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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Lord of the Rings:
FOTR EE Appendices Discussion ~~Designing Middle-earth~~Part 7


Jun 3 2009, 7:51am

Post #1 of 14 (614 views)
FOTR EE Appendices Discussion ~~Designing Middle-earth~~Part 7 Can't Post

Hello, once again, and welcome to Rivendell.


Unlike Orthanc, this is the place Alan Lee wants to live, or rather, wants to retire to: Rivendell. Cool segue, isn't it? As we say, these Appendices flow so nicely and really are telling a story of the making of these films.

We've come to some of the favorite parts of this discussion of design.Smile

Alan sits in the woods in a park near Wellington and draws. He has done this all his life, and still does it, so what better way to design Rivendell?

This is another time when the conceptual artists sit in an existing landscape and draw in the film elements. Kind of helps to answer that question as to what location shooting may offfer, doesn't it? Oh, and nice that we were there, so to speak, to share this moment - the revealing of Rivendell, because, thanks to Peter's foresight, they filmed it. This time Peter didn't have to grab a camera and do it himself, though. Wink
Alan describes the process as adding in the architectural elements as he gets a feeling of the place that will be proper " place for the elves".

The exterior set was built in a small regional park called Kaitoke, and Dan Hennah says it was built inside/outside - very much as Lothlorien was described as having been built. ShockedThe designers and other film people didn't want to damage any trees so they made a model with all the trees in it and designed around them.

Seems as if this location was a place where a person wanted to spend a lot of time - Alan thought of even sleeping there.
John Howe asks, "How do you define a culture which could be eternal...forever perfecting itself?" "You have to search for some form of simplicity which can allow you to stop evolving and find that perfect line."
These are the words the conceptual designers used to descrbe the Elves: the use of natural forms, use of flowing, graceful lines, elements of art nouveau, of Celtic design; intuitive and egnimatic...melancholic and quiet.
Rivendell is also conceived of (from Tolkien, of course) as a center of learning with a "world-renowned" library. This is all to be conveyed through the "dressing of the set". Elrond's house is also in part a museum of all these significant events that have occurred in the history of the elves; particularly telling the story of The Ring.

The interior of Elrond's chamber and the council chamber were described as, "a very lovely set."
Dressing reflects a a library, a museum, prop-detailing. with Narsil as a centerpiece. Anyone remember what impression this unique and affecting piece made the first time you realized what it was?

We included this bust just to be able to ask who it might be. It could be any famous elf. I think it is female - is it Elrond's mother, Elwing? Is it Celebrian his wife, who is gone into the West? Maybe it is Luthien, or even Aragorn's mother.
I think the designers would have known. Does anyone know if it is stated anywhere? I haven't perused the Appendices' galleries and 'coffetable' books for a long, long time; it might be in those somewhere.

We come now to a very special part of this segment of the Appendices. We have to mention a part of the set decoration which Grant Major describes as "frescos" which are there on the walls, (and barely seen), but which are meant to add to the sense of history in Imladris. Dan Hennah describes these as just the "most beautiful, stunning pieces of artwork" and then goes on to (very geekily) describe very well what they each were depicting.

Do we know if they were actually painted on to the walls?

Do we know if Alan Lee did all of them?

Anyone know where they are now and if we can find copies of them?

AngelicWe have screencaps of these murals which are not very good, but certainly worth a look, and we'll post them on the weekend.

Well, we hope to do a bit more later, maybe,Tongue before a brief break (for RL) on Wednesday and Thursday. For sure we'll be back on Friday with the conclusion of this fabulous part of the Appendices, Designing Middle-earth.

Hobbitlove and Ordinaryhobbit


Tol Eressea

Jun 3 2009, 9:39am

Post #2 of 14 (489 views)
Bust [In reply to] Can't Post

We included this bust just to be able to ask who it might be. It could be any famous elf. I think it is female - is it Elrond's mother, Elwing? Is it Celebrian his wife, who is gone into the West? Maybe it is Luthien, or even Aragorn's mother.
I think the designers would have known. Does anyone know if it is stated anywhere?

I believe it is Gil-Galad.

Movie Technical Discussion -- Index

Henoluin Elsilim

Jun 3 2009, 7:12pm

Post #3 of 14 (485 views)
I'm with Alan Lee. [In reply to] Can't Post

Rivendell is definatly the place I would want to live if I could. Orthanc would be waaaay to scary! lol.
I'd love to take a walk along that bridge you have in the bottom half of the first pic. It looks so relaxing, somehow...

I love the fact that they built Rivendell around the trees rather than cutting any down. It made it feel more real that way, if you ask me. Kind of like Rivendell was part of the land, rather than just built on it. (Does that sound really cheesy? Tongue)

About the wall paintings in the library: I don't know if they were painted on the walls for real or not, but I do know from my copy of "The Lord of the Rings Sketchbook" by Alan Lee that he did paint two of them himself, one showing the retreat of the Noldor from Eregion, and the one we see in the film of the confrontation between Sauron and Isildur, and I know that he designed at least five others.
I don't have a clue who the statue might be. o_o

Great post! Smile

~ Henoluin ~

Lord of the Rings

Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons for you are crunchy, and good with ketchup


Jun 3 2009, 9:11pm

Post #4 of 14 (471 views)
Alan in the woods. [In reply to] Can't Post

Every time that I see Alan Lee setting in those woods sketching I think to myself that he looks like he is in his element.

Movie Technical Discussion -- Index


Jun 4 2009, 12:12pm

Post #5 of 14 (463 views)
One of the wonderful things ... [In reply to] Can't Post

about this film, that Alan Lee was there designing Rivendell - it has such an stillness and quietness - something beautiful from the mind of Alan Lee - just as he is.

Thankyou hobbitlove for these screencaps of Rivendell - I could imagine Alan retiring there - but I cant see him retiring, he loves what he does.

Elven x


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

Avatar: Liberace - The other Lord of the Rings.

Quote of The Week: The thing is I always write in the morning, and I know that if I go to the Net I won’t write ... you can start in the most scholarly website and end up at Paris Hilton dot com .. GdT


Jun 4 2009, 4:45pm

Post #6 of 14 (462 views)
I kind of wish we could have seen the Hall of Fire... [In reply to] Can't Post

..but they made up for it with everything else they gave me in terms of their depiction of the setting and design of Rivendell as a whole...

I had mostly thought of the place in terms of 'interiors" -- the Hall, Frodo's and Bilbo's rooms, the Council room, etc...what the films did was to help me to see Rivendell as a more total environment, rather than just the backdrop for key parts of the story...

I especially like the times in the films, too, where they showed me "more" than I expected -- like the statue with the Shards of Narsil, the murals, the library, etc. here in Rivendell. I found those to be interesting and satisfying additions to a tale I thought I knew very well...sort of like returning to your home after a vacation and finding out that someone had not only taken care of the place while you were out, but put fresh flowers in every room and mints under the pillows....Smile


Peredhil lover

Jun 4 2009, 7:17pm

Post #7 of 14 (470 views)
My favourite place :) [In reply to] Can't Post

Again, I agree completely with Alan Lee. Would really love to live there! And think about all the treasures that have to be in the library!

Absolutely like it that they didn't cut down the trees, but built Imladris around them. It is what I'd imagine the Elves to do. Even if the Imladris Elves aren't Woodelves, they are still Elves with more awareness of the nature than Men, and I think they would enjoy to have trees in the midst of their home.

As for the sculpture and the painting, I have no idea.

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


Jun 8 2009, 6:12pm

Post #8 of 14 (443 views)
Oh, shoot! I wanted it to be Elwing or Celebrian. [In reply to] Can't Post

Now that I look at the bust a bit more, it does seem rather masculine. Oh, well. Love it anyway. It's quite nice, isn't it?

Thanks, dear friend.




Jun 8 2009, 6:21pm

Post #9 of 14 (441 views)
Nice. = ) // [In reply to] Can't Post




Jun 8 2009, 6:52pm

Post #10 of 14 (441 views)
More lovely, lovely insight. Wow! Thanks, Weaver. [In reply to] Can't Post

You are so right. We could have had a few important scenes in the rooms you mention - I too love the Hall of Fire - but, that might have felt limiting - a glimpse only - with these films, we got to see some of the whole culture, a feel for it's history and it's uniqueness - our vision of Imladris was expanded with hints and impressions that fire the imagination, not control it - something like that.


Great post, Weaver.




Jun 8 2009, 6:55pm

Post #11 of 14 (440 views)
= ) We could have guessed by your nick. // [In reply to] Can't Post




Jun 10 2009, 8:36am

Post #12 of 14 (437 views)
I need to get Alan's book out again. Thanks for the info. [In reply to] Can't Post

We're thinking of doing more stuff on the art of LOTR and Tolkien.
Well, there's been some good stuff done, but perhaps another discussion wouldn't hurt.
Thanks again, for posting.




Jun 10 2009, 8:41am

Post #13 of 14 (440 views)
Do you remember reading about him doing this very thing in the woods [In reply to] Can't Post

near where he lives. I'm wondering if that was in his book or at the website...Can't remember.
Maybe I'll find it again, if I get a chance to look and remember to do so.





Jun 11 2009, 4:33pm

Post #14 of 14 (438 views)
Would it be strange for me to say [In reply to] Can't Post

that I so much love the sketch over the finished set? I mean, the set is breathtaking and a wonderful place to live, but Alan Lee's sketch brings tears to my eyes. The ethereal beauty of his work just stops me cold every time. *sigh* What a gift it would be to be able to just sit down and enter a world like that. To see it so clearly in your mind and still be able to lay it on paper. Amazing!

What a wonderful place... inside / outside. Always fresh and clean air with the nearby wafterfalls constantly circulating the purified air. The design is just fabulous!

I really wanted to see the library and the scenes done in them!! We have Alan Lee's sketches, and Peter teases about having them filmed when Philippa wonders about them during their commentary. *twitch* I really hope to see those scenes someday!

Thanks so much, hob and OH! You make me long for more!! :D


"There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West."
~Hug like a hobbit!~ "In my heaven..."

I really need these new films to take me back to, and not re-introduce me to, that magical world.

TORn's Observations Lists


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