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The following descriptions are provided to assist players in creating costumes for The Second Age (“SA”). Keep in mind, however, that one of the costume judging criteria is creativity, so players should not feel compelled to slavishly follow these guidelines. The total number of costume points possible for each player is fifteen. This score is broken down into three categories.
Overall quality: 0–5 points
Accuracy to the character (including race): 0–5 points
Creativity/workmanship/effort/performance & presentation: 0–5 points
There is no provision for “bonus” points. Awards for merit are factored into the creativity category. Also, no fractional points (e.g., 7½) will be awarded. Costume points will be awarded for costume merit only. They will not be used to balance the overall score of an otherwise lacking team.
The last King of Númenor, technically he was destroyed by Eru when he took a fleet West to try to conquer Valinor, but for the sake of having some Black Numenórean leadership, we’ve tinkered with history a bit to include him in the game. The sails of his ships were red and gold, the ships themselves were black. We're not sure if he was called "the Golden" because he was blond, or because he liked gold, or because he sold a million records—in other words, this is open to player interpretation. However, he should most certainly not have any emblems of elvish descent, such as the White Tree (he killed it) or the stars of Elendil.
The operative words for a Balrog’s costume should be fire and shadow. They were fire-spirits, possibly winged (refer to the eternal debate over Durin’s Bane), that clothed themselves in the form of creatures of fire and darkness. May carry a “whip of flame” and/or a “blade of fire” though they can’t be enhanced by armor or weapons. Popular conceptions of Balrogs have them with horns, though not necessary to the role. (FOTR 321-2)
“Lords both mighty and evil” of Númenor willingly placed themselves under Sauron’s sway before the Akallabêth, so to be a Black Númenórean is to be pretty darn evil. But, they should not deliberately look like Nazgûl! They would look as knights and lords of men, but should keep to a mainly black and gray scheme, with no emblems of Elendil or the Faithful of Númenor. The “Númenorian” is mainly seen in their power, stature, and lordliness. (Sil 363)
An unknown faction of Men of Khand who served Sauron in the Second and Third Ages. Khand may have been Tolkien’s Middle East or Mongolia, so there’s always the potential of costumes inspired by Middle or Far Eastern designs. Just about anything will fly since very little is known about Easterlings—as long as they look “evil” enough.
Captain of Númenor who rose to great power among the Haradrim, so he may dress either as a Black Númenorian or as a Southron (see Haradrim). (Sil 363)
Tolkien called his orcs goblins in The Hobbit, so these can be dressed just as orcs, though they might be bigger and uglier or more powerful, more nasty. The Red Eye token is not necessary, as goblins lived in the Misty Mountains and were not necessarily hardcore Sauron devotees yet in the Second Age.
The “lieutenant of Morgul” (ROTK 828), a mighty orc captain, should definitely have the emblem of the Red Eye.
Men in the service of Sauron, also called Southrons, should have something of the evil warrior look. Harad and Far Harad were near Mordor, but they might have been Middle-Earth’s Turkey or Persia, so a slightly Middle-Eastern, Arabic, or Persian look would be acceptable. Specifically, they wore scarlet, with accents of gold and gold jewelry, and bronze armor, and had black, plaited hair. Their emblem is a black serpent on scarlet. (TTT 646, ROTK 821)
Númenorian captain who rose to power among Sauron’s minions, captain of the Easterlings of Khand. May therefore dress either as a Black Númenorian or an Easterling. (Sil 363)
[description coming soon!]
A Big Elephant. May have armor, extra bonus for having trappings of scarlet like the Haradrim it belongs to.
An orc is an orc—but better accuracy points will go to those who make an effort through prosthetics, makeup, horns, masks, teeth, or contacts to look orcish rather than human. Should be in black and maybe some brown, preferably ugly, but not in any colors easily mistaken for the Good team (e.g. beige, gray, white). Likely heavily armored, and should have the Red Eye insignia somewhere.
“…clothed himself in power…and it was terrible, for his fair semblence had departed for ever…” (Sil ). May be armored with lots of nasty evil spiky things, or otherwise incredibly that much bigger and badder than his minions. Must be distinctive in some way from all the rest of his black-clad team. He is the “Red Eye,” so he might have it on his person.
The debate is, are they actually green? The trolls in The Hobbit are not—they’re like overlarge, stupid, ugly people. Trolls should be ugly and slow, carrying only rocks and clubs for weapons and no armor. Otherwise primitive, and perhaps grayish or brownish like a cave troll. I’d give full marks if someone came up claiming to be a troll turned to stone.
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“Of old he was an elven-king/a lord of tree and glen…in Lothlórien.” A lord among Silvan elves, he may dress in greens and silver, or also in blue and silver to reflect his later faring to the coast west of Gondor where Dol Amroth is founded.
King of Gondor with his brother, ruled in Osgiliath, a crown would be acceptable attire even though they didn’t really make crowns up for Anárion & Isildur in that time. Númenorian-born, so he should have the high and mighty bearing of a lord of Númenor, could be armored for battle. May bear emblems of the White Tree, the Sun (Minas Anor), or the crest of Númenor.
A great elf Lord, first of Doriath, then Lindon and later Lothlórien, he should be very regal, in silver and greens or all white (as in FOTR), and very powerful. A Sindarin elf, grays would also be appropriate.
Elrond’s wife eventually, she should be very feminine and less warrior-like, as she’s not real hardy (cf bailing for Valinor shortly after being captured by orcs in the Third Age). Any scheme or dress is fine, but she shouldn’t be Xena. Not allowed to wear armor, and limited to only one weapon, which may not be a two-handed variety.
He was lord of Ost-in-Edhil in Eregion, and the greatest smith since Fëanor his grandsire. Thus, could either dress as a lord of his land, a Noldo lord in great colors and lots of arms and jewels, or as master of the forge in smith’s garb. Could bear emblems of the Trees of Valinor such as he carved on the doors of Moria, and especially the Star of Fëanor (an eight-pointed rayed star), or the crest of the house of Fëanor as Tolkien designed it.
The oldest living elf left in Middle-Earth, and the only one ever mentioned as having a beard. He was also the greatest mariner of Middle-Earth and the founder of the Havens, so sea-colors or a seaman’s/ship-builder’s outfit is okay. Also a great lord and leader, and was at the Last Alliance, so warrior outfit appropriate also.
They should be attired as warriors but not over-splendorous (so as not to out-shine their kings), in royal or sea-colors. Could be in grays and silver as future Rangers, and either bear the White Tree (to ally to Isildur) or the crest of Númenor. Possible winged helm like Isildur also.
The High King of Men, the leader of the exiles from Númenor, ruler of Arnor. He wore no crown or helm but a “slender fillet of silver” with a white gem on his brow—the Star of Eärendil (ROTK 830, 843). Kingly colors, but especially white and gray, with or without armor and weapons for battlefield. Should have a sword (Narsil), might have a silver sceptre (the Sceptre of Annúminas), and/or the Ring of Barahir. Likely dark-haired as were his descendents.
It may be the ears or a style of dress or armor that distinguishes them from Men. Greens, silver, grays, dark blues (especially sea-Elves), probably more armor for Noldor and Sindar, and the Sindar and Silvan are more likely to wear greens and browns. The Noldor were High Elves, so they would be influenced by having come from Valinor with greater skills and works of jewelry and arms. The may seek emblems of Eregion, such as the Trees, or anything else to do with Ring-making and the craft and trade of Eregion and Moria. Or, Noldor may flock to Gil-galad’s banner, and wear the crest of the house of Gil-galad (gold stars on a blue field). The Sindar (Grey Elves, of the Twilight) may also wear the crest of the house of Gil-galad, or that of the house of Earendil, and can cast in either as sea-elves or wood-elves (that is, blues or greens) or go grey as Elu Thingol. Silvan are Wood Elves, and will be in the greens and browns and likely wear no tokens or emblems, but might have motifs of leaves and trees.
In the SA he was the herald of Gil-galad, and a warrior in the Last Alliance, but was also known already for being a wise lore-master. Thus, he may either be dressed to fight and wear the emblems of Gil-galad’s house and/or the house of Eärendil, or he may be in a more simple, somber scheme as a wise elf.
She may dress in all white as described in FOTR, or in greens and other bright colors as a Noldo. Was already fairly powerful even in SA, though Lothlorien did not exist yet. Golden-haired, possible to dress down as feminine spouse of Celeborn or up as wise Lady of the Noldor. Not allowed to wear armor, and limited to only one weapon, which may not be a two-handed variety.
The High King of the Noldor. Emblem is a diamond of gold stars on a blue field (Tolkien). Likely would wear a crown and look very regal and powerful, should be carrying a spear (Aeglos). Bright colors and quality armor and jewelry. Dark-haired of the house of Finarfin.
A mighty elf lord of Elrond’s house, possibly the reborn lord of Gondolin who slew a Balrog to save the escaping refugees. The jury may be out on that, but the costume judges will accept either view. He was golden-haired, very fair and lordly (FOTR 204, 220), strong and wise; in Gondolin, he was the chief of the House of the Golden Flower, and wore a mantel (cloak) embroidered with gold and gold damask bands on his arms (Lost Tales 2, 174-5). His shield had a rayed sun on it.
A King of Gondor, Númenorian-born, could wear the White Tree emblem and/or a moon insignia for Minas Ithil, or even the crest of Númenor. Probably attired for the battlefield in rich armor, should look noble and high-born, possibly with a seabird-winged helm from which came the crown of Gondor.
A mere elf maiden, feminine like Celebrian – she was Amroth’s lover. Reference Legolas’ “the Lay of Nimrodel” in FOTR 330-332: a white mantle, silver shoes, star on her brow, golden hair. Not allowed to wear armor, and limited to only one weapon, which may not be a two-handed variety.
Also should be as warriors but not greater than the kings, more likely to bear the emblem of the White Tree and/or Minas Anor/Ithil tokens. Basic warriors of Men with no particular color scheme. The Citadel Guards of the Tower of Guard have not been established yet so they should NOT be in black surcoats at all!
He was a Sindarin elf lord who ruled in Greenwood the Great, later Mirkwood, over Silvan elves. In the SA he was still just a prince, the son of Oropher ruler of Greenwood, and led his people back from the battle of the Last Alliance when Oropher was killed. In The Hobbit, Thranduil is just “the Elvenking,” with a crown of leaves or flowers and an oak staff, possibly blond (though the reference is uncertain). His banner is green.
Height is not an issue. Should be in earth colors, browns and tans, with possible dark green or blue or rust-red hoods. Beards are a distinctive marker of the race, should be some effort made to have a beard. Emphasis can be placed on their reputation as miners with heavy boots and lots of leather guards, tools, or they can be shown to be dwarf lords with helms, crowns, and lots of jewelry. Dwarves are notorious for carrying axes as weapons. Durin is the most likely to wear a crown, and his hair and beard are specifically red, and he should have an axe.
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For further reference, consult the following:
The Book of Lost Tales 2, “The Fall of Gondolin.”
The Hobbit (chapters re: the wood-elves).
Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, & The Return of the King, plus appendices (esp. Appendix A, III “Durin’s Folk”).
The Silmarillion, “Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age.”Unfinished Tales, “The History of Galadriel and Celeborn” plus appendices, “The Disaster of the Gladden Fields.”
Pictures by J.R.R. Tolkien (particularly the pages showing Elven and Numenórean crests reproduced on this page).
If you're interested in movie-inspired costumes, there's a whole section on Second Age costume designs in The Art of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring by Gary Russell.
©2002 Stacey Lee & Rich Miller.