1. In Between Two Worlds
"Ideals are like stars; you will not succeed in touching them with your hands. But like the seafaring man on the desert of waters, you choose them as your guides, and following them you will reach your destiny." —Carl Schurz
"It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like "What about lunch?"" —Winnie the Pooh
Excerpt from the diary of Meriadoc Brandybuck
Hello, diary, it is me again. Yes, Merry Brandybuck has not died of his wounds, nor has he been imprisoned, but has merely not felt like writing. I hope that didn't hurt your feelings. After all, you should be grateful that Pippin got me to write in you the day after the battle, so that I wouldn't forget anything. I was not sure I would want to remember all that, but Pip reminded me that Bilbo would want to know everything when we get back. When we get back. Pip is so optimistic about such things; he hardly seems to notice that everyone is going off on some sort of a doomed mission, including himself.
Sorry about that. I do remember that I promised not to be gloomy...but you can't understand how hard that is in my situation.
Well, not everyone has gone away. That is partly why I am writing today, instead of doing something else. The Lady Eowyn—Dernhelm, as I knew her—is also stuck here in the Houses. She was fairly open to talking to me for the first couple days, but recently she met the new Steward of Gondor, Faramir, and now they are always together and I never see her alone. Not that I blame her; he is far more interesting than I could ever be. I was told that Pip broke orders to save his life, and considering that he was Boromir's brother, for a while I was a bit skeptical about that much loyalty to one man. But then we met, and I don't have such doubts anymore.
He's one of "the Great", as Pip aptly puts it: one of those people that make you think of Elves, and the old stories, and Kings and all that. He looks a bit like Aragorn, actually, but not so scruffy. No offense meant to Aragorn, but he has been a Ranger for the past sixty years, and it shows. He cleaned up well in Lothlorien, but Faramir seems always to be what we Hobbits call "well-groomed". And then, of course, Aragorn is a dreadful tease and a very active sort, while Faramir is quiet and decent, and he knows about books. Not the sort that I would have expected would gain Pip's devotion, but then, I suppose everyone who meets Faramir loves him. There is no reason not to, except, maybe, his infernal modesty.
From what I understood from Pippin, he rescued the Quest in Ithilien and saved two thirds of his men in the retreat, and yet he seems to think he's done nothing worthy. Well, perhaps he hasn't killed a Nazgul, but there is more to being great than that. After all, I did it, and I'm no more great than any other hobbit. But, unfortunately, he is probably right about what people will think. It's a shame, but he is the sort of person who doesn't get remembered, except by those close to him.
But however he is remembered later, he certainly has everyone's attention here in the Houses. Even Eowyn admires him, and that is nothing to sniff at. Just about every wounded Gondorian I have met (or rather, who wanted to meet me because I'm a "perian") mentions how wonderful he is. If I had not already met him myself, I might wonder if he wasn't the King, rather than Aragorn, from all the attention given. But, also from what Pip said about him, I don't grudge him a bit of it. He seems to have had a difficult time, especially with his father, and that is sad, so he deserves all the respect he is getting now. He was certainly grieving when I first met him, but now it is harder to tell, because whenever he's with Eowyn he looks quite content. And he's always with Eowyn.
It was to be expected, I suppose, since they are Big Folk, and I'm just a little hobbit. But I am feeling a bit lonely, and that is why I'm talking to you. They are not doing it on purpose—they often invite me along, in fact—but whenever I join them, I can't stay, because I feel as if I am just a little child listening in on my parents' conversation. I am old enough to want to be included, but not old enough to understand exactly what is going on.
For as much as I have ridden with the Rohirrim and faced one of Middle-earth's deadliest, I do not really fit in with this world. Faramir is wonderful, but he's not the sort of person one smokes a pipe and jokes with. And Eowyn—I love her to death—but it's like Sam said about Galadriel: you can adore them because they are so high and wonderful, but not in the same way you adore people back home. I haven't really met a person on my travels that reminded me of the Shire, but that's all right, I think. If Gandalf dropped a spider down Aragorn's shirt, I would probably die of shock, because he just shouldn't do that. But if Pip did it to Sam, I'd die of laughter.
I have seen two different worlds, and though they can work together, you can't be part of both at the same time. Right now, as I'm writing in this diary, I am part of the Shire world. But as soon as I shut the book, I will be in Gondor and the world of the Great. I will always be torn between them, but I don't regret it. I think that it is best that way. It feels right to long to be a part of this world, because it is not that I want to walk around with a crown saying things like "I must beg a boon of thee", but more that there is something worthy and noble about this, that I wish was present back at home. It's what makes this place special. I'll never be one of the Great, and I wouldn't really want to be, but I do want to be honorable and noble. It would be good for a lot of people if they went on Quests, because then they might see that there are things higher and greater to reach for. And even if you can never actually reach them, it's better to try than to never know that there was anything better.
Goodness me, I've been talking philosophy! What sort of Hobbit am I, anyway? Well, all this writing has made me hungry, and it just so happens that nuncheon is in five minutes. What luck! They do not serve much here—they obviously don't realize that people need more food, not less, when they are healing—but I'm sure that Faramir won't eat all of his. How do Big Folk get so tall when they eat almost nothing?
Author's Notes: Though other characters are my favorites in LOTR, I have always identified strongly with Merry, especially that one scene in the Houses of Healing where he talks about things deeper and higher. Because, when it comes down to it, I would never feel comfortable in Rohan or Gondor, but I could drop right into the Shire with no warning and be very happy.
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.