The Tragedy during the Crossing of Helcaraxë
“-- and finding no other way they endured at last the terror of the Helcaraxë and the cruel hills of ice. Few of the deeds of the Noldor thereafter surpassed that desperate crossing in hardihood or woe. There Elenwë the wife of Turgon was lost, and many others perished also; and it was with a lessened host that Fingolfin set foot at last upon the Outer Lands.”
- J. R. R. Tolkien: The Silmarillion, chapter 9: Of the Flight of the Noldor
This is the second incarnation of this Silmarillion illustration.. in sepia tone with a brown paper background added in Photoshop (Thank you for the idea and help, Ana
). For the description I'll quote myself below:
Now that I have this Tolkien inspiration rolling, here’s again a Silmarillion illustration. I wanted to study the characters of Fingon and Turgon in particular and I chose a less illustrated scene this time (at least I have seen no illustrations of it.. of course it doesn’t mean there weren’t any.)
It’s the painful crossing of Hecaraxë, more specifically Turgon devastated by the loss of his wife. Again a sad scene, I know, but those make often the best illustrations if one manages to get some emotion into them.. I’d like to think that with this one I succeeded to some extent at least.
Tolkien doesn’t tell how Elenwë died in the Silmarillion, but here (to make it more dramatic) I’m assuming she fell into the grinding ice. [EDIT: I read later on the description from HoME that she indeed drowned in the icy water, but i didn't know it when i drew this]. Fingon stares in horror at the crevice where she disappeared while Aredhel, also shocked, tries to comfort her brother together with his friend Finrod. Behind them Idril clings to her grandfather Fingolfin, who silently curses the name of Fëanor, adding yet this tragedy to his half-brother’s ever growing list of sins. Galadriel and Orodreth stand further away.
I tried to get the feeling of cold into the drawing with the wind and snow.. I don’t know if it really works though (especially in this scan).. I also wanted to show that the clothes and equipment of the Noldor were not meant for these conditions. They have a couple of animal hides they have managed to hunt during their journey but mostly they’re just wrapped in their thin cloaks and fancy clothes. Fingon, ever the warrior, wears parts of his armour even in the bitter cold and carries with him his bow and two-handed sword (I never thought he’d one to use a shield..)
HB pencil and 0.5 mech. pencil. I’m not sure how much time I put into this because I was working on it an hour here and an hour there, but probably 8-9.
[ EDIT, ver. 2.01:
I finally got round to updating this.. At first glance it probably doesn’t seem much different, but I actually went back to the pencil drawing and put in another hour of pencilwork. I strengthened the wind, sky and snow effects, some outlines and shadows and tweaked some small details in their equipment and faces in addition to fixing the two major annoyances in this drawing:
1) Fingon’s bow -- I still don’t like it, perhaps I should’ve left it out completely.. but at least now it looks remotely like a functional composite bow.
2) Idril’s hair -- it's now blonde, like it should be.. the dark hair was a stupid mistake -- i have always pictured her as blonde but started to doubt my vision when I was drawing this because I didn’t remember if her hair colour was told anywhere.. but i never bothered to check it out! Thanks to ~Elenai
for talking me into it.
I also redid all the digital work and it’s a bit more visible in this version as I made the highlights of the sky and wind a little stronger.
Finally, a better scan and background paper.. at last!]