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193 Notes

The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug review (spoilers)

As I did last year, I thought I’d detail some of my thoughts about the new Hobbit movie. Spoilers ahead, so I’ll put it under the cut:

Continue reading…

195 Notes

(Reposted to be rebloggable!)
Any time Tolkien has south/eastern people as antagonists, it’s because they’ve been coerced by guys like Sauron (nor are non-white people the only cultures to be coerced). The association of Eastern/Southern people with Dark Lords is largely an unhappy circumstance of geography rather than some failing of character. Sam has a nice monologue in the Two Towers about how crappy it would be to live in those areas, since that’s where Sauron ran around uncontested for millennia and got to threaten them into fighting.  Also, the heroes of Tolkien’s work are usually “white,” but only insofar as their skin is generally light colored. This is likely because the majority of the history covered takes place in the far north of the planet (especially in the 1st Age). All other “racial features” don’t correspond with any real-life ethnic group, except possibly Rohan, who are inspired by ancient Anglo-Saxons. In that case, though, it’s worth pointing out that the people of Rohan are considered inferior by most of the bigger civilizations like Numenor and Gondor.
Regarding “half-trolls,” I don’t know the quote, but nobody in Tolkien’s work describes southern or eastern people as “half-trolls.” There are half-trolls in RoTK, but they’re not referring to people. Sauron’s fighting force is very diverse in that army, including humans, orcs, trolls and others.  Apparently Tolkien’s “half-trolls” were inspired by a mythological offspring of a human woman and an incubus.  It’s also probably worth pointing out that when Tolkien uses the term “black skin” he only (and frequently) uses it to describe monsters like orcs, never human beings, as he literally means burnt black. He always describes what we would call “black people” as dark brown-skinned.
Personally, I don’t think Tolkien’s work is racist, but the perspective of the narrative is mostly Eurocentric/Ethnocentric because those are the characters who “wrote” it, and even then it’s not actually Europe or a specific real-world ethnicity.  What I mean is that the stories are meant to be narrated by in-universe characters from a very narrow cultural perspective (usually Hobbits).  There is never any objective narration in any of Tolkien’s work; there is always a biased narrator of events.  You might call some of the perspectives racist, but I think it’s more accurate to think of them as medieval people trying to make sense of exotic cultures from Africa and Asia (the dark, mysterious orient in their eyes). This is also why Tolkien’s work doesn’t have much in the way of describing villains like Sauron; they’re the enemies, so the narrators don’t see or understand them!  Tolkien was obsessed with philology, and to ignore the implications of that is to miss a big reason he even wrote any books to begin with.  Tolkien wasn’t putting together a body of fiction as much as he was collecting “historical” writings to generate the backbone of the languages he created.
It’s also important to keep in mind that none of the races in Middle-Earth are meant to literally correspond with those in the modern world. Hobbits are inspired by the rural English, but modern English people aren’t descended from Hobbits, nor are brown-skinned people from Harad actually ancestors of modern people from North Africa.  My point is that modern or historical allegories are rare, if ever, present in Tolkien’s writings. Tolkien hated allegory, and it would be poor critical analysis to search for deliberate real-world comparisons.
It is a complicated topic though, and much of it’s open to interpretation. For a more detailed analysis of racism in Tolkien’s work, I suggest reading this: http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/Racism_in_Tolkien’s_Works

(Reposted to be rebloggable!)

Any time Tolkien has south/eastern people as antagonists, it’s because they’ve been coerced by guys like Sauron (nor are non-white people the only cultures to be coerced). The association of Eastern/Southern people with Dark Lords is largely an unhappy circumstance of geography rather than some failing of character. Sam has a nice monologue in the Two Towers about how crappy it would be to live in those areas, since that’s where Sauron ran around uncontested for millennia and got to threaten them into fighting.  Also, the heroes of Tolkien’s work are usually “white,” but only insofar as their skin is generally light colored. This is likely because the majority of the history covered takes place in the far north of the planet (especially in the 1st Age). All other “racial features” don’t correspond with any real-life ethnic group, except possibly Rohan, who are inspired by ancient Anglo-Saxons. In that case, though, it’s worth pointing out that the people of Rohan are considered inferior by most of the bigger civilizations like Numenor and Gondor.

Regarding “half-trolls,” I don’t know the quote, but nobody in Tolkien’s work describes southern or eastern people as “half-trolls.” There are half-trolls in RoTK, but they’re not referring to people. Sauron’s fighting force is very diverse in that army, including humans, orcs, trolls and others.  Apparently Tolkien’s “half-trolls” were inspired by a mythological offspring of a human woman and an incubus.  It’s also probably worth pointing out that when Tolkien uses the term “black skin” he only (and frequently) uses it to describe monsters like orcs, never human beings, as he literally means burnt black. He always describes what we would call “black people” as dark brown-skinned.

Personally, I don’t think Tolkien’s work is racist, but the perspective of the narrative is mostly Eurocentric/Ethnocentric because those are the characters who “wrote” it, and even then it’s not actually Europe or a specific real-world ethnicity.  What I mean is that the stories are meant to be narrated by in-universe characters from a very narrow cultural perspective (usually Hobbits).  There is never any objective narration in any of Tolkien’s work; there is always a biased narrator of events.  You might call some of the perspectives racist, but I think it’s more accurate to think of them as medieval people trying to make sense of exotic cultures from Africa and Asia (the dark, mysterious orient in their eyes). This is also why Tolkien’s work doesn’t have much in the way of describing villains like Sauron; they’re the enemies, so the narrators don’t see or understand them!  Tolkien was obsessed with philology, and to ignore the implications of that is to miss a big reason he even wrote any books to begin with.  Tolkien wasn’t putting together a body of fiction as much as he was collecting “historical” writings to generate the backbone of the languages he created.

It’s also important to keep in mind that none of the races in Middle-Earth are meant to literally correspond with those in the modern world. Hobbits are inspired by the rural English, but modern English people aren’t descended from Hobbits, nor are brown-skinned people from Harad actually ancestors of modern people from North Africa.  My point is that modern or historical allegories are rare, if ever, present in Tolkien’s writings. Tolkien hated allegory, and it would be poor critical analysis to search for deliberate real-world comparisons.

It is a complicated topic though, and much of it’s open to interpretation. For a more detailed analysis of racism in Tolkien’s work, I suggest reading this: http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/Racism_in_Tolkien’s_Works

70 Notes

Q: “Why do your Saurons never have armor, etc like he does in the Peter Jackson movies?”

Although he’s rarely described in Tolkien’s work, Sauron’s appearance frequently changes throughout the history of Middle-Earth.  One of his defining features in The Silmarillion is that he is a shapeshifter, and often will use this to deceive or overpower his enemies.  While I’m certain there were times where Sauron would wear military gear like armor, I think for the most part those types of things wouldn’t be necessary, given his abilities.

Sauron is very much hands-off unless cornered into a fight, so a general depiction of him, in my view, shouldn’t be one of a heavily-armored “black knight,” which is an image more appropriate for, say, the Witch-King.  That said, it seems likely that during his battle of the Last Alliance with Elendil and Gil-Galad, Sauron would certainly be wearing armor.  With this in mind, Peter Jackson is completely justified in portraying him as such, and given the need to simplify for the film, is also justified in keeping him in that armor for all of his on-screen depictions.

For me, however, I’m more of a fan of portraying him as a sorcerer who’s into fancier dress, or, with The Necromancer, almost a dark version of a wizard like Saruman or Gandalf.

552 Notes

A very quick speed painting of The Necromancer of Dol Guldur!

A very quick speed painting of The Necromancer of Dol Guldur!

263 Notes

Nerding it up: Illustrating my Lord of the Rings fanfic sequel from 2002
It’s no secret that I’m a massive Tolkien nerd, so in honor of The Hobbit coming out this week I thought I’d do a quick sketch of a ridiculous/terrible fanfic project I wrote ten years ago that was meant to function as a sequel to The Lord of the Rings.
The Setting: Set about 100 years into the 4th Age, most of the story takes place far East of the Sea of Rhûn. The main antagonists are a contingent of “dark” Elves (Avari) who had become corrupted and seduced into service by The Giver, a former Wizard who refused to accept that the time of magic was ended. The heroes are various Eastern and Southern characters attempting to bring order to their kingdoms, much as Aragorn had united Gondor and Arnor.
Characters
Míriel Greenblade - Found in the wreckage of a ship in Umbar and raised in Gondor as a Ranger, Míriel discovers, after being stationed in the abandoned Orthanc, that the staff found alongside her as a child belonged to a Wizard named Pallando the Blue.  In hopes to discover her origins, she sets off to track the Wizard down.  
Primrose Took - “Prim” is a Hobbit of the Shire whose occupation is to make and sell maps of all the world, a product no self-respecting Hobbit would actually need.  Having reached the limits of her knowledge without traveling anywhere, Prim offers her services in navigating the Eastern kingdoms, so long as Míriel takes her on a “proper adventure.”
Pallando the Blue -  Left powerless and without his memory in the far East, Pallando wandered Rhûn for decades until he is found by Míriel and Prim. He now remembers enough to recall that he was attempting to restore Míriel’s family to the Easterling throne, and that he was waylaid by “troubles caused by an old friend.”
Glorfindel - Balrog slayer and hero of countless wars, Glorfindel is the last High Elf left on Middle Earth, refusing to ever sail to the West. He now wanders far into the East, slaying monsters and treading where civilizations of Men dare not.
The Giver - Once known as the Alatar the Blue, he was, like Gandalf and the other Wizards, tasked with undermining Sauron.  He and Pallando were successful in stirring up trouble in the East and South of Middle-Earth, but Alatar became obsessed with the notion of removing Evil entirely from the world, turning Middle-Earth into an untainted utopia like Aman. He achieved this through absorbing Darkness and dread directly into his being, which has turned him into a walking shadow.  He has since conquered all the lands of the East with his army of corrupted Avari, wild Elves who he has seduced into his service to fight off the “coming of mighty Men into the East.”
Bungo and Zip - Bungo is a deranged Hobbit, self-described as an “Expert Hero and Dragon Slayer.” He rides atop the Hill Troll “Zip,” whom he claims to have “tamed into utmost goodness.” Bungo is not very helpful.
There you go.  And no, no one will ever see the full story ever, because I set it on fire and shot it into space.

Nerding it up: Illustrating my Lord of the Rings fanfic sequel from 2002

It’s no secret that I’m a massive Tolkien nerd, so in honor of The Hobbit coming out this week I thought I’d do a quick sketch of a ridiculous/terrible fanfic project I wrote ten years ago that was meant to function as a sequel to The Lord of the Rings.

The Setting: Set about 100 years into the 4th Age, most of the story takes place far East of the Sea of Rhûn. The main antagonists are a contingent of “dark” Elves (Avari) who had become corrupted and seduced into service by The Giver, a former Wizard who refused to accept that the time of magic was ended. The heroes are various Eastern and Southern characters attempting to bring order to their kingdoms, much as Aragorn had united Gondor and Arnor.

Characters

  1. Míriel Greenblade - Found in the wreckage of a ship in Umbar and raised in Gondor as a Ranger, Míriel discovers, after being stationed in the abandoned Orthanc, that the staff found alongside her as a child belonged to a Wizard named Pallando the Blue.  In hopes to discover her origins, she sets off to track the Wizard down.  
  2. Primrose Took - “Prim” is a Hobbit of the Shire whose occupation is to make and sell maps of all the world, a product no self-respecting Hobbit would actually need.  Having reached the limits of her knowledge without traveling anywhere, Prim offers her services in navigating the Eastern kingdoms, so long as Míriel takes her on a “proper adventure.”
  3. Pallando the Blue -  Left powerless and without his memory in the far East, Pallando wandered Rhûn for decades until he is found by Míriel and Prim. He now remembers enough to recall that he was attempting to restore Míriel’s family to the Easterling throne, and that he was waylaid by “troubles caused by an old friend.”
  4. Glorfindel - Balrog slayer and hero of countless wars, Glorfindel is the last High Elf left on Middle Earth, refusing to ever sail to the West. He now wanders far into the East, slaying monsters and treading where civilizations of Men dare not.
  5. The Giver - Once known as the Alatar the Blue, he was, like Gandalf and the other Wizards, tasked with undermining Sauron.  He and Pallando were successful in stirring up trouble in the East and South of Middle-Earth, but Alatar became obsessed with the notion of removing Evil entirely from the world, turning Middle-Earth into an untainted utopia like Aman. He achieved this through absorbing Darkness and dread directly into his being, which has turned him into a walking shadow.  He has since conquered all the lands of the East with his army of corrupted Avari, wild Elves who he has seduced into his service to fight off the “coming of mighty Men into the East.”
  6. Bungo and Zip - Bungo is a deranged Hobbit, self-described as an “Expert Hero and Dragon Slayer.” He rides atop the Hill Troll “Zip,” whom he claims to have “tamed into utmost goodness.” Bungo is not very helpful.

There you go.  And no, no one will ever see the full story ever, because I set it on fire and shot it into space.

510 Notes

Silmarillion Project Part 5: Chapter 1 - “Of the Beginning of Days”
Part 1: “Ainulindalë - The Music of the Ainur”
Part 2: “Valaquenta - Account of the Valar and Maiar in according to the lore of the Eldar”
Part 3: “The Monsters of Middle-Earth”
Part 4: “The Free Peoples of the First Age”
We’re finally into the Silmarillion proper! Chapter 1 deals with the details of the shaping of Arda (Earth). In the beginning, the Valar attempted to assemble Arda, but were constantly at odds with Melkor, who warred against them to a standstill. This persisted until the last of the Valar, Tulkas, descended into Arda as well, and together they managed to scare Melkor off for the time being.
What followed was an era of peace, and to light the world (in addition to the stars), the Valar constructed two titanic lamps at opposite ends of Arda. In the middle, they resided on the Isle of Almaren, which I’ve illustrated above, along with one of the lamps.  In the foreground is Tulkas himself, ever vigilant.
Melkor ultimately returned while Tulkas slept and toppled the lamps. The destruction was so devastating that Arda itself was deformed, and the Valar retreated to the Western continent of Aman, leaving Middle-Earth to the dark powers.
Notes: I find the character of Tulkas pretty fascinating, as he’s initially the only member of the Valar who entered Arda because there was a conflict, not to contribute to the building of the world. He is also one of the only Valar never to be duped by Melkor, as he seems to have at least a moderate understanding of evil (a rare trait among the Valar). Here I’ve depicted him mostly in silhouette, along with some vaguely humanoid Valar in the distance.

Silmarillion Project Part 5: Chapter 1 - “Of the Beginning of Days”

We’re finally into the Silmarillion proper! Chapter 1 deals with the details of the shaping of Arda (Earth). In the beginning, the Valar attempted to assemble Arda, but were constantly at odds with Melkor, who warred against them to a standstill. This persisted until the last of the Valar, Tulkas, descended into Arda as well, and together they managed to scare Melkor off for the time being.

What followed was an era of peace, and to light the world (in addition to the stars), the Valar constructed two titanic lamps at opposite ends of Arda. In the middle, they resided on the Isle of Almaren, which I’ve illustrated above, along with one of the lamps.  In the foreground is Tulkas himself, ever vigilant.

Melkor ultimately returned while Tulkas slept and toppled the lamps. The destruction was so devastating that Arda itself was deformed, and the Valar retreated to the Western continent of Aman, leaving Middle-Earth to the dark powers.

Notes: I find the character of Tulkas pretty fascinating, as he’s initially the only member of the Valar who entered Arda because there was a conflict, not to contribute to the building of the world. He is also one of the only Valar never to be duped by Melkor, as he seems to have at least a moderate understanding of evil (a rare trait among the Valar). Here I’ve depicted him mostly in silhouette, along with some vaguely humanoid Valar in the distance.

551 Notes

Silmarillion Project Part 4: The Free Peoples of the First Age


The Free Peoples of Middle-Earth consist of Men, Elves and Dwarves. Elves were the first to arise, and are virtually immortal. When they awoke, they were called to reside with the Valar in their continent of Aman, though the journey from their birthplace in Middle-Earth was far. Many Elves never completed the journey, but those who did were known as High Elves, and are considered the most powerful of their race.

There are three houses of High Elves:

  1. Teleri - The largest of the houses, Teleri are a diverse group that has often found its home in the sea. They are among the most skilled shipbuilders and navigators of their time. The Teleri usually had brown hair and eyes, though those of royal lineage had silver hair.
  2. Vanyar - The ruling house of Elves, the Vanyar comprise the wisest and most powerful of their race, including the high king of all Elves, Ingwë. The most distinctive element of the Vanyar is that once arriving in Aman, they would virtually never leave it again. As such, their influence in the history of Middle-Earth is brief. Vanyar are exceptionally fair, with bright golden hair.
  3. Noldor - Easily the most famous of the High Elves, the Noldor are the most ambitious and industrious of their kind. They are above all legendary craftsmen; it was the Noldor Fëanor who crafted the Silmarils, for which the Silmarillion is named. As one might expect, the Noldor are extremely proud, becoming the source of much tragedy in Middle-Earth. Noldor have a strong, muscular build, usually bearing very dark hair and grey eyes.

Of the Elves who chose to stay in Middle-Earth, the most notable are the Sindar. They, along with the Dwarves, comprise the rest of the non-human allies during the First Age of the Silmarillion.

  1. Sindar- A large population of Teleri never completed the journey to Aman and stayed in Middle-Earth. These became known as the Sindar, and comprise the Elves most familiar to the human history of MIddle-Earth. They largely prefer natural surroundings, creating cities in harmony with the forests. 
  2. Dwarves - Created by Aluë as a crude imitation/homage to the true Children of Illuvatar (Elves & Men), Dwarves were given true life, though their nature and appearance is notably different from the other races. Dwarves are stubborn, hardy, and resistant to both evil and harsh elements. They prefer mining and crafting, surpassing all others in the skill of smithing. Their relationship with Elves is complicated, though they found good friends amongst the Noldor.

In the First Age, the humans who participated in the wars against Morgoth were known as the Edain, who were divided into three houses: 

  1. Hador - The House of Hador was large and fond of warfare. Many of the greatest warriors of the First Age came from these people, and above all the Edain gained the most renown. They were very tall and usually had blonde or goldenhair.
  2. Haleth - The House of Haleth were the most peaceful and reclusive of the Edain, largely keeping out of the conflicts of the First Age. They were dark-haired, short, and survived well into later times.
  3. Bëor - The smallest house of the Edain, Bëor consisted of patient, steadfast people who were quick to resist the evil temptations of Morgoth. They endured significant menace and tragedy from the Dark Lord and his armies throughout the First Age.

243 Notes

Silmarillion Project: The High Elves
Part 1: “Ainulindalë - The Music of the Ainur”
Part 2: “Valaquenta - Account of the Valar and Maiar in according to the lore of the Eldar”
Part 3: “The Monsters of Middle-Earth”
The first of the free peoples to awaken in Middle-Earth were the Quendi, or Elves. Virtually immortal, Elves age very slowly and are said to live as long as the Earth does. They can be killed through violence or despair, but are eventually reincarnated in the Valar’s continent of Aman.  Elves resemble humans but stand taller, with a more slender build. While they may seem aloof compared to humans, Elves tend to react to extreme circumstances with dramatic (and sometimes catastrophic) passion.
When they awoke in Middle-Earth, the Elves were encouraged by the Valar to join them across the ocean in Aman. Those who undertook this journey were called the Eldar, with those unwilling to leave were known as Avari. The Eldar who actually made it to Aman were called High Elves, as they gained a unique power after viewing the light of the Valar.
There are three houses of High Elves:
Teleri - The largest of the houses, Teleri are a diverse group that has often found its home in the sea. They are among the most skilled shipbuilders and navigators of their time. The Teleri usually had brown hair and eyes, though those of royal lineage had silver hair.
Vanyar - The ruling house of Elves, the Vanyar comprise the wisest and most powerful of their race, including the high king of all Elves, Ingwë. The most distinctive element of the Vanyar is that once arriving in Aman, they would virtually never leave it again. As such, their influence in the history of Middle-Earth is brief. Vanyar are exceptionally fair, with bright golden hair.
Noldor - Easily the most famous of the High Elves, the Noldor are the most ambitious and industrious of their kind. They are above all legendary craftsmen; it was the Noldor Fëanor who crafted the Silmarils, for which the Silmarillion is named. As one might expect, the Noldor are extremely proud, becoming the source of much tragedy in Middle-Earth. Noldor have a strong, muscular build, usually bearing very dark hair and grey eyes.

Silmarillion Project: The High Elves

The first of the free peoples to awaken in Middle-Earth were the Quendi, or Elves. Virtually immortal, Elves age very slowly and are said to live as long as the Earth does. They can be killed through violence or despair, but are eventually reincarnated in the Valar’s continent of Aman.  Elves resemble humans but stand taller, with a more slender build. While they may seem aloof compared to humans, Elves tend to react to extreme circumstances with dramatic (and sometimes catastrophic) passion.

When they awoke in Middle-Earth, the Elves were encouraged by the Valar to join them across the ocean in Aman. Those who undertook this journey were called the Eldar, with those unwilling to leave were known as Avari. The Eldar who actually made it to Aman were called High Elves, as they gained a unique power after viewing the light of the Valar.

There are three houses of High Elves:

  1. Teleri - The largest of the houses, Teleri are a diverse group that has often found its home in the sea. They are among the most skilled shipbuilders and navigators of their time. The Teleri usually had brown hair and eyes, though those of royal lineage had silver hair.
  2. Vanyar - The ruling house of Elves, the Vanyar comprise the wisest and most powerful of their race, including the high king of all Elves, Ingwë. The most distinctive element of the Vanyar is that once arriving in Aman, they would virtually never leave it again. As such, their influence in the history of Middle-Earth is brief. Vanyar are exceptionally fair, with bright golden hair.
  3. Noldor - Easily the most famous of the High Elves, the Noldor are the most ambitious and industrious of their kind. They are above all legendary craftsmen; it was the Noldor Fëanor who crafted the Silmarils, for which the Silmarillion is named. As one might expect, the Noldor are extremely proud, becoming the source of much tragedy in Middle-Earth. Noldor have a strong, muscular build, usually bearing very dark hair and grey eyes.

162 Notes

Q: Will your Silmarillion Balrogs have wings?

Yes. My justification for depicting them as such is threefold:

  1. Wings are awesome
  2. There is evidence that they had wings in Fellowship of the Ring
  3. Wings are awesome

Don’t worry, as a lifelong Tolkien nerd I am extremely well-versed in possibly the oldest Tolkien controversy: whether Balrogs actually had wings.  Having read essentially all of Tolkien’s letters and published writings, my personal interpretation is that when he first created Balrogs and wrote them into the Silmarillion, they did not have wings, but were just big smoky monster-men. However, years later when he was writing Fellowship of the Ring, Tolkien decided that Durin’s Bane (the Balrog Gandalf fights) could use a pair of wings.

In short, Tolkien originally didn’t include wings, but later changed his mind. The fact that earlier texts contradict isn’t really an issue, since we have to remember that nothing but The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings were actually completed for publication. Even the Silmarillion is largely just his notes.  Tolkien also originally wrote that there were hundreds of Balrogs, and they were relatively weak. In later writings, though, he changed it to where there were at most seven Balrogs, and they were among the most powerful evil creatures next to the Dark Lords themselves.  Ideas change, and it’s all up to interpretation how you want to visualize this fictional world.

Never get too hung up on “Tolkien canon,” because most of it was posthumous and determined by other editors. Better to look at it as a collection of fun ideas by a very imaginative author, and I say this as a lifelong Tolkien geek.

503 Notes

The Five Wizards of Middle-Earth! With The Hobbit around the corner, I thought I’d do some Tolkien warmup sketches.
The Wizards are actually called the Istari, a group of spirits that were sent to Middle Earth in the form of old men to secretly undermine Sauron, though Gandalf seems to be the only one who met with any real success. You may not recognize a few of these guys:
Radagast the Brown - He’s the fellow you go to for Eagles. Also I suspect he smells.
Alatar & Pallando - the Blue Wizards don’t appear in many stories because they were tasked with going East and South to help the people there resist Sauron. It’s not entirely certain what happened to them, though they may have been successful in their own way. They’re often depicted as Old White Dudes, but given their purpose in the story, I decided to make them more ethnically appropriate, making Alatar more central Asian and Pallando more North African.

The Five Wizards of Middle-Earth! With The Hobbit around the corner, I thought I’d do some Tolkien warmup sketches.

The Wizards are actually called the Istari, a group of spirits that were sent to Middle Earth in the form of old men to secretly undermine Sauron, though Gandalf seems to be the only one who met with any real success. You may not recognize a few of these guys:

Radagast the Brown - He’s the fellow you go to for Eagles. Also I suspect he smells.

Alatar & Pallando - the Blue Wizards don’t appear in many stories because they were tasked with going East and South to help the people there resist Sauron. It’s not entirely certain what happened to them, though they may have been successful in their own way. They’re often depicted as Old White Dudes, but given their purpose in the story, I decided to make them more ethnically appropriate, making Alatar more central Asian and Pallando more North African.

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