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Old 07-06-2005, 01:39 PM   #1
Lush
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Thumbs up Eowyn's Cup and Alan Lee

I'm sorry if this has been brought up a billion times, but I did a search, and methinks it hasn't.

Or perhaps it's only been brought up about 999 million times, which is Ok with me.

I was watching the beginning of "RotK" this afternoon, and it dawned on me that the little scene where Eowyn hands Aragorn a cup to drink is modeled exactly after the ALAN Lee illustration, seen here

Of course, this is old news, considering that ALAN Lee participated in the making of the films and his work was widely used throughout, but you couldn't believe just how touched I was that they chose to do it this way, to highlight this moment in such a subtle fashion. That image alone made up the dissatisfaction with how truncated Eowyn's character was in the theatrical version of "RotK."

To me it was a kind of "Ok, we couldn't do everything, but we tried" sort of message, encapsulated in a particularly touching detail.

It also helped me realize the full scope of Eowyn's character in the films, how she is at once understated (due to lack of space) and yet finely drawn and performed.

Anyone else notice this? Any more ALAN Lee-like character interactions you might have noticed?

**edit**
Danke, Easty. Bis gleich!
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Last edited by Lush; 07-06-2005 at 02:42 PM.
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Old 07-06-2005, 02:23 PM   #2
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(Lushie, m'dear, you do mean Alan Lee, don't you? If not, then the fact that Ang Lee had anything to do with the LotR movies is definitely new to me!)
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Old 07-06-2005, 02:40 PM   #3
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D'oh!



(Well, they both work in film, so that's sort of Ok...Ok, not really, it isn't)
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Old 07-06-2005, 03:14 PM   #4
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Being able to draw on (oops - pun not intended, but I'll leave it there just for fun) the previous artwork of Alan Lee and John Howe was one of the biggest advantages of taking those two artists onto the movie team. I'd have to look up specific pictures for details, but I know that Howe's Gandalf was pretty much taken over as he had previously drawn him, for example. Hmmm, I should rewatch the Extended DVD extras to remind myself of those things...
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Old 07-07-2005, 02:54 AM   #5
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get out your Ł40 Centenary edition of LOTR for more examples of Ang's work being used on screen.

rivendell (opposite page 240)

door of moria (32)

dwarrowdelf (336)

galadriel's mirror, well the jug at least! (384)

merry and pippin being carried by the orcs (448)

edoras (528)

most strikingly of all, helm's deep (560)

exactly the same, orthanc (608)

sting at gollum's throat (640)

the black gate (672)

mumakil (688)

ruined osgiliath (704)

stairs up to cirith ungol from shelob's lair (752)

close up of minas tirith (800)

steep passage way up to theoden's encampment, and his tents (832)

minas tirith (912)

idea of eye at the top of barad-dur (929)

Jackson saved a fortune getting Alan Lee on board for the films. A large amount of the design work was lifted direct from Alan's drawings. Peter Jackson is a very astute man.
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Old 07-08-2005, 02:08 PM   #6
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Essex, thanks so much for the info. Makes me want to run out and spend the last of my money on the book, honestly (so it's your fault if I end up not eating for a couple of days ).

Is this list something you came up with independently, or is it mentioned somewhere on the EE DVDs?

Door of Moria is probably one of my favourite moments in the entire film trilogy.

Esty, thanks for the Gandalf tidbit. I wasn't sure if it was just my imagination when I thought about that, or if they just went for the stereotypical "wise wizard" sort of thing.
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Old 07-08-2005, 03:17 PM   #7
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most strikingly of all, helm's deep (560)
Yes, I agree that Helm's deep was amazing similar!
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Old 07-08-2005, 03:52 PM   #8
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Boots

This is, I think, one of the best observations I've seen about the movies, Lush. Kudos for a very fine thread. I think I just might nominate this for best thread of the week (or is it month?).

The Lee painting, however, makes me draw back from the film for a bit, to consider how the artists depict the books.

And I will be begin with lots of cavets about interpreting paintings and symbolism. Innumerable articles have argued the various meanings of Aristotle's and Plato's hand signals in The School of Athens, for instance, all to no avail--at least in terms of generating a concensus about what the hands might mean. So bear with me and take these comments with a heavy pinch of salt.

One of the symbols I know in literature and in painting is the joining or touching of hands. Usually (although not always) it represents marriage. The ending of Tess of the D'Urbervilles, for example, ends with Tess' sister walking away from Tess' fate hand in hand with the man who could not come to terms with Tess's history. Oh, the lit seminars that I have seen devoted to this scene!

But, I will make a long story short or at least a long argument short by truncating evidence. What I would like to know is why Lee had Eowyn's and Aragorn's hands touch in the painting. Was he implying anything about the relationship as he saw it in the book? Yes, I know it is possible simply for hands to meet in the grasping of an object, but it is also possible for them not to.

I don't want to imply more than Lee could have intended-- that this was a significant moment from the book that touched his artistic imagination. But does the conjoining of hands imply anything other than the gift of drink? And what about the gift of drink itself? There's Rebecca at the well, of course, a story which begats all kinds of stories of damsels bearing water and quenching thirst.

What I'm getting to is the idea that Lee's painting implies more about Aragorn's role in the relationship than exists in the text of the story. (Or does it?) Does Lee impute some responsibility to Aragorn for Eowyn's deep crush? Clearly the moment or image of the two characters was meaningful for him. How did he see the relationship?

I raise this idea also because from what I remember (and I don't go back to the movies to rewatch them) I thought PJ rather successfully represented the relationship not as a true love on Eowyn's part but as a young noblewoman's infatuation with a man of rank and power who could take her out of her unhappy state.

Of course, if anyone wants to offer me a drink and tell me to go drown my silly speculations I promise not to become emotionally entangled.
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Old 07-08-2005, 04:15 PM   #9
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In an interview with Lee he said that he didn't chose the scenes he would depict but, in consultation with the publisher he found out where the plates would be placed in the book by the printers & depicted what would be on the opposite page. This meant that some of the scenes he might have chosen to depict weren't available.

I'm interested in Bb's theory - & it could be a very interesting subject to explore - though it might tell us more about the artists than about Tolkien's work. I've linked to my favourite Tolkien illustrations before, but as to why they're my favourites - who knows....
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Old 07-09-2005, 12:40 PM   #10
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I tend to link that connection between Eowyn and Aragorn was a two-sided phenomenon, not fully understood by Eowyn. To me it is not so much a romantic attachment, as an awareness of a path human kind might follow in Middle-earth. We have been told that the Rohirim are very like the men of the First Age, and I believe that Eowyn has her feet well set on the road that led those First Agers to Numenor. In Aragorn she sees an ideal that her people might obtain and she deeply desires it. To me it make sense to have a woman respresent this, as her sex brings with it the notion that it is something that she would foster in her people.

Aragorn on the other hand, perhaps sees in Eowyn the past of his own people, knowing that he cannot go back. Sometimes he seems to regard her in a cold manner, but I always had the impression that he had a ‘soft corner’ for her. Again not necessarily romantic, as implied in the movie, but more as recognition of some other connection. Like she is just starting on the road he has almost finished.

Alan Lee’s work does a wonder job of showing this. And the touch of hands, I think does not indicate marriage in the traditional sense, but the unity of human spirit despite nationalities, bridging the gap created by cultural evolution.

Thanks for the links, Essex and davem! I’m off to explore them more carefully….
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Old 07-11-2005, 02:37 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lush
Is this list something you came up with independently, or is it mentioned somewhere on the EE DVDs?
I just flicked through the book and picked out the pictures I thought were simillar. One that was really striking as well as helm's deep was the steps up to cirith ungol - I remember when seeing the film for the first time there was a ring of familliarity about the scene, and realised when looking through the pictures soon after.

also, look in the background of the osgiliath scene - you can see the dome design of the buildings used in the film, most notably when aragorn and co turn up at the harbour in Harlond.
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Old 07-18-2005, 03:15 PM   #12
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This is indeed in interesting thread. I agree that the look and feeling of Middle-earth in the movies seemed immediately so "right" to most people was to a large extent thanks to Alan Lee and John Howe's well-known and beloved illustrations.
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Bethberry asked:
What I would like to know is why Lee had Eowyn's and Aragorn's hands touch in the painting. Was he implying anything about the relationship as he saw it in the book? Yes, I know it is possible simply for hands to meet in the grasping of an object, but it is also possible for them not to.
The touching of their hands is straight from the book, and not an implication by Alan Lee!
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Théoden drank from the cup, and she then proffered it to the guests. As she stood before Aragorn she paused suddenly and looked upon him, and her eyes were shining. And he looked down upon her fair face and smiled; but as he took the cup, his hand met hers, and he knew that she trembled at the touch. "Hail Aragorn son of Arathorn!" she said. "Hail Lady of Rohan!" he answered, but his face now was troubled and he did not smile.
Aragorn is very perceptive, he realizes in this moment that Eowyn is drawn towards him in a way that he cannot return, and is sorry for it. He wishes in no way to encourage her feelings.

Hilde's post is also very interesting, I agree about Eowyn seeing an ideal in Aragorn.
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