Mehtarnis

Among the Eldar, neri and nissi (that is, Elf-men and Elf-women) were equally able to pursue any role or occupation they wished, though each gender had its own particular strengths and abilities. It is said that there were “no matters among the Eldar that only a nér can think or do, or others with which only a nís is concerned” (aside from the bearing of children). Elf-women were more likely to be healers, and those that were did not hunt or go to war, for the Eldar held that killing, even when necessary, just and lawful, diminished one’s ability as a healer. But Elf-women were just as capable warriors as Elf-men, for the difference in strength between neri and nissi who had not yet borne children was less than in mortal Men and Women, and there were no doubt Elven women called to gird themselves and take up arms against the servants of the Enemy.

This Noldorin maiden is called in the tongue of the High Elves mehtarnis, a warrior-woman. Her subtlety of movement, skill at arms, and knowledge of the lore of the wild make her a deadly woodland skirmisher.  She can both elude and track her foes, and come upon them at unawares, felling them with her long, curved dagger.

Her shield, expertly forged by Noldorin smiths, is designed to be held close to the body and is shaped with a notch to allow unimpaired vision. Few servants of the Enemy can stand long to look upon her who has seen the light of Valinor, and fewer still have the skill at arms to match her in personal battle.

I was recently revisiting Tolkien’s essay on “Laws and Customs Among the Eldar” and was inspired by his explanation of gender roles among the Noldor. Many (inattentive) readers of The Lord of the Rings accuse Tolkien’s writing of showing the gender-bias of his time at best or being outright sexist at worst, but I think “Laws and Customs” shows quite clearly that this is not the case – and, I think, a more sensitive reading of Rings shows this as well. In terms of the outfit, I’ve been trying to find a good use for this helm for a while now, and I finally settled upon this combination that plays on the helm’s undyeable grey sections and its golden trim. Somehow it was the cloak, with its nice gold details, which brought the whole outfit together for me in the end.

  • Head: Elven Tracker’s Hood (looted — Library or School at Tham Mírdain), violet
  • Shoulders: Ceremonial Dragon-scale Shoulder Guards (bartered — skirmish camp cosmetics quartermaster/Helegrod cosmetic clothing – heavy), violet
  • Back: Cloak of the Mark (crafted — tailor T8/Men of the Sutcrofts reputation), violet
  • Chest: Footman’s Armour (crafted — tailor T6), violet
  • Hands: Gauntlets of the Golden Wood (crafted — tailor T6/Galadhrim reputation), violet
  • Legs: Ceremonial Dragon-scale Leggings (bartered — skirmish camp cosmetics quartermaster/Helegrod cosmetic clothing – heavy), grey
  • Feet: Footman’s Boots (crafted — tailor T6), violet
  • Shield: Iron Warden’s Shield (crafted — metalsmith T2)

Tips: If you don’t have access to the cloak used in this outfit, a great alternative is the Cloak of the Unwelcome Guest (quest reward — Great River [75] Neighbours Meet). It has the same shape as the Cloak of the Mark but lacks the gold trim and dyes a little darker.

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10 Responses to Mehtarnis

  1. I love love love the purple!! It looks so good! :)

  2. cennwyn says:

    I haven’t read that essay, but it’s certainly on my to-read list now! I agree that Tolkien gets a lot of undeserved flak for sexism or racism. And this outfit is nice! I shall be picking the cloak up soon.

    • Thanks Cennwyn! It’s a really interesting essay, and there are quite a few other topics touched on as well, including how the whole process of spending time in Mandos and being re-born works. Although I think that was later abandoned in the Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth… anyway, still a really interesting read! :)

  3. shipwreck says:

    Another great one! Is that essay in the Histories? I need to get thems.

    • Thanks Shipwreck! Yes, you can find the essay in the Histories. It’s in vol. 10, Morgoth’s Ring. So far it’s my favourite volume of the Histories (though I haven’t read them all yet) as it has “Laws and Customs”, the very touching Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth and the Tale of Adanel (various accounts of the Fall of Men). There’s also a section on Tolkien’s evolving thoughts on things like the nature of Orcs and so on. Really worth picking up!

  4. You always make such great shots of your characters! Love the shot behind the shield! The purple hue is very nice, I love violet but hardly use it because it looks so dull. You made prominent use of it and in combination with gold it looks great!
    I dont think Tolkien’s works are sexist, but I do miss the presence of women most of the time.

  5. Looks great! I love violet and purple dyes but must admit that I dont use them as often as I would like. Think my elf champ may have to have a look at aquiring some of those helegrod bits in the future.

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