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WIP:Lords of Noldor: Lalwen

By aautio
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WORK IN PROGRESS: Írien Lalwendë, Daughter of Finwë

”[Finwë's] second daughter was named Írien and her mother-name was Lalwendë (laughing maiden). By this name, or in shortened form Lalwen, she was generally known. She went to exile with her brother Fingolfin, who was most dear to her of all her kin; but her name was not changed, since Lalwen fitted the style of Sindarin well enough. ”

-- J. R. R. Tolkien: The Shibboleth of Fëanor; The names of Finwë's descendants (HoME XII: The Peoples of Middle-earth)

Character Background

Lalwen was Finwë’s fourth child (third by Indis). She was the younger of his two daughters, of whom she evidently was the “bad girl” - she joined the rebellion and ran away to Beleriand with his brother Fingolfin and his folk. Lalwen’s story remained undeveloped at the time of Tolkien’s death and not much is said of her save from her being very close to Fingolfin and staying with him in Hithlum. It is possible to hypothesize that she was the mother of Aranwë (father of Voronwë “of the House of Fingolfin” ) but there’s no proof of this (and the time frame between the return of the Noldor and Turgon’s folk moving to Gondolin is quite narrow, which would make it more unlikely, although by no means impossible).

Design Concept

Lalwen may be the shortest person in this family portrait, but I still think she was very tall (6'1" / 186 cm). I figured she would be very different from her practically Vanyarin elder sister and take more after her father and elder brother, being very Noldo-like; dark-haired and proud, wearing richly decorated clothes and jewellery. I see her quite similarly to her niece Aredhel, except Lalwen would wear deep blues instead of white and perhaps have somewhat more warmth in her appearance and character from her mother’s side. Her name means “laughing maiden,” which I believe indicates a cheery personality (which probably was rather uncommon among the solemn Ñoldor.. at least that’s the way I see them) and so I tried to get a hint of smile into her expression.

The heraldic design is by me; inspired by Tolkien’s heraldry for Finwë and =elegaer’s design for Indis. The smaller design below her name is my idea for the emblem of the House of Finwë, based on Tolkien’s Finwë design.


This is a WIP character sketch for my “Lords of the Ñoldor” project. It combines the scanned, not-yet-cleaned-up pencil lineart without shading or highlights, the current idea for the heraldic device(s) and the Tengwar inscription (I haven't decided yet whether I want to use the regular script or the cursive style, so I included both) to be used in the triptych. At some point I might finish it up as an individual character portrait but for now it’s just a WIP component.

Character drawn on regular copy paper, no references used. The original is quite small; she’s about 12 cm tall (that’s a bit under 5” for the measurement-impaired). I used a regular HB pencil that I try not to sharpen too much.. gives the line a nice thickness and more lively(=uneven) character. The size also keeps me from adding too many details, which would be lost anyway in the finished piece where the characters are fairly small.

The heraldic designs were drawn in AutoCAD, and everything was assembled in Photoshop.

So here’s Lalwen.. That means all the characters for the middle panel are “done” :w00t: ..I think likely it’ll take a while again before I have the opportunity to return to the project, but in the meanwhile: It’s still WIP, so comments, ideas, suggestions, etc. are more than welcome! :)

WIP:Lords of Noldor: Triptych Layout

WIP:Lords of Noldor: Character Portraits
Image details
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© 2007 - 2021 aautio
anonymous's avatar
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sapphire07's avatar
Really great... I love her expression ^^
aautio's avatar
Thanks a lot! :D
Toradh's avatar
Wonderful as always!
aautio's avatar
Succubus1982's avatar
She looks like a bad-girl :XD: Lookit those pigtail braids! They're positively St Trinians :lmao:
aautio's avatar
:D Yeah.. better stay out of her way. She may be smiling, but she's baaad... ;)
Idril-Celebrindal's avatar
Beautiful! Love the outfit, and that hint of a smile makes her unique among other characters.
Perfect, as always. :)
aautio's avatar
Nebulosa-Dreams's avatar
I have noticed about Findis and Lalwen because of you :O. I've read just the Silmarillion and The Children of Hurin (and LOTR of course). The HoME books are like the "Holy Grail" in my country, it's almost impossible found them.

Beautiful job indeed :)
aautio's avatar
Thank you! :)

There's no mention of the daughters of Finwë in the Silmarillion but they existed in the many genealogies..

You could always order the books from internet bookstores, right? They're not very cheap, especially as there's 12 of them (+ the index book), but each book is organized quite logically, so you could buy the first the ones that are about certain things you a specifically interested in. For example, volumes 6-9 are only about writing of the Lord of the Rings. I find the later (post-LotR) Silmarillion writings (volumes 10-12) are perhaps the most interesting, but the whole series is definitely worth reading, (as is Tom Shippey's Road to Middle-earth), since they give a lot of insight into Tolkien's work. Plus the entire series looks really neat on a bookshelf! ;)
Zephyr-Zucchini's avatar
hmm...I love her stance somehow-ikts really sticks out to me, seems natural...I had no idea she existed, but from what you said, its wonderful, but she looks...HUMAN to me...her chin is a bit firm and she seems to lack the ancient wisdom and pride of the eldar
aautio's avatar
Thanks! :)

See.. that's why Elves should never smile.. :roll: In my defence, she was not mentioned as particularly wise, neither was she ancient at this point by any reckoning.. and the Elves of old were much more like humans anyway. I think it could be the dress, actually.. since it's so clearly Norman-influenced?
Zephyr-Zucchini's avatar
mm...maybe that and the braids
aautio's avatar
Yeah.. those are very much part of the Norman look.. which I feel suits the Noldor, but it's true that it might recall actual historical examples too closely. :hmm:
Zephyr-Zucchini's avatar
meh -shurg- but why am I saying these things>? your art is amzing as ever....-pout- s'not FAIR! -giggle-
aautio's avatar
:D heh, thanks!
Zephyr-Zucchini's avatar
LadyLal's avatar
Great, as ever
aautio's avatar
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