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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Lord of the Rings:
Did You Ever Notice... Grima Wormtongue's Costume?
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Arwen's daughter
Half-elven


May 29 2008, 6:31pm

Post #1 of 29 (4395 views)
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Did You Ever Notice... Grima Wormtongue's Costume? Can't Post


“I wanted Grima to have the look of a hunched, feral creature who was clothed in finery but who never washed. His linen shirt was greasy, dirty and utterly repulsive – I’m happy to say it was a near perfect example of costume breakdown! The sleeves of his under-robe came to points on the hands, heightening the sense of evil intent, while the over-robe – black velvet flecked with gold – had a fishtail extension that dragged along the floor behind him. With the addition of a high, ruched-velvet collar, his neck seemed to disappear into his shoulders, creating the illusion of humped-back deformity.”
--Ngila Dickson

Sorry for the slightly fuzzy pics, today. I couldn't find these screencaps from the EE galleries online and had to make my own. Wormtongue has three layers here. The first is a dingy linen undergarment, which you can see the high, smocked collar of. It's possible this is only a fake layer and that it's actually attached to the robe. Then, there's a devore velvet robe with tight pointed sleeves. A tooled leather belt cinches it at the waist. The sleeves seem to be a layer of black and gold lace with a layer of black netting overlaid. On top of that he wears a fine velvet robe that's black with gold/bronze paint. The collar is made of this fabric that's been smocked to add texture and luxury (smocking is a very time consuming process!). The "sleeves" are wide bells that are mostly left open, so they become just two u-shaped pieces of fabric at his side.

His necklace is made of glass and is meant to simulate onyx.







You can see three tiny gold buttons used to hold the sleeve closed here.





The over-robe:





This shot is probably the best to see the fabric of the under-robe.





“Wormtongue’s dagger was designed to look as cold and lethal as possible. Its blade is slightly tongued as a play on his name.”
--David Falconer

Alley Cat Scratch has some more details and images.

So, any thoughts?


Did You Ever Notice? is a roving discussion taking a look at the detail put into the costumes of LOTR. To see the costumes we've already discussed, check out the Costume Discussion Archive.



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Arwen's daughter
Half-elven


May 29 2008, 6:40pm

Post #2 of 29 (2855 views)
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And introducing the Costume Discussion Archive! [In reply to] Can't Post

I've put together a little archive of all the previous discussions in the series.

TORn's Costume Discussions



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weaver
Half-elven

May 29 2008, 8:35pm

Post #3 of 29 (2853 views)
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a near perfect example of costume breakdown -- ha! [In reply to] Can't Post

Love the description of the outfit, especially the "breakdown" line.

When you look at the details of the costume, it does look like this was once a very fine outfit, but that's it been "corrupted" -- just like Grima. Both are beyond being restored by a good cleaning, though...

Thanks for the chance to look at this outfit in a close-up way. Even the evil outfits Ngila makes have beautiful details to them!

Weaver



Artanis
Rohan


May 29 2008, 9:56pm

Post #4 of 29 (2840 views)
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You know [In reply to] Can't Post

I had never really had a good look at his outfit when watching the films.....he is so creepy. I shall definitely have a better look next time I watch it. I really like that huge "necklace".Blush.

Artanis


CreepyKrade
The Shire


May 29 2008, 10:52pm

Post #5 of 29 (2891 views)
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It never ceases to amaze me... [In reply to] Can't Post

...how much detail and thought went into these films, in every aspect and detail. It's really quite remarkable.

(This post was edited by Altaira on May 31 2008, 1:23am)


Starling
Half-elven


May 30 2008, 9:05am

Post #6 of 29 (2821 views)
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I like the way [In reply to] Can't Post

the clothing has a sort of creepy organic look. The close up of the sleeves makes me think of some kind of moss or lichen growing on him, as if the clothes and Wormtongue are intertwined in an unhealthy fashion.


frederica bolger
Lorien


May 30 2008, 9:56am

Post #7 of 29 (2792 views)
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can anyone tell me... [In reply to] Can't Post

... why all the belts on Ngila Dickson's costumes are first buckled and then 'looped over'? Is this for emphasising the texture of the leather, or is there a practical reason for it?

Rain may fall and wind may blow
And many miles be still to go
But under a tall tree I will lie
And watch the clouds go sailing by.


Elven
Valinor


May 30 2008, 1:42pm

Post #8 of 29 (2796 views)
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All smocked up .. [In reply to] Can't Post

Another fantastic tread Arwens Daughter! ... and thankyou for putting all the discussion threads together - such a labourof love - but so much appreciated - thankyou!!!

Now to Gima's threads Cool

Im not sure if this is a memory flashback to something Ngila said, or Im just feeling inspired ... but Grimas costume reminds me of Denethors in a way - it has the same unhealthy aura to it - the opulent cloak with its fishtail and elaborate thick edging ... the high collar and the bulk it gives to the wearer - and the colour as well. Though Grimas certainly conveys his personality - just I suppose as Denethors cloak did.

I notice alot more overlayed textures to this costume - and I think that fits well with the many layers of Grima - he is 'undercover', and this costume see's him so covered up it looks so overwhelming on his pasty frame.

and the handkerchief - its perfect - perfectly revolting because it looks as if it has never been washed and he's been wiping his nose with it for years Evil
and once more there is this sense of 'class' illustrated here with it, that Grima has long lost touch with and never could aspire or reach - how delicate the lace! It looks as if it full of his own poison and rotting away.

The necklace is something else - it has a few interpretations for me ... one is that it is like the palantir - the black glass, and the other is that it is like an eye - so in a sense he cant 'speak' to Saruman, but Saruman can keep an eye on what he is doing, and se what Grima see's. Onyx (as it is meant to represent) is very grounding and black is a protective colour against evil - so it tells me Grima has a warped and shattered perspective of whats going on.
It looks more brassy than gold - with its tarnished links - maybe it is to give the impression of when it was new it was pure gold, but now the plating has worn off completely and all is left is the brass that it was once stuck too.
And the large double hooks and 'S' links ... its just way too big for him - pieces like this are mostly ceremonial - so Grimas outfit as a whole gives the impression that he is dutiful and something important is going on ... the only thing is its all in his head, under that greasy stringy mantle he calls hair.

I love it all though - its so Grima!! Laugh

Thanks Arwen's Daughter!! Great choice this week!

Cheers Elven x


Were off to Hobbiton finally!

Tolkien was a Capricorn!!
Russell Crowe for Beorn!!



Arwen's daughter
Half-elven


May 30 2008, 3:22pm

Post #9 of 29 (2826 views)
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Grima and Denethor [In reply to] Can't Post

I couldn't find the quote again while I was putting all of this together, but I'm sure I've heard Ngila say she viewed Grima as a sort-of trial run for Denethor. So both of them have rich dark velvet cloaks and expensive clothing. I'll definitely get to Denethor's costume at some point to show you Cool

Ooooh, I love your interpretation of his necklace. I didn't realize onyx was meant to ward off evil. Grima really doesn't understand what he's doing, then. I like that!



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Arwen's daughter
Half-elven


May 30 2008, 3:30pm

Post #10 of 29 (2796 views)
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It's very medieval [In reply to] Can't Post

Men tied their belts closed in Medieval days rather than using a buckle like we do, which is where Ngila and crew drew most of their inspiration. It's a style decision they went with.



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Elven
Valinor


May 30 2008, 4:17pm

Post #11 of 29 (2786 views)
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Im pretty sure ... [In reply to] Can't Post

its in the TT EE commentary on design in the weta section and then in costumes where she describes Rohan ...

why this week of all weeks (considering Im doing SCOD as well) did I lend my DVD's!!! Argh!! Crazy I would have found it for you ... Im sure its there now you mention you have heard it too ...

Cheers Elven x


Were off to Hobbiton finally!

Tolkien was a Capricorn!!
Russell Crowe for Beorn!!



grammaboodawg
Immortal


May 30 2008, 4:58pm

Post #12 of 29 (2780 views)
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Ohhhh! I love Grima! [In reply to] Can't Post

And I'm delighted to have this closer look at his garb! You did a fantastic job... these are great pics!

Even for this slimy character's clothing, the detail is so elegant... just like the Wraith's shrouds. I could look at these all day. I hadn't really gotten a good look at his dagger, either. It makes me think of Sting and how the size of Grima's dagger would be like Sting in comparison.

He's do deliciously low..

Thanks so much! I love these posts!!!



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FarFromHome
Valinor


May 30 2008, 5:09pm

Post #13 of 29 (2769 views)
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So much detail [In reply to] Can't Post

So much of Grima's history and personality seems to be tied up in his costume! I remember that a number of the actors said that putting on the clothes was one of the important steps in getting into character. And no wonder when the clothes say so much about the man.

Nice choice, Arwen's daughter! A villain's costume may not be as beautiful as a heroine's gown, but it speaks volumes!

...and the sails were drawn up, and the wind blew,
and slowly the ship slipped away down the long grey firth;
and the light of the glass of Galadriel that Frodo bore
glimmered and was lost.


Peredhil lover
Valinor

May 30 2008, 5:36pm

Post #14 of 29 (2798 views)
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*bookmarks* [In reply to] Can't Post

Thank you, Arwen's Daughter! It makes it easier to look details up later.

I know I don't comment much here, but I still appreciate your posts and the work you do for them very much!

As for Grima, I fear that was my first close look at his costume. Not to have to look at his nasty face makes it easier to admire the costume Wink Ngila and her crew certainly did a great job here, making him absolutely disgusting. It is fascinating how much one can do that even with fine clothes, isn't it?

I do not suffer from LotR obsession - I enjoy every minute of it.


kei-shan
Registered User

May 30 2008, 7:15pm

Post #15 of 29 (2787 views)
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Details [In reply to] Can't Post

It never cease to surprise me the level of detail they put in these movies.
Without any doubt those clothes helped Grima to have that creepy look, not only the makeup and hair.
Thanks for the post Arwen's daughter, it was very informative!


Magpie
Immortal


Jun 1 2008, 3:19am

Post #16 of 29 (2763 views)
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breakdown [In reply to] Can't Post

I often dreamed of learning costume design purely to learn how to breakdown and age cloth. I was into doll making for awhile and I hated how the new fabric looked in the doll costumes. I wanted some real life asserted on the outfits!



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Magpie
Immortal


Jun 1 2008, 3:20am

Post #17 of 29 (2724 views)
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ooh... cool observation! // [In reply to] Can't Post

 



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Magpie
Immortal


Jun 1 2008, 3:26am

Post #18 of 29 (2767 views)
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Grima's often in the dark [In reply to] Can't Post

which made it hard for me to pay attention to his clothing.

The one item that really stood out to me was his handkerchief. I've always thought of it as being in tatters but it looks like it might be lacy. Do you know, AD? I thought it was kind of ludicrous. The hanky was totally non functional and I couldn't imagine what he did with it. Dab at oozing sores? Wipe drool or dripping snot? Does he suck on it like a security blanket? Yu-ick.

There was a time when my husband and I used cotton hankies to the exclusion of kleenex and they are actually very soothing on the nose and can be used even if very saturated (with watery stuff... not gooey stuff). I often reminisce about our cotton hankies. They're hard to find these days. Grima's ratty rag looks like it would harsh on the skin and totally non-absorbing.



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Patty
Immortal


Jun 2 2008, 4:53am

Post #19 of 29 (2752 views)
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Painstakingly excellent work, AD. [In reply to] Can't Post

I love how Grima's costume marks him out as someone of position in the court hierarchy, yet it has a certain untrustworthy, almost dirty (in personality) look about it.

Thanks for the closeups. I hadn't noticed the smocking before.

Hanging out with the Lonely Isle elves.


pippinmaniac
Bree

Jun 2 2008, 6:28am

Post #20 of 29 (2737 views)
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Arwen's Daughter [In reply to] Can't Post

As a longtime lurker and a recent joiner, I just have to say that I truly enjoy you costume archive.

I believe that one of the reasons everything felt so "real" in these movies was because the costumes weren't treated as anything out of the ordinary. Many times you only caught a glimpse of a costume. That glimpse was so intriguing that you kept going back to see more. ( I know I did. I've got the ticket stubs to prove it. ) I guess the point of my post is that these beautifully made costumes ceased to be "movie costumes" and became part of the characters themselves. They added a depth that is seldom seen in fantasy films. That hard work was not wasted.


Starling
Half-elven


Jun 2 2008, 6:34am

Post #21 of 29 (2726 views)
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Welcome to TORn, Pippinmaniac [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm glad you decided to de-lurk. Smile


Peredhil lover
Valinor

Jun 2 2008, 8:41am

Post #22 of 29 (2719 views)
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Welcome! [In reply to] Can't Post

*waves from one long-time lurker to another*
Lurking was fun, but joining is much more fun, so I hope you feel the same here!

I do not suffer from LotR obsession - I enjoy every minute of it.


Arwen's daughter
Half-elven


Jun 2 2008, 3:59pm

Post #23 of 29 (2735 views)
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Alley Cat Scatch has some tips [In reply to] Can't Post

Costume breakdown is a lot of fun. And you're right, without it everything looks too new. Heck, even our jeans come pre-distressed these days! If you want to try it, ACS has some tips: http://www.alleycatscratch.com/...bric/Distressing.htm

The important thing is to break down the fabric. Washing it a lot helps. Sometimes washing it with some tennis shoes will really beat it into submission. Then you play with dye or paint on the hem and sandpaper on the seams, knees, and elbows. Heck, I've been known to wad my velvet Eowyn gown into a corner of my closet so that it will wrinkle before I put it on (helps it look like I've pulled it out of an old chest in Edoras!).



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Arwen's daughter
Half-elven


Jun 2 2008, 4:14pm

Post #24 of 29 (2751 views)
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I think it's lace [In reply to] Can't Post

The handkercheif looks lacy to me, though I don't know how much good it's doing him. Maybe he's using it to block some of the riper smells in Edoras? He certainly thinks well of himself to have appropriated such a fancy piece of cloth to wipe his nose!



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Magpie
Immortal


Jun 2 2008, 4:22pm

Post #25 of 29 (2726 views)
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cool... [In reply to] Can't Post

I spent some time at that site a few years back. Either I missed that page or it's newer than my visits. Thanks. It's kind of a shame that my creative efforts have gone from physical projects to digital ones.



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