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Castamir the Usurper

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Castamir was the great-grandson of king Calmacil of Gondor, of the line of Anárion, son of Isildur. His kinsman, Valacar, married a woman from Rhovannion, and Castamir and a number of noblemen thought this would lessen the gift of Númenor and lessen the grace of the Kings: the pure blood of the lost isle now contaminated by Barbarian blood. This should not be. Thus started the Kin-Strife, a civil war between Valacar's son, Eldacar, and Castamir, his kinsman and close to the throne by blood and station. Castamir, with support from Pelargir and Umbar, seized the capital of Osgiliath, laying waste to it and chasing off Eldacar to the far North, where he sought refuge with his Northern kin. Castamir seized his cousin's son, Ornendil, Eldacar's eldest son, and as to solidify his rule as King of Gondor, he put him to the sword. Widely considered a harsh ruler and a tyrant, Castamir was killed and lost his crown ten years later.

Thus, I depicted the afternath of the fall of Osgiliath. Castamir (right) triumphant, now calling himself King of Gondor, has his kinsman, Ornendil (on his knees) put to the sword by a mariner of Pelargir. I always considered there is something inherently tragic in Castamir: he sought the preservation of an idea, no matter how perverted, and stay the tide that could mean the loss of whatever remained of Númenor, the Royal blood. And he did act as many other usurpers did: harshly, without mercy, as to stay on the throne one must get bloodied. So, I did not portray him as a mere usurper and moustache-twirling villain, but a man with pathos, facing destiny and bound to challenging fate. To emphasize this, the wind is against him, blowing against him with force: it's not an auspicious path to take. Castamir does remind me of a certainly villain-esque king of History, Charles of Anjou, who conquered Sicily and killed both the current king, Manfred of Hohenstaufen, and his would-be heir, Conradin, ruler of Swabia, a mere teenager he had publicly beheaded in Naples. Albeit Charles I was actually successful, fathered a line of kings and would not lose throne and head: he did fail in keep the island of Sicily, that he lost to the king of Aragon Peter III -married to Manfred's eldest daughter-.

Now, for the drawing itself. I depicted Castamir as a fully-fledged King of Gondor: he wears a surcoat emblazoned with the White Tree and the Seven Stars of Elendil, he is strong and tall and still graced by Númenor itself. His hand is deliberately large, he is a strong, resourceful man, Captain of Ships, lord of the havens. He wears no crown: the winged crown must still be in hands of Eldacar. The captured prince largerly wears a similar attire to his kinsman and executioner. And now, the mariner. He wears a simplified evolved version of the Núménorean "karma" that flamboyant helmet Tolkien referenced and draw only once. I chose to keep it simple, far from the more ornate older version. The banner behind both is not actually my creation, but whoever designed the heraldry in the LotR: Kingdoms in Exile mod for Crusader Kings. I find it a fantastic creation that I slightly modified to my taste, but credit where it's due. I confess I don't wholly understand the concept, but it follows the Middle Earth's old heraldic fashion: square, symmetrical, geometric design. I believe the Tengwar runes are "m" for "mbr" aka Umbar and the "n" for "nmnr" aka Númenor, which would accurately represent Castamir.
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MoonyMina's avatar

it is really cool, I love your choices and how you've depicted this scene!!