The Eyrie

Material: Gouache on illustration board

The illustration by Ted Nasmith shows The Eyrie from the successful and world-famous novel series “A Song of Ice and Fire” by author George R. R. Martin. The series is probably even better known under the name “Game of Thrones”, the most successful TV series in the world to date.

The Eyrie by Ted Nasmith
Image via Homepage

Although The Eyrie plays a minor role as a place of action, both in the books and the TV series it is a particularly impressive place with impregnable fortifications. The Eyrie itself is a castle, palace and seat of the House of Arryn, the rulers of the Green Valley and one of the most important houses of Westeros.

The Eyrie in the TV show “Game of Thrones” by HBO
Image via Game of Thrones Fandom

In collaboration with George R. R. Martin, the well-known fantasy illustrator Ted Nasmith has portrayed The Eyrie as the author imagined it when writing it.

The illustration was created for the opulent background work “A World of Ice and Fire”.

What’s to see?

The high rectangular picture shows in the central middle ground a castle complex built entirely of white stone with seven high towers. The building was erected directly on a steeply sloping rock plateau, the angle of view is from below. Therefore there is no real foreground.

From the rock plateau a low ridge runs to the right edge of the picture, which is mostly taken up by a steep rock face. A waterfall flows over the ridge into the not visible ground.

The background is formed by high, snow-covered mountain peaks in the distance, which are held in sfumato. Due to the unusual perspective, the visible part of the sky extends diagonally from the lower part of the left edge of the picture to the upper right edge. The sky is blue and slightly cloudy. The white of the clouds and the stone shine in the bright light of an invisible sun, at the same time an increasing crescent moon is visible in the sky.

The irregular ground plan of the castle complex covers the entire rocky plateau. Massive, high substructures support the visible three halls, which are connected by small bridges. Also part of the foundation walls are fortifications, embrasures, battlements and battlements.

In the centre of the architectural picture arrangement is a three-aisled hall with narrow, pointed windows and an upper aisle. The narrow side is flat and shows a portal on the ground floor and windows or a balcony with a large passageway on the higher levels.

The other halls take up the basic structure of this representative hall, but with reduced and simplified forms, which can be seen especially in the window size and floor heights.

A total of seven towers are visible, whose distribution over the castle area does not follow any recognizable pattern. Four towers have a square ground plan and, especially in the upper third, cantilevered platforms without railings. The tower helmets are made of the same white stone and converge at a point.

The other three towers have a round ground plan and are smooth until the end of the tower with very few and small windows. The ends of the towers are wider in comparison to the shaft and have rows of windows all around. The round pointed helmets are covered with blue bricks, which makes them stand out.

Why does ist look so familiar?

Both the depiction of such a castle on a rock plateau and the uniform colouring of the building ensemble are clearly influenced by Neuschwanstein Castle. The individual building and decorative elements with their references to the Romanesque period also occur in both monuments. Furthermore, the smaller rows of windows are comparable.

Neuschwanstein Castle
Image via Wikimedia

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Who is the artist?

Ted Nasmith
Image via Homepage

The connection to the Lord of the Rings trilogy is not surprising, as Ted Nasmith is a widely known illustrator of the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. Along with Allan Lee and John Howe, who also participated in the film adaptations by Peter Jackson, he is considered one of the most important Tolkien illustrators.

But also his impressive illustrations for George R. R. Martin’s world of “A Song of Ice and Fire” show his talent for monumental, epic and fantastic works of art. His talent lies precisely in the field of architectural illustration, which is also expressed in his work as a draftsman. Nasmith’s work is strongly influenced by architecture and its staging.

With Tolkien and Martin he has created formative images for the most influential works of fantasy to this day.


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