One little, two little, fifteen little Noldor

wp_elves

I sat down yesterday for a reality check. Am I deluded? These all look different to me, even without their characteristic hair. So yes, they are all related (fathers and brothers and sons and daughters and cousins), so they are all immortal and ageless, and they are all beautiful in the same ethereal Elven way, and yes, there are some that are less characteristic than others. But to me, they look exactly as they should. Maybe I’ve become too much of a shepherd. Or, alternatively, it’s just that I don’t see Tolkien’s characters as wildly individual (bordering on cartoonish) as, for example, G. R. R. Martin’s.

‘What!’ cried Bilbo. ‘You can’t tell which parts were mine, and which were the Dúnadan’s?’
‘It is not easy for us to tell the difference between two mortals’ said the Elf.
‘Nonsense, Lindir,’ snorted Bilbo. ‘If you can’t distinguish between a Man and a Hobbit, your judgement is poorer than I imagined. They’re as different as peas and apples.’
‘Maybe. To sheep other sheep no doubt appear different,’ laughed Lindir. ‘Or to shepherds. But Mortals have not been our study. We have other business.'” — The Fellowship of the Ring, J. R. R. Tolkien

Or, in the words of the immortal Hiro Nakamura and Ando Masahashi: “They all look the same to me.” – “That’s racist!”

Forgiveness

After “All the others, gone” sparked heaps of discussions on the rebirth, re-embodiment and return of Elves who died…

… this absolutely needed to be done.

Entering the realm of wild speculation here rather than “missing scenes.”

No doubt Maedhros spent a long time in the Halls of Mandos, while his mother remained alone in Valinor – her husband and her seven sons, gone. Eventually, Maedhros might have been the first of all her family to leave Mandos again.

Their first meeting… so many things left unsaid, too painful to put into words.

I’m liking this more and more.

… and even more after completely redoing Maedhros. I’m glad I did. The last pose could have been anything. Now it’s a son begging for forgiveness.

For the colours, I went for a minimalist approach. Some coffee in subtle shades, with some of it taken off with a moist brush (by re-wetting it)  in order to get a streaming sunlight effect; coffee mixed with some watercolour paint for both their hair as the only non-coffee coloured item in the piece, and white gouache for the falling petals.

Stand up to the blow that fate has struck upon you
Make the most of all you still have coming to you
Lay down on the ground and let the tears run from you
Crying to the grass and trees and heaven finally on your knees

Let me live again, let life come find me wanting
Spring must strike again against the shield of winter
Let me feel once more the arms of love surround me
Telling me the danger’s past, I need not fear the icy blast again

(Genesis, Undertow)

Detail shots of Maedhros and Nerdanel:

I’ve also changed the title from “Thy son has returned” to “Forgiveness” – also because I realised that Tolkien Elves do not use the familiar “thou” for their elders…