“Sexy Shelob” Explained – Narrative Designer Talks The Notorious Spider Change in Shadow of War
Throughout the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, the giant spider Shelob has always been a spider, so it might seem strange for players of Middle-Earth: Shadow of War and fans of Tolkien to see a “Sexy Shelob” turning from the familiar 8-legged creature to a gorgeous human woman. Never in the history of the movie adaptions or Tolkien’s Middle-Earth has there been any clear indication that Shelob was capable of turning from spider to human; however if she had stayed in her arachnid form, her role in the game may have been drastically smaller.
In a recent interview with Middle-Earth: Shadow of War’s Narrative Lead Designer Tony Elias, he mentioned that people are familiar with Shelob being a giant spider, be it in the books or films, that’s how she’s always appeared. The creative team at Monolith however wanted to explore the character further which lead to a deep search into the lore of Middle-Earth.
The “Sexy Shelob” featured in the game isn’t something hardcore fans may have missed in their studies of Tolkien’s work as Elias explains. It’s an interpretation of wording seen in the description of the character. In the Two Towers, one of the first descriptions of Shelob is an evil thing in spider form. Not spider – but spider form, to which developers came to the conclusion that maybe the spider was Shelob’s preferred form and that she could take on others. From there, the developers looked deeper into the lore to find if there was any way to make her human form one that was plausible.
Her mother was Ungoliant, a primordial being [who is] all powerful. Shelob is the daughter of Ungoliant. We kind of ran with that idea of a creature that could transform itself, depending on the context–we have done that in the first game with Sauron in fair form. Sauron has his war form and he has his fair form, and Shelob, you could think of the spider as Shelob’s war form, and her fair form she uses when she counsels Talion. She can read the web of fate. We see her as this kind of dark oracle, a sort of dark Galadriel who can see the future and guide his path.
Without her human guise the developers thought it would be difficult to trust an evil creature such as Shelob in her Spider form and Talion’s choices may differ. The dark and gorgeous human fruition still provided a small mistrust but at the same time, it does make it a little easier to accept her help.
I think this is not something that could probably be dramatically supported over the long haul. People generally don’t trust monsters when they appear in monstrous form. I think you have to give it more breadth, and explore what this character, the other dimensions of what this character could be, and that’s what we were trying to do in Shadow of War.
Whether or not the changes made to Shelob are justified or not is still being up for debate among fans, but it can’t be worse than adding a completely new character for some elf on dwarf romance could it? Middle-Earth: Shadow of War releases on PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 on October 10th.
Do you like the changes made to Shelob’s character for the upcoming Middle-Earth title. Let us know your thoughts on “Sexy Shelob” of Middle-Earth: Shadow of War and more in the comments section below. As always, don’t forget to follow Don’t Feed the Gamers on Twitter for 24/7 coverage of all things gaming and entertainment.
Chris Calles754 Posts
Known as "Stash" or Yippee Calles. He's a student of everything, avid adrenaline junkie, and creator of random things. When he's not delving into a game, book, or movie - He's out teaching himself new things or taking part in some pretty epic adventures. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr.