Ears for Elves is a lighthearted webcomic on the high end of the fantasy scale, with touches of Heroic Fantasy. It follows the story of Tanna Teasen'atear as she grows from a youngling into adulthood and finds her place in elven society. Started in 2011, it is the first online graphic novel by Naarie Kermie, though it is currently on hiatus. The site is maintained and edited by Archmage, and links to us, accounting for the high number of inbounds — our character sheet has even replaced the official one (though that's still accessible through the direct URL)!
The plot so far:
It's always been expected that Tanna, a highborn wood-elf, would follow in her parent's footsteps and be the model nobleman's daughter — even her friend Zalanna tries to push her into this role. However, Tanna doesn't like being cast in that way, and dreams of being a Village Guardian, practicing shooting and tracking often in hopes of becoming as good as warrior Luero. Others don't believe she'll ever make it, especially with having to babysit her younger brother Donn alongside all that she does, but she's gone too far away from the world of dancing and meetings that her parents are part of to reconsider.Until a stranger knocks her down and then vanishes away.Enter Drethalrolan, not that Tanna can remember his name. He's a high elf, and for this reason a number wood elves are prejudiced against him. His charming ways from a different culture win over many of them, but at first Tanna views them as arrogant and annoying. However, after sorting out some misunderstandings they become friends — leading to more misunderstandings when Donn mistakes Rolan for Tanna's boyfriend.But that is soon forgotten when the prejudice against Rolan becomes clear in the marketplace. In an attempt to make people accept him, Tanna sneaks into the ancient druidic Religious Temple of Herutaure, and gives him a formal welcome with flowery prose. Her temple tour doesn't last long, though, when several elves enter carrying another severely wounded dark elf. Turns out that that's a secret, though, as after Luero finds, hides, and gets her out he ensures she knows to forget it happened and never mention the incident.
Author Guest Spot: The artist draws herself, in the style of the comic, when making announcements, doing Q&A pages, and sometimes in filler strips. She also drew Archmage in the Halloween cosplay filler, which he wasn't impressed by.
Black Blood: Averted here, which is suprising for a black-and-white comic. It's the only time color has been used in the main comic; the artist said that a great thing about making a webcomic was the ability to experiment. See Trail of Blood Drips below.
Blank Face of Shame: The artist takes inspiration from manga and uses this on several characters. It happens to Elon here, after an exasperating attempt at warning Myari about the forest that ended with his embarrassment.
Cassandra Truth: After meeting Rolan for the first time, Tanna isn't sure of what she saw — it happened too fast — and tries to explain it to Myari and Elon. They don't believe her.
Myari: Oh Tanna, you've been pushing yourself too hard! You're talking crazy!
Crash into Hello: Tanna's opinion of Rolan is forever shaped by how she first met him. Running through the forest, he knocks her down and lands on top of her. He gets up too quickly for her to protest and vanishes off, narrowly averting an Instant Seiza.
Elon: Why must you always put yourself at risk like this? We all know how dangerous the forest is!
Ear Ache: In the last panel here, Elon grabs and pulls Myari's ear quite hard because he's angry at her/worried about her, and has finally found where she was hiding.
Elfeminate: A number of male elves, as most elves have hair at least halfway down their and wear long tunics. Higher-born ones also have small braids, pieces of jewellery, or other details.
Enter Stage Window: The Temple of Herunor's doors have been sealed by the druids. In Tanna's words, though, they always seem to forget the window. It's strongly implied that Tanna and Rolan will enter through the window.
Fanservice: This is enforced for Tanna and Luero in the first Q&A series. Tanna loathes it, but Luero is quite pleased at the chance to show off his chest. Their outfits — well, lack of in Luero's case — are reprised in the announcement for the second Q&A series.
Fantastic Light Source: When Tanna enters the temple , it's dark once she reaches the main room. However, she touches an orb over a glowing basin, and it and similar orbs light up the whole chamber with mystical effects.
Filler Strips: Several times. They can happen when Naarie Kermie doesn't have the time/tools to draw a "proper" strip, or just for fun/exposition. Some are even planned out well in advance.
Flower in Her Hair: At the Taurėcuiva Festival, most women wear herublossoms in their hair.
Halloween Episode: A filler page for Halloween here has the artist and site maintainer dressing up. Well, more like one getting into the festive spirit and the other wondering what the point is...
He Is Not My Boyfriend: Donny sees Tanna walking arm-in-arm with Rolan, infers that he must be her boyfriend, and finds this disgusting. Tanna protests madly. A while later, Donny tells Tanna that her new boyfriend isn't so bad after all; her reaction is to say that Rolan is not her boyfriend.
Just in Time: Downplayed — Tanna is in trouble with her mother for not observing perfect high-class etiquette, by expecting the elves to reuse wine glasses. Zalanna shows up with clean glasses just before Lady Trylia is likely to get really mad.
Long Lived: Elves live into their 900s, with adulthood being between the ages of 200 and 700. Life stages and certain character's ages are discussed here.
The Lost Woods: Surprisingly averted so far, given that this is fantasy set in a forest full of elves. There may be something in them (see Elon's warning under Dont Go Into The Woods), but we haven't seen it yet.
Not So Different: The Renavanna and Eytherlia elves, according to Tanna after Zalanna pronounces them feral. The unusual arrangement of panels on that page emphasises Tanna's point.
Zalanna: You see, they live in the untamed wilds.
Tanna: So do we.
Zalanna: In a secret, secluded village.
Tanna: So do we.
Zalanna: With border guards dedicated to not letting a soul in.
Tanna: So do we.
Zalanna: They hide away from any non-elf race, threatening banishment to any who commune with outsiders.
Various elven ladies:Did she just say- Oh my gods... She didn't. I can't believe he'd- Did they really?
Tanna: Oh come on. What are you? A bunch of gossiping barmaids? It's not like that at all.
Odango: The six main Elvish women here demonstrate the variety of hairstyles in Eytherlia, with one having buns done like this.
Oddly Visible Eyebrows: Most characters with a fringe have these, though the brows are just a single line. On the main banner, Luero's right eye is visible through several strands of his thick hair.
Odd-Shaped Panel: There aren't usually outrageous shapes, but here a series of three short, wide rectangular panels indicate zooming in/panning down.
Our Elves Are Different: Each different demographic of elf is defined by their ear design which is explained in the first panel of this Q&A page. Their language is loosely based on one of the Tolkien ones.
Putting A Hand Over Her Mouth: This is done suddenly to Tanna while she's hiding in the temple. Whose hand it is isn't revealed until some pages afterwards, creating suspense. When Luero finally releases her, after the priestess has left, Tanna jumps out and it's shown that even she didn't know who was holding her.
Rapunzel Hair: Several characters on this page do; then again, their hair does serve as panel breaks and the art is very stylized.
Really 700 Years Old: As explained here, elves stop aging when they reach young adulthood; see Long Lived above. Luero is 77 and looks like a well-toned man in his twenties.
Rule 63: An official version, no less! The last panel here calls it by name and shows what Tanna and Luero would look like. Luero, naturally, does the stereotypical thing and gropes his newfound boobs.
Splash of Color: The only time color has been used in the main comic was for blood drips from a dark elf. They are spattered across the page, making it more ominous.
Staggered Zoom: Used here to show Tanna's feelings of being worthless because she can't shoot well and her sadness about being alone.
Stunned Silence: After Tanna's rant at Rolan came out wrong, the various Elven ladies are shocked into silence at the idea of her being pushed to the ground by a high-born male elf. This is indicated in the comic by the artist not drawing their mouths in the Beat Panel.
Trail of Blood Drips: In this page whilst Tanna and Rolan are hiding in the temple, an elf is brought in severely wounded. No blood is shown on the floor, but a trail of blood drips is splashed across the comic page between the broken-up panels.
Understatement: One is used in the author's comments. After a long and unexpected hiatus, the webcomic updated with a page proclaiming simply, "Soon". Naarie pointed out in her blurb beneath the image that there was a subtle hint to be found.
Unmoving Plaid: Happens in most strips with some kind of pattern, due to how the shading works. Particularly noticeable on some of the costumes from the chapter 2 title page.
Wide Eyes and Shrunken Irises: When Tanna first sees Rolan (who is moving at high speed), her widened eyes, tiny irises, and high arched eyebrows indicate her surprise/shock. The black and white explosion-style background also shows suddenness.
You Didn't See That: Used after Luero catches Tanna tresspassing in the temple. She saw an injured dark elf there, who was meant to be a secret. Luero's words are likely for her own protection.
Luero: Listen to me. Forget what you saw back there. Not a word. Not to anyone. This did not happen. Understand?