Helm's Deep

My version:

Same style on a friend:

Reference images:

Analysis (whoo, scientific): This, quite possibly the awesomest braid in the world, is only seen *exceedingly* briefly in The Two Towers Extended Edition documentaries. They filmed a few scenes of Arwen at Helm's Deep, before Peter Jackson decided not to have her appear in the battle, and this was the style she had. I've had the devil of a time trying to find pictures of it; I just now found picture 3 after much, MUCH searching. Lace braids run horizontally along the sides of the head (see picture 1) with hair taken only from the lower side of the braid. Picture 3: the lace braids meet in the middle and cross over each other. From there, it seems that there are 8 braids; the two from the lace braids, and three more on each side. The 8 braids are braided into a 4-strand braid, which is tied off a few inches from the ends.

Directions: First make a lace braid, starting at one temple and braiding in a straight line back to the middle of your head. Basically it's a french braid, but you only take hair from one side, in this case the side following the hairline along the side of your head and part of the nape. Do the same thing on the other side. Pin the two braids in place, crossing one over the other. Now, it looked like there were 8 braids braided into a 4-strand braid in the picture I saw, it created a big confused jumble when I tried to braid that many; you could no longer see which braid was which and it was just too many braids. So I did it with only 4 braids. I braided each of the lace braids into one of those four as I went, so it looks like 6 braids on top and 4 a few inches down. I braided those 4 all the way down to the ends and put an elastic around each one. This was much easier when it came to keeping everything separate. Then I "braided the braids" into a flat four-strand braid. This is basically weaving; you take the braid at the far left (or right, doesn't matter) and weave it under the first braid, over the second braid, and under the third braid. Then you just keep repeating it. Usually this kind of braid twists as you braid, but if you braid loosely, it doesn't. Another solution for this is to make a 5-strand braid (odd-numbered strand braids don't twist, even-numbered strands do). Put a big elastic on the end, and take out the 4 little ones since you won't need them anymore. This is a LOT of braiding, and my fingers were pretty tired when I was done, but that's it! Dreamweaver Braiding also attempted this style, although they went about it a little differently. Theirs is definitely simpler and easier to do, but if you're a stickler for accuracy, the first method might be a little better.