Part One: The Introduction of Gimcrack
“WHO’S UP FOR A GAME OF SCRABBLE?” Gimli’s voice rang loudly and echoed many times off in the distance. “Whoops.”
Aragorn sighed. “Well, at least Elrond back in Rivendell knows we’re having a good time. We’ll just ignore the fact that Sauron probably knows as well.”
Gimli blushed. “Oh, come on Aragorn! It’s just a bit of fun.”
“We don’t have time for fun!” Aragorn said. “We have to destroy the Ring created by the dark lord Sauron, because if he regains it, the world as we know it shall fall!”
“Oh, bull,” said Gimli. “You can be on my team.”
Aragorn considered this. Gimli’s strange Dwarvish words could come in handy, and just might win the game. And Aragorn loved to win. On the other hand, Gandalf spoke just about every language in all of Middle-earth. It was a tough decision.
“Come on, Frodo, Sam,” said the Dwarf. “You two can be a team.”
“I don’t know, Master Dwarf,” answered Sam. “You want to play Scrabble, Mr. Frodo?”
“Sure, Sam,” said Frodo with a smile.
“Are you sure? Because I can cook you up a nice meal if you’re still hungry. And if you don’t want to play Scrabble, there’s Clue, Sorry, Trouble-”
“Did somebody say ‘Trouble?’” Pippin’s head popped up from behind a rock. “I love that game!”
“Me, too!” Merry’s head popped up beside Pippin’s. “But I thought we were roasting marshmallows tonight.”
“There’s been a change of plans,” said Gimli. “We’re playing Scrabble tonight.”
“Unless Mr. Frodo wants to play Uno,” said Sam, already shuffling the cards. “How about it, Mr. Frodo?
“No, Sam, Scrabble is fine,” said Frodo. “Will you be on my team?”
“I’d be honored, Mr. Frodo!”
“Great!” said Gimli, rubbing his hands. “How about you Pippin? You and Merry could be on a team.”
“But- but- I WANTED TO ROAST MARSHMALLOWS TONIGHT!” Pippin’s voice echoed many times.
Far away in Rivendell, Elrond thought, “I KNEW I shouldn’t have sent Pippin. He always makes a fuss about everything!”
Far away in the tower of Orthanc, Saruman shouted out the window, “QUIET YOU LITTLE BUGGERS! I’M TRYING TO GET SOME SLEEP!”
“You better listen to him,” said Gandalf. “Old Saruman gets pretty unhappy if you don’t do as he says.” He paused. “Trust me, I know.”
“Gandalf is right,” said Aragorn. “So are you going to play Scrabble with us like good little hobbits? Or are you going to scream and yell and pout and reveal our location to Sauron, who will send out his freaky Nazgul and steal the Ring, which will end the world as we know it? Choose wisely.”
“I’ve never ended the world as we know it before,” said Pippin thoughtfully.
“Pippin!” said Merry. “That’s not the kind of thing you want on a criminal record!”
“Oh,” said Pippin quietly. Then he perked up. “Let’s play Scrabble!”
“Anyone else?” said Gimli. “Gandalf? You want to play?”
“No thanks,” said Gandalf. “I’m in the best part of my book.” He held it up to show them the title.
“Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, eh?” said Aragorn. “In my opinion, that’s the best one. Did you get to the part with egg yet?”
“Aragorn!” said Gimli, who just finished handing out the letters. “Let’s get started!”
“Hmmmmm….” After a few minutes of careful decision, Aragorn and Gimli laid out their first word. “Our first word is…comb.”
Legolas popped out of nowhere. “Did somebody say ‘comb?’ I have all the combs you’ll ever need! Wide tooth combs, picks, blue combs, orange combs, combs that when you use them they turn your hair green…”
“Legolas, you want to play Scrabble?” asked Pippin.
“Scrabble?” I love Scrabble!” He looked down at the group playing the game. “But I don’t have a partner!”
“I’ll be your partner, Legolas!” said Boromir.
Legolas rolled his eyes. “Must I be paired with giant shield man? This is what I get for being the last to pick a partner!”
“Oh, come on Legolas!” everyone cried, except for Gandalf, who was mumbling inaudibly.
“Oh, alright. Let’s get started!”
ELEVEN AND A HALF MINUETS LATER…
“Hey! Gimcrack’s not a word!”
Pippin burst into tears. “Yes, it is!” he said. “Tell him, Merry!”
“You see, Gimli, said Merry, “gimcrack IS a word! It’s a hobbit-y word. We have our own little language, you see.”
“No you don’t!” said Gimli. “You little liar! Hobbits speak Westron!”
“How would you know?” said Frodo.
“Yeah, how would you?” echoed Sam.
“Look, it’s right here in my dictionary!” said Aragorn. “See Gimli? ‘Gimcrack- a word. Not sure what it means.’ It’s right here!”
“You wrote that dictionary!” said Legolas.
“No he didn’t,” said Frodo, examining the front. “Some guy named Estel did!”
Aragorn put his hand over Legolas’s mouth. “See? I didn’t write it. Gimcrack is a word, can we get on with the game?”
“No, I won’t stand for this!” said Legolas, who finally managed to yank Aragorn’s hand off his mouth. “He did write that dictionary, and he filled it with strange words he made up! Elrond told me so!”
“For once, I agree with Master Elf!” said Gimli. “Gimcrack cannot be a word, it’s just too weird!”
“But it is a word!” said Merry. “How can you question my cousin’s knowledge?” He thought about this for a minute. “Oh, never mind. But can’t you just drop it?”
“Yeah Gimli, you take Scrabble WAY to seriously,” said Pippin in between sobs. “So what if gimcrack isn’t a real word? It’s only a game!”
“HA! YOU ADMITTED IT!” cried Boromir. “You just said gimcrack wasn’t a word!”
“He never said that!” said Frodo, jumping up.
“Yeah, he never said that!” echoed Sam, also jumping up.
“Then what did he say?” asked Boromir.
“He said ‘what if.’ ‘What if’ is different than ‘it is,’” said Frodo.
“Didn’t you know that?” said Sam.
“Oh you little-”
“Boromir! Control yourself!” cried Aragorn, holding back a very agitated Boromir.
“I AM UNDER CONTROL!” roared Boromir. Then it began. Boromir dived at Aragorn, who was forced to use his secret karate training to hold him back. Gimli was busy throwing the letters used to spell ‘gimcrack’ all over the place, while Frodo and Sam picked them up and put them back again. Legolas was tearing Aragorn’s dictionary into shreds and Pippin was crying. Merry was comforting him in a soothing voice.
A bird soared overhead. This bird was soaring so far overhead it couldn’t even see the fellowship. But it could hear it. There were cries of “Stop throwing gimcrack!” and shouts of “HIIIII-YA!” There were sobs and a comforting voice saying, “Don’t worry, gimcrack is a word!” There were ripping sounds and a fair elvish voice yelling, “Salami! Gimcrack! Puh! Gah! Armodilloyish! These aren’t words! What kind of dictionary is this? It’s not even in alphabetical order!”
Suddenly the bird heard a cry of, “We need someone wise to solve all our problems!”
Next there was a deafening shout of “GANDALF!”
The bird flew away. He desired to hear no more.
“Wha-at?” said the wizard.
“Is gimcrack a word?” asked two men, four hobbits, a dwarf, and an elf in perfect unison.
“How should I know?”
“You’re Gandalf!” said Aragorn. “You know everything! You’re supposed to be all wise and stuff.”
“I suppose I could look it up,” said Gandalf. “But I really must insist that next time you try and work out your problems on your own. Harry was just about to-”
“DON’T SPOIL THE ENDING!” yelled Boromir. “I’m only on Chapter 8.”
Gandalf pulled out his dictionary. It was a lot thicker than Aragorn’s. “Let me see here,” he said. “Where are my reading glasses?”
The remainder of the fellowship all pointed at Merry, who reluctantly handed over the glasses.
“That’s better,” said Gandalf, putting them on. “Gimcrack. Ah, yes. Here it is. ‘Gimcrack- something stupid.’”
“Can we have an example?” asked Aragorn.
“Of course,” said Gandalf. He grabbed Merry by the ear. “Your average hobbit has little purpose on this earth, and has very little brain. They are quite stupid. Gimcrack.”
“Oh, now I get it!” said Aragorn.
“Wait, wait, wait a second!” said Legolas. “Gandalf wrote that dictionary!”
“No he didn’t,” said Frodo, examining the cover. “Some guy named ‘Mithrandir’ did.” He snorted. “What kind of name is ‘Mithrandir?’”
Gandalf looked ready to hit Frodo on the head with his staff, but luckily Aragorn stopped him. “I have a way to solve this problem,” said Aragorn. “We must consult-- Eru.”
There was silence.
“Who?” asked Pippin.
Gandalf bopped him on the head with staff. “You know, Eru, the One, the Holy Guy we’re all supposed to worship yet in 1008 pages there is absolutely no mention of him.”
“Oh,” said Pippin, rubbing his head. “I still don’t know who you mean.”
“NEVER MIND!” said Aragorn. “We still have to consult him because he is wise and all-knowing. Now sit in a circle. Don’t look at me like I’m crazy! I know what I’m doing. Now, we all hold hands-- okay, never mind, we don’t hold hands. Now we need someone to sing the hymn of praise to Eru.”
It was deathly quiet.
“Okay, fine, we’ll do this the hard way,” said Aragorn. “Everyone pick a straw! Short straw sings.”
Finally a very angry Gimli began to sing,
Illuvatar! Holy and Mighty One
Illuvatar! To you we turn to.
Illuvatar! O wise and powerful
Eru, hear our song-
“THAT’S ENOUGH!” cried Aragorn. “Any more and you’ll scare poor Eru away. Now we all close our eyes and ask our question- ‘Is gimcrack a word?’”
“Is gimcrack a word?”
“Wait a sec, I meant ask the question inside your head!” Aragorn was getting very agitated.
‘Is gimcrack a word?’
“Good! Now we all look for a sign from Eru.”
“Uh, would that be one?” said Pippin, still rubbing his head. He was pointing to the clouds.
“The clouds are spelling out letters!” cried Legolas.
“Miraculous!” whispered Gimli.
The clouds spelled out perfectly, Y*O*U*L*I*T*T*L*E*A*N*N*O*Y*I*N*G*B*R*A*T*S*I*A*M*T*R*Y*I*N*G*T*O*R*E*S*T*!
“Wow,” said Pippin. “Eru’s got a temper.”
“ARGH!” said Aragorn. “This is getting infuriating. I guess we shall never know what gimcrack means, or if it is even a word at all.”
The Fellowship sighed.
“Scrabble doesn’t seem like much fun anymore,” said Gimli, dejectedly putting away the pieces.
“Harry Potter doesn’t seem so exciting anymore,” said Gandalf, putting away his reading glasses and closing the book.
“Karate doesn’t seem so impressive anymore,” sighed Aragorn. (“It never was,” muttered Boromir. “A fifteen minute fight and I didn’t even get one scratch…”)
“HOLD IT!” yelled Frodo suddenly. “We can’t fall to the power of gimcrack! We will find out if it’s a word or die trying!”
“Frodo?” said Pippin. “I thought we were supposed to be destroying the Ring.”
“Yes, Pippin, but that is but a mere deed we must accomplish on our goal: to find out the truth about gimcrack.”
Unfortunately, the Fellowship of the Ring got a little sidetracked. Giant wolves decided to attack, and they had to rush to the Mines of Moria.
By the time the Fellowship had gotten that far, gimcrack had become common slang among them. When someone accidentally tripped on a rock and stubbed their toe (*cough* BOROMIR *cough*)
“gimcrack” was the term he used. When the next meal was ready, “Gimcrack!” was Pippin’s cry of joy. When Gimli accidentally-on-purpose sat on Gandalf’s Harry Potter book, Gimli was dubbed a “piece of gimcrack.” Yes, gimcrack certainly was the word.
It wasn’t until the death of Boromir that Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli decided they really had to find out the meaning of the strange word. Maybe it was Boromir’s dying words (“Aragorn, find out what ‘gimcrack’ means and have Eru tell it to me”), maybe it was something in the water, who knows. But those three decided they would find out what it meant.
Actually that was why Legolas and Gimli stayed with Aragorn so long after he was crowned. So allow me to fast forward many, many years into the future. This is way after the war of the ring. Like, sixty years after. I don’t know the exact date.
HERE ENDS PART ONE OF GIMCRACKERY
Part Two: The Solution (and a much shorter part then Part One)
Amiettellia was an elf. A beautiful elf. She had long, golden hair which every morning she twisted into the most beautiful hairstyles. But unfortunately Amiettellia was a servant girl for King Aragorn. The King always respected her and treated her kindly, but she didn’t have enough money for any pretty clothes. Since her parents were dead she lived all alone. She never had anything nice to wear. Because she never had anything nice to wear, people and other elves looked down upon her. The only person who liked her was Legolas Greenleaf.
Ah, Legolas. Amiettellia smiled just thinking about him. He had made her feel wonderful. He had taken a poor, hopeless, yet still terribly beautiful young elf girl and made her feel like a queen. A rich, powerful, and terribly beautiful queen. And soon she would be a queen. She and Legolas were to be married, and then she would be Queen of Mirkwood. (Legolas’s abusive father had died many years ago.) She would be a queen. Her king would be Legolas. All the elves of Mirkwood would love and respect them.
But that is not where our story leads today. Right now, Amiettellia was but a servant of the King, delivering a message to Legolas. She came to his room and opened the door. “Master Greenleaf, my love,” she called. “King Aragorn the Elessar wants to see you as soon as you have a moment.”
“Excellent,” called Legolas in reply. “Tell the King I shall meet with him around lunch.”
“But Sir Legolas,” said Amiettellia, rounding a corner in Legolas’s room to find her love sitting at a desk writing a letter. “What are you doing that would fill up your entire morning? The King’s message is quite urgent.”
“It can wait,” smiled Legolas. “Because this morning I shall spend with my future queen.”
Amiettellia only had time for a quick smile before Legolas pulled her into a tight embrace.
When Legolas finally tore himself away from his beloved, he made his way swiftly to the King’s chamber. King Elessar was seated grandly on a green throne. “King Elessar,” said Legolas, bowing down on one knee.
Ara- ahem!-King Elessar- rose. “Legolas Greenleaf, get off of the ground. You know I will have none of that! You are my friend. You aren’t my equal, but certainly are my friend.”
“Thank you,” said Legolas. “I think. Anyway, Amiettellia sent word you desired to speak with me.”
“I do,” said the King. “Of a matter of great importance.” He checked to make sure no one was listening. “It’s about-- gimcrack.”
“Gimcrack?!?” cried Legolas. Aragorn shushed him. “You mean you’ve finally found out what it means?”
“Eru, no!” said Aragorn. “But I’m pretty darn close. I’ve some of my archivists search the old library for the word ‘gimcrack’ used in any way. They’ve found a couple of things, but none as interesting as this.” He opened a bag next to his throne and pulled out a scroll tied up neatly with blue ribbon. Aragorn untied the ribbon and threw it on the floor. Legolas automatically picked it up and tied a neat little blue bow in his hair.
“It matched my eyes to well to reject,” he explained.
“Whatever,” said Aragorn. “Listen to the this.” He began to read:
“’The year 3434 of the Second Age
Here follows the REAL account of Isildur and the finding of the Ring of Power:
It has come to me, the Ring of Sauron. It was hot when I first took it, and my hand was burned real bad [and stuff.] Yet even as I write it is cooled, and it seemeth to shrinketh, liketh a spongeth wheneth it is takeneth frometh its water. Eth. But this Ring has lost none of its beauty nor its circular-like shape. (or is it triangular? It looketh like the O.) I will risk no hurt to thing thing; of all the works of Sauron the Evil Dude the only fair. It is precious to me, though I buy it with great cash pain. I deem this thing is not the gimcrack Gil-galad claims it to be.
“Gimcrack,” whispered Legolas. “Why, Isildur uses it in the same sense that Gandalf said! Perhaps we should have listened to the old wizard. Gimli should not have sat on his Harry Potter book.”
“Well, Gimli was never a HP fan. I never understood that about him,” sighed Aragorn, shaking his head. “But we still have no proof.”
“OH YES YOU DO!”
Legolas and Aragorn turned to the door. There Merry and Pippin stood, each holding a pipe and a large bag.
“What are you two doing here?” asked an appalled Aragorn.
“We have solved the mystery of gimcrack,” said Pippin. “The answer was in the Shire all along!”
“Well, what was it?” asked Legolas.
“Go on, tell us!” cried Aragorn. “The suspense is killing me, and if you kill the king you shall be executed.”
“Before we tell you,” said Merry, “get out your pipes.”
Aragorn pulled his out of a pocket in his robe. “Here it is,” he said, admiring it. “I always keep it handy.”
“I do not have a pipe,” said Legolas, sticking up his nose. “Elves do not smoke weed.”
“Says the elf with a bow in his hair,” murmured Pippin. Legolas blushed and pulled the bow out. Then he got out his pipe. Yes, Legolas got out his pipe. He’s quite a little liar you know.
“Okay, we have our pipes out. Now will you please tell us the secret of gimcrack?” whined King Elessar.
“Maybe, maybe,” said Merry.
“But since you have your pipes out, why don’t we sit down for a little smoke first?” said Pippin.
The impatient King made a move as if he were going to strangle Pippin. Legolas held him back. “You little-” cried Aragorn. “You little buggers! I don’t want to play these games! You are going to tell us what gimcrack is, and you are going to tell us NOW!”
“Whoa, calm down Your Highness, before you scare the little ones,” said Legolas. “I think you need that smoke. Weed might do you some good right now.”
When all four of them had filled their pipes, Aragorn asked “So, are you going to tell us what gimcrack is?”
“No need to,” said Pippin. “You’re smoking it right now.”
“You mean it was a weed all along?” cried Legolas. “Not just a strange word, or something stupid?”
“Yep!” said Merry proudly. “When we went back to The Shire after the war, we spent the longest time trying to figure out what it meant. But we had to keep our plans a secret, because if it wasn’t a word or meant something naughty, we didn’t want people to hear us talking about it.”
“One day,” continued Pippin, “Merry and I were walking about in a forest, discussing gimcrack in hushed voices. But I guess they weren’t hushed enough because some guy snuck up behind us and said, “Gimcrack, you say? Why are you talkin’ ‘bout gimcrack?”
“He scared us both silly,” commented Merry.
“Anyway,” continued Pippin, “Merry told him we didn’t know what it meant. He told us he would tell us, but we had to keep our mouths shut.”
“So of course we agreed,” said Merry. “He led us into his house and opened a cupboard full of this stuff. Shiny, it was. He said it was ‘gimcrack,’ a new kind of weed!”
“He’d been working on it for some time,” said Pippin. “The poor guy loves his weed, but it makes him break out in hives. So he developed in secret this new type of weed. It’s not real weed, but it sure tastes like it, even better! Only problem is it doesn’t have the weedish after effects.”
“It doesn’t make you high,” Merry explained.
“So it has no purpose,” said Aragorn.
“And it’s flashy and showy,” said Legolas.
“And it’s cheap, too,” said Pippin.
“Well that’s it, then!” said the King. “Gimcrack must be a cheap, showy object with little or no purpose!”
“That’s what we came up with,” said the hobbits.
The four friends smiled to themselves, sat back, and enjoyed their gimcrack.
And to this very day, the same definition holds.
Gimcrack (jim’krak) n. [Orig. unknown.] A cheap, showy object of little or no use.
HERE ENDS PART TWO OF GIMCRACKERY, AND WITH IT ENDS THIS TALE
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.