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The Boy on the Wall (Maeglin and Idril) by Mellaril The Boy on the Wall (Maeglin and Idril) by Mellaril
Idril stumbles across Maeglin sitting on the Northern wall. Do you ever make up dialogue when painting  a scene?

"So you do talk. What are you doing up here?"
"My mother came up here once, to watch the sun rise, alone."
"It's a nice spot, sure. Just don't fall off."
"You look just like her. Like my mother."
"Yes, that's what they always used to say."

Sequel to Father and Idril in honor of the release of The Fall of Gondolin. It's hard to reconcile liking Maeglin so much while being a feminist (and a decent person) but I can't help but feel that the tragedy of his story-- evil borne of idealism and love-- makes him sympathetic as far as villains go. Tolkien did devote an entire chapter to his backstory, and through progressive drafts seemed to give him more thought, more nuance, more streaks of good into the wickedest of all the elves. I like to think that at some point in the two-hundred odd years Maeglin spent in Gondolin, which included participation in the Nirnaeth Arnoediad, Idril took pity on him and they had some sort of a decent human interaction.
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:iconbaileyboybee:
Baileyboybee Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2019
Love this piece. Really captures the emotions and feelings of Maeglin.
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:iconmellaril:
Mellaril Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2019  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks so much! It’s one of my favorites too. I always found Maeglin to be a surprisingly sympathetic character and it’s a really big inspiration for my art :)
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:iconkay-painting:
KAY-painting Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
It is not necessary to sympathize with the villain, if you understand his story of "falling into evil." But a good drawing does not show the artist's attitude toward the "model", but tells a true story. I'm not sure that everyone agrees with me, but ... most villains are charming people.)))
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:iconmellaril:
Mellaril Featured By Owner May 22, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks so much! :happybounce:  It's always so lovely to meet a fellow Maeglin fan. There are hints of what Maeglin thought of Gondolin: he listened in wonder to his mother's stories, and the yearning to see it all for himself, and to bring her back to her family, was so strong that he flagrantly fled the home of his childhood and flouted his father's wishes. Then to arrive at last, and find it just as beautiful as he had imagined, only to suddenly be trapped there, alone. I absolutely think he resented Turgon for the execution of his father-- not only that, it must have shattered the idealistic view he had of his kinsmen, the Noldor. It's true that Eöl would rather have died than to be a prisoner in Gondolin; yet what must young Maeglin have thought to see people who were supposed to be his family, these noble and perfect elves of Gondolin, perform the barbaric act of throwing a human being to his death? It's undoubtedly where the first seeds of darkness were sown, and in a sense Turgon's own ruthlessness, and his extreme paranoia about keeping Gondolin hidden, ultimately led to the very thing he feared the most. 
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:iconmellaril:
Mellaril Featured By Owner May 19, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks so much!! Vulnerable, guarded and curious/"smitten" in the expression is what I was going for. The idea for this perspective actually popped into my head first, and then the rest of the scene followed. And I am definitely guilty of making Idril's lower legs visible (to us at least) and sexy. Idril strikes me as being someone who would be perfectly comfortable in her own skin; beautiful and proud of it. Oh I absolutely think there's an Oedipal thing going on with Maeglin, in the way his love for his mother was examined and emphasized; in his curious silence at her tragic death. His lust for his cousin is already inherently incestuous (elves "wedded not with kin so near"), and there's other precedent for Oedipal themes in The Silmarillion (ie, Túrin and Nienor). And I think you're spot on with your description: she was someone he'd heard about in his mother's stories, a figure he idealized long before he had met her as he had the city of Gondolin. Tolkien says that his love for her "turned to darkness", and yet that sentence also hints that it may not have started out that way. I really want to read more about it in The Fall of Gondolin... though I'm sure you're right; it may be there's nothing more in any of Prof. Tolkien's notebooks to give us any more answers. All the better for us to imagine for ourselves, I suppose. 
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:iconalystraea:
alystraea Featured By Owner May 21, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I know right? the whole "cousincest" thing would have made Maeglin look like such a perv to all the other elves. I'm glad he was slowly  evolving into a more complex and potentially sympathetic character in Tolkien's mind. Your Oedipal Maeglin is interesting. In fact, the whole outpouring of sympathy for Maeglin across the fandom has been such a phenomenon, in the wake of revisionist readings of The Silm. In the early years, it was standard to read him as written, which I think usually went along the lines of antisocial personality disorder. His early love for Idril may have been the one good thing in him (as you said, it turned to darkness, which implies it was once light), but that went bad when he was spurned...
I must say I'm happy the Arda Tolkien left to us fanfic writers and fanartists is such a big playground to mess around in. Honestly, it's more fun to have a whole spectrum of Maeglins, from absolute villain to misunderstood, falsely-accused, unsung hero. And to have half a dozen different headcanons for Glorfindel's parentage than having Tolkien tell us definitively that he was Elenwe's bro or Findis' son (which are the most likely options in my mind). Glorfy's my boy!
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:iconmellaril:
Mellaril Featured By Owner May 21, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Sometimes it's much more fun to speculate!! Glorfindel as an Elenwë relative would make him Vanyarin and definitely connect him more with Idril. As a son of Findis he would be cousin to Turgon. Curious as to the reasoning behind behind that theory? There's a parallel between Maeglin and Boromir in my mind. Traitors who were not cowards, both led astray by desire. Boromir was permitted his redemption. That's the difference between LOTR and the silm... The feeling that everything will be all right, versus not. I like the Maeglin on the unsung hero end of the spectrum whether or not it's the correct interpretation though.
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:iconalystraea:
alystraea Featured By Owner May 21, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
For Glorfindel, the reasoning is simple: his rare golden hair has to come from Vanyarin blood, but the Vanyar were deeply loyal and obedient to the Valar, so no Vanya would rebel against them and follow the Noldor into exile except he be linked by ties of blood or great love. He and Idril were probably the only golden-haired individuals in the entire city of Gondolin when it was first founded. A pureblood brother (I think of him even as a twin of Elenwe) following his sister into exile, then watching over his niece and serving his bro-in-law makes a lot of sense. If a son of Findis, Glorfindel could have based himself with any of his cousins, so the "in love with Ecthelion" theory would explain why he chose to be with Turgon at Nevrast and Gondolin. Power/rank being patrilineal among the Eldar would explain why Glorfindel was a Lord, not a Prince. 
I like Maeglin somewhere in the mid-range of the spectrum, but it's definitely possible to paint him as a wrongly maligned unsung hero. I think we both tried in our own way to do that in our fics... ;)
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:iconmellaril:
Mellaril Featured By Owner May 22, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Your reasoning is impeccable! And you make a good argument for both theories. In love with Ecthelion? Now I've got to hear more about that fanon ;). Personally I'm ok with Glorfindel having obscure parentage. Maybe one of his parents was an unknown Vanyar elf, or maybe he just had a genetic mutation that made him blond. That way it's a little mysterious. And yes! In my fic I definitely tried to create a way in which Maeglin could have been secretly honorable, but such that it would never make its way into Elven lore. And in yours you beautifully painted the lonely torment he faced at the hands of Morgoth. 
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:iconalystraea:
alystraea Featured By Owner May 27, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
The Glorfindel/Ecthelion thing has been in fanon for a while - no idea how it started! Seems it's only necessary for two names to be linked with "and" anywhere in the canon for them to be shipped!! :D (Big Grin)  I haven't read it, but apparently "Flawed and Fair" is a good fic for the ship. 
Most of the elves outside of the House of Finwe have obscure parentage, and I guess only someone deeply invested in any of them would care to imagine all kinds of headcanons+back stories for them. Love can't abide mysteries but desires to know. :)
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:iconanastasiy:
Anastasiy Featured By Owner May 18, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
This is totally beautiful! I love the colors
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:iconmellaril:
Mellaril Featured By Owner May 18, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you!!! I loved playing with the colors in this one. Thanks for the watch!! ^_^
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:iconnelyasun:
Nelyasun Featured By Owner May 18, 2018  Hobbyist Artist
given that he was 190 years old at death and spent 110 years in Gondolin, more than half his life, you can really agree that living in Gondolin must have shaped Maeglin
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:iconmellaril:
Mellaril Featured By Owner May 18, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Indeed! Nod  Though I imagine he must have felt like a stranger there in many ways. 
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:iconnelyasun:
Nelyasun Featured By Owner May 18, 2018  Hobbyist Artist
yes
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:iconirsanna:
Irsanna Featured By Owner May 18, 2018
an interesting visual solution! in your picture he really causes sympathy
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:iconmellaril:
Mellaril Featured By Owner May 18, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks! I really enjoyed playing around with camera angle and perspective. 
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:iconfrerinhagsolb:
FrerinHagsolb Featured By Owner May 18, 2018
Very beautiful illustration! Yes, I know the thing with the dialogue...actually, I'm working on a piece at the moment which is based on such a thing, but the dialogue was in this case first, or both at the same time. :D
I really like your depiction of Maeglin, I think he is a very interesting character (and tragic, yes. But this seems kinda normal in Tolkien's stories) Did you plan doing more of 'The Fall of Gondolin', or will you let it by those three works first?
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:iconmellaril:
Mellaril Featured By Owner May 18, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Ah thanks so much! I can't wait to see your finished piece :) Yeah it's definitely hard to find an uplifting scene to draw from The Silmarillion. Maybe I should try The Hobbit or LOTR next... much more lighthearted. I do want to do more Fall of Gondolin pieces! I love painting architectural backgrounds and keeping everything within a theme :D so there will likely be more drawings to follow this one. 
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:iconfrerinhagsolb:
FrerinHagsolb Featured By Owner May 18, 2018
Nice! :dummy:
Well, even if 'the Hobbit' and 'LotR' are more lighthearted, I'm still not quite sure if I can call them 'good-ending'...:D
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Submitted on
May 17, 2018
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