Some very fantastic paintings from Polish comic artist Jakub Rebelka. They seem to be influenced by everything from Manga to Jean-Michel Basquiat:
‘Everything has its price,’ thought Simra, as he blushed fiercely into the faded saffron and scarlet sections of his new scarf. (link)
(Simra Hishkari belongs to sunderlorn.)
(A page from Burak’s journal featuring some found items, some planned projects.)
Of Queen Berúthiel
"[Queen Berúthiel] was the nefarious, solitary, and loveless wife of Tarannon, twelfth King of Gondor (Third Age and first of the Ship-kings, who took the crown in the name of Falastur, Lord of the Coasts, and was the first childless king. Berúthiel lived in the King’s House in Osgiliath, hating the sounds and smells of the sea and the house that Tarannon built below Pelargir, upon arches whose feet stood deep in the wide waters of Ethir Anduin; she hated all making, all colours and elaborate adornment, wearing only black and silver and living in bare chambers, and the gardens of the house in Osgiliath were filled with tormented sculptures beneath cypresses and yews. She had nine black cats and one white, her slaves, with whom she conversed, or read their memories, setting them to discover all the dark secrets of Gondor, so that she knew those things that men wish most to keep hidden, setting the white cat to spy upon the black, and tormenting them. No man in Gondor dared touch them; all were afraid of them, and cursed when they saw them pass. What follows is almost wholly illegible in the unique manuscript, except to the ending, which states that her name was erased from the Book of the Kings (but the memory of men is not wholly shut in books, and the cats of Queen Berúthiel never passed wholly out of men’s speech), and that King Tarannon had her set on a ship alone with her cats and set adrift on the sea before a north wind. The ship was last seen flying past Umbar under a sickle moon, with a cat at the masthead and another as a figure-head on the prow.”
I have to say, for such a short mention in HoME, Beruthiel’s short biography stirs some truly powerful imagery.
It’s my favorite hallmark of Tolkien that in just a few sentences he can paint a picture that implies a whole rich cinematic landscape, and the rest of his world is so detailed and consistent that you can build concrete details around each kernel of description.
For Beruthiel, the mention of cypress and yew trees caught my attention. The kind of cypress that I’m most familiar with grow in swamps. They’re spooky swamp trees, and yews trees are similarly spooky and sculptural, as twisted and “tormented” as the statues in the courtyards of Osgiliath.
And where is Osgiliath? Why, located directly within the marshlands around Mordor, where cypress trees wouldn’t be out of place.
The queen’s dislike of the ocean’s smell is interesting as well.
An aversion to the sea is generally Tolkien’s shorthand for “corruption” or at least, a secular worldview that brings one farther away from Valinor, the supposed moral center of Middle Earth. As soon as you know that a character or race has a distaste for the ocean, you’re supposed to be clued in that they’ve somehow strayed from a more “righteous” inclination (bleugh to that, I say). But in Beru’s defense, there are PLENTY of reasons not to like the smell of the ocean. Have you smelled low tide? It’s not great.
That, to me, suggests that perhaps the king’s port-side estate of Pelargir with it’s arches in the Anduin, was located somewhere unfortunate that wafted up all those delightful harbor smells directly into the palace; rotting fish, seaweed, whatever was left over and tossed by the local merchants, the city’s sewage…. Delightful.
When Beruthiel makes her exit, she sails away on a cat-prowed ship onto the open sea— which smells much more agreeable. (Maybe it was just your crummy castle above the docks she didn’t like, Tarannon. Sheesh!)
The image that I’m left with in my mind, from only a paragraph of description, is a Queen of stoic, gloomy, minimalist beauty, with cold, intelligent eyes, and her unnatural cat familiars roaming about in the grey-green shadows. She was given as a peace-offering to the Sea-Kings, perhaps against her will, and there is no great love between the colonist-conquerers from Numenor and the ancient kingdoms of Umbar.
Like Sycorax she is a powerful sorceress in exile from her home, with enslaved spirits and an abiding bitterness.
Like Jezebel, her religion and her power make her hated, and her story is vilified in the hands of those who drove her out.
Ah, yep. The Dragon Age feelings are starting the slow-build to a mighty crescendo. Fuckdammitit’stooearlyIWON’TMAKEITTOOCTOBERATTHISRATE
While I enjoyed watching the E3 content for DA:I, and it didn’t really discourage me on any front, it also didn’t excite me very much. It earned a gentle, appreciative head nod.
But now I’m reading the character profiles and I’m getting giddy grabby-hands GIVE IT TO ME NOW frothing fannish excitement, and it feels gooooood.
(Almost like Bioware’s games are character-driven or something.)