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#1 Sat, May6 2017 7:16pm

Barliman
The famous Innkeeper
From: Bree
Registered: Tue, Jan29 2008
Posts: 4066

What did Mouth of Sauron ride?

As another of my occasional forays into posting blogs that garner very few responses, I was looking at the now quite old Mithril "Mouth of Sauron" figure and found myself wondring about the horse. What did he actually ride?

All we know for sure is what JRRT tells us, which is that it was "a black horse, if horse it was; for it was huge and hideous, and its face was a frightful mask, more like a skull than a living head, and in the sockets of its eyes and in its nostrils there burned a flame."

...which doesn't sound much like a horse at all, except by default. So, my question is, do any of you have any views regarding what it might have been? I've recently acquired a Ral Partha "Fast Claw", which looks somewhat like a cross between a horse and a four-legged velociraptor. It's hard to know what JRT had in mind, but could he have been thinking along the same extinct-dinosaur lines as for the Nazguls' winged mounts?

I'd be interested in your views!


"A worthy man, but his memory is like a lumber-room: thing wanted always buried."

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#2 Sat, May6 2017 8:06pm

ddaines
Skilled Artisan
Registered: Tue, Jan29 2008
Posts: 1689

Re: What did Mouth of Sauron ride?

Barliman wrote:

As another of my occasional forays into posting blogs that garner very few responses, I was looking at the now quite old Mithril "Mouth of Sauron" figure and found myself wondring about the horse. What did he actually ride?

All we know for sure is what JRRT tells us, which is that it was "a black horse, if horse it was; for it was huge and hideous, and its face was a frightful mask, more like a skull than a living head, and in the sockets of its eyes and in its nostrils there burned a flame."

...which doesn't sound much like a horse at all, except by default. So, my question is, do any of you have any views regarding what it might have been? I've recently acquired a Ral Partha "Fast Claw", which looks somewhat like a cross between a horse and a four-legged velociraptor. It's hard to know what JRT had in mind, but could he have been thinking along the same extinct-dinosaur lines as for the Nazguls' winged mounts?

I'd be interested in your views!

Now that you ask......... smile

I suppose that from my initial reading of the description many moons ago, I imagined it to be an actual horse that was perhaps disfigured and kept alive by some means of sorcery (I doubt I paid much attention if I'm honest regarding the 'huge' size).

I would prefer to think it was indeed some large breed of horse similar to a Shire Horse ('scuse the pun) rather than a part dinosaur-part horse creature because what has always been my 'thing' about Tolkien's writings/world was the fact that his creatures were always believable and imaginable and not 'pure fantasy!!!!!! (I realise this may sound daft given Orcs, trolls, dragons etc. but I hope you know what I mean wink ) big_smile.

Again, now that you put the question, perhaps the mount wore some form of mask to make it look hideous, but as it had flames in the sockets of eyes and nostrils, I would err towards sorcery keeping it alive, but a horse nonetheless.

Oddly, the winged 'Fell-Beast' if indeed it was some form of Pterosaur, doesn't give me the feeling of a dinosaur being introduced, I just accept Tolkien's description without trying to analyse its origins, that would destroy the 'magic' of Tolkien's work - that's why I try not to dwell too much on Mithril Haradhrim looking too much like some Saracen-type warriors (I actually prefer the movie design.

All this thinking has made me quite thirsty, I think I'll take a stroll over to The Pony wink

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#3 Sat, May6 2017 11:24pm

Barliman
The famous Innkeeper
From: Bree
Registered: Tue, Jan29 2008
Posts: 4066

Re: What did Mouth of Sauron ride?

I'll be over there in a while.

In the meantime, the only thing that can be said with certainty about Mouthie's horse is that everything about it - with the single glaring exception of the initial statement that it was a horse - screams "monster! monster!" rather than "horse". Is it wearing a frightful mask? Or is that its actual face / skull (delete as apptoptiate)? (I sense potential opportunities here akin to to the "did balrog's have wings or didn't they?" debate.)

All I am sure of is that Mouthie doesn't sit comfortably (pun straight back at you, Master Dave!) on an ordinary horse, and I'm racking my brains to think of something that would look appropriately eldritch and unnatural. All and any suggestions welcome.


"A worthy man, but his memory is like a lumber-room: thing wanted always buried."

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#4 Sun, May7 2017 9:51am

hsf62
Master Caster
From: Germany
Registered: Tue, Jan29 2008
Posts: 2611

Re: What did Mouth of Sauron ride?

JRRT wrote horse, not horse like monster. If you peel the skin of a horses scull and through magic put flames in the eye sockets and nostrils, I believe it looks hideous enough to scare the shit out of every human...big_smile Just my thought.


Where there is a will there is a way, just as there are no problems, only solutions! Guess it depends on ones own perspective of the matter at that time big_smile

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#5 Sun, May7 2017 10:00am

Barliman
The famous Innkeeper
From: Bree
Registered: Tue, Jan29 2008
Posts: 4066

Re: What did Mouth of Sauron ride?

He does qualify its horsiness by saying "if horse it was". Certainly the average horse isn't "huge", "hideous" and "frightful", and I would have thought it would take more than a bit of sorcery to make it seem so. But perhaps the sorcery was of a type that affected the mind of any onlooker and made them see something that wasn't really there? That might work.


"A worthy man, but his memory is like a lumber-room: thing wanted always buried."

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#6 Sun, May7 2017 1:10pm

hsf62
Master Caster
From: Germany
Registered: Tue, Jan29 2008
Posts: 2611

Re: What did Mouth of Sauron ride?

Bloddy tall horse if you stand next to it! cool

At 210.2 cm (82.75"), 11-year-old Belgian gelding Big Jake stands as the world's tallest horse.

Today, the Clydesdale stands 16 to 18 hands (64 to 72 inches, 163 to 183 cm) high and weighs 1,800 to 2,000 pounds (820 to 910 kg).[1] Some mature males are larger, standing taller than 18 hands and weighing up to 2,200 pounds (1,000 kg)


Where there is a will there is a way, just as there are no problems, only solutions! Guess it depends on ones own perspective of the matter at that time big_smile

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#7 Sun, May7 2017 2:06pm

Barliman
The famous Innkeeper
From: Bree
Registered: Tue, Jan29 2008
Posts: 4066

Re: What did Mouth of Sauron ride?

Very encyclopaedic of you, Master H.


"A worthy man, but his memory is like a lumber-room: thing wanted always buried."

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#8 Sun, May7 2017 6:08pm

Theobald
Wisest of Ents
From: the Osning in Germany
Registered: Tue, Jan29 2008
Posts: 5424
Website

Re: What did Mouth of Sauron ride?

I dunno where or when this dicussion might end, but because of it I can clearly see that the horse sculpted by CT is neither huge, hideous nor frightful. - Well, as for a slightly different matter,  which head did you prefer for the "Mouth", Master Barliman?

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#9 Sun, May7 2017 6:41pm

Barliman
The famous Innkeeper
From: Bree
Registered: Tue, Jan29 2008
Posts: 4066

Re: What did Mouth of Sauron ride?

I used the fish head on one and the plain helmet on another....I'm not good at making decisions!

I don't know what I expected regarding the horse, but I was hoping for something more interesting than the plain horse that we got (at least it has no eyeballs). I painted the sockets slightly red at the edges brightening to brilght yellow at the centre.


"A worthy man, but his memory is like a lumber-room: thing wanted always buried."

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#10 Sun, May7 2017 9:34pm

hsf62
Master Caster
From: Germany
Registered: Tue, Jan29 2008
Posts: 2611

Re: What did Mouth of Sauron ride?

But you are right Master Barliman, the Mithril horse isn't huge, nor does it look hideous!hmm


Where there is a will there is a way, just as there are no problems, only solutions! Guess it depends on ones own perspective of the matter at that time big_smile

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#11 Mon, May8 2017 12:27am

Theobald
Wisest of Ents
From: the Osning in Germany
Registered: Tue, Jan29 2008
Posts: 5424
Website

Re: What did Mouth of Sauron ride?

Huom ... but your choice about the heads of the figure is the wisest I can think of ... rhuôm ... I still keep the second option at hand here ... don't know if to assemble or rather keep that piece as an original casting ... hm ... not having the time to paint at the moment ... well ... er, moment you call years in Bree if I once got that right ...
No, the centre of fire is white, then there are shades of yellow, then orange and then there are light red colours, as far as I remember. - Except you burn oily tyres, but fortunately that is not very common in Bree, caused by the lack of tyres maybe.

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#12 Mon, May8 2017 8:54am

Barliman
The famous Innkeeper
From: Bree
Registered: Tue, Jan29 2008
Posts: 4066

Re: What did Mouth of Sauron ride?

Sadly the eye sockets weren't big enough to effectively accommodate the entire required spectrum of colours. I may try to dab in a tiny pinpoint of white again at some point, but I wasn't very accurate the last time I tried!


"A worthy man, but his memory is like a lumber-room: thing wanted always buried."

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#13 Mon, May8 2017 4:36pm

Maenas
Traveller
From: Barcelona, Spain
Registered: Thu, Mar6 2008
Posts: 372

Re: What did Mouth of Sauron ride?

To  me, the sculpted one looks like a regular horse with just somekind of metallic war mask.
Any way I don't see it as frightening mount, even the pose is quite static.

Maybe we could ask for a proper scary mount the next time that a "mounted figure" opportunity shows up.... Or maybe ask for a mounted spectre... (the ones that broke the oath I mean). I cannot recall if that's a PJ addition (spectres on horses) or if it that was mentioned on the actual books....


---
Mae govannen mellon nín.

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#14 Mon, May8 2017 5:05pm

Barliman
The famous Innkeeper
From: Bree
Registered: Tue, Jan29 2008
Posts: 4066

Re: What did Mouth of Sauron ride?

Horsed riders in the Oathbreakers' army were mentioned by JRRT, so they're legit canon.


"A worthy man, but his memory is like a lumber-room: thing wanted always buried."

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#15 Wed, May10 2017 1:00pm

Maenas
Traveller
From: Barcelona, Spain
Registered: Thu, Mar6 2008
Posts: 372

Re: What did Mouth of Sauron ride?

Thank you master Barliman, those rat tails must be a good thing for memory, will try them one more time for sure... xD


---
Mae govannen mellon nín.

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#16 Wed, May10 2017 1:15pm

Barliman
The famous Innkeeper
From: Bree
Registered: Tue, Jan29 2008
Posts: 4066

Re: What did Mouth of Sauron ride?

They're very good for curing constipation, but I'm not sure about memory.


"A worthy man, but his memory is like a lumber-room: thing wanted always buried."

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