Sunday, 24 December 2017

Three Wise Men


Three Wise Men, Middle Earth style - and another three for Beardecember! Scholars of Tolkien lore will no doubt know that five wizards are sent to Middle Earth to help in the fight against Sauron, though only three take part in the unfolding events. These three wizards are of course Gandalf, Saruman and Radagast, which are represented here, though if you have only ever seen the film without reading the books you may be struggling to identify these beards.


Starting with the easiest, Gandalf in the centre. I stuck with the usual grey outer garment, but underneath he has a smarter than usual set of blue robes. Perhaps this is a reference to the two absent members of his order, the Blue Wizards, who wander off to the east and take no further part in the tale. This was one of the first figures produced by Games Workshop for the Lord of the Rings game - for me it ranks as one of the best sculpts of the range.


The next wizard is Radagast, the Brown Wizard. In the books he is described as a lover of nature and wild things, more at ease with creatures than humans. This sculpt was produced well before his subsequent depiction in The Hobbit films. It sticks closer to the description in the book - all the wizards are described as tall with the appearance of elderly, bearded men. This figure I painted many years ago, during my "stand on a rock" phase, in a typical woodland or rustic palette.


Finally, Saruman the White Wizard, though here in disguise. If you have seen the film but not read the book, then it might surprise you to hear that Saruman does not die at Orthanc. In the book version, Saruman is defeated by Gandalf at Orthanc and his staff is broken, banished from the Order of Wizards. He slinks off with Wormtongue and we hear no more about him as the tale of the Ring unfolds. It is only long after the main events have been settled and the hobbits return to the Shire that we encounter him once more. He is now known as Sharkey and is the leader of a band of ruffians who have taken over the Shire, despoiling the land, replacing the lovely old buildings with grim factories. The four hobbits quickly organise a resistance and drive out the troublemakers. In a final scene, Saruman is killed by the long suffering Wormtongue, his body shrivels and his spirit blows away in the wind.

This Sharkey figure was released as part of boxset called the Scouring of the Shire. It is usually painted in fairly sombre colours, but I have painted it in a more flamboyant way. Perhaps Saruman still clings on to the idea that he is the Wizard of Many Colours. I just fancied painting up an orange robed character!

3 comments:

Steven Williams said...

Beautiful paint jobs! So much so that I’ve just purchased the Sharkey figure off eBay - he’ll make an excellent mage for D&D.

MichaƂ Kucharski said...

Fantastic work!

Phil said...

Wonderful colors and excellent job!

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