The Long Night

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#TPTWP featured image for the month of February 2018 is titled The Long Night, created by Ertac Altinoz of Turkey. Much more A Song of Ice and Fire inspired artwork of the same caliber can be found at Mr. Altinoz‘s webpage so please follow #TPTWP Royal Command, pay him a visit, and enjoy more of his fantastic work.

Fear is the keyword for this piece. The emotion of fear is plain on the Ranger at the forefront of the work. This is supported by the flailing arms and hair as he flees from the danger creeping up on him. The Ranger of The Night’s Watch could be removed from this piece and placed within another scenario- any scenario from sailing on a beautiful day to riding upon the back of a flying unicorn- but the fear and horror this character is experiencing would still be prevalent and plain to the viewer.

However, it is the scenario the Ranger finds himself in that creates such a mood that allows the viewers to really put themselves in the Ranger’s shoes. Beginning at the topmost image in this work is a full moon masked in dark clouds and the jagged, uneven crest of what I take to be The Wall. The crest is slanting upward like an Alfred Hitchcock frame which creates a strong sense of unease that is difficult to pinpoint the origin of.

Closer to the forefront, about midway in the dimensions of the piece, is possibly The Shadow Tower with a strong fire blazing atop. In the scenario that Mr. Altinoz creates, the fire can function plainly as a beacon for reinforcements from Castle Black to assist with what seems like a breach of The Wall. In a more abstract way, the fire functions as hope- a source of light and warmth in a location that is frozen and dark. As bright and strong as the fire burns high atop the tower, the beacon of hope and reinforcements may as well be leagues away.

The mist is minimal but effective in cloaking the lower landscape to make the sense of direction unstable and an overall feeling of other-worldly. Combined with the near-crooked growth of the giant pine trees in the far-ground, which effectively seem to swallow light and life despite being a source of life through the most frozen of landscapes.

A lifeless and seemingly empty village, built of what looks like the most basic and weakest resources, shares an equal visibility with the antagonists of this piece, The Others. Two monsters move casually after the fleeing Ranger, there pace not a stride but methodical and with purpose. Where the physical body of The Others ends and their armor begins is not possible to find. It may be that there is no armor, or that their armor covers their slender and ghostly bodies completely. Their physicality shines in the dark landscape, the moonlight that is able to escape through the clouds is captured and reflected by The Others. The infamous and not-yet-seen Ice Spiders move majestically down the side of the mountainous terrain just above The Others, following their masters and appearing completely under their control. Mr. Altinoz‘s portrayal of the Ice Spiders works as well as it does because it is minimal. The idea of these terrible creatures continues to consume the imagination of those familiar with the idea of them because the artist doesn’t depict a defined vision of them, just a hint of what they would look like scrambling down a mountain after their prey.

What wraps the entire piece together is what can be understood as ice crystals frozen sporadically all around The Others. These spots also have an other-worldly color to them, suggesting that they could be the frozen eyes of The Others or the results of these monsters roaming through the land of the living south of The Wall.

The Princes That Were Promised Official Image of The Month:

The Long Night by Ertac Altinoz

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