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)!
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.
Ears for Elves contains examples of:
- Please add tropes about the main characters to the character sheet.
- Alliterative Title: Ears for Elves.
- Arrowcam: In this strip, it leads to a rather oddly-shaped arrowhead due to skewed perspective.
- Art Evolution: The artist admits that drawing is a learning process and she's experimenting with styles and tones.
- Attack Reflector: One elf uses the blade of his sword to deflect Luero's arrow. It doesn't go back at Luero, though — instead, it hits the railing Tanna is leaning on.
- 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.
- The "Be Careful!" Speech: Luero gives this to Tanna after getting her out of the temple.Be careful. Think things through. I won't always be able to protect you.
- Beneath the Mask: Luero calls out Tanna on her constant smiling in this strip. He goes on to say "Masking your emotions may be necessary for dealing with most people.".
- 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!Elon: Perhaps you should rest for a moment...
- Classical Tongue: Some children argue about the proper pronunciation of "Taurë", the word for "wood elves" in the Forgotten Tongue.
- Cleavage Window: One of the High Elves of Kenn'iraheal has a small one that blends in well with her costume style.
- 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.
- Dances and Balls: At the Taurëcuiva Festival there is a dance in the evening, and Zalanna is furious when Tanna turns down a partner. However, Tanna does have to enter the stage when going across the hall to fetch wine, and when Luero drags her on — see I Can't Dance below. Many of the female elves also make a big deal about getting to dance with Drethalrolan.
- Death Glare: Lady Trylia's expression when she doesn't get what she wants promptly caused Kanryl to speak, since her glare was frightening his animals.
- Disturbed Doves: On the very first page, several types of woodland creature are disturbed by Tanna's archery practice, and a flock of birds fly away from the area.
- Don't Explain the Joke: Here, Zalanna is eager to expound on how she made a joke through exaggeration and her apparent humorous qualities, since Tanna missed the joke when it was made.
- Don't Go in the Woods: Elon gives Myari this warning after she's wandered into the dark, dangerous forest without him.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.
- Faceless Masses: Generic crowdfolk are almost never drawn with eyes, and sometimes lack all facial detail.
- Facepalm: Tanna pulls this off twice in three panels. This may be some sort of record.
- 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.
- Flowery Elizabethan English: Tanna has to speak like this when giving Rolan his formal welcome into the Temple, though she doesn't end up appending "eth" to everything she says. She immediately follows the small speech with "So! Now that I've made a complete fool of myself...".
- Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: See Sibling Yin-Yang.
- Gossipy Hens: Generic elven women are known for being gossips, especially about Rolan, much to Tanna's annoyance. They're sometimes drawn without eyes.
- Groupie Brigade: Luero has one, though a couple people are less adoring.
- Guest Strip: There have been two guest strips so far, with the characters but nothing related to the plot. The first was an "exchange" with the artist of Doodling Around, so Naarie also drew a guest strip for that webcomic; the second was a comedy strip by the artist of Sucker Punch To My Emotions.
- 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...
- Hand Gagging: 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.
- 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.
- I Can't Dance/You Said You Couldn't Dance: Played with.
- Tanna protests that she doesn't dance when Luero tries (and succeeds) to drag her into the dancing at the Taurëcuiva Festival, but she's actually rather good...Tanna: Dance!? I don't dance!Luero: I believe you mean you won't dance. And you're about to be proven wrong.Tanna: Okay fine, it's not that I can't dance- I mean of course I learned how. I just haven't danced in a while.
- ... unlike Luero, even though he told her to follow his lead. A few minutes after her reluctant entry to the dance floor:Tanna: Oh gods! You're terrible!!
- Tanna protests that she doesn't dance when Luero tries (and succeeds) to drag her into the dancing at the Taurëcuiva Festival, but she's actually rather good...
- 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.
- Kick the Dog: Discussed by Tanna and Elon in this strip, though no literal puppy-kicking happens.
- 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 Don't 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.Tanna: So do we.
- Not What It Looks Like: In the middle of the dance hall, Tanna shouts at Rolan for what he did earlier.Tanna: You pushed me to the ground!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.
- 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.
- Pink Means Feminine: For Myari, along with hearts, swirls, flowers, and possibly a butterfly.note
- Pointy Ears: See Our Elves Are Different.
- 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.
- Real-Person Fic: An In-Universe example is Elon's diary, where he writes a story about Luero being defeated so he can become The Hero, rip his shirt off, save the day, and have a make-out session with Tanna and Zalanna.
- Rebellious Princess: Tanna seems to think being genteel is overrated. Luero comments on how she likes that role, but Zalanna despairs at her.
- 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.
- Ship Tease: Between Tanna and Rolan at the Taurëcuiva Festival. It's worse because of how they had a Crash-Into Hello.
- Sibling Yin-Yang: Elon and Myari, oh so much. Elon is cautious and methodical where Myari is impulsive and excitable.
- Speech Bubbles: Naturally, these get used throughout the whole webcomic; however, the ways their shape and layout can be used is shown excellently here.
- Speech-Bubbles Interruption:
- 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.
- Wall of Text: Donn can be enthusiastic when explaining things, leading to walls of text for justifying his actions when accused of following Tanna, or giving detailed descriptions of berry prizes at a festival. Thankfully, most of those speeches are obscured by Donny himself.
- What the Fu Are You Doing?: Elon? Seriously? And did you teach that to Donn?
- 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?Tanna: But-Luero: Understand?!!Tanna: I... understand...