Carcharoth Picture

In middle-earth, as in greek mythology, the doors to Hell are guarded by a canine; Carcharoth, "the red maw" is the biggest and baddest of the wolves of Draugluin's brood, fed on living flesh by Morgoth's own hand and grown to immense size, he sits ever-watchful at the gate of Thangorodrim, and is eventually taken out, as per the prophecy, by Huan the Wolfhound.

Really I've never thought you need any kind of extensively anthropomorphic design for the evil "wolves" of middle-earth like Carcharoth; he's just this vicious, demonic, princess mononoke-sized wolf, more visibly malevolent than a real life wolf I suppose, but generally I don't see wolves in mythology (including tolkien's) as needing to be elaborately designed movie creations. Humanity's been afraid of good-old-fashioned wolves since day one, and we have a thousands-of-years-old tradition of portraying them as ravenous villains, from Fenrir the wolf-monster of norse mythology (who bites off Tyr's hand, a scene to which the scene with Carcharoth is an obvious nod) to the cunning beast in "the three little pigs". They are man's enemy, representing in our myths the unrestrained, predatory id. for this reason they are frequently painted in our stories as sexual aggressors (ala "little red riding hood," "dracula" or the titular "wolfman") and there are, whether by Tolkien's intention or not, significant shades of sexual aggression in the tale of Beren and Luthein, who in their quest to earn and consumate their right to their pure, perfect love, are (and specifically Luthien) constantly on the recieving end of advances, attempted seductions and abductions by Sauron's wolves, the sons of Feanor, and Morgoth himself. She is beset by "wolves" on all sides (they are a prevailing visual motif of the tale) and is protected by the competent, near-parental figure of Huan, a dog - the civilized version of a wolf - and slayer of wolves. (the common presentation of the emnity between wolves and dogs; closely related to eachother but one being man's enemy and the other man's best friend, speaks to what I believe is this ancient, common - and, though unfashionable in the postmodernist era, to some degree ongoing - notion that the natural world on it's own (including the "natural man") is evil, but if domesticated you can harness it's best elements (strength, courage, group loyalty) but improve them with the tempering effect of civilization and morality (Tolkien, despite an evident respect for the wild, natural world, seems to have held atleast in part with this opinion))

As a last note, I really see the tale of Beren and Luthien as being Luthien's story more than Beren's; she does almost everything important (beren just kind of passes out alot) and there's something snarky, almost Shrek-like even, about how beren's attempts to take charge and and engage in macho heroics tend to end in epic fail (nowhere moreso than in the moment depicted above
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