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Durin
By TurnerMohan   |   Watch
254 67 9K (1 Today)
Published: October 16, 2014
© 2014 - 2019 TurnerMohan
One of a series of ten illustrations I'm doing for an italian-language audiobook of the "Durin's Folk" section of the Lord of the Rings appendices. the tape runs roughly half an hour, so each drawing will play onscreen for about three minutes, quite a chunk of story to have to account for in one image.

The first section chronicles the life of Durin the Deathless, eldest of the seven dwarf-fathers, and the founding of his kingdom in Khazad-Dum. Rather than show Durin as an a flesh-and-blood character, it seemed more fitting to present him as archetype; this great all-father, founder and moses-like lawgiver who returns from the dead at intervals to lead his children; Durin as he exists in the dwarvish collective imagination. I can picture this grand, ferocious effigy carved at monumental scale into some deep, long lost cavern in moria; the face of a god.
Image size
1942x2054px 1.71 MB
IMAGE DETAILS
Make
Canon
Model
Canon MX890 series Network
Software
QuickTime 7.7.1
Comments67
anonymous's avatar
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HelevornArt's avatar
HelevornArtHobbyist Traditional Artist
What a great way to represent him, very thoughtful and original!
TotCzechowicz's avatar
TotCzechowiczStudent Traditional Artist
Truly amazing artwork!!! Great job!
TurnerMohan's avatar
TurnerMohanProfessional General Artist
thanks!
chaos-in-compounded's avatar
it is vastly, emotionally, inspiring. It sings like an ancient opera! Well done!
TurnerMohan's avatar
TurnerMohanProfessional General Artist
Well thank you! that's a compliment :D
evaithegreen's avatar
Excellent tribute.  I like the Dwarves.
TurnerMohan's avatar
TurnerMohanProfessional General Artist
me too, like, alot :)

thanks!
Artigas's avatar
That is a special pleasure to see you coming back to the Dwarves theme my friend. As always, your art is gorgeous and inspiring. It is really amazing how you add even more depth to the professor's already deep story. I take my hat off for your skills.
I was reading the Hobbit again these days, and was surprised to see that Tolkien actually depicts them as a petty scheming and even egoistic race, much like the bad stereotypes about Jews. I assume that later he changed his speeching a good deal, but as for the hobbit, the vibe was all different.
Great work here my frind, I am looking forward to see more!
Libra1010's avatar
 To be fair the Company of Erebor in The Hobbit are basically planning a heist, rather than pursuing a quest - they're more Oceans Eleven than The Fellowship - which rather neatly explains why they're just a WEE bit greedy … after all who would be crazy enough to risk the wrath of a dragon unless the gold-hunger had bitten deep into them?
Artigas's avatar
Yeah definetly more like a heist than a noble quest. Even Thorin is not a very inspirational character if you look closely.
Libra1010's avatar
 I would suggest that while the wisdom of Thorin Oakenshield fails him in the end, his performance at the Battle of Five Armies rather kills any serious attempt to paint him as an uninspiring figure! (even leaving aside the loyalty he inspires in his Company, who hazard a dragon and pit themselves against not one, but TWO armies as they follow him through disasters that would see followers of a lesser figurehead run home screaming).:) (Smile) 
TurnerMohan's avatar
TurnerMohanProfessional General Artist
well he's the heir of durin, that's worth a fuck of a lot for commanding the loyalty of the dwarves. that said thorin, as written, is a sympathetic but not so great guy, not that I blame him; he's the rightful king of his people, but has had a pretty hard life and borne alot of loss, so it's understandable that he's pretty curt and suspicious of other people. I always liked that his dying request was to speak to bilbo and apolagize. I like what they've done with him in the movies (one of the things about those movies i do like) he's more heroic and more sympathetic than he is in the book. the rankin bass cartoon captured the character from the book almost perfectly though
Libra1010's avatar
 I must say that it honestly occurs to me that one of Thorin's motivations is a fear that, like Theodon son of Thengel, he fears himself to be the lesser heir of greater sires - hence his rather prickly, somewhat pompous attitude.

 That makes me wonder if the opening by which the gold-greed insinuated itself into his heart was the thought that, with all the heirlooms and other treasures of his forefathers assembled about him he had acquired in one fell stroke all the tangible proofs of the dignities he had for so long been denied - and would risk being broken into small pieces himself rather than break up such a mighty status symbol (an attitude which I would think helps explain his particular fixation on the Arkenstone - I suspect that the intrinsic value of the Hoard is far from meaningless to him, but that it is the symbolic value of this mighty treasure that means still more to him). 
Artigas's avatar

This is true, at least by the dwarves point of view. But you can see how much they are self centered at an extreme, egoistical and even coward at many points in the story.

Libra1010's avatar
 One might say much the same about Turin Turambar! (poor fellow).No, I disagree! 
Artigas's avatar
This is why I love them above all the other "perfect" heroes. I like how they are human and have flaws and vices! I think this makes the occasional valour and sacrifice moment even more bright and enjoyable.
Libra1010's avatar
 Well there is a good reason every self-respecting fantasy setting needs a dwarf and The Company of Erebor are almost as good a demonstration of why that should be as any other! (although Gimli and Dain Ironfoot are arguably even better!).
TurnerMohan's avatar
TurnerMohanProfessional General Artist
generally speaking, my attitude on thorin (who I've always liked as a character) is that he's pretty okay. he's short tempered, racist and a bit of a prick, but thats pretty typical of what i see the dwarvish kings as being like, and he's also been through alot of shit in his life and had to live with alot of dissapointment. Tom Shippey in "author of the century" goes into great detail about the difference between the "archaic courage" seen from characters like thorin, bard, or beorn - always hot-blooded and out in the open displays of courage, as on the battlefield - and bilbo's more quiet, thankless, duitiful "20th century" courage; his great personal moments are always conducted alone in the dark, like in mirkwood or approaching smaug's lair; choosing to go forward or do what's right, not vainglorious.
Artigas's avatar

Dont take me wrong, I like Thorin a lot too, and when I say he is not inspirational I mean as a role model, to his own he is very inspirational of course. Hahhah I love your description of Thorin :D

I never heard about this book before (things like this don't come by easily here) but it got me very interested!  

TurnerMohan's avatar
TurnerMohanProfessional General Artist
tolkien was not the first to imagine or depict the dwarves of norse mythology as a kind of jewish-like people. in Wagner's rings cycles the dwarf alberich is intended as a veiled analogy of the stereotypical negative jewish traits, and arguably the conflation of jews and dwarves - these secretive, greedy, devious creatures - had already been a thing in european folk lore and fairy tale for centuries before wagner's time; certainly Rumpelstiltskin seems very much like a dwarf and a jew, in the medieval estimation, at once (that devious jewish dwarf trope in folklore is kind of what i was going for in this piece) I wouldn't be surprised if tolkien was very familiar with the conflation (by wagner and others) of dwarves with jewish stereotypes, and liked the general outline it provided for the dwarves and their culture as this secretive, patriarchal "people apart," but then sought to go deeper and, by his work, to at once redeem the dwaves of norse mythology from the mostly villainous roles they were relegated to, and turn around the anti-semitism of wagner and others by having his dwarves embody alot of the positive stereotypical jewish traits aswell; the dwarves in tolkien's writing are industrious, hard working, brilliant artisans, manage to hold on to their culture and legacy through a long history of adversity, and you get the sense (or i always did) that they are very close with eachother and, as a people, have eachother's back, moreso than men or even elves; that their shared history and heritage is more important to them than pretty much anything else.
Artigas's avatar
Your point of view is so interesting. I never noticed before how Tolkien's work grow and turned into something very original leaving behind the original influences and references! 
TurnerMohan's avatar
TurnerMohanProfessional General Artist
i was working on (been hung up on it for months though) a plate for the middle-earth historic costume in pictures book: a group piece featuring narvi coming before the dwarf lords and begging them to take their rings off (shortly after all that bad shit went down in eregion, i was thinking) I'd intended it as a showcase for the costumery of both the dwarvish workmen and the great old lords, who, gathered together like a posse, ended up strongly evoking something like the ancient council of Pharisees. somehow the ancient jewish cultural ques just work so well for dwarves, they have that ancient, authoritative feel, particularly their rulers. I hope I can get it finished before too long :)
Artigas's avatar

It is no secret that dwarves are my favorite and that I consider your renditions of the subject the absolute best around, and that this costume book project is the best Tolkien related project I ever seen, so you can imagine how much I am looking forward to see it coming to be.

This comparison of all different social classes in just one panel will be so great! And you have the rare combo of deep knowledge of history and human nature as well as a sensitive and keen eye to detail and hidden between the lines information to make another masterpiece for sure!

It is great to see you working a lot and so motivated and growing! Keep up the inspirational work my friend!

tronapage's avatar
so beautiful...I found this on a Thorin Oakenshield page and shared it to mine, I hope that was okay...I did of course give you full credit as the artist.
anonymous's avatar
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