"Standing near was a huge man with a thick black beard and hair, and great bare arms and legs with knotted muscles. He was clothed in a tunic of wool down to his knees, and was leaning on a large axe. The horses was standing by him with their noses at his shoulder. 'Ugh! here they are!" he said to the horses. 'They don't look dangerous. You can be off!' He laughed a great rolling laugh, put down his axe and came forward. 'Who are yoy and what do you want?' he asked gruffly, standing in front of them and towering tall above Gandalf."
- J.R.R. Tolkien: The Hobbit
Beorn has always been one of my favourite character from The Hobbit, and I'm really looking forward to seeing him in the film. But sadly he's going to be on the second movie so I have to wait for one more year :I
Aaand the next picture in the "Tolkien's Strong Women" series - Galadriel, daughter of Finarfin and Eärwen.
I don't think there is much I have to explain about Galadriel; even those who whine about the lack of strong women in Tolkien's writings- those who motivated this series, so to say - tend to list Galadriel as a notable exception.
She was a capable and fearsome competitor even in her youth in Valinor, after all, and one of the leading voices in the rebellion of the Noldor; after things had gone bad, she didn't run back (not that what Finarfin did didn't take its own kind of strength, don't get me wrong) but pushed onwards; she was among those eager to get across the Ice and see the Old World, so to say. (I like to think that she was doing a good job as a motivator for the less determined wanderers. Hence the pose in this picture. The dress, by the way, is in what I think of as the Telerin style, with pearls and eyelet embroidery (although the sash is clearly Noldorin) because I am an evil little artist and that kind of antagonism is always fun. At that point in the story, the Telerin dress had clearly just recently gone out of fashion - and it wouldn't have been suitable for an extended hike through the Ice anyway - but what can you do when you're travelling light and were still wearing your party dress when you packed. *coughs*)
Then she grew somewhat more wise and reasonable, but still went her own way. When she married, she chose a Sinda, doubtlessly considered beneath her station by the rest of the family. Unlike pretty much all the rest of the family* she actually manages to survive in Middle-earth, which, looking at the Finwëan corpses scattered across the First Age, is quite a remarkable feat... And let's not forget her contributions to the quest in the Lord of the Rings - and her refusal of the One Ring, and her acceptance of the fading of her powers, people and realm. That alone should suffice, really.
I am incapable of braining tonight, so I shall finish it at that, and just say that Galadriel is awesome. There.
I chose ivy for the framing because ivy was a plant associated with immortality in ancient Greece. While Galadriel belongs to an inherently immortal people, looking at her house it's quite a surprise she managed to survive the First Age, let alone make her way back to Aman in the end. Ivy does not die in the wintertime, it can thrive forever. The ring is, of course, Nenya.
*except for Elrond and Elros, and Maglor of whom we never see a corpse, thank Eru, all right, but still.