galadhion wrote:There's also an undercurrent of melancholy to Eilistraee too. She was used and betrayed by her mother and cast out of the Seldarine by her father (even if it was her own choice). Her followers are hunted by Lolth and commonly feared on the surface. She's been hurt so much over the ages. It's like she stepped out of celtic myth and shares the melancholy of that folklore. That's why I always envision her dances as more a ballet and less a Zumba fitness class.
Yes, indeed !(and that's why I think that this drawing, even if just a simple sketch, clicks so much with her. You see joy, warmth, her free spirit, grace, beauty, but there's also a little bit of sadness in her expression).
However her awesomeness is that she never let that melancholy bring her down or have the better of her; that suffering made her stronger and more beautiful (in a wider sense). Eilistraee chose to abandon her life of luxury and comfort in Arvandor to love and to stand with her people, and she *paid* for that choice, she effin' bled for it. Even the very people whom she loves--the drow--wound her. She's surrounded by evil and many times all her efforts have been brutally crushed.
Ofc she is melancholic, and her soul carries deep wounds, but her scars are like lights. As I said, not only she has always got up on her feet, not only she has never given up on her ideas or on her people (when no one else would), but she has never become jaded, she has never stopped dreaming. Despite that suffering, she can always find the beauty and the light in everything, even in what was broken or where others only see despair or monsters (like in the drow), and gives all herself to make that beauty flourish in all she touches.
beauty is a symbol of all that is wonderful in life, of that free, sheer joy of existence that her people were denied but that they long for--and no matter how much the evil in the world tries to crush her, she still shines as bright as ever. She's like the moon and the stars in the nightsky: even though besieged by darkness, she still finds the strength to cast her light, to show and nurture the hidden beauty in everything, to set the colors of life alight so that everyone can see them and be filled with hope, turning the blackest of the nights into a magical moment. Even in her suffering, she always has the strength to love, a smile to gift, her light to bring to those who are trapped in the cold of their night, to make them dream once more.
So, IMO, her ideal expression is that of a goddess who has suffered a lot--a sweet, loving, and melancholic smile--but with that ever-shining spark of contagious joy, of pure enthusiasm, of passion that she embodies being present in her eyes, in her pose, etc... After all, if in her melancholy she's so strong on lifting people's heart and creating beauty, then it means that her pain only made her appreciate more the happiness that can come from the small things that many ignore, see a reason to hope and smile when others would surrender--or despair, or hate--and strive to spread this hope, make the world a more beautiful place for everyone. It's only fitting that, as the beauty of the drow was lost in the darkness, Eilistraee is the only one who can still find it and breathe life into it.