No one hears the brush of bare feet as a diminutive figure shuffles in from stage right. His eyes are two sunny side eggs on a skillet face as he takes in the menagerie of heroes and villains, lords and ladies assembled amidst the great Gondorian amphitheater. The vast auditorium itself, draped with banners and paintings and intricate, arched ceilings makes the fellow on stage seem even tinier than he is.
For all the quietness of his entrance, the little hobbit’s gulp resounds through the acoustics like an apple thudding from a tree. “Well, there’s nothing for it, Samwise Gamgee,” he mutters into his green velvet doublet.
“Hullo there, friends from near and far.” Sam’s throat flutters out a cough “I, eh, well, I reckon I’m supposed to announce for you the winner of the next silmaril, that being the one for Most Faithful Friend. I tried to tell ’em that it oughta have been Mr. Frodo presentin’ this fine award, but they wouldn’t have none of it. I didn’t make too big a fuss, though, as you can see that I’m here. I’ll do my best which is all a hobbit can I ever do I suppose, but I don’t mind sayin’ that I’m about as nervous as the first time I asked Rosy Cotton to dance.”
Low chuckles sprinkle the theater. Sam’s lips squirm into a tentative grin that drains away as quick as it comes. “Ahem. And so let’s be done with it shall we? I’m sure you’re not here to listen to me jabber. The nominees for this year’s silmaril for Most Faithful friend are…” His hand darts into his doublet and out pops a vellum envelope bearing a golden seal. Sam parts the wax carefully and unfolds a paper peppered with fine, flowing script.
“Oskar Reteep from The Wingfeather Saga,” he begins. Scattered applause trickles through the audience.
“Rose Red from Tales of Goldstone Wood—fine name there,” Sam comments. The clapping rebounds noticeably louder off the white stone walls.
“Inigo Montoya—hope I said that right—from The Princess Bride.” A few hoots and hollers join the applause this time. Not a few “You killed my father”s ripple through the crowd, followed by a joint shout, “Prepare to die!”
Sam eyes the crowd like a strange riddle. “As I was sayin’, Horace from The Ranger’s Apprentice—oh, rangers, now that’s somethin’ isn’t it?” The applause dies down to a polite trickle.
“And finally, Reepicheep from The Chronicles of Narnia.” The whooping and clapping rush back with a vengeance, rising to a frenzied pitch.
“And the Silmarillion Award winner for Most Faithful Friend in 2016 is…” Sam flips over the other side of the paper. He’s not one to waste precious resources. “Reepicheep from The Chronicles of Narnia!”
Sam gamely steps aside as a two foot leather armored mouse with a twinkling rapier and even twinklier eyes vaults onto the stage. Roses and carnations rain down on the stage like a small hurricane hitting a florist’s shop. Reepicheep bows and removes his feathered cap so often it looks like he’s trying to fan a fire.
At this point a regal, elven lady of transcendent beauty glides in from stage right. Her gossamer clothing sparkles like a stargazer’s dream. Her graceful step makes it appear almost as though she were floating across the stage.
Sam’s face fairly glows with joy. “Lady Galadriel…” the words hush from his lips.
But as otherworldly and sublime as her beauty is, it pales in comparison to the object in her hands. Its light pulls all eyes to it and yet none who view it see quite the same thing. Some see the ache of a resplendent sunrise, others a rush of effulgent light warming the loneliest recesses of the heart, and still others a blazing window into the very core of life and hope and beauty itself. Impossibly large for a gem, it is instantly the desire of every heart in the room, some for ill purpose, some for noble.
The eggs of Sam’s eyes melt into bubbling pools. “Now there’s something, Samwise Gamgee, make no mistake.”
Galadriel kneels down before the now quivering mouse.
“For me, my lady?” Reepicheep’s voice claws it’s way out of a pit of awed silence.
“May the light of friendship never dim in your heart, dear mellon en’ ilya (friend of all),” says Galadriel in a voice deep as the woods and golden as honey. “Upon you, we bestow the Silmaril of Friendship.”
“Thank you, fair lady,” squeaks the high-pitched reply. “And thank you noble hobbit. I-I dare say I could not be more surprised by the reception of this award than if Aslan himself had shown up at my door and asked me to tea. You are all too kind. And this…silmaril do you call it? Why I am sure no mere mortal is worthy of such a gift. If there is any merit in myself, I can only say that it springs up from my deep love of Narnia, for all its noble creatures both small and great. Friendship is a gift easily given to such worthy folk. On their behalf only could I ever accept this award. But accept it I shall. And I shall guard it with my life and ever venture to live up to this high and prestigious honor. Thank you dear friends.” Here he pulls out a tiny slip of embroidered cloth and dabs the corners of his eyes. “For Narnia and the North!”
The curtain closes…for now
And thus ends our little presentation for the moment. There is only one award left in this year’s ceremony. Be sure to check out Jenelle Schmit’s post tomorrow to see who wins the Most Heart Wrenching Death Award.
If you’re curious as to how the voting went down, here is a breakdown of the results:
Reepicheep the mouse (The Chronicles of Narnia) 45%
Rose Red (Tales of Goldstone Wood) 17%
Oskar Reteep (Wingfeather Saga) 16%
Inigo Montoya (The Princess Bride) 14%
Horace (The Ranger’s Apprentice series) 8%