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Posts tagged J.R.R. Tolkien

377 Notes

"Silmarillion Chapter 6: Of Fëanor and the Unchaining of Melkor"

"…and therefore in a while he was given leave to go freely about the land, and it seemed to Manwë that the evil of Melkor was cured. For Manwë was free from evil and could not comprehend it, and he knew that in the beginning, in the thought of Ilúvatar, Melkor had been even as he; and he did not perceive that all love had departed from him for ever."

 Previous Silmarillion entries:
Ainulindalë - The Music of the Ainur
Valaquenta - Account of the Valar and Maiar in according to the lore of the Eldar
The Monsters of Middle-Earth
The Free Peoples of the First Age
Silmarillion Chapter 1 - Of the Beginning of Days
Silmarillion Chapter 2 - Of Aulë and Yavanna
Silmarillion Chapter 3 - Of the Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor
Silmarillion Chapter 4 - Of Thingol and Melian
Silmarillion Chapter 6 - Of Eldamar and the Princes of the Eldalië

"Silmarillion Chapter 6: Of Fëanor and the Unchaining of Melkor"

"…and therefore in a while he was given leave to go freely about the land, and it seemed to Manwë that the evil of Melkor was cured. For Manwë was free from evil and could not comprehend it, and he knew that in the beginning, in the thought of Ilúvatar, Melkor had been even as he; and he did not perceive that all love had departed from him for ever."

 Previous Silmarillion entries:

  1. Ainulindalë - The Music of the Ainur
  2. Valaquenta - Account of the Valar and Maiar in according to the lore of the Eldar
  3. The Monsters of Middle-Earth
  4. The Free Peoples of the First Age
  5. Silmarillion Chapter 1 - Of the Beginning of Days
  6. Silmarillion Chapter 2 - Of Aulë and Yavanna
  7. Silmarillion Chapter 3 - Of the Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor
  8. Silmarillion Chapter 4 - Of Thingol and Melian
  9. Silmarillion Chapter 6 - Of Eldamar and the Princes of the Eldalië

624 Notes

"Silmarillion Chapter 5: Of Eldamar and the Princes of the Eldalië"

"But the memory of Middle-Earth under the stars remained in the hearts of the Noldor, and the abode in the Calacirya, and in the hills and valleys within the sound of the western sea"

Above is a painting of the Tirion, which became the capital city of the Noldor. It faces the gap of Calacirya, which is the only opening in the mountain range where the light of the Two Trees (a divine source of illumination) can pass through. I’ve also incorporated this image into the clothing and banners of the Noldor Elves. The black eye markings are used to mimic the dirt marks the Noldor get while working their furnaces, as they are very proud of their crafting and metalworking.

The House of Finwë From left to right:

  1. Indis - Finwë’s second wife. She is not actually Noldor, but a Vanyar Elf.
  2. Finwë - High King of the Noldor.
  3. Míriel - Finwë’s first wife who died after giving birth to her only son, Fëanor.
  4. Fingolfin - Indis and Finwë’s son, and a significant hero in the Silmarillion.
  5. Fëanor - Finwë’s eldest son, mightiest of the Noldor and creator of the Silmarils.
Finwë and Indis had another son, Finarfin, who was the father of two particularly noteworthy children:
  1. Finrod - Among the wisest of the Noldor, Finrod was the first High Elf to encounter humans, and was quick to befriend and defend their kind.
  2. Galadriel - Eager and ambitious, Galadriel is one of the leaders of the brewing Noldor rebellion.
Along with the Noldor, there are also the Teleri and Vanyar, who are notably less restless.
  1. Olwë - Younger brother of Thingol and king of the Teleri, Elves more concerned with shipbuilding and the exploring the sea.
  2. Ingwë - King of the Vanyar and High King of all Elves, Ingwë and his people are best known for their art, and since they never cause any trouble, they rarely appear in the Silmarillion.

 Previous Silmarillion entries:

  1. Ainulindalë - The Music of the Ainur
  2. Valaquenta - Account of the Valar and Maiar in according to the lore of the Eldar
  3. The Monsters of Middle-Earth
  4. The Free Peoples of the First Age
  5. Silmarillion Chapter 1 - Of the Beginning of Days
  6. Silmarillion Chapter 2 - Of Aulë and Yavanna
  7. Silmarillion Chapter 3 - Of the Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor
  8. Silmarillion Chapter 4 - Of Thingol and Melian

841 Notes

"Silmarillion Chapter 4: Of Thingol and Melian"

"Then an enchantment fell on him, and he stood still still; and afar off beyond the voices of the lómelindi he heard the voice of Melian, and it filled all his heart with wonder and desire. He forgot utterly all his people and the purposes of his mind, and following the birds under the shadow of the trees he passed deep into Nan Elmoth and was lost. But he came at last to a glade open to the stars, and there Melian stood; and out of the darkness he looked at her, and the light of Aman was in her face."

Thingol and Melian are the High King and Queen of Beleriand, and functionally all of Middle-Earth in their day.  Melian is a Maia, the race of spirits that include Sauron.  Tolkien gives very little description of her, so I decided to keep a slightly otherworldly appearance, with horns like a faun or forest spirit. She’s actually much wiser than her husband and much more joyful, so I wanted to make sure that imagery held.

Thingol is the King of the Sindar, the “Grey Elves” who stayed in Middle-Earth (though Thingol himself made the journey to Aman once).  As the tallest of the Men and Elves and one of the mightiest in battle, I wanted to keep his form larger and imposing.  Older Elves can grow beards, and I’ve decided that any male Elf who was among the first to awaken (this includes Thingol) will be sporting a beard.

 Previous Silmarillion entries:

  1. Ainulindalë - The Music of the Ainur
  2. Valaquenta - Account of the Valar and Maiar in according to the lore of the Eldar
  3. The Monsters of Middle-Earth
  4. The Free Peoples of the First Age
  5. Silmarillion Chapter 1 - Of the Beginning of Days
  6. Silmarillion Chapter 2 - Of Aulë and Yavanna
  7. Silmarillion Chapter 3 - Of the Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor

858 Notes

"Silmarillion Chapter 3: Of the Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor"

"But at the last the gates of Utumno were broken and the halls unroofed, and Melkor took refuge in the uttermost pit. Then Tulkas stood forth as champion of the Valar and wrestled with him, and cast him upon his face; and he was bound with the chain Angainor that Aulë had wrought, and led captive; and the world had peace for a long age"

 Previous Silmarillion entries:
Ainulindalë - The Music of the Ainur
Valaquenta - Account of the Valar and Maiar in according to the lore of the Eldar
The Monsters of Middle-Earth
The Free Peoples of the First Age
Silmarillion Chapter 1 - Of the Beginning of Days
Silmarillion Chapter 2 - Of Aulë and Yavanna

"Silmarillion Chapter 3: Of the Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor"

"But at the last the gates of Utumno were broken and the halls unroofed, and Melkor took refuge in the uttermost pit. Then Tulkas stood forth as champion of the Valar and wrestled with him, and cast him upon his face; and he was bound with the chain Angainor that Aulë had wrought, and led captive; and the world had peace for a long age"

 Previous Silmarillion entries:

  1. Ainulindalë - The Music of the Ainur
  2. Valaquenta - Account of the Valar and Maiar in according to the lore of the Eldar
  3. The Monsters of Middle-Earth
  4. The Free Peoples of the First Age
  5. Silmarillion Chapter 1 - Of the Beginning of Days
  6. Silmarillion Chapter 2 - Of Aulë and Yavanna

2458 Notes

"Silmarillion Chapter 2: Of Aulë and Yavanna"
Of all the Valar, Aulë and Yavanna are my favorites, the ultimate husband & wife combo. Aulë is functionally the god of craftsman, and is said to be most like the villainous Melkor in personality (his servants Sauron and Saruman both turn evil, plus he trained troublemaking Fëanor) but Aulë himself remains virtuous and humble.  Even when he created the Dwarves in defiance of Eru, it was meant to be a tribute to the Elves & Men (Eru’s personal creations).  As such, the Dwarves were given true life and allowed to be awakened after the Elves.  Aulë represents the creative ambition of Melkor without the jealousy or vanity.
Yavanna, creator of the Ents, is great because she’s one of the only Valar who actively tries to keep Middle-Earth from becoming overrun with evil, as her interest is with the actual plants and animals of the world.  She’s also the one who chose Radagast to be one of the Istari sent to Middle-Earth.  It’s also worth noting that while they got along very well, Aulë’s and Yavanna’s creations or servants did not.  Dwarves and Ents have never had good relations, and Saruman despised Radagast to the end of his days.
 Previous Silmarillion entries:
Ainulindalë - The Music of the Ainur
Valaquenta - Account of the Valar and Maiar in according to the lore of the Eldar
The Monsters of Middle-Earth
The Free Peoples of the First Age
Silmarillion Chapter 1 - Of the Beginning of Days

"Silmarillion Chapter 2: Of Aulë and Yavanna"

Of all the Valar, Aulë and Yavanna are my favorites, the ultimate husband & wife combo. Aulë is functionally the god of craftsman, and is said to be most like the villainous Melkor in personality (his servants Sauron and Saruman both turn evil, plus he trained troublemaking Fëanor) but Aulë himself remains virtuous and humble.  Even when he created the Dwarves in defiance of Eru, it was meant to be a tribute to the Elves & Men (Eru’s personal creations).  As such, the Dwarves were given true life and allowed to be awakened after the Elves.  Aulë represents the creative ambition of Melkor without the jealousy or vanity.

Yavanna, creator of the Ents, is great because she’s one of the only Valar who actively tries to keep Middle-Earth from becoming overrun with evil, as her interest is with the actual plants and animals of the world.  She’s also the one who chose Radagast to be one of the Istari sent to Middle-Earth.  It’s also worth noting that while they got along very well, Aulë’s and Yavanna’s creations or servants did not.  Dwarves and Ents have never had good relations, and Saruman despised Radagast to the end of his days.

 Previous Silmarillion entries:

  1. Ainulindalë - The Music of the Ainur
  2. Valaquenta - Account of the Valar and Maiar in according to the lore of the Eldar
  3. The Monsters of Middle-Earth
  4. The Free Peoples of the First Age
  5. Silmarillion Chapter 1 - Of the Beginning of Days

2978 Notes

Tolkien Dark Lord Chart (Revised)
A little personal guide I use for the various incarnations of Dark Lords when I’m illustrating the Silmarillion Project.  While Sauron and Morgoth are the only *official* Dark Lords, I included the Witch-King of Angmar, because 1000+ years of being the chief antagonist in Middle-Earth deserves an honorable mention.
Left to Right:
Morgoth in the First Age- essentially a rogue god, I wanted him to come off as an imposing demon, indestructible and primal.
Sauron (as Gorthaur the Cruel)- Morgoth’s number two, ruling over an island fortress of werewolves. He needs to look like the sort of guy who can turn into a bat.
Sauron (as Annatar, Giver of Gifts)- this is the “fair” form he took to give out his Rings of Power. I have him in a more nordic style, as to better mingle with the Elves, Men and Dwarves of the West. He’s also the only one here of normal Elf/Man stature, as his goal wasn’t to intimidate.
Sauron after the Fall of Numenor- at this point he ruled through “terror and might,” so his stature is greatly emphasized. Given that he spent much of his time dominating eastern and unknown realms, I went with more exotic stylings, bordering on Frazetta.
The Necromancer of Dol Guldur- a dark sorcerer, hiding in the shadows until he could regain his strength and openly declare himself as Sauron once more. I decided to make him almost the visual foil of Gandalf, who was also wandering the wilderness at this time.
The Witch-King of Angmar - while also a sorcerer like Sauron, the Witch-King is much more hands-on, and is a seasoned military commander. He’s also a Numenorean king, so I put him in traditional Numenorean battle armor.
Sauron during the War of the Ring- although Sauron did indeed have a corporeal form during Lord of the Rings (don’t believe the movies), I went with something more visually abstract, as only Pippin really ever sees him (through the Palantir) and was too shocked to describe what he saw.
Anyway, I hope you like them!

Tolkien Dark Lord Chart (Revised)

A little personal guide I use for the various incarnations of Dark Lords when I’m illustrating the Silmarillion Project.  While Sauron and Morgoth are the only *official* Dark Lords, I included the Witch-King of Angmar, because 1000+ years of being the chief antagonist in Middle-Earth deserves an honorable mention.

Left to Right:

  1. Morgoth in the First Age- essentially a rogue god, I wanted him to come off as an imposing demon, indestructible and primal.
  2. Sauron (as Gorthaur the Cruel)- Morgoth’s number two, ruling over an island fortress of werewolves. He needs to look like the sort of guy who can turn into a bat.
  3. Sauron (as Annatar, Giver of Gifts)- this is the “fair” form he took to give out his Rings of Power. I have him in a more nordic style, as to better mingle with the Elves, Men and Dwarves of the West. He’s also the only one here of normal Elf/Man stature, as his goal wasn’t to intimidate.
  4. Sauron after the Fall of Numenor- at this point he ruled through “terror and might,” so his stature is greatly emphasized. Given that he spent much of his time dominating eastern and unknown realms, I went with more exotic stylings, bordering on Frazetta.
  5. The Necromancer of Dol Guldur- a dark sorcerer, hiding in the shadows until he could regain his strength and openly declare himself as Sauron once more. I decided to make him almost the visual foil of Gandalf, who was also wandering the wilderness at this time.
  6. The Witch-King of Angmar - while also a sorcerer like Sauron, the Witch-King is much more hands-on, and is a seasoned military commander. He’s also a Numenorean king, so I put him in traditional Numenorean battle armor.
  7. Sauron during the War of the Ring- although Sauron did indeed have a corporeal form during Lord of the Rings (don’t believe the movies), I went with something more visually abstract, as only Pippin really ever sees him (through the Palantir) and was too shocked to describe what he saw.

Anyway, I hope you like them!

381 Notes

I’d personally recommend this reading order:
The Hobbit
Lord of the Rings
The Silmarillion
The Children of Húrin - this is a complete novel that’s more recent, but assembled reliably from Tolkien’s notes and writings. Highly recommended.
Unfinished Tales
The History of Middle Earth (12 volumes) - for when you want to go DEEP into Tolkien lore

I’d personally recommend this reading order:

  1. The Hobbit
  2. Lord of the Rings
  3. The Silmarillion
  4. The Children of Húrin - this is a complete novel that’s more recent, but assembled reliably from Tolkien’s notes and writings. Highly recommended.
  5. Unfinished Tales
  6. The History of Middle Earth (12 volumes) - for when you want to go DEEP into Tolkien lore

1518 Notes

Where the “Extra” Content in The Hobbit Came From

A question I’ve seen come up among fans of The Hobbit book is “where is all this extra stuff coming from?”  It’s a fair question if you’ve only read The Hobbit, as there are many events in the film that are totally absent from that text.

The fact of the matter is, despite the film’s name, Peter Jackson isn’t really adapting The Hobbit so much as he’s adapting The Quest of Erebor, which is Tolkien’s name for the larger, more inclusive story that involves more than just Bilbo’s adventure at the time.  While some of the events and timelines have been condensed or shuffled around, there’s actually very little in The Hobbit film that’s not taken from Tolkien’s writings, in fact less than The Lord of the Rings films.

What many don’t know is The Hobbit was actually written before Tolkien had decided that it would directly be a part of his larger Middle-Earth universe, and only in later editions did he actually change its text to make it fit into that continuity (most notably, Tolkien re-wrote the Riddles chapter, where originally Gollum gave Bilbo the Ring as a prize).  Even so, many details in the story contradict the larger narrative, and this was chalked up to Bilbo embellishing or omitting events, or simply not being aware of some certain aspects of what was occurring around him.  Unlike The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit is written from the limited perspective of only a single character, and many character motivations and contexts (like why exactly Gandalf would use a Hobbit to begin with and the jarring introduction of Bard the Bowman) are absent.  This is fine for The Hobbit in itself, which is largely just a fairy tale, but as a prequel to  The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien felt it fell short.

With this in mind, after drafting The Fellowship of the Ring, Tolkien began writing The Quest of Erebor, which told Bilbo’s story in a style closer to The Lord of the Rings, including Gandalf’s adventures concerning The Necromancer, Saruman’s growing obsession with the Ring of Power and so on.  For space reasons, Tolkien was only able to include a condensed version of this story in the appendices of The Return of the King, but the complete story was published in Unfinished Tales in 1980.

Peter Jackson does not have the rights to directly adapt Unfinished Tales, but there is sufficient content in The Return of the King alone to justify making The Hobbit into three films.  A strict adaptation of The Hobbit book or a larger one of The Quest of Erebor are equally legitimate, but the latter is a much more effective way to create a prequel to The Lord of the Rings, which is Peter Jackson’s intent.  For those more interested in a film adaptation of The Hobbit alone, I’d recommend the Rankin-Baas version from 1977, though even then it had to make concessions for many of the fairy tale logic problems found in the book.

I hope that explains the additional scenes for people who were curious!

600 Notes

This is a Dark Lord size chart I sketched a while back, for personal reference in the Silmarillion Project. You really don’t realize how many forms Sauron has taken in his time (and these don’t even count the monsters!)
Left to Right:
Morgoth in the First Age - essentially a rogue god, he’s a bit too big for the picture
Sauron (as Gorthaur the Cruel) - Morgoth’s #2 guy, ruling over an island fortress of werewolves
Sauron (as Annatar, Giver of Gifts) - this is the “fair” form he took to give out his Rings of Power
Sauron after the Fall of Numenor - his “fair” form destroyed, Sauron could only take on horrifying appearances after this.
The Necromancer of Dol Guldur - a dark wizard, hiding in the shadows until he could regain his strength
Sauron during the War of the Ring - terrible to behold, ever searching for his Ring

This is a Dark Lord size chart I sketched a while back, for personal reference in the Silmarillion Project. You really don’t realize how many forms Sauron has taken in his time (and these don’t even count the monsters!)

Left to Right:

  1. Morgoth in the First Age - essentially a rogue god, he’s a bit too big for the picture
  2. Sauron (as Gorthaur the Cruel) - Morgoth’s #2 guy, ruling over an island fortress of werewolves
  3. Sauron (as Annatar, Giver of Gifts) - this is the “fair” form he took to give out his Rings of Power
  4. Sauron after the Fall of Numenor - his “fair” form destroyed, Sauron could only take on horrifying appearances after this.
  5. The Necromancer of Dol Guldur - a dark wizard, hiding in the shadows until he could regain his strength
  6. Sauron during the War of the Ring - terrible to behold, ever searching for his Ring

307 Notes

Brief Hobbit Review for Tolkien Nerds (spoilers)

I really liked it!

I have some lore and continuity thoughts below, primarily from the point of view of an insufferable Tolkien nerd. Spoilers ahead, DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN IT

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