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Durin by TurnerMohan Durin by 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.
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:iconhelevornart:
HelevornArt Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
What a great way to represent him, very thoughtful and original!
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:icontotczechowicz:
TotCzechowicz Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2015  Student Traditional Artist
Truly amazing artwork!!! Great job!
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2015  Professional General Artist
thanks!
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:iconchaos-in-compounded:
chaos-in-compounded Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2014  Hobbyist
it is vastly, emotionally, inspiring. It sings like an ancient opera! Well done!
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2015  Professional General Artist
Well thank you! that's a compliment :D
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:iconevaithegreen:
evaithegreen Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2014
Excellent tribute.  I like the Dwarves.
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2015  Professional General Artist
me too, like, alot :)

thanks!
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:iconartigas:
Artigas Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2014
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!
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:iconlibra1010:
Libra1010 Featured By Owner Oct 22, 2014
 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?
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:iconartigas:
Artigas Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2014
Yeah definetly more like a heist than a noble quest. Even Thorin is not a very inspirational character if you look closely.
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:iconlibra1010:
Libra1010 Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2014
 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) 
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2014  Professional 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
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:iconlibra1010:
Libra1010 Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2014
 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). 
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:iconartigas:
Artigas Featured By Owner Edited Oct 29, 2014

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.

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:iconlibra1010:
Libra1010 Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2014
 One might say much the same about Turin Turambar! (poor fellow).No, I disagree! 
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:iconartigas:
Artigas Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2014
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.
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:iconlibra1010:
Libra1010 Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2014
 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!).
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2014  Professional 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.
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:iconartigas:
Artigas Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2014

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!  

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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2014  Professional 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.
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:iconartigas:
Artigas Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2014
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! 
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2014  Professional 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 :)
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:iconartigas:
Artigas Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2014

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!

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:icontronapage:
tronapage Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2014
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.
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2014  Professional General Artist
sounds good to me :) may i have the link to those pages (yours and the thorin page) I like to see where my work goes on the web.
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:iconjayden444:
jayden444 Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2014
This is legendary Mr. Mohan.  I've always felt that the Dwarves reverence for Durin (and his line) was the only thing that outweighed their lust for gold.  This is a great way of portraying that!
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:iconlibra1010:
Libra1010 Featured By Owner Oct 22, 2014
 To be fair I imagine that a dwarf's love for the work of his hands (or the heirlooms shaped by his forefathers) outweighs their love for the precious metals which comprise them - I suspect that their kinsmen are also infinitely precious to them, arguably more precious to them than even their treasures are.

 You'll note that quite a number of Dwarf-families escaped Erebor even as their treasures were seized, which to me would seem to indicate that a dwarf prizes his kin and his fellows over mere profit - after all, family members are valuable and most importantly MOVEABLE financial assets in their own right!:D (Big Grin) 
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2014  Professional General Artist
thank you, I'm glad it resonates. I feel the same about them :)
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:iconsaeleth:
Saeleth Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2014
Stunning!
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2014  Professional General Artist
thanks!
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:iconrina-from-shire:
Rina-from-Shire Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
It's so cool!
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2014  Professional General Artist
;)
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:iconartkosh:
ArtKosh Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2014   Traditional Artist
Carved face as a spirit of old greatness of Moria king-father,
:thumbsup:
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2014  Professional General Artist
that's the general idea ;)
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:iconmanorasflame:
ManorasFlame Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Excellent!
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2014  Professional General Artist
thanks!
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:iconmanorasflame:
ManorasFlame Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
You're welcome!
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:iconbenjaminossoff:
BenjaminOssoff Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Wonderful!
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2014  Professional General Artist
thanks :)
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:iconzeonista:
Zeonista Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2014
I am somewhat envious of the Italian fandom for putting forth such a work...and getting you to illustrate it! i might have to run the thing down on Amazon.com or eBay some time jut to have the thing. There is a precedent; I have a German-language version of the Bakshi movie fotonovel. Giggle  For those of you looking to pick up a Japanese LOTR fan project....be careful! O_o

The idea of Durin the Deathless as an ever-present force in his descendants' lives is a powerful one. Even with the threat of pursuit from Moria, Gimli had to behold Durin's Crown in the Mirrormere, and take Frodo (and Sam) to see it. I can well imagine the Longbeards in Khazad-Dum feeling the presence of Durin I in their surroundings as you have depicted it. The loss of Moria not only sundered the Dwarves from the shiny mithril, it also separated them from their ancient lord and his legacy of an underworld home founded by him for all his followers for posterity. On a more technical level, you chosen medium works well for an underground scene, with good stone textures and the dim lighting of an underground chamber with remote illumination.
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2014  Professional General Artist
it's not gonna be for sale, non-profit, the guy plans to release it on youtube when finished.

I see durin as existing for the dwarves as very much this god-the-father type of figure (perhaps often conflated even, in dwarven mythology, with aule, like how jesus accounted as the son of god, but also god hmself depending on who you talk to); the first of their species, this totally larger than life character who walked the practically still unformed earth completely alone for hundreds if not thousands of years, recieved this divine sign of his mission and his place as the father of a people, and began to build his kingdom (presumably without even tools) slowly joined by other members of his spieces, finally dying after about ten times the normal dwarven lifespan, and then seeming to reappear in his line throughout their history.

I've always seen the dwarves as a very semetic people. many obvious parralels have been drawn - some affirmed point blank by tolkien himself - between the dwarves and the jews; their language, their history as a dispersed and often diaspora'd people of several tribes, their wealth, their role as merchants and traders and their position relative to the humans alongside whom they have been obliged to live as this culture-within-the-culture, taking mannish names and speaking men's languages, but holding on to their own beliefs and customs. Nowhere do the dwarves remind me more of an abrahamic people than in the way they seem to reckon their own history, mythology, and you might even say religion; their's is a history of these great old testament-style patriarchs, starting with durin, who lead their people to new wealth or prosperity, begin great works and so on (I've often liked to think that perhaps the tendency of dwarven kings to set out, solo or in only very small companies, to find either a new home or new opportunities for their people - we see thorin I, gror, Thror, and Thrain all do this, the last despite the horrible failure and very costly aftermath of his father's attempt to do so - is perhaps kind of a tradition and responsibility upon the kings of durin's line in a time of need, harkening back to durin's long time alone in the wilderness, which culminated in the founding of khazad dum)
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:iconzeonista:
Zeonista Featured By Owner Oct 18, 2014
Your concept of Durin the Deathless clearly shows through in the picture, and I had to admire it.

The idea of the Dwarves as having Semitic social characteristics is still a new idea for me, for it wasn't until a few years ago that I read the citations fro Tolkien's personal writings where he described it. having been so informed though, the parallels all stood out and showed the Dwarves in a new light. (Part of the fun of being a Middle-Earth fan, the journey of exploration never ends. :)) Ans like the Israelites/Jews, the Dwarves are a people apart, following their own way of life towards their own goal. And like the people of the First Covenant, they have found their Promised Land, abandoned it, found it again, lost it again, and longed for it from afar while struggling to live among strangers who do not share their values. To paraphrase the prophet, "By the waters of Anduin and Greyflood we sat, and sang of Kahazad-Dum." Elves and Men and Halflings sometimes engaged in a given-and-take of culture and language and understanding, but the Dwarves remained apart, and their dealings were always based in the needs of trade and war rather than any voluntary actions. So the Dwarves remained loyal to their own back story, and remembered it, and treasured the memory. "Next year in Erebor..."
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2014  Professional General Artist
Thanks man :)

as to the jewishness of the dwarves, as I mention to artigas above, tolkien wasn't the first person to depict the dwarves of norse mythology as a sort of fairy tale analogy for the jews. Alberich, the evil dwarf in Wagner's Rings Cycles was 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 folklore 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.

I think this side of dwarves has been largely missed by the forty-odd years of pseudo-tolkien fantasy world building begun with knock off high fantasy novels and games like dungeons and dragons, which tend (most annoyingly in my mind) to recast dwarves as these roudy, beer swilling viking types with a hearty, shreck-like scottish brogue (a trope which has in turn spilled over into the portrayal of tolkien's dwarves in the jackson films) but they don't really seem that way at all in tolkien's writing. they come off as grave and serious, and I particularly love how, as a people, they are very close with eachother and have eachother's back, moreso than men or even elves (it's easy - and understandable - to see the dwarves as thinking that men are mostly just drunks and barbarians; it's worth nothing to them that they are of the same race, a king of men like Helm will beat a kinsman to death over basically nothing, that'd be like a longbeard killing a broadbeam to dwarves, unthinkable, no wonder they hold men in contempt. And elves are just a pack of holier-than-thou hypocrites with their three kinslayings and all) that their shared history and heritage is more important to them than pretty much anything else.
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:iconzeonista:
Zeonista Featured By Owner Oct 22, 2014
Well, once you become aware of the similarities, they become inescapable. :) It  adds some depth to the Dwarves, and does make them more than sawed-off Vikings. Of course, Tolkien also created the image of Dwarves as sawed-off Vikings, so he wins on both counts! :D The Dwarves like everybody else in Middle-Earth gained a lot by the change of tone from The Hobbit to LOTR and The Silmarillion, but Tolkien didn't take back any of the characterizations of Thorin Oakenshield and Company, either. So we have a vision of the Dwarves from a very full perspective, from their best to their worst, from Mim to Gimli son of Gloin.  

The terrible event of Thingol and the Dwarf-smiths that leads to the sacking of Megoroth, a tragedy that poisons relation between Elf and Dwarf for many an era, is another consequence of the Silmarils, and one that shows how the Jewels got everyone in Beleriand caught up in their nets regardless of background or intentions. The Silmaril of Beren & Luthien married to the Nauglamir was simply too beautiful for the Dwarves not to covet it according to their nature. The deep significance of the Silmaril to Thingol for personal reasons akin to its beauty made him unwilling to yield it, so there could be no compromise. Murder, war, and ruin followed, with the Sons of Feanor only contributing the final act of Doriath's fall. Tolkien makes sure we all know the Dwarves are at fault, but at earlier stages he contributed the unearthly Silmaril cut from the Iron Crown, and the Nauglamir taken from Glaurung's hoard. So there is a lot working under the surface when Thingol tells the Dwarves to go to Udun. Something for your future projects, no doubt! ;)

For me the true friendship between Elf and Dwarf is the ill-fated realm of Eregion. Despite the awkward period of the temporary residence of Thranduil and the former residents of Doriath, there was genuine friendship between the Noldor elf-smiths and the Dwarves. I suppose the audio book will have some recognition of it. ;)  It does seem like Celebrimbor and his followers could relate to the Dwarves on that basic love for crafting that was a genuine pleasure on both sides. Galadriel intitated the friendly contact as a matter of policy, but Celebrimbor made it authentic, as the design of the West-Gate shows for all time. The end of Eregion separated the elven realms from Khazad-Dum, so Sauron scored a win there. Indeed, the sacking of Menegroth and the re-labeling of Khazad-Dum as "Dark/Black Pit" show that the Dark Lords' strategy of "divide and conquer" at the most successful.
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:iconlibra1010:
Libra1010 Featured By Owner Oct 22, 2014
 If you're looking for novels which give due credit to and develop upon Professor Tolkien's ideas concerning the Dwarves as a people with strong semitic undertones, I would suggest reading the works of Sir Terry Pratchett (especially THE FIFTH ELEPHANT and THUD); I admit to having parted ways with Sir Pterry in recent years ovr mild philosophical differences (Discworld is getting a bit TOO Steampunk for my tastes and perhaps always has been, even if I have only reached that conclusion rather recently*). 

 *I must admit I was about to leave things there, but for the sake of honesty I should also admit that this particular parting of the ways can probably be dated from my quick look-through of THE SCIENCE OF DISCWORLD - JUDGEMENT DAY and my first experience of Miss Marjorie Dawes, a librarian whose mis-categorisation of The Bible infuriates me.

 As one who sees Religion and Science as two different faces of the same coin (one side saying "Why?" and the other "How?"), I do tend to see the sort of scientist who can entitle their work 'The God Delusion' as being quite as objectionable as the more aggressive schools of Creationism.

 Master Mohan, if you wish me to edit or delete this post, please ask me and I shall do so - my opinion stands as written, but I would not wish to see a Commentary go to waste (or worse yet fall into controversy).

 
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Oct 22, 2014  Professional General Artist
this may be the atheist (or at least the agnostic with strong atheist leanings) in me, but i have a hard time imagining anything an atheist (or anyone else for that matter) could posit that could be as objectionable to reason as the more aggressive schools of creationism.
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:iconlibra1010:
Libra1010 Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2014
 That depends on your point of view, Master Mohan; I am willing to admit that one man's meat is another man's poison and also that the more . . . ENTHUSIASTIC Literalists can be rather hard to swallow (trust me, Theists of the non-obsessive compulsive variety worry about them too).

 On the other hand I would like to point out that it's as unfair to lump a majority of the pious (not to mention the very idea of Religion) in with our fellows out there on the Lunatic Fringe as it would be to ascribe to all believers in Empiricist Truth the misdeeds of the Black Sheep in the Scientific Community (the length and breadth of Medical Science can produce more than it's share of Bad Ideas practiced with excessive enthusiasm for a start); I like to think that the wise man who wrote "Bad reason makes for poor Theology" is closer to the truth of my fellow believers than he he who barked "Kill them all, God shall know his own!" (the latter in my mind being sound tactics but extremely poor Theology - God will indeed know his own and be VERY unhappy with your mistreatment of them).
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:iconlibra1010:
Libra1010 Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2014
Really magnificent work Master Mohan - something about the Dwerrows really seems to bring out your very best and please be assured that we, your audience, love your works depicting that doughty People just as much as a result, if not more!

 Might I please be so bold as to ask what the other nine illustrations for this feature will depict? 

 If not, I shall be forced to guess and risk embarrassment! (my bet would be that the Cold Drake that drove Durin's Folk out of the North, Fram the Northman, The War of the Dwarves and the Goblins, possibly even the Desolation of Erebor and the life of Dain Ironfoot stand out as the most likely subjects for such a series - although this still falls short of the full Nine, for it's been some little while since I read The Appendices).


 I hope that you stay well and that your work flourishes as it deserves to Master Mohan!
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2014  Professional General Artist
well you asked and then tried to guess anyway, so i don't think i will tell you ;) but they're going to be whatever image best fits the three minute block of time it has to occupy, so you can probably figure alot of them out from that

try this on instead, was my personal soundtrack for durin's folk long before howard shore's recent attempt ;) www.youtube.com/watch?v=3WKN0X…

Thanks man, and i hope you're well also :)
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:iconlibra1010:
Libra1010 Featured By Owner Edited Oct 22, 2014
 For the record I was a little surprised by your choice, but I have to admit that the connection is very applicable and the soundtrack in question IS very good … although I admit that Mr Howard Shore's work still feels more Dwarfish to my ear (his work on 'My Dear Frodo' and 'Durin's Folk' remain amongst my very favourite themes from his work on behalf of Middle Earth).:) (Smile) 
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