Nisi the Beautiful

In one of the earliest post in this blog I had the priviledge to introduce one fine Dwarf Lady who has been fighting battles at Fornost server of LOTRO since 2010.

Her name is Nisi, she is the gem of her parents’ eyes, and is a striking beauty who had to venture outside into the world filled with other ideas about the way a girl should look. One lucky hobbit by the name of Dreamo was fortunate to meet, and befriend, and discover her identity, and fall in love with her.

This day I feel lucky to share with you my friend’s drawing of Nisi and Dreamo, and I can never feel awed enough with how my friend created Nisi’s story.


P.S. And in case you do not know – Nisi is the star of CurvedSteel banner 🙂

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Sorry for being so inactive in such active times!

We almost had a revolution in my country (we failed) which makes for a good excuse for not blogging, but here, in Tolkien community the world is changed. I feel it in the water. I feel it in the earth. I smell it in the air. I see it on my Tumblr dashboard.

The Hobbit changed everything, just as Gandalf predicted. Since the first trailer the fans were roused by the question: who is it at 7:50? is it a dress? do we see a beard? And yes, in the theaters in the full glory of 48 fps everyone could see the wondrous design Alan Lee imagined for our dear Dwarrow Dames.

We quoted Tolkien many times before about bearded ladies whom outsiders could not distinguish from Dwarven lords. And actually Alan Lee, Weta Workshop designers and Jackson could’ve easily avoided any controversy at all by not showing specifically Dwarven ladies saying that we just could not tell them apart from male Dwarfs. But they decided to be bold and tried to develop  distinquishable female bearded ladies who would still appeal to a wider audience. This image appeared in ImagineFX magazine #91:

Alan Lee's concept for Dwarvn Ladies taken from ImagineFX #91

Alan Lee, Concept Art Director: If you had a beard and you were a woman, you wouldn’t just let it grow wild and wiry.

Scott Spencer, Weta Workshop Designer: The Dwarf women and children’s hair and beard brief was a lot of fun. I didn’t want to fall back on the old ‘bearded lady’ cliché, so I explored how Dwarven culture might entwine feminine ornamentation with facial hair styling. I wanted the Dwarf women to be beautiful.

The quotes were scrupulously collected by airyairyquitecontrary, and you can see more of them here along with gifs collected by hobbitdragon of beautiful Dwarven ladies at the fair in Dale and with the blogger’s own analysis of this representation.

I think they were a success. It turns out that with a less radical look people are quite ready to accept the idea of bearded ladies. Some Elves are more rude than that, though…

Gloin's Locket

I wonder if it changed somehow the situation for Dwarven lady characters in LOTRO, and as I personally didn’t have a chance to play there for quite long, I hope that you can tell me if it did.

Outside LOTRO the situation has certainly changed, as I can see. Many amazing fanartists started to explore variations on Lee’s design. One of my favourites is Nebriniel and her DORFS art folder is definitely worth exploring.

Fanfic writers began to explore Dwarven romantic relationships (Dis/Dwalin, for example, became a pretty popular fanon pairing).

On the one hand, we can say, as does hobbitdragon, that movie team was not bold enough to combine a full beard with an exquisite Renaissance-style dress. But I think that since it caused an interests and – finally! – admiration and love for Tolkien’s Dwarfs, it was worth it. After all, we saw how differently male Dwarfs style their beards, and for a true fan imagining that some female Dwarfs wear their beards long is not shocking.

On the other hand, I am happy that LOTRO is not directly connected with Jackson’s franchise, and our Dames are still sporting beards as full and thick as any male Dwarf character.

P.S. This post is overdue at least for half a year, but now instead of sharing every bit of information as it appears, we can look at the whole picture and say that Jackson’s mischief managed.

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Meet the Ladies – 5

Now it seems that CurvedSteel springs into activity only when there’s partying and festivities around in the game of LOTRO – but I’ll strive to amend that.

It’s not exactly this blog’s typical “meet the ladies” post – it is a “meet THE lady”, as in – the one and only, official, in-lore, Professor-approved and acknowledged dwarven lady from royal line of Durin’s folk.

Of course, by now you can spell it out yourself: Dis, daughter of Thrain, sister of Thorin, mother of Fili and Kili.

The brave and talented owner of The Starry Mantle blog re-imagined Dis in the world of LOTRO, with what its character-creation and outfitting systems provide.  I think it a great success, both the look, the face features, the choice of beard, and the elaboration about the story of Dis within the Hobbit.

See it for yourself and, by all means, read the original post.

Posted in Dis, Links, Outfits, Robes, ScreenCaps | 4 Comments

We Wish You A-Many Terrors…

It’s the season of Haunting (and hunting – for treasure, obviously) in the Middle-Earth, and all the trickery in the air has broken through the spell of silence which befell this journal on the 13th of September.

Magnificent and Deadly

One of our regulars, the unruly and sharp-tongued Gweri, welcomes you in her outfit as Smaug the Magnificent – and dares you to come to the Breeland Autumn ball  at Laurelin on November,1.

Posted in Gweri, Intro and General Information, ScreenCaps | Leave a comment

[Away From Keyboard, Deep in the Mine]

Perhaps, you’ve already noticed the lack of updates recently – and I apologize for not posting this warning earlier. September is going to be very tight-scheduled for me in RL, but I hope to update the blog in the following fortnight.

Upcoming are:

– a new fashion-savvy Dwarf-Lady to meet;

– a few ideas for a Dwarven wedding, and the translation of a drabble with the interesting characterization of female Dwarves.

Stay tuned, stay curved, and good luck to your character exploration in the meantime!

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Outfitting Problem. Part 1: Robes vs. Dresses

Robes VS Dresses - epic battle

I wanted to make an experiment:  for a dwarfesse Gweri (we’ll tell her lifestory later, for now she is just our model) we made two outfits in similar style: one using a robe and one using a dress. They are both green and pale-yellow to match her eyes and beard.  I tried on different dresses, cloaks and robes to find which will suit her most among each kind.

Both dresses and robes have their drawbacks. You cannot wear a robe with a cloak because they overlap in the back, and it doesn’t look good. At the same time dresses somewhat damage the dwarf’s body type. Also, only runekeepers and minstrels can plausibly claim to wear robes in a fight – and certainly dresses are not suitable for fighting if you are into RP, unless you were ambushed at the festival or your adversary has a passion for fashion  – which, let’s be frank, most Shadow’s servants lack. Come to think of it, though, Goldberry’s sister Naruhel has a pretty dress – maybe she will be impressed by good fashion choice and will go easier on you. Anyway, it means that you’ll probably have to make a separate, ‘male’, battling outfit – but the more outfits the better =)

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Posted in Dresses, Gweri, Outfits, Robes, ScreenCaps | 5 Comments

Meet the Ladies – 3

Our next guest-entry will make many roleplayers choke on their pints of Bombur’s Beard.

It’s as far from Krafali’s traditional female dwarf’s biography and look as it could be, but that’s what make it so interesting to me.

I’m not among those who think that there’s only one right way of roleplaying, I’m for all the diversity one can get. I love lore-abiding dwarfesses in male clothing roleplaying in Thorin’s Hall, and I love flamboyant girly dwarves with funny names roaming around Lothlorien. Because to me if it’s a thought-through character dear to the gamer’s heart – it is a roleplay. It doesn’t have to be the role JRR would approve of, but it’s a role nevertheless.

Let’s meet Kazetta’s friend, the one and only Femaili Fatale!

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Posted in Dresses, Femaili, ScreenCaps | Leave a comment