Saturday, April 6, 2013

Oaken's Twelve: Thorin Oakenshield

"There is no knowing what a dwarf will not dare & do for revenge"

And so finally I'm here - Thorin Thrainsson, the Oakenshield, Chief of the Company of Oakenshield. The Boss.

Thorin is the most complicated Dwarf character of The Hobbit, and his story is the most rewarding because of this. He has Fatal Flaw etched in him indelibly, and seems to personify the most infamous traits of his kind as lamented by Gandalf- obsessed with past injustices, wedded to revenge, servant to his passions, and not in a Mills & Boon way. I'm very curious to see how the remaining Hobbit movies will treat this character. So far he seems pretty close to the book version of Thorin, perhaps not so haughty (but then Richard Roxburgh's character hasn't met Elf king Thranduil yet), and maybe a little more sympathetic. His coming around regarding Bilbo of course happens earlier in the movies for reasons, I presume, of the movie trilogy's storytelling. That said, Thorin and Bilbo's relationship is an up and down affair throughout the book, and his mercurial personality is a major challenge for our Hobbit hero. 

Thankfully we have a pretty clear image of Thorin provided to us by Tolkien - an older Dwarf (older than Roxburgh's version seems to be to me), with a "sky-blue" hood with a long silver-tipped tassel. This style of hood is in fact a liripipe, and it was only through reading John Rateliff's notes to The Hobbit that I had a clearer picture of this in my mind - the earlier version of the model I simply opted to have a silver-braided wire tail with moulded tassel, but I was quite wrong and, in trying to correct this with more green stuff sculpting, met a rather heft challenge in getting the dynamics and flow right. In the end I don't thin  I did, quite, but it's a fudged-sort of movement that I think balances out the raised arm bearing Orcrist, not an Elven blade as such (it's the hand and sword of a butchered Gondorian soldier I've used here), but a significantly de-stabilising element to the model.
As shown here the model I used for Thorin has been altered a fair bit, including a new sword and hand, removal of hand axes and of course the tail and tassel. I also enlarged his shoulder bag (a hangover from when I stared these models back in the day and didn't want to sculpt backpacks, so opted for the nearest thing), and a gold chain around his neck which, strictly speaking, Thorin shouldn't have until he reaches the hoard of Erebor. The colouring is simple - some purple to the inner cloak to signify his regal bearing, and a Dwarven motif added at the last minute to break up the space a little bit. And that's Thorin.

Ah, but is it all the Dwarves? Wait and see...

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