Friday, August 30, 2013


This is being posted simply to collect all of the current Nazgul art commissions in one place so that I might easily direct people to the post and show them the work so far. Title and artist are listed (and linked to) above each image, and work is posted in more or less the order I received it.

The Witch-king of Angmar
by Tom Williams

The Black King

Witch-king (digital print)

The Witch-king of the Nazgul

Witch-king of the Nazgul
by my wife

Witch-king of Angmar


The Witch-king of Angmar

The Witch-king of the Nazgul

The Eyes in the Darkness

The Witch-king of the Nazgul


Witch King

The Witch-king of Angmar

Detail of Leighton's piece.

Witch-king Thing
by Aaron M. Fitzwater


  1. I love all of these but the last one is especially evocative. The retro-technical implications of obsolete computers and phones over the sea of paper they're meant to supplant. The king rising above them with powers granted by intelligence gathering and processing. The devastation in the background wrought by neglect of the physical world in pursuit of power. And the victim turned into some sort of artificial flowering crop-hybrid, just a little shard of beauty and hope to sell the potential of this nightmare of the future to the people getting plowed-over by it. "You too can be a flower in this utopia." He's really just likely to be plucked and harvested--a meager trophy at the end of all this progress.

    The One Ring is a metaphor for the atom bomb - a dangerous technology indistinguishable from magic that's almost impossible to unmake. But today I think the greater metaphor of the books is the all-seeing eye in Sauron's tower; the Nazgul his agents so corrupted by intelligence gathering technology that all they can do now is serve it.

  2. Thank you for this wonderful comment Winston, this was brilliant. It is too easy for me to get drawn in by the conventions of genre and my nostalgic love of this material, so while I am often aware of these deeper themes I tend to look past them in that rush to re-create some of the joy and awe I experienced as a young person encountering these works for the first time. What gives Tolkien, and many other fantasy writers, such relevance though is the universality of their themes and you articulated that perfectly with your reaction to Aaron's collage. Whenever fantasy in particular gets a bad rap from some writer or author, I always rankle a bit because I think they are really missing many of the points that you raised here. Aaron's piece is by far the most daring and risky exploration of these ideas, but given how well I know Aaron (he and I are very good friends and have been for many years) I was not surprised he chose to explore this idea in such utterly unconventional and unexpected ways.

    I'm going to make sure he sees your comment to. He tends to be rather reclusive online, but I do think he will appreciate knowing his work has been seen and assessed like this. Many many thanks.

  3. Gosh, thanks! Sometimes I wonder if my enjoyment of stories is diminished by the compulsion to look for the analogies and "deeper meaning". China Mieville tells his writing students something like, "It's okay to let your monsters just be monsters." But I can't help it. It's when the story (or the artwork) is hinting at something grander swimming behind it that I feel a reaction of pleasure.

  4. I can see both sides of the issue (i.e. the importance of looking deeper as well as the need to simply let "monsters be monsters") but I think I tend to NOT look deeply enough sometimes. Which is why your comment was such a helpful prod in a new direction for me. I think, with practice, it's possible to do a bit of both really...look for those deeper analogies but still enjoy the sheer monstrous spectacle.


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