HR Giger's Necronom II:
The Watchers of Cirith Ungol

leading from
Necronom II

a) Wondering about Necronom II
Over time I wondered what Necronom II was about, another painting from the 1976 series of Necronom paintings. Obviously I could see how the gaps in the faces at the side with only the tendons remaining inspired the side of the face of the final alien creature in Alien. I did wonder for a while if Giger just wanted to explore the face of this creature from three sides or was there something else on the symbolic level involved. Did this somehow represent the triple goddess idea, however this thing was obviously showing off a tongues with a mail penis forms. Perhaps it was one of those entities who was looking into the past, present and future at the same time . However these faces were not entirely human. I later discovered that the demon Pazuzu could be found represented as three heads together, Pazuzu was also the blasphemy spewing demon used in the movie Exorcist which the penis tongue would easily represent. (See Pazuzu heads

BLMJ 4577: Black metamorphic stone in the shape of a symmetrical 
triple-faced Pazuzu head with a hole at the bottom. Each of the bald 
heads has a long wide neck, human ears, and gazelle horns starting 
at arched eyebrows which are curled at their meeting point. The small 
canine-like nose is situated over horizontal ridges indicating a moustache. 
The cheeks are portrayed as ridged tear drop swellings. The open mouth 
is full with small teeth and two sharp fangs reaching the bottom lip. 
The long beard becomes wider towards the bottom of the head.
Size: h. 7.8, w. 5.2 cm (Fig. 6). Description and photograph in
Christie’s—New York: Antiquities (Tuesday 13-6-2000)
p. 136-137, no. 484. (source

b) Hints of bird like heads?
Something however that irritated me was the fact that there were things that seemed like bird heads forming either side of part of the upper jaw of the central face and they were not matching. There was something odd about the beak of the one on the left in that it turned downwards at the end.

c) Mental revelations about The Watchers of Cirith Ungol
9th July, 2015, Stuck for years trying to wonder what the inspiration behind Giger's Necronom II and this morning in a semi state of sleep the words formed to tell me it represented "a gateway , with three faces watching from a tower in Lord of the Rings". I would have been familiar in the distant past with the idea of the Watchers back in the early eighties when I was obsessed with the Lord of the Rings books but now my memories of the detail were faded.

I read up about the three headed Watcher statues with vulture heads standing either side of the gate at Cirith Ungol in Lord of the Rings. And they were described as being great figures seated upon thrones, each had three joined bodies, and three head facing outward, and inward and across a gateway. The heads had vulture faces and on their knees were laid clawlike hands. They appeared to be statues inhabited by some form of living spirit

It would not be an ultimately strange thing for Giger to be inspired by Lord of the Rings, we know it was a book that he enjoyed and he even gave named a series of paintings after the book because he liked the name rather than there being a connection between the book and the subject matter of the paintings. 

A drawing of one of the Watchers from
The Tolkien Bestiary (1979), not associated with Giger's art

d) Seeing Hints of the Vulture?
Trying to find a vulture in the picture, I slowly see the hints of  a vulture form in the left of the picture, and this was one of the bird forms that irritated me and then from that I noticed how I could perceive an exaggerated long necked vulture like thing. Then the strange helmet stretching across the three faces became loosely inspired by the curved tip of the vulture beak shape.

Remnant of the form of a vulture in Giger's Necronom II

detail showing vulutre head unhighlighted

Remnant of the form of a vulture in Giger's Necronom II

Ancient Egyptian depiction of a vulture

e) The Mouth of Sauron
Looking for something else in the Lord of the Rings saga,  I thought about the blasphemy spewing character known as The Mouth of Sauron, who served as the emissary of the great villain Sauron, but unfortunately was little described other than being a rider robed in black with a black lofty helm, although its horse was described as having a face like a frightful mask more like a living skull. What if Giger's thoughts had merged the description of the face of the horse with the description of the being known as The Mouth of Sauron, and this entity would have transformed into something with a ferocious blaspheming mouth. However in 2003, Lord of the Rings, Return of the King would be made with the Mouth of Sauron looking loosely and oddly reminiscent of the middle face of Giger's Necronom II.

The Mouth of Sauron from the Lord of the Rings movie "Return of the King"

Source Quotes
  1. "They were like great figures seated upon thrones. Each had three joined bodies, and three heads facing outward, and inward, and across the gateway. The heads had vulture-faces, and on their great knees were laid clawlike hands. They seemed to be carved out of huge blocks of stone, immovable, and yet they were aware: some dreadful spirit of evil vigilance abode in them. They knew an enemy. Visible or invisible none could pass unheeded. They would forbid his entry, or his escape." (Lord of the Rings. Return of the King, The Tower of Cirith Ungol.)
  2. "And thereupon the middle door of the Black Gate was thrown open with a great clang, and out of it there came an embassy from the Dark Tower. At its head there rode a tall and evil shape, mounted upon a black horse, if horse it was; for it was huge and hideous, and its face was a frightful mask, more like a skull than a living head, and in the sockets of its eyes and in its nostrils there burned a flame. The rider was robed all in black, and black was his lofty helm; yet this was no Ringwraith but a living man." (Lord of the Rings, Return of the King, The Black Gate Opens")

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