i Nili o i Ardanole Newsletter:
Your source for Lord of the Rings Updates, Poetry, Art, Parody and Satire.
Issue 9, Volume 1. August 23rd, 2003.
Primary Contributor and Reporter: Xara.
Additional Contributing Writers: Padfoot, Nimrodel.
In this issue:
Featured Article: That Damn Eagle! by Xara.
The Red Star by Perian.
Lord of the Rings in Everyday Life by Xara.
Creating Colour by Perian.
In every issue:
Fantasy Fan Fiction. This fortnight: An excerpt from Aragorn by Padfoot.
Letters to the Editor.
That Damn Eagle!
Saruman the less White and Wise walks up the long long long stair that leads to the roof of his tower, to taunt Gandalf. He's not as young as he was, his knees are aching and his back sore, but still he climbs. "It'll be worth it," he tells himself. "To stand over that jumped up excuse for a wizard again and tickle him under the arm pits, it'll be worth it." He reaches the top, and finds to his complete and utter horror that Gandalf is not there! He goes and checks over the side, just to be sure, but no! He's gone! And then, in the distance he hears a cry, the cry of an eagle. Comprehension dawns on his face, and he raises his fist in fury. "That damn Eagle!!! He's at it again!"
This is a common story amongst the enemies of the free peoples of Middle-earth. It's always the same. Whenever one of Tolkien's beloved characters gets himself into an impossible situation, when all hope is gone, and it seems the end is in sight, that mischievous eagle swoops down out of nowhere and snatches the not-so-doomed-after-all hero and soars off into the sunset, giggling at the look of bewildered fury on the faces of those enemies left behind. One might even go so far as to speculate that Gwaihir goes out of his way, swooping around like an anonymous Middle-earth taxi service to annoy the evil-doers.
The fact is that throughout Tolkien's writings, Gwaihir, though a small character in paragraphs given to him, plays a major role in the adventures of Gandalf and Co. He exists as a kind of fail-safe. Whenever a character has run out of options, is about to die a terrible death and fail miserably in their quest ... down comes The Lord of the Eagles to save the day. Forget Gandalf, Frodo, Aragorn, Sam, Legolas, Elrond and Galadriel, the real hero of The Lord of the Rings is undoubtedly that King of the Skies, that Many-Feathered One, that Damn Eagle!
To some Gwaihir's exploits might seem strange, even disturbing. After all, a psychotic eagle who swoops and kidnaps wizards and hobbits on a whim is what he must seem to the eye of an outsider. But those of us more experienced with the deeds of that illusive bird will know this is not the case. He has saved our beloved character's necks on no less than five separate occasions. You might say it was out of his loathing for all things evil, or out of charity, or out of mental instability, and you might be right.
But me, I think he did it to piss off the forces of evil. To thwart them again and again, just for the sake of thwarting them. For the sake of seeing a white robed wizard dancing up and down in fury atop his high tower. For the sake of seeing the spirit of the balrog bubble and boil in fury, powerless to stop him rescuing the wizard that killed him who didn't even have the decency to die in the process. For the sake of perching in his high mountain eyrie, and looking across the world stretching endlessly before him, and laughing. Laughing the laugh of one whose eternal joke will infuriate the inhabitants of this earth for eternity.
The Red Star
Through nearly all tales of fantasy, of struggles between good and evil, legends of the heroics of old, there is one commonality. It is a detail so small that many overlook its importance or even its existence. This link is the mention of the red star, Mars, glowing brightly on the horizon.
Mars has ever been a symbol of battle, of an impending event only to be worked through with struggle. Often the struggle is destruction and death of opposing armies, but just as often it is a contest of the mind. Frodo, for example, at the time of the dawning of the red star was torn with his own will and sense of duty fighting the Ring and the power of despair. When the red star is present in imagery or myth, the danger lays in inaction, in giving up, in taking the easier option. Only through allowing anger against injustices to grow, by setting the whole before the self, are the battles won. Never without sacrifice.
Now Mars is once again predominant in the night sky, at a point closer to the Earth than it has been for countless years (Though only marginally closer than its 1998 position.) We are certainly placed once again in a tumultuous phase of time. Though good and evil are now more ambiguous matters, it is something to keep in mind. Perhaps we can find a way, like the characters of Lord of the Rings, to persevere through the chaos of our personal lives and that of our many unsettled societies. If nothing else, the nearness of the red star is a wonderful excuse to take the time to travel to a starlit place and imagine yourself in the third age of Middle-earth.
Lord of the Rings in Everyday Life
For many, many weeks, the idea for this article sat, written in black ink on the piece of (By now extremely dirty and worse for wear) paper carried around by me at all times containing ideas for articles. Feeling alone and friendless it watched as its fellows got crossed off the list as their idea was turned into reality and replaced in turn with new ideas, also soon to be crossed off and so on, feeling that it wasn't good enough, that it would never be written. I can only extend my deepest apologies to the idea (Although there are some who have been on that paper since the paper first became "The Paper" who probably deserve my apology more) for not writing it sooner, but somehow it just never felt like the right time. It was always the other ideas that seemed ready to be written, always something else. In the end, it was not me but a friend of mine who finally spurred me to write this, by taking this photograph (unbeknownst to the subjects) and entitling it "The Fellowship of Muirfield". I will now speak on the subject I have been holding back on for so long.
As demonstrated in the photo, Lord of the Rings is such a diverse, complex and many-layered creation that almost anything today can reflect it in some way. There are the more obvious reflections such as current political climates; wars and conflicts, victory and defeat, sacrifice of life for a cause believed (At least, by some and I mean to stir no argument here) to be a worthy one. Many, many times Lord of the Rings has been compared to such current events, and not without reason. For some such comparisons are a source of hope, good prevailed over evil in the end. For others it is a sinister thought that after so much battle we have not yet learnt our lesson.
But let's hope that Tolkien's creation is not something that has reflections only in war and bloodshed. If you look, there are quite a few many more similarities. Homework, a thing of evil that should (If only the Board of Studies would listen) be destroyed can easily be compared to the One Ring of Sauron, a terrible power wielded by our educators! And have you ever met someone who had a distinct whiff of Wormtongue about them? Or perhaps it was a pair of alarmingly short trouble-makers who had an uncanny resemblance to Merry and Pippin? Have you ever been late for the bus, and set out on your quest to the bus stop without any real hope that it's still there, that you'll make it to wherever you were going on time, to find that miraculously you have succeeded?! Or did you beat all odds and drive away the army of termites just dying to infest the timber wall supports in your house/fortress? Friendships, betrayals, competition between friends ("Ha! I got 42 out of 50 on that maths test!! You only got 41!"), victories against unbeatable odds, grief, corruption, long distance running, high towers, short people, tall people, pointy eared people, noble people, nasty people, giant squids, spiders, great stone cities, houses with grass on the roof, ancient societies, old men with walking sti...I mean staffs! These are no apparitions of fantasy books, they are everyday occurrences (Ok so maybe not all of them, but you know what I mean)!
Okey, for now I am going to give this likkle tutorial in coloured pencils, as that is the only colour method I am passable in, but many of the methods can be used for other forms of colour as well, and even oil pastels or crayons can be used in the same way.
Pick out your model pictures (if you have them) and begin your sketch. The composition is very important at this point, as you can erase fine pencil lines, but you cannot erase the colour, so be certain that the picture is exactly as you want it before continuing. TIP: If you are having trouble getting the proportions right on a sketch, there are a few methods for making this phase easier, or skipping it entirely. In the first, you would can print off a copy or find a photo or poster of your model picture. Then tape the model picture onto a window which you can easily reach. Now tape your piece of paper over it (Not tracing paper, please! That won't hold up under the coloured pencils.) The daylight should shine through your window and make a muted impression of your model picture on the paper. Outline it in the darkest areas (eyelids, iris, line of the mouth, bottom of the chin, nose line, etc.) with very light lines of graphite (pencil). The other method, which is likely cheating though we won't tell anyone, is to take your picture into a photo programme and lighten it until the point where you can just barely make everything out, then print it off on the paper you are going to use.
Now to begin the colour. First take a light brown (I used burnt ochre) and go over your sketch lines so they aren't lost amid the colours you are about to put down. (Have a clean paintbrush or cosmetic brush handy to wipe away bits of extra wood, pigment, cat hair and such things.) Now using very light pressure begin to put down the lightest colours. Which colours? Well, find where there are highlights in the picture. For the skin colour this will almost always be at the tip of the nose. Now use that. The skin colour here looks like a very pale, warm peach, so I used first a layer of creme and followed it by a layer of light peach. Remember, very light tones! And with a very sharp pencil is a good idea, too. Now do this for the whole of the picture. With hope, this layer will be entirely covered over when we're through, but don't let that discourage you. It will give you a more lifelike tone to have it under there.
Start introducing a few more colours, growing darker as you go. For skin tones, alternate back and forth through your pinks and yellows (The muted yellows, of course, like the ochres and goldenrod) then work your way to brown. But before you go on to very dark tones, it is good to put in a background, if you're going to have any. You can be happy with the colour you have for skin one minute, then add the background and weep because some green brought out too many reds and it looks like it has a fever you cannot cure, and so on.
Do your subject's clothes (Gandalf was particularly tricky as I had no greys, and he had, for a moment, to be Gandalf of Many Colours as I layered brown, blue, green, brown again, then indigo and black.) Keep adding darker values. Start working in your shadows and modeling with them. Remember, it's your shadows which create that third dimension. Shadows are best done in indigos or browns before adding your black, so they don't look pasted.
(Gandalf of Many Colours and The Brownie was the working title at this stage.)
Last step! Go over the whole of the drawing and finish those little things you have been putting off. (Putting things off is all right... you will feel more comfortable doing them when everything around them is defined. For me in the example picture it was Gandalf's staff, which was not in my model print-offs.) Give your eyes a few darker tones, and add eyelashes; I always leave these toward the last, as they tend to become buried under the skin tones if I don't, and they add a nice dash of contrast bringing the eyes alive in the end. Be sure there is a goodly amount of contrast to give your picture depth and the ability to catch the eye. Now stand back.. and enjoy.
This fortnight: Aragorn by Padfoot.
WANTED: The person who keeps turning out the lights and closing all the doors in my house so I walk into them. We ought to ring their filthy little neck precious! And we will precious! Whoever you are, contact firstname.lastname@example.org OR ELSE!
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galab: (noun) game, as in animals.
gamba: (noun) buck. Used in the compound name Brandagamba (Brandybuck).
Halimath: (noun) September.
Hevenesdei: (noun) Wednesday.
Highdei: (noun) Friday.
him: (noun) ale.
Holbylta: (noun) hole-builder. A name for hobbits.
Letters to the Editor.
The spam thing was really funny! The e-mail addresses were really creative, got a good chuckle. Good job, Xara! And tell Prongs that Nimrodel is her LLC2. LoL, I have to support you, cous'! O, and also, thank you, Perian, for putting the newsletter together, it's really great and fun to read.
~Nimrodel~ Aka ~Hula-n-with-LegsieOrli~ Aka LLC2
Dear ~Nimrodel~ Aka ~Hula-n-with-LegsieOrli~ Aka LLC2,
Very glad you enjoyed our latest issue. You are very welcome, and I'm certain our writers will be most gratified. Thank you for writing.
Perian, aka The Editor, aka Frodo Baggins, Esq., and sometimes aka Smeagol. (I'm not taking the blame for Gollum.)