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Old 01-16-2003, 11:52 PM   #1
Bill Ferny
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Thumbs up How Do You Envision Middle-Earth?

I have some pretty strong images of Middle-Earth in me head, pretty much entrenched over the years. I was surprised at how similar and dissimilar the images presented in the movies were to my own ideas and visions. I’ve also been pretty surprised by some of the interesting takes I’ve stumbled across on the forum, though so far I’ve had to sift through a lot, and truly stumble upon them. This is my rather selfish endeavor to get at least some of you to put these visions and images in one place.

With the movies out there in full swing with its distinct imagery and tone, I wonder how much of our vision of Middle-Earth has been “reduced” to the vision of WETA. Critiques of the movie are more than welcome, as long it stays pertinent to the imagery and vision of Middle-Earth (i.e. no ragging on the script).

This should be a chance for people to post links to their favorite illustrators, comment on what makes sense or doesn’t make sense about their depictions, and even give us some pictures to look at. Describe how you see the Shire, Rohan, Minas Tirith, Barad-dur, etc… Please post your fan art, too. How do you think people fought? What’s in those leather bags on Gandalf’s belt? Is Peter Jackson right about everyone having blue eyes? Is Smaug’s teeth pearly white, or iron grey? Does Saruman really have Christopher Lee's yellow, crooked teeth? Basically this is a free for all. Have fun.
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Old 01-17-2003, 12:29 AM   #2
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This is how I picture the Dead Marshes:



I was surprised, when I saw this, to see how like my own vision it was. It's by Ted Nasmith.

[ January 17, 2003: Message edited by: Diamond18 ]
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Old 01-17-2003, 12:33 AM   #3
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Blue eyes? Well, in many cases it was because their eyes were naturally blue. I think that Orlando and Liv were the only two contact wearers... on another note.

Most of what PJ presented was how I envisioned it. I think, though, that out perseptions have been altered by the art we have seen anyway, so it's good he hired the right people.
I really like Ted Nasmith's artwork. It's quite close. I like most of the Hildebrant Brothers' art, but their interpretation of Rivendell is a little off from what I see. It looks like a little Hansel and Gretel house in the woods. I definitely see it being more majestic as it is in the movies. Have you seen that painting?
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Old 01-17-2003, 12:41 AM   #4
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Yes, and I agree. Gingerbread fairy-ish. It was too large to fit comfortably on the screen, so use the link:

Rivendell

[ January 17, 2003: Message edited by: Diamond18 ]
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Old 01-17-2003, 01:40 PM   #5
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Diamond18, thanks for the link. I agree with you and Tigerlily. But it does look like something I would expect Tom Bombadil to live in. Ted Nasmith is one of my favorite illustrators as well, and I’d love to sift through his site, but apparently I can’t because of the way it’s formatted (I can’t seem to access any of the buttons to the far right).

I’ve never seen that picture of the dead marshes, though. Was that in one of the calenders?

I was a little put off by how tall everything was in the movie. Then again, most illustrators seem to go really tall as well. Interestingly enough, this illustration by Alan Lee seems to sum up (pretty much) my standard image of Minas Tirith. Its actually his rendition of Camelot, not a Tolkien inspired image.

Image

Likewise I really like the archetecture in this picture by Alan Lee, the Lady of the Fountain, and see it as kind of “Gondorian”:

Image

It also typifies how I would see Arwen dressed as queen (I especially like the hound, very regal). Maybe I’ve been too influenced by Arthurian illustrations over the years.

Edit: the actual pictures were a bit much for comfortable reading, so turned them into links.

[ January 17, 2003: Message edited by: Bill Ferny ]
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Old 01-17-2003, 04:31 PM   #6
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As for locales, I was suprised how much the movie sets were like my own visions of Middle-earth. The only serious differences were Edoras and Caras Galadhon.
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Old 01-17-2003, 04:57 PM   #7
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I was so ecstatic with the movie simply because they created Middle Earth exactly as I imagined it. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]
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Old 01-17-2003, 06:11 PM   #8
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I love how PJ portrayed the landscape...it's how I've imagined it, beautiful, GREEN, luscious...gorgeous landscapes, and PJ demonstrated that well.
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Old 01-17-2003, 09:10 PM   #9
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Excellent thread, Bill.

Quote:
I was surprised at how similar and dissimilar the images presented in the movies were to my own ideas and visions.
Actually, I would go along with what many have said above. On seeing FotR and TTT, I was incredibly struck by how similar practically all of the characters and locations were to my own imaginings when I first read LotR. The Shire, Rivendell, Moria, the river Anduin and the Argonauth, Rauros, Emyn Muil, the Dead Marshes, Isengard, Edoras, Helms Deep (my personal favourite in terms of visualisation), Henneth Annun and the Forbidden Pool, and what I have seen of Minis Tirith are all disconcertingly similar to how I had imagined them.

Good point, Tigerlily, about whether we have been influenced by the art we have seen. I wondered about this after seeing FotR. After first reading LotR, I verged on the obsessive in my quest for illustrations of the book, but there was very little around (commercially) and we did not have the wonderful world wide web in those days. What little I could find was largely disappointing.

I alss wondered whether I might have been influenced by the Bakshi animated film, but I recall that the characters were very disappointing. (Gimli looked like a Shropshire farmer and as for Boromir!) I can't remember much about the locations in it.

Which is a very long winded way of saying how spot on the visualisation in the films is for me (the films have their weaknesses, but I consider this to be one of their main strengths).

I do have a book called "a middle-earth album" with illustartions by Joan Wyatt (dating from 1977) which I think portrays the locations very well (although many of the "creatures" - Balrog, Ents, Orcs etc) are not to my taste and the Great Mallorn is a bit space age).

Here is a link.

[img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]

[ January 17, 2003: Message edited by: The Saucepan Man ]
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Old 01-17-2003, 09:56 PM   #10
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I have experienced the same feeling of the films being very similar to my own interpretations. And I have NOT been exposed to much of the art of Alan Lee or John Howe, or any other. I think a large part of the credit must go more towards JRRT and his vivid descriptions of just about every location of interest.

In fact, much of his detail has too much detail, if that's possible! Exhibit A:

Quote:
Many great trees grew there, planted long ago, falling into untended age amid a riot of careless descendants; and groves and thickets there were of tamarisk and pungent terebinth, of olive and of bay; and there were junipers and myrtles; and thymes that grew in bushes, or with their woody creeping stems mantled in deep tapestries the hidden stones; sages of many kinds putting forth blue flowers, or red, or pale green; and marjorams and new-sprouting parsleys, and many herbs of forms and scents beyond the garden-lore of Sam. The grots and rocky walls were already starred with saxifrages and stonecrops. Primeroles and anemones were awake in the filbert-brakes; and asphodel and many lily-flowers nodded their half-opened heads in the grass: deep green grass beside the pools, where falling streams halted in cool hollows on their journey down to Anduin.
terebinth? saxifrages? anemones? asphodel?

My generally reliable imagination was put to the test with this paragraph detailing Ithilien!!
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Old 01-17-2003, 11:24 PM   #11
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The films are pretty similar to the way I imagined Middle Earth when I read the books. But the only differences I mainly had when I read the books were Lorien, and the Dead Marshes. Lorien I thought was going to be brighter, it was very dark in the film. The main thing I think about when I think of Lorien is when they talk about how in the fall, the leaves turn gold, but then they don't fall off. So I imagined all these trees with gold leaves, but I did not see that in the films. Also another thing in Rivendell, I wish they would have shown the Hall of Fire, I think that would have been very impressive and cool.
The Dead Marshes I thought were going to be darker, and more menicing. Because to me they were much more spooky and scary in the book than in the film. In the movie they seemed kind of tame. I also wish they would have shown some of the feasts and gatherings they had during the story.
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Old 01-17-2003, 11:37 PM   #12
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Saucepan Man, great link. I really liked Joan Wyatt’s Rivendell… absolutely stunning! I really liked The Hall of Edoras, The Siege of Helm's Deep, and Gandalf Confronts the Lord of the Nazgûl (the mound of dead bodies was brilliant). But how did those flying saucers get into the Mallorn Tree in The Fellowship ascends the Great Mallorn? And Minas Tirith looks like the space station. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img] Also, her ents uncomfortably remind me of things I used to mindlessly kill, one after the other, in the Hibernian frontier in that game I’m rather ashamed to admit I played, Dark Age of Camelot.

Manwe, I’m curious… how did you picture Edoras and Caras Galadhon?

After thinking about it, I think that what was so similar in the movies to what I had before imagined about Middle-Earth was the landscape. New Zealand was a great choice! Of course, I may have been unconsciously biased by having watched, and loved (despite George Lucas), Willow that was also filmed in New Zealand. Architecture in the move, especially because Alan Lee was involved, seemed to fit what I had imagined as well.

However, there were things that were completely different. Some of them were understandable because of various personal factors involved in my reading of the novels, especially in regard to costuming. Others, however, I don’t understand. Though I think it was great to use “real” people as hobbits (no offense intended toward actors of small stature, who by the way were absolutely great in Willow), PJ’s hobbits were very different from what I had imagined. Most prevalent in my mind is how they run through the woods like a pack of elephants through a mall. They are described in the books as being quiet, almost silent, and even Strider in comparison is loud and clumsy.

In regard to weapons and armor, I found WETA’s depiction to be aesthetically pleasing, but not what I had imagined at all (with the possible exception of the Riders of Rohan). I was more impacted by Tolkien’s world in the re-reading, especially when I re-read Tolkien in High School and my early college days. At this time my other huge interest (which in many ways has remained) was the history of the Crusades. Because of this mixture, I have always had a tendency to imagine elements of Middle-Earth, especially Gondor, in terms of the era and atmosphere of the Crusades (circa. AD 1190-1280).

To demonstrate what I’m talking about, I’ve decided to post something I wrote a long time ago. I wrote it purely for exercise back in college (seems like ages ago). Its a eulogy for Lord Tarciryan of Lebennin, a character that I made up.

----------------------------------------
I remember well that day, when behind my noble lord, Tarciryan of Lebennin, we first looked upon the horror of Pelennor Fields, witnessed the press of the Rohirrim, and set our eyes on the beleaguered in the white city. Redfist, my lord’s charger, chopping at the bit for having endured the long voyage on the Corsair’s filthy barge, leapt over the boat’s bulwark with but a slight command from Lord Tarciryan’s spur. It was all I could to do to keep up with my lord, riding but a palfrey, so I could replace, one after the other, my lord’s broken shields and lances. Furious was his charge in the sight of the king’s standard, that glorious white tree, seven diadems, and crown. Honor and glory, my lord, Tarciryan of Lebennin, won that day in the king’s service. His lance, sword and axe was the doom of many an Easterling, Haradrum, Variag, Southron and vile orc and troll. In his fury, my lord’s vengeance was finally spent on those who had threatened the rightful heirs of our golden Lebennin. And with the shout of “To Gondor and the White Tree!” he was mortally wounded by a black arrow fired in fear by a spawn of Khand who dared not approach my lord in honorable contest. In sadness have I went ever after, through all the doubt and victory that followed in those days, mourning for my lord’s life too brief.

My lord, for whom I was but a humble shield bearer, was always a noble man, fair and just and kind. He had no serf on his lands, but all his people were free, though he tolerated not a lazy or willful servant, or one who would beat his wife or children. His halls were renowned for their just judgement and right rule, and Lord Tarciryan was just as fair and virtuous to the stranger and traveler, as long as they were not pledged to the darkness out of the east. He was quick to give shelter to pilgrims to and from the white city, and he too went and paid his homage as is right for the people of Gondor. However, from this last pilgrimage he shall not return, but only his broken sword and a tattered shield, and a single bloodstained banner so that history will remember his deeds and honor will be due his house.

His duty to his pledges he always kept, and never have the Counts of Linhir or the Stewards of Gondor had a better vassal, nor I’ll wage would ever have had the king. His castle was warmed by a hundred fires, his feasts were daily, and his potage rich and hearty. Beer and honey mead were in abundance, as well as pipe weed from lands unknown to the north. Spiced and salted meats, cinnamon, ginger, rice, figs, raisins, pepper, saffron, cloves, mace as well as coffee and teas and herbs of all sorts were plenty and shared even with the peasants who worked the fields. The songs of old were not forgotten in his halls. The lays of days gone by, in which were sung the glory of Númenor, the woe of her fall, and of her heirs in Middle-Earth filled these halls and kept his men brave. Sad now will be the songs in those halls upon my return, and never will the fare of that table seem so rich again.

He was skilled in courtesy, manners, and all the practices that make a man noble and true. He would always abide by the western silence before the evening meal, and he would weep when he faced west and remembered Númenor that was, the land of Valinor that is, and what lies beyond that will ever be. Though he could neither read nor write, he disparaged not such skills in others, even those of lesser rank. He often provided means for his craftsmen and peasants to learn the art of letters if the time could be afforded, and insisted that his wife above all others be versed in the skill. Though she never reached the proper age of consummation, he cared for his wife deeply and saw particularly to her well being and education, but he respected her with compassion as though she were a woman full grown. How she will weep when she hears news of her benefactor’s death, and my heart aches that she should be a widow at such a tender age.

Skilled at falconry, spear, and hound, my lord was able at the hunt, but never would his party trample the fields of the peasants, nor would they leave their dead quarry for the buzzards. He would hunt a boar with only a sword, shunning the spear with cross bar as for men of lesser stature. He would stand before the hunted boar, in front of the creature’s very den, and challenge it forth until it came with a frightening charge. But he made no move, though the beast came on bearing its razor sharp teeth and tusks, until, at the very last moment, he would spring to one side, and with his sword sever the head from the poor beast’s shoulders. Many a young squire attempted to emulate their lord’s daring, and many a young squire won for their trouble the funeral pyre.

He kept his hair short and the back of his head shaved as all respectable men of noble birth keep their hair, and his beard was kept close most of the time. He wore but the humblest of woolen clothes, though made well and sturdy by the seamstresses. Satin and silk seldom brushed his skin, but he remembered his dress when entertaining those greater than he. He was practical in dress as his honor and duty took him often out of doors. He daily visited the peasants in his employ while they labored for his and his family’s behalf, and he was given to long rides in the wilds to inspect the borders of his lands. Many a bandit and man of the east who came to raid and kill the innocent found instead a more cunning and deadly adversary in peasant’s clothing.

But not until witnessed in battle array, astride his destrier, did my lord, the warrior of the south, the scourge of the Corsairs, appear in all his nobility and warlike virtue. His spurs were of mithril silver, a gift from Durin’s Folk to his family so many generations ago that the giving and its ceremony is no longer remembered. His legs were girt in maille chausses and hardened leather greaves over his shins, decorated by skillful hands with the likeness of vines and grapes. Over his quilted and embroidered gambeson he wore a sleeved hauberk of the same strong maille that hung to his knees and had a coif with ventail that he wore over a thickly padded arming cap to protect his blessed head. Over his hauberk he wore one of the few garments of silk in his wardrobe, an embroidered surcoat bearing the red and green of his house and lineage, the dancing lion and the falcon, and the badge of Gondor, the white tree, upon his breast. And over his head he wore a great helm, painted red and green, bearing both the lion and the falcon on either side, and about the eye slot and the breathes a tree scribed in white, the only vision the doomed enemy would have of Lord Tarciryan’s face. On his left arm he bore a shield of linden wood that displayed the heraldry of his family. In a green scabbard, from a belt richly made, was sheathed the sword of Tarciryan’s family, handed down for three generations, polished and oiled and ready for war; its one edge to protect the weak from tyranny, and its other edge to protect Gondor from all her enemies.

It was thus he rode to battle against the invaders, and it was thus that he spurred Redfist to the side of his future king, though all other men hid in fear at the sight of the king’s grim company. It was thus that he rode to victory against the Southron and Corsair in the company of the lord of the dwarves and the prince of the elves. It was thus that he charged the Fields of Pelennor, and many will be the songs of his courage and might. He told me many times that never was a lord at home but among his comrade’s courageous shouts and the painful groans of those wounded and dying on the field of battle, but in quiet times during those dark days he often mused: “I miss the waters of the Gilrain; better to be at home and hearth, peacefully managing the affairs of the earth, than laying waste the lives of men.”
--------------------------------------

This picture by August Racinet (whose brilliant historical illustrations can be found here), may help the imagination along.



[ January 18, 2003: Message edited by: Bill Ferny ]
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Old 01-18-2003, 09:34 AM   #13
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Tar-Palantir, that’s one of those paragraphs that invariably slows the reader down [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]

anemones: any of a genus of perennial herbs of cool and temperate regions having petal-like sepals instead of petals.

asphodel: a plant of the lily family, bearing white or yellow flowers.

juniper: any of a genus of evergreen pinaceous shrubs; especially the common juniper of Europe and America. It has dark-blue berries of a pungent taste, which are used n making gin (wha-hoo!).

marjoram: any of several perennial herbs of the mint family with nearly entire leaves, dense oblong spikes of flowers, and colored bracts.

myrtle: a tree or shrub of southern Europe, originally from Asia. It is a bushy shrub or small tree with glossy evergreen leaves, fragrant white or rose-colored flowers, and black berries.

parsley: a cultivated umbelliferous herb with aromatic, finely divided leaves and greenish-yellow flowers.

primeroles: ? a wild guess here, but this may refer to the primrose. primrose: An early-blossoming perennial herb with tufted basal leaves and variously colored flowers.

sage: a plant of the mint family especially the common garden sage, a stiff, shrubby perennial with gray-green leaves and purple, blue, or white flowers.

saxifrage and stonecrops: any plant of genus saxifraga, growing in rocky places, stonebreak. (saxifragaceous: Of or pertaining to a widely distributed family of herbs, shrubs, and trees, including gooseberries and witch hazel.)

tamarisk: an evergreen shrub of the Mediterranean region, western Asia, and India, with slender branches bearing small, pinkish-white flowers in racemes.

terebinth: a small tree with winged pinnate leaves resembling those of the common ash but smaller.

thyme: any of a genus of small shrubby plants of the mint family, having aromatic leaves and cltivated for seasoning in cookery.

I know what your thinking… well, I had some time on my hands this morning. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]
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Old 01-18-2003, 11:50 AM   #14
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Thank you, Bill Ferny. I also enjoyed your tale of Lord Tarciryan. May his valor never wane... [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]

[ January 18, 2003: Message edited by: Tar-Palantir ]
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Old 01-18-2003, 04:40 PM   #15
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Quote:
I’ve never seen that picture of the dead marshes, though. Was that in one of the calenders?
It's December for this year's calendar. I got it for Christmas (and of course looked ahead at all the months [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img] ).

I like most of Nasmith's art, and I have the edition of The Silmarillion with his images. The only problem I have with him is that the characters don't look right, to me. For instance, the picture of Galadriel with short, boyish hair is totally weird. And all his characters tend to have the same facial features. The hobbits especially don't look right, and in Boromir's Last Stand especially, one of the Hobbits looks practically Orcish. (Not my Pippin, nooooo!)

Well, so that was negative. I actually have trouble finding character depictions that consistently fit my mental images. But for scenery, I really like Ted Nasmith. [img]smilies/cool.gif[/img]
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Old 01-18-2003, 05:12 PM   #16
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I always found that for some reason I imagine Tom Bombadil to look like a large mole. Maybe it's his name, making me think of a bumbling mole. Him being a mole, he would ONLY wear the boots and coat, very, very brightly coloured. He's the only person I really envisioned, I never really pictured anyone else's face.
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Old 01-18-2003, 06:34 PM   #17
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Negative is good too, Diamond18 [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img] I see what you mean with Galadriel, and poor, poor Pippin. Its been hard for me to find an illustrator that captures what I imagine about hobbits, dwarves and elves. I particularly don’t care for John Howe’s hobbits (and Aragorn, btw), Ted Nasmith’s elves and hobbits, and Alan Lee’s Gollum and hobbits.

I think the only artist that seems to constantly depict hobbits and dwarves (with big heads!) the way I imagine them was Darrel Sweet. His work has been often criticized for it’s cartoonish character, and stock medieval images, very much akin to John Cullen Murphy’s Prince Valiant. For example, this picture shows his stock elves, that are always blond haired and wearing tights (though I prefer to call them woolen chausses [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img] ). He often missed the mark, especially in his depictions of Legolas that don’t follow the book description at all. This is one of his more remarkable illustrations, and the one that has always stayed in my head, Eagle's Eyrie. I love the way he presents Bilbo and how he dresses the dwarves, and I’ve always had a thing for the sword belts he puts on the heroes.

dragoneyes, I do believe that is the most original take I’ve ever heard on Tom Bombadil! I can kind of see that, now that you mention it. I go a strange direction with him too. I think of Santa Claus, maybe not the red suited variety, but more the English style. For some reason I’ve always attached Christmas to him and imagine his house to be decorated with evergreen boughs, holly and misteltoe, not to mention a bunch of wooden toys as well. However, I’ve never imagined Goldberry as Mrs. Claus. Nope, I prefer this Goldberry. One thing about the brothers Hildebrandt, they did know how to… err… draw a woman. [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]
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Old 01-18-2003, 09:29 PM   #18
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This is rapidly turning into one of my favourite threads. I hope that many more BD'ers put up examples of their favourite (and least favourite) artwork. I have seen many of these images before, but it is interesting to hear what you make of them, why you like them etc.

Quote:
Lorien I thought was going to be brighter, it was very dark in the film.
Gorwingel, I agree with you. I deliberately left Lothlorien off my list. I understand that Jackson & co wanted to make it a dark place, so as not to lift the tension too much. Also it ties in with the attitude of Gimli, and also the Rohirrim, towards the place - that it was an dangerous place to be shunned. But, I thought it looked rather like the film set that it was, and not at all like the golden place that I had imagined.

As for the visulaisation of the races, again the films largely reflect how I had originally imagined them. I agree, Bill, that the Hobbits should have larger heads (sort of human size but with smaller bodies), but the fact that they do not doesn't really show up except when we see the nine members of the Fellowship in a "group shot" at Rivendell.

I was not overly keen on the film portrayal of the Elves. As I have said on another thread, I always imagined them to be more "other-worldly" and less human-looking, rather than slightly effeminate with long blonde hair (sorry again all you Legolas and Haldir fans [img]smilies/evil.gif[/img] ). But then again, it would have been difficult to portray them much differently on film without more CGIs. And, anyway, I have never really seen any images of Elves which portrayed them the way I imagined them.

The rather evil-looking faces that Ted Nasmith gives to his Hobbits have always troubled me. I feel the same about Alan Lee's characters, who all seem to have rather hard features. But both do portray the landscapes and locations very well.

Bill, I like the colour and life that Darryl Sweet brings to his pictures, and the Eagle's Eyrie is great, although he does make Bilbo look a bit like a middle-aged accounts clerk, and isn't that Theoden in Thranduil's throne? [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]

One thought that occurs to me is that, while views vary greatly on the artwork generated by Tolkien's works, the visualisation in the films seems to connect by and large with most fans of his work. I wonder why this is.

Anyway, I really am looking forward to seeing some more great artwork on this thread.
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Old 01-18-2003, 09:59 PM   #19
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Here is the definitive (in my mind) picture of Smaug. Those Hildebrandt brothers sure know how to draw a dragon, too. [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]

But the Balrog from the movie would send this Balrog home crying for its mother. [img]smilies/evil.gif[/img]

This is the only Tom Bombadil picture I've ever seen, and I think it fits with my mental image very well.

This, amazingly, is supposed to be the Uruk-hai. No, no, no, no! They were definitely humanoid in my mind.

I like the way the Hidlebrandt Brothers portrayed the Hobbits except that in some pictures their faces are too childlike. This is because they actually used children as models. Also, Sam looks too fat and stupid (fatter than Sean Astin was in the movie, which I didn't think was all that fat). But I do prefer the overly childlike faces to the ones of Nasmith and Lee (Lee likes putting lank blond hair on hobbits. Huuuuh?). And Pippin always looks so gosh darn cute in the Hildebrandt pictures.

Anyway, my final two pics from the H Bros (for now [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]) is one of the Fellowship, and one of Legolas and Gimli. In both cases, I think that Legolas should sue. (Note the cute fringe.) But Boromir and Aragorn look particularly noble.
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Old 01-18-2003, 11:12 PM   #20
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Hey! Us middle-aged accounts clerk –types can have adventures too! [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]

Lothlórien should be golden, I believe, when the fellowship arrived. However, Pete already did that with Rivendell, so I can forgive him.

I came across these pictures by Audrey Corman. I’ve never heard of her before, but I think these are pretty good pictures (in contrast to the movies) of Middle-Earth weapons:


Narsil


Orcrist


Remnants of old Robberies

The last one is really interesting. It covers a lot of ground as far as historical swords go. I think that's a scram in the foreground, and a flammard sticking up to the left.

Diamond18… keep those links to Hildebrandt coming. Most of them I’ve never seen, or don’t remember, and anyway its been a long time since I’ve looked at any of their stuff. They are SO shamelessly German, aren’t they? I like the pig faces, though. Oh, yeah! What do you mean Legolas suing? Did you see that hat on Gimli in the Fellowship? Now that is grounds for a lawsuit!

Edit: Diamond18, I forgot... can you find any Hildebrandt pictures of the Riders of Rohan?

[ January 19, 2003: Message edited by: Bill Ferny ]
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Old 01-19-2003, 12:14 AM   #21
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Here is a great site for pictures - The Tolkien Calendar Archive. I love this Legolas and Gimli picture; a Galadriel I hadn't seen before, and like better than most other pictures I've seen of her, since she looks both wise and beautiful; and a very touching White Havens departure scene - but look through yourself, there are plenty of choices! Unfortunately, the names of the artists aren't given. (The site is in German, but you need no language knowledge to navigate.)
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Old 01-19-2003, 01:31 AM   #22
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Estelyn, the Legolas and Gimli were done by John Howe… very stylistic, but not really my bag of beans as far as the costuming goes. I’m really surprised, though, that PJ didn’t go more in that direction. Who ever did the Galadriel was a frick’n genius! The details on her sandals, all the intricate knot work on the hems, her regal, tender, gentle face (great expression!), the costuming… great pic! I think I found something for my next desktop theme. Can anyone recognize the artist?
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Old 01-19-2003, 05:38 AM   #23
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My Valhalla of Tolkien Images is Rolozo Tolkien, although it has been dumbed down a bit by too much fan art since the movies came out. Don't get me wrong, I've got nothing against fan art - quite the opposite - but when you have a half dozen pictures of a specific shot of what is obviously Cate Blanchett, the whole process is self-defeating.

For me, Middle-Earth (I'm a little sketchy on the Undrying Lands [sic - injoke]) is very vivid and colourful. My favourite illustrator is John Howe. I own the maginificent Alan Lee illustrated centenary version of LOTR, and his pictures have helped craft my vision, but I don't like the tone of most of them. Although realistic, many are too soft in tone and not bold enough in composition. They look like historical paintings of something that happened a long time ago, like you might have of Salisbury Cathedral by Constable. When I read Tolkien, the events are in the here and now, right up in my face. That's why I like pictures like John Howe's Balrog, wings notwithstanding. I was seldom happier than when I heard the filmmakers had hired both John Howe and Alan Lee.

Any illustrator who pays strict attention to the books wins a lot of points with me. After all, as an illustrator that's their job. Alan Lee's infamous Bearded Elrond, and Brunette Galadriel have always given me cause for concern. The Hildebrants are marvellous painters, but I think they would be better suited to The Brothers Grimm. The Bombadil pic which Diamond provided to the link was a pleasant surprise, though. They somehow manage to make a bright blue jacket and yellow boots not look ridiculous! That's talent.

Ted Nasmith has a wonderful visual sense for Tolkien's world, and I'd love to chat with him about what he sees as he is reading. For myself, I am not a very visual reader, and usually let the words speak for themselves. I have to consciously summon up images, something I have been doing more since seeing the movies. Either way, Tolkien is still magnificent reading. Ted Nasmith's visions of Mordor (Across Gorgoroth) are horrifying and help to build an appreciation for just what Frodo and Sam were going through.

The movies have done extremely well with locations and costumes. The Shire and hobbits in general surpassed my wildest expectations. They were as close to perfection as I believe possible. Ditto Nazgûl. Gandalf and Saruman were also standouts. I won't go into depth about the movies here, there's too much good and bad to go on about. But I haven't seen anyone yet who can properly show the beauty and splendour of High Elves, or the power of Andúril or of Gandalf. I think that my ideal LOTR movie would be a manga or something similar to Princess Mononoke, where the imagination need not be fettered by the complications of working in a real world.
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Old 01-19-2003, 11:47 AM   #24
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Nurn: Breadbasket of Mordor

No trees or shrubs or fens, but only fields of wheat, oats, corn, and hay arranged in perfect squares, bordered by low fences of piled stones, sharp and jagged, that the thralls of Khand and Umbar have upturned over the years through their constant tilling of the dark earth, spread from the fold of a nameless estuary over the flat lands of Nurn. As though placed by a hand of exacting uniformity, every three fields are watched over by tall grey towers with pointed battlements and manned by watchmen with crossbows, torches and black bladed bill-hooks.

Shadowy bent figures silently work the rows, faceless men and women, covered in dirt and grime, skin browned and wrinkled by the sun and wind. They are chained together in lines, making no sound save for the rattling of their fetters. Watchful are their task masters, tall men of Umbar atop black palfreys, they snap their whips out of boredom and occasionally kick a slave for jest.

For every six fields, there are hovels made of stone and waddle, arranged in rows next to stinking hog pens and putrid ammonia thick chicken houses, blacksmiths’ forges billowing brackish black smog, and windmills that pump water from the irrigation ditches to the fields. Nearby, next to a line of festering charcoal clamps, men dig holes that will be filled by sunset, and most look at the fruit of their labor with longing, a more comfortable bed than they will have in life.

For every commune there’s a stone keep and barracks for Sauron’s better off slaves, the task masters and governors who vex themselves about the exacting demands of Barad-dûr, and fret for their necks if those demands should not be met. Rows of bins and granaries stretch behind, guarded by fences and more watchful soldiers, for the thralls of Nurn always hunger for more than is necessary for a good day’s work. Stretching down the dusty road from the granaries are orc teamsters who delight in tormenting the chattel assigned to loading their wagons, or unloading their shipment of fresh slaves.

Everywhere is the sound of orcish curses and laughter, the metallic pounding of the blacksmiths’ hammers, clanking of chains, and snapping of whips, but all one can really hear above and through the din of Nurn is the hollow echo of the sallow wind.
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Old 01-19-2003, 02:35 PM   #25
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Nice description of Nurn, Bill. Quite vivid. I never want to go there... [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]

The are only a few pictures by the Hildebrandt brothers which depicted the Rohirrim. I like the way they look, but Gahn-buri-Gahn is not quite what I picture. Tolkien did say he was squat, but that squat? Not in my mind, at least.

The other three pictures that include people of the Mark are Thédon, Éowyn and Wormtongue, Éowyn and the Nazgûl,Aragorn healing Éowyn, and Aragorn's Wedding.

Then there are two location shots of Rohan: Meduseld and Helm's Deep.

I think that does it for the Hildebrandts and Rohan. In the wedding picture, does not Aragorn's crown look ridiculous? In their defense, though, I don't know how a crown with wings on it could look anything but. I am really curious to see what they do about Aragorn's crown in the movie.
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Old 01-19-2003, 07:43 PM   #26
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Quote:
The Hildebrants are marvellous painters, but I think they would be better suited to The Brothers Grimm.
[img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img] Spot on, my egg-laying friend. What is this obsession that they have with non-human characters and big noses? I have to admit that I was put off their artwork by the covers of the Elfstones of Shannarah series, which I read many moons ago in my quest for Tolkien-like stories [img]smilies/frown.gif[/img] .

Diamond, I have seen that picture of the esteemed chieftain of the Woses before, but it always makes me chuckle [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img] . I do like Houses of Healing, though. And Eowyn and the Witch King - not how I imagined it, but striking nonetheless. I have to admit, their paintings are very atmospheric.

And, Bill F:

Quote:
Hey! Us middle-aged accounts clerk –types can have adventures too!
Sorry - you're right - quite a good way of portraying an unlikely adventurer like Bilbo - it just wasn't how I imagined him. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]
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Old 01-19-2003, 10:06 PM   #27
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Arwen's sword? Sorry, this is a totally random one. I came across this while I was working today. I’ve been looking for this picture for about three months now. This is actually in regard to another thread, but I can’t find it. Seeing as how it sort of fits here, I’ll stick it here. Awhile back a short discussion broke out about the elven swords, especially Arwen’s, in the movies. It was mentioned that her sword was based on the katana, but I disagreed in favor of the Anglo/Saxon scram (the longer variety). However, that got me to thinking about a cheap decorative sword (“wall-hanger”) that I came across that claimed to be based on a picture from the Maciejowski Bible (circa. AD 1250, Paris). It looked strangely like the elven swords in the movies. If you look toward the center of the picture, you’ll see a knight in a brown surcoat literally chopping someone in half with this peculiar sword.

Warning: while this is from an illuminated medieval bible and the depiction isn't extremely realistic, the picture does contain graphic violence, definately PG-13. Image
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Old 01-19-2003, 10:15 PM   #28
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*Everyone rushes to click on the link.*
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Old 01-25-2003, 11:21 PM   #29
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I’ve had very little time to do much on-line other than real-life work these past few days, but I have managed to stumble across one of the most unique (and most pop-culture) visions of Middle-Earth I’ve seen in a while. Check this out!
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Old 01-26-2003, 12:23 AM   #30
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Aw, that is so cute! I especially liked the movie poster. [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]
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Old 01-26-2003, 02:33 PM   #31
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I totally agree with Merri about the mocies bieng almost exactly the wat I pictured it with the exception of Gondor
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Old 01-26-2003, 08:24 PM   #32
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[img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img] Bill, I'd come across that site before, but it always makes me laugh, and they've added to it since. Thanks for the link.
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Old 01-26-2003, 11:11 PM   #33
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Doug,

Thanks for that link. I browsed through the site last week and really enjoyed most of the pictures. You could spend days on that site. Though I’m not too keen on most of John Howe’s work, especially his portrayal of hobbits, but I recognized his Balrog from way back, and realized it is definitely one of those enduring images.

Alan Lee did drop the ball on that whole brunette Galadriel thing. I don’t know about beards on elves. Can an elf grow a beard? In the movies I noticed that Elrond had a five o’clock shadow. Of course, Legolas didn’t, but I doubt if Orlando Bloom could grow a beard anyway. [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]

I think we are all in consensus that the movies do an excellent job with scenery, architecture and landscape. However, I do think that they took some poetic license in regards to some costuming and props. Even though they were pretty enough, I didn’t really care for the weapons, except, maybe, sting. The armor was pretty much fantasy stock (especially elven armor) though I think WETA at least attempted to hit on some themes, as is evident with the costuming of the Riders of the Mark. Fight sequences were exciting, but still the same old Eorl Flynn fluff that Hollywood just can’t seem to give up. Simple rule of thumb for all you Hollywood producers out there: You fence with a foil, not a broad sword! I can’t really hold this against Peter Jackson, seeing as how JRRT’s description of the Battle at the Fords of Isen reads more like an account of a modern battle with tanks and infantry.

Diamond18, thanks for the links to the Brothers Hildebrandt. They are lacking a bit of luster when it comes to Rohan. They all look like chain mailled clones. That kind of surprises me. I didn’t like Meduseld at all. I figure that Tolkien was shooting more for something like a gold plated wooden Herot out of Beowulf, than a stone Romanesque Norman keep. Helm’s Deep is another matter, though. Really nice picture. I like that rendered landscape look they portray. As far as woses are concerned, I’ve seen much worse (David Day's A Tolkien Bestiary). That being said, Hildebrandt’s woses appear to be the unclothed version of dwarves. I have to agree that that is one of the most ridiculous crowns I’ve ever seen. Also in the same picture (Aragorn’s Wedding… that seems a little chauvinistic… its just as much Arwen’s Wedding as it is Aragorn’s) you would think that Legolas and Faramir (?) would get dressed up a bit, but there they are in their travelling clothes. And why are people standing around in helmets? Are they planning on throwing lead shot instead of rice?

All in all, though, I still like the Brothers Hildebrandt. Dwarves and hobbits have big noses! Their pictures have a cartoonish character, and this I think is why the Brothers Grimm come to mind so readily. However, as I’ve noted before, I don’t mind a bit of cartoonishness (which, by the way, isn’t even close to being a word in the English language).

I’ve been thinking lately about the Rangers of the North, and how they will probably be absent from the movies. I for one am very happy about this. I don't think I could stand to see any more carbon copies of Strider's costume! I especially disliked the whole slicker thing… I thought for sure that he was going to pull back one side of his coat and reveal a leather holster hung low, tied to his thigh, sporting a .44 Russian. Strider Wales, Outlaw? That costume is definitely not how I pictured Strider. Does anyone agree?

Speaking of Strider, here’s one of those “makes you go hmmmm….?” questions that’s been bugging me ever since seeing the FotR last year. I always assumed that Strider carried a shield. I haven’t had much time lately, but I did manage to browse through the FotR looking for references to Strider having or not having a shield. I couldn’t find anything. In fact, the only battle that Aragorn gets into in the first book is at Weathertop, and there he wields a burning brand in each hand (no sword nor much description for that matter!). In the second book, in the mines of Moria, no detail is given. My theory is this, a shield is a wonderfully practical device, and Aragorn seems to be a pretty practical guy. So, my assumption that he carried shield is acceptable.
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Old 01-27-2003, 05:15 PM   #34
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Hmmm...I personally thought Aragorn's costums were perfect. I didn't have a set vision for his clothes and gear when reading the books, but the movie certainly didn't clash with my non-image.

All right, to explain that frighteningly obtuse statement, sometimes in books though I don't have a set picture in my own mind, I still have some thoughts about what they don't look like. A sort of "I'm not really sure what he looks like but it isn't that" attitude. But Aragorn's costume wasn't like that, for me. Somehow the whole "Ranger" thing in the book did remind me of a wandering western hero. But that's just me...

I also liked what he wore at the Council, and the picture of his new get-up in RotK looks quite nice.
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Old 01-30-2003, 01:17 AM   #35
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Diamond18, I can respect that. I’m the exact same way about Gollum… I’m not sure what he actually looks like, but I do know that he doesn’t look like Ted Nasmith’s Gollum. I’ve never really came across a picture of Aragorn as Strider that sums up how I picture him. I think, though, that this picture (from Greg and Tim, again) comes closer to the costume that I would put on Strider if I could draw… which I can’t. Now, I don’t care too much for the exaggerated boots or Narsil, and I would probably put baggy trousers on him instead of tights, and maybe a green, studded leather mantle on his shoulders.
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Old 01-30-2003, 04:30 AM   #36
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Oh, no, Bill - another Fat Sam! Et tu, Hildebrants?

Just as the fellowship leave Rivendell there is an illustrator's treasure trove of a description of their gear. It is said they went forward with little gear of war. Gimli's mail is mentioned, as is Frodo's, and also Boromir's shield. If Aragorn had sallied forth with one, doubtless that would have been mentioned. I believe that he would have been given one to use at Helm's Deep, for realism mainly, as well as a helm. Legolas and Gimli at least in my memory were kitted out at the Hornburg.

If anyone wants to make some more comments on the movie costumes, try here! Don't you love it when people shamelessly promote the threads they started?!
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Old 02-01-2003, 01:52 PM   #37
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Bill! Wow! That is a great drawing of Aragorn (though it does looks like he's dancing [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img] ).
(Edit: I was talking about Bill's drawing, now in the below post.)

In the Hildebrandt brothers one he looks too clean to me. I mean, there was all that talk about how suspcious and "foul" he looked, so I expected his clothes to be muddier.

Quote:
Suddenly Frodo noticed that a strange-looking weather beaten man, sitting in the shadows near the wall, was also listening intently to the hobbit-talk. He had a tall tankard in front of him, and was smoking a long-stemmed pipe curiously carved. His legs were strechted out before him, showing high boots of supple leather that fitted him well, but had seen much wear and were now caked with mud. A travel-stained cloak of heavy dark-green cloth was drawn close around him, and in spite of the heat of the room he wore a hood that overshadowed his face; but the gleam of his eyes could be seen as he watched the hobbits.
So, splatter some mud on that HB painting and you've got it made. [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]

Can't go without a favorite Pippin quote (while I've got the book open to this part):

Quote:
But handsome is as handsome does, as we say in the Shire; and I daresay we shall all look much the same after lying for days in hedges and ditches.
[ February 02, 2003: Message edited by: Diamond18 ]
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Old 02-01-2003, 10:35 PM   #38
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Doug, I found another John Howe balrog: Glorfindel and the Balrog.

How I pictured Strider (my sorry excuse for drawing):



edit: re-posted picture due to an error on my website.

[ February 02, 2003: Message edited by: Bill Ferny ]
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Old 02-04-2003, 08:23 PM   #39
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Pipe

(warning: return of the king spoilers)

Wow! Good thread. This is my first time to see other Middle-earth inspired images. Quite an eye-opener for one who is not a Tolkien scholar. I enjoyed reading other people's replies. Thanks. As for my own concept of middle-earth, well... I saw the movie first (FOTR), so I was basically robbed of the opportunity to imagine. But I'm happy with the images I got stuck with. And I'm grateful to the movie, it made me read the all the books. I was shockt when I read the first one. There was sooooooooo much more.

Tom Bombadil was one of the characters that totally captured my imagination. Fascinating, though there was something very sad about him... can't pinpoint what exactly. I wanted to know more about him (and Goldberry) and their magical house in the woods and their history. I envision their realm to be something like the paintings of John Baptiste Camille-Corot, beautifully green but sad (don't know why). Oh well, too bad PJ left them out. The ents are another thing. I totally fell in love with them when I encountered them (in the book). I was happy with PJ's visuals. But in my head, they were much taller and bigger and broader. Making them smaller though, allowed them to interact with the weeeee hobbits. So that's cool. I didn't picture Treebeard as Gimli for sure. And I was disappointed not to see Quickbeam. Hmm.. I could go on and on about the ents but I better not.

Gollum was not as I previously saw him (plenty of times) in my head. He was greener and smaller in my mind. When I first saw the movie-Gollum, I thought he looked too human. I was appalled when he tried to eat Sam, I thought PJ turned him into some sort of an orc or something but as the movie went on, I recognized him- the Gollum I fell in love with in the book [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]. PJ's depiction of Gollum is a tribute to the ‘book-Gollum' and to Tolkien himself, in my opinion. I could be wrong but even though Gollum is sort of a monster, I thought he was written lovingly (sorry for the corny word). And that's how PJ created the image (and characteristics) of Gollum. I don't know how I'm going to deal with his death when it comes in December.

Hmmm.. I better stop now before my post reaches Tolkienesque-proportions. Here are some photoshop paintings I made (fan art). They suck but what the hell.

My vague idea of "The Grey Havens"



And here's my vague idea of where the entwives (and entmaidens) have gone.

Thanks for letting me rant. Sorry if I went off-topic.

p.s.
I did not expect 'the battle at Helm's Deep' to be so grand, I can't imagine how PJ would depict 'The battle of the Pelennor Fields'. Omg. I can't wait.

[ February 04, 2003: Message edited by: propagandalf ]
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Old 02-04-2003, 08:37 PM   #40
thunder_goddess
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Sting

HI
To me, Gollum looked exactly how I invisioned him. And also the hobbits, Shire and Moria. But I saw the movies before I read the book, so I can only do it out of places that were in The Hobbit. And also Sting! He looked great.

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