June 19th, 2012

writing: damnable panda

Lord of the Rings AKA I think I just like stuff that has tentacles but not in that way okay

He strode forward and set his foot on the lowest step. But at that moment several things happened. Frodo felt something seize him by the ankle, and he fell with a cry. Bill the pony gave a wild neigh of fear, and turned tail and dashed away along the lakeside into the darkness. Sam leaped after him, and then hearing Frodo's cry he ran back again, weeping and cursing. The others swung round and saw the waters of the lake seething, as if a host of snakes were swimming up from the southern end.

Out from the water a long sinuous tentacle had crawled; it was pale-green and luminous and wet. Its fingered end had hold of Frodo's foot, and was dragging him into the water. Sam on his knees was now slashing at it with a knife.
The arm let go of Frodo, and Sam pulled him away, crying out for help. Twenty other arms came rippling out. The dark water boiled, and there was a hideous stench.

'Into the gateway! Up the stairs! Quick!' shouted Gandalf leaping back. Rousing them from the horror that seemed to have rooted all but Sam to the ground where they stood, he drove them forward.

They were just in time. Sam and Frodo were only a few steps up, and Gandalf had just begun to climb, when the groping tentacles writhed across the narrow shore and fingered the cliff-wall and the doors. One came wriggling over the threshold, glistening in the starlight. Gandalf turned and paused. If he was considering what word would close the gate again from within, there was no need. Many coiling arms seized the doors on either side, and with horrible strength, swung them round. With a shattering echo they slammed, and all light was lost. A noise of rending and crashing came dully through the ponderous stone.

Sam, clinging to Frodo's arm, collapsed on a step in the black darkness. 'Poor old Bill!' he said in a choking voice. 'Poor old Bill! Wolves and snakes! But the snakes were too much for him. I had to choose, Mr. Frodo. I had to come with you.'


'It is grim reading,' he said. 'I fear their end was cruel. Listen! We cannot get out. We cannot get out. They have taken the Bridge and second hall. Frár and Lóni and Náli fell there. Then there are four lines smeared so that I can only read went 5 days ago. The last lines run the pool is up to the wall at Westgate. The Watcher in the Water took Óin. We cannot get out. The end comes, and then drums, drums in the deep. I wonder what that means. The last thing written is in a trailing scrawl of elf-letters: they are coming. There is nothing more.' Gandalf paused and stood in silent thought.

-Excerpts from The Fellowship of the Ring by JRR Tolkien

You may notice what's featured heavily in these quotes! That's right, it's The Watcher In The Water. I've been on a Tolkien kick this past... forty eight hours (that's a long time in Johnland) and have discovered I really really like the Moria sequence.

The reason for my kick is I'm trying to design LotR themed mechas for an rp game-ish thing, so I took to looking at the concept art (from the Art of books, which are wonderful except for one thing: The concept art for the Easterlings and Haradrim tends to stray heavily into racist caricature areas which is pretty gross), which while I don't always agree with the design aesthetic that the people who did the movies went with (see previous warning, and also sometimes stuff just seemed really cluttered), is a pleasure to look at and pretty inspiring. My only complaint is the lack of Imrahil in the movies because I'd love to see their swan knights.

I'm not gonna repost the concept art here on my journals because my connection is too finicky to upload right now, so I will direct you to what I've previously posted:

Concept art of the beasts of Middle Earth also known as god I love oliphaunts. There's a ton of different oliphaunt ideas in the books and I had to narrow it down. I'd like to see an oliphaunt and not get crushed to death.

Concept art of Minas Tirith. I really love that city. It's just damn cool looking, even if the logic of how they didn't starve to death kind of hurts my head.

Concept art of Mines of Moria. Mines of Moria is somewhere I'd really love to go, because it's huge, it's cool, and spooky, but also I would die horribly because it's filled with monsters of all things so maybe without the monsters? And without spiders, if I'm wishing.

Concept art for The Watcher In The Water. You may recall its scene as that tentacle that shoots out of the water. Well, they had a lot of ideas of what was attached to that tentacle and each one is pretty nightmarish. From tentacles with screaming mouths at the end, ticks with tentacles, to a huge tentacled body with a small screaming humanlike head, there was a lot of art to choose from and I narrowed it down to nine. This is when I realized, I really really loved the whole Moria sequence. It was spooky and it was like a proper horror story.

I'm rereading it right now and going 'ooooh'.