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Beren and Luthien by TurnerMohan Beren and Luthien by TurnerMohan
Middle-Earth's most famous lovers, living out their last days in peace under the eaves of Tol Galen, a slight change of pace for me.

The idea to depict them in old age was motivated primarily (if I'm being honest) by not feeling quite up to the task of depicting Luthien in her prime ;) but also because it seemed a really good place in their story (namely the end) from which to view the story as a whole; their timeless, perfect love, their unparalleled feats, their overcoming of fate and death (or perhaps they were simply fated to do exactly as they did; it is after all by their union that a strain of divinity enters into the human race, which stands to inherit the earth one day) and their life upon returning from the Halls of Mandos, lived out in a kind of heaven-on-earth, isolated and content in their love and seemingly retired from the troubles of elves and men (robin williams' and anabella sciora's happy home in the hereafter in "what dreams may come" is basically what I think of for Dor-firn-i-Chuinar)

I wanted both of them, and especially Luthien, to actually look old (you know, not like a twenty five year old beauty queen in old-age makeup, like you see far too often in the last scenes of those decade-spanning movies) in some ways the image (the one in my head, not necessarily the one I was able to put down on paper) of the most beautiful of all the children of Illuvatar, born to live forever, growing old and dying, but happy and in the arms of her beloved is both impossibly sad but also joyous, like the Lay of Leithian itself; the loss of Luthien is a sore one from which the elves and seemingly the earth itself will never entirely recover, but she was lost of her own decision, and did so, as per the lay's closing line, without sorrow. I could imagine the two of them leaving the world like this, to be found where they lie by Dior shortly thereafter.

Part of the Weekly Tolkien Sketchblog. Special thanks to John Howe for the bramble leaves (I never get tired of ripping those off)
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:iconellosse:
Ellosse Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
My favorite part of this has to be how you can still see through the shape of Luthien's face that she was once the most beautiful Elf, despite all the wrinkles and grey hair.

And Beren is great. I can see the resemblance to Tolkien himself. :D
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:iconlibra1010:
Libra1010 Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2014
 One idea that occurred to me recently while I was contemplating whether Beren ought to have black hair or brown (for the record I decided on brown hair with blue eyes, partly to give him a more 'everyman' quality by Tolkien standards, but also to avoid unfortunate implications being seeded in the mind of the GoT generation when a damsel with black hair + grey eyes marries a dude with black hair + grey eyes): Beren really does seem to be something of a Harrison Ford-type of hero - one who tends to be the butt of a joke and take a thumping along the way, but succeeds through sheer doggedness anyway!
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2014  Professional General Artist
yeah well i think brown hair and blue eyes works as a more common, humanized, less lofty version of black and grey (it's amazing how many of tolkien's characters have that desaturated color scheme) like harrison ford, beren has a lot more of that "everyman hero" style than his mighty hadorian cousins turin and tuor; I always saw him as quite young and not really a big "man's man," more a late 90's Dicaprio, or even a james mcavoy, than a tom hardy or chris hemsworth.
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:iconlibra1010:
Libra1010 Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2014
 Mr Chris Hemsworth does seem a credible heir to Mr Arnold Schwarzenegger as Hollywood's reigning 'Nordic Demigod' type (although the former seems to be more Frey than Thor - unless we're talking about THE MIGHTY THOR!); it actually struck me recently that old Ah-nuld might be a pretty decent model for old Hador Goldenhead himself (while his physique IS too 'Mr Universe' as he's aged his face has acquired the right mix of 'Boyish' and 'Follow me if you want to live' to make a convincing chieftain of the Line of Marach).   
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:iconlibra1010:
Libra1010 Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2014
 Master Mohan, I particularly like your idea of depicting Beren One-Hand as bearing a resemblance to his creator (the obvious is no less appropriate for being so and I don't believe I've actually ever seen another artist USE the idea); I also like this thoroughly touching book-end to the Lay of Luthien (I can never think of the tale of these two by any other name, because Lady Luthien really IS the star).

 Concerning the younger Luthien it's my opinion that you should do your best to ignore her beauty when designing a depiction of her and instead focus on evoking the rest of her character instead; from what we can gather she's fearless to the point of bearding both The Enemy AND his heir in their own dens, charming to the point of that very charisma being something of a disadvantage at times and thoroughly devoted to those whom she loves (but not blindly; she seems to follow her own ideas of what is the right thing to do, even in the face of her father and seems self-willed to the utmost degree).

 I would also suggest that her solitary dancing in the wilds of Dorthonion might not only be a reflection of her security or her self-confidence, but a certain desire for the peace and quiet denied her by virtue of her beauty, her charisma and her rank drawing those seeking to court either her hand in marriage or just her goodwill.

 I'll add a final, peculiar idea that occurred to me on contemplating this most charming lady; she reminds me just a little of a Hobbit.

 Think about it, a youthful and boundlessly self-confident individual raised in a blissful, well-guarded realm by watchful guardians and quite possibly completely inexperienced when it comes to (albeit not quite ignorant of) the Darkness in the world, who proves herself unexpectedly tough and resourceful even after a decidedly comfortable prior existence. Perhaps memories of that blissful living even strengthened her against the despair that gave the Enemy so much of his power over the hearts of Hurin's Children?

 Is it just me or is there a genuine parallel there? (admittedly this is partly based on my mental image of Luthien Tinuviel as being somewhat petite physically, a little birdlike and yet very elegant, very much not a professional ballerina yet with the physique of someone who practices her dancing for the joy of it - Ms. Audrey Hepburn is one of the influences that occurred to me, but not the only one and perhaps not even the best one).
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2014  Professional General Artist
your idea of luthien as being hobbit-like is interesting, and holds water well enough on all technicalities you mention. I see luthien as basically a teenager, the classic fairy tale princess age (and those are almost always alot younger in the original versions of their stories than would make a modern audience comfortable) in the age of innocence (a definingly important trait for her, i believe) but coming into adulthood, she's reveared by everyone as basically this perfect being, and is on the receiving end of aggressive advances from all sides, often enough (as with morgoth and the sons of feanor) coming up on rape territory. she's been protected by her mother, over-protected (and ineffectually to boot) by her father, and quite pragmatically protected in the field by huan (a sort of on-the-road father figure whose role as a slayer of wolves - themselves a creature often associated with sexual agression - i have mentioned elsewhere at some length) eventually she does basically lose her innocence, and dies (beren really is a teen girl's father's worst fears realized) but she chooses it, so it's understandably bittersweet. Underscoring that feeling of innocent youth, i myself always saw her as shorter and even a bit baby-faced compared to these tall, proud, hard-boned noldor women like galadriel or aredhel (I've often entertained the idea of a somewhat perceptible racial breakdown between the tall, fearsome noldor being more like the norse alfir and the woodelves being more like the celtic conception of the fair folk) I'd mentioned younger jennifer connelly - who in the course of the last twentysomething years seems to have made the jump from the one camp to the other - as a pretty perfect physical model for the character in my mind, though other actresses and even people i know would probably inform any depiction i were to do of her aswell (as a general rule i think anybody who could play snow white could play luthien, except maybe kristen stewart)
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:iconelrondperedhel:
ElrondPeredhel Featured By Owner May 13, 2014
Your idea of Beren as "a teen girl's father's worst fears realized" really reminded me of this french comics :

3.bp.blogspot.com/_4Fc2oGGVWZA…

The character on the right is Galadriel and she is saying something like : "Do I think your father is going to freak out ? Well... let's say it's quite big for a teddy bear". ;)
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:iconlibra1010:
Libra1010 Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2014
 It suddenly struck me that Elu Thingol is a great deal more sympathetic than most give him credit for, that along with my reaction to the idea of a family tree that included immortal beauties on the order of Ms. Liv Tyler and Ms. Jennifer Connelly amongst it's fairest fruits (that reaction? "Find that tree and climb it like Tarzan of the Apes!").
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2014  Professional General Artist
well wouldnt you know it the little fucker gets her pregnant and killed, and worse still she thinks it what she wants. Thingol is often a douche, but my heart goes out to him on that one
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:iconlibra1010:
Libra1010 Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2014
 In defence of Beren One-Hand HE died long before the Lady Luthien did and his first death represented the climax of a series of events that Thingol's own sore-headedness effectively put into motion, albeit not necessarily through deliberate thought - for what sort of madman would actually TRY to take a Silmaril?!? (it should also be noted that Dior Thingol's heir seems to have arrived at some respectable remove of time AFTER the wedding!).

 I do feel sympathy for Thingol more often than not; he's no fool, but on the whole he pursues the course of wisdom even when that road veers perilously close to folly (it can't help that there really isn't anyone except his wife who can pull seniority on him and by all appearances the Lady Melian focuses on Otherworldly affairs, like keeping a Horde of Satanic monstrosities out of Doriath, leaving wordily policies to Thingol).
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