Cuiviénen

Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
Let's discuss what the awakening site looks like.
It is a bay on the shore of the sea of Helcar. The Wild wood is there, and not far away are the Orocarni, the Red Mountains.

There are different maps of Arda showing this region, but most look something like this:

Some look like this:

The second one makes less sense to me - for instance, the positions of Utumno and Angband seem incorrect - (and there are other things that don't seem to match the texts). Maybe it is because it is supposed to show Arda before the destruction of the Lamps, but then - why is Angband there? And Numenor?
So unless those of you who are better Tolkien scholars than I am have any objections, I suggest we use the first one (if not yet another).
The first map gives me the impression that the sea of Helcar could be seen as (almost representing) the Mediterranean. It made me think that the Firstborn awaken in an environment that is similar to the shores of the eastern Mediterranean. Greece, Turkey, Lebanon, Israel. But also, there is supposed to be a great, wild, wood there. And, in the background, red mountains.
Those are my initial thoughts. What do you think?
 
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MithLuin

Administrator
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Trees, water, stars....these elements are essential to the scene for me. The mountains are more incidental, though I'm not opposed to them or anything. The place should be *super* elvish, whatever that means :p
 

Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
Yes what does that mean? Ok the mountains mustn't be seen, perhaps we just have to know they're there. We're agreed on the essential elements.
It's quite hard to find good pictures out there. A night sky turns out to be pretty dark, actually. Especially since we're not having a moon. And in a forest...

No wonder the Valar had a hard time finding the Children.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
Haha! Starlight and water greatly improves on the blankness of the night sky, and the area near the water can be an open space (not right under the trees). Naked deciduous tree branches are my mental picture, so that doesn't mean being *in* the woods, though of course I'd be happy to have a scene of elves walking under the trees after a rainstorm or something. Water is really important for lighting in night scenes, to prevent them from looking flat. Also....have the elves 'invented' fire yet?

Nasmith's Cuivienen is a good starting point, to me.



I would swap out the evergreens for something more deciduous, though. And I see he has the mountains there for you :)
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
Haha! Starlight and water greatly improves on the blankness of the night sky, and the area near the water can be an open space (not right under the trees). Naked deciduous tree branches are my mental picture, so that doesn't mean being *in* the woods, though of course I'd be happy to have a scene of elves walking under the trees after a rainstorm or something. Water is really important for lighting in night scenes, to prevent them from looking flat. Also....have the elves 'invented' fire yet?

Nasmith's Cuivienen is a good starting point, to me.



I would swap out the evergreens for something more deciduous, though. And I see he has the mountains there for you :)

I've seen that picture before, and I when I first saw it, it immediately resonated with my imagining of the Awakening. I saw a lake in central Pennsylvania once that brought that image to my mind again.
 

Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
Yes, that Nasmith picture is wonderful. It's got a forest I really like actually. For instance, it's got what looks like Italian Cypresses. It has the Orocarni. It has the bay, which looks like it could be the bay of a great lake, maybe a sea. I could wish for a feeling of a slightly larger body of water.
And it's "elvish".
Nicholas can you find a picture of that lake you saw?
 

Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
upload_2016-2-9_9-21-40.jpeg

A couple of pictures from Lake Qaraoun in Lebanon. It's not a bay, but it's got something.
 
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MithLuin

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Staff member
Okay, where do we want to fall on the 'Northern/Tropical' scale with this one? My call for deciduous trees means I'm thinking mid-latitudes myself, but that doesn't make Lebanon or Norway wrong.

That being said....the Adirondacks and Finger Lake regions of New York have some awesome locations.....
 

Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
I think Norway is too far to the north. Right now I'm leaning towards the pictures from Lebanon.
Should we go in another direction? Middle-earth is in turmoil, this is a bay by a great sea - maybe the conditions are much harsher?
 

Tim_Widman

Member
I like Lake Como in Italy.

Or the lakes around Lucerne in Switzerland.


The only problem (with both) is there may be too much civilization around them. We'd have to find an uninhabited stretch. They also are verging on being too mountainous in their surroundings.
 

Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
I like Lake Como in Italy.

Or the lakes around Lucerne in Switzerland.


The only problem (with both) is there may be too much civilization around them. We'd have to find an uninhabited stretch. They also are verging on being too mountainous in their surroundings.
Yes and the lake looks a bit small. But otherwise beautiful.
 

Anastasia

Member
Hello there, I have been directed here by Haakon.
He suggested that the costuming and the location forum coordinate on this matter. I agree since, especially in the early days of the elves, their clothing will rely heavily on the flora in their surrounding area, so knowing what plants would have been available to them is important.
I was just wondering, are we imagining Helcar being a saltwater sea or a freshwater lake? You may also want to look at this article (http://www.glyphweb.com/arda/h/helcar.html) from the Encyclopedia of Arda to get an idea of where Tolkien himself stood on the issue of northerly vs equatorial. I can make a more northerly location or a more equatorial location work within the costume framework, just as long as I know what plants are around.
Another thing to consider is that the location we choose does not necessarily need to fit exactly. We could put up blue screens and insert images of the mountains after the fact.
My last thought is, how closely do we want the early flora of middle earth to match the flora of our world? It's mostly asleep when the elves wake up, so how will that affect our idea of the location?
 

Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
I'm glad you are here Anastasia!

I listened to an episode of the Shaping of Middle-earth class. Dr Olsen was mentioning the similarity between Helcar and the Mediterranean. Of course, they're not the same. I think though that, although an inland sea, it should be salt water.
It seems we are leaning towards a slightly more northern position? Like around the Black Sea? Perhaps Georgia, or Armenia?
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
'Elvish' to me is much more intimate than a sweeping landscape scene, which is why it can be difficult to find a good lake/mountain/trees photo to capture this.

Something like this screams 'elvish' (well, leaving out the cut log), but of course there is no lake there.



This picture was taken in the Dreisessel area of the Bavarian forest in Germany (on the Czech border) [credit: Silvia Reiche].
And another:


We may need to mix-and-match locations, so that we have one for the establishing shots, and then others for the more intimate locations. But creeks with moss-covered stones work for me, for the land surrounding Cuivienen!
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
For the woods around Cuivienen, are we interested in old growth forest, or should it seem fairly 'young' and new?

Because at some point, we are going to want old growth, but perhaps more for Nan Elmoth with Eol (not with Thingol/Melian).

Also, with a lake comes birds, so we will need to know the location to pick the bird species. Loons? Swans? I am thinking that the importance of swans in later elvish design should trace back all the way to Cuivienen.

Lake Geneva has swans:


As does Mattamuskeet, North Carolina: http://www.fws.gov/refuge/mattamuskeet/wildlife_and_habitat/tundra_swan.html

(And a bunch of other places.) We can also add swans to a location that doesn't typically have them by being clever.
 
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