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Ears, hair, and eyebrows

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  • David J. Finnamore
    ... I always assumed they did. Well, let s see what the artists have done, FWIW. I have about 100 prints, image files, and whatnot. The Hildebrandts don t
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 16, 2001
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      Margaret Dean wrote:

      > My my, it's the old "Do Tolkien Elves Have Pointed Ears" debate
      > again! :)
      > For those listmembers who aren't dinosaurs (and I know there are
      > quite a number of the antediluvian fellowship signed on here),
      > this has been a vexed question ever since artists other than
      > Tolkien himself began to draw his characters, which puts it back
      > a bit. So you can't blame it on Peter Jackson or even Wendy
      > Pini.
      > >From a practical standpoint, it's an easily recognizable visual
      > symbol to distinguish elf characters from human, especially when
      > they have to be played by human actors. Personally I think they
      > look cool, too, but that's just MHO (though backed up by one of
      > my favorite Tolkien artists of bygone days, Annette Harper).

      I always assumed they did.

      Well, let's see what the artists have done, FWIW. I have about 100 prints, image files, and whatnot. The Hildebrandts don't show elve's ears when they can help it, but Cirdan's clearly are *not* pointed in their painting of the Grey Havens. Their hobbits, OTOH, have extremely pointy ears. John Howe's hobbits' ears are more pointed than on the Hildebrandts' hobbits', and even his dwarves' ears are somewhat pointed; but he, too, seems to avoid showing elf
      ears. Alan Lee's elves seldom have pointed ears, but then neither do his hobbits. In fact, almost everyone in Lee's paintings could have walked right out of medieval England. Occasionally, he seems to hint at points on elf ears, but that could be me reading between the pixels. The only really pointy-eared characters in Lee's paintings are orcs. Nasmith's elves have tastefully but distinctly pointed ears, when visible. A couple of lesser know artists
      show elves with ears you could cut yourself open on - ick.

      On the subject of Legolas' hair color, I always pictured blonde. But the art work I'm looking at seems to be split pretty much 50/50. Nasmith even changed his mind - one blonde, one dark!

      I guess it doesn't matter. What artist ever paid attention to the text, anyway? I can count on one hand the number of Middle-earth paintings I've seen that *don't* have some element that clearly contradicts the text. And nobody but nobody ever tries to show Gandalf as described, with eyebrows sticking out beyond the brim of his hat. Cryin' shame, too. ;-)

      David J. Finnamore
      Nashville, TN, USA
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