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Submitted on
October 19, 2009
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Elwing by Qitian Elwing by Qitian
Wee, another painting! so soon! isn't that exciting! \o/

I have to admit that I have my problems with Elwing. The problems are mostly based on that she's obviously meant to be one of the Supremely Good Guys (or, in this case, Gals), but it only works if you accept the basic premise of "The Fëanorians must not, under any circumstances, gain a Silmaril". I don't. I don't really get it, I'm afraid. Yes, yes, they did a lot of horrible things in order to get their grubby hands on one, but shouldn't this rather be a motivation to just hand the bloody thing over rather than continuing to go "No, you can't have it, because you've been BAD!" Yes, and they'll be WORSE if you don't give it to them. Honestly. I think there was a lot of seriously irrational behaviour on either side of the conflict. Illiacum intra muros...

Anyway. If you don't accept the "Fëanorians mustn't have the thing they've been hunting for for centuries" premise, Elwing's basically just a pretty obsessed character who'd rather kill herself than just give the boys their toy and be done with, dooming a good part of her people to death and abandoning her infant twins in the process. Way to go, Elwing. I'm really impressed.

But of course she still displays remarkable strength of character for all the irrationality. She decides for a course of action and sticks with it even when it gets tough, no matter what the cost. She takes the hard road, and she just happens to be successful by sheer luck (it's not like you can plan on being turned into a bird when you toss yourself into the ocean!). We can assume that Eärendil wouldn't have found Valinor without her timely appearance, and I don't think it's coincidence that he yields the decision between mortal and Elvish fate to her. Way to go, Elwing. ;)

As you can see, the change-into-bird has already begun to happen in this picture even though she's still in the process of jumping. This is for purely compositional reasons, because I wanted to include the bird bit but didn't want to paint her underwater, and half-in half-out would've been too complicated, so this is sort of a compromise.
As always, ignore my inability to do anything useful with light and shadows.
The frame flower was difficult this time! I was convinced that there was some mythological/folkloric plant with berries that supposedly could turn you into the bird that best fitted your personality, but unfortunately the only reference I found at all was in the third book of the Inkworld trilogy and it doesn't name the plant.
For some reason I always thought Elwing was turned into a crane, so eventually I had the choice between cranberry (so called for its flowers, which apparently resemble the shape of a crane's head) and juniper (one of the folkloric names in German is kranewitt, "crane-wood", so I suspect this might actually be the plant I've been looking for). Both also have medicinal uses. As you can see I went for juniper; it's got the longer "magic" tradition (afaik).
Sometimes I'm just too lazy to do more research. >_>
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Elaini-the-Mystic Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2013
Well, I do understand her in one point. Feanorians did destroy her family over what she beared, and letting feanorians to have it means that she would allow them to reach their goal. But then again, yes she has children, and and they - ironically - ended up to feanorians who showed them some compassion (after committing a massacre which the twins most likely saw). Talk about a Stockholm syndrome like thing. :)
I wouldn't call her a martyr, her actions had both good and bad consequences.
Qitian Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
She's a terribly complex character, once you really think about her decisions and their consequences, isn't she?
No, not a martyr, but not a totally selfish/ruthless person either (which seem to be the basic options for judging her). :)
Geekoftheworld Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2012  Student General Artist
I love your explinations! You put so m much thought into them. I love your Elwing. And I always thought that one reason for her to throw herself into the sea to prevent the sons of Feanor from getting the Silmaril was that she may have had a personal grudge against them. They did Invade her home and kill some of her family after all.
Qitian Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Oh yes, it definitely was personal for her. I think her entire refusal to hand over the Silmaril was fuelled by a personal grudge. Perhaps she was mistakenly assuming that the Feanorians wouldn't attack the harbours, as Eärendil was after all related to them via his mother's side. So maybe she was hoping for some sort of family protection. Then when they attacked anyway, her top priority became not letting them have the Silmaril (otherwise, everything would've been in vain). We all know what happened then...

... yeah, I do put a lot of thought into this. ^^
Theophilia Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2009  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Yeah, I have to go for ~Aranov's explanation as well. People get obsessed over dumb things a lot in Tolkien's books. :XD:

I think this might be my favorite in your series. :D I just love all the vivd colors and everything. The sea is god, I especially like the white sparkling light on the water. And like everyone else pretty much said, I love the movement and urgency in this. :D
Qitian Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2009  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Strike the "in Tolkien's books" - I mean, people get obsessed over dumb things, in reality as much as in Middle-earth ;)

Thank you so much! Aside from the smudges and the unrealistic lighting (but then, this is fantasy... whee!) I'm quite fond of this myself. :)
Theophilia Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2009  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Hehe, well that's true too. :XD: How's this, in a particular way in Tolkie's books, people often get murderously obsessed over silly things. :XD:

You are very welcome! :aww:
MiouQueuing Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2009  Hobbyist Photographer

Congrats for the lovely picture! It's quite astonishing and I especially like the dark water with the reflections and the sense of constant motion. Good job!

Also - and as always in your portrait-descriptions - nice thoughts about Elwing's character! :lol:
Apart from the obvious fact that the Silmaril are kind of cursed, I am sticking with ~Aranov's opinion here: "My shiny! disease" is a good way of explaining the irrational behaviour and lest not forget: It's good old Tolkienian tradition, my precioussss! ;-)

CU & greetings, Miou B-)
Qitian Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2009  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Well, but the "WANT!" part is (at least from what we're told) not part of the curse, that's just the "burny shiny". But yeah, remembering the Arkenstone in The Hobbit, it really is a tradition. Not just a Tolkienian tradition, though - we find people obsessed with some artefact or other all over the legendary corpus. In the Finnish Kalevala they're all mad about a magical millstone, for crying out loud. And people getting so obsessed with (say) money that they stop thinking rationally seem to exist even today...

To paraphrase Virgil: Accursed lust for the shiny!
MiouQueuing Featured By Owner Oct 22, 2009  Hobbyist Photographer

Really a millstone? Oh my gosh, I guess we are lucky that JRR went for the gems ... and I have to refresh my mythological knowledge! ... Wait, there also was this necklace that the dwarves were obsessed about ... this Freya/Edda-related thing ... know what I mean? Argh, it's been to long since I read the Silmarillion!

Anyway: Obviously, there's more honour and fame to be gained by cutting/making/inventing shiny, sparkling, diamond-like objects than to hammer a millstone out of pure granite. Imagine: Feanor, the famous stonemason, best known for his fabulous millstones and gargoyles ... and Elwing jumping with a giant rock tied around her neck. Uuups, there goes tragedy! :rofl:

CU, Miou B-)
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