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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
“All shapes, sizes and ethnicities welcome”
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Sep 17 2011, 8:35pm

Post #51 of 58 (1658 views)
Whatever the dangers [In reply to] Can't Post

I do not think it is any more reasonable to have a Far Eastern design than a Near Eastern one. A vaguely pre-Islamic Persian look would have avoided the pitfalls of an Arab analog.

The "spikiness" of the armor, which you found appealing, is precisely what is so disappointing about it, IMO. Bad guy = spiky armor is such a tired, fantasy cliche. What, exactly, does spikiness have to do with evil?

The spiky/samurai-esque look of the Easterlings looks like something you might see in a particularly bad Power Rangers episode, or, as I suggested earlier, on Shredder from TMNT. I thought Jackson and Company did an incredibly impressive job of giving us a realistic, historic feel for most of the Westerners, but ultimately failed to give us something believable for the Easterners. We got, for the most part, spiky, generic bad guy armor. I imagine that might have been the result of Howe's designs, rather than Lee's, as Lee usually stays away from cheap fantasy art cliche.



Sep 18 2011, 2:01am

Post #52 of 58 (1605 views)
Tastefully done [In reply to] Can't Post

In Reply To
I imagine that might have been the result of Howe's designs, rather than Lee's, as Lee usually stays away from cheap fantasy art cliche.

Yes, I'm afraid I agree with you about that. Lee's stuff always shows better taste than that. Howe's, sometimes not.

…all eyes looked upon the ring; for he held it now aloft, and the green jewels gleamed there that the Noldor had devised in Valinor. For this ring was like to twin serpents, whose eyes were emeralds, and their heads met beneath a crown of golden flowers, that the one upheld and the other devoured; that was the badge of Finarfin and his house.
The Silmarillion, pp 150-151
while Felagund laughs beneath the trees
in Valinor and comes no more
to this grey world of tears and war.
The Lays of Beleriand, p 311


Sep 18 2011, 5:23am

Post #53 of 58 (1620 views)
Seems realistic to me. [In reply to] Can't Post

Spiked armor did exist historically, primarily for the reason in the films: It looked intimidating. A couple of examples: Many samurai warriors wore spiked helmets and armor into battle, much like the Easterlings. And Vegetius describes how certain elite Roman troops also wore spiked armor. (BTW, Vegetius gives us the expression "if you want peace, prepare for war".) The spiky doesn’t necessarily say “Evil” but it does say “Dangerous”. And, like I said, I think it also says “Elite”.

As for Howe, he is an expert on medieval armor. He spent a lot of his spare time in the WETA parking lot sparring with other enthusiasts with his own armor and weapons. (Yes, he raised some eyebrows going through New Zealand customs.) I’d say he knows the difference between what's practical and what's fantastical.

It always interesting how looking back through history what seems fantastic was actually real. One of the funniest complaints about the films is about how the Uruks pound on each other while they are putting on their armor. People assert that Jackson slipped up by copying how modern day football players suit up. But of course it was the football players who copied the pounding from the military…

How many months to Hobbiton?
Six and ten.
Can I get there by candle-light?
Yes, there and back again.


Sep 18 2011, 8:03am

Post #54 of 58 (1609 views)
Have to agree with Darkstone on this one [In reply to] Can't Post

John Howe really knows about armour and the stuff he designs is functional and practical - he also criticises what you call 'cheap fantasy art cliche'.

Spiked armour has existed in the past - there's nothing intrinsically unlikely about it, providing the actual designs are practical in the sense that the pieces fit together and the articulation of them allows the wearer to move - and from what I've seen I'd say that all the LotR designs were practical. Spikes = evil? No, not necessarily - but spiked armour was certainly intended to intimidate and you can see why a designer might want his 'baddies' to look intimidating.

Also don't forget the role played by the other designers on the films. Didn't Warren Mahy have a lot to do with the look of Sauron's armies, as Daniel Falconer did with the Elves and Rohirrim?


Sep 18 2011, 2:54pm

Post #55 of 58 (1625 views)
Original Klingons [In reply to] Can't Post

The original Klingons were swarthy, with black hair. I seem to recall that Roddenberry was trying to base them on Mongols. They were mostly played by white actors in dark makeup.

I think by the time Trouble with Tribbles was made, they'd gotten away from the dark makeup but they still had the black hair and sort of Mongol look.


Sep 18 2011, 6:49pm

Post #56 of 58 (1589 views)
I appreciate your knowledge of the Sami [In reply to] Can't Post

As they are a people of particular interest to me, whom I have studied for quite a long time. I am well aware of the differences between the Sami and the little Tolkien mentioned of the Lossoth, but I appreciate the passion in your lecture. I am also well aware of the simple fact that the Sami do not like to be referred to as Lapplanders, but again, am sympathetic to your caution.

However, you seem to be arguing against a position I do not hold. I never stated that the Lossoth = the Sami. And I certainly did not imply that all the cultural details of the Lossoth had to match the cultural details of the Sami.

The truth is that Tolkien did not likely intend for the Lossoth to be either Inuit or Sami, though there is evidence to suggest that both the Sami and the Inuit may have influenced their description. I am certain that Tolkien made reference to the Lossoth using reindeer for beasts of burden, which would place them closer to Sami culture than to Inuit. Though the 'bladed shoes' they use to move on the ice, as well as sledges, and as you mentioned, houses made of ice, would suggest an Inuit influence. The reason I lean towards Sami is pure speculation based on Tolkien's interest in the myths and peoples of Finland. To me, it seems more likely that Tolkien thought more about the Sami than he did about the Inuit.

But I doubt we will ever know anything for certain.

Kangi Ska

Sep 18 2011, 6:55pm

Post #57 of 58 (1536 views)
Original Klingons [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes most were Caucasian but Michael was an Syrian.

Kangi Ska Resident Trickster & Wicked White Crebain
Life is an adventure, not a contest.

At night you can not tell if crows are black or white.

(This post was edited by Kangi Ska on Sep 18 2011, 6:57pm)

The Grey Wanderer

Sep 18 2011, 10:32pm

Post #58 of 58 (1622 views)
Been 40+years - but sounds like that could match my memories. Thanks// [In reply to] Can't Post


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