Aug 12, 2014

Lord of the Rings portraits

Have I mentioned before how much of a Tolkien fan I am? Yeah, I'm sure I have.
I love Tolkien to bits and am currently reading Lord of the Rings for the umpteenth time. I'm one of those people that reads Tolkien obsessively and tackles LOTR every couple of years. I'm a Tolkien purist, too. That means I don't like the movies in general and consider them Peter Jackson's retelling of the story, not the story itself or how Tolkien wrote it. Essentially, I consider the movies an adaptation of one of the greatest stories ever written.

But here is the dilemma of the Tolkien purist who has seen the LOTR movies. The Peter Jackson dilemma, if you will.
I, like so many others, saw the Peter Jackson LOTR movies when they came out. I even enjoyed them! But time has not been kind to my view of them. I have no intention of ever watching them again and I have thus far given the Hobbit adaptations a very wide berth indeed. But still, it is difficult, when reading the books, not to picture images from Peter Jackson's adaptations as you go along. This is frustrating for somebody like myself who loves the books and doesn't like the movies.
I would like to read the bit about the Mines of Moria and not see Orlando Bloom as Legolas; or when Merry and Pippin flee into Fangorn Forest, I would rather not see Peter Jackson's version of it, nor his Ents, but my own.

But what is the solution to this dilemma? Well, thankfully, there are ways to get around this:
  1. Time heals all wounds. Over the years, those Peter Jackson images have faded more and more, leaving many scenes clear of his input.
  2. There is a funny irony in the fact that Jackson deviated so very much from the original story. The thing that bothers so many of us hardcore Tolkien fans about the movies is also it's saving grace. Jackson famously omitted Tom Bombadil from the movies. Great! That means that the vision of him is unsullied by Jackson's hand! The same goes for Farmer Maggot, Goldberry, the Barrow Wights and so many others. There are whole scenes, characters, settings and plots that are left alone for the reader to create their own mental imagery for.
  3. A solution I have only recently discovered and it only really applies to those of an artistic bent- One can simply draw the characters how they alone see them! This way, they can trump Peter Jackson and any other person who has depicted these characters in the past.
So that's what I have been doing...
A Mirkwood Elf and good old Gimli
A young Frodo, A Moria Orc, Barliman and Khamul.
These little sketches have been quite a lot of fun to do and have been pretty successful in nullifying Jackson's visual influence; but what I really want to do is move up to doing proper painted portraits of some of the characters. I have ideas about how to go about doing that, of which will be covered in a later post, so look out for some painted Tolkien portraits by me in the near future!

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