.

The descriptions of golf and marbles from Bilbo were fun. His reaction to Sauron's feelings about the Ring (sorry to disturb you, but you did ask) rings very true for me.

I'm looking forward to the continuation of this!



Author's Response:

Thanks muchly!  Yes, indeed, there was a nod. :^D   Bilbo has another letter in hand so there will be continuation soon.

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Reviewer: russandol (Signed)
10/19/11 - 05:47 pm
Chapter 5: Of Marbles and Golf

I am amazed by how effective this collaborative effort is proving to be, allowing to explore such a variety of topics and to study events of the past, both canon and of the Pandë!verse from the two very different viewpoints of Sauron and Bilbo Baggins.

I have to love them both because they are so... right. They ring as true as they can be. I've enjoyed the correspondence so far and I am intrigued as to how close they will become, and how they may even end up helping each other.

Sauron's relief after the ring is destroyed is absolutely how I picture him too, though I don't know if he's completely free from his compulsion to control. He seems to be momentarily putting it to one side just because he has accepted that in the foreseeable future he has no power to control much around him. Again, I'm very interested in how that particular thread progresses.

I'll be looking forward to more udates soon!

 



Author's Response:

Thanks a million, Russa!  This...

"I have to love them both because they are so... right. They ring as true as they can be. "

is incredibly flattering to me, and I eagerly nod in response to Dreamflower's superb characterization of Bilbo.

Re: I don't know if he's completely free from his compulsion to control.

For my version of the Dark Lord, he will always have that need to control.  It's an inherent personality trait for Pandë!verse Sauron.  

We're really enjoying the correspondence and are glad that others are, too. :^) 

 

 

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Reviewer: curiouswombat (Signed)
10/19/11 - 02:17 pm
Chapter 5: Of Marbles and Golf

I have just caught up on the most recent couple of chapters and remain fascinated by this corespondence.  The explanation of the Time of the Trees I found most helpful myself!  And I love the idea of the hobbits having invented golf. 



Author's Response:

Thanks so much, curiouswombat!  I'm glad you continue to find Dreamflower's and my story to be fascinating.  We do, too!  It really is like writing a letter because one never knows what to expect.   I love the snippet that Tolkien wrote about the hobbits inventing golf and how Dreamflower expanded on it here.

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Reviewer: SurgicalSteel (Signed)
10/02/11 - 07:44 am
Chapter 4: The Years of the Trees/Riddles in the Dark

Oh, hooray, I was glad to see more of this today! I really liked the initial descriptions of Sauron being allowed outside for the first time in a long time - and also his observation that the green grass, blue sky, etc, may be just a bit too perfect. I also like that it's a letter from family that snaps him out of his depression.

I liked that he describes life during the Time of the Trees as both extraordinary and ordinary - that is, that the same little day to day things anyone would do in Middle-earth were also done under the Trees. And the prank on Curumo! :)

I liked Bilbo's caution in answering questions about Pippin and Sam - and I also liked that he seems to have found a sort of healing in telling someone the real story of how he found the Ring.

Wonderful, and I look forward to more!



Author's Response:

My apologies for the late reply, but my appreciation for your comments and reading this are no less heartfelt!   I loved Bilbo's account of the finding the Ring and his reaction when he had finished.  Dreamflower did a masterful job of that.  And there is more...when you get back.  :^)  Glad you enjoyed it and thanks!

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Reviewer: Raksha The Demon (Signed)
09/17/11 - 06:50 pm
Chapter 2: On Language

So Sauron is as harmless as an old toothless cat?  Of course. For now.  I think Sauron is trying to put Bilbo at ease by the comparison, but I keep thinking of a very toothy Tevildo-as-Cheshire Cat.  

"D.L. Sauron"?  Do the initials stand for Dark Lord?  If so, very funny.  And there's something very amusing about Bilbo writing back to "Dear Mr. Sauron"; it's so very hobbity; especially the notion that it can't be more ironic than addressing a letter to "Dear Lobelia".  

Sauron's bemused chagrin at the 'god-king of Barad-dur penning chatty missives to a hobbit' is delighful.  Actually, the mighty could fall a lot farther than the forging a relationship with a Ring-bearer.



Author's Response:

My apologies for being so late in replying, but then I thanked you in person :^D.   Tevildo the Cheshire Cat is perfect.   Thanks again!

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Reviewer: Raksha The Demon (Signed)
09/17/11 - 01:58 pm
Chapter 1: Incarceration

Oh, this is delightful! And thought-provoking. Who could imagine Sauron, chained in post-Ring War Aman, beginning a correspondence with Bilbo Baggins with the blessing and urging of Gandalf as a fallen-Maia therapist?  

But it hangs together, and works.  I love how you write Sauron here.  He does seem to have a general desire to repent and a realization that he's messed up spectacularly, but he's not so good at actually thinking of victims as individuals with a right not to be messed up - witness his reaction to reading Mein Kampf, and his remembered ruffled pride and outburst at Frodo (both of which I think are totally in character for Sauron, he's not going to let go of that massive pride so quickly; and he was right, a hobbit bearing the Ring is kind of like a kitten making off with a Silmaril; it's not going to be good for the kitty or the hobbit, because neither Ring nor Silmaril was created for their use.  Though I think it points to the hobbits' tremendous courage in shouldering that burden, especially Frodo, slogging through Mordor with the Ring weighing him down...).

Sauron's thoughts about Mein Kampf are fascinating.  He's so rational.  It would have been okay if Hitler had used the Jews to help him conquer lands and build a great empire; because one shouldn't waste good human resources.  I wonder what Napoleon might have managed if Sauron had been around to advise him...Or would we have had another Downfall?  Of course, Napoleon fell pretty spectacularly on his own. They might well have become BFF's; Napoleon being more benevolent than Hitler and not being particularly into genoicide, if I remember my history correctly.  

It's quite interesting that Sauron chooses to be called The Abhorred rather than The Admirable - his self-esteem has taken a bit of a hit, n'est-ce pas?  Which, considering that Sauron had way too much self-esteem, isn't such a bad development, at least for the moment.  At least he isn't asking to be called Gorthaur!

I love Sauron's excitement over the modern pen and tablet.

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Reviewer: SurgicalSteel (Signed)
09/06/11 - 02:30 pm
Chapter 3: Of Rings

I'm really looking forward to seeing more of this - I'm looking forward to Sauron's answer to Bilbo regarding what life under the Two Trees was like, and hoping to see more of Bilbo's thoughts on the 'fairy wife.'

And I'm reminded that someday I should really write my version of how the theft of Nimloth's fruit came about.

A really enjoyable read!



Author's Response:

" I'm looking forward to Sauron's answer to Bilbo regarding what life under the Two Trees was like..."

I'm wondering if he's going to feel comfortable bringing up the whole Domes of Varda business.

"...and hoping to see more of Bilbo's thoughts on the 'fairy wife.'"

I love Dreamflower's Ancestress so I'm looking forward to this, too!

"And I'm reminded that someday I should really write my version of how the theft of Nimloth's fruit came about."

Yes.  Yes, you should. :^)

Thanks for having a read, and I'm glad to know you're enjoying this bit o' heresy. ;^)

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Reviewer: SurgicalSteel (Signed)
09/06/11 - 02:23 pm
Chapter 2: On Language

This is another great chapter - I like that the initial curiosity/conversation seems to start out with a mutual love for/interest in languages, and love the nods to obscure canon!



Author's Response:

Thanks muchly!  I figured the mutual interest in language might ease conversation between two characters who rightly be quite tense with one another.  And you know I love obscure canon in a most unseemly manner. ;^)

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Reviewer: SurgicalSteel (Signed)
09/06/11 - 02:15 pm
Chapter 1: Incarceration

This is a fantastic start! I really like Sauron getting little hints of who his jailors might be by their aromas, I like the inclusion of Makar and Measse, and the iPad/tablet computer is a neat touch!

On to the next chapter!



Author's Response:

Oh, hey, glad to see you're reading this!  Tolkien's whole bit about the aromatic Maiar in PE17 just slayed me;  incorporating the whole scent thing is irresistible.  And Makar and Méassë!  Now they were Valar with brio!  Scary Valar at that. >:^D

"iPad/tablet computer is a neat touch!"

Excellent!  You recognized what it was without my explicitly naming it.  That's a fun challenge for me:  describing high tech in less techy terms.

Thanks a million! :^)

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Reviewer: Celeritas (Signed)
09/05/11 - 01:09 pm
Chapter 3: Of Rings

I loved:

I'd like to know a lot more about the nature of Sauron's repentance, and how much he will become a dynamic character over the course of this fic (if very much at all!).
Also, the sheer thought of Bilbo learning Greek!!



Author's Response:

Thanks so much, Celeritas!  It's good to know you're continuing to enjoy this out-on-a-limb epistolary.  Dreamflower's portrayal of Bilbo and his thoroughly understandable reaction of anger is excellent.

"I'd like to know a lot more about the nature of Sauron's repentance..."

That's a story unto itself and likely will be written in the unfolding Pandë!verse.  I suspect that his repentance is likely not 100% complete, and that the nature of it shall be colored by the secular humanism of this particular fan fic writer. ;^)

"...and how much he will become a dynamic character over the course of this fic (if very much at all!)."

I'm not sure what to make of this comment.  Given that he is not only imprisoned, but also isolated, there's little room for more than limited interactions with others.    In the greater arc of my fan fiction,  all of which is interconnected, this epistolary represents a reflective stage in his long life, thus, relatively "static" in that sense.  Or, uh, perhaps he is boring?  I'd say he's plenty dynamic in other offerings, e.g.,  The Apprentice,  Into This Wild Abyss, etc.

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Reviewer: Celeritas (Signed)
08/28/11 - 11:54 pm
Chapter 2: On Language

This is a good deal of fun!

I must admit I'm a bit intrigued by the (possibly?) contradictory reactions of Frodo to Sauron in chapters one and two.  Both of them could work, depending on your interpretation of the character, although since he's already done the whole "I officially pity you because you are a Bad Person" thing with Saruman, who did hurt him personally by specifically targeting his homeland in revenge, I suspect that it won't be too much of a stretch for him to Officially Pity Sauron (who, I suspect, would not take that too kindly!).  Unless you want to argue that the West is starting to make him feel like enough of his old self that, for a time, he becomes a little prickly again.  The easiest explanation, of course, is that this is a fic written by two people, but now I'm starting to wonder how the conversation between Frodo and Bilbo went before Frodo gave his blessing to the correspondence, and how he changed tack from invective to "actually, you didn't wrong me individually so okay."  Feels like there's a lot going behind the scenes here, which is always enjoyable.  And a part of me hopes that Frodo will re-enter the storyline, if only tangentially, for the sake of a completed character arc/healing/whatnot.

As far as the material itself--delightful!  The little goodies are really what get me here--Sauron sensing his jailors by smell, "Quenyan," linguistic geekery, tonal languages, and the like.  More please!



Author's Response:

Thanks muchly, Celeritas, for having a read and leaving the thoughtful comment.  

Re: the contradictory reactions of Frodo..."The easiest explanation, of course, is that this is a fic written by two people."  

Yes.  Exactly this.  That's integral to the challenge of two people writing, and one that I certainly enjoy.  Now, I would see Frodo as being hurt at such a deep, fundamental level that an act of personal forgiveness toward the one responsible for his suffering would be nearly impossible to give, and who could blame him?  I certainly wouldn't.  Yet as you and Dreamflower point out, Frodo did Officially Pity Saruman.  Bilbo's interactions with the Ring were more constructive, at least initially, so his view may be colored by that as well as being spurred on by his inherent curiosity.  But your observation is spot-on.

"Unless you want to argue that the West is starting to make him feel like enough of his old self that, for a time, he becomes a little prickly again."

Oh, be assured he remains prickly.  A leopard doesn't change his spots. It's not much of a spoiler to say that having been burned badly by Sauron's former boss, the Valar are not inclined to let a repentant Sauron wander freely around Aman, but they have an ingenious solution, addressed in the latter days of the Pandë!verse.

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Reviewer: curiouswombat (Signed)
08/28/11 - 05:51 pm
Chapter 2: On Language

What a fascinating correspondence this promises to be - I look forward to the chance to peek at a little more as time goes on.



Author's Response:

Thanks, curiouswombat!  I daresay it's a challenging concept for some to wrap their heads around, but it's an irresistible premise (for me), and I'm glad Dreamflower is willing to engage her Bilbo muse with my Dark Muse.

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