“…Manwë is dearest to Illuvatar and understands most clearly his purposes. He was appointed to be … the first of all Kings: lord of the realm of Arda and ruler or all that dwell therein. In Arda his delight is in the winds and the clouds … Sulimo he is surnamed, Lord of the Breath of Arda.” — Silmarillion, Valaquenta
Not mentioned in this particular passage, but Manwë has a special affinity for birds, especially eagles, presumably due to his delight in the winds. Thus the winged circlet (I also like the hearkening to the winged helmets of Gondor). I maintain that this affinity for birds is the reason Gandalf has such a good relationship with Gwaihir the Eagle — before leaving Valinor to become Istari in Middle Earth, Gandalf was Olorin, one of the Maiar of Manwë.
All of the Valar took the guise of what they thought the Children of Illuvatar would look like when they finally came. Manwë has the overall look of a Noldorin Elf with dark hair and light eyes, which are both also reminiscent of the sky (this becomes more important when we later talk about Varda, his Queen).
I chose a dark stone in his circlet for a similar reason as the dark hair. Also because there seems to be an ongoing elemental theme with the other Valar, and with Ulmo being water I thought black was a better air color for Manwë than blue.
I spend a lot of time realistically defending Peter Jackson, the man is no saint but I don’t abhor the work he’s done with Tolkien’s world for the most part. However, seeing this Sauron being sold as “The Hobbit 3” was a bit too far. The extremely heavy handed “foreshadowing” of the Necromancer as Sauron was acceptable, but not having outright Sauron in The Hobbit. I was relieved when I purchased it to learn that it’s actually from the Lord of the Rings line.
I’ve gone a little overboard on buying Pop figures, and some of the Funko plushies. Stuffed Gandalf is my favorite, I like him a lot more than the Pop Gandalf, it makes sense to me that Gandalf would be fuzzy as opposed to hard plastic. On the other hand, Pop Gollum makes more sense than plush Gollum.
Pop Smaug is missing a scale, much like the movie. I also have the ridiculous Smaug covered in gold figure. I wholeheartedly wish that sequence had been left on the cutting room floor, but the visual of a dragon covered in molten gold and shaking it off in midair is a beautiful one. I just wish there hadn’t been a terrible Rube Goldberg-esque battle to net that result.
Bonus Game of Thrones figures. Arya, Jon Snow, and Ghost of course.
I live in Atlanta, and around Labor Day that means one thing: DragonCon. Surprisingly, though I have lived in Atlanta since 2002 and went to art school here, I had never been to DragonCon until this year. If the art school comment needs explanation, there is no higher concentration of tabletop & video game/comic/renaissance faire nerds than came be found… Read more →
It’s no surprise to anyone who has spent an appreciable amount of time with me that Gandalf is one of my favorite characters conceived by Tolkien. Ian McKellen’s portrayal of him in Peter Jackson’s adaptations have gone a long way to cementing that fact.
However, when only considering The Lord of the Rings, my favorite character is Faramir. I was one of the people quite upset about Jackson’s treatment of the character in the films. Darkening his character added dramatic tension, but loses that sense of relief in having found a friend unlooked for. In the novel, Faramir not only plays the same sort of role as Tom Bombadil or Bree: a safe have; but he is also a bridge from Numenor, giving a glimpse of what Aragorn is to become.
The best part of Faramir’s character for me is Tolkien’s use of him as a sounding board for his own beliefs. Faramir has some of the most interesting lines in the entire book in terms of the relationship between culture and war. He fights a war to defend his culture, the art and beauty of Minas Tirith, and does not fight as culture. This is the demarcation between the “high”, “middle”, and “low” men. He laments Gondor’s middling as the population puts more emphasis on arms, presumably to the detriment of beauty and art.
There are some interesting parallels there in terms of modern American politics. While the country’s budget is being spent funding foreign war, we lose funding for the sciences and the humanities. Can we really say we fight war to protect our culture when our culture suffers because our funding goes elsewhere?
“I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers