Beasts

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Okay so let me start by saying I feel somewhat of a fraud. I have never completed reading the Silmarillion and have only got through the story via audiobook. And while I think that is a perfectly valid way of getting to know a story it helps if you retain the knowledge. The reason I want to read it again is getting into Corey's early seminars really gave me a sure footing to understand the work better. I always feel that Shakespeare is better enjoyed if you have a framework for the start. I'm going back through it now but there are countless people here who know the work inside and out. So as I'm writing these Race, Beast and Creature design pages I am basically thinking about what handful of characters I can remember so will need lots of help to flesh out a 'casting' list.

That said, let's get going. This thread is to 'cast' the beasts in the story. That is to say animals that appear which are, by and large, recognisable as animals we have today. While they may be magical in some aspect they would also be not immensely fantastical creatures (like dragons or orcs for example).

To start with I want to look at some animals that pop up from the get go. In the discussion of Manwe the team already touched on what his eagles should look like. Personally I think a harpy eagle is a really good basis. While giving Manwe feathers in his hair or a feathered crown of some kind is an idea that has been kicked around I see that as really hard to pull off without it being hokey. Not impossible but hard. With a harpy eagle we have a starting point. What if his eagles mirrrored him in their headress. This is an eagle that already has a crown folks.


Imagine this guy but in pure white. Or even with gyrfalcon like marking.


Now picture one of those birds just stood next to Manwe's thrown like a hound might have sat beside a throne in a medieval setting. Cool, no?

And one more for today. As for Orome's steed Nahar, I feel it needs to be not quite what you imagine. Not necessarily a big, military charger but something rougher and more wild. We could go for a wild stallion (mustang esque) but how about something more akin to a great big shire horse? Thoughts?



I really just wanted to kick things off and open up discussion around casting things being simply actors today. Let's see where this goes...
 

MithLuin

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I think that Tolkien was picturing Golden Eagles for the Eagles of his work, based on his own illustrations, but I'm not sure we have to stick to that.

Compare:





'Crowning' Thorondor might be a pretty cool idea, too! Differentiating the Lord of Eagles from the rest of the Eagles is certainly something we would want to consider, visually.
 
D

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I love a golden eagle and while I think we could use them for the Eagles we associated with the third age I really wanted to distinguish Manwe's Eagles as being something other, something more. I was also keen to create differentiation with the Jackson films
 

MithLuin

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We are also in need of a beast for Oromë and Tulkas to fight in S1Ep8. We were thinking something prehistoric, possibly even a dinosaur, to give a foretaste of dragons but still have the beast rooted in the non-magical beast category.

One suggestion was the obvious - a T. rex! Or one of T. rex's larger cousins.


Another was the somewhat controversial Andrewsarchus: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrewsarchus

While that *may* have been hyena-like (and thus the largest mammalian predator ever), it also might just be a prehistoric hippo, which isn't as exciting. But since all we have is a partial skull, we have a lot of leeway to design it however we like.

Here is one museum-version of him that is suitably scary (I think):
 
D

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Oh I'm lol about the prehistoric beasts. People often go for the larger obviously ancestral links of modern predators but how about something like a enteledont.





Couple of different versions there. I'm typically a fan of the less haired, more obviously...pointy interpretation
 
D

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I've heard of that game and it sounds awesome! What I'm currently trying to find are pictures of balrogs as I have a super specific image in mind that I can't really express and am fascinated by what others might think. That however is more Creature than Beast...I will come to that
 

MithLuin

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I would be comfortable using a non-carnivore for the beast that Yavanna puts to sleep at the beginning of Episode 12. It should look 'monstrous' and be rampaging about, but it need not be hunting anything when she confronts it. So, I am fine using an entelodont there; it would be reminiscent of a rampaging wild boar. Andrewsarchus is quite likely related to the entelodonts, though not initially classified there :).

Part of the idea is to 'use up' all of the prehistoric inspiration in the First Season, so that by the time the Elves arrive in Season 2, we get more modern flora and fauna. We (well, Haakon and I ;) )* have been using the destruction of the Lamps as a rough analogue for the K-T extinction event that wiped out the dinosaurs. Of course, if Melkor kept some of his own, which survived that event...no real harm done.

Prehistoric megafauna is fun, but we can take something not typically huge and just make it bigger if we need to.....


* That discussion happened in the Sets/Props forum, and was about showing the passage of time onscreen in Ancient Arda. So, I'm fine with the Beast discussion being here in the Costume forum.
http://forums.signumuniversity.org/index.php?threads/the-passage-of-time.201/
 
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Carlia

Member
Part of the idea is to 'use up' all of the prehistoric inspiration in the First Season, so that by the time the Elves arrive in Season 2, we get more modern flora and fauna. We (well, Haakon and I ;) )* have been using the destruction of the Lamps as a rough analogue for the K-T extinction event that wiped out the dinosaurs. Of course, if Melkor kept some of his own, which survived that event...no real harm done.
I like that a lot, and I had thought something similar when trying to relate Tolkien's mythology to or world, but I had never quite reached that point of thought. You guys are genious.

I think that it would make this whole universe more real to the spectators, like saying: Yes, this is really happened, and here is the proof! It is not myth, but History!

The idea that Dragons are a somewhat corrupted version of Dinosaurs has completetly blown my mind! I love it! It makes so much sense to their origin, because if I remember correctly, Melkor could not create, only corrupt what others had created, so yes, he would twist Dinosaurs into dragons, like he twisted elves into orcs, wolves into wargs, and the like...
 
D

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I like that a lot, and I had thought something similar when trying to relate Tolkien's mythology to or world, but I had never quite reached that point of thought. You guys are genious.

I think that it would make this whole universe more real to the spectators, like saying: Yes, this is really happened, and here is the proof! It is not myth, but History!

The idea that Dragons are a somewhat corrupted version of Dinosaurs has completetly blown my mind! I love it! It makes so much sense to their origin, because if I remember correctly, Melkor could not create, only corrupt what others had created, so yes, he would twist Dinosaurs into dragons, like he twisted elves into orcs, wolves into wargs, and the like...

Okay I wasn't going to mention dragons for a while as we aren't quite there yet but poo over to the creatures post for my thoughts on this
 
We are also in need of a beast for Oromë and Tulkas to fight in S1Ep8. We were thinking something prehistoric, possibly even a dinosaur, to give a foretaste of dragons but still have the beast rooted in the non-magical beast category.

One suggestion was the obvious - a T. rex! Or one of T. rex's larger cousins.


Another was the somewhat controversial Andrewsarchus: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrewsarchus

While that *may* have been hyena-like (and thus the largest mammalian predator ever), it also might just be a prehistoric hippo, which isn't as exciting. But since all we have is a partial skull, we have a lot of leeway to design it however we like.

Here is one museum-version of him that is suitably scary (I think):
We could add something off the Andrewsarchus to the werewolves, it is a different strange creatures. Like a big wolf I suppose with a long snout and different paws. I think possibly the front on of the animal you can see the werewolf in it.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
Yes, that could be a visual clue of what Sauron and Morgoth have been working on.

As long as our 3rd Age wargs don't look like hyenas, though! I want the wargs (and the Isle of werewolves) to have a decidedly wolf-like appearance.


As for Oromë's steed, the use of very large 'heavy horses' in combat corresponds to the development of very heavy armor. Oromë is a hunter, not a knight, and will certainly not be riding around in a suit of armor. He might be a big guy, but he's not *that* heavy, and thus he probably doesn't need such a massive horse as his mount. I mean, Shire horses and Percherons are awesome, don't get me wrong....I just don't want to dwarf the rider, here!


Shire horses race:


I would like for Oromë's steed to be a precursor for Shadowfax...and I do not think of Shadowfax as a heavy horse. I am much more likely to picture him as an Andalusian stallion, and those are *small* in comparison. Small, but clever and beautiful.

Black Andalusian stallion just running around a ring:

I have no idea what you call this color, but it is interesting!

As you can see, Andalusians aren't typically very tall. They have long bodies for the length of their legs, which allows for some amazing footwork.

Anyway, I'd be willing to consider other breeds (like Arabians or Friesians), but I'm not sold on heavy horses for Nahar.

Also, are we assuming that horses are introduced to Middle Earth from Valinor? OR are there horses in Middle Earth prior to the return of the Noldor?
 
Yes, that could be a visual clue of what Sauron and Morgoth have been working on.

As long as our 3rd Age wargs don't look like hyenas, though! I want the wargs (and the Isle of werewolves) to have a decidedly wolf-like appearance.


As for Oromë's steed, the use of very large 'heavy horses' in combat corresponds to the development of very heavy armor. Oromë is a hunter, not a knight, and will certainly not be riding around in a suit of armor. He might be a big guy, but he's not *that* heavy, and thus he probably doesn't need such a massive horse as his mount. I mean, Shire horses and Percherons are awesome, don't get me wrong....I just don't want to dwarf the rider, here!


Shire horses race:


I would like for Oromë's steed to be a precursor for Shadowfax...and I do not think of Shadowfax as a heavy horse. I am much more likely to picture him as an Andalusian stallion, and those are *small* in comparison. Small, but clever and beautiful.

Black Andalusian stallion just running around a ring:

I have no idea what you call this color, but it is interesting!

As you can see, Andalusians aren't typically very tall. They have long bodies for the length of their legs, which allows for some amazing footwork.

Anyway, I'd be willing to consider other breeds (like Arabians or Friesians), but I'm not sold on heavy horses for Nahar.

Also, are we assuming that horses are introduced to Middle Earth from Valinor? OR are there horses in Middle Earth prior to the return of the Noldor?
Don't forgot Uin the whale that served Ulmo.
 

Haakon

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OR are there horses in Middle Earth prior to the return of the Noldor?
I think that, since the elves at Cuivienen believe that there is a rider snatching straying elves, we must assume that there are horses in Middle-earth, and that they know that it is possible to ride them. Perhaps for some reason they choose not to. Perhaps they just see no reason to ride them, or feel that it is unnecessary to burden the horses. Cuivienen is a good place after all, there's no particular reason to leave, and therefore there is no reason to make travel effective by riding.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
Well, in today's session, HUAN THE HOUND came up, so I thought I'd add him to the list of beasts here.

It was suggested that he could be an Irish Wolfhound, and after Trish found this picture, Corey Olsen sounded pretty much sold on the idea.



Details here: http://www.vetstreet.com/dogs/irish-wolfhound
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_Wolfhound

We want Huan to be a large dog, and a hunter, so this seems to work. Also, good history on this breed being 'ancient' rather than new. Short lifespan means that even though we only need him for 4-5 seasons, we might need to switch out the 'actor'. Any other thoughts?
 
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