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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Fan Art:
Thingol and Melian Mourn the Loss of Luthien

WonderBroad
Lorien

Feb 27 2007, 2:03am

Post #1 of 22 (1795 views)
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Thingol and Melian Mourn the Loss of Luthien Can't Post

 
"But the spirit of Luthien fell down into darkness, and at the last it fled, and her body lay like a flower that is suddenly cut off and lies for a while unwithered in the grass."
The Silmarillion





Pen & ink is not my medium (I always try to make ink do what pencil does...but it can't. Bah!), but when I was illustrating for Mythlore, a literary journal, I didn't have the luxury of working in pencil...not until I figure out I could buy my own negative screens. Then I could illustrate in pencil and get it published. But before then, I was forced to work in ink.

I never advanced beyond the technique of stippling as my "style" in pen & ink. I did manage to find a way to make it work for me (and it turned out to be acceptable in this illustration), but it was such a chore. It was just so unbelievably slow. Pencil gives me a lot more flexibility (and I can use my eraser when I blow it. Not a small point, that.)


(This post was edited by WonderBroad on Feb 27 2007, 2:05am)


diedye
Grey Havens


Feb 27 2007, 4:21am

Post #2 of 22 (1384 views)
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This is NOT good... [In reply to] Can't Post

You are making me sooooooo jealous of your talent right now.

You have got to STOP!





WonderBroad
Lorien


Feb 27 2007, 11:56am

Post #3 of 22 (1391 views)
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Sorry to disappoint you... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
You are making me sooooooo jealous of your talent right now.

You have got to STOP!



LOL! So you hated it, right? Sly


(This post was edited by WonderBroad on Feb 27 2007, 12:00pm)


Aerlinn
Lorien


Feb 27 2007, 3:33pm

Post #4 of 22 (1500 views)
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*grumble grumble* [In reply to] Can't Post

[quote]Pen & ink is not my medium [/quote]

*grumble grumble*

We'll consider it pure jealousy that I have a small problem with the composition. ;) It would help if I knew the story better, though (I'm a Silmaridiot) - is it intentional that Thingol seems separated from Melian and Luthien by that sweep of cloak, and the band of dark made up of Melian's hair and his own tunic? He is connected to them by his clutch on Melian's shoulder, but smaller, apart.

I started a portrait using stippling once. I think I finished it ... halfway... Pencil's my choice as well, fwiw, for the same reasons - it's more malleable, quick - - and correctable.

This is wonderful to look at from technical details such as lovely rendering of drapery to visceral ones - grief in every line.


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WonderBroad
Lorien


Feb 27 2007, 5:39pm

Post #5 of 22 (1478 views)
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The composition [In reply to] Can't Post

>>is it intentional that Thingol seems separated from Melian and Luthien by that sweep of cloak, and the band of dark made up of Melian's hair and his own tunic?

What I was going for was a sense of "forced" perspective, where Luthien would be angled out strongly toward the front of the picture's frame, Melian would be (mostly) in the mid-ground of the composition, and Thingol would be farther back--not quite in the background, but still farther back.

It was a bit of an experiment from a long time ago (you'll notice that "1986" date), and I'd probably approach it a little differently, composition-wise, were I to attempt it today.


(This post was edited by WonderBroad on Feb 28 2007, 4:29am)


FingonOfPittsburgh
Lorien


Feb 27 2007, 6:15pm

Post #6 of 22 (1331 views)
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Wow [In reply to] Can't Post

This is amazing!


Out of the darkness of my life, so much frustrated, I put before you the one great thing to love on earth: the Blessed Sacrament... There you will find romance, glory, honour, fidelity, and the true way of all your loves on earth, and more than that: Death: by the divine paradox, that which ends life, and demands the surrender of all, and yet by the taste (or foretaste) of which alone can what you seek in your earthly relationships (love, faithfulness, joy) be maintained, or take on that complexion of reality, of eternal endurance, which every man's heart desires.

--J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter #43, to his son Michael


WonderBroad
Lorien


Feb 27 2007, 9:45pm

Post #7 of 22 (1328 views)
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Thanks [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
This is amazing!


Thank you very much.

BTW, love your signature. It's a great quote from JRRT.


Altaira
Superuser / Moderator


Feb 27 2007, 10:05pm

Post #8 of 22 (1331 views)
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Beautifully done [In reply to] Can't Post

Echoing FoP: wow!

I can see why you illustrate professionally. I love how you used the stippling, and can see why it took so long! The drapery looks so rich and Thingol's face so noble - very nice touches that convey a royal family. Lovely emotion too. Smile


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linkin-artelf
Lorien


Feb 27 2007, 10:24pm

Post #9 of 22 (1481 views)
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What I find particularly evocative in this composition [In reply to] Can't Post

is the way you have connected father and daughter despite their distance. Their faces are turned to and apear to be looking at each other, compositionaly the angles and lines of the faces draw the eye from one to the other and back, and yet the closed eyes, Thingol's stern expression and the darkness you have drawn between them reflects the separation that not only Luthien's death has brought but was present beforehand. You have also placed Melian in the middle with a swath of dark hair, illustrating the tension of both her connecting and dividing roles in the father-daughter relationships.
This may have been done long ago but you knew what you were doing.

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WonderBroad
Lorien


Feb 28 2007, 12:08am

Post #10 of 22 (1319 views)
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Not a professional [In reply to] Can't Post

>>I can see why you illustrate professionally.

Thank you. I'm flattered, but I'm not a professional. All contributions to Mythlore and Mythprint are unpaid (whether essays, reviews or illustrations.) I illustrate Tolkien simply because I love to do it!

Have I been paid on occasion to draw pictures for people? Yes. But if I had to make my living as a pro illustrator, I'd starve. I work too slowly because I love the actual drawing process too much, and I take my sweet time. This illustration just took a lot longer than usual.


WonderBroad
Lorien


Feb 28 2007, 12:14am

Post #11 of 22 (1477 views)
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Thingol's responsibility [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
is the way you have connected father and daughter despite their distance. Their faces are turned to and apear to be looking at each other, compositionaly the angles and lines of the faces draw the eye from one to the other and back, and yet the closed eyes, Thingol's stern expression and the darkness you have drawn between them reflects the separation that not only Luthien's death has brought but was present beforehand. You have also placed Melian in the middle with a swath of dark hair, illustrating the tension of both her connecting and dividing roles in the father-daughter relationships.
This may have been done long ago but you knew what you were doing.


Thanks, linkin-artelf!

One of the things I was trying to accomplish was to convey that Thingol knows only too well that it was his words and actions that brought his daughter to this pass. She's dead because of his demand for a Silmaril. Thingol is responsible not only for her death, but also for Beren's. I was hoping, then, to show the terrible weight of his grief--and his culpability.

Thank you very much for your insightful comments.


FingonOfPittsburgh
Lorien


Feb 28 2007, 2:30am

Post #12 of 22 (1302 views)
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re [In reply to] Can't Post

Do you have an online gallery? I'd love to see more of your work.


Out of the darkness of my life, so much frustrated, I put before you the one great thing to love on earth: the Blessed Sacrament... There you will find romance, glory, honour, fidelity, and the true way of all your loves on earth, and more than that: Death: by the divine paradox, that which ends life, and demands the surrender of all, and yet by the taste (or foretaste) of which alone can what you seek in your earthly relationships (love, faithfulness, joy) be maintained, or take on that complexion of reality, of eternal endurance, which every man's heart desires.

--J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter #43, to his son Michael


WonderBroad
Lorien


Feb 28 2007, 4:09am

Post #13 of 22 (1319 views)
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No gallery, per se, but I will post here. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Do you have an online gallery? I'd love to see more of your work.


I don't have a personal website gallery, but I will post more here.

I did post some illos on another Tolkien website, but instead of directing you to it, I'll just go ahead and post what I posted there on TORN, so you can see them. I need to re-size the pictures for TORN, in any case, which will allow me to also tweak the contrast of each picture a bit in Photoshop.

Thanks,

WB


FingonOfPittsburgh
Lorien


Feb 28 2007, 1:14pm

Post #14 of 22 (1293 views)
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re [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

In Reply To
Do you have an online gallery? I'd love to see more of your work.


I don't have a personal website gallery, but I will post more here.

I did post some illos on another Tolkien website, but instead of directing you to it, I'll just go ahead and post what I posted there on TORN, so you can see them. I need to re-size the pictures for TORN, in any case, which will allow me to also tweak the contrast of each picture a bit in Photoshop.

Thanks,

WB


Frown I'm sorry to hear that. I look forward to seeing more of your work. I'm assuming you have some religious-based drawings too, yes?


Out of the darkness of my life, so much frustrated, I put before you the one great thing to love on earth: the Blessed Sacrament... There you will find romance, glory, honour, fidelity, and the true way of all your loves on earth, and more than that: Death: by the divine paradox, that which ends life, and demands the surrender of all, and yet by the taste (or foretaste) of which alone can what you seek in your earthly relationships (love, faithfulness, joy) be maintained, or take on that complexion of reality, of eternal endurance, which every man's heart desires.

--J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter #43, to his son Michael


WonderBroad
Lorien


Feb 28 2007, 10:54pm

Post #15 of 22 (1286 views)
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Thanks [In reply to] Can't Post

>>I look forward to seeing more of your work.

Thank you very much.

>>I'm assuming you have some religious-based drawings too, yes?

Actually, I don't. At least not recently. I did some when I was in high school, though. For me, religious imagery is something that I personally reflect on a lot--but mostly it stays inside my head. I don't think I could do it justice by trying to set it down on paper or canvas. I think I'd miss the mark.


FingonOfPittsburgh
Lorien


Feb 28 2007, 11:55pm

Post #16 of 22 (1290 views)
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re [In reply to] Can't Post

Surely you've heard of C. Bosseron Chambers, yes? I wonder what you think of his work. It's actually some of my favorite religious art.


Out of the darkness of my life, so much frustrated, I put before you the one great thing to love on earth: the Blessed Sacrament... There you will find romance, glory, honour, fidelity, and the true way of all your loves on earth, and more than that: Death: by the divine paradox, that which ends life, and demands the surrender of all, and yet by the taste (or foretaste) of which alone can what you seek in your earthly relationships (love, faithfulness, joy) be maintained, or take on that complexion of reality, of eternal endurance, which every man's heart desires.

--J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter #43, to his son Michael


WonderBroad
Lorien


Mar 1 2007, 12:10am

Post #17 of 22 (1284 views)
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Have seen his work [In reply to] Can't Post

I am most familiar with his St. Therese, which I like very much and which is, in my opinion, one of his most effective pieces.


FingonOfPittsburgh
Lorien


Mar 1 2007, 12:37am

Post #18 of 22 (1279 views)
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That's a nice one [In reply to] Can't Post

My favorite of his pieces is his "St. Joseph with Child." I also really like "Thy Will Be Done." It's almost painful to look at.


Out of the darkness of my life, so much frustrated, I put before you the one great thing to love on earth: the Blessed Sacrament... There you will find romance, glory, honour, fidelity, and the true way of all your loves on earth, and more than that: Death: by the divine paradox, that which ends life, and demands the surrender of all, and yet by the taste (or foretaste) of which alone can what you seek in your earthly relationships (love, faithfulness, joy) be maintained, or take on that complexion of reality, of eternal endurance, which every man's heart desires.

--J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter #43, to his son Michael


Beren IV
Gondor


Mar 3 2007, 3:35am

Post #19 of 22 (1404 views)
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Now, for the finale! [In reply to] Can't Post

Lúthien Tinúviel is without question my favorite character in the entire Tolkien Legendarium, although admittedly Beren is a close second (although I still see Beren as an elf, because that's what he is in BoLT, and I still see reincarnation as a possibility - for both of them - in the appropriate timeline). I save this one for last because of it.

I like this pic, I like it a lot. Having read all of your comments to previous comments, I now understand why you did everything that you did. Personally, I see Lúthien looking a little different (less fullness of lips), and when she dies, her mouth cracked open - but these are an interpretational thing and I can't criticize you for that! I also don't see the regal draperies as being the same style in Thingol's court as they would be in the court of a European monarch, and in my opinion it makes the entire cast look a little too 'human'; there is a certain exoticness to Elves, and simplicity is perhaps part of that exoticness, although Thingol is admittedly one of the least simple Elves in the entire legendarium. Wink

Technical criticism again:

-Melian and Lúthien both have big hair. Lúthien's in particular I would think should flow off her head; in this picture, the implication from the position of Lúthien's head is that her hair is short, and given her antics earlier in the story I think it's quite clear that she wears her hair long.

-The creasing of Thingol's face shows clearly his sadness, but it also seems to show age. Of course, people can look old when sad, but I just wanted to point that out.

-Although many artists fall into the trap of adding too many tears, I don't think you have enough.

-I notice the absence of pointed ears. Not really criticism, as it's hardly explicit that Elven ears are pointed, but it comes to my attention.

*

Other technical comments:

-The stipple is great! Smile The lack of stippling in Thingol's hair makes his hair seem really light, but that perhaps is your intent, if his hair is meant to be silver or something like that. Although the number of folds in the characters' garmets makes me wonder what they ware wearing!

*

Conceptual comments:

I really do not have a good mental image of just what Thingol's state of mind was throught the entire episode. Melian clearly had a pretty good idea of what was coming the whole time, and although she cried in the end, I get the feeling that could see the end result. In fact I think Lúthien had a pretty good idea of what was coming the whole time also, although I also think that she (realistically) didn't expect to be successful, but that rather she would die in vain.

The vision that I have of the cosmos of the Sil is that the Silmarils contain the hope of Arda, and that means that there is no real hope as long as Melkor holds all of them. So B&L not only rescue a Silmaril, they save the world, through their heroism. Melian I am sure realizes this, as does Lúthien. I would think that Thingol would also, or that Melian would at least tell him, although Thingol's mistake here is underestimating not only his daughter but Beren as well (particularly Beren). So in the end I am sure that Lúthien would consider her sacrifice "worth it", although there would still be plenty of tears.

The subsequent judgement of Lúthien by the Valar and/or Eru that follows unfortunately shatters my suspension of disbelief in the entire legendarium. The only version of the story in which it still works coherently is the Book of Lost Tales version, in which Beren is an elf from the get-go, and I wish Tolkien had stuck with this. Of course, with it, the everpresent sense of loss that makes LotR work would not be there, but to one familiar with the Sil this makes the ultimate victory of Morgoth in Arda and Valinor alike inescapable, and neither the Quest of the Silmaril nor even the War of Wrath do anything other than merely delay the inevitable, let alone the Quest of Mount Doom.


WonderBroad
Lorien


Mar 3 2007, 10:15pm

Post #20 of 22 (1395 views)
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re: [In reply to] Can't Post

(although I still see Beren as an elf, because that's what he is in BoLT, and I still see reincarnation as a possibility - for both of them - in the appropriate timeline).

You get a serious gold star for getting through BoLT! I've read volumes I and II a grand total of once each. I found them almost impossible to get through. To me, they show Middle-earth at such a rudimentary idea stage that it's similar to judging a finished master painting from its earliest pencil sketches. I'm glad I bought the books for my collection, but I won't be reading them again, I imagine.

Basically, I cannot imagine Beren as an elf. The story of Beren and Luthien would not have the same weight if he were also immortal. At least in my opinion.

>>Personally, I see Lúthien looking a little different (less fullness of lips), and when she dies, her mouth cracked open - but these are an interpretational thing and I can't criticize you for that!

No, you have every right to your opinion!

I'll let you know what I was doing and thinking here: Beren, nearly dead, is brought back to Menegroth. Luthien meets them at the foot of the great tree Hirilorn, and bids him await her beyond the Western Sea. She knows he's about to die, and he does.

Then the text says Luthien dies. I interpreted that to mean she died right there beside him. If I had portrayed that moment, I probably would have had her lips slightly parted (which I tend to do anyway when portraying something like that.)

However, I imagined her body was then carried to the halls of Thingol. So before her body was brought to the halls, I figured that some of the Elves had composed her body, so that her mouth was shut and her eyes fully shut. I don't want to make this sound like scenes from a funeral home, but that's what I imagined!

Anyway, I saw in my mind's eye that her body was brought to the hall, and that Melian would have thrown herself on her daughter, gathering her into her arms. So that was my rationale behind this composition.

>>I also don't see the regal draperies as being the same style in Thingol's court as they would be in the court of a European monarch, and in my opinion it makes the entire cast look a little too 'human'; there is a certain exoticness to Elves, and simplicity is perhaps part of that exoticness, although Thingol is admittedly one of the least simple Elves in the entire legendarium. Wink

I can visualize what you've imagined, but it's apples and oranges. I think either one works. I looked for more description of his halls, but there isn't a lot.

I personally don't see Elves as exotic. And if we think of "exotic", aren't we couching that in very human terms? I just don't think that they looked any different from humans, except for the light in their eyes, and the different shape of their ears (which I only see as subtly pointed--there is so little information about them, anyway!) I don't see their eyes as shaped any different from mortals, either.

>>-Melian and Lúthien both have big hair.

Please see my notes regarding my aversion to stringy hair in The Red Arrow commentary.

Lúthien's in particular I would think should flow off her head; in this picture, the implication from the position of Lúthien's head is that her hair is short, and given her antics earlier in the story I think it's quite clear that she wears her hair long.

What you can't see in the scan is that the lines of her hair continue to the bottom of the picture frame. That comes from an inadequate scan. If I could post a much bigger scan of it, you'd be able to see that the lines continue. And if I had extended the bottom of the picture about another foot and half, I would have been able to get her hair to fit in! I think of it as a long, dark, mysterious river of enchantment (as was proved when she grew it out long to create the cloak.)

So her hair is not short in this picture. You just can't see beyond the frame, where it would be flowing down, long and luxurious.

Here's the problem: I could have changed the composition of the drawing to include her hair. But doing so would have meant that the viewer would be farther away, in essence, from the characters. This means I would have had to draw them a lot smaller, because the original piece of bristol board I was using was already big enough--I didn't want to make the picture any bigger.

Therefore, if I had moved the figures "back" in the frame, that meant everything would have to be made smaller. That meant much smaller faces, which makes it even more difficult to capture expression on their faces. One must have room to work to build in some nuance! When a face is too small, that's hard to do. And in pen and ink, which was a torture for me, it was bordering on impossible.

So that was one of the reasons for composing the picture the way I did. Another, already stated elsewhere, was to play with the different picture planes, and forcing the perspective a bit.

>>-The creasing of Thingol's face shows clearly his sadness, but it also seems to show age. Of course, people can look old when sad, but I just wanted to point that out.

That's because he did look old when she died! Here's the quote: "Then a winter, as it were a hoar age of mortal Men, fell upon Thingol."

So, because of this grief, he physically aged in his face, even as an old mortal man would have been.

>>-Although many artists fall into the trap of adding too many tears, I don't think you have enough.

In the past, I've been called on the carpet for having too many! So by the time of that drawing I'd become a big believer in "less is more."

>>-I notice the absence of pointed ears. Not really criticism, as it's hardly explicit that Elven ears are pointed, but it comes to my attention.

Because I'm not showing you the whole ear--on purpose. You can't see the tops of their ears. I hid them with hair for a reason--because at the time this was drawn, the jury was still out about Elves ears. It was only later, when The Lost Road was published, that this was confirmed.

Even when I do show them, they are very subtle. I don't believe in pointy ears that look like giant sails from the mast of a clipper ship! Some illustrators make elf ears ridiculously big and pointy, and that leaves me cold. I just don't imagine them that way.

*

Other technical comments:

>>-The stipple is great! Smile The lack of stippling in Thingol's hair makes his hair seem really light, but that perhaps is your intent, if his hair is meant to be silver or something like that.

Thank you. And you are correct--Thingol's hair was silver. That was about the only way I could portray it in pen and ink.

>>Although the number of folds in the characters' garmets makes me wonder what they ware wearing!

I was having so much fun with the folds of their robes. I got a little carried away.

>>I really do not have a good mental image of just what Thingol's state of mind was throught the entire episode. Melian clearly had a pretty good idea of what was coming the whole time, and although she cried in the end, I get the feeling that could see the end result. In fact I think Lúthien had a pretty good idea of what was coming the whole time also, although I also think that she (realistically) didn't expect to be successful, but that rather she would die in vain.

For me, Thingol's pride was his undoing--both in regard to Beren's love for Luthien, and ultimately, when he orders the Nauglamir made with the Silmaril in it, insults the covetous dwarves who crafted and desired it--and makes the mistake of doing so when he is in a vulnerable position, alone among the dwarves, and is slain by them.

I think Melian, of all of them, probably could have read the doom most clearly (seeing as she was a Maia) long before Thingol had any inkling of it.

>>The vision that I have of the cosmos of the Sil is that the Silmarils contain the hope of Arda, and that means that there is no real hope as long as Melkor holds all of them. So B&L not only rescue a Silmaril, they save the world, through their heroism. Melian I am sure realizes this, as does Lúthien. I would think that Thingol would also, or that Melian would at least tell him, although Thingol's mistake here is underestimating not only his daughter but Beren as well (particularly Beren). So in the end I am sure that Lúthien would consider her sacrifice "worth it", although there would still be plenty of tears.

A very thorough and solid assessment of the situation!

>>The subsequent judgement of Lúthien by the Valar and/or Eru that follows unfortunately shatters my suspension of disbelief in the entire legendarium. The only version of the story in which it still works coherently is the Book of Lost Tales version, in which Beren is an elf from the get-go, and I wish Tolkien had stuck with this.

See, for me, that version doesn't work at all. Tolkien figured that out as he built the complex histories, and he changed it. I'm glad he did.

Of course, with it, the everpresent sense of loss that makes LotR work would not be there, but to one familiar with the Sil this makes the ultimate victory of Morgoth in Arda and Valinor alike inescapable, and neither the Quest of the Silmaril nor even the War of Wrath do anything other than merely delay the inevitable, let alone the Quest of Mount Doom.

This I can't agree with because 1.) Morgoth is chained with Angainor, 2.) the Silmarils now rest in the air, the sea, and the earth, and 3.) once Sauron is defeated in the War of the Ring, he can never arise again into a spirit of power.

Not that other "Saurons" would not arise somehow in the future, which was the age of Men. But that future, except for some tantalizing tidbits in the Appendices concerning Sam and the other hobbits, etc., was beyond the scope of the tale.


(This post was edited by WonderBroad on Mar 3 2007, 10:17pm)


Beren IV
Gondor


Mar 4 2007, 2:59am

Post #21 of 22 (1390 views)
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re: re: [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
You get a serious gold star for getting through BoLT! I've read volumes I and II a grand total of once each. I found them almost impossible to get through...Basically, I cannot imagine Beren as an elf. The story of Beren and Luthien would not have the same weight if he were also immortal.


I read BoLT before I read the Sil, so that's at least partially why I still have the same feeling for it. The original character of Lúthien was also blonde, for instance - another thing that I still see in her (actually, I see her able to change back and forth, but that's an aside). Anyway, as for Beren being an elf or mortal, see below.



Quote
No, you have every right to your opinion!


Of course I do - my point there was that you have every right to yours, so my criticism of your depiction of her is entirely subjective and not compositional.



Quote
What you can't see in the scan is that the lines of her hair continue to the bottom of the picture frame. That comes from an inadequate scan.


Well that is sure frustrating! Mad I wish it had come out better!



Quote
I personally don't see Elves as exotic. And if we think of "exotic", aren't we couching that in very human terms?


I should clarify what I mean. Tolkien makes it abundantly clear that Elven architecture, art, symbolism, and, likely, clothing, is unlike the contemporary cultures of Men. I agree that Elven bodies should not look too alien, but I think of their cultural trappings as being more exotic. The robes or cloaks that the characters are wearing seem to me to be perfectly reasonable robes, although robes as losely fit as that don't really fit my conception either (I also see Elves as liking to be physically active, and clothes like that would get in the way). I was referring more specifically to the tapestries in the background, which just don't look Elven to me - Elven tapestries would be more detailed, and would have less of an obvious 'trim' to them, ordinarily. In this case, Thingol would be an exception - we know that he liked his gold, don't we? Tongue


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For me, Thingol's pride was his undoing--both in regard to Beren's love for Luthien, and ultimately, when he orders the Nauglamir made with the Silmaril in it, insults the covetous dwarves who crafted and desired it--and makes the mistake of doing so when he is in a vulnerable position, alone among the dwarves, and is slain by them.


Thingol seems to me to be among the most complicated and most difficult to understand of all the Elven characters in the Sil. He's got some competition, of course; Fëanor is a complicated character, and Maedhros even moreso. None of them hold a candle to Túrin of course, but he's not an Elf and never was, not even in BoLT.

But in any case, the Thingol we see in the heroic cycles of Beleriand has sometimes made me wonder what Melian saw in him that caused her to marry him, or for that matter why the Sindar still followed him as their lord, since it is plainly obvious that in Elven society a citizen of one nation can quite easily pick up and move if he or she isn't happy. My UUT is that the Thingol of the tale of Beren and Lúthien is not really the same Elwë who sired Lúthien; he has changed over the course of his life and is not the same elf as he used to be, and that Melian would not marry him and that even the Valar would choose somebody else among the Teleri to represent them were they dealing with the Thingol of the Sil and not the Elwë of old. It would be really nice, I think, to get a glimpse of what he was like!



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This I can't agree with because 1.) Morgoth is chained with Angainor, 2.) the Silmarils now rest in the air, the sea, and the earth, and 3.) once Sauron is defeated in the War of the Ring, he can never arise again into a spirit of power.

Not that other "Saurons" would not arise somehow in the future, which was the age of Men. But that future, except for some tantalizing tidbits in the Appendices concerning Sam and the other hobbits, etc., was beyond the scope of the tale.


The idea is basicaly this: the events of Arda of the Second and Third Ages represent a lesser repeat of the previous events in the First Age. The War of the Ring is, as one person in the Reading room put it, a "loud echo" of the War of the Last Alliance - which was in turn a loud echo of the War of the Jewels. It is also abundantly clear that the Fourth Age is to be lessened yet further from the Third: the reunited Kingdom under Aragorn is lesser than it was, and the Eldar, particularly the Noldor, are gone, and with them a lot of their wonders. It is also plainly clear that Men, who have been left with what Peter Jackson called a 'Garden of Eden' by the Elves, that they are in danger of destroying it: Saruman posed a threat to Fangorn not by being a great evil wizard, but as a lord of Men, for which he forsook is wizardliness. There are things like this elsewhere in the story also: the Old Man Willow is a villain, yes, but "he" does have a legitimate grievance. So even though the evil Ainur are defeated in the War of the Ring, it is far from certain that Man will not destroy himself, and his world with it, and even if he does not, the world is still lessened: even though Men may one day develop technology that surpasses the Elves, if we allow the conciet that Middle Earth is a prehistory of something like the real world, Men will still never have the wonderful capabilities that the Elves had.

The blame, of course, is still on Morgoth, not on his physical being, but on his taint. This is what causes the world to be lessened. So although Melkor failed to conquer the Valar, He can still poison them. The events of the Sil seem to me to be the turning point, and the tale of Beren and Lúthien seems to me at the heart of that turning point: if the judgement of Mandos would allow them to continue, as they might in BoLT and possibly some other early versions of the Sil, then the "long defeat" as Galadriel called it might not have happened, the Third Age might still be as wonderous as the First, and the rise of Men would basically consist of Men learning how to live as Elves, rather than the Elves being basically destroyed and leaving Men left. Instead, Beren and Lúthien are removed beyond the world, the Silmarils are sequestered, and even the Valar remove themselves from the world, first effectively by their retreat to Aman, and then physically in the Changing of the World. So Morgoth wins in the end, because of His taint, in spite of the fact that He was defeated physically in the War of Wrath.

I think that Tolkien intended for the world to eventually decay to the point where Morgoth would effectively have won, and then, based on Christian scripture, Ilúvitar would step in, Armaggedon would happen, and everything would be made as it should have been all along. The problem here is that while this works as the basis for a religion it does not work for the basis of a story, because it removes all doubt and conflict, and with it all reason to care about the story (for me, anyway). It makes for a most unsatisfying ending.


WonderBroad
Lorien


Mar 4 2007, 4:59am

Post #22 of 22 (1307 views)
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re: [In reply to] Can't Post

I think that Tolkien intended for the world to eventually decay to the point where Morgoth would effectively have won, and then, based on Christian scripture, Ilúvitar would step in, Armaggedon would happen, and everything would be made as it should have been all along.

You've left the Incarnation, life of, crucifixion and resurrection of Christ completely out of this model--something Tolkien as a devout Catholic Christian would never have done. Iluvatar is more a "God the Father" figure.

The problem here is that while this works as the basis for a religion it does not work for the basis of a story, because it removes all doubt and conflict, and with it all reason to care about the story (for me, anyway). It makes for a most unsatisfying ending.

What bothers you about it is what actually makes it exciting for me, and I think it works excellently as a tale. Do you not buy into Tolkien's idea of the "eucatastrophe" in Faerie stories? Your view of the tale is ultimately very bleak and full of doom. That's not what Tolkien was about at all. He acknowledged that men would forever fail--if not for the arrival of Christ. You can't take Tolkien's faith out of the mix. It's part and parcel of what he wrote and why he wrote it.

Ack! We're getting too far away from talking about illustration. I'll stop now.

 
 

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