Talks with Tolkien artists: EPH-SAN1634

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MirachRavaia's avatar
By MirachRavaia

In this issue of "Talks with Tolkien artists", I talked with :iconeph-san1634: - EPH-SAN1634.
Her gallery is full of interesting pictures that mix Tolkien characters with greek mythology, manga and anime, children's books or even popular movies and songs:

Varda Queen of the Valar (greek mythology style) by EPH-SAN1634 Aule-Curumo-Mairon (greek mythology style) by EPH-SAN1634
Maedhros and Fingon_Wake me up when September ends by EPH-SAN1634 Sauron and Morgoth-Fight Club Ending Crossover gif by EPH-SAN1634
Istarvision_AngBAND by EPH-SAN1634 How's Mairon? (Angband-Twin Peaks crossover) by EPH-SAN1634
Modern Angbang by EPH-SAN1634 Young Haldar and Haleth by EPH-SAN1634 Young Caranthir The Dark by EPH-SAN1634

Hello! For the beginning, could you tell us something about yourself?

Γεια, I am Ευφροσύνη and I am a Greek dramatist, otaku and Tolkien fan, to start with. :) (Smile)

Ah, then I see where your "greek mythology style" comes from :) (Smile) How did you enter Tolkien's world for the first time, and what impression did it leave in you?

As I mention in some of the pictures' description, the "Greek Mythology Style" is based on an actual Greek mythology book series of my childhood, my mother was reading us since infants and my father, as publisher, used to know the writer and his brother that drew the pictures. I am a huge crossover fan and I love trying different styles in my drawing, as you might have noticed, so, I couldn't help it but trying this one too. After all, it feels so right. Because I am Greek and because of the similarities of the Valar with ancient Greek gods.

The first time I entered the Tolkien's world was through the cartoon movie of The Lord of the Rings, when I was little. We only had the 1st part, though, so I was dying to see what happened next. When I was 7 my mom bought the 1st Lord of the Rings live action movie and we watched it secretly with my brother. And then a great "love story" began. After the second movie was also released we all had become huge fans as a family. My father got us the best selections of books about the movie productions and our "santa presents" were miniatures of LOTR as well. Not to mention that this period I started dressing up as an elf and stick my ears with a tape to look more elvish (fan fact: it works). 
(these 2 are from a couple of years ago, so much later...still works!)
How did the cartoon and movies influence your reading experience then? What does Middle-earth consist of in your imagination?

Speaking of Tolkien always, when I got the books I had already watched the movies, so the pictures were already formed in my mind. So imagination didn't have a lot of things to do. But that is always a problem when you watch something instead of reading, isn't it? You lack of the chance to let your imagination fly. Even so, I believe PJ's films portrayed this world very beautifully.

Do you regret not reading the books before the movies? But then you delved into the Silmarillion as well (as is visible from the pictures in your gallery), where your imagination could run freely already, although the style is much more scholarly. How did that feel?

I don't regret it, really. You see, as I told you, I was very young. Besides, no matter how much I admire Tolkien, as the fact I write theatre shows, this kind of literature with long descriptions and story telling, is not my cup of tea. Personally I focus to the character development through dialogue. Thus, I am not sure I would have appreciated these books, no matter the respect I have for Tolkien's work.

About the Silmarillion...again my imagination didn't have a long way to go. You see, I was first introduced to it by fanart, so once again, image came to me before the story. I may be more artistically creative with Silmarillion characters, but I also try to not to ruin Tolkien's story, so where imagination works is mostly in AU rp and Crossovers. When you touch such a legend as Tolkien, there is a limit in freedom and the danger of being accused for disrespect larks in every corner. Even so, the fact The Silmarillion hasn't been on screen, gives more freedom to the imagination than the other books that have. And that feels great, far as you go with your fantasy, the more scared you get of "what if they make it a movie and it's nothing like I imagined?" 
The expectations go higher and the fear of disappointment grows bigger day by day, drawing by drawing.

So does that mean that to you, what is on screen becomes a canon representation of the visuals, and you are afraid that you could be accused of not being true to it? Or do you fear disappointment if the visuals of the possible (?) Silmarillion movie don't fulfill your expectations?

Mostly the second.

I see... Now let's return to you. What brought you to deviantart and how did you pick your username?

Some years ago, my back then best friend made this account for me so I can share my drawings and that was it. The name is a bit more complicated though. It's a kind of pun of my nick name "Έφη" which can be spelled as "Ephy", in combination to APH (Axis Powers Hetalia) which is my favourite anime, so it could also mean Ephy's Powers Hetalia. The "San" is a Japanese honorific and the number 1634 was a reference to one of my favourite movies, "The untouchables".

Now, could you tell us something about you and art? Are you a professional artist, or is art just your hobby? When did you start doing it, and who or what influenced your style?

Art...that word includes everything. But when it comes to drawing, which I believe is what you care about, it's just my hobby since I remember myself and that is all really. My style has more influences than I can count. Even so, if I try to name them in general, I guess I would say Manga-Anime and DC-Marvel comics.

I was indeed asking about drawing, because your Tolkien fanart belongs to that cathegory. But what about other types of art? You said you are a dramatist - does Tolkien influence you in that area as well?

As I mentioned, I am a dramatist and Art house cinema specialist and I have published 3 theatrical plays in 3 years, but I also work in theatre as a director, co-director, technician, music controller and my personal favourite, Illuminator, which is rare to see a girl in this work. I also act but until recently I haven't got any job as an actress, except some reading drama parts with another play of mine (not published) that I performed in Francophone Festival. I love my job but let's be honest, it does not pay, sometimes at all, no matter the hard work, but it does give you a lot of experience and you get to meet amazing people...and also awful ones. But you can choose which are you going to keep and this is how the work flows. In addition to regular works, you don't just go with a resume and fill an application. People see your work and they remember. And when they need someone for this job, they will call you out of nowhere when it's the least expected. Somehow like this I have worked 2 years in a theatre and I have become close friends with the ones that run it, so I had the opportunity to perform one of my plays in a big theatre and we actually got a fair amount of money from the "tickets". And I also brought the 2nd Spanish Theatre Festival in this bigger theatre which was a great experience and from there I met amazing dramatists and also 2 great actors I am going to work with. So even if I worked from day to late at night nonstop for 3 whole days and still do from my computer, without getting any money for it, it pays in other ways. And I help my dad at work for free to aid the family.

The characters of Tolkien and their stories can be really inspiring in that sector as well. But I do not own them, so I know the limits that part inspiration from base. At least on what I publish. Though one of my publishing nicknames was Istari.

So you are following your dreams like a true artist :) Now let's get back to Tolkien: who is your favourite Tolkien character and why?

I don't have dreams but I like where this is going.
Favourite one? This is a really tough question to answer...especially with all these characters from all the books. I wonder how one can answer that question...I actually think I don't have one favourite character at all. I have many that I like very much and a few I hate utterly.

Which ones do you hate utterly?

Maeglin makes me sick and angry, his father is also a psychopath if you ask me, Denethor because of the way he treated Faramir, Feanor for too many reasons and, I know that will be a surprise, but Luthien as well. And as a matter of fact she is the one that seeing a picture of is enough to upset me out of nowhere.

Really? The others are understandable, but may I ask why Lúthien?

Many reasons. First off, her story is tasteless to me. It's like a tougher Romeo and Juliet where Romeo is completely useless and gets great characters killed and Juliet tricks people to take what she wants. I don't like people like that. And if you are deep in theatre you know that only the surface people like Romeo and Juliet. Also, I don't like how people idolize Luthien as a strong female while everything she does is for a man's sake. Tolkien has much stronger women characters with less cheesy purposes. Appart her character I dislike the effect she had on the other characters' actions, as Celegorm, which I also dislike but seeing the whole picture I can't help counting the dead and I will not leave her out of responsibilities because she is a woman. If you want to be fair, be fair with both genders. In this case everyone messed up. And she had no right on the Silmarils either but she did take it so she will be allowed to marry Beren and then passed all this burden to the next generations and we have so many fights, abandoned children and dead. Feanor started this but her interference made things worse. Even if from her line came some great characters, let's be fair.  
And of course....have you seen my gallery? 80% is Mairon. Do I wouldn't even need all these reasons I mentioned to hate her.

The only thing I find lovely about her story is that Tolkien based her on his wife and even had the pair's names on his and his wife's grave and , alright, that was sweet of him.

Speaking about your gallery, there are also numerous crossovers of Tolkien's characters with different movies. How do you get the ideas for those?

I am a huge cinephile. As I mentioned I have a specialty in Arthouse Cinema. Even my own plays are cinema crossovers. How the ideas come to me? I don't know, they just hit me. I always had the ability to connect things, so, since both Cinema-Theatre and Tolkien are deep into my head and heart, I find similarities and the little details that match.  Either these are fitting quotes
Caranthir Offret by EPH-SAN1634   Annatar Offret by EPH-SAN1634   Ambarussa_Andrei Rublev by EPH-SAN1634   
or poses-concept
(yes, Tarkovsky is always the one I make the most crossovers with)
And that goes for songs as well
Feanorians-Mama we all go to hell by EPH-SAN1634 

And what about the pictures of Tolkien characters as cute kids?

This could also be called crossover of Tolkien and Martine children books. But it was mostly me trying this style with them and showing another side of the characters.

What art technique is your favourite? Do you rather keep to the art techniques and styles you are familiar with, or do you experiment with new ones as well?

Each for a category I think.
UtaPri for anime
Modern AU Caranthir and Haleth by EPH-SAN1634  
K.Ozaki for manga
Young Feanoreans by EPH-SAN1634  
Himaruya for chibi
Chibi Ecthelion and Glorfindel(Birthday Present2) by EPH-SAN1634  
Martine for children
Young Finrod and Turgon by EPH-SAN1634  
 but I think the one I brought around as something new was the Greek Mythology one.
Aule and Yavanna_Greek Mythology Style by EPH-SAN1634  
That was something different. I like trying different things and I am always open for new styles. And once in a while my own.

Do you have some tips and tricks you would like to share with the other artists?

Manga Studio and the newer Sai are better for use than Photoshop. Also a little bit of Orton Style effect smooths nicely the picture. For traditional art, the recycled paper is THE BEST. And I don't mean for the environment, it takes pencils, colourpencils, markers, pens, even watercolours (if you don't dawn it) better than any other paper. Illustration on the other hand is the worst. It smudges everything, don't even try it.
And lastly, start drawing your idea when it's still fresh and catch the passion of the moment when the idea is first born, before you lose interest. Even if ou make just a sketch for it and fix it later, do it right away. For me, this is the main reason I am so fast at drawing. As Theophan the Greek said in "Andrei Rublev", I have to be quick and finish it right away. Or else I am bored and give it up.

 Could you give us a link or thumbnail from your gallery of
- a Tolkien illustration you are most proud of?

I am not really proud about any...most of them have something I do not like. I'll try though.
Finrod portrait by EPH-SAN1634 

- a picture from other fandom or original picture you are most proud of?

Poliet by EPH-SAN1634 
(markers only)

- a picture that fits your current mood?

Maglor (Bloody Angel) by EPH-SAN1634

- a picture that was hardest to paint?

Young Finrod and Turgon by EPH-SAN1634

- any other picture you would like to share with us and why?

The two Kings by EPH-SAN1634
This is probably the oldest picture of my gallery. I made it when I was 14 in a train on the knee.

What key people in your life, (on or off of dA) have been inspirations to you, or has supported you, as an artist? You can also tell us why, if you want.

There are many people in DA at time periods but they mostly come and go. When I draw their favourite characters they support me but then they mostly forget me. There are a few though that are loyal to me and in more personal level. First off, my partners :iconhaywierp: and :iconmis--kitty: . Also my friend :iconleoleonis4432: and my newer friend and also fantastic artist :iconalystraeaart:, but I think the oldest fan of my works that always leaves a comment is :iconfuckfegegelein:. And I also have 2 Greek loyal girls, :iconthe-fatal-sun: and :iconandronikihetalia:.

Is there some artist(s) at dA you know, who doesn't have as much attention as they would deserve? If yes, could you give us some thumbnails from their gallery?

Unfortunately there always are. People give more credit to simpler artists that are more catchy. There are so many actually that I can't even point them out. It's chaotic. I know I am not very helpful this moment but it's hard to give examples....I mostly find out when I see a great picture that has no comment which is sad, so I always leave some. But many of them give up on their accounts, maybe for that reason.

Is there something else you would like to tell to the fans of Tolkien and your art?

I just want to thank you for honouring me this way, the people that support me and also the artists that keep the Tolkien fandom alive with their beautiful art. But also I wish fans didn't fight over things that mostly concern nowdays projecting them to Tolkien's Universe. Just respect and appreciate its beauty without bitterness.

Thank you very much for your time and answers!

Coding by Felizias Drawings by ebe-kastein Borders by PhoenixWildfire
© 2018 - 2021 MirachRavaia
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alystraea's avatar
So happy to see this interview!! w00t! I admire the variety of styles in your art, and how fresh, creative and sometimes quirky it is. 
(And I'm not a Luthien fan either because of poor Finrod.)
Mellaril's avatar
You hate Maeglin? But love Mairon? WHAAAAAAAT T-T
Qitian's avatar
That caught my eye, too. Clearly it's way better to murder, torture and enslave people, or encourage Ar-Pharazôn's crusade against the Valar, than it is to betray your family after having been tortured. Or to have a bad influence on other characters.  Or to want revenge after one's father got killed and one's treasure was stolen. It's all good as long as the victims aren't family! Gotta have moral standards! ಠ_ಠ
EPH-SAN1634's avatar
Hallo, I know this is a huge text but, I have the right to explain myself on something you commented about me.

I see your point, of course, but actually, from my point of view, Sauron as a character is interesting for study. The fall from bright to the dark has a Biblical root I cannot ignore. And I am a play writer, but also had criminology studies, so I have always liked to study the nature of evil. The fact I was first introduced to the Silmarillion by art about Mairon might also be responsible. I am not the type that will fall for a character's ''charm'' though, I don't even like men.
But let me tell you something about morals, so you can see my point of view. Still, free to disagree, but that is just how I see things.
Let's agree that, obviously, killing is an awful thing. BUT. Killing with a knife is different than killing with a gun. With a gun you can kill many. But only the cruellest of the assassins use the knife. And that is because the contact with the other person doesn't just make it more difficult in the risky way, but it also needs more cruelty. When you kill with a gun, you only need to pull a trigger and that's it. You can kill the entire room without even looking at them. But when you kill with the knife, you can feel it penetrating the body of the living person that is breathing against you. Break through the organs, cracking their is all different. More personal.
Mairon was a Maiar. A kind of a spirit. A creature of a different kind. But Maeglin was closer to what we call a human being. Sauron gives an order from his throne and a whole kingdom is destroyed. Or even when he is there it's just strangers killed by his planned revenge. Not his own family. Not the ones that raised him. Not a child of his own kin than ran to him with love and trust. For Sauron, it's not personal. It's business. Bad business, of course. But still. No connection. Not his kind, not his family. 
So...I hope you see what I mean by ''morals''. Maybe I just see it the way our neighbours, Italians, do. Sagrada famiglia. That's my moral and that's my limit. Maybe it's even cultural, I don't know. But even in mob, there are supposed to be some limits. Even for those cruel criminals. 
And in the end...I might take that far, but which was the worse? Hitler that started a world war and was the cruellest against his enemies, or Stalin that was the cruellest against his own country and family? Well, they are both bloody awful, but, I believe Stalin was a bit worse. Again, personal opinion. And apparently personal ''morals'', since that word was what clicked you the most. 
I never said Mairon is ''good''. I am not crazy, that's offensive. Neither is my role model or something. He is just an evil powerful character like The Godfather or Scarface, staying to fictional, as HE is fictional, so it doesn't really matter. It's not Ted Bundy we are talking about. Not a real person with real crimes I have been called to decide of his freedom or death and I said, ''Oh, no! don't kill him, he is handsome!'', like it actually happen with that criminal's fan club. It's a fiction with 2 evil fictional characters, so I can pick which evil is just the one that is NEED so the plot will have a point and the good will triumph, and which is just a little character that messed up. It's easier to accept Sauron because he is there anyway in The Hobbit and LOTR, so we have dealt with the fact he exists and seeing how he used to be is teaching us a lesson. No matter how stunning and talented you are, the ambition can destroy you making you the worst. There is a message behind his origins. What about Maeglin? What's good with him? If your childhood is bad you are free to become a hurtful monster when you grow up? Most of the serial killers started with a messed childhood but I can't sympathise someone that hurt a child. And I have met children abused by a family member in more than one ways, so, no. No sympathy for a character that reminds me of them. And no sympathy for a traitor of his kingdom which is like country to me because I am a patriot. No sympathy for someone that did all these not because he had a goal, but just out of PURE HATE.

So, no offence, but I don't need a tutor to scold me and teach me morals. Even if you disagree with all these, you may now see my reasoning on what I can live with in a fictional character and what not. Not like it matters to you, you don't even know me. So if I got morals or not is not even your problem really.
Qitian's avatar
I still don't see the "moral" point, no. Is it particularly evil to turn on your own family? On a small scale, sure, I would agree. Let us assume that there are two different men, both of whom have killed three people in cold blood: One has killed three strangers, the other one has killed his sister and his parents. Most of us would probably consider the second man more "evil" (unless we learn that the parents have beaten him for years and the sister has helped to hush it up, but let's assume it's not the case). So up to this point, I would agree that it's personal, it's family, and that makes it a more horrible kind of murder.
Now, however, let's assume that the second man still killed his sister, father and mother, but the first didn't just kill three strangers: he killed a thousand. Maybe he isn't even present when it happens. Maybe he just orders it. Maybe it's in a faraway country where people belong to a different ethnic group. Or maybe they're following a religion that the first man considers wrong. At any rate, he kills a thousand people who are not his family and who are further removed from him. Is the guy who killed only three people still more evil because those three people were family members? I would say no, it's definitely the guy who killed hundreds of people. You, perhaps, still think the second man is worse because the victims of the first man weren't family and didn't even live in his own country? Then our codes are indeed different. (As for the real world supervillains, let's just say that they probably both thought they were only being cruel towards their enemies, a lot of whom were part of their own countries, and both actually did a great deal of damage to these countries, as well as their neighbours. And their own families.)

I actually agree on the rest. Villains are absolutely fascinating to look at. There are often interesting reasons behind their "fall" that make it even more fascinating to see how someone who was talented and had lots oft opportunities for greatness chose - or was pushed - to do evil things, and as you say, there are underlying cultural paralells to biblical and other mythological stories that make for fascinating analysis. It's an age-old fascination. We're on the same page here. This is actually why I find Feanor so intriguing: all that potential for bright good, all turned to blood and ashes. Horrible, but what a story. Of course he's not a role model - that would rather be Finarfin - although perhaps not by your standards, since he turned his back on his people and left his children to cross the Helcaraxe alone? who knows - but that's part of the point: To understand how someone who could have been great and good but instead did horrible things. As a tool for exploring the dark potential of the human mind, villains are excellent, whether one chooses to analyse Iago or Darth Vader or Sauron. They're fictional characters, so it's not like anyone really gets hurt. So this is not about whether it's possible to "like" villains and still have morals. Of course it is. I was just surprised by the way you seemed to apply these morals in some cases and not others, or in which you seemed to villainise characters whose backstory is a lot more complex than PURE .It's natural to prefer some characters to others, and to like some - even villains - and not like others - even heroes. I just found it odd that you seemed to justify your preferences with superior knowledge (as in the Romeo and Juliet example) or with high moral standards (as in the question about Maeglin). That was the point. Not your morals as such, but your argument that your preferences were about morals. I found that strange and questionable, so I commented on it. Please note that I had no intention of scolding or teaching you. As you said, it's not my problem and not my business (not even bad business ;)). We've now talked about our different points of view, so I suppose this is where we'll agree to disagree and move on in our own separate ways. :)
EPH-SAN1634's avatar
I don't know how you have it there but here we value family more than anything. So, ja, agree to disagree indeed.
But let me remind you Maeglin's treason was responsible for more death's than just his uncle and trouble for family members. A whole kingdom was ruined.
And as I made clear, I don't talk about who caused bigger harm but as I mean ''morals'' is the limit one person must have on what they do. 
As I see Sauron is a representation of evil in general, so, I just accept the fact that exists, so it's easier to accept this character. Like the mafia heads in the movies I mentioned. You know he is evil, you have accepted it, so you focus on the ''cool''. Even so, if I had seen him hurting a child with his own hands, I wouldn't be fond of him. But Maeglin was in the side that was considered as ''good''. Like I don't like Wormtongue, even if I can give him reasons, I don't have to like the traitor. It's like the rotten cop. 
Like Feanor messed up everyone's lives, but he did it for something he believed was right and he did not just betray his family to the enemy. So, I see him more as a character that made huge mistakes. Maeglin has a hell of an interesting story but I was just so appalled from the fact he abused his cousin and little Earendil and caused the death of some characters I held dear, so, I just don't wanna bother with him and that is my right. Not like Sauron or Morgoth mostly didn't cause the death of characters I loved, but, as I said they are the enemy in the first place. In a war one of the 2 that fight is meant to die and that's how it is. It's like the admirable enemy you feel honoured to fight with. But traitors are low. Maeglin did nothing to earn respect. The best one can give to him is sympathy or pity.
Then again, this is all my viewpoint. But as I won't go and tell you, ''Hey! stop liking Feanor, how can someone even like Feanor???'' because I know that even if in my head it doesn't make much sense, knowing in other people's heads it makes perfect sense and I respect that because each of us grew up in different families, countries and with different experiences and values, I think it's fair people leave me have my own way of seeing things as well and let me be.

And in the end, there is something you might not considered when you got so triggered about me using the word ''morals''. Even if we both use English, it is not our native language. So, as I see your arguments the way you put it, I think this whole issue came out of nothing. In Greek there are many other words that describe almost the word ''morals'' and a slight difference might change everything. As in English there is the word ''love'' one may use, but in Greek we use many other words that express many different kinds of love, as, αγάπη, έρωτας, συμπάθεια etc. So, when I say morals,I go with the definition:'' a person's standards of behavior or beliefs concerning what is and is not acceptable for them to do''. And maybe for you morals mean something more general about right and wrong. I can't know that. But even if you look at it in the dictionary, the way I use it exists and it has the PERSONAL element in it. So, I don't see what bothers you on someone having a personal opinion on some matter.
Qitian's avatar
Look. I had no intention of telling you not to like Mairon. That's not the issue here. I wondered how someone could complain about Lúthien's death count while liking (or focusing on the "cool" in) Mairon, that is absolutely all. I didn't get "triggered" by the word "morals" either; I was honestly just surprised by the context in which it occured. From the definition you're offering, I don't have the impression that we were using the term all that differently. If you say you do value family more than anything, and you accept the movie mafia heads you mentioned as examples for "good" (in the sense of morally upright) villains, then you're clearly being consistent in your interpretation, and while I still find it hard to comprehend, that's your think. So no, it doesn't bother me that you're having a personal opinion on some matter. (The authoritative tone from the interview bothered me more, but I concede that I may have read more into the words than you intended, since we're indeed both ESL speakers.) I was trying to understand how you could say and mean the one thing, and at the same time say and mean the other, because it didn't seem to go together. I wasn't trying to talk you out of your opinion (as long as you know how these things go together, that's your thing), I was trying to understand how that was supposed to work. Shocking, I know.

Now we've both made our points, and while I can't claim that I'm eager to adopt your point of view, I can at least see what's behind it. So that's nice. And now I'm going to leave you be. Enjoy the things you enjoy and have a nice evening!
EPH-SAN1634's avatar
Well, mafia movies are just examples of evil power that values family. Just that. They still are awful people in real life I would with no involve with and thankfully in Greece we don't have an actual mafia. I just keep as common that family is the most important here too.That's all. Just to make clear, in real life, I don't believe any form of crime is ''cool''. I just separate fiction evil characters and antiheroes I may find ''cool'' from the bad guys I dislike. 

I too don't think we have something more to ''make clear'' about our opinions because they are just our opinions. So, whatever I am writing bellow is about this whole situation here leaving out all the rest.

To your conversation about my answer in another comment, you were repeating my use of word ''morals'', so, you did seem to be triggered by that word. Also, hey, each one of us has their ways to express ourselves and even the moment's mood can play a role.

After all, come to my position. I happened to be interviewed in a global site just because in my free time I like to draw Tolkien characters. I am not the only and certainly I am not the best of the ones that do. They probably were out of artist to end up interviewing me. But asking about favourites and hated characters, might seem something classic to ask and easy to answer but it's dangerous as you get your opinion exposed to people that may agree or disagree. The lady that commented wondering ''how can I hate Maeglin'' makes beautiful art that includes Maeglin as a cute child. But demanding me to ''get some morals'' it's a different thing. It's more attacking. I said I have some morals meaning I have some morals that specifically have to do with all the things he did, so I can't like him. I didn't imply she doesn't have any morals because she likes him. That would be extremely offensive. 
But also I will ask you once more to come to my position. What happened now was that a dear friend of mine told me about a harsh comment I had not seen about me. So, it felt like people talking behind my back in public accusing me I have twisted morals or something. And it didn't just feel like that. It was that exactly. So, before judging my tone, ask yourself if you would be as polite if you caught some stranger talking harshly about you behind your back. Getting defensive is the least that one would do.

So next time if you have questions about how a certain person thinks about something, please, ask them. 
MirachRavaia's avatar
Hello! I would just like to say that I'm sorry about how this talk turned out in the comment section... I'm really not running out of artists to interview anytime soon, I have a long list and you have been on it for a while before I got to ask you, as it's with many others. It is not so rare that my opinions differ from those I interview, but that's what I like about these talks - the diversity you can find in the views and interpretations of Tolkien's world and characters. I appreciate that you shared them, despite the stir that it caused. I feel responsible for this situation to a certain extent, so please accept my apologies!
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AlystraeaArt's avatar
OK, I'm sympathetic to Maeglin and I'm not a Mairon fan, but I know that Mairon's fan-base love him because they ship Angbang, and the version of Mairon in this ship is NOT the Sauron Gorthaur of the books but a very pretty redhead/blond Maia whose villainy is greatly diluted, who loves creating beautiful things, and whose tragic flaw was his misguided love for and devotion to Melkor. So it's a fandom phenomenon, and that's where they're coming from. 
Qitian's avatar
I know that too. And hey, if they're into Angbang, that's cool - not my thing, but to each their own! The thing is just, if you're totally willing to disregard any or most of Sauron's (and that's who Mairon is, ultimately) objectively horrible deeds in order to focus on the "precious cinnamon roll who just loves creating beautiful things" aspect of things, it's a weeeee bit awkward to throw around things like "I can't help counting the dead and I will not leave her out of responsibilities because she is a woman", or "Mairon didn't destroy his own blood", to justify your fannish likes or dislikes. It's ok when a particular character doesn't resonate with you, and it's cool to like characters who do horrible things (heck, I love Feanor!) - they're all fictional characters, not real people. But someone who sees no contradiction in fangirling "Mairon" and at the same time talking about "some morals that can't be crossed" should, hm, maybe rethink their moral standards. (Or just admit that it's about personal taste, not about "morals".)
AlystraeaArt's avatar
I get what you mean, but the bit about "rethink their moral standards" is pretty harsh. I have to confess I'm guilty of similar contradictions, when rationalizing my personal tastes. I dislike Turin intensely, and usually give as reasons his pride/hubris, horrendous decision-making, and how the fall of Nargothrond is on his head. And yet I sympathise with Maeglin who betrayed Gondolin and allied himself with Morgoth, for goodness' sake, and I give unreliable/biased historians, being cursed, having a shit childhood, unrequited love, etc. as reasons why the poor boy deserves some pity. Never mind that Turin was also cursed and also had a shit childhood. I guess I'm trying to say that I understand how such contradictions happen when one is invested in or biased against a character. From what EPH-SAN1634 said, knowing she's Greek, I also suspect that culture comes into play - undying, unshakable family loyalty being a really strong Greek value - you know, family is Number One. So I get where she's coming from. Don't be so hard on her.
Qitian's avatar
I have to admit that was intentionally harsh. The point here is that we can be full of contradictions in our fannish tastes, and we should be aware of that, accept that, and just admit that our personal bias and loyalties aren't rationally explicable. What rubs me the wrong way in that interview is the high horse on which she got about some things - everyone who knows anything about theatre knows Romeo and Juliet is trash, people who like Lúthien completely disregard the death count or just let her off the hook because she's a woman, etc. - while seeing no problems with romanticising "Mairon". That shows that fannish likes or dislikes aren't about knowledge or legal boundaries or moral standards. It's dishonest to act like they are, and uncool to imply that other people who like other things are just unsophisticated or turning a blind eye.

To take this to a different stage: I don't like coffee. Now I could come up with some sophisticated explanation for that. I could rant about the working conditions for the poor people in coffee plantations, and the economic footprint of transporting coffee halfway around the globe, or whatnot. Or I could just admit that I don't like the taste of coffee. That way, I don't imply that everyone else is some kind of evil exploitationist ruining the planet. I don't need to make myself look better just to justify my personal tastes.

Lastly, she's an accomplished grown-up, so I doubt my "harsh" words are going to trouble her much.
EPH-SAN1634's avatar
Well...Mairon didn't destroy his own blood that saved and raised him or attempted to rape his cousin and hurt her little child. He chose an evil path but he didn't harm a family of his. I may sympathise villains but I have some morals that can't be crossed. My own personal opinion.
HaywierP's avatar
Very interesting to read and I'm happy that she gets to voice her opinion on things and show more of her amazing art
Snow-Monster's avatar
I usually really enjoy these interviews, but this one was Several of her answers weren't very satisfying. I understand that everyone is different and can appreciate different aspects of Tolkien's legendarium, but I guess I just don't understand how some can dislike a good portion of the Professor's writings and still be a fan. Looking forward to the next one though:) (Smile) 
Nelyasun's avatar
I am not too fond of Luthien either, actually. Sweet love story. but looking of what happens around them...just no
Baileyboybee's avatar
Excellent interview. I really enjoy this series you've put together. Also I'm delighted to find that I'm not the only one who feels the same way about Luthien.
EPH-SAN1634's avatar
Thank you! And so am I!
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