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"More Than Meets the Eye" by Shirebound

Author: Shirebound
Title: More Than Meets the Eye
Rating: G
Theme: Show Don’t Tell (A story that includes no dialogue)
Assigned Element: A gesture or action that one of your characters must perform during the story is: "gestured with his/her chin".
Summary: At Bag End, Thorin catches a glimpse of Bilbo’s potential.
Word Count: 438



More than Meets the Eye

They came back with viols as big as themselves, and with Thorin’s harp wrapped in a green cloth. It was a beautiful golden harp, and when Thorin struck it the music began all at once, so sudden and sweet that Bilbo forgot everything else, and was swept away into dark lands under strange moons, far over The Water and very far from his hobbit-hole under The Hill. ‘An Unexpected Party’, The Hobbit


How long had it been since he and his comrades had gathered like this, playing their instruments for the sheer joy of music -- the ancient melodies washing away, for a time, the bitter memories and heartsick longing that never fully left them? How many innkeepers had welcomed his songs merely as a bit of diverting entertainment, offering a night’s lodging or hot meal in exchange? How low the proud sons of Durin had sunk, how nearly forgotten, how...

As he played, his thoughts swirling into dark places, Thorin happened to glance at the hobbit. This Mr. Baggins was so excitable and unknowing of the wide world, and so very young. Not a hint of a beard yet graced his round face. There were no weapons proudly displayed in this home, neither sword nor bow nor axe; and he wore upon his simple garments no sign of any rank or position among his people. How could his merit be judged? What did Gandalf see in this one that he could not?

But just then, in the flickering hearth-light, he noticed something odd. The hobbit was gazing out one of the windows into the night. His face was flushed, his small, fidgety hands utterly still in his lap, his breathing slow and measured. With a slight shiver, Thorin felt the stirring of true seeing, the rare gift that those of the royal line of Durin the Deathless carried in their blood. With the effort of a long-unused skill, he followed the hobbit’s thoughts as they flew beyond his comfortable parlor and secure homeland. Mr. Baggins, his eyes suddenly aglow with wonder, was caught and held by a vision of caverns and gems, fire-spouting beasts, and mountains his physical eyes had never known. Thorin felt the young one’s heart burn, his breath quicken.

Thorin sensed someone looking at him with thoughtful regard. Still playing smoothly upon his beloved harp, he turned slightly to meet Gandalf’s even gaze. The wizard gestured with his chin towards the hobbit, nodded, then with a twinkle of his eye his face was once again lost behind a curtain of smoke.

So there was more to this hobbit than met the eye. He possessed at least the depth of spirit to be stirred by the ancient power of Dwarvish music, and the courage to follow where it led. So, then. Let him choose his path full willing. Let him hear and feel what truly lay beyond his gentle land’s carefully tilled fields and predictable lives.

And so, closing his eyes, Thorin began to sing.

Far over the misty mountains cold
To dungeons deep and caverns old...


** END **

Comments

( 33 comments — Leave a comment )
claudia603
Mar. 24th, 2014 01:14 pm (UTC)
Oh that was truly beautiful! I adored the idea of Thorin getting into Bilbo's head and catching his thrill of travel and of faraway places!
shirebound
Mar. 24th, 2014 01:45 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I was quite taken with Thorin's presence in Bag End in the film, and found myself contemplating all the things he might have been thinking about.
addie71
Mar. 24th, 2014 03:24 pm (UTC)
Oh that's wonderful! I love that Gandalf picked up on Thorin's sudden awareness that there was more to Bilbo than he thought.
shirebound
Mar. 24th, 2014 03:38 pm (UTC)
Thank you, Addie. I really enjoyed imagining this scene.
cairistiona7
Mar. 24th, 2014 04:06 pm (UTC)
Oh, this is absolutely wonderful. I haven't found very many fics that I felt really captured the, for lack of a better word, Tolkienness of Thorin, but you most definitely have with this.

And so, closing his eyes, Thorin began to sing.

Far over the misty mountains cold
To dungeons deep and caverns old...


I finished reading this and immediately played Peter Hollens' version of the song. It fits perfectly with your fic. *happy sigh*
shirebound
Mar. 24th, 2014 04:57 pm (UTC)
What a nice compliment, thank you! I love seeing hobbits through the eyes of other races.
blslarner
Mar. 24th, 2014 05:17 pm (UTC)
Oh, yes, but this is indeed the way that it must have happened, that Thorin chose to accept this one, earlier described as more of a grocer than a burglar, as their companion to break the unlucky number and to serve as their burglar indeed. Glad he begins to see both the potential of Bilbo and the approval in Gandalf!
shirebound
Mar. 24th, 2014 05:24 pm (UTC)
I enjoyed getting into Thorin's head, and trying to see through his eyes. Thank you! I hope to use this scene as the beginning of a slightly longer story.
periantari
Mar. 26th, 2014 03:40 am (UTC)
i look forward to the longer story! =)
rhymer23
Mar. 24th, 2014 05:49 pm (UTC)
Ah, this is really lovely. Just a short story, with no dialogue, but it says such a lot about Bilbo, and about Thorin, too.
shirebound
Mar. 24th, 2014 05:54 pm (UTC)
Thank you. The Dwarves must have been so desperately trying to understand Gandalf's choice.
curiouswombat
Mar. 24th, 2014 07:15 pm (UTC)
Ah yes - more than meets the eye... good to think of it meeting the inner eye, though.
shirebound
Mar. 24th, 2014 07:37 pm (UTC)
I like how you say that. :)
dreamflower02
Mar. 24th, 2014 07:44 pm (UTC)
I loved this so much, dear! You convey both Thorin's initial doubt and his growing awareness that perhaps he judged Bilbo too hastily, as well as Gandalf's own insight into hobbits!
shirebound
Mar. 24th, 2014 08:05 pm (UTC)
Thank you. You know how much I love to convey other races learning about (and respecting) the unique qualities of hobbits!

(BTW, I had to go back and re-tag my entry because the tags I previously chose didn't work. I see that some of the other entries had the same problem.)
baranduin
Mar. 25th, 2014 01:23 am (UTC)
This is beautiful, Janet. Sometimes deep understanding can come without any words spoken aloud.
shirebound
Mar. 25th, 2014 02:17 am (UTC)
Thank you so much. Small moments like this can be very significant, and I like thinking about them.
lavendertook
Mar. 25th, 2014 02:27 am (UTC)
Lovely!

I especially love Gandalf's wordless input.

. . . his face was once again lost behind a curtain of smoke.

Great image and so Gandalfy, and the kind of special effect that is precisely why he likes to smoke.
shirebound
Mar. 25th, 2014 12:45 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I do believe Gandalf tends to occasionally take refuge in his pipe and its camouflage.
lindahoyland
Mar. 25th, 2014 03:18 am (UTC)
I loved this glimpse of how the music effected Bilbo. You made me feel as if I were there.
shirebound
Mar. 25th, 2014 12:45 pm (UTC)
That's a lovely compliment. Thank you.
aussiepeach
Mar. 25th, 2014 03:24 am (UTC)
That is lovely. The music is like a turning-point for Bilbo and you show it beautifully. Now I have to listen to that gorgeous song from the film again!
shirebound
Mar. 25th, 2014 12:46 pm (UTC)
Thank you. And I had to listen to the song again, too! That was such a great scene.
(Deleted comment)
shirebound
Mar. 25th, 2014 12:46 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much. I like to try to get into the heads of the characters, especially if they're thinking about hobbits.
periantari
Mar. 26th, 2014 03:39 am (UTC)
This is so beautifully written! THis is indeed something different from movie-verse and book verse instead. I do agree fully with this line you wrote:
With a slight shiver, Thorin felt the stirring of true seeing, the rare gift that those of the royal line of Durin the Deathless carried in their blood. With the effort of a long-unused skill, he followed the hobbit’s thoughts as they flew beyond his comfortable parlor and secure homeland. Mr. Baggins, his eyes suddenly aglow with wonder, was caught and held by a vision of caverns and gems, fire-spouting beasts, and mountains his physical eyes had never known. Thorin felt the young one’s heart burn, his breath quicken.
I love how you mention Thorin being from the royal line of Durin, having a different take on the Hobbit, a glimpse and the subsequent description of Bilbo is beautifully and skillfully written!
very nice!
shirebound
Mar. 26th, 2014 12:41 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much, my friend. I'm really insatiable when it comes to seeing hobbits through other folks' eyes and thoughts. I worked hard on that paragraph, and am delighted you highlighted it. *beams*
layne67
Mar. 26th, 2014 07:25 am (UTC)
That was simply perfect!
shirebound
Mar. 26th, 2014 12:39 pm (UTC)
Oh my, thank you!
hhimring
Mar. 29th, 2014 04:06 pm (UTC)
I don't usually think of Thorin as being so sensitive to the thoughts and moods of others, but it's a lovely idea!
shirebound
Mar. 29th, 2014 04:27 pm (UTC)
Thank you. When inspiration strikes, we need to go where it leads. :)
meneleth
Apr. 6th, 2014 08:17 pm (UTC)
Oooo, shivers! Very well written.
shirebound
Apr. 6th, 2014 10:35 pm (UTC)
Thank you! :)
( 33 comments — Leave a comment )

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