Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Breathtaking illustrations for Lord of the Rings; Game of Thrones goes to school; Mervyn Peake's 'Gormenghast'

The illustrations by Ukrainian artist Sergei Iukhimov for The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien are astounding.
"Lo! lords and knights and men of valour unashamed, kings and princes, and fair people of Gondor, and Riders of Rohan, and ye sons of Elrond, and Dunedain of the North, and Elf and Dwarf, and greathearts of the Shire, and all free folk of the West, now listen to my lay. For I will sing to you of Frodo of the Nine Fingers and the Ring of Doom."
Gandalf and the hosts of the West meet the Mouth of Sauron; who displays Sam's sword and the mithril shirt before the northern gates of Mordor.
Boromir, pierced by many arrows.
Gandalf, arriving in Hobbiton with a load of fireworks.
I don't know what's happening in this picture ... can anyone help? Below, Tolkien reads from The Two Towers, the second book of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy

Students at the University of Virginia can assuage their Game of Thrones withdrawal at having to wait until 2015 for the resumption of HBO's hit series by taking a cross-disciplinary summer course called "Winter Is Coming." Taught by Lisa Woolfork, it's a seminar that encompasses both the first three books of the blockbuster fantasy series and the first three seasons of the show:
“One of the goals behind this class was to teach students how the skills that we use to study literature are very useful skills for reading literature and TV in conjunction,” Woolfork, an associate professor of English, said. “‘Game of Thrones’ is popular, it’s interesting, but it’s also very serious. There are a lot of things in the series that are very weighty, and very meaningful, and can be illuminated through the skills of literary analysis.”
I've read Book 1 of GOT and would call it exceedingly imaginative and gripping, but not particularly literary. I much prefer seeing it come to life with the astounding cast and production values of the HBO series. What do you think? The class does sound like fun, however.
While we're on the topic of fantasy titles, I'd like to put in a plug for Titus Awakes: The Lost Book of Gormenghast, which most assuredly IS literary. I read Mervyn Peake's original trilogy in a course in college and have never forgotten how enthralled I was by it. Below, Alfred and Irma Prunesquallor from Peake's novel Gormenghast, illustrated by the author (right).


  1. can anyone help?

    Depending on how the roulette wheel on the wall spins, the king will win the large ruby he's holding in his hand, or lose his daughter (behind him) to the used orc salesman (in yellow), standing with his parents. Meanwhile, the court jester, sitting on the stairs, waits for showtime.

    1. Looks like RPS misses those caption contests.

  2. Another possible explanation:

    Man with pointer: "Sir, on the compass - you are here."
    King: "I STILL DON'T GET IT"
    Everyone else: "we're going to be here all day."

  3. I believe the last LOTR painting depicts Theoden, King of Rohan. He was "possessed" or rather puppet-ed by Saruman who was working for Sauron (the Evil Eye). The girl behind the king is his niece Eowyn...I think I spelled that right. The little imp on the stairs is Wormtongue AKA Grima, who was in cahoots with Saruman to manipulate the king into not rising against the evil (orcs, Sauron, and the like). The wizard is Gandalf, who was known as "Gandalf the White" as this point in the story, is using magic to break the "spell" "possession" and bring Theoden back to his senses to fight for Rohan. Behind Gandalf is Aragon who is probably in the blue robe with dark hair, Legolas the elf who is the other tall figure, and Gimli the dwarf. If you haven't noticed yet, I LOVE Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones. I agree GOT is not literary but definitely engaging. I'm hopelessly waiting for the sixth book.

    1. I agree with what you explained, recognized the scene immediately! wonderful illustrations! wonder if I could get my paws on this edition...

  4. You all are the greatest! thanks for the entertaining guesses and the solution from Shannon!

  5. I keep coming back to these. Such fantastic depictions.