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The King of the Golden Hall

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'Now the four companions went forward, past the clear wood-fire burning upon the long hearth in the midst of the hall. Then they halted. At the far end of the house, beyond the hearth and facing north towards the doors, was a dais with three steps; and in the middle of the dais was a great gilded chair. Upon it sat a man so bent with age that he seemed almost a dwarf; but his white hair was long and thick and fell in great braids from beneath a thin golden circle set upon his brow. In the centre upon his forehead shone a single white diamond. His beard was laid like snow upon his knees; but his eyes still burned with a bright light, glinting as he gazed at the strangers. Behind his chair stood a woman clad in white. At his feet upon the steps sat a wizened figure of a man, with a pale wise face and heavy-lidded eyes.
There was a silence. The old man did not move in his chair.'  

JRR. Tolkien: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers: Book IIIChapter 6: The King of the Golden Hall

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Painted in watercolour.

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© 2016 - 2021 peet
Comments45
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Virtuella's avatar

Wow, how did I overlook this before! This is perfect!

Izvin's avatar

Stunning. Eowyn has bearing of a shieldmaiden, Theoden look of venerable weary ruler and Grima seems inteligent and experienced and not obviously treacherous and I think it goes wondrously with book description. Theoden's chair is a work of art and hats off regarding garbs and the way they fold.

TimMcJimFromPL's avatar
peet's avatar
Thanks again!
TimMcJimFromPL's avatar
Your very welcome.
Midway2009's avatar
peet's avatar
Cheers - sorry for the late response! :worship:
Midway2009's avatar
maunagarjana's avatar
I like this one, but I think the cane is too small. I've had to use canes before, and I know a proper cane size. His cane comes up slightly above the knee, when it should come up to waist level. Also, even if you assume the cane is one step below where he is sitting and thus creating the illusion of it only being about knee level, the handle is too small compared to his hands. How is he going to grab on to that with those big paws he's got? A cane handle should support the whole hand, not just three fingers.
peet's avatar
Thanks very much for the constructive critique on this piece - you might be right about the cane. I had based it on a 19C antique-cane which has a small handle, in which the weight of the body at the ball of the hand. You may be correct however.

Also it's not canon, as it ought to be black rather than brown, having re-read the passage immediately following after I finished it ;)
Apelure's avatar
Amazing work! So many great subtle details throughout the illustration.
peet's avatar
Much obliged for the kind comment :) I do enjoy the details!
MatejCadil's avatar
Gorgeous illustration! I love how you depicted all the three characters, their expressions are so telling. Éowyn beautiful and noble and yet she looks trapped and so sad. Théoden, once great king, sitting on a magnificent throne, but now so wretched, tired and lethargic. And then Gríma, sneering and feeling like the real master of the situation, the only one making direct eye contact. Well done! Also I have to mention you did a great job with the knotwork and all the ornaments. :thumbsup:
It's a pity this scene was so botched in the film, I love in in the book.
peet's avatar
Wow, sorry, I don't now how I missed this wonderful comment :) Thank you so much, your descriptions are so detailed and spot on, it's a real honour for me to read them. Yeh, this scene was tragically mishandled in the film; I think it was the point for me where I knew things were irredeemable ... FotR was fine, but from the beginning of TTT thing's just seemed so 'off'. This confirmed it in my mind -_-
MatejCadil's avatar
As you say. FotR had some ridiculous scenes (such as the wobbling stairway in Moria) and some story changes I didn't like (such as truncating the journey from Bag End to Bree) but I respected it and generally liked the film. In TTT these became the rule rather than exceptions and this particular scene was quite upsetting.
MensjeDeZeemeermin's avatar
Okay, that's THEM.  The expressions are perfect, and thank you SO MUCH for avoiding all the nonsense that Jackson ladled over Tolkien's perfect descriptions.  JUST wonderful details, tremendous color--it's stunning.
peet's avatar
Ah, absolutely no problem! It's my duty you see ;) :lol: - and thanks for the really nice comment!
peet's avatar
Thanks a lot :)
RavenHeart1984's avatar
you are most welcome peet
Rearda's avatar
Such a simple scene in the text, yet you have made it difficult for me to take my eyes from Grima's gaze. I like your Eowyn; she looks trapped in the shadows yet alert. Théoden's pitiful state is emphasised by the contrast with his kingly throne and trappings which were designed to magnify his power, not his dotage. It's all beautifully done.
peet's avatar
Always a pleasure to receive a few words from you Rearda, my sincere thanks. Wormtongue's look is one of suppressed desperation and anger I suppose - he certainly does not want these characters interfering at this stage, as they are all on the cusp of brinksmanship. I also really like the way you describe Eowyn here: this is precisely what I was going for - a cage that cannot be seen, yet is symbolised by the stuffy shadows that Meduseld had become, and that it was her misfortune to endure 'trapped' in her female body. As for the King himself, I hope I've done him justice. Aged like a dwarf, yet alert, and one who must have had much strength and prowess in his youth (half Gondorian too of course). That's how he is described, and that's what I hoped to get across :)
SarkaSkorpikova's avatar
Oh I love this! Not only for Grima's expression, which is one of the best things about this painting, but I also appreciate the great work on "celtic" knots. It had to be an infinite job :) Theoden looks great, I mean it's exactly the expression I would await from him in his situation. And my favorte things also are these  colorful "badges" or "medals" of how to call them , on the throne
peet's avatar
Once more, what can I say? You always leave me such beautiful comments, and it's hard to convey my thanks each and every time. But rest assured they are all greatly appreciated. I was really disappointed with this scene in the movie; that was nothing like how I imagined it. I never imagined Theoden to be literally possessed and in need of an exorcism. Tolkien was the master of subtlety and metaphor, whereas PJ and Boyens are quite literally the opposite ... I just don't get it ... :confused:
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