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Old 08-26-2006, 12:52 PM   #1
Lalwendë
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Pipe Thuringwethil

I've just dragged up an old thread here. Why? I was looking at a design for a Sim based on the character of Thuringwethil and got to thinking what a fabulous costume this would make (no time for Oxonmoot though ).

Anyway, reading this old thread it seemed to dismiss the idea that Thuringwethil was a vampire of the form that could transform from bat to human (as in the Dracula story). However, my opinion is why wouldn't Tolkien draw from that source? He was known to be an avid reader of fantasy and sci-fi and I'm sure that Dracula can't have escaped his attention. As anyone else knows, tales of vampires are incredibly attractive and that image of the vampire is one etched on our minds ever since Bram Stoker wrote his novel.

Looking at the Sil:

Quote:
He turned aside therefore at Sauron's isle, as they ran northward again, and he took thence the ghastly wolf-hame of Draugluin, and the bat-fell of Thuringwethil. She was the messenger of Sauron, and was wont to fly in vampire's form to Angband; and her great fingered wings were barbed at each joint's end with an iron claw. Clad in these dreadful garments Huan and Luthien ran through Taur-nu-Fuin, and all things fled before them.
Beren seeing their approach was dismayed; and he wondered, for he had heard the voice of Tinuviel, and he thought it now a phantom for his ensnaring.
and:

Quote:
By the counsel of Huan and the arts of Luthien he was arrayed now in the name of Draugluin, and she in the winged fell of Thuringwethil. Beren became in all things like a werewolf to look upon, save that in his eyes there shone a spirit grim indeed but clean; and horror was in his glance as he saw upon his flank a bat-like creature clinging with creased wings. Then howling under the moon he leaped down the hill, and the bat wheeled and flittered above him.
The 'skin' of Thuringwethil is clearly a bat-like shape, and it must also have fit human/elf form if Luthien was able to wear it and be so well disguised. I don't see much here to detract from the 20th century image of the vampire - a human form with bat wings.

Thuringwethil also means 'Woman of Secret Shadow'. A reference to vampires, in modern myth, not having shadows?

I think Tolkien was like a lot of us and was inspired by that image of the scary vampire. And there's plenty of info here to inspire a cool costume too.
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Old 08-27-2006, 02:35 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lalwende
The 'skin' of Thuringwethil is clearly a bat-like shape, and it must also have fit human/elf form if Luthien was able to wear it and be so well disguised. I don't see much here to detract from the 20th century image of the vampire - a human form with bat wings.
Since Draugluin evidently didn't have human/elf form, I don't think Thuringwethil necessarily had to. She maybe roughly had the same size, in order for Lúthien to fit in, and the rest is left to 'the arts of Lúthien' - however we may exactly picture this.
Given the few information we have about her (your two quotes are all we have, if I'm not mistaken, so we don't even know how she died!) we seem to be quite free to imagine her in whatever way we want.
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Old 08-27-2006, 06:39 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Macalaure
Since Draugluin evidently didn't have human/elf form, I don't think Thuringwethil necessarily had to. She maybe roughly had the same size, in order for Lúthien to fit in, and the rest is left to 'the arts of Lúthien' - however we may exactly picture this.
Given the few information we have about her (your two quotes are all we have, if I'm not mistaken, so we don't even know how she died!) we seem to be quite free to imagine her in whatever way we want.
I don't know if Luthien had the ability to alter her form though, even her mother Melian had to 'fix' into an elf shape in order to marry Thingol, so I'm not so sure we could even say that she may have inherited any ability like that.

I could see though that the 'skin' of Thuringwethil may have been of a shifting, mercurial nature as Tolkien seems to describe it that way. Firstly he says "vampire's form" which suggests a human shape, then "bat-like" which might be a form which would merely suggest a bat and then finally "bat" as Luthien in this 'skin' is in the air. This is actually very like the mercurial nature of the vampires of 20th century literature, so maybe it was the 'skin' which could change shape rather than Luthien?

It would have been funny if Thuringwethil had battled Gandalf as then we would have had an additional Balrog style debate to get our fangs into.

Actually, could Balrogs also have possessed the ability to alter their form?
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Old 08-27-2006, 08:32 AM   #4
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Good to see this topic brought up again, Lal, as there is always room to expand upon previous discussions.

I will be back later with more (not much time these days for online stuff), but for now I pass on this idea: Are winged creatures in Tolkien more often associated with the dark side?

Angels traditionally had/have wings, but I don't think the Ainur did/do. Or the Valar. My Silm is shakely, so I could be wrong, but would Tolkien omit this simply to give his mythology a more independent status or did he tend to ascribe wings to evil creatures? Other than the Eagles, who of course are winged (comes with the genes), how did Tolkien treat wings? Were they something to be feared? Crows were nasty spies. Is there something about flying that inspires fear or at least great discomfort?

For a costume, I can envision a little something in black leather, svelte, with a few assessories to complement the metal claws. Hold the ugly face unless you're really going for authenticity. And while Oxonmoot might be a bit tight, Hallowe'en might fit the schedule more plausibly.
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Old 08-27-2006, 09:45 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bęthberry
Are winged creatures in Tolkien more often associated with the dark side?

Angels traditionally had/have wings, but I don't think the Ainur did/do. Or the Valar. My Silm is shakely, so I could be wrong, but would Tolkien omit this simply to give his mythology a more independent status or did he tend to ascribe wings to evil creatures? Other than the Eagles, who of course are winged (comes with the genes), how did Tolkien treat wings? Were they something to be feared? Crows were nasty spies. Is there something about flying that inspires fear or at least great discomfort?
There are the Eagles in LotR & The Sil, but there are also gulls, & a couple of ravens & a thrush in TH on the good side. Most birds are on the 'good' side. Apart from the Crebain & some flies with the eye of mordor on them, I can't think of any natural flying creatures that are evil. It is only 'monsters' like dragons, Thuringwethil & the Fell Beasts which can fly & are 'evil' - & one assumes they were bred to be so.

There are many more four-(& two-) legged & wingless creatures on the side of evil.

As an aside, Angels weren't always depicted with wings, & where they are shown as having them it is symbolic of their role - they move (as 'messengers', angeloi) between heaven, symbolically 'above', & earth, symbolically 'below' - hence in the 'vertical' plane.

Valar & Ainur were originally akin to the Pagan gods - very few of whom had wings (only Mercury springs to mind), so its not surprinsing they are wingless.
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Old 08-27-2006, 10:23 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bethberry
Angels traditionally had/have wings, but I don't think the Ainur did/do. Or the Valar. My Silm is shakely, so I could be wrong, but would Tolkien omit this simply to give his mythology a more independent status or did he tend to ascribe wings to evil creatures? Other than the Eagles, who of course are winged (comes with the genes), how did Tolkien treat wings? Were they something to be feared? Crows were nasty spies. Is there something about flying that inspires fear or at least great discomfort?
Quote:
Originally Posted by davem
There are the Eagles in LotR & The Sil, but there are also gulls, & a couple of ravens & a thrush in TH on the good side. Most birds are on the 'good' side. Apart from the Crebain & some flies with the eye of mordor on them, I can't think of any natural flying creatures that are evil. It is only 'monsters' like dragons, Thuringwethil & the Fell Beasts which can fly & are 'evil' - & one assumes they were bred to be so.
Neatly leaving Balrogs out of it due to not having wings, that's still a substantial amount of winged beasts that are on the side of darkness, especially given their size and potential for damage. I seem to remember reading a letter of Tolkien's where he associated planes with bad things, possibly written during WWII to Christopher? Wasn't he a bit worried about him having joined the RAF? So maybe Tolkien did indeed associate most large winged beasts with evil. Certainly unnatural or supernatural winged creatures, as vampires, dragons and fell beasts were, unlike the Eagles.



Quote:
Originally Posted by bethberry
For a costume, I can envision a little something in black leather, svelte, with a few assessories to complement the metal claws. Hold the ugly face unless you're really going for authenticity. And while Oxonmoot might be a bit tight, Hallowe'en might fit the schedule more plausibly.
That might indeed be more suitable for Hallowe'en as I think I'd look less like one of the Ainur and more like a DFS sofa. It could be an easy costume for anyone with goth outfits left from a mis-spent youth (or indeed in current wardrobe rotation). The claws could be those pointy finger ring thingys that are like long silver claws.
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Old 08-27-2006, 11:04 AM   #7
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I think the skin change is of a magical sort more than just simple disguises. I cannot say how Luthien and Beren transform into these creatures, because it is not told. But "magical" skin change is not an unknown thing. In alot of the old legends and in Norse Mythology you see this happen and are never told exactly how it is done.

In the Volsunga Sage (Vřlsung Saga) Fafnir turns into a dragon after killing his brother out of greed. In other stories we are told how the god Freya posses a swan skin, wich enables her to become a swan and fly. Or how ordinary people puts on wolf skins and becomes a wolf (or werewolfs).

So I am kind of agreeing with Macalaure
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Old 08-27-2006, 08:11 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davem
Apart from the Crebain & some flies with the eye of mordor on them, I can't think of any natural flying creatures that are evil. It is only 'monsters' like dragons, Thuringwethil & the Fell Beasts which can fly & are 'evil' - & one assumes they were bred to be so.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lal
Neatly leaving Balrogs out of it due to not having wings, that's still a substantial amount of winged beasts that are on the side of darkness, especially given their size and potential for damage. . . . So maybe Tolkien did indeed associate most large winged beasts with evil. Certainly unnatural or supernatural winged creatures, as vampires, dragons and fell beasts were, unlike the Eagles.
Perhaps the clue does not lie in wingedness per se but in unnatural wingedness or wingedness of gigantic proportions. The first might be seen as a kind of worshipping of false mechanical power, a denial of an animal's proper sphere and an appropriating to themselves the power and agency that four limbed critters should not have. The second might be related in that it defies laws of gravity. Just how big would a dragon's wings have to be to lift him? What size of muscles and weight of bone?

In contravening a natural order lies at least the beginning of taint.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Macalaure
the rest is left to 'the arts of Lúthien' - however we may exactly picture this.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rune
I think the skin change is of a magical sort more than just simple disguises. I cannot say how Luthien and Beren transform into these creatures, because it is not told. But "magical" skin change is not an unknown thing. In alot of the old legends and in Norse Mythology you see this happen and are never told exactly how it is done.
This takes us into the conflicted territory of elven 'magic' versus 'elven art.'

But I really ought to take a peek at The silm references myself. The very fact of having the phrase "vampire form" suggests that the author of The Silm assumed his readers would understand the word. Otherwise, why not simply say "bat form"? It's sort of like having your cake and eating it too.
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Old 08-28-2006, 12:38 PM   #9
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Is it known if Thuringwethil had any offspring? Sorry for the thread interruption, I do that alot...
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Old 08-29-2006, 02:04 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Rune
In the Volsunga Sage (Vřlsung Saga) Fafnir turns into a dragon after killing his brother out of greed. In other stories we are told how the god Freya posses a swan skin, wich enables her to become a swan and fly. Or how ordinary people puts on wolf skins and becomes a wolf (or werewolfs).
So in the latter cases, its the skin which possesses the qualities of the beast it suggests? That to me suggests that its not the wearer but the skin which has the 'powers'.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bethberry
The very fact of having the phrase "vampire form" suggests that the author of The Silm assumed his readers would understand the word. Otherwise, why not simply say "bat form"? It's sort of like having your cake and eating it too.
Indeed. A vampire is a very specific creature or being. It is at once both human and bat. We wouldn't say 'werewolf' when we meant 'wolf', after all. I also find that Tolkien had a very good awareness of the Gothic form, evident in his depictions of Moria, the Nazgul and the high, dark adventures and perils of Beren and Luthien in Angband.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ninja91
Is it known if Thuringwethil had any offspring? Sorry for the thread interruption, I do that alot...
Don't be sorry! In fact, that could be a very good basis for some fan fic or an RPG character!

We've pondered where the Fell Beasts came from, what sort of creatures they were, there's always the possibility they are some kind of cross-bred vampire/dragon/drake.
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Old 08-29-2006, 07:29 AM   #11
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A contemplation of bones

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lalwendë
I also find that Tolkien had a very good awareness of the Gothic form, evident in his depictions of Moria, the Nazgul and the high, dark adventures and perils of Beren and Luthien in Angband.
There's Goths and then there's Goths.

Tolkien certainly was aware of the Germanic/Swedish traditions of Goths, those barbarians at the gate. It is in fact interesting that for a profoundly devout Catholic he had such a fascination for the northern barbarian cultures and mythology.

Then there's the 19C version of Gothic, which has led to the 20C goth cults, that mix of horror and romanticism. I think we'd be hard put to find camp menace and the predatory femme fatale (well, Eowyn is pale but ... ) in Tolkien--unless we think Shelob. Nor is there much theatricality or self-dramatisation in Tolkien. However, it is fascinating to see what other features of Gothic romanticism Tolkien exudes. Graveyards, ruins, curses and cursed peoples, nightmares and dark visions, a brooding preoccupation with eternity and loneliness, a direct encounter with horror, morbidity, death and the macabre. Tolkien is even apolitical, as much of goth culture is. Would this arise from his familiarity with Catholic aesthetics?

The only thing which Tolkien has which post 19C gothic romanticism does not have is hope.

But you've got my rpg sense tingling, Lal.
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Old 08-29-2006, 08:03 AM   #12
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Lalwende, or anyone else, what is the difference between dragon and drake? And if they were a crossbreed with vampires, where are all the pureblood vampires and dragons? (besides smaug?)
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Old 08-29-2006, 09:15 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Bęthberry
Tolkien is even apolitical, as much of goth culture is. Would this arise from his familiarity with Catholic aesthetics?
Indeed. Certainly a lot of the 20th (and beyond) century popular Goth culture (right from its origins in Bram Stoker) is drawn with a heavy debt to Catholicism. Not only images of crucifixes but also elements in aesthetics taken from decadent mortuary masonry, use of latin, robes, incense, choirs, ritual. Take a look at the Alchemy Gothic range of whatnots and thingummyjigs for Goths and its like looking at a Catholic apparatus/supplies catalogue.

Interestingly Pugin, high priest of Victorian Gothic Revival architecture, still influences Gothic design today. He linked his taste in design to his own Catholic faith - and designed the Hall in the village where I grew up, for the Catholic lords of the manor. He influenced William Morris, who in his turn also influenced Tolkien, so there must be a shared taste for the Gothic.

And an interesting aside - another well known Catholic with a taste for the Gothic, Scott, designed the monumental (and I mean that - it's like Gormenghast) Liverpool Anglican Cathedral, whereas the starkly Modernist Catholic Cathedral was designed by Lutyens, an Anglican.

Now I personally think that Gothic has never really gone out of fashion since the late 18th century as interest in horror and fantasy and elaborate 'northern' design is always with us, despite Modernism. There could be a case for giving Tolkien a place on the continuum of great Gothic Art, especially if we think abut his pre-occupation with death, fate, destruction, and creations such as Morgoth (hey, the clue's in the name ), Shelob, Balrogs and Saruman locked in his high tower engaged in Light Breaking experiments. Yes there may not be the Byronic hero figure (or is there???) but then sex is generally glossed over in favour of romance and doomed love.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ninja91
Lalwende, or anyone else, what is the difference between dragon and drake? And if they were a crossbreed with vampires, where are all the pureblood vampires and dragons? (besides smaug?)
Drakes are more or less interchangeable with dragons. Cold Drakes don't make fire, but fire-drakes do.

The dragons could have been driven back into the Northern wastes, although we don't know what sort of creatures are hidden in the lands under Sauron's control. Tolkien never says if Smaug was the last of all dragons, and he only mentions an actual vampire once, in the form of Thuringwethil, though I think Sauron once appeared as a vampire?
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Old 08-29-2006, 09:27 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lalwendë
especially if we think abut his pre-occupation with death, fate, destruction, and creations such as Morgoth (hey, the clue's in the name ), Shelob, Balrogs and Saruman locked in his high tower engaged in Light Breaking experiments. Yes there may not be the Byronic hero figure (or is there???) but then sex is generally glossed over in favour of romance and doomed love.
Ooo, ooo, Noldor Noldor Noldor! Admittedly these are only really represented by Galadriel in the Lord of the Rings, but otherwise Feanor and the brood are as Byronic as it gets...which is why I love them, or partly why. Yes, I agree Italian mistresses are thin on the ground in Tolkien, but Celegorm has urges enough for eight, and Celebrimbor beats Ada Lovelace hollow...

Interesting your bringing up of Saruman; certainly the film cultivated a certain "Dr Frankenstein" feel about him.
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Old 08-31-2006, 07:10 PM   #15
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sorry if I am talking about something which is considered a finished part of the conversation, but I at times I get easily confused.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lalwendë
So in the latter cases, its the skin which possesses the qualities of the beast it suggests? That to me suggests that its not the wearer but the skin which has the 'powers'.
Yes in the later cases it is the skin which possesses the powers, but that doesn't really matter does it? Unless you mean that because the skin possesses the power then the humans shape won't change. I am of that opinion that the skin might be capable of changing the shape of the human/elf when they were it. It might not be the case every time, but I am not sure that the skin had human/elven shape.

This might be kind of irrelevant, but it is on a level where I can participate so I thought I would add it.

about Goths. . . It has always fascinated me with all these different kinds of Goths. There was the tripe people who may/may not have been inspiration for the Rohirim , then there is the Goth that came with black romanticism as you have already said. We must not forget the inhabitancies of the Swedish isle of Gotland. When this island was under Danish rule the Danish King took the title of: Lord of the Goths. . . again not that relevant, but kind of fun.
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Old 01-10-2018, 04:08 AM   #16
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Inspired by comments on this thread, I've just gone looking for a thread on vampires, and this seems to be the closest the Downs has had. So... what did Morgoth's vampires actually look like? Quote collection time!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silm: Of Beren and Luthien
And immediately [Sauron] took the form of a vampire, great as a dark cloud across the moon, and he fled, dripping blood from his throat upon the trees...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Silm: Of Beren and Luthien
[Huan] took thence... the bat-fell of Thuringwethil. She was the messenger of Sauron, and was wont to fly in vampire's form to Angband; and her great fingered wings were barbed at each joint's end with and iron claw. Clad in these dreadful garments... Lúthien....
Quote:
Originally Posted by Silm: Of Beren and Luthien
By the counsel of Huan and the arts of Lúthien he was arrayed now in the hame of Draugluin, and she in the winged fell of Thuringwethil. Beren became in all things like a werewolf to look upon, save that in his eyes there shone a spirit grim indeed but clean; and horror was in his glance as he saw upon his flank a bat-like creature clinging with creased wings. Then howling under the moon he leaped down the hill, and the bat wheeled and flittered above him.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Silm: Of Beren and Luthien
casting back her foul raiment [Luthien] stood forth, small before the might of Carcharoth, but radiant and terrible.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Silm: Of Beren and Luthien
Lúthien was stripped of her disguise by the will of Morgoth
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lay of Leithian: Canto X
A vampire shape with pinions vast
screeching leaped from the ground, and passed,
its dark blood dripping on the trees;
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lay of Leithian: Canto XII
the other was a batlike garb
with mighty fingered wings, a barb
like iron nail at each joint's end -
such wings as their dark cloud extend
against the moon, when in the sky
from Deadly Nightshade screeching fly
Sauron's messengers.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lay of Leithian: Canto XII
His dreadful counsel then they took,
and their own gracious forms forsook;
in werewolf fell and batlike wing
prepared to robe them, shuddering.
An elvish enchantment Lúthien wrought,
lest raiment foul with evil fraught
to dreadful madness drive their hearts;
and there she wrought with elvish arts
a strong defence, a binding power,
singing until the midnight hour.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lay of Leithian: Canto XII
a look of horror as he sees
a batlike form crawl to its knees
and drag its creased and creaking wings.
Then howling undermoon he springs
fourfooted, swift, from stone to stone,
from hill to plain - but not alone:
a dark shape down the slope doth skim,
and wheeling flitters over him.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lay of Leithian: Canto XII
upon its back there folded lay
a crumpled thing that blinked at day.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lay of Leithian: Canto XIII
and o'er it batlike in wide rings
a reeling shadow slowly wings.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lay of Leithian: Canto XIII
But what is this that crawls beside,
slinking as if 'twould neath thee hide?
Though wingéd creatures to and fro
unnumbered pass here, all I know.
I know not this. Stay, vampire, stay!
I like not thy kin nor thee. Come, say
what sneaking errand thee doth bring,
thou wingéd vermin, to the king!
Small matter, I doubt not, if thou stay
or enter, or if in my play
I crush thee like a fly on wall,
or bite thy wings and let thee crawl.'
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lay of Leithian: Canto XIV
a form bat-wingéd, silent, flew
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lay of Leithian: Canto XIV
thou foolish, frail, bat-shapen thing,
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lay of Leithian: Canto XIV
Slow-wheeling o'er his iron crown,
reluctantly, shivering and small,
Beren there saw the shadow fall,
and droop before the hideous throne,
a weak and trembling thing, alone.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lay of Leithian: Canto XIV
'Liar art thou, who shalt not weave
deceit before mine eyes. Now leave
thy form and raiment false, and stand
revealed, delivered unto my hand!'

There came a slow and shuddering change:
the batlike raiment dark and strange
was loosed, and slowly shrank and fell,
quivering. She stood revealed in hell.
What does all that tell us? It's abundantly clear that Luthien takes the form of a large, iron-clawed bat; her form, flight, and raiment are all described as 'batlike'. (Amusingly, the wings are also described as a dark cloud... #DoVampiresHaveWings.) Tolkien paints a clear picture of her 'creased and creaking wings', the screeching cry of the vampire (Morgoth calls Luthien 'thou shrieking waif'), and the pitiful, crumpled shape of her. She also has trouble with daylight.

(Incidentally, I had forgotten just how beautiful the Lay of Leithian can be - and how much Luthien and Huan tell Beren off when they catch up with him. ^_^)

There is no indication in either text that the vampires (Sauron, Thuringwethil, or Luthien) ever take a non-bat vampire form - on the page. But there do seem to be hints that they can. The bat-fell is repeatedly described as 'raiment', ie, clothes; moreover, Luthien has to take steps to counter its evil effects, lest it drive her to 'dreadful madness'. This could be purely the fact that it's the skin of an evil creature (and the same is said of Draugluin's fell, which we have no indication is anything other than his skin), but it gives us space to wonder.

The next indicator is the description of Thuringwethil herself: she 'was wont to fly in vampire's form to Angband'. That suggests that she had another option - and Morgoth kind of supports this. (I know, I know - who looks to Morgoth's words for evidence?!) He is very clear that Luthien should remove her 'form and raiment false' - two separate items. Yes, it could be poetry - but it could also indicate that she had to use the transformative power of the bat-fell, and then take the thing off.

Staying with the testament of the evil powers: Carcharoth doesn't recognise 'Thuringwethil', and neither does Morgoth, who instantly knows she's lying about who she is. Unfortunately, this is only attested in the Lay, where Thuringwethil's name doesn't appear until Luthien uses it - it may be an invention of hers. But if we can assume that there was also a vampire named Thuringwethil, then Carcharoth's claim that he knows all the vampires means that Luthien's bat-guise looks different to Thuringwethil's.

Another point: when Morgoth's power removed Luthien's bat-raiment, it 'slowly shrank and fell'. Fell is obvious, but shrank? Unless we are to assume Morgoth's word has dessicatory powers, I think the logical assumption is that it also earlier grew to cover Luthien - and that indicates some kind of innate enchantment, not merely a flayed skin.

Finally: there is a previous instance of elves disguising themselves as the enemy - Finrod. The Silm says this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silm: Of Beren and Luthien
they came upon a company of Orcs, and slew them all in their camp by night; and they took their gear and their weapons. By the arts of Felagund their own forms and faces were changed into the likeness of Orcs
The Lay is even more explicit:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lay of Leithian: Canto VIII
The poisoned spears, the bows of horn,
the crooked swords their foes had borne
they took; and loathing each him clad
in Angband's raiment foul and sad.
They smeared their hands and faces fair
with pigment dark; the matted hair
all lank and black from goblin head
they shore, and joined it thread by thread
with Elvish skill. As each one leers
at each dismayed, about his ears
he hangs it noisome, shuddering.

Then Felagund a spell did sing
of changing and of shifting shape;
their ears grew hideous, and agape
their mouths did start, and like a fang
each tooth became, as slow he sang.
Finrod and company didn't wear their enemies' skin: they took their weapons and armour, and tied the Orcs' hair into their own. But for the rest, they used face-paint to darken their skin, and enchantment to change their appearance. Shape-shifting by what could almost be called sympathetic magic - using just enough of the creature you want to become to support the change - is the clear pattern here. (Also: Professor, what exactly do 'hideous' ears look like? Do you just... have a thing about ears?)

So: there is at least some support for the idea of shapeshifting vampires. But what form do they shift into? For that, we have absolutely no evidence. The simplest conclusion might be that a 'vampire' is actually anyone who has worn a bat-fell long enough to be driven to evil madness by it (shades of the Nazgul here, which could be evidence in support), but on the other hand, that isn't exactly Morgoth's style. On the other other hand... the only forms of shapeshifting fully attested in Middle-earth are a) Ainur (mostly Sauron), and b) elves wearing their enemies' kit and using magic to disguise the rest of them. If we want a shapeshifting vampire, then the most 'canonical' form she can take is a woman who dons batlike raiment and flies from Taur-nu-Fuin to Angband, darkening the moon and striking terror into the hearts of Elves and Men.

hS
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Old 01-14-2018, 10:36 AM   #17
Victariongreyjoy
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Thuringwethil

I always envision her bat form something like this:

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