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Tolkien Artists, The Bros. Hildebrandt: Loose Ends and That's All Folks
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drogo
Lorien


Feb 17 2007, 10:04pm

Post #1 of 35 (1594 views)
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Tolkien Artists, The Bros. Hildebrandt: Loose Ends and That's All Folks Can't Post

   
Thanks for a very lively, interesting discussion this week, especially with the jump to the new board. I know the Hildebrandts are not necessarily to everyone's liking, but they do occupy an important place in the history of Tolkien illustration. Although Tim Kirk was the first fan artist to be featured in the 1975 Tolkien Calendar, it was the three Hildebrandt calendars that arguably made Tolkien art commercially viable and in a way made possible the work of later artists such as Lee, Nasmith, Howe, and many others. Their art does reflect the time in which it was made, but for those like me who first discovered Tolkien in the era in which they were producing these images, the Hildebrandts will always be remembered. Some will even remember them fondly! Tongue

And squire, I still love you even if I have a restraining order out! You cannot come within 50 yards of a baby-faced Hobbit or a skewed horizon line!

Some other miscellaneous images I wanted to throw out (and if you have an image you would like to discuss, please post the link!



"An Unexpected Party" (1976)

http://img.photobucket.com/...Unexpected_Party.jpg

"A Journey in the Dark" (This is one of their more recent paintings finished in 2000)

http://img-fan.theonering.net/...he_tolkien_years.jpg

"The Siege of Minas Tirith" (1977)

http://img-fan.theonering.net/...ildebrandt/siege.jpg

This is a work commissioned for Inquest Magazine in 1999 in an article on the movies. They had no references to images and actors were not cast, but they heard about the infamous "Xenarwen" idea of having Arwen in the Fellowship, so voila!



And to conclude, here is a recent image of the Black Riders in Bree




(Formerly drogo of the two names!)

(This post was edited by drogo on Feb 17 2007, 10:06pm)


Reera the Red
Rivendell

Feb 18 2007, 12:11am

Post #2 of 35 (677 views)
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Arwen Joins the Quest [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
This is a work commissioned for Inquest Magazine in 1999 in an article on the movies. They had no references to images and actors were not cast, but they heard about the infamous "Xenarwen" idea of having Arwen in the Fellowship, so voila!


Actually, the actors had been cast when this one was painted. The Bros. didn't have any photos of them in make-up and costume yet, but they had pictures of the actors themselves. Their Gandalf here is clearly McKellen-influenced. The Arwen looks like a fairly generic pretty girl to me, and I don't see much of Elijah Wood in that Frodo -- but his eyes are blue, and their previous Frodos generally had brown eyes.

Here's one more Hildebrandt Tolkien pic, just to round things off. If this works properly, clicking on this small image should link to a bigger one (yes, I am testing the new board software):




Aerin
Grey Havens


Feb 18 2007, 12:20am

Post #3 of 35 (594 views)
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Well, that does explain [In reply to] Can't Post

why Frodo looks much younger than in their other paintings.


Quote
Actually, the actors had been cast when this one was painted.



(This post was edited by Aerin on Feb 18 2007, 12:21am)


Ainu Laire
Tol Eressea


Feb 18 2007, 12:27am

Post #4 of 35 (626 views)
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Oh, I like that one! [In reply to] Can't Post

I have never seen that painting before, but I like it quite a bit. You can imagine that as one of the 13 dwarves telling the story of Bilbo's quest to the Professor. Is there any particular story behind that painting?

My LJ
My art site
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting


Sandicomm
Bree


Feb 18 2007, 12:28am

Post #5 of 35 (574 views)
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Re: [drogo] Tolkien Artists, The Bros. Hildebrandt: Loose Ends and That's All Folks [In reply to] Can't Post

Xenarwen looks like she climbed out of a Greg Land comic book cover. But I can't post any here because they would be too inappropriate. No. Really.

*Since Land traces, uh, uses porn mags as his photo references for women.


a.s.
Valinor


Feb 18 2007, 12:31am

Post #6 of 35 (609 views)
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Re: [drogo] Tolkien Artists, The Bros. Hildebrandt: Loose Ends and That's All Folks [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

Their art does reflect the time in which it was made,



This probably explains why I like the older pictures better than the newer ones.

Thanks for the great discussion, and for leading us into the future. Long may be discuss in the new RR!

(where's the smilie with the raised cup???)

a.s.

"an seileachan"

The Lost Mod Power: An Elegy (with apologies to Wordsworth)

What though the mod power which was once so bright
Be now FOREVER taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendor in the stats, of glory in the power,
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind.


a.s.
Valinor


Feb 18 2007, 12:31am

Post #7 of 35 (608 views)
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dang I keep forgetting to change my subject line!! [nt] [In reply to] Can't Post

 

"an seileachan"

The Lost Mod Power: An Elegy (with apologies to Wordsworth)

What though the mod power which was once so bright
Be now FOREVER taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendor in the stats, of glory in the power,
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind.


Reera the Red
Rivendell

Feb 18 2007, 12:38am

Post #8 of 35 (578 views)
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No story that I know of. [In reply to] Can't Post

That painting is in the front of the Hildebrandt Tolkien Years book, but I don't know the circumstances behind it. Maybe just the Bros. being whimsical, but I thought it was rather amusing.


Beren IV
Gondor

Feb 18 2007, 12:47am

Post #9 of 35 (606 views)
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Re: [drogo] Tolkien Artists, The Bros. Hildebrandt: Loose Ends and That's All Folks [In reply to] Can't Post

Xenarwen indeed...


Question, why are we bothered so by the concept of a Xenarwen? I understand that she's not that way in the book, and there certainly is a heroic female character elsewhere in LotR, so you certainly could make the case that Xenarwen is unnecessary. I'm not suggesting that she should have been that way in the movie by any means, and some of the things they did do with Arwen I found irksome. Is it solely because "that's not how the book reads"? I'm not suggesting that Arwen should have been a warrior in LotR, but I'm just curious as to why it bothers us so.


drogo
Lorien


Feb 18 2007, 12:55am

Post #10 of 35 (589 views)
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Re: [Reera the Red] No story that I know of. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
That painting is in the front of the Hildebrandt Tolkien Years book, but I don't know the circumstances behind it. Maybe just the Bros. being whimsical, but I thought it was rather amusing.


It was done for the cover of this biography in 1977:




(Formerly drogo of the two names!)


Aerin
Grey Havens


Feb 18 2007, 1:17am

Post #11 of 35 (607 views)
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This of course has been much discussed, [In reply to] Can't Post

But here's one major objection NOT based on "it wasn't in the book." In her desire to be a warrior, Eowyn is presented as unique in ME, and the resulting tension is where much of the power of her story comes from. Adding XenArwen turns the idea of a female warrior into a cliché, instead. Even if we grant that the movies did not need to be true to Tolkien in any respect (which I don't actually grant), the presence of XenArwen was bound to detract from Eowyn's story.


Beren IV
Gondor


Feb 18 2007, 1:39am

Post #12 of 35 (639 views)
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Re: [Aerin] This of course has been much discussed, [In reply to] Can't Post

Gotcha - I was just wondering (I guess I missed the previous discussion). Of course, Eowyn is not unique: there are several female adventurers/warriors elswehere in Tolkien, including Galadriel, Lúthien, and Haleth, from the Sil. Eowyn is unique only in LotR, and only then if we ignore unnamed characters. I have argued in the past that it is highly unlikely that Eowyn was the only woman to have gone to battle on the Pellenor, based both upon historical pre-industrial accounts and also on basic human nature.

Nonetheless, Eowyn is unique among the named characters in LotR, and I agree that it would tend to obviate Eowyn if there were another character like her even of a different race, so I suppose that such incidences of female heroism might best be kept "off-stage". So even if Arwen - or anybody else for that matter - is willing, able to, and gets a chance to, defend their homeland elsewhere on the map, it makes the most sense from a literary prospective to not discuss it, just as the battles in Dale and Erebor and Mirkwood and possibly even Eriador are only hinted at.

Another possible reason for Arwen: both Arwen and Aragorn are important, there will be no Reunited Kingdom without both of them. Danger is unavoidable for Aragorn, but it isn't for Arwen. Arwen might have stayed home merely so that there are one fewer "targets" for random orc archers that would have disasterous consequences for the future of Arda if an unfortunate arrow happened to find a mark. This is of course one reason for keeping women out of combat all along, although in Arwen's case, it makes special sense for her more than most any other woman in Middle-Earth. It would be much less of an invitation to disaster if, for example, Mrs. Maggot were to fight alongside her husband in the Battle of Bywater.

*

I will say that I would have liked to have seen more of Arwen in LotR (the book, not the movie!). However, being part of the Fellowship is something that I don't think would have worked. Part of me is kinda glad that the Lay of Leithien was never put into a novelistic form by Tolkien either - there would have been sexual tensions and overtones between either A&A or B&L, and dizzyingly explicit as he is in Aldarion and Erendis, I honestly don't think that Tolkien's mastery as a writer extended to the sensual side that would be unavoidable in an adventure with either of those two heroic couples together. So all in all, it's probably just as well that we see so little of Arwen. With three major plotlines occurring simultaneously between the Breaking of the Fellowship and the destruction of the Ring, it is difficult enough to keep track of all of the characters and events already! Wink


Aerin
Grey Havens


Feb 18 2007, 6:40am

Post #13 of 35 (565 views)
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That's another good point, as well. [In reply to] Can't Post

The convention of keeping women out of combat had a pretty good biological basis until just recently; in past eras, women were simply too valuable reproductively to be risked in combat, and, as you note, that would be especially true for women of high rank.

However, I do think that Eowyn is unique in all of ME, not just LOTR. In the specific examples you cite, the women do not set out to be soldiers or fight in battles. They may be caught up in adventures, through circumstances beyond their control, but it is not their ambition to go to war. As for unnamed characters, it's true that through the ages, women have disguised themselves as men and gone to war (sometimes from a desire to fight and sometimes from a desire to be near their men), but they constitute a tiny exception to the rule. And even if one or two other women managed to ride with the Rohirrim, the readers of LOTR certainly never heard about it. (Heck, even Tolkien never heard about it!)


Sandicomm
Bree


Feb 18 2007, 6:16pm

Post #14 of 35 (554 views)
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Re: [Aerin] This of course has been much discussed, [In reply to] Can't Post

I would have liked to have seen a more active Arwen in the books (because, well, sewing a banner for Aragorn, while useful, isn't totally active). But I think the extreme opposition against Xenarwen wasn't just that she would make Eowyn into a cliche, but that she would make the LOTR movies cliched--they would be just like any other cruddy fantasy movie. There was the potential for Arwen to be some sort of paladin character from D&D and not herself. I guess it would have been interesting to see Arwen in the Fellowship, but I don't think it would have worked well.

(P.S. I, for one, like the Hildebrants' later paintings.)


Beren IV
Gondor


Feb 18 2007, 6:56pm

Post #15 of 35 (550 views)
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Not completely unique [In reply to] Can't Post

Eowyn I don't think is truly unique even there. Galadriel fought in the Kinslaying, and she could have no doubt sat that one out, or at the very least stood behind the battlefront and not gotten into combat. Haleth rode to war once or twice as well, if I recall.

As for the reproductive value of women, there's a catch here. Women are not reproductively valuable if there are no men to fertilize them. Now, in most human societies, a single man can fertilize multiple women, but even so it works better if if every wife has a husband all to herself, just because that means better childraising and more resources for childraising. Some societies are also more monogamous than others, and the Elves in particular I get the feeling are pretty monogamous, so that will lessen the relative reproductive value of women compared to men, if a woman actually needs a husband in order to reproduce. What all of this means is that there is an ideal sex ratio for population growth, and because a single man can fertilize more than one woman, this ideal sex ratio is female-biased. However, you really don't want men to become more scarce than this optimal growth ratio, because then each man lost equates to several women lost, i.e. unfertilized! 'Family values' also complicates the issue. But the point is: if you're fighting a war, the optimal strategy is not to have the only people at risk being the men. Instead, you want men to bear the brunt of the risk, but the women to experience some risk - otherwise you'll run into problems of having too few men.

In modern warfare, of course, where the limit of how many soldiers you can field is controlled by the availability of wealth and other material resources and not by the availability of warm bodies to train into soldiers, it really doesn't matter what the sex ratio of your army is, because its such a small fraction of your total population anyway. In fact, in modern warfare, putting large numbers of women in your army as cannon fodder might actually be a good idea, because your population is already too large and is sucking up your wealth base, and you would be a more effective society if you weren't so overpopulated! Tongue


Aerin
Grey Havens


Feb 18 2007, 9:51pm

Post #16 of 35 (543 views)
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True, women of Haleth [In reply to] Can't Post

were warriors, but this was regarded as "one of the strangest of their practices." I'd forgotten about this group, which Tolkien presents as quite alien from other humans.

It's true that in a *strictly* monogamous society, excessive male mortality could depress birth rates. But the solution is not to kill women -- that would simply reduce reproduction even further, hastening the collapse of the population. In real human societies, the solution has generally been polygyny, though I guess Tolkien would not have gone for that!

Interestingly, research with other species has shown that too high a ratio of adult males to females also can be dangerous, because it leads to increased aggression of males towards females, resulting in decreased fecundity and a positive feedback situation eventually resulting in population collapse. I wonder if there's any evidence for this in human societies.

Modern warfare is indeed different, both for the reasons you cite, and because modern technology has greatly reduced the effect of of sexual dimorphism on effectiveness as a soldier. In pre-modern times, women were *on average* of less value as warriors because of their smaller average size and strength. (That's another thing that makes Eowyn's story so powerful, as well as Merry's: their relatively small size and seeming frailty make a striking contrast with the size and power of the Witch-King). Together with the reproductive considerations, it makes perfect sense that women soldiers would have been quite rare and anomalous in pre-modern times.


Aerin
Grey Havens


Feb 18 2007, 10:09pm

Post #17 of 35 (526 views)
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I think the movies came close to [In reply to] Can't Post

striking the right balance -- giving her things to do without turning her into a stereotype warrior princess (or having her join the Fellowship -- heaven forbid!). I really like the idea of a more active and visible Arwen, who does more than sit and sew. I just wish they'd figured out the best role for her *before* they started filming, so we would have been spared her involvement in rescuing Frodo.

I especially love the idea of having Arwen instigate the reforging of Anduril -- I even suggested this in discussions before ROTK came out. It's just too bad that they had to make her become ill, so that her role in the plot lapses back into that other stereotype, the fragile "woman in jeopardy."


Beren IV
Gondor


Feb 18 2007, 11:51pm

Post #18 of 35 (587 views)
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Another historical note [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't have the reference handy (it's in the hands of some of my SCA friends, and the group I'm currently in is still hunkered down for the winter). However -

Women were a great deal more common on medieval battlefields than is generally made out to be the case. I am still quite certain that female soldiers were anomalies, but there are enough documented accounts of women who were soldiers to know that they were frequent enough that one should not have been shocked to encounter one (surprised, but not shocked). This said, off of the field of the pitched battle, women were common in medieval armies, where they performed tasks that in a modern army would be referred to as logistics. And these women would have been armed: they would have been involved in skirmishes, even if they were trying to avoid them. Eowyn of course was fighting on a pitched battlefied, so in her case, she was still one of the anomalous few. But the defenses of Thranduil's and Galadriel's realms probably included a great many women, first because it was a wood-skirmish type battle and second because these are Elves, who are less sexually dimorphic than Humans.

It is impossible to put numbers on how many women there were on medieval battlefieds. Modern historical research of course loves to find references to women in the records, and historical authors would have considered them noteworthy, because it certainly was against the mold of society. As a result, real statistical testing would be quite impossible. In the SCA, women on battlefields is somewhere in the ballpark of 10%, but the SCA is extremely egalitarian sex-wise, and the dead can still have children in SCA combat, so two of the major reasons for keeping women off of the battlefield don't apply in this mock-combat. If I had to guess a number, I would say that the number of Eowyn-like women who fought alongside men in male-dominated armies in the medieval period is somewhere between 1/100 and 1/1000, but I'm just arm-waving here with no real observational basis.

One last clarification on polygamy: Two relatively recent "western" religions, one being Islam (okay, 1400 years ago is old, but not as old as Taoism), and the other Mormanism (which really is young), allow multiple wives. In both cases, however, I believe that the limit is four wives per husband. One might take this to mean that a man really can't care for more than four wives or the families of more than four wives. If this is the case, then once you've lost three-fourths of your breeding-age men, you should start including women in your armies, because if the ratio of women to men is more than 4:1, you're going to have women who cannot be married, even if you do allow polygamy.


Nerdanel
Rivendell


Feb 18 2007, 11:58pm

Post #19 of 35 (534 views)
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Re: [drogo] No story that I know of. [In reply to] Can't Post

I note that the cover of the biography promises to "breathe[] life into J.R.R. Tolkien." That strikes me as odd. If you don't find LotR lively enough, I hardly think that accounts of languages learned, papers graded and deadlines missed are going to change your views.

In Reply To

In Reply To
That painting is in the front of the Hildebrandt Tolkien Years book, but I don't know the circumstances behind it. Maybe just the Bros. being whimsical, but I thought it was rather amusing.


It was done for the cover of this biography in 1977: .



Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting


Elizabeth
Valinor


Feb 19 2007, 12:43am

Post #20 of 35 (548 views)
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Re: [Beren IV] Another historical note [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
One last clarification on polygamy: Two relatively recent "western" religions, one being Islam (okay, 1400 years ago is old, but not as old as Taoism), and the other Mormanism (which really is young), allow multiple wives. In both cases, however, I believe that the limit is four wives per husband. One might take this to mean that a man really can't care for more than four wives or the families of more than four wives. If this is the case, then once you've lost three-fourths of your breeding-age men, you should start including women in your armies, because if the ratio of women to men is more than 4:1, you're going to have women who cannot be married, even if you do allow polygamy.


The Church of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) outlawed polygamy in 1890 (as a condition of statehood for Utah). Subsequently, Utah has passed laws against it. Some feel the state doesn't prosecute polygamists very intensely, though. AFAIK the Mormons never had a limit on the number of wives. Here's an article on the subject by an author who sounds fairly sympathetic to the idea.




Queen Mary II approaching Honolulu harbor
February 9, 2007, 7:30 am


Elizabeth is the TORnsib formerly known as 'erather'


linkin-artelf
Lorien


Feb 19 2007, 3:09am

Post #21 of 35 (553 views)
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Some unexpected brilliance [In reply to] Can't Post

An Unexpected party is very lively and charming. A lot is being said with each of the poses. The smokey atmosphere is wonderful as is the lighting and play of shadows. Finally one I really like.

A Journey In the Dark: this one says illustration with a capital "I". Way too posed and not really relating to any passage in the text. Is it really titled A Journey in the Dark? Where's the dark and what's with the burning trees? At least Aragorn's lost his hat.

The Seige of Minas tirith: Another good one. Love the angles and point of view from the seige tower. Just one question, do orcs wear cloaks?

Inquest magasine art: Sooo glad they didn't use this as an actual movie poster. Don't think I would have gone to see it. There's that awful Frodo pose again, and Arwen with a fire sword?

Black Riders in bree: Are these the same artists? This one is fantastic! Love the worm's eye point of view, the blue light and the maddened horses. Only quibble, don't think the Black Riders wore mail, but maybe I'm misremembering.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
"I walk along the shore and I gaze
At the light that radiates down
Will it travel forth to you
Far across this shimmering sea?"
formerly linkinparkelf


Aerin
Grey Havens


Feb 19 2007, 6:45am

Post #22 of 35 (497 views)
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See Elizabeth's note, plus [In reply to] Can't Post

there have been a number of other societies in which multiple wives were acceptable, including a number of Asian cultures. Of course, high-ranking males have always been able to spread their genes well beyond the limits of matrimony. Also, childbirth was a major cause of death until very recently, and widowers wasted no time finding new wives, because it was simply impossible to run a household without one, so a surplus of reproductive-age women would not go to waste. Even in more-or-less monogamous societies, before the last century, many people married more than once, because widows and widowers were a lot more common than now.


Daughter of Nienna
Grey Havens


Feb 19 2007, 11:19am

Post #23 of 35 (539 views)
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Unexpected Joy! [In reply to] Can't Post

"An Unexpected Party" (1976)
I must say this one bring joy to my heart after a week of heavily weighted, stagnant, over-posed, poorly adapted paintings. I agree with Linkin-Artelf: <i>“very lively and charming. A lot is being said with each of the poses. The smoky atmosphere is wonderful as is the lighting and play of shadows. Finally one I really like.“ </i>

Yes, finally one I really like, too!

Here’s why:
Compositionally: It’s circular! Circles are warm and welcoming, encompassing, friendly, shapely, softer, enveloping, and generally kind on the eyes.

Also, and of equal importance to me, (put next to their other work), there is not that horrid heavy weight in the front of drawing. And, the composition is not formed by a hard square or rectangle.

The normally heavy front plane is broken instead by a <a href="http://www.theonering.net/rumour_mill/rpg/viewer/readingroom/45D7718F00026BC5.html">“triangle”</a> of light, contrasting nicely by 2 triangles of shadow adding great visual interest (as contrast will). These wonderfully dynamic shapes in the center of the image, beckoning the viewer right into the center of the circle to join the party. Who would not want to party with Bilbo and some dwarves, as pesky as they seem at first. Makes me ready to go on the adventure with them.

The colors of golds and brown’s are just right, not over-bearing in their intensity, and very appropriat to the scene.

Contextually: The dwarves look quite appropriate to Tolkien: not cartoonish, childish or plastic. Bilbo is a bit young but no child. And Gandalf is even blowing a smoke ring!

As a Tolkien fan, I can get lost in the wonderful details of the props, furnishings and beamed ceilings of Bilbo’s home.


"The Siege of Minas Tirith" (1977)
This one is OK. It doesn’t have a heavy front plane, which is good for me. There are lot’s of angular lines adding energy and tension. I think the best part is that they took a shot out of the <a href="http://www.classicmoviefavorites.com/berkeley/innovate.html">Busby Berkey</a> camera shot book: a <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Busby_Berkeley">“top sot”</a>, looking down at the action, instead of their usual ‘squared-off” frontal shot.

Contextually: the drama is exciting. The orcs are not such piggy-wiggys, either, also good.

All in all, this doesn’t ring my bell, though. I think that is simply a personal aesthetic…battles and such things generally don’t do much for me.


"A Journey in the Dark" (finished in 2000) At least Arwen doesn’t have bare leg showing like in the Star Wars post of your first post. As a stand alone image, tolerable. As a representation of Lord of the rings: out of the question. I can not believe that in 200 an image for Tolkien like this was considered. The ‘70s have some excuse of ignorance and naivety.


“Black Riders in Bree”
This one is no too bad. The Black Riders look like a fair representation of Ring Wraiths. Though there is a heavy front plain, it is broken up by the light forming a triangle and has texture for visual interest. Once again it is a frontal view, but it is not stagnant. There a many angular shapes. I especially like ht effect of the moon in the back of the Ring Wraith…this ad wonderful contrast and visual interest.

What does not work for me is that the image reverts to their cartoon-like roots, zapping all the terror out of the Black Riders. If only they used more of that realism that they used in "An Unexpected Party".


"A Journey in the Dark"
I don’t really want to discuss it though except to say: in 200 they are out of excuses for not representing Tolkien’s work more closely.


Cirdan the Shipwright
Registered User

Feb 19 2007, 9:06pm

Post #24 of 35 (489 views)
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Alas for the loss of Mod... loved it. [In reply to] Can't Post

 


a.s.
Valinor


Feb 19 2007, 11:29pm

Post #25 of 35 (490 views)
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thanks, originally [In reply to] Can't Post

it was a lament on the old boards when I temporarily lost my stats and so my modding power in the RR.

But now it's a permanent lament for what we will only fondly remember.

And it's not even like I ever modded up or down very often, only once in a blue moon. But just having the potential made me feel...special.

Evil

a.s.

"an seileachan"

The Lost Mod Power: An Elegy (with apologies to Wordsworth)

What though the mod power which was once so bright
Be now FOREVER taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendor in the stats, of glory in the power,
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind.

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