The Mariner's Wife Picture

I've been on a serious Numenor binge lately (it's a fairly regular occurrence for me) and after doing all these tall, fell men of war in battle armor, I thought I'd try the fairer side of Westerness. Here we see the love of Erendis for the sea-king as it was (sadly) fated to be; waiting on the shore, forever relegated to second place in his heart, behind the Sea. I know the Bough of Return really should be tied to the ship's prow, but I liked what it said to have it in her hand; it represents in numenorean culture a promise of the mariner's safe return home, and in a sense Aldarion never does.

I imagine the people and culture of numenor as very Arcadian at this time, wars and conquests in middle-earth have not yet become part of their lives. They live on their beautiful, temperate island and are largely content, I wanted their dress at the time (even their armor) to reflect that. Also I wanted to try the "karma" as a hairstyle (almost as if the hat/helmet/turban style evolved from that, of all things) tolkien's people, especially his women, tend to have miles of hair, so naturally (especially in a warmer climate like numenor) they might look for stylish ways to keep it out of their faces, and alot of greek and roman female hairstyles, in addition to being very intricate and beautiful, provide the wearer with a fairly karma-like, elongated profile.

I should add that, particulars of numenorean clothing aside, I see this scene and these charaters (like so many scenes and charaters in tolkien's world, particularly those that fill out the odd corners of middle-earth's history) as reiterations, parallel-universe versions, of scenes and archetypes from our own 'real world' mythology. The Mariner's Wife - bidding farewell to the man she loves, perhaps never to see him again - could just as easily be Penelope, Klytemnestra, Calypso, Dido. In a sense she is all of them, and she is Erendis.

(finally got to do some numenorean seabirds as well, Hurray!)

Part of the Weekly Tolkien Sketchblog.
Continue Reading: Penelope