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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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:iconaylatha:
Aylatha Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2015  Hobbyist Artist
Actually... the reason why Elwing and her father, Dior, wouldn't let go of the Silmaril wasn't because they thought the sons of Fëanor were evil, but because Beren and Lúthien had gone to such extreme lengths to obtain it (Beren lost one hand and both of them died. Beren was probalby tortured by Sauron, too). It was more a matter of the Silmaril being a memento than them not wanting the sons of Fëanor to have it. Thingol wanted the Silmaril just because. But to Dior and his kids, that thing had a meaning. Also, it says in the book that Elwing and her people were hesitant to relinquish the Silmaril because their lord (Eärendil) was away, which is a stupid reaon, but still. Maedhros and Maglor did actually send a messenger to them before attacking, as they didn't want to stain their hands with more blood if it could be helped. Which was also the reason they took in Elrond and Elros, who were hidden in a cave somewhere - it is quite possible Elwing didn't know for certain if her sons were even still alive at the time she decided to throw herself into the sea...
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:iconhakkyounotenshi:
hakkyounotenshi Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2015
Personally, I've always thought of Elwing as damaged for lack of a better term. Between the destruction of Doriath and deaths of her parents and brothers, the fact that Earendil was gone all the time looking for the way to Valinor, and the Simaril itself I figure she has some serious issues.

That said, I don't see how Elwing justified the Silmaril over her kingdom and subjects, because I do not believe that she had no warning.

As strange as it sounds I think she was addicted to the Simaril and came out of it when reaching Valinor, but by then it was too late. It's also my head-canon (because I'm a total Maglor fangirl), that Elrond and Elros never really bonded properly with their parents because Earendil was always gone and Elwing wasn't availible emotionally.
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:iconqitian:
Qitian Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Anyone would be damaged with that sort of history. People may not have recognised traumatic disorders etc. in the past, but that doesn't mean they weren't always there. So yes, she must have had serious issues indeed! It's also well-established that the Silmarils have some sort of addictive properties that made people, hm, less reasonable and more possessive than would be good for them.

She certainly had warning - she knew what had happened to Doriath, after all, and she got a "polite" request first. I find it interesting that her excuse for not giving a proper answer is "My husband is at sea", because the Silmaril is her family heirloom, not his (though of course we don't know how different Eldarin groups handled the possessions of married couples), so it's really her decision. I can understand that she doesn't want to give the Silmaril to the very people who're responsible for the death of her parents and brothers, but on the other hand, it's not like she doesn't know what happens when she refuses the Feanorians.

Im a Maglor fangirl too, but I do think she was available emotionally. They both grew into stable, resilient and independent adults, so it's unlikely that they lacked "proper" emotional bonds in their infancy.
However, they were parted pretty early - in some versions, Elrond and Elros weren't even named until they were "rescued" from the Feanorians, so they must have been very young. When their mother was no longer present, they would naturally attempt to form an emotional bond with anybody who took care of them. The chronicler may find it surprising ("as little might be thought"), but with all I know about infant psychology, I'm not surprised at all that they would come to love Maglor as a father. Even the feelings of trust and security that came from their early years with Elwing (or a very good nurse) would probably eventually be associated with Maglor.
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:iconhakkyounotenshi:
hakkyounotenshi Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2015
The interesting thing about PTSD is that you really can't predicte who it will affect and what form it will take. Some people might go through something people would consider relatively minor and suffer it, while others can go through a huge list of tragedies and not be affected by it. The mind is weird.

It's funny because the two portrayals of Elwing in the Tolkien fandom are either she's emotionally damaged and suffers her own obsession with the Silmaril or she's trying to do the 'right' thing and only leaves the twins behind because she thinks they are already dead. Truthfully it honestly makes more sense as a mix of the two.

I believe the twins we in the hands of caretakers until the Sacking of Sirion.  I have no doubt that the twins reminded Elwing of her brothers. Although whoever took care of them, they weren't there long. The twins were about 4 (or so?) when Sirion fell, and I believe the age of majority for elves is 50, so even taking their human blood (3/8s) into account they are still very young. (Although the idea that they went until named until they were rescued from the sons of Feanor is a bit ridiculous. Maglor had custody of them long enough to bond with them. They had to be called something. It couldn't have just been "hey, you" all the time.)

Interest bit of trivia: the twins names could be considered foreshadowing of their eventual Choices. Elrond (star-dome): he lives long enough to see the stars change in the sky. Elros (star-foam): Compared to elves, his life is as brief as foam upon the water. I do not take credit for this interpretation by the way. I truthfully prefer it, as opposed to Elrond being named because he was found in a cave (?!). In the First Age where so much emphasis is placed on names and their meanings it seems very careless.

Honestly the scariest thing about this whole tragedy is that the Valar refuse to help the people of Arda until someone brings THEM a Silmaril. Gods are jerks.
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:iconqitian:
Qitian Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I agree that a mix of the different portrayals makes more sense than any one of them individually. Isn't that what life is most of the time - a mix of stuff?

IF they really were named Elrond and Elros so much later, I'm sure they must have had other (unrecorded?) names among the Feanorians. "Hey, you" is really awkward. "Eärendilion I & II" might also have been unwise... Personally, I actually like to think that the names Elrond and Elros themselves were chosen by Maglor or someone in his following - not because that assumption has any firm base in canon, but because it makes the most sense to me. ^^

Interesting interpretation! The "foam" bit also fits with Númenor, of course, since it's in the middle of the sea...

The emphasis on names and their meanings explains nicely why they may have been remained unnamed at the age of four or five (or at least, might not have father-names yet because Eärendil wasn't around enough to think anything up...). But yes, the cave story is a bit bizarre and I don't pay any attention to it.

Seriously! I guess we're supposed to understand the Prophecy of the North as a binding contract, so that the Valar genuinely couldn't intervene on a grand scale (that is, beyond sending Thorondor to Fingon's aid, or beyond Ulmo's meddling with Tuor) until one person who can speak for both Elves and Men (i.e., someone who belonged to both peoples AND had authority among both, too) pleads for their help. Tuor and Idril together would fit the bill, but they're not one person, so Eärendil - descended of the noble line of Tuor, AND of the royal line of Gondolin - is the first person who qualifies, and the Silmaril is just a shiny bonus. But it does come across as if they really only wanted the Silmaril, all the time. Everyone does! :P
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:iconhakkyounotenshi:
hakkyounotenshi Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2015
I honestly think the Silmarils were cursed or something. I mean really, Arda fought an effectively Age long war over them. The amount of suffering that follows/is caused by them is unreal. The Ruling Ring was created with dark power, but these things were just supposed to be pretty and something else for Feanor to brag about. Until he want crazy. Hmmm...

I have the same interpretation of Elrond and Elros's name as you do. If you like Sillmariilion fanfiction you'll like this: <
a href="www.fanfiction.net/s/716592/1/…"> Fathernames by Finch</a>

Didn't Earendil need the Silmaril to get past some sort of barrier? (At least I thought he did). If not, why couldn't he get there earlier?
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:iconqitian:
Qitian Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
They certainly had a tendency to, hm, unbalance minds!

Thank you for the rec, I do like fanfic and I'm bookmarking that for later.

True, it isn't exactly explained in detail, but he seems to find the way pretty much immediately once Elwing has brought him the Silmaril, so it seems he needs it to get through the mists and past the Enchanted Islands. Not quite clear whether the Silmaril makes him pass some sort of barrier, though, or whether it "just" burns through the enchantment and makes him find the right course, a bit like a Viking lodestone. And it isn't clear whether the Valar intended that, or whether the power of the Silmaril sort of overruled their precautions...
So much room for speculation! :)
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:iconelaini-the-mystic:
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.
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:iconqitian:
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). :)
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:icongeekoftheworld:
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.
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:iconqitian:
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. ^^
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:icontheophilia:
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
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:iconqitian:
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. :)
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:icontheophilia:
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:
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:iconmiouqueuing:
MiouQueuing Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2009  Hobbyist Photographer
Hey,

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-)
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:iconqitian:
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!
:D
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:iconmiouqueuing:
MiouQueuing Featured By Owner Oct 22, 2009  Hobbyist Photographer
Hey,

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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:iconaranov:
Aranov Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2009  Professional Artisan Crafter
My friends and I refer to such a malady as the "MINE! disease". I think this broad category can be narrowed down in Tolkien's work (with partial credit to The Silmarillion in 1000 Words) to the "My shiny!" disease. Possession of a Silmaril has got to be mentally debilitating: what else can explain jumping off a cliff into the ocean to keep it?

With that said, however, I love the dynamic lines of this piece. The strong diagonal formed by her body and continued by the rays of the Silmaril is particularly compelling, and the partial overlap of the rays and the circle is a really nice touch. That, and the Silmaril at the center top is just plain gorgeous. I can understand wanting the darn things, just... not to such extremes?
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:iconqitian:
Qitian Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2009  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Yeah - it's kind of like in the third Indiana Jones movie, when first Elsa and later Indie get so obsessed with reaching the grail that they completely forget that it might be better to get out of that chasm without the grail than drop in with it. At least Indy manages to shake it off - but then who wouldn't if Sean Connery himself told them to let it go? ;)

I'm glad the partial overlap worked out - it seemed like an interesting idea at the time, and if it had looked stupid that would've been quite frustrating. I like it as well, although it does wonky things with what little perspective there is.

Thank you!
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:iconaranov:
Aranov Featured By Owner Oct 22, 2009  Professional Artisan Crafter
So THAT'S the problem: Eönwë doesn't have Sean Connery's voice. That's all we needed. *sigh*

Perspective? Who needs perspective as long as it looks cool? :P But it does work very well.

You are most welcome.
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:iconfegie:
fegie Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2009
Random person thanks you mightily for that bit about Eönwë. I seriously needed that giggle.
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:iconaranov:
Aranov Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2009  Professional Artisan Crafter
The pleasure is entirely mine. ;) :bow:
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:iconfegie:
fegie Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2009
: )
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:iconsirielle:
Sirielle Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2009   Digital Artist
Nice idea for her portrait and you do a lot of research. I would never think of looking for such plants at all and for some reason was sure she was turned into a seagull. Maybe that was easiest for em to imagine :)

I totally agree with what you said about her. All happaned only because the Silamril had to reach Valinor, other way Earendil would never find the way. But to me it's not enough to explain her irrational behaviour and almost lust for Silmaril. Maybe Silamril worked this way, in a moment someone got it in possession they could not give it away. Melian said soemthing to Thingol when he asked Beren to bring Silmaril which suggested there is a fate on anyone who put had on it. But again this could be fanon or abandoned BoLT idea.
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:iconqitian:
Qitian Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2009  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
No, I quite agree with you as far as the "lust" for the Silmarils is concerned. People act so absurdly around these things that there must be something about them that in a way takes over their mind.

Much like the One Ring, really. If my fandom taught me one thing, it's to stay away from jewellery... ;)
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:iconladyelleth:
LadyElleth Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I love the dynamics of this picture - of course it is static, but somehow there is a definite sense of movement and purpose in it that makes it amazing. Elwing is beautiful, the transformation (even if it is a compromise) is wonderfully done and very much reminds me of that dress sketch you made ages ago. The rays of the Silmaril also work beautifully to add depth and perspective, even though you never actually see the jewel since she is holding it in that 'they must not gain it' way, which ties the picture wonderfully with the comment. :) I'll stop now before I start gushing?
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:iconqitian:
Qitian Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2009  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you so much! Glad the sense of movement gets across.

I'm amazed you remember that dress sketch!
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:iconladyelleth:
LadyElleth Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It definitely did. :)

And you know I love the dress... even still have the sketch somewhere, I think.
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