rysowAnia, Tolkien-Artist-of-the-Month: “Laughter Is Stilled”

“The cycles should be linked to a majestic whole, and yet leave scope for other minds and hands, wielding paint and music and drama.”

rysowAnia is my Tolkien Artist of the Month. Last week, I considered “Two Trees of Valinor“, her depiction of Yavanna among her two most magnificent creations, Laurelin and Telperion. This week, I consider “Laughter is stilled“, which depicts a young Túrin in agonizing sorrow.
Looking through rysowAnia’s gallery I’ve glanced this image dozens of times without really seeing it. For the longest time, I didn’t even realize it was a “Tolkien” image, and actually assumed it was simply a perceptive image of a child using a pillow to keep from bursting out loud with laughter. Boy was I wrong!

No, this is not some generic and sentimental “childhood” image, but a depiction of heartbreaking grief and tragedy. The subject is a young Túrin, shortly after the death of his sister Lalaith (“laughter”). One can only imagine the pain and rage the pillow muffles, what tears it absorbs. This is a picture of sorrow at its most extreme, and humanizes the burden Túrin must have carried into the ever-increasing tragedies of his life. This kind of event damages a person, perhaps even breaks them. And Túrin, it would seem, really had no one to put him back together again.

I was fooled because you just don’t see these types of images with Tolkien’s work, but the story of Túrin is unusual in that regard anyway. It is perhaps the most human story of the first age, entwined as it is with inescapable sorrow and grief. With all of the tragedies in our own twisted world, it often seems triumphant that we can even find the the emotional and spiritual room to laugh. It’s a necessary thing, a sort of spiritual immune system, to grasp laughter and humor, a means of lightening the heart, but for Túrin, it’s as if the laughter of life had been completely destroyed with the death of his dear Lalaith. Perceptive work here indeed.

Next week I’ll begin featuring a new Tolkien Artist-of-the-Month. Until then, please go check out more of rysowAnia’s work, and leave her comments on the pieces you enjoy!

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The Tolkien Road – Ep74 – Concerning Peter Jackson’s Fellowship of the Ring

Concerning Peter Jackson’s Fellowship of the Ring

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Hey there fellow travelers! Welcome to The Tolkien Road, a long walk through the works and philosophy of J.R.R. Tolkien. On this episode, Greta and I are fresh off of reading “Fellowship of the Ring” and so we thought it would be fun to go back and watch Peter Jackson’s 2001 film adaptation of the book, and then share our thoughts on it with you guys. By the way, if you haven’t already, please leave The Tolkien Road a rating and feedback on iTunes. We’d love to know what you think of the podcast. Enjoy the show!

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©2013-2016 rfcunha

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rysowAnia, Tolkien-Artist-of-the-Month: “Two Trees of Valinor”

“The cycles should be linked to a majestic whole, and yet leave scope for other minds and hands, wielding paint and music and drama.”

rysowAnia is my Tolkien Artist of the Month. Last week, I considered “Looking into the Stone“, her depiction of Denethor under the spell of his precious Palantír. This week, I consider “Two Trees of Valinor“, which depicts Yavanna among her two most magnificent creations, Laurelin and Telperion.
I really love rysowAnia’s impressionistic style when it comes to the Valar and the things of their mythology. The thing is, the Two Trees are not depicted here in terms of Tolkien’s own description, at least not in a realist sort of manner. Instead, we see their difference in terms of their shape, and in a way, they even seem each to foreshadow one of the two races of the Children of Ilúvatar. Silver Telperion, with his long, falling and fading light, seems a visual depiction of the Elves. Golden Laurelin, with her small, fruitful clusters of flame, reflects the brief burst of life that is the race of Men.

Furthermore, the impressionistic nature of the work causes them to blend into one another in branch and root, with both emanating at the root from Yavanna herself. They are an outpouring of her nature, a blending of her very being with the Earth, and she sings to them in order to nourish them. There are surely more literal interpretations of the Trees, but I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a visual depiction that gets closer to their spiritual heart.

Tune in next week when I’ll feature another one of rysowAnia’s pieces. In the meantime, hop on over to her DeviantArt gallery and check out the rest of her work.

The Tolkien Road – Ep73 – The Lord of the Rings – B2C10 – The Breaking of the Fellowship

Concerning “The Breaking of the Fellowship”, Book 2, Chapter 10 of The Lord of the Rings…

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Hey there fellow travelers! Welcome to The Tolkien Road, a long walk through the works and philosophy of J.R.R. Tolkien. On this episode, we continue through The Lord of the Rings with Book 2, Chapter 10, “The Breaking of the Fellowship.” By the way, if you haven’t already, please leave The Tolkien Road a rating and feedback on iTunes. We’d love to know what you think of the podcast. Enjoy the show!

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©2013-2016 rfcunha

Topics of discussion…

  • A Brief Note on Lembas and Melian – 3:30
  • A Note on Tolkien’s Requiem – 7:00
  • Frodo’s Decision – 9:30
  • The Temptation of Boromir – 15:30
  • Frodo in the Ring World – 32:00
  • Meanwhile by the Riverside… – 40:30
  • Boromir’s Confession – 46:00
  • Sam & Frodo – 48:00
  • Haiku Time – 54:30

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rysowAnia, Tolkien Artist-of-the-Month: “Looking into the Stone”

“The cycles should be linked to a majestic whole, and yet leave scope for other minds and hands, wielding paint and music and drama.”

rysowAnia is my Tolkien Artist of the Month. Last week, I looked at “Nienna“, her depiction of the weeping Vala. This week, I consider “Looking into the Stone“, which concerns Denethor and the Palantír of Minas Tirith.
Denethor appears just like I’d imagine him to look as he stares into the Palantír: hungry (even greedy!) for some hopeful knowledge, haggard with the worries of siege and a shrinking realm. It’s interesting to note that his hands become translucent when gripping the seeing stone. It’s almost like he’s in the process of becoming a wraith! He seems not altogether so different in spirit from Gollum, desperate as he was for the One Ring.

I’m not entirely sure what to make of the enshrouding white light. The Palantír was stored in the highest room of Minas Tirith (aka Minas Anor, the Tower of the Sun). As we know, the use of the Palantír was one of Denethor’s gravest mistakes. Perhaps this “sunlight” is meant to demonstrate that the Steward of Gondor had turned his attention away from the light of the heavens and the matters of his responsibility and was seeking forbidden “light” instead. A point worthy of contemplation…

Tune in next week when I’ll feature another one of rysowAnia’s pieces. In the meantime, hop on over to her DeviantArt gallery and check out the rest of her work.

The Tolkien Road – Ep72 – The Lord of the Rings – B2C9 – The Great River

Concerning “The Great River”, Book 2, Chapter 9 of The Lord of the Rings…

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Hey there fellow travelers! Welcome to The Tolkien Road, a long walk through the works and philosophy of J.R.R. Tolkien. On this episode, we continue through The Lord of the Rings with Book 2, Chapter 9, “The Great River.” By the way, if you haven’t already, please leave The Tolkien Road a rating and feedback on iTunes. We’d love to know what you think of the podcast. Enjoy the show!

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©2013-2016 rfcunha

Topics of discussion…

  • A Forgotten Haiku – 4:00
  • Fëanor, Gimli, and Galadriel’s Hair – 8:00
  • A Journey Down River – 13:00
  • A Log With Eyes – 18:00
  • A Hunting Eagle – 22:00
  • Orc Attack! – 25:00
  • How Long in Lórien? – 29:00
  • Boromir’s Argument – 32:00
  • Pillars of Kings – 36:00
  • Haiku – 41:00

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Concerning Ainulindalë: The Second Theme

Even as Eru smiles, he lifts up his left hand and a new theme emerges amid the storm. What do we make of this new theme? Is it a mere reaction to Melkor’s work, or is it a theme altogether distinct from the first? We are told it is “like and yet unlike” the former theme and that it “gathered power and had new beauty.” Coming as it does amidst Melkor’s cacophony, it would need to be powerful enough to emerge through that noise, the same noise that seemed to drown Ilúvatar’s first theme.
ainulindäle - evan palmerAs for it being “like and yet unlike” the former theme, we are not told in what way this is. Most of us probably recognize this sensation when it comes to hearing music. An artist may produce a song using a melody or riff, and then change something about it later so that it sounds the same yet, at the same time, seems altogether new. One can see this operative in James Horner’s music for The Fellowship of the Ring. Even in a short piece like “Concerning Hobbits,” the initial theme opens, and then is changed, almost transfigured, by a shift in rhythm and instrumentation. And then, further down the line, a brief twinge of sadness, a minor key, interrupts the flow and something even newer emerges.

Though it would seem that Ilúvatar has produced something capable of withstanding Melkor’s assault of noise, Melkor is not finished yet. Even as the second theme emerges from the sea of sound, Melkor’s discord arises with a vengeance and an even greater war of noise results, a noise so great that many of the Ainur simply cease their playing altogether. “Who’s in charge here?” they must be wondering.

It would seem, according to the text, that Melkor is: “Melkor had the mastery.” Melkor, created by Ilúvatar, seems to be winning in what has gone from a beautiful harmonious music to a war of noise. Yet as we might expect, Ilúvatar is not finished yet…
__________
Image: from “J.R.R. Tolkien’s Ainulindalë” by Evan Palmer

rysowAnia, Tolkien Artist-of-the-Month: “Nienna”

“The cycles should be linked to a majestic whole, and yet leave scope for other minds and hands, wielding paint and music and drama.”

Last week, I named rysowAnia my Tolkien Artist of the Month. This week, I take a look at “Nienna“, her portrait of the weeping Vala.
She is acquainted with grief, and mourns for every wound that Arda has suffered in the marring of Melkor. So great was her sorrow, as the Music unfolded, that her song turned to lamentation long before its end, and the sound of mourning was woven into the themes of the World before it began. But she does not weep for herself; and those who hearken to her learn pity, and endurance in hope.

– The Silmarillion

I really love how rysowAnia captures the spiritual essence of the Valar. Nienna, queen of tears, is here so mournful that she appears like a ghost in a waterfall, yet at the same time she beckons, as if to say “Come to me and learn pity.” In Tolkien’s works, the word “pity” always evokes the counsel of Gandalf (“It was pity that stayed [Bilbo’s] hand”). Thus, it is fascinating to note that Valaquenta mentions that Olórin (Gandalf) went “often to the house of Nienna, and of her he learned pity and patience.”

Though I don’t know it to be a direct influence in this case, the imagery bears a striking similarity to “Mary Mother of Graces.” Of course, one of Mary’s other titles is “Mother of Sorrows.”
IR03545xxTune in next Monday when I’ll feature another one of rysowAnia’s pieces. In the meantime, hop on over to her DeviantArt gallery and check out the rest of her work.

The Tolkien Road – Ep71 – The Lord of the Rings – B2C8 – Farewell to Lórien

Concerning “Farewell to Lórien”, Book 2, Chapter 8 of The Lord of the Rings…

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Hey there fellow travelers! Welcome to The Tolkien Road, a long walk through the works and philosophy of J.R.R. Tolkien. On this episode, we continue through The Lord of the Rings with Book 2, Chapter 8, “Farewell to Lórien.” By the way, if you haven’t already, please leave The Tolkien Road a rating and feedback on iTunes. We’d love to know what you think of the podcast. Enjoy the show!

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©2013-2016 rfcunha

Topics of discussion…

  • Where we left off – 2:45
  • How to proceed? – 10:00
  • Boromir Eyes the Ring – 17:00
  • Lembas – 23:00
  • Rope! – 30:00
  • Galadriel’s Song – 33:00
  • Concerning Fangorn and Rohan – 42:00
  • Gifts for the Fellowship – 44:45
  • Galadriel’s Second Song – 53:45
  • Gimli Wept – 55:45
  • Haiku – 1:01:00

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