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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
JRRT Artist and Illustrator: Chap. 3: # 1: Maddo

NZ Strider
Rivendell

Mar 12 2007, 8:51am


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JRRT Artist and Illustrator: Chap. 3: # 1: Maddo Can't Post

*looks round, sees old faces, nods respectfully to the bust of Reverend in the corner*

First, a fond "hello" after a time of absence -- good to be back. Nice to see old faces again.

*gets cup of coffee; pulls comfy, leathern armchair up close to fireplace and settles in; puts feet up; lights pipe*

Where to begin? *puffs contentedly*

I'm not sure that it would be a good idea to comment on every drawing in this chapter, and I won't try. What I will try to do is to look at some of the drawings and to see how they relate to Tolkien's imaginative work taken as a whole -- both literary and illustrative.

Nr. 78 from Hammond & Scull's collection (I hope it is appearing below!):



(The image is actually that of a postcard printed by the Bodleian Library, hence the small size for which my apologies.)

According to Hammond & Scull, a note of Tolkien's, which they quote, explains that Michael Tolkien, when aged 8 to 10, had imagined two bogeys, one of which, "Maddo," "was... a gloved hand without an arm that opened curtains a crack after dark and crawled down the curtain." Tolkien, in an attempt to show the nightmare up as harmless, drew it for his son.

In LotR, VI, chap. 4, Tolkien writes of Sauron's demise: "... it seemed to them [i.e. Gandalf, Aragorn, et al. before the Black Gate] that, black against the pall of cloud, there rose a huge shape of shadow, impenetrable, lightning-crowned, filling all the sky. Enormous it reared above the world, and stretched out towards them a vast threatening hand, terrible but impotent..."

Here is Tolkien's original illustration for the jacket of the RotK (Nr. 182 in Hammond & Scull; I'm sorry if it's not clear to see, it was the best image I could find with "google"):




Tolkien drew a hand extending from Mordor over the Mountains of Shadow towards the White Tree; Nr. 181 in Hammond & Scull shows two preliminary sketches for the hand. All of these hands remind one strongly of "Maddo."


Q. # 1: Do you think that the final image of Sauron comes ultimately from Tolkien's attempt to draw his son's nightmare? If so, does that confirm for you the image's creepiness -- it really is from a nightmare? What does it say about Tolkien's supreme literary effort that many parts of it seem to derive from remembered and revised incidents of imagining by, for, and with his children? Or from dreams?

Q. # 2: What do you think of "Maddo" as a drawing? Does the grim hand with its red nails make a suitably sinister appearance on what is clearly the curtain in a child's room (note the silly, happy pattern on the white curtain -- no-one, surely, would hang that curtain in the living or the dining room)? Is there a palpable threat here of death menacing innocence? On a more practical note, is the light on in the room? The white curtain and the white wall of the room itself are clearly visible, yet (as the waning moon shows) it is night outside. Has "Maddo" been caught in the act when the light was suddenly switched on?


*sets pipe aside; sips coffee*

Subject User Time
JRRT Artist and Illustrator: Chap. 3: # 1: Maddo NZ Strider Send a private message to NZ Strider Mar 12 2007, 8:51am
    Well, it's not as creepy as the hand that got posted a few days ago. GaladrielTX Send a private message to GaladrielTX Mar 12 2007, 12:50pm
        As a very young child Eowyn of Penns Woods Send a private message to Eowyn of Penns Woods Mar 12 2007, 4:32pm
    "Maddo" is really scary to me, Aunt Dora Baggins Send a private message to Aunt Dora Baggins Mar 12 2007, 3:34pm
        I don't like spiders and blobs a.s. Send a private message to a.s. Mar 13 2007, 10:44am
    Not sure what Tolkien was thinking Morwen Send a private message to Morwen Mar 12 2007, 6:00pm
    Suitably sinister? Wynnie Send a private message to Wynnie Mar 12 2007, 6:03pm
    Sauron's evolution drogo Send a private message to drogo Mar 12 2007, 11:40pm
        Tevildo reminded me less of "Puss in Boots" Aunt Dora Baggins Send a private message to Aunt Dora Baggins Mar 13 2007, 5:07pm
            "The Colony of Cats". N.E. Brigand Send a private message to N.E. Brigand Mar 13 2007, 5:36pm
                Yes, that's it! Aunt Dora Baggins Send a private message to Aunt Dora Baggins Mar 13 2007, 7:13pm
    Welcome! Now, as to your questions, Curious Send a private message to Curious Mar 13 2007, 11:21am
    hand made less creepy by 'appearing' flat Daughter of Nienna Send a private message to Daughter of Nienna Mar 13 2007, 1:49pm
    Galleries with Art by Tolkien - revised Daughter of Nienna Send a private message to Daughter of Nienna Mar 13 2007, 1:54pm
        another gallery for your list Wynnie Send a private message to Wynnie Mar 13 2007, 2:16pm
            quickly Daughter of Nienna Send a private message to Daughter of Nienna Mar 13 2007, 3:04pm
        another gallery I just added Daughter of Nienna Send a private message to Daughter of Nienna Mar 13 2007, 2:42pm
    Seems like old times! Welcome back! Elizabeth Send a private message to Elizabeth Mar 14 2007, 4:02am

 
 
 

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