Huan, the Hound of Valinor

There are a lot of Tolkien fans who apparently think that “wolfhound” means “wolf-dog,” “wolf,” or even “bull mastiff.”

They are wrong. Tolkien had friends who had Irish wolfhounds. It was kind of a thing in England for a while. (Georgette Heyer had an Irish wolfhound too. Because she was just that awesome, that’s why.)

So here are some pictures where Huan does not look like a wolf, a half-wolf, or Il Grigio the guardian dog of St. John Bosco. (Even if I think Il Grigio is definitely one of his inspirations, as well as Somr’s Irish wolfhound that could think like a man and knew if there was malice in a man’s heart toward his master.)

“Lúthien and Húan in Tol-in-Gaurhoth,” by Randy Vargas.

Huan disguised as a werewolfhound, and Luthien Tinuviel disguised as a vampire, walking right into Melkor’s lands. Brilliantly done. Awesome perspective stuff, too.

“Celegorm and Curufin Find Luthien,” by Elena Kukanova.

A wonderful picture in so many ways. If you are an Irish wolfhound person, you will appreciate Huan’s typically soulful gaze and pose. But the atypical ethereality will be telling you that this is an angelic being, not an earthly hound. Take all my money, Elena.

“Huan and Luthien Escaping from Nargothrond,” by Ted Nasmith.

A nice picture of a half-angel half-elven girl and her giant angelic wolfhound. On the run. They also fight crime.

“Luthien and Huan on the Road to Tol-in-Gaurhoth” by Mikhail Ramendik.

A simple concept but a really touching photo rendition.

(The rest aren’t nearly so effective.  Another photo. And another. And Huan attacking Sauron’s werewolf body, except it’s obvious he’s not doing it. But they’re nice wolfhound pics.)

Apropos of all this, Tolkien’s poem “The Lay of Leithian, Release from Bondage” will be published in May 2017 as an illustrated book. Unfortunately/fortunately Alan Lee will be doing the illustrations. He kills me, because he tends to come very close to my mind’s eye pictures of the books, but then veers off in some odd direction. I’m pretty sure he’s on the wolf side of Huan pictures, so I’m not looking forward to that.

On the other hand, you could have Donato. Yup, Donato does Beren and Luthien at her dad’s court. Niiiiice.

Two pics of Huan as a Borzoi by Scorpionhoney. Okay, a giant Russian wolfhound is a legit interpretation.

On the other hand, tattooed elves are not a legit interpretation. Orcs, maybe. Or goblins.


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2 responses to “Huan, the Hound of Valinor

  1. iolanthe95

    More pretty pictures, please!!

  2. Rose

    I agree with you 100%, but I was wondering if you have any specifics about Tolkien’s wolfhound-owning friends and the breed’s popularity (so I can reference it in a similar discussion with my friend, who thinks wolfs are clearly the more natural choice for Huan).

    Also, here’s one of my favorite Luthien and Huan pictures (also by Elena Kukanova)

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