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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Eagles are come upon us

Something I noticed yesterday evening...

Here's a photograph from northern Europe of some of the Aurora Borealis resulting from the massive discharge of solar particles hitting the Earth this week:

Looks rather like a great big bird of prey, doesn't it?

Compare that to this painting by Ted Nasmith, titled The Eagles of Manwë:

"...And out of the west there would come at times a great cloud in the evening, shaped as it were an eagle, with pinions spread to the north and the south; and slowly it would loom up, blotting out the sunset, and then uttermost night would fall upon Númenor. And some of the eagles bore lightning beneath their wings, and thunder echoed between sea and cloud.

"Then men grew afraid. 'Behold the Eagles of the Lords of the West!' they cried. 'The Eagles of Manwë are come upon Númenor!' And they fell upon their faces."

-- from "Akallabêth",
The Silmarillion
by J.R.R. Tolkien

Nasmith's work is inspired by that section of The Silmarillion in which Tolkien shares the tale... and the proud and tragic fate... of the race of Númenor. The Númenoreans were about to break the Ban of the Valar: that they should not sail further west than they could see their own lands. The Ban was put in place so that mortal men would not be tempted to seek an immortality which only God Himself could grant.

It does not end well.

With that in mind, this week's natural phenomenon looks positivalutely Tolkien-ish, don't it?


AB in Pittsburgh said...

Eerie. Eyrie? I got nothing else.

Anonymous said...

This is too rad.