Fan Fic: Home with the Fairies
To make a realistic girl-falls-into-M.E. story: Remind the readers that the medieval ages are a very different world than our own, and that we are completely unprepared to be suddenly dropped in them.Home with the Fairies (AO3), by I. Mushi, is a Deconstruction Fic that inserts a modern character into The Lord of the Rings, but is more realistic than other stories about girls falling into Middle-earth.Maddie is a woman from America. She suddenly finds herself alone in a grassland, without knowing that this is Middle-earth. Now she's in "The Medieval Times Show You Can't Leave", and no one speaks English. The story is serious, with many tropes Played for Drama, but Maddie eventually makes her own adventure in this land.The story was not complete.
— author's note, chapter 3 "Where Many Paths and Errands Meet"
Home with the Fairies provides examples of:
- Agent Scully: The story dumps Maddie in Middle-earth. Maddie, who has no belief in magic, tries to think of a mundane explanation. A kidnapper drugged her and dumped her, but there are no tire tracks. Maddie is dreaming, but can't wake. She is in a remote part of Canada or America, but no one speaks English. Maddie is not a Flat Earth Atheist; after finding more evidence, she accepts that she is in some fantasy world.
- Attempted Rape: To survive the first chapters, Maddie must accept food from strangers. One of these strangers tries to rape Maddie.
- Bonus Material: The drabbles in the "HwtF Drabble Collection" ship Maddie with different characters, and include "A Study in Frustration: Erynion". Apart from that, I-Mushi has tumblr posts tagged "hwtf".
- Cell Phones Are Useless: When Maddie lands in Middle-earth, she has no cell phone reception. Maddie continues looking for reception, not knowing that she is in Middle-earth (a land with no cell towers). She stops when phone's battery dies forever.
- Chekhov's Skill: In one town, Maddie learns how to ride the horse. Later in the story, Maddie is alone with a horse, and must ride to survive.
- Damsel in Distress: Maddie is in a group of travelers when bandits attack them. They kill some Red Shirts and kidnap Maddie and the others. Some of the prisoners later die. Maddie is lucky to be among the survivors.
- Deconstruction Fic: The author's goal is "a realistic girl-falls-into-M.E. story".
- The Dung Ages: In chapter 3, this is how Maddie perceives the town of Bree. It looks medieval, and it stinks, with "open sewers down the sides of the street" and "the retched filth lying in the gutters and alleys". It disgusts her, but the locals seem to ignore it.
- Fainting: Maddie faints when she first sees an elf, one of an Inhumanly Beautiful Race. Before she faints, she feels "a strange preternatural sense of both awe and fear"; the elf "looks so perfect it was painful". Someone picks up Maddie and moves her to a bed, where she stays asleep until the next day.
- Fish out of Temporal Water: To Maddie, Middle-earth resembles The Middle Ages. Maddie is a modern woman from America who doesn't belong in medieval times.
- Fix Fic: The insertion of Maddie changes the story, in more than one way. The big fix happens in chapter 17.
- From Dress to Dressing: Maddie rips the sleeves of her dress in chapter 5 "Up and Out", to make pads to soak the blood from her own period. In this Deconstruction Fic, ripping her dress was not trivial. "I had to use my teeth and rocks, and got some rug burns on my hands from all the pulling."
- The Homeward Journey: From the beginning of the story, Maddie wants to go home. To find information, Maddie wanders around Middle-earth, rather than settle in one place.
- Language Barrier: In Middle-earth, no one speaks English. Maddie will take months to learn enough Westron to talk to others.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: The magic that dumped Maddie into Middle-earth might also have blocked some memories, because Maddie forgot about The Lord of the Rings. She has seen the movies and read the books. Her memories come back in chapter 11.
- Memento MacGuffin: Maddie's old things become mementos of her home in America. The most important memento is her dead cell phone; it is the one thing that she never shows to anyone else.
- Mundane Luxury: Maddie misses so many things. From chapter 3 "Where Many Paths and Errands Meet",Could I live in a place like this? Without plumbing (the outhouse was filthy), electricity, microwaveable food, the luxuries I was used to?
- Maddie becomes homesick for 'soda, hamburgers, french fries, ketchup' in chapter 4, and a longer list of foods in chapter 6. Maddie can find one luxury in Middle-earth. In chapter 19, Maddie is happy to have butter.
- Nobody Poops: The beginning of the story averts this. Because Middle-earth has no modern toilets, Maddie must learn to use the open outdoors, then an outhouse, then a chamber pot.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Maddie almost never uses her full name, Madeline Greene. In Middle-earth, none can guess that Maddie is short for Madeline.
- Ontological Mystery: The readers know that Maddie fell into Middle-earth, but Maddie does not. She only knows that she is in a field and not in her apartment. Then she walks to civilization, but finds a medieval village, where none speak English, and none know of America. Maddie discovers this fairy-tale world, but not why it chose her to come here.
- Outdoor Bath Peeping: The bandits want to watch as Maddie and the other prisoners bathe in a stream. They all refuse to bathe, so this is a Defied Trope.
- Pointy Ears: Maddie finds creatures that might be elves, fairies or nymphs. Maddie needs a glimpse of pointed ears (hidden under hair) to decide that they are elves.
- Plot Armor: Maddie misses several chances to die. In chapter 9, she lampshades how events always seem to save her life.I wasn't even surprised by my luck of running into people in totally uninhabited places anymore. Something was keeping me alive here, because otherwise I'd have been dead outside Bree months ago.
- Red Shirt: Some nameless characters die, because Middle-earth is a dangerous place.
- Sacrificial Lamb: Baiard dies of an infected wound, and Maddie can't save him. Baiard was the horseman who escorted Maddie through Rohan. As a memorial, Maddie later claims to have a dead brother named Baiard.
- Suddenly Always Knew That: Maddie throws a flaming torch at an enemy. It hits. How did she learn to aim? "I played softball in college."
- Trapped in Another World: Maddie is trapped in Middle-earth. She verifies her problem, when she sees maps of this world, and can't find America or any other recognizable country.
- Unreliable Narrator: Downplayed. Maddie is not trying to lie, but her misunderstandings affect the narration, especially in the early chapters, when the Language Barrier is still a major problem. For example, Maddie visits the town of Fornost, but it might not be Fornost; Maddie later uses the name "maybe-not-Fornost". Then in chapter 13, Maddie believes that Lord Kinsey will fire her if "gossip gets out", but this might not be true; Lord Kinsey might or might not believe the gossip. A writer's note on chapter 14 declares Maddie as an unreliable narrator.