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Thingol and Melian

By aautio
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The Meeting of Thingol and Melian

Elwë, Lord of the Teleri, went often through the great woods to seek out Finwë his friend in the dwellings of the Noldor; and it chanced on a time that he came alone to the starlit wood of Nan Elmoth, and there suddenly he heard the song of nightingales. Then an enchantment fell on him, and he stood still; and afar off beyond the voices of the lómelindi he heard the voice of Melian, and it filled all his heart with wonder and desire. He forgot then utterly all his people and all the purposes of his mind, and following the birds under the shadow of the trees he passed deep into Nan Elmoth and was lost. But he came at last to a glade open to the stars, and there Melian stood; and out of the darkness he looked at her, and the light of Aman was in her face.
She spoke no word; but being filled with love Elwë came to her and took her hand, and straightway a spell was laid on him so that they stood thus while long years were measured by the wheeling stars above them; and the trees of Nan Elmoth grew tall and dark before they spoke any word. ”

-- J. R. R. Tolkien: The Silmarillion, Chapter 4: Of Thingol and Melian


Here's a scene that has been depicted many times over, but I believe there's still room for another interpretation.. Elwë Sincollo and Melian the Maia meet for the first time in the starlit forest of Nan Elmoth. I've sketched these characters before but haven't been happy with my previous efforts. I think this is better, even if they are slightly caricatured..

I didn’t have time to do the Photoshop part before now, but the pencil piece was drawn and scanned sometime in April-May..ish, I think, mostly as an experiment.. I've drawn with such heavy outlines in my recent works that I felt like doing things slightly differently this time. I wanted a more dreamy, mystical tone on this one.. Especially with the background, where I’ve "gone all Alan Lee" a bit and tried to create shapes without hard outlines.. Another source of inspiration for the background was my love of etchings.. I wanted to create a somewhat similar effect here. I quite like the result – let me know what you think of it.

HB pencil on copy paper + the usual Photoshop treatment.

Oh, and in case you're wondering "what on Arda is she wearing..?" – It’s.. a bed sheet. That’s right. :| She a goddess-of-sorts and goddesses wear bed sheets. (What, they don't teach you such basic facts about mythologies anymore? :disbelief: Pssh, schools these days.. =p)


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© 2007 - 2021 aautio
Comments48
anonymous's avatar
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johncarswell's avatar
Hi! This is beautiful. I used it in a post on "Thingol and Melian" here: truemyths.org/2014/11/15/silma…

Hope that's OK! Thank you for your work!
polymath13's avatar
This is stunning! The airy quality makes it so surreal and the detail is fascinating.
AmAndArInI's avatar
I featured your illustration in my journal
[link]
MACHINE-BIRDY's avatar
This is wonderful. I love everything about it!
Ryuk88's avatar
Looks just like i pictured it. Really captures the moment in the book perfectly.
luminor21's avatar
it's beautiful

just the way i imagined their first meeting

thanks for drawing this
kiniro-no-hana's avatar
excellent the only criticism i can think of is that thingol look too, well for a lack of more eloquent phrasing, he looks like some old dude from Star Wars. There is too much care written on his face when the world has only just begun for it to look good. plus he seems too thin, ive sorta always thought he'd have very strong, broad shoulders, but still look graceful cuz elves rock like that. but i could be wrong, who knows? i love your scenery though!
sallamarja's avatar
i love this picture! It's just so beautiful <3
GreenInkling's avatar
Of course she has a bedsheet - goddess don't wear clothes, so she had to do something to be decent when a man stumbled in! :XD:

It's really utterly lovely.

Re: naked body. I'm a woman and a devout Catholic. I find nothing offensive about a naked body, especially because the intention is not to sensualize and subjectify. I don't find anything offensive about a naked man. And if you know the Catholic company of the Professor's day, they were ANYTHING but prude Victorians. See: G.K. Chesterton.
NordicLynx's avatar
I love this picture. Ist wonderful :love:
jwminnaard's avatar
You made the abstract beautiful feeling of Melian so very concrete!

I love it!
AlyahnDarkelf's avatar
LOL at the bedsheet thing. ;) good picture btw
hrymfaxe's avatar
Oh this is lovely - I like how they only touch each other physically with their hands, yet you can feel that they are connected on so many other levels! And the background is very mythical and ethereal.
aautio's avatar
Luthce's avatar
Absolutely beatiful. I don't know what else to say
aautio's avatar
firestar0692's avatar
This is beautiful.
aautio's avatar
moon-blossom's avatar
:love: I love it! Melian looks so graceful and divine-like.

Beautiful :aww:
aautio's avatar
Thank you! :hug: Glad you like it!
Lena-Hyena's avatar
Ohhh, going Alan Lee looks nice. I have The Children of Húrin on my desk now, and, oh, it's such a tempting idea...
And bloody dangerous ;)
But you pull it off with your background, and it fits the "dreamy" subject really well.
Elwë looks a bit too undernourished and melancholic for my taste, but her sheet... her sheet is great! Hope it slips off. :D
aautio's avatar
Haha, thanks! :D Glad you like it. I always pictured Elwë as really thin since he was so tall.. and come to think of it, he didn't eat anything for decades so you bet he's malnourished! =P

Actually, I thought it a bit strange to think of reasons why an angelic spirit of nature (who dances through forests and sings with birds) would wear mundane clothing at all.. except of course the fact that the story was written by a conservative catholic man with a Victorian Era upbringing.. ;) So I thought it would be appropriate for her to wear a sheet.. shroud for "decency's sake."
Lena-Hyena's avatar
Hmmm, but then, think of the other aspect of nudity - as a sign of innocence and perfect purity. If you look closer at Victorian painting, you will find a surprising number of female nudes (Leighton, Alma-Tadema, Waterhouse, etc.) - the basic idea being that the naked female body is a form (and a perfect one, at that) rather than a subject. So, in that sense, without me lecturing too much, someone like Tolkien could comfortably accept a female nude, not in spite of Victorian upbringing, but because of it.
aautio's avatar
Hmm.. I’m almost sure I replied to this message before.. maybe I just never clicked send or something. :confused:

Anyway.. that is a very good point. The classical means of expression in art, where the aim is not the recreation of objective reality but symbolic presentation.. :nod: I’ll buy that.. I’m sure the professor would have approved.

And I couldn’t agree more that if there is a single form that symbolizes beauty and perfection, it can’t be any other than the naked female body.. :yum: (hmmm.. I’m going to need more models at my atelier.. ;))
anonymous's avatar
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