We’d like to give you a good word about today’s story.
Without Another Word
[Drama] [Sad] • 11,912 words
Seven years have passed since Grand Pear moved to Vanhoover, and time has dulled the pain of leaving Pear Butter behind. Though the scars remain, life for the Pear family has done its best to return to normal.
But one day, a letter from Ponyville comes in the mail.
FROM THE CURATORS: The Perfect Pear is one of the most moving and beloved episodes of MLP’s recent seasons, so stories based on it have a high bar to clear — a challenge which this fic exceeded with grace. As Soge noted in his nomination, “Powerful stuff … Without Another Word does what fanfiction does best, by exploring the empty spaces left behind by canon.” And Present Perfect summed up our assessment: “Grand Pear is perhaps the greatest tragic figure of MLP:FiM, beating out even Cranky Doodle Donkey’s decade-long search for love. This story gets how someone could do what he did, how they could live with it, and how none of it would be easy. Every last drop of possible emotion is wrung from a pure, natural understanding of his character.”
That was accomplished, Soge said, “thanks to some very well realized characterization work, and a tone which manages to feel heavy and yet avoid falling into melodrama.” Several other curators also praised the treatment of the Pear family, such as AugieDog: “The character details elevate it right into the clouds — Grand Pear’s relationship with his wife and with the griffon bartender especially, but also with his other children and the folks who come into his shop,” he said. “It displays a real understanding of the sort of person who would do this to himself and to his family.” And FanOfMostEverything added, “The fleshing out of his wife when the episode gave us absolutely nothing to work with was fantastic.”
The character work was also enhanced by a finely crafted structure. “I feel the strongest part of this story is its use of unreliable narration,” FanOfMostEverything said. “At first, we see Grand Pear how he wants to be seen, as the strong central pillar of his family, the source of order in the chaos. It takes an emotional breakdown, other perspectives, and too much straight whiskey to peel back the layers and show what’s really been going on.” And ultimately, what that added up to was something all of us commented on — the raw emotional power on display. “This story hit me hard,” Soge said, and AugieDog concurred: “This doesn’t pull any of the punches Grand Pear’s got coming.”
Read on for our author interview, in which Jack of a Few Trades discusses starry-eyed phases, fruit glue, and hailstorm baptisms.