Talks with Tolkien artists: batwinged-squirrel

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MirachRavaia's avatar
By MirachRavaia

I have alraedy interviewed several great artists from the Tolkien fandom - both digital and traditional, with various styles and approaches. But until now, I have not interviewed a writer yet. And so today, I'm amending this, and bringing you a talk with :iconbatwinged-squirrel:-batwinged-squirrel, a poet who certainly wouldn't get lost in Elrond's Hall of Fire. I know that reading requires more effort than looking at pictures, but I assure you, it's worth to click on any of the following thumbnails (unless literature and poetry is not your cup of tea at all... in that case, feel no pressure). I will make an exception and keep one of the thumbnails that's already mentioned below in the answer to question 10,  as "Beren and Lúthien" is in my opinion an amazing creation, and worth reading whole in its impressive length.

Beren and LuthienIn Doriath an elven-king
Took to himself a Maia queen:
Strange was that love, not spoken of
Ere then; its like was never seen.
Queen Melian a magic ring
Wove 'round their land, to shield it well
From orcish spies and prying eyes
And all who would its secrets tell.
As love had bound, so passion shaped,
And life there grew in Melian:
The elven-child grew strong and wild,
Her parents named her Lúthien.
Lúthien walked where snow yet draped
The woods, and when she'd dance and sing,
Ice warmed and broke, the river spoke,
And winter's chill gave way to spring.
When many years had come and gone
She danced as ever 'neath the trees.
Her sapphire gown blew out around,
And raven hair streamed in the breeze.
Her song brought spring with that pale dawn;
When from the air the chill had passed,
As deft and light as blossoms white
Her feet skimmed fleetly o'er the grass.
Not far from where she danced alone
Beren roamed lost within the wood.
He heard her song and followed long,
And finding her
  Elwing's LullabySleep in peace, my gentle children:
Though there seems no end to night,
Every day which falls in shadow
In its time will dawn in light.
See the Moon dressed all in silver,
Chasing stars across the sky.
He will keep your fears away
And leave sweet dreams for you and I.
Now the stars above are shining,
Calling you to peaceful rest.
By the shores the sea is singing,
Telling stories of the West.
When the chains of Night are broken
And the Light at last is free,
Then the world shall know the blessings
Waiting far beyond the sea.
Dream of hope, my stars, my darlings,
'Till the morning comes anew.
I will stay beside your beds
And keep a vigil over you.

Gil-Galad EreinionAn elven-king there was of old
The son of valiant Fingon.
And many are the stories told
Of Gil-galad Ereinion.
He bore the rings of Air and Flame
Made by smiths of Eregion.
When Turgon perished he became
King Gil-galad Ereinion.
He fostered two young Peredhil
And kept them shielded from Sauron.
But darkness plagued the kingdom still
Of Gil-galad Ereinion.
The Dark Lord waged a bitter war
Creating shadow with no dawn.
And Mandos calmly waited for
King Gil-galad Ereinion.
A Last Alliance, Elves and Men
To Mordor side-by-side were drawn.
Elrond became the herald then
Of Gil-galad Ereinion.
The King came out with shining spear
And led the charge against Sauron.
His call rang out for all to hear
King Gil-galad Ereinion.
As arrows sliced the clouded sky
And Men and Elves were set upon
There in the dark was heard the cry
Of Gil-galad Ereinion.
He suffered blows from Sauron's mace
And, deathly wounded, battled on.
But in that cold and ashen place
Died Gil-galad Ereinion.
  Weaver of TimeMandos sees
Every one a new day
Webs of time
Craft sublime
Woven all by Vairë.
Birth to death
Every breath
Down throughout the ages
Take a look –
Like a book
She writes history's pages.
Peace and pain
Sun and rain
Dark and Light together
What we see
Things to be
Ever and forever.
On her loom
Hope and doom
Loss and vict'ry blending
Weaving e'er
Ceasing ne'er
So is Time unending.

Bittersweet FarewellI wander through Lothlorien, the place I knew as home
The trees are fading as I watch; from gold they dim to grey.
I weep in bittersweet farewell to lands I called my own
For by the Sea there waits a ship, to bear me west away.
The golden sun shall show her face no more in wooded halls
Nor shall the moon turn silver all the branches reaching high.
My power now is fading as the rain of sorrow falls
I turn and leave, for shadows grim are darkening the sky.
O Lórien! No more shall light within your borders dwell;
The songs have fled, their echoes falling soft as silver rain.
I strain to hear the laughter of the kin I loved so well
But joy is gone, and never shall it enter here again.
I journey to the Gulf of Lhun, beneath the sunset's flame
In Mithlond, where the river Lhun gives passage to the Sea.
There in the dusk I stand and hear the waters call my name;
I'll gladly drink this honeyed cup the Valar poured for me.
The Age of Men is dawning as the elves prepare to leave
We board the shi
I Dreamt a DreamI dreamt a dream of Valinor
the Blessed Realm of Eldamar
where stars gleam on the ivory shore
and Elven-folk dwell with Valar.
In dreams I crossed the silver sea
and rode the waves all topped with foam.
A joyful chorus greeted me:
fair voices calling, "Welcome home!"
In visions fair I then beheld
the seas of Ulmo, great and wide;
I walked through forests never felled
with fair Yavanna at my side.
I wandered deep in caverns dim
where jewels gleamed pale in rocky bed.
In Aulë's forge I stood by him
and watched the embers blazing red.
O'er emerald hills there came the sound
of laughter and of dancing feet;
and leapt they o'er the grassy ground
Tulkas and Nessa, swift and fleet.
The sudden sound of hooves afar
came thund'ring o'er the verdant lawn.
Soon hither on his steed, Nahar
rode Oromë, the Huntsman strong.
And then again I roving went
where Vána's gardens flourished fair;
gold blossoms gave a honeyed scent
and birdsong shivered in the air.
But then of mirth I took my leave
and wander

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

I'm batwinged-squirrel, but you can call me Squirrel. I'm known mainly as Ireth elsewhere on the internet. I've been a Tolkien enthusiast for about fourteen years now, and a writer for a lot longer than that. I started writing poetry and short stories when I was six, and never really stopped.

2. When did you read Tolkien's books for the first time, and what impression did they leave in you?

I read The Hobbit as a kid, but I didn't get into Lord of the Rings until after the movies came out. I bought Fellowship of the Ring and loved it, and a friend of mine got me the whole trilogy as a Christmas gift. I devoured it pretty quickly, and then the Silmarillion not long after. Even though I saw the movies first, and while I do love them, I'm still very much a "book purist".

I've always been amazed at the amount of detail Tolkien put into his world, considering it started out solely as a place to use his fictional languages. I've heard some people call his writing flowery and purple, but I think it's wonderful for immersing the reader in his world. It's that level and depth of detail that's always stuck out to me, along with the themes of love and friendship.

3. How extensive is your knowledge of Middle-earth? Do you consider yourself Tolkien expert?

I know quite a bit about Middle-earth, and others have called me the "resident Tolkien expert" on some writing forums I frequent, but I wouldn't boast about knowing everything. There are a lot of books I haven't read, like the History of Middle-Earth and Laws and Customs of the Eldar. I haven't yet gotten through Unfinished Tales either. But I've read The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings and the Silmarillion many times over. I've even tried teaching myself Sindarin and Quenya, mainly for poetry purposes.

4. When the movies came out, many of the inner pictures of characters and scenes in the mind of the readers have been replaced by actors and settings from the movie. Did it happen to you as well? Did you try to prevent it?

Not really. Since I saw the movies before I read the books, those images were in my head from the beginning. The books haven't really changed that. I think Jackson and WETA did a really good job of interpreting them, though. (Mostly, anyway. The bird poo on Radagast's hair in The Hobbit was a bit much.)

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

I've written poetry and prose alike from a very young age (including a LOT of fanfic like what's in my gallery on dA), but I didn't start getting serious about trying to get published until I was in my teens. My first stories, from about 6-7 years old, were fanfics based on a dog named Wishbone, from the kids' series of the same name; I collaborated on them with my older sister (known here as Riowolf and SherlockianHound ). I haven't been published yet, but I'm inching closer to finishing a YA novel and hopefully getting there soon. I also have two other novels in varying states of progress.

My style is influenced/inspired by a lot of different things. My YA novel was heavily inspired by O.R. Melling's The Chronicles of Faerie, from which I took the basic premise of the first book, turned it inside out and ran away with it. Of my others, one is an epic fantasy that has its roots in a LOTR-based RPG, and meshes Celtic and Norse mythology. The third is a historical fantasy centered around vampires in 14th century Scotland. (There's an old blurb for it somewhere in my gallery, and a poem or two loosely based on it.) I have my mother to thank for the vampire story; she gave me a name and a nationality for the main character, and it blossomed from there.

7. As a writer, how do you feel about the position of fanfiction in current literature?

As a writer of fanfiction myself, I might be a bit biased. I've taken a lot of enjoyment from it, and put a lot of effort into my stories, some more than others. Threads of Fate took me thirteen months to complete. I don't feel that effort was "wasted" just because I can't legally publish it for money. Same goes for my other stories and my poetry. I had a lot of fun writing it, and I'm glad people have such an interest in reading it. I think that's the most important part, the mutual enjoyment. If people want to write but are daunted by the idea of creating an entirely new world, I say let them work with a world they already know and love.

8. Do you think that writers and fanfiction writers and poets get enough attention on deviantart? If not, could the situation be improved?

I don't know about "enough attention", but it seems to me they do get less attention than visual artists. I'd like to see more literature being recognized.

9. Do you have some writing tips and tricks you would like to share with others?

I find it helps to get into a comfortable zone before trying to write. Usually for me, that means some music that fits the mood of the scene I'm trying to write, a nice hot mug of tea, and no distractions. Writing on a schedule is also helpful, as is setting daily, weekly or even monthly goals. Engaging in writing groups helps with accountability if you slip, and encourages you to keep going.

10. Could you give us a link or thumbnail from your gallery of
- a Tolkien themed piece you are most proud of?

- a piece from other fandom or original story/poem you are most proud of?

- any other story or poem you would like to share with us and why?

This is just something silly I came up with one day, after listening to far too many Disney songs, and reading blogger Mark Oshiro's complaint about there being no talking horses in Tolkien's canon.

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

My mom has always been supportive of my writing, even to the point of offering ideas for new stories. Korli-Kitty and I talk regularly about our respective original pieces, and it's my roleplaying with her that formed the basis for one of my original novels – the aforesaid Celtic/Norse myth blend.

12. 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?

My friend Gussu does amazing art, both Tolkien-based and original:
The Four Winds by Gussu<da:thumb id="350555876"/>

Elenai's gallery is full of serious pieces...
Idril by Elenai
...and humorous ones:
Comic: Glaurung's birth by Elenai

And andi-scribbles' digital drawings, both fanart and original, are awesome:
Arwen Undomiel by andi-scribbles The Fairy Queen's Gift by andi-scribbles

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

Firstly, thank you to everyone who enjoys my writing! I know I haven't posted anything new in a while, but I hope you keep rereading my work, and maybe find new artists to follow by looking through my favorites.

Thanks again to MirachRavaia for conducting this interview. I'm honored to be part of it.

Thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions!

Previous talks:Bullet; Blue with Gold-Seven
                            Bullet; Blue with steamey
                            Bullet; Blue with ekukanova
                            Bullet; Blue with Tulikoura
                            Bullet; Blue with AbePapakhian
                            Bullet; Blue with kimberly80
                            Bullet; Blue with jankolas
                            Bullet; Blue with jgilronan
                            Bullet; Blue with ebe-kastein
                            Bullet; Blue with MatsumotoSensei
                            Bullet; Blue with TurnerMohan
                            Bullet; Blue with ullakko

Rohirrim journal skin.

Horse head © 2009 - Grinmir-stock
Texture by kizistock
Knotwork by gbrgraphix
© 2014 - 2021 MirachRavaia
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Elenai's avatar
Thank you for mentioning me, that's so sweet :) It's been ages since I put anything new oin deviantart, so that was extra nice, thank you :)
MirachRavaia's avatar
It was batwinged-squirrel who mentioned you, but you are welcome, I guess :)
batwinged-squirrel's avatar
Just commenting to make an amendment to my answer on question seven. It's come to my attention that what I said implies all slash to be offensive, which was not my intention. Tags are to let people who don't like that sort of thing know which stories to avoid. I apologize for not being clear in the first place.
MirachRavaia's avatar
Thank you for clarification! I can edit the original answer if you would like me to, and send me the exact wording of the correction.
batwinged-squirrel's avatar
You can just cut out the second paragraph of that answer. It's not really relevant to your question. ^^; The first one is fine as-is. Thanks!
MirachRavaia's avatar
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