Middle-earth has been calling yet again and never one to ignore the call of adventure, I decided to explore. My journey took me deep into the passages of The Hobbit and far under the Misty Mountains to the dark depths of the caves and subterranean lakes of forgotten times.
Let’s see what JRR Tolkien himself had to say about the place:
Ringwraiths, or Nazgul are the horror element to Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings story, and the scariest they ever get is quite possibly in Chapter 11 of The Fellowship of the Ring – A Knife in the Dark. With this oil painting, I wanted to capture the fear they induce and put into those who face them.
“The Ringwraiths are deadly enemies, but they are only shadows yet of the power and terror they would possess if the Ruling Ring was on their master’s hand again”
JRR Tolkien – The Lord of the Rings – The Fellowship of the Ring – Book I, Chapter 4 – A Journey in the Dark
A lot of what we learn about the Ringwraiths we learn fairly early on, Tolkien gives us a nice amount of detail through the words of Gandalf the Grey, as he explains to Frodo:
It was after nightfall when they had entered the Mines. They had been going for several hours with only brief halts, when Gandalf came to his first serious check.
JRR Tolkien – The Lord of the Rings – The Fellowship of the Ring – Book II, Chapter 4 – A Journey in the Dark
The question of why Gandalf doesn’t remember Moria is one that comes up a lot and there is a ton of digging that you can do in order to find out but in short, it had been a very, very long time since Gandalf’s last trip to Moria, and also he had entered through a different, and not so secret doorway. Not forgetting that it wouldn’t have been as dark, filled with orcs and trolls not was he transporting the carrier of the One Ring wit the fate of Middle-earth hanging in the balance.
So that’s the short answer to the question, I will in the future dig into this in much more depth. I would like to create a series of artworks depicting both of Gandalf’s trips through Moria as well as the many battles that have happened there.
Many years ago I worked up a very rough sketch of a version of this scene and ever since I intended to work up a more detailed drawing. This piece is the next phase of that and I plan on revisiting it again in much more detail and originality of vision, as noted above.
Every exploration of Middle-earth brings a bounty of new art and my own journeys into the depths of the Mines have been both interesting and perilous, full of inspiration and excitement with many lessons learned in the process.
For this illustration, we head to The Lord of the Rings – The Fellowship of the Ring, Book Two, Chapter IV – A Journey In The Dark.