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Answering the Call  by docmon 4 Review(s)
VirtuellaReviewed Chapter: 9 on 10/12/2008
The concept of this is very interesting. In the execution, I felt, it varied. The first and last chapters were the strongest. The first chapter had a very eerie quality to it, and while it was hard to believe that Gandalf could indeed take the ring, I belive that if he had taken it, he would act much as you describe. The last chapter was surprising in identifying Gimli as the only one in the party willing to fulfill the quest, rather than his own desires. I had wondered why you had left him till last, but with this twist it made perfect sense. I like it that you left it open whether he succeeded or not.

I'm a bit more doubtful about the middle chapters. It irks me that you give Legolas a very noble motive for coveting the ring, but make Merry and Pippin take it out of weakness and greed. Frodo and Sam resisted the power of the Ring admirably, and Tolkien hints that hobbits would be more resilient to it than any other species. The chapters about Aragorn and Boromir, while quite good in themselves, were a bit too similar in the plot line. The chapters about SAm and Frodo were good, though not as good as the first and last.

Author Reply: Thank you for writing, Virtuella! I appreciate hearing your thoughts. I agree with you that it is hard to believe that Gandalf would take the ring, and I'm glad you see that his fall would happen similar to my scenario. That is just what I intended with these vignettes: IF the characters fell prey to the Ring, what would they do? (I found Gandalf's scenario creepy too! And some others were particularly hard to write.)
As to the motivations for each in taking the Ring, I used the theory that the Ring looks for the weaknesses of each person. While Legolas will have the safety of his realm as a primary worry on his mind, hobbits do not have such worries. They think of the simpler things in life. This is why, in canon, the Ring could not seduce Sam. He had no grand aspirations to prey on. In my scenario, the only desire the Ring can use is Sam's desire to protect Frodo. Pippin did not desire wealth or power, or worry about the Shire as a whole for the Ring to use as a weakness. So all that was left were the simple things such as his curiosity, or in Merry's case, his concern for others that led him to want, at times, to take charge over others, such as his cousin.
The Ring finds everyone's weakness. But those who are more worldly have more weaknesses, as they know more about *power*. Legolas (and Boromir and Aragorn) knew much about power, and so the Ring led him to desire that power. That desire for power of Mirkwood wasn't intended to come off as such a noble motive for coveting the ring. But each reader will have their own interpretation!
The order of the vignettes had nothing to do with when each character gave in - they weren't meant to be chronological or linked, but a series of individual vignettes. Each scene was actually placed at different time periods during the journey. So leaving Gimli to the last by no means meant that he would have lasted to the end. Sorry that was not apparent.
Thank you for writing! I appreciate when readers are so thoughtful about the stories they read.

fliewatuetReviewed Chapter: 9 on 2/5/2006
I really love your take on how Gimli would handle the Ring. He is so steadfast and loyal to his quest ... but other than Frodo, he has no Sam to support him.

I would love to see more of your 'what if' vignettes.

Author Reply: More vignettes! Well, I hadn't really considered that! I'll give it some thought and see what comes to mind...
I'm glad you like my take on Gimli. It was a bit tough at first, trying to find a scenario that felt appropriate. But once I hit upon this one, it just all fell together.
Thank you for your comments!

IthilienReviewed Chapter: 9 on 2/4/2006
Oh, man, this was a great series of vignettes. You really got my mind going and I love that you explored each character and how they each failed. This is the ultimate lesson, isnít it? Fate wouldnít allow the outcome to follow the same course had everything not aligned as it had.

And even here you show the ultimate hero of the story, Frodo, giving in to the Ringís call. I think that was my favorite among these. That and Gimli (did Gimli actually succeed? Iím left wondering. Iím thinking not, given all that happened to the others, but you did leave me with HOPE, and that was the message in that story, wasnít it?). Oh, and the Gandalf story Ė that was scary just for what was left unsaid!

I think my least favorite one was Aragornís story because it summarized events from the actual Tolkien telling without saying much about the details of them, and that left just the shifting fate to be told. It seemed a little lighter in substance than the others. I guess that is my only real critique. Otherwise, fabulous!

Is there supposed to be a wrap up chapter or is the story now complete? It stands alone, I think, but if there is more, I will most definitely be coming back again. Thanks for sharing this fabulous set of alternate stories with us!

Author Reply: Thank you, Ithilien! I'm so glad you enjoyed these. They had my mind going for some time, so I'm glad I could share the pa- uh, joy. ;-)
Yes, I deliberately left Gimli's end ambiguous. I didn't want to TOTALLY depress my readers! Actually, I didn't necessarily see Gimli succumbing to the Ring, since Tolkien said Dwarves were rather resistant to It. I did see some room for hope with It in Gimli's hands.
Aragorn's story was meant to be more introspective rather than an active piece; maybe that's why it felt less substantial. But it wasn't meant to follow Tolkien's timeline, because Aragorn took them to Minas Tirith, and on the way decided to keep the Ring for himself. But perhaps that could have been clearer!
You're the second one to suggest an epilogue of sorts, and I've begun to play with the idea. Honestly, it never occured to me to write one, but I think it may be a good idea. It may take some time, though, since I hadn't even thought about it before it was suggested.
Thank you for your comments! And for sharing your great stories as well!

LamielReviewed Chapter: 9 on 1/29/2006
Now this is very different. Usually when we envision what temptation the Ring might hold for Gimli we think of Moria, the restoration of the Dwarves from exile, and so on. Curious that the story would end with Gimli envisioning himself as Ringbearer... and still not especially liking the Ring, either. Also, to gain it he has lost the company of the rest of the Fellowship. H'm. Interesting.

I trust that this is not reality, but another 'what if' scenario. Will there be an epilogue? You imply that this is the end, and it's fine if it is, but I think an epilogue might help to tie everything back to where you started. Just a thought. Thank you for sharing this with us.

Author Reply: Hi, Lamiel, thanks for the review! Yes, I didn't want all these vignettes to all be the same, and I tried to draw from each character how they would react to the Ring's influence. I found it difficult to imagine a scenario where Gimli would voluntarily take the Ring. And since Tolkien says Dwarves were particularly resistant to the Ring's influence, I thought this was a credible scenario.
If he received the Ring from Frodo, he would try to continue with the duty they had been given. Though it would begin to wear on him, he might be able to resist its pull for the time of the trek to Mordor. So, I don't see him turning to Moria to restore the dwarves immediately, but trying to continue the journey south. If he succumbed at some point, perhaps that's where he would head.

This is just another 'what-if' scenario, like all the others, be certain of that! But I hadn't thought of an epilogue! I know I started with a prologue, and then got to the business of presenting each scene. But an epilogue is an interesting idea, and I will think on that. But if I decide to, it will take a little bit longer than these have come, since I had been fairly close to finished when I began posting these. But thanks for the interesting idea!

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