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June 18, 2013
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Queen Beruthiel by TurnerMohan Queen Beruthiel by TurnerMohan
part of my weekly Tolkien Sketchblog

Beruthiel, daughter of the Black Numenoreans, wife of King Tarannon Falastur, Queen of Gondor and (aside from a few eight- legged dames) Tolkien's only Bad Girl (and by bad girl I of course mean paranoid personality disorder and torturer of small animals)

I figured it was about time for me to take on a Middle-earth female, (all the largely interchangeable fair, pure, virgin mary-like elf maidens are something of a bore, frankly) and Beruthiel always stood out from the rest; a Black Numenorean noblewoman chosen by the King of Gondor for his wife, probably in an attempt to end the blood feud between Gondor and Umbar, who instead turns out to be a frigid sourpuss with sadistic tendencies (fucking black numenoreans, what can you do with 'em)

I liked the Idea of the exiled Numenoreans in Umbar as a ruling class of pale, racially exclusive, sort of castillian people amid the otherwise mostly arabic/north african-type population of Near Harad, so naturally keeping their women heavily covered up and out of the sun to preserve their pallid complexion would have been of great importance (as it was for medieval noblewomen)

I see Beruthiel here as being quite young, at the start of her (short lived) tenure as queen - like all those sixteen-year-old princesses put into arranged political marriages in the middle ages - and actually quite beautiful in her youth, but due to spoil quickly. "Bloody Mary" Tudor was a partial inspiration, and the robes and jewelry were largely taken from moroccan styles. The crown is pretty solidly frankish court design (replacing the traditional fleur de lis with the gondorian seabirds wings)

*as a point of interest "Beruthiel" is not her real name, but a title in Sindarin, meaning "angry queen." I'd love to know what her real name was (probably one of those wonderfully fierce Adunaic names, heavy on Z's and R's)
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borys68 Featured By Owner Edited Nov 6, 2014
I love the drawing. I don't see any malice in her.
ElrondPeredhel Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2014
I know I've been quite rare lately but I thougt you'll appreciate that extract from an interview of Tolkien by Daphne Castell :

"...Most of the allusions to older legends scattered about the tale, or summarized in Appendix A are to things which really have an existence of some kind in the history of which 'The Lord of the Rings' is part.

"There's one exception that puzzles me—Berúthiel. I really don't know anything of her—you remember Aragorn's allusion in Book I (page 325) to the cats of Queen Berúthiel, that could find their way home on a blind night? She just popped up, and obviously called for attention, but I don't really know anything certain about her; though, oddly enough, I have a notion that she was the wife of one of the ship-kings of Pelargir. She loathed the smell of the sea, and fish, and the gulls. Rather like Skadi, the giantess, who came to the gods in Valhalla, demanding a recompense for the accidental death of her father. She wanted a husband. The gods all lined up behind a curtain, and she selected the pair of feet that appealed to her most. She thought she'd got Baldur, the beautiful god, but it turned out to be Njord the sea-god, and after she'd married him, she got absolutely fed up with the seaside life, and the gulls kept her awake, and finally she went back to live in Jötunheim.

"Well, Berúthiel went back to live in the inland city, and went to the bad (or returned to it—she was a black Númenorean in origin, I guess). She was one of these people who loathe cats, but cats will jump on them and follow them about—you know how sometimes they pursue people who hate them? I have a friend like that. I'm afraid she took to torturing them for amusement, but she kept some and used them—trained them to go on evil errands by night, to spy on her enemies or terrify them."

Libra1010 Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2014
 … one must admit that I wouldn't wish Castamir the Usurper on any bride either! (given that he seems prone to excessive malice when crossed, judging by his treatment of his great rival's son, when he captured the poor fellow).
Libra1010 Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2014
She really DOES look like the sort of wife who'd give any man a little trouble (and the sort of Queen Consort who'd give a kingdom nightmares!); I'm not sure that I would wish her on Castamir the Usurper even ...
Ingvild-S Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I love your style! It is so raw and beautiful! Kind of like the original sketching for the movies!
I also love reading your comments, you have such wonderful analysis of the books and its characters!

I would love to read the books in original english, and i did begin, but i found it, firstly, too advanced for my second language english, and secondly, i think im too young to fully appreciate the style in which it is written. But i have always loved the movies and i love the fantasy farytale like world of Tolkien, so i hope someday i will have the patience to finally read them!
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2013  Professional General Artist
thanks you for the lovely comment. glad to hear you like my work, and the people who did the original sketches for the movies (particularly alan lee and john howe) have always been big influences on me, so to have my wok compared with theirs is very flattering :D

I would (of course) recommend reading tolkien's books at some point, and certainly in english, especially as, being a professor of old-english, the english language and cultural identity was very important to Tolkien, and a big part of his fictional stories.

Thanks again, hope you keep watching!
Ingvild-S Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
You're welcome!
I recently got Alan Lee's book with original sketching for the movies, and I love it. Most of my art since I was little has been inspired by the movies and the mythology of the stories, and even though I know they aren't as good as the books, it really has had a great influence on me, so I understand fully what you're talking about. And I will most certainly keep following your work.

I know I will read the books in the future. I actually started The Silmarillion earlier this fall, and even though it's a tough language for me, I think it's intriguing to read his work. I also aspire to write fantasy novels based on northern European mythology, so I hope to find inspiration in Tolkiens world!

Thank you for the reply! :)
Artigas Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2013
I think this one is a masterpiece! I love the expression, the clothes, the crown. This is how a concept art should be, it have to be backed by a concept, you see, not just art and fancy good looks. It have to come from an idea and have to make you think and wonder. This one is a perfect example of this. 
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2013  Professional General Artist
Thanks alot! My hope for a piece like this is that people looking at it (especially if they're tolkien fans) can kind of form a picture of what she's like as a person, and what kind of world she grew up in. I'm more a fan of concept art that inspires images and scenes in a veiwer's head, rather than being a finished, beautiful piece of art on it's own (although I definitely dont mind looking at those either) as usual we find ourselves on more or less the same page :)
ekukanova Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2013
Great design! Looks really ancient,  something Egyptiac  and medieval in a same time :heart:
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