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The Stairs of Cirith Ungol by peet The Stairs of Cirith Ungol by peet
'Gollum looked at them. A strange expression passed over his lean hungry face. The gleam faded from his eyes, and they went dim and grey, old and tired. A spasm of pain seemed to twist him, and he turned away, peering back up towards the pass, shaking his head, as if engaged in some interior debate. Then he came back, and slowly putting out a trembling hand, very cautiously he touched Frodo's knee – but almost the touch was a caress. For a fleeting moment, could one of the sleepers have seen him, they would have thought they beheld an old weary hobbit, shrunken by the years that had carried him far beyond his time, beyond friends and kin, and the fields and streams of youth, an old starved pitiable thing.'

J.R.R. Tolkien: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers: Book IV,  Chapter 8: The Stairs of Cirith Ungol

Previous:  The Funeral Boat of Boromir by peet   Next:   Errand-riders in the Night by peet

Painted in watercolour. 

See this image under the entry for 'Gollum' on Tolkien Gateway here.

If you appreciate my artwork, please show your support by taking a few short moments to 'Like' my Facebook Page at Peter Xavier Price - Illustrator. Many thanks!
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:iconzeonista:
Zeonista Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2015
One of my favorite scenes in TTT, when Gollum repents of his treachery for a single moment. It's from his perspective, so we see the Hobbits as he does. You worked very hard on the cliffside.
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:iconpeet:
peet Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2015  Professional Traditional Artist
This is one of my favourite - and indeed one of the most moving - scenes as well; essentially the most important in the whole book, judging by Tolkien's Letter 181 - the moment when in a sense Gollum's sacrifice is assured as the only means of achieving the Quest. Had Gollum redeemed himself at this point, and Sam not scorned him upon waking, though the three would have carried on none of them would have possessed the will or strength to cast the thing into the fire at the close.

This being said, it's a real travesty that this wasn't in the movie. To repeat, it was the single most important scene according to its author. So how could it have been left out?
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:iconzeonista:
Zeonista Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2015
That was my #1 beef with ROTK movie, it was changed for stupid OOC drama with lembas. I was actually surprised since PJ had been hitting all the emotional high points...and he let that one slide? However Cirith Ungol got it back on track.
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:iconpeet:
peet Featured By Owner Oct 22, 2015  Professional Traditional Artist
I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree on the movies. As you know from my DA Tolkien interview, I said I could write a thesis on why I'm not a fan of them. Actually, it's already (sort of) been done. 

Apologies if you've already seen these, but if not, you have the time, and you're interested in considering a fairly comprehensive 'take down' of those films (not just as adaptations but as films in and of themselves), have a look at the following reviews:

'Promises Broken': TTT: web.archive.org/web/2004060222…

'Promises Kept': RoTK: web.archive.org/web/2004060312…

This pretty much summarises my view, give or take a (very) little.
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:iconiridescent012:
Iridescent012 Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2015
I luv this! I wonder why they had to cut it out of the movie and replace it with that senseless "lembas bread" scene.
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:iconzeonista:
Zeonista Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2015
Yeah, that was the one point for me where the movies definitely dropped the ball. Elsewhere movies handle the emotional and moral conflict so well, even in the movie-continuity scenes. But then at this point we get heavy-handed Gollum villainy and OOC Hobbit behavior. However the Cirith Ungol scenes won me back.
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:iconpeet:
peet Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2015  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you so much! There's a whole lot of senselessness in all of those movies, I think. The books are pretty damn watertight, so deviating just a little from that - let alone to the mind numbing lengths PJ & Co. ended up doing - causes what some people call 'a clusterf**k' in certain professions, or simply general walks of life ... ;)
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:iconyuiccia:
Yuiccia Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2014  Professional General Artist
awesome
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:iconpeet:
peet Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2015  Professional Traditional Artist
Glad you like :)
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:iconnutcase9:
Nutcase9 Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2014  Student General Artist
Poor old Smeagol . . .
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:iconpeet:
peet Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Indeed. This is probably the most 'theo-philosophically' axiomatic scene in the book, according to its author; Frodo may have sacrificed all to save Middle-earth, but so did Smeagol. Sam's harsh words immediately following this took away his one chance of redemption. But if he had earned that redemption, the world would likely have fallen. In other words, Gollum had to be sacrificed in order to fulfil the Quest.
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:iconnutcase9:
Nutcase9 Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2014  Student General Artist
Kind of unfair, really. I want a version where he gets to live by a pond in Hobbitton, damn it.
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:iconpeet:
peet Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Haha, with Mordor surrounding said pond.
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:iconellosse:
Ellosse Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
That is almost exactly how I envisioned the scene myself, albeit from a different viewpoint. I also like the colors used - very suited to the scene - and the peace on Frodo's and Sam's faces. I only wish that we could see Gollum's face. But anyways another wonderful job done! :D
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:iconpeet:
peet Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you very much for another wonderful comment. You're right that I suppose this image should be centred on Gollum, and I think others have mentioned it before. However, it began simply as a rough sketch of Frodo and Sam asleep on the road, and quickly escalated from there. Gollum was an afterthought, which is a shame in a way. Maybe I'll redo this scene one day from a different perspective.
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:iconellosse:
Ellosse Featured By Owner Oct 18, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
You're welcome! I hope you do, and I can't wait to see it! :)
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:iconpeet:
peet Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
It's unfortunately not on the horizon at present (since there are so many scenes I want to do), but one day! We'll see ...
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:iconellosse:
Ellosse Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
So many scenes to do here to! :D
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:iconpeet:
peet Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Tell me about it!
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:iconthe-han:
the-Han Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013
This is beautiful! You did a fantastic job realizing this scene in beautiful, and even more amazingly movie-verse colors and I absolutely like this
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:icondenwolf1:
Denwolf1 Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013
That is awesome.
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:iconkrrouse:
KRRouse Featured By Owner Dec 21, 2006
This was always my favorite part in the books, and I was so sad that it wasn't included in the films. :tears: Then again, I probably would've used up an entire box of Kleenex every time i watched it.

This is really an amazing picture.
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:iconidarshu:
Idarshu Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2005
Poor gollum. :(
I remember this. Great job. +fav.
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:iconangelfromhungary:
AngelFromHungary Featured By Owner Jul 2, 2005  Hobbyist General Artist
Wow, awesome! I luv this style and colors! *fav*
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:iconpeet:
peet Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2005  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks very much! :hug:
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:icongrisznak:
Grisznak Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2005
Smagol here looks great and hobbits too.
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:iconotakuprincess:
Otakuprincess Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2005
ooo very good work! I love Tolkien's work, and your art just adds to the wonder! Definite deviantwatch
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:iconsonorussa:
SonoRussa Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2004
ooh thats awesome
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:iconstalker-of-elves:
stalker-of-elves Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2004  Hobbyist Photographer
i also liked this sence...it made me feel bad for Gollum, that he was so lost and alone...which I guess is the point...but you know....I still ending up hateing him in the end!! and yeah they do go up the stairs together ( mumbles under breath.....peter jackson must die....) any way WONDFUL job .... :-D
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:iconpeet:
peet Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2004  Professional Traditional Artist
Well, the only characters that I can truly hate are perhaps Sauron and Melkor, but even then, it's difficult. I certainly don't hate Gollum though. If Frodo forgave him, we should too.
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:iconstalker-of-elves:
stalker-of-elves Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2004  Hobbyist Photographer
.....:-P.....yeah...your right :hug:
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:iconzulu-eos:
zulu-eos Featured By Owner Feb 29, 2004  Professional Digital Artist
Also another very nice work. Your style is so good!
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:iconlady-lupin:
lady-lupin Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2004  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
That's amazing. You can tell what Gollum's expression is like and all of what is communicated by that passage without having to see his face. Muey bravo. You're the best, Peet.
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:iconpeet:
peet Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2004  Professional Traditional Artist
:bow: Thank you. It's nice to know that you can sort of imagination his expression without actually seeing it. That's one of the greatest attributes in an artist I find, so I'm obviously very flattered!
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:iconhylian-warrior:
hylian-warrior Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2004
I was watching the films again this week. But now that I'm studying cinema and other communication medias, all the fantasy on screen was lost and now that it happened with my favorite trilogy, I ask myself if it was a good idea leaving the medical university...

Well, at least the magic of the books can't be broken, and you gave me back those strong feelings that only Middle Earth could kindle on me. This is another wonderful job! For that, thank you very much.

:hug:
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:iconpeet:
peet Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2004  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you. I'm glad that I've managed to kindle those feelings in you, for that is my aim, definitely. I'm sure studying cinema must make the magic on-screen seem more 'blunt' now, so to speak, which is a shame. But for me, the LotR Trilogy didn't enthuse me in the first place anyway.
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:iconhylian-warrior:
hylian-warrior Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2004
Hahaha!!! Well, but I chose to sacrifice the "magic of cinema" because I want to make other people feel this same magic, to make them feel my message deeply. If I succeed, I'll be the happiest person in the world!
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:iconpeet:
peet Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2004  Professional Traditional Artist
Well, I sincerely hope that you do succeed!
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:iconlinkd3:
LinkD3 Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2004
:D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D ! ! ! ! ! ! WOOHOO!!!!!! the newest peet submission!! now what words can i use to explain how awesome this is?......hmmmmmmmm.. for ooonneee!!! I absolutely LLLOOOOVVEEE how youve made this look so rich. the shadows are so deep and the color tones really stand out. it reminds me slightly of the colors you used on your moria piece. and im so happy with the way youve portrayed gollum, as with the films i thought he was mutch to pale. i guess the stcructure of him was ok, but i dident like his tone of color. i imagined him with mutch more dark skinn, almost to look like a smooth dark wet and slimy stone you would find near a swamp. this fits my imagination perfectly. and i think the facial desighn of the hobbits are just stunning!. i love how youve given a sssllliiighhhtly more aged look to frodo than he looked in the films, frodo being what 40 or 50 at the time of the war of the ring??. yeah. and just about every inch of this piece is PERFECT! hahahaha. this is so great pete may inspiration continue to bless you my friend fare well! ;)
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:iconpeet:
peet Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2004  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you! Wait a second, didn't you already post on this picture earlier? :shrug: :rofl:

Anyway, thanks again. Frodo is indeed over 50 by the time of the War of the Ring. Wood, in my opinion, was terribly bad casting...
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:iconlinkd3:
LinkD3 Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2004
oops... my mistake ;) a double post :rofl: well it deserves a ton of comments so its a good thing! :D lol
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:iconpeet:
peet Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2004  Professional Traditional Artist
:rofl: How did you manage to double-post, when they're miles away from each other -- and the words are nearly exactly the same. Haha! ;)
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:iconlinkd3:
LinkD3 Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2004
Haahaha :D (my computer has a strange sense of humor) ;) hahahah :rofl: and pluss the first time i posted i thought it dident post so i posted again ;) hahahaha i just want to make sure you know how mutch i love your art man!!! :D lol
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:iconpeet:
peet Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2004  Professional Traditional Artist
Ah, I most certainly do, my friend. And I, once again, thank you for it. And likewise, I love your art too!
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:iconlinkd3:
LinkD3 Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2004
ah! :D thank you mutch indeed pete! :) that means allot ;)
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:iconpippinsgirl:
pippinsgirl Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2004  Hobbyist General Artist
This was one of my favorite scenes from the book. I find it interesting that you chose to show the perspective with Gollum's back to the viewer when the text is dwelling so much on his appearance in that one instance--I suppose it leaves so much room for the imagination. When you first look at the piece it seems as though Gollum is up to no good and the hobbits are perfectly innocent, when in reality it might be completely the other way around. When you read the connected excerpt it almost makes you feel guilty :)

great job overall, i really like it :D
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:iconpeet:
peet Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2004  Professional Traditional Artist
I know that the excerpt focuses on Gollum's expression, but what with the foot of the cliff directly behind the two hobbits, this dictated composition more urgently in the end. Even so, I kind of like what's happened with it, because merely showing Gollum's back doesn't interfere with the reader's interpretation of what his face should look like at this exact moment in time. Thus, I was pretty pleased with this outcome :). Thanks for the wonderful comment!
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:iconvkitty9:
vkitty9 Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2004
That part in the book made me so sad...:(

But gorgeous job.
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:iconelendraug:
elendraug Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2004  Hobbyist Writer
You. Are. Amazing. :+favlove: The detail and colour are gorgeous, and you captured their personalities perfectly, even in sleep (or in Gollum's case, from the back of his head). Excellent, excellent work.
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:iconnaeresteliel:
naeresteliel Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2004
This is so very, very good.
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