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Celebrimbor's Death

By peet
'Concerning the Three Rings Sauron could learn nothing from Celebrimbor; and he had him put to death. But he guessed the truth, that the Three had been committed to Elvish guardians: and that must mean to Galadriel and Gil-galad.

In black anger he turned back to battle; and bearing as a banner Celebrimbor's body hung upon a pole, shot through with Orc-arrows, he turned upon the forces of Elrond. Elrond had gathered such a few of the Elves of Eregion as had escaped, but he had no force to withstand the onset

[...]

But as [Sauron] ravaged the lands, slaying or drawing off all the small groups of Men and hunting the remaining Elves, many fled to swell Elrond's host to the northward.'  

JRR Tolkien: Unfinished Tales: IV. The History of Galadriel and Celeborn

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Painted in watercolour.

If you appreciate my artwork, please show your support by taking a few short moments to 'Like' my :facebook: Facebook Page, at Peter Xavier Price - Illustrator. Many thanks!
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© 2014 - 2021 peet
Comments65
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This breaks my heart... Well done!!
Very dramatic, an excellent rendering of the scene.  I would suggest - just as a very slight clarification - to change the title, as this is not the scene of his death. He was first tortured - apparently a prolonged procedure. There are many examples in Tolkien of the dark forces enjoying torturing their victims. Sauron did that, it seems, repeatedly - e.g. Gorlim, Thrain II, Gollum, etc.; "...his dominion was torment". Not to mention Morgoth's torment of Hurin, which lasted 28 years, or that of Maedhros (lasting some 3 Valian Years plus 5 Years of the Sun, which would apparently mean some 450 years) , and of course the creation of the race of Orcs by tormenting Elves....  As the text you quote says, "bearing as a banner Celebrimbor's body" - i.e. he was already dead.  This is the darkest theme running through JRRT's works; we read about "the Houses of Lamentation", "the City of Torment", the various other figures who endure torment (Celebrian, Turin...) Phrases like "he had him set in slow torment" are almost worse than a description of what was done; terrifying in their vagueness. One of the most disturbing moments in LOR is the scene at the Inn in Bree, where we read: "The hobbits looked at him, and saw with surprise that his face was drawn as if in pain, and his hands clenched the arms of his chair." Aragorn is remembering something very horrible; as it turns out, this goes back to an early version of this chapter, where the ranger is a hobbit (Trotter) who had been tortured by the Nazgul, and as a result had wooden feet! (See History of Middle Earth, Vol. 6). Aragorn's statement "There! Perhaps I know more about these pursuers than you do" comes from this earlier version.
Midway2009's avatar
peet's avatar
Yeh, pretty dark scene this one ...
Elvinkin66's avatar
I can imagine the horror of elves such as Elrond and Gil Gialad upon seeing the orcs fly
celebrimbor's corpse as a banner
MarysMirages's avatar
Oh, my GodWaaaah! ...Heartbreaking scene. And the orc in the foreground so typical.
peet's avatar
Yeah, it's pretty dark. It'll take me a while to top this one in terms of the evil in M-e ...
Melalina's avatar
Of course I love all your work, but I found this piece difficult to look at. It makes Tolkien's words even more difficult to read.
peet's avatar
Sorry for the late reply. Yeah, there's a lot of contrast in Tolkien - some really beautiful and full of innocence, other times complete and utter darkness and degradation. I like those contrasts. They're really important to what he proposes.
CrouchingAllosaurus's avatar
Nan iChir Gelair Mordor...
peet's avatar
Never played the game, but others have remarked on it in relation to this work ;)
Matakoura's avatar
Stunning composition and detail, and I LOVE the colour! 
peet's avatar
Thanks, your words are really kind!
Matakoura's avatar
You're welcome! :D
alltimeart's avatar
very good work
peet's avatar
Many thanks :)
Truth-lover3712's avatar
Strange that reading the text alone gives a shock of Orcish cruelty...and that seeing an image such as this ten-folds that feeling.
Your art is as if from the Edain themselves :D
peet's avatar
High praise indeed my friend! Praise that I take as a high honour! Many thanks :boing:
Truth-lover3712's avatar
You're very welcome! :D
Uranus-seventhsun's avatar
Such a grimly beautiful execution.  I know nothing of the character, but he does indeed look like he died in defiance.

To whom was the third ring committed?
peet's avatar
Thanks! The Third Ring was committed to Cirdan, who held it until the arrival of Mithrandir/Gandalf many millennia later in the Third Age. After a while, Saruman learned that Gandalf held one of the Three and became jealous of him, thus accounting in part for his ultimate treachery.
Petit-Panda-Roux's avatar
Awesome! All those details <3...
And I love the dramatic light!
peet's avatar
Thanks a lot for commenting - this was a bit of a job to paint so I'm very grateful ;)
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