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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Tra Naf:
The Nauglamir Is Returned to Dior Eluchil


Apr 21 2007, 2:01pm

Post #1 of 8 (811 views)
The Nauglamir Is Returned to Dior Eluchil Can't Post

“There came a night of autumn, and when it grew late, one came and smote upon the doors of Menegroth, demanding admittance to the King. He was a lord of the Green-elves hastening from Ossiriand, and the door-wards brought him to where Dior sat alone in his chamber; and there in silence he gave to the King a coffer, and took his leave. But in that coffer lay the Necklace of the Dwarves, wherein was set the Silmaril; and Dior looking upon it knew it for a sign that Beren Erchamion and Luthien Tinuviel had died indeed, and gone where go the race of Men to a fate beyond the world.”

If I had to draw this scene today, I'd do it a little differently. Specifically, I'd have the door to the chamber closing with just a glimpse of the Green elf lord, or I'd have the door shut completely. That would have emphasized to a greater degree the light coming from the Silmaril. It would also have made it a more private moment.

The lower angle was chosen on purpose, in order to not show the necklace, so that the viewer has to imagine it. This puts the emphasis on reading Dior's face to understand what he's feeling at that moment. I added a bit of a squint to his eyes--after all, it is a Silmaril. My intent was to show his resignation and quiet pain at what this jewel, coming to him now, truly means.

The Nauglamir Is Returned to Dior Eluchil appeared in one of the annual Tolkien calendars designed by the editor of Beyond Bree, a long-lived Tolkien newsletter.

Pen and ink.

(This post was edited by WonderBroad on Apr 21 2007, 2:02pm)

Beren IV

Apr 23 2007, 5:21am

Post #2 of 8 (658 views)
Not this scene but this story [In reply to] Can't Post

drives me nuts, but that has no bearing on the quality of your artwork.

Your stipple technique is phenomenal. Except for you, I haven't met anyone who used stipple for non-scientific illustrations, and scientific illustrations use it primarily because the printing procedure for scientific work depends on ink, not pencil. But this is excellent; you do the shading very well, convey the lighting on character's faces very well, and also have intense attention to detail (not what I would draw, perhaps, but that's no flaw). I particularly like the urn in the background - details like that give the "you are there" prospective that makes the drawing shine out all the more clearly. I also like the light source inside of the coffer, which IMO does perfectly well even with the door open and the Green Elven lord still in the front of the door. It is still very clear that there is something genuinely luminous inside of the box, and it lights up Dior's face even as it shows his obvious combination of sadness, fatalism, and possibly, a degree of unknowingness (at least that's what I see, but that's because that's what I see him feeling in this situation - see below). The only thing in this drawing that I would say could necessarily be done better is that the Green Elven lord looks too passive - he doesn't feel like he's walking out while Dior is looking at the necklass, and if Dior wanted to look at it in private, I agree with you: the door should be closed.

Very well done! Wink


The fate of Beren and Lúthien to me seems quite ambiguous; we never do know for certain what happened to them, but "accelerated old age brought about by the Silmaril's power", which is the implication, just doesn't sit well with me. Neither does making Lúthien mortal, for that matter (if you can change who is mortal and who isn't, it seems far more reasonable to me to make Beren immortal instead of the other way around - unless you're secretly working for Morgoth, that is). Either way, even if they are mortal, the accelation of aging bit just doesn't sit with me. There are plenty of curses in the Silmarillion, and yes, the Naugmalir is probably one of them, but the real curse, the Doom of Mandos upon the Noldor, doesn't apply to Beren or Lúthien. So unless Cúrufin came back and stabbed the pair in their sleep or something, or Morgoth sent a bunch of Balrogs to assassinate them, they should live to a ripe old age.

Anyway, that has nothing to do with your drawing, apart from explaining why Dior is now wondering about the things he doesn't know: how his parents died, and how the Silmaril wound up in the hands of this green elf.

Once a paleontologist, now a botanist, will be a paleobotanist


Apr 23 2007, 9:03pm

Post #3 of 8 (503 views)
Wonderful. A unique scene [In reply to] Can't Post

which I've never before seen anybody else illustrate, and I applaud your choice of it. Well done, although I admit to wanting to see what your nauglamir would have looked like. I do understand and agree with your reason for keeping it just out of our sight, though.

At home, amongst the Mallorn trees.

N.E. Brigand

Apr 24 2007, 1:51am

Post #4 of 8 (511 views)
It reminds me of the suitcase in "Pulp Fiction". / [In reply to] Can't Post


Detail from earliest version of Thror's MapTolkien Illustrated! Jan. 29-May 20: Visit the Reading Room to discuss art by John Howe, Alan Lee, Ted Nasmith and others, including Tolkien himself.

Apr. 23-29: John Howe.


Apr 24 2007, 11:03pm

Post #5 of 8 (634 views)
re: [In reply to] Can't Post

Thank you for your comments, B-IV.

Stippling is a pain. I never developed any other technique in ink besides stippling because I just didn't have a real affinity for that medium. I was a lot younger when I drew this, and it's doubtful I could see well enough to stipple these days, what with my bifocals being progressives (they have a very narrow space in which see clearly up close.)

>>So unless Cúrufin came back and stabbed the pair in their sleep or something, or Morgoth sent a bunch of Balrogs to assassinate them, they should live to a ripe old age.

I don't think they were aged so much as they just "died from exposure," as it were, to the Silmaril. Tolkien wrote: "But the wise have said that the Silmaril hastened their end; for the flame of the beauty of Luthien as she wore it was too bright for mortal lands."

He's pretty much saying that the radiance of pure beauty killed them. That's quite a statement, and to me, wonderfully mythic.


Apr 24 2007, 11:10pm

Post #6 of 8 (499 views)
re: [In reply to] Can't Post

>>although I admit to wanting to see what your nauglamir would have looked like.

I once drew a picture where Earendil awakens on Vingilot to find the swan that flew to his ship to be his wife Elwing. Around her neck is the Nauglamir with the Silmaril. I liked everything about the drawing, except for the necklace. Looking at it now, I can't imagine what I was thinking. It just doesn't work. Perhaps I'll consider drawing that scene again one day, and work very hard on my jewelry design!

(This post was edited by WonderBroad on Apr 24 2007, 11:12pm)


Apr 24 2007, 11:12pm

Post #7 of 8 (501 views)
re: [In reply to] Can't Post

>>It reminds me of the suitcase in "Pulp Fiction"


Beren IV

Apr 25 2007, 5:29am

Post #8 of 8 (659 views)
Exposure [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, it sounds mythic, yes, but it just doesn't work for a story. Unfortunately, Lúthien in particular is the sort of good, heroic character that would thrive in the light of the Silmaril, not be killed by it - and if she would be, she's also quite smart enough to put a healthy amount of distance between herself and it - unless she realizes intuitively what Tolkien really meant for her. But basically, the problem is this: Tolkien defines death for them not as the cessation of living existence but rather the passage to another, and obviously to his own mind, better, existence. In short, they died and went to Heaven.

This creates a collossal problem for the legendarium, because it makes the entire setting of the story irrelevant, as well as most of the events. Why should we, the reader, care about what the heroes manage to accomplish in the material universe if their fates in the spiritual universe are necessarily idyllic and Edenic? The only tragedies, therefore, are those characters who side with evil and, as a result, don't necessarily get to go to Heaven. So why does it matter that, for example, Frodo and Sam get rescued by Gwiahir and don't get incinerated by the lava flow when the Ring is destroyed? Why does it matter that the Ring even is destroyed, if the good people still get to go to Heaven even if Sauron wins in the material world? Tolkien wisely doesn't tell us where the spirits of Men are going because he realizes how collossal a problem this is, but in the Silmarillion at least, mainly because of the story of Beren and Lúthien, he's plenty clear: even if the end destination isn't Heaven, it might as well be, because it's good enough that these two are being sent to it instead of kept in Arda where they are also happy and where they could also do a whole lot of good later if they were still around. Now, to give Tolkien his credit, he did not publish the Silmarillion, and in the Lord of the Rings, the hints of a better hereafter are subtle enough that they can be overlooked without breaking suspension of disbelief. A 'completed' Sil would have these references removed as well, and the final fate of B&L would have to be a mystery, perhaps similar to the way that the Arthur legend ends (i.e. yes, everybody dies, but there is a suggestion that the knights might come back later to defend England from a deadly peril). Sort of like the way the Tale of Tinúviel in BoLT ends, as a matter of fact!

A world in which material tragedy is meaningless is not a good world in which to set a story in which the primary conflict is a war between ultimately material forces - and the Ainur are by this measure material, because they're tied to the world, whereas the spirits of Men aren't. The Silmarillion is a great story, indeed I like it better than LotR - but whenever I think about this particular problem, I feel like burning the book. Basically I have to selectively read it!

Once a paleontologist, now a botanist, will be a paleobotanist


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