Monday, September 29, 2008

Ettins

The oop Ral Partha ettin model I bought on eBay arrived this weekend. I had expected to strip it and re-paint, but the paint job is actually not bad. So, the photo above was not painted by me. If at some time I do decide to re-paint, I'll replace this photo and correct this text so you'll never know someone else's painting work was pictured here. Muuuwaaahaaahaaahaaa (evil laughter).

"Travelers in the forests of our land have oft been fooled into thinking they have drawn near to a group of fellow explorers when they encounter an Ettin, for these two-headed monstrosities have been known to carry on heated discussions with themselves. An Ettin invariably abandons its dialogue when it hath the chance to attack an adventurer."
—Ultima I Bestiary

Multiple-headed trolls receive frequent mention in Scandinavian stories, yet the two-headed monster with the name, "ettin" is not common in European folklore. There is a traditional Scottish tale of the Red Etin (spelled with one "t"). This monster had 3 heads and does not seem to appear outside of this one specific story. Two-headed ettins have long been a staple of the Dungeons & Dragons world. Doubtless, this monster is another example of the writers of the Utima series looking to D&D for inspiration.

The reader does not directly encounter an ettin in Tolkein's books. However, reference is made to the existence of multi-headed trolls.
"Yes, I am afraid trolls do talk like that, even those with only one head each." —The Hobbit, Chater II, Roast Mutton
There is another probable allusion to ettins in the place-name, "The Ettenmoors," a mountainous region north of Rivendell. This is an area known to be populated by trolls.

Mirliton makes a very nice two-headed orc that could very well be an ettin. I'm not sure how big it is. I'm getting one the next time I make an order.

1 comment:

Eli Arndt said...

This is a great miniature and not often is an Ebay score a nicely painted fig unless specifically bought as one.

I remember reading a long essay on the inconsistencies of trolls in Tolkiens' works. The essay focused on the seemingly "intelligent" trolls wearing clothes and with common human-style names depicted in The Hobbit and the more savage, bestial versions shown later in The Lords of the Rings.

I have always loved trolls as fantasy monsters, but tend to go more with the Scandanavian interpretations of their craftiness, wit and cunning.

-Eli