“Remover of Obstacles” finally comes to an end

This is one of my favorite ongoing Bagginshield fanfics (slash, hurt/comfort, plenty of angst — read all the archive warnings, please). A two year ritual of looking forward to the updates is now coming to an end. Luckily, the author reports that there will be a sequel, of which my impression is that it will be ‘episodes’ in the wake of this story.

I’ve spent a lot of time wrestling with my love of slash Bagginshield and reading this story helped me understand a lot about myself for that reason alone. Thanks to the author for a constant, thought-provoking pick-me-up.

Luckily for me (for a while, at least), it doesn’t look like “Unexpected Music” is ending anytime soon.

~ by Servetus on August 14, 2016.

23 Responses to ““Remover of Obstacles” finally comes to an end”

  1. You might be interested in an article in The Economist’s 1843 magazine (August-September) on female sexuality and slash fiction.


    • Thanks. I’ve read a lot of theories over the years, none of which have really applied to me very well. (Back when I first started reading slash — 1999 — most of the theories related to sexuality and they were all ridiculous IMO). The key in this case is not slash so much as Bagginshield, I think.


  2. Obstacles is so so beautiful. Sad to see it end, but as you said there will be a continuation so it’s not a total goodbye. It’s one of my favourites, and one I know I will re-read many times.


  3. I’ve discovered this amazing and very well-written story after your recommendation in a post few months ago.
    I like the story very much and I’m relieved that we’ll get to know from time to time how the story and their main characters develop.


  4. Oh, you too are reading Unexpected Music? I have discovered it over a month ago, and was reading for two weeks like a mad to get to, then, chapter 81! XD If I may ask, do you comment the story?
    And I will definitely read Remover, it’s next on my list.


    • I don’t comment fanfic; it’s not that it wouldn’t deserve it, but I have a hard enough time keeping up with stuff here. I also don’t like to pressure authors.


  5. Hello there! 😀 You know, I did a fair bit of flailing when I found the link to this post in the Bagginshield tag. Thank you so, so much for promoting ‘A Remover of Obstacles’ on here and for all your lovely feedback on my chapters.

    I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed my story and that it helped you understand a few things about yourself. Please do let me know any questions you have and I’ll try to answer them as best I can. Equally, if you have any prompts for ‘Dust in the Road’, I’d also love to hear them.

    Thanks again for being such a loyal reader, and I hope you’ve had a wonderful weekend 🙂


    • I felt bad I couldn’t comment at A03 but I have a hard time keeping up with the blog. I’m so glad you completed it and it was a pleasure practically every week (well, if hurt/comfort is a pleasure).

      Things I would like to know:

      –what happens to Sam / Rosie
      –couldn’t there be Fili / Ori?
      –I was thinking yesterday how much a part of the characterization the dichotomy between Thorin as someone who’s not an idiot but no genius, and Bilbo as someone Thorin regards as “clever”. And there’s kind of a similar gap in terms of social skills. There’s a sort of key moment in that chapter where Bilbo thinks Graham’s hitting on Thorin and he says to Thorin, “you wouldn’t even know, would you?” that kind of encapsulates that “problem” for me. So I really wonder how dissertation writing / PhD studies are going to impact that dynamic. I watched a lot of couples like this split while I was working on my own dissertation.
      –I had mixed feelings about the question of “real sex” — I thought it was sweet how you handled it (and very discreet) but part of me still wants to know what it was like for them to have sex in person. (I’m a voyeur)
      –Also, I love rocks in the road. On one level I laud Bilbo’s decision to pursue his PhD, on the other graduate school really make one feel inadequate (all the time). I thought you might be a grad student based on some pieces of this. But his intellect seems to be the thing that really holds Bilbo together. I wonder what would happen if that weren’t the case.
      –Is Bilbo going to stay in the intelligence corps?

      But I think mostly I’m just in it for more fluffy Bagginshield and to find out what happens next to all of these characters. I’m just in love with all of them.


      • Hi Mistaken Magic!

        I also want to know these things 🙂

        I love your Bilbo and Thorin so much.
        Thank you for never giving up on their story. So well written, with such sensitivity.


        • Hello Eilenna! I’m not sure if you get notifications for here, but I’ve replied to all Servetus’ wonderful questions. Thank you for your kind words and please do let me know if you have any questions of your own! ❤


      • Hello, hello! Sorry about the delay replying – I just needed a day or so to consider your very thought-provoking questions. Now I really could ramble for pages and pages, but I’ve tried to keep my answers concise and to the point. Okay, here we go…

        Rosie takes the job down in Bristol. She lives on her own for a while, but finally she and Sam follow Tolkien’s canon and decide to marry and start a family. Bilbo and Thorin find themselves godfathers again and of course everyone gathers together for their wonderful summer wedding. Sam and Bilbo organise the flowers.
        Regarding Fili/Ori… I’ve been very reluctant to pair Fili off in this ‘verse. I’m going to hold my hands up to my own fallibility here and admit that even after two years, I still don’t actually know my Fili’s sexual orientation. I think she might still be figuring it out too 😉
        Answering your two questions on Bilbo’s PhD together, you’re absolutely right that I was a grad student for a time whilst I completed my PGCE after gaining my BA in English Lit. I met and worked with a lot of PhD students during my time at uni, so I completely understand where you’re coming from with your queries about Bilbo’s time as a student. Yes, there are rocks in the road, some days Bilbo relapses, wants to give up, but it’s Thorin who keeps him going. His academic studies very rarely cause tension between him and Thorin because Thorin very much sees the PhD as an extended part of ‘Operation Ganesh’ and is determined to support Bilbo. The disparity in their intellect doesn’t bother Thorin, he accepts his own limitations and very much admires his partner for his abilities, but the real key to their relationship staying strong is that Bilbo actively involves Thorin in his work. He talks to him about what he’s working on in terms Thorin can understand, they discuss different parts of his thesis, Thorin asks questions, Thorin reads chapters of it, and sometimes attends lectures with Bilbo. The PhD is such an important part of Bilbo’s continuing recovery, and so Thorin does his best to be part of Bilbo’s world, which Bilbo of course welcomes.
        I’m a total voyeur as well, and don’t worry, I’m pretty sure Chapter 2 of ‘Dust in the Road’ is going to be Thorin and Bilbo’s first time. Also, a few people have requested smut, so I think there may be a few chapters which will look at the development of their sex life. So, again, if you have any smutty prompts for me, please do let me know!
        Bilbo received an honorable discharge from the Intelligence Corps before Thorin arrived at Ered Luin. He accepted it because he believed that, one way or another, he would never leave the hospital. However, after making some real progress on the road to recovery, he came to properly accept his discharge simply because he’d been through too much and seen too much to want to go back.

        I hope this answers your questions and if you have any more, I’m always happy to chat about this ‘verse.

        Thanks again for your wonderful feedback and I hope you’re having a super Tuesday!


        • Wow — thanks for the detailed answers! I don’t really have prompts but I will be awaiting the next chapters eagerly. Thanks in advance.


          • Hello again, Servetus! I’m just popping by to let you know Thorin and Bilbo’s first time has now been posted in Chapter 2 of ‘Dust in the Road’. I’ve spoken to Eilenna and explained that unfortunately this chapter has seen a little bit of a dip in interest, so I’m just reaching out to those readers who specifically requested this scene. Writing smut is still very much outside of my comfort zone, so if you ever have a spare moment to offer any feedback, it would be much appreciated 🙂 I hope you enjoy being a voyeur, and thank you again for reccing ‘Obstacles’!


            • I enjoyed this chapter, but I think it’s just a rhetorical challenge for any writer and perhaps especially in this case. The previous story was balanced on this really tight tension of them not being able to have sex because one or both of them would be triggered. So that sense of precariousness or something could go wrong at any point is gone. The second issue is, I think, the fact that you’re narrating sex from a very consent, avoiding triggered trauma oriented model. So you have to spend a lot of time having them reassure each other — and that can potentially get in the way of a narrative that relies, essentially, on the fact that something is overwhelming both of them. I’ll think a little bit more about it, though, and see if anything else comes up that occurs to me.

              In the end, you’re not writing to please me.


            • oh — the other thing is that insofar as the Bagginshield audience overlaps with or relies on the Richard Armitage fan audience, the latter has been caught up in the publicity rush for the last month. I know I’m behind even some of my favorite stories.


            • so, final comment, rereading it now: I know this is how therapists tell people experiencing difficulties with sex to have sex — with all this discussion. And I also know from work that this is what they tell students on college campuses to do — consent at every point. I don’t have any philosophical issues with that, really, nor do I think it’s inaccurate or unrealistic in the story’s context. It’s just alien to my own fantasies about and experiences with having sex, which are much less talky than these guys are. But that’s just me, and I don’t have PTSD, and I’m 47. So take it for what it’s worth.


              • I honestly can’t thank you enough for these thoughtful, in depth responses. They’ve certainly put my mind at rest and helped me consider the situation from a different angle. Although I stand by the chapter – I don’t think my Thorin and Bilbo’s first time could have gone any other way in the Obstacles!verse – I now completely understand why it may not appeal to everyone and fully agree with everything you’ve said. Thanks again for getting back to me, I really do appreciate it 🙂


                • I hope this wasn’t too point blank. I love the AU and I look forward to anything else you will write about these two (including sex).


                  • Oh no, not at all, I really was grateful for your honest and enlightening assessment of the situation! 🙂 The next chapter (from Rosie’s POV) is in the works, but as it covers a time-span of three years, it may take me a few weeks to post it. Thanks again for all your support with this AU and I hope you’re having a super Sunday!


            • Hello again! I’ve replied to you over at AO3 🙂


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