Designs of the general look of soldiers (a.k.a. the extras) of the three houses of men in Beleriand around the year 455 Y.S. Will serve as cultural reference when designing the armor of the main characters from each house.
I love your design for those and your art in general, truly amazing ! I'm not good enough to make critics on your drawing skills but if I can improve the drawing in terms of "Tolkienology" :
- Before 455 the House of Beor was not (yet) reduced to Barahir and his companions and is tell to be the closest of the Noldor : they should have a more "heavy" equipment, more like the House of Hador. - Given to their location in Hitlum the House of Hador should be the one with a lot of furs, not the Beorian who are living in Dorthonion, probably cold but not as much (a country of highlands and pines forest). - Given to their heroes the weapons of the three houses are shared like that : Hador - Sword (Turin) and Axe (Hurin) Beor - Sword (Beren) and Bow (Bregor) Haleth - Bow and Axe (description of the troops at Nirnaeth) The spears are more an "Eldarin" thing so probably more used by the Houses of Beor and Hador than the house of Haleth.
By the way it's really some details and your drawing is not "wrong" in any part. I like the details such as the pale skin of the Beorian. And excuse my poor english : I'm french
Haha, I'm so glad that someone who is as crazy as me about all these details stumbled across this page.
Thanks for the compliments and the critique.
These designs are certainly far from a final pass, and I intend to make changes based on further information from the text.
I'll admit that these Beorling designs may have drifted a bit more towards 456 than 455, and I was thinking of the needs of a group living in the northern wilderness vs northern homesteads. So that's why I gave the Beorlings fur and not the House of Hador. However, I do plan on giving the leaders of HoH fur to help distinguish their designs during battle sequences/crowd scenes.
I also gave the HoH more armor for similar reasons, and because of their seemingly constant integration with the Noldor under Fingolfin and Fingon (aka constant exposure to smithing techniques); whereas there's quite a distance between the Beorlings and the elves in Nargothrond. Of course, before their diminishment, they'll have more heavy equipment than depicted here.
However, I still imagine them not wanting to have as much armor since they seem to be the type to want more stealth in the woods and have more moveability; whereas, the House of Hador are in the mountains (a good source of metals) and fighting on open plains and even on possibly on horses (though no cavalry battles are ever depicted that I can remember, but I think it's safe to assume that they has some access to horses thanks to Fingolfin/Fingon... at least the leaders would have anyways).
I'll have to revisit the text before I attempt another pass of these designs (aka redistribute the fur and armor)... I really ought to type up a design guidebook for myself while I'm at it. You wouldn't happen to remember where the House of Beor is described as being the closest the Noldor? (PS I might have interpreted a similar passage as their physical appearances being similar to the Noldor... instead of their armor)
As for the spear, I'll admit that was a goof on my part. I couldn't remember or find at the time what their preferred weapons where, so I just tossed a spear in, so you pointing out the Bow/Axe thing really helps. I'm totally tempted to draw Haleth with some duel axes now, but I must double check with the text first before I dive into that one.
As for the pale skin, I liked the idea of them having the palest because they lived further north and were in the dark of the woods of Dorthonion, but I have since been corrected. Apparently their skin tone is addressed in some of Tolkien's last writings (a chapter in the History of Middle Earth Volume 12 that I'm almost up to reading wise); and, according to that text, some of them actually have swarthy skin and the HoH are the one's with the fairest skin. Of course, there 'll be a certain degree of variety in this regard within each group.
Thanks for the awesome comment, and I'll take your notes to hear the next time I work on these designs.
A quotation which illustrate how cold is Hitlum compared to Beleriand :
"By some Nevrast was held to belong rather to Beleriand than to Hithlum, for it was a milder land, watered by the wet winds from the sea and sheltered from the cold north winds that blew over Hithlum." (Quenta Silmarilion, chapter 14)
And a quick description of Dorthonion, showing that it's probably a little better : " South of Ard-galen the great highland named Dorthonion stretched for sixty leagues from west to east; great pine forests it bore, especially on its northern and western sides. By gentle slopes from the plain it rose to a bleak and lofty land, where lay many tarns at the feet of bare tors whose heads were higher than the peaks of Ered Wethrin; but southward where it looked towards Doriath it fell suddenly in dreadful precipices. From the northern slopes of Dorthonion Angrod and Aegnor, sons of Finarfin, looked out over the fields of Ard-galen, and were the vassals of their brother Finrod, lord of Nargothrond; their people were few, for the land was barren, and the great highlands behind were deemed to be a bulwark that Morgoth would not lightly seek to cross. " (Quenta Silmarilion, chapter 14)
And finnaly, the proof that Beorlings are the closest of the Noldor :
" The Men of that house were dark or brown of hair, with grey eyes; and of all Men they were most like to the Noldor and most loved by them; for they were eager of mind, cunning-handed, swift in understanding, long in memory, and they were moved sooner to pity than to laughter. " (Quenta Silmarilion, chapter 17)
If my english is fine then I'll continue to advise you on these designs
You are right on the wilderness of Dorthonion : the forest and hills are more reminding me Arnor and its Rangers than Gondor. So that's why I gave the Beorlings fur and not the House of Hador.
For the distance between Nargothrond and the Beorlings you forgot Angrod and Aegnor, Finrod's brothers who shared their lands with the HoB. I can't find a quote from the text right now(I'm in the dark ^^) but I'm sure of what I said. Also at first Humans and Elves were sharing the same settlements and lands before the Noldor Princes decided it was not a good thing and gave them their own lands. Granted to their early appearance in Beleriand it means the Beorlings had more time to integrate with the Noldor and learn from them. I guess it's why their land was not really separated from Angrod and Aegnor's kingdom (opposite to Hitlum or Brethil).
I think your analyzis of the Beorilngs way of war is true only after Bragollach. Of course Bragollach is the only battle they really fought.
You are right : The House of Hador used horses (surpisingly a lot of mountains people do in Tolkien's writings : Dunlendings, Oathbreakers, Fingon's riders, Lamedon...)You'll get the confirmation in the Unfinished Tales 1, when Hurin is leaving Dor-Lomin Tolkien mentionned horsemen and riders and Hurin himself is riding a horse. Although the HoH and the Rohirrim have common ancestry.
In fact the Beorlings are closer of Noldor in culture than in the way they look. Cause uf they have dark hair, the ple skin and the size are more a Hadorling thing.
As far as I know Halaeth weaponry is not mentionned so the duel axe is an amazing idea.
Glad you enoyed my comment, I'm always afraid to bother people with my comments I'm waiting for your next version !
Just the other day I was reminded that Angrod and Aegnor were in Dorthonion, and my first reaction was "ahh ElrondPerehel was right."
I do imagine that Felagund and his brothers, and all the elves associated with Nargothrond have lighter armor than the likes of Fingolfin and Fingon and Hithlum. I guess I think this because the Nargothrond elves relied on stealth and long-range fighting until Turin showed up, and because the elves of Hithlum tae a heavier beating being so close to Angband and its assaults.
But at the same time they did live in caves, there was smithing going on in Nargothrond (certainly enough to hold the interest of Celebrimbor who dwelt there for a time). Perhaps most of the metalwork was centered around weapons and... crowns rather than plate armor, and the Nargothrond elves preferred more leather armor... or maybe plate armor covered in leather hmmmm.... going to have to go text diving to see if there are any clues
That being said I'll have to come up with a distinction between the armor of those in Nargothrond and those under Angrod and Aegnor. All I can think of right now is adding more obvious plate armor on top of leather armor, so if you have any ideas it'd be greatly appreciated.
Also I agree, the Beorlings do seem more integrated in the sense that they live more side-by-side with their elven lords than the others. The House of Hador are quite close with their elven lords, but their actual living communities are still separated by the mountains of that region. Whereas, with the Beorlings, we see Beor living in Nargothrond, and Andreath always seems to be close at hand, both when she meets Aegnor for the first time and when she has that lengthy conversation with Felagund later.
Yeah, I think I have post-Bragollach Beorlings down, and even a pretty good idea of what the Beorlings were like when Felagund first encountered them, but it's really hard to say what they were like at their peak during the Bragollach because we aren't given that much information about them in those terms, and there's not a lot of information about the elves associated with them either since the elves of Nargothrond didn't go out to war like the others did (expect in the Bragollach, but once again that's all descriptions of fleeing and dying). I'm sure I could find some good details when Orodreth marches out on Taleth Diren, but that's after Turin has drastically changed the elves of Nargothrond.
I do enjoy these comments; they're very constructive. Finding Tolkien fans who even know about this other Silmarillion stuff is rare enough, and even rarer still is finding someone who has read close enough to get nick-picky over armor styles over the course of different periods of time. In a word, you are awesome.
In fact there is three periods in the warfare history of Nargothrond :
- The first beginning with the foundation of the halls in the cavern and ending when Finrod, first, and then Curufin and Celegorm are leaving Nargothrond after Beren came. During this period the Nort of Finrod's kingdom is really close of Angband, extremly rich and close of dwarves (who learnt one or two tricks to the Noldor and reciprocly). Finrod built also some fortresses at this time (Minas Tirith,...) So I have no doubt that they had mails and plate armors. I can tell you rode the HoME so remember at the end of the tale Finrod tell to Andreth that his brother, Aegnor, her lover, is a warrior and that himself he have to come back 'to the sword and the walls' or something like that (yeah I can pick some details like that and still be moved by Andreth story)
- After Finrod's death it is said about the population of Nargothrond : " Never after until the time of Tķrin would any Elf of that realm go into open battle; but with stealth and ambush, with wizardry and venomed dart, they pursued all strangers, forgetting the bonds of kinship. Thus they fell from the valour and freedom of the Elves of old, and their land was darkened. " (Quenta Silmarilion, chapter 19)
- Then come Turin and the weapons and armors are taken BACK from the arsenals (or at least that's how I imagine it).
On the armors of the Elves in general we don't know a lot. Here are some elements : - The troops of Gondolin wore chainmail (hauberk) and they probably have the best equipment in Beleriand so it's probably the same for Hitlum, Maedhro's Mark and Nargothrond. - Even Tuor's armor is a hauberk (I'm looking into my english version on the Silm right now ^^) but in early version it's a plate armor called "harnois", can't find the english translation (but here it may be an error of the traducer which happen a lot). - The Elves of Doriath have Dwarven armors so they should look really different. Tolkien mentionned scale-armors.
So I can imagine the Lords of the Noldor with plate armors on mails like in the movies and their warriors with some plate parts but more mails apparent. The same for the Beorlings and Hadorlings, may be with more leather parts like you did for the Hadorling. And pure leather for Haleth seems fine.
By the way I was thinking : the spear was not totally wrong for the Halethling cause in Tolkien's writing the bow is associated with the spear almost as much as the axe (ex : The Elves of Mithrim use axes, bows and spears, the rangers Dunedain use bows and spears, etc...) even if it's not proven for Haleth's people as far as I know.
I enjoy too having this nerdy conversation on Tolkien
"venomed dart" Those are the details I love finding.
Good job catching that note about the weapons and armors being taken back! I suppose that armor would have to be somewhat dwarven inspired then.
That bit about Aegnor going back to the 'sword and the walls' is interesting. I don't recall at the moment if there were any real structures of note inside Dorthonion. I certainly don't remember any mentions of ruins, which I feel would have been mentioned during the Beren and Luthien quest since the moment Beren is on Dorthonion's northern edge, the writing is very immediate, very present, unlike most of the writing where things are being told from a wider perspective. Then again there could have been some mention in the Dagor Bragollach that I would need to hunt down. Then again, that could be a reference to the natural walls of Dorthonion.
I'm pretty set in terms of armor for Gondolin. There's would be the best and the most decorative and the most... metal; they have the time and the resources to make it so. That armor would also be the most Elvish since they're so isolated and dwelling on the past of Valamar (aka no Dwarven influence) I have a lot of idea of all the different houses in Gondolin and how that reflects through their armor, but I'm restraining myself from those designs at the moment. Though I made an exception for Glorfindel: [link], [link]
As for the sons of Feanor, especially those like Maehdros who remain in the East for practically the whole story, I've been thinking of giving them a more eastern design. It's not necessarily based off of anything in the text; I just like the idea of having a lot of cloth elements in their design from a visual perspective. I'm thinking a lot of elaborate of Russian/Mongolian style stuff like patterns and what-not. At the same time there'd be a lot of dwarven influences since they're the furthest east, so I'd still give them some nice plate armor, but I'd mix it with the decorative cloth stuff. Plus, Maedhros needs some glorious red silks to go with that glorious red mane of hair he has.
I imagine the armor of Fingolfin/Finrod's group having a lot of visual similarities to that in Gondolin, mainly to connect the idea that it's the same family (Turgon being the son of Fingolfin). However, the armor of the elves in Hithlum would be way less decorative and more efficient since they're fighting all the time and would have needed to refine the craft more-so than those in Gondolin, who only come out once in the Battle of Unnumbered Tears before their end.
Concerning Doriath, it's a little tricky since their relationship with the dwarves is a bit up and down. However, I guess they're pretty much on good terms until Doriath's fall, which they have a hand in, so it wouldn't be enough time to change the way they make armor to reflect the relationship change. I know they're much more armored that the Green Elves of Ossirand, since in the First Battle of Beleriand it's noted that this is why the Green Elves too such heavy hits, who are described as being very lightly armored, mainly just cloth. I'll probably make the scale-armor more leaf like (instead of little scales, little leaves; with the dwarves I'll make these more square in shape).
I can't help but feel a little inspired by the Leaf Men in Blue Sky's upcoming film Epic, concerning Ossirand. That leaf armor is taking the Green Elves thing quite literally, haha.
As for the spear, it might just become an additional choice of weapon to give variation to crowds of Halethlings during battle scenes. However, a lot of the Haleth tarried in Eriador for a while before crossing into Beleriand, and the Dunedain were all over Eriador, so there's kind of a connection there.
When I looked up 'harnois' it translated to "equipment of a horse saddle or draft," so maybe a type of hard leather?
Yeah I've read HoMe; I'm on the last volume now, but there's so much information that it's difficult to pick everything up, especially when a lot of it is conflicting. Luckily I downloaded some PDF copies in addition to my purchased physical copies, so I can search for key words to hunt down details that I've missed. I also recently started writing down all this stuff so I could have a quick reference to look back to in case I forgot anything. So far though those notes have been centered around physical descriptions of characters, but I'll get to looking for stuff on armor real soon, especially in light of this conversation.
Nerdy conversations on Tolkien are the best. You should check out the 'Tolkien Professor' podcast on iTunes and [link]. It's a really good outlet for this need I have to discuss Tolkien, and I participate a lot in their live show they currently have regarding predictions about the upcoming Hobbit films.
I'm wondering what dart means especially as a weapon ? My dictionnaries translates it by the french equivalent of "small arrow". Is that the real meaning ? And if so how do they use them ?
Hum it's right that Finrod is similar to Thingol in a lot of ways (even if they also have a lot of diferencies) so imagining that, while Thingol was using dwarven armors, Finrod was making armors in a dwarven inspired-style, something between Doriath and the other Noldor, it's cool.
It's Finrod going back to "the sword and the wall" in the extract I'm thinking to Hum the tale of Beren and Luthien is closer of the action than most of the Silmarilion of course but nothing like the late tale of Tuor or the LotR so I don't feel like Tolkien should have mentionned ruins. We should read the Lays of Beleriand, may be there are some clues. But anyway the tale is not that much in Beleriand. Also : Tolkien doesn't always mention everything. There is ruins in Rudhaur which the Hobbits saw that are not on the maps.
Obviously it could be the highlands (even if moutains are more easily described as 'walls'). In the french version it's "rempart" (rampart) but I was not sure it was the exact translation.
I approve your deductions on the armors of Gondolin (no non-elvish influence, more metalic) but I would like more mail under the plate than on your Glorfindel's drawings But the artist rules of course...
There is an aspect I didn't spoke about that Tolkien mentions : the crest on Noldorin helmets. The only mention we have is on FŽanor's helmet who use red feathers but I like to imagine the proud and noble Noldor with exuberant crests of feathers and hors manes. I see the things this way : - Hitlum which have a riders-culture is more likely using horse-mane as crests, like Eomer. - Gondolin is using mostly infantry (phalanx) so I imagine them with feathers, especially the Houses of the King (I like the idea of Thorondor's people bringing them their fallen feathers) , the Wing (swan feathers of course), and the swallow (do I have to say which ?). Not forgetting that Ecthelion had a diamond spike and that Tuor's helmet integrate swan wings in its design. - FŽanorians will be in the middle given to FŽanor using feathers but also the big proportion of riders and hunters in their kingdoms. - Finally I have no idea for Nargothrond except one from an other "deviant" artist who highlighted that Finarfin's wife was knowned as "the swan-lady"
Cause you use the design of the armors from the movies I can add that I like the idea of Noldor becoming wiser and less interested by their looking through the SA and adopting the metallic crest you can find in the introduction of the Fellowship. May be also under Sindarin and Dwarvish influence... (and after all there is probably at least a good half of Sindar in Gil-galad army).
I like your ideas for FŽanorians (even if Dwarves are knowned for scale-armors and hauberk as much as partial plate). The same for the similarities and differences between Gondolin and Hithlum. I agree also on Doriath, Laiquendi and Dwarves. The relation between Thingol and the Dwarves of the Ered-Luin is constantly okay (even if Tolkien said there was little friendship) until the "Nauglamir-problem" cause when Thingol received it there was already Dwarves in Menegroth.
I kinda like those Leavs-men too, thanks for making me discover The green Elves are litteraly green (and brown) and able to disappear in their environment. But they have no armor so keep that for Iathrim.
No the "harnois" meant a specific type of metalic armor (XIII.th-XV.th century). It's assimilated to the horse-equipment called "harnais" but I think it's a mistake.
A few more elements : - Tuor's shield is described as pointy and long (in the french translation of the Unfinised tales) while some guards of the seven doors have round shields. So both kind of shields exist in Gondolin (even if Tuor's shield was concieved in Nevrast but I doubt things changed that much). - In the HOME 10 Tolkien give various names for the different families of Elves : Spear-Elves (Vanyar), Sword-Elves (Noldor), Arrow-Elves (Teleri), Axe-Elves (Sindar), Club-Elves (Nandor), "without weapons-Elves" (Laiquendi).
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`anmari has been spreading her infectious positivity throughout our community for over 6 years. Throughout this time Ana has been at the core of all things devious, passionately developing an eclectic gallery, helping organise devmeets, participating in chat events and also recently completed dedicating her time as a Community Volunteer. We are absolutely delighted to bestow the Deviousness Award for May 2013 to `anmari, congratulations! Read More