This is my Tolkien Secret Santa Present for @maidenofbagend!!
A quite selfindulgent painting with the supreme best couple Eowyn and Faramir inspired by La Belle Dame Sans Merci by Frank Dicksee.
I’m sorry I posted it quite late, hope you like it and happy holidays!! <3
4th Age Gondor loooooves Queen Arwen. Everyone is trying to look as beautiful as her, dress as fancy as her, be as cool as her - she’s an elf (mostly), so it’s kind of impossible, but they try as best as they can.
the one thing they definitely can’t get is her pointed ears! some people try to pretend, but it’s so obviously fake that it looks ridiculous… so they try the next best thing: jewelry mimicking the leaf-shaped ears, but is pretty in its own right.
it’s a fun fashion trend that takes Minas Tirith by storm. everywhere you look, fashionable ladies are wearing things like this:
Arwen is flattered. She even custom-orders a pair to accentuate her own ears, but honestly? it looks better on round-eared humans. and she’s fine with that - they deserve their own pretty things too, and she’s honored that they love her so much.
I love this idea so much!
Not to mention all the jewelry is so pretty! ^.^
- Boromir and Legolas couldn’t understand anything Sam said for about a week. (Sam: *finishes what he’s saying and leaves* Legolas: did you understand that Boromir: it had the tone of being friendly)
(Gimli does better w Shiretalk bcos dwarves historically have had a lot of contact with the Shire)
- Frodo picked up a Buckland accent while he was living there after his parents died. He mostly lost it again after moving back to Hobbiton but sometimes it comes out when he’s talking to Merry. Sometimes they slip into broad Buckland dialect & no-one can understand them except Gandalf & Pippin
- Pippin occasionally slips into broad Tookland dialect when he’s stressed out or angry and half the Fellowship straight up thinks he’s speaking a different language
- Westron is not Legolas’s first language and his vocabulary is both a) patchy and b) based on several thousand years of contact with Westron speakers so not all of what he knows is, up to date
- Merry & Pippin did best of the non-elvish speakers in Lorien through a combination of mime and just not giving a damn
- If Aragorn ever had a consistent accent he lost it a long time ago
- Gandalf is the only person who can consistently understand everyone else
- by the time he gets to Minas Tirith Sam has figured out how to speak ‘standard’ Westron and could make himself understood if he wanted to, he just doesn’t care to.
‘I spent all those weeks making sense of their talk, they can make sense of mine’ ‘sam you’re making things so unnecessarily difficult for yourself’ ‘it’s the principle of the thing mr frodo’
“It’s the principle of the thing, Mr. Frodo.” has me dead. XD
I love this idea! Dialect is such an interesting part of language and culture. It would certainly add some humor to the canon if the Fellowship could barely understand each other for the first half of their journey.
Lead original characters abound in fanfiction. These past years I have been led to believe that many writers equate a strong and intriguing OC protagonist with a character who is loud and brash and brusquely challenges authority figures to prove their strength; a character who is a skilled warrior in a society where such are nonexistent; a character who, in the presence of mighty persons, makes the majority of wise decisions and delivers almost all witty comebacks themselves. While such OCs can indeed be interesting, in a story where the fictional world’s rules are adhered to, it seems that appreciation for OCs who are neither loud nor brash nor unmatched warriors nor possessive of an acerbic tongue has diminished.
Such original protagonists have always fascinated me, and indeed I find them most intriguing, because to craft these characters takes skill, and they are the ones who are among the most realistic, fitting into the fictional universe seamlessly.
Below are those lead original characters whom I find well-crafted, who are intriguing without being flashy:
* Bronwë, from Levade’s (@levade) For Oath and Honour series. Bronwë is a healer from Beleriand, working in Mithlond, who befriends Glorfindel after he is returned to Middle-earth.
* Serindë, from SurgicalSteel’s The King’s Surgeon. Serindë is a woman from Dol Amroth who becomes a healer in Minas Tirith, is exiled, and after many years returns to Gondor to finally become Chief Surgeon.
* Eluned, from EverleighBain’s Valiant. Eluned is Halbarad’s daughter, forever wishing to follow her father and have adventures, yet through trial she finally finds her place among the Dúnedain.
* Amariel, from omishiloh’s The Captain’s Wife. Amariel is Boromir’s wife, who leaves Minas Tirith to seek protection in Dol Amroth during the War of the Ring.
* Rimiriel, from Star-Lined Soul’s (@star-linedsoul & @roseofgondor) Rose of Gondor. Rimiriel is the Steward Denethor II’s third child, serving as healer to the Rangers of Ithilien and sent to seek help from the Rohirrim during the War of the Ring.
* Eleanor, from RealityWarp’s (@reality-warp) Rávamë’s Bane Trilogy. Eleanor is a student in her twenties who finds herself in Middle-earth, waking up as an Elf. But as time goes by, she begins to understand that the strange voice in her head and the visions she has are not just fancies.
* Illyrea, from LordOfLasgalen’s (@brannonlasgalen) The Healing of the Elvenking. Illyrea is a Half-elven healer who comes to Mirkwood after the Battle of Five Armies and gains a place in Thranduil’s halls.
* Cadhríen, from Anatoria’s A Hundred Silver Lamps. Cadhríen is one of Lady Galadriel’s handmaidens, sent on an errand to Mirkwood due to her linguistic skills, where she meets both Thranduil and his son.
* Mag, from annmarwalk’s The Life and Times of Mag the Cook. Mag is a Gondorian woman who rose from scullery maid to Head Cook in the Citadel of Minas Tirith.
* Lyla, from Imlosiel’s Ancient Languages. Lyla is a young woman from modern Earth who finds herself thrust into Middle-earth, where she struggles to adapt while searching for ways to return home.
* Caladhiel, from Astaldowen’s Esgalion’s Mask. Caladhiel is Thranduil’s daughter who has gone missing.
* Braedia, from GuilelessAesthete’s Even This Darkness Must Pass. Braedia is a Gondorian woman who is exiled from Minas Tirith, and eventually makes her home in Rohan as Éowyn’s handmaiden.
* Keren, from Singingsprite’s A Face in the Crowd. Keren is a healer in Minas Tirith who falls in love with Faramir, due to a vague prophecy believing they are meant to be, but circumstances lead her to question everything.
* Ernest & Bertie, from Amateur Bacon Cook’s It’s A Long, Long Way. These two are English soldiers who, during WWI, find themselves in Middle-earth, where they slowly adapt, although they never stop longing for home. (the story is sadly discontinued)
I hate that I’m just now getting around to this.
Thanks a million for the recommendation, @wordspin-shares!!!! Rose of Gondor and Rimiriel would not be what they are without you! 🥰
If anyone is looking for some good LotR OC reads, check these out!
Four tall men stood there. Two had spears in their hands with broad bright heads. Two more had great bows, almost of their own height, and great quivers of long green-feathered arrows. All had swords at their sides, and were clad in green and brown of varied hues, as if the better to walk unseen in the glades of Ithilien.
Presenting my first ever aesthetic for Rimiriel! It’s a bit messy, but I’m excited to play around with these! My ask box is open if anyone has any suggestions on future aesthetics they might like to see!
Éowyn and Faramir. Watercolour on Legion Stonehenge cold pressed paper, 21×31 cm.
By coincidence, I found that I owned an American cent, and realised that it was way larger than the Euro cents I’m used to – here they are side by side.
Doing any sort of small detail is still incredibly hard for me, and I pay for it with headaches and having to paint in little half-hour instalments over several…
So much detail!!! This is absolutely stunning! ❤️
How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines, it will shine out the clearer. —The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
lotr meme: three races [3/3] → men
Sons of Gondor, of Rohan, my brothers! I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me. A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day. An hour of wolves and shattered shields, when the age of men comes crashing down! But it is not this day! This day we fight! By all that you hold dear on this good Earth, I bid you stand, Men of the West!
The climactic scene of The Lord of the Rings, when Frodo and Sam reach the Cracks of Doom, is one of my favorite scenes in all of literature. So I was very interested a little while back when noted Tolkien scholar Stephen Colbert laid out a neat little analysis of the scene. Frodo seems to fail at his appointed task – rather than throwing the ring into the fire, he claims it for himself, and the ring is only destroyed by the coincidental intervention of Gollum. Colbert then notes that Gandalf should have known that Frodo would fail. Back in the second chapter, Frodo demonstrated to Gandalf his inability to throw the ring into the much cooler fires of his own hearth, after having only possessed the ring for a few hours. Therefore, one may assume, Gandalf must have intended for one of the other members of the Fellowship to intervene and ensure the ring’s destruction.
Colbert’s analysis is clever, in the same way that the theory that Gandalf had intended all along to use the eagles to reach Mordor is clever. In its cleverness, though, I think such analyses risk treating LotR as a D&D campaign and thus losing sight of the real literary themes of the story.
One of Tolkien’s key themes is the Augustinian view of evil. Most genre fiction takes a decidedly Manichean view of evil – a view that holds that evil and good are two great opposing forces in the world, like the light and dark sides of The Force. In a Manichean view, good must triumph by opposing evil, either to eradicate it or to restore a balance to the universe.
Manichean views of evil lead to a very common type of climax to stories: the contest of wills. Our hero confronts the villain, and through superior courage, grit, love, or what-have-you, they overcome the villain and their evil power. It’s Harry going wand-to-wand with Voldemort, Thomas Covenant laughing at Lord Foul, Meg breaking IT’s hold over Charles Wallace, Luke facing down Vader and Vader facing down the Emperor.
Any other writer could have given us a very typical Manichean Cracks of Doom scene. Frodo approaches the fire, and the ring’s temptation overtakes him. He puts the ring on and begins to claim it. But a tiny voice somewhere deep inside him insists that this is wrong. Sam cries out, and thinking about Sam’s love and devotion rekindles a spark in Frodo. His Hobbitish desire for food and good cheer wells up, and he tears the ring off and throws it into the fire. A dramatic ending and a nice echo of the moral of The Hobbit.
But that’s not what happens. Frodo’s goodness – even the innocent goodness of a little old Hobbit – can’t go toe-to-toe with Sauron’s evil. Indeed, Isildur proved it. He defeated Sauron by opposing him with the force of good, and defeated him. But Isildur couldn’t destroy the ring, and within the year it had destroyed him.
Tolkien holds instead to an Augustinian view of evil. Evil, according to St. Augustine, is not a force of its own, but rather is the absence or corruption of good. We see this most explicitly in the idea that Morgoth and Sauron can’t create anything of their own, but only corrupt and warp what has been created by others. We also see it when Gandalf and Galadriel describe what would happen if they took the ring – it would warp their own desire to do good until they became evil.
An Augustinian climax can’t involve a contest of wills between good and evil. In an Augustinian world, evil can only exist by leeching off of good. So evil must be given an opportunity to destroy itself, much like the self-defeating band of thieves described by Plato (on whose philosophy Augustine drew heavily). Good wins by renouncing evil, not by overcoming it.
And that’s exactly what happens at the Cracks of Doom. The ring isn’t destroyed because Frodo’s force of good overcame the ring’s evil. Nor is Gollum’s intervention a coincidence or deus ex machina (like the series of disarmings that happened to make Harry the master of the Elder Wand). Rather, the ring’s evil collapsed in on itself by drawing Gollum. The very corruption of Gollum that enabled the ring to escape the river drove him to wrestle desperately with Frodo for it and ultimately fall to his doom, ring in hand.
An Augustinian view of evil has definite moral implications, which are also shown throughout The Lord of the Rings. A Manichean world is a consequentialist world. To defeat the forces of evil, we need to think strategically. Sometimes we may even need to indulge in a little short-term evil in order to be able to achieve the greater good. But an Augustinian world can’t allow that kind of pragmatic approach. In an Augustinian world, any compromise with evil can only strengthen it, giving it an infusion of good that delays its self-destruction. An Augustinian world demands a deontological ethic, doing the right thing regardless of the outcome.
Again and again in The Lord of the Rings, we see that strategically pursuing the greater good fails, while remaining true to moral principles succeeds even when it looked foolish. On the cautionary side, we have Saruman and Denethor. Though they may point to the palantir as an excuse, they each ultimately made a thoroughly reasonable choice in the face of Sauron’s overwhelming advantage – to ally with him while playing the long game, or to give in to despair. Our heroes, on the other hand, repeatedly make foolish decisions based on hope. Aragorn is a good example – he decides to pursue Merry and Pippin because he owes them protection even though Frodo is the one who holds the fate of the world in his hands. Later, he decides to make a suicide attack on the Morannon rather than hunkering down in Minas Tirith, in the hopes of Frodo’s quest succeeding.
But the most important instance of doing the right thing despite the consequences comes from Frodo himself: he refuses to kill Gollum. Killing Gollum would have been an eminently reasonable idea – he’s a slinker and a stinker, and we know that he never redeemed himself or turned over a new leaf. Indeed, his main accomplishments were to lead Frodo and Sam into a death trap, then to try to kill them with his own hands at the Cracks of Doom. Both Sam and Faramir were right when they said that killing Gollum would have been a good idea!
But Frodo showed Gollum pity and spared his life because it was the right thing to do. And just like Gandalf could see Frodo’s unwillingness to destroy the ring back in Bag End, he also addressed this very issue. He instructed Frodo:
Frodo: It’s a pity Bilbo didn’t kill him when he had the chance.
Gandalf: Pity? It was pity that stayed Bilbo’s hand. Many that live deserve death. Some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them, Frodo? Do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment. Even the very wise cannot see all ends. My heart tells me that Gollum has some part to play yet, for good or ill before this is over. The pity of Bilbo may rule the fate of many.
And in the end, that pity was what saved the world. Frodo’s pity made it possible for Gollum to be there at the Cracks of Doom to take the ring. Frodo refused to give in to the small, reasonable evil of killing Gollum, and so he left the great evil of the ring exposed to destroy itself. That was Gandalf’s backup plan, not Aragorn’s strength to take the ring and destroy it. And so Frodo didn’t really fail. He succeeded at his quest back when he saved Gollum’s life, when he did the right thing even though it seemed foolish.