A digital artist has recreated iconic places from The Lord of the Rings’ Middle-earth in the style of ancient China. The Lord of the Rings is considered the most important series in modern fantasy literature, and much of its lore is inspired by ancient Norse mythology. The film trilogy recently celebrated the 20th anniversary of its debut, The Fellowship of the Ring, reminding fans how much time has passed since its 2001 debut. The king’s return managed to win the award alongside many others.
Despite the series’ age, interest in The Lord of the Rings remains as high as ever. Fans are always eager to catch up on behind-the-scenes news from the show, such as recent revelations that the studio behind the films is pressuring Jackson to kill off some of the main Hobbits. As well as continuing to generate news, the fantasy series provides a particularly rich source of inspiration for artists of all kinds, with one fan recently recreating the Battle of Helm’s Deep in Lego form.
Now, in images shared on Twitter, a digital artist has shown what Middle-earth might have looked like had it been inspired by ancient China. The images show various iconic locations and characters from the series, including Hobbiton and the King of Rohan, Théoden, in a completely different style than what audiences have seen before. The artist, who uses the Twitter account @leiahamart describes the reasoning behind the art, saying that the idea of a Lord of the Rings inspired by ancient China had “Haunted me for years.” Check out the amazing artwork below:
A thought that has haunted me for years is “what if LOTR but ancient China?”
So I finally made it!
Here is the first preview of a series of artworks that I will publish: Frodo at the beginning of the first “movie” and the Fellowship of the Ring. pic.twitter.com/LGA1KoOV0K
— Leia Ham (@leiahamart) January 3, 2022
Pt 2 of LOTR: Middle Kingdom: A round green gate, an underground house with an open-air courtyard like the siheyuan houses in China. The plaque on Bag End is taken from what they translated into Chinese movies.
It must be warm and cozy in the winter, I think. 🙂 pic.twitter.com/0yPUEJEAK5
— Leia Ham (@leiahamart) January 4, 2022
More of the Shire because it’s my favorite place – a glimpse of the study where Frodo is finishing his book, as well as a conveniently located hearth for Gandalf to cast the Ring into.
I have included a small screen from the lonely mountain and Smaug for Bilbo. pic.twitter.com/90EpWPHCN5
— Leia Ham (@leiahamart) January 5, 2022
No more LOTR: Middle Kingdom!
Some thoughts on how armies would dress, inspired by the Central Asian steppes for the Rohirrim, and more scholarly, Tang dynasty influences for the Elves.
Also sweet yang guifei-esque Arwen because it brings me joy. pic.twitter.com/VO6CTG8mHp
— Leia Ham (@leiahamart) January 6, 2022
No more LOTR: Middle Kingdom!
Rivendell in the Chinese limestone cliffs. Mooncake lembas for me because my family makes mooncakes, and they are really filling.
I haven’t done Lothlorien but just know it’s a huge gingko forest so the community pins reflect that! pic.twitter.com/QabrrgcknM
— Leia Ham (@leiahamart) January 7, 2022
Rohan!! Forward Eorlingas for Lotr: Middle Kingdom! We are almost at the end of the project. I think it’s my favorite spread, because I have to play with a little more illustration.
Saruman’s white hand reaching deep into Meduseld’s hall. And my best favorite girl Eowyn. pic.twitter.com/PYi7lXdUt5
— Leia Ham (@leiahamart) January 8, 2022
One last image for LOTR: Middle Kingdom – the Argonath.
The Anduin is related to the Yangtze, a great thing that meanders through the Middle Kingdom.
The community navigates past these doors and on to the rest of the story, but the art stops here for now. Thanks for listening! pic.twitter.com/QSBikdLfmL
— Leia Ham (@leiahamart) January 9, 2022
The artwork is a stunning take on classic images of The Lord of the Rings series. The characters and places of The Lord of the Rings have been reimagined and reworked countless times by different artists, but rarely in such a bold and imaginative way. Fans will be thrilled to see a whole new take on the content of The Lord of the Rings, but still manages to capture and maintain what makes the fantasy series so unique and beloved.
Moving forward, the future of The Lord of the Rings seems to be TV-based. A new series based on the Middle-earth lore has been in development for several years, hoping to capitalize on the renewed interest in fantasy television generated by the success of game of thrones and the witcher. The first season of the news series is set to hit screens in late 2022, although little is known about the project or its contents. Until then, fans will have to wait for more news to learn more about the series, and in the meantime settle for enjoying the talent of artists willing to share their views on Tthe Lord of the Rings.
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