Don't hold off on the Eldar Awakening until Season 2

james Wynn

New Member
I enjoyed the conversation on the podcast for episode 1-09, but I think the plan for season 1 is misguided.
The plan has a lot of politics and motivation but little in the way of actual dramatic plot. The Valinor are eternal (not merely immortal) so there is really nothing at stake. There are no physical, menacing, or romantic confrontations. In short, a narrative without the Eldar, without events in Middle Earth ...that is, without stakes the audience can actually care about... is a snoozer. The chronology needs to be tinkered to allow for the political positioning of the Valar to be meshed with the plight of the Eldar in Middle Earth and the creation of the Orcs. The politics of the Valinor means nothing absent the direct stakes of Tulkas and Melkor in Middle Earth. The visual telling of the Silmarillion must bend Tolkien's narrative.
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
On behalf of everyone, welcome to the boards.

I must confess some confusion as to what it is that you are suggesting. It sounds like a full scrap and reworking of everything that has been done for the past few months, but I could be misreading it. I think in the discussions up until this point, we have worked out numerous ways to show the conflict between Melkor and his followers and the other Valar/Maiar. Melkor makes his first appearance in episode one, and the conflict between him and the desires of Iluvatar are shown there, and then in more detail in episode three. By episode 4, he is interacting and coming into conflict with the Valar in Middle-Earth. With Tulkas' arrival coming in episode 5, and the destruction of the lamps in episode 6, with the attempted corruption of various Maiar in the episodes that follow, I am not sure how we are seeing a lack of conflict and drama.
 

Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
I think we also should remember that the Valar are pretty concerned with the coming of the Children of Ilúvatar in the later episodes of the season. After the destruction of the Lamps, the marring of Arda and the exodus to Valinor, the world is not in a very good shape and there is fear among the powers of what will become of the Children when they arrive. The Eldar will be present in a way, even if they haven't arrived yet, and add drama before they have come.
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
I am in total agreement there. The whole lead-up to the War of Wrath is all about the Children of Iluvatar. Why do the Valar have to go to war? The War to Begin All Wars, as it is being put? Because they cannot allow Melkor to act with impunity as the time for the Firstborn's arrival draws near. In telling the story of the Valar, even with the embellishments we are adding for the sake of character development, we are telling the viewers the 'Why?' to all of the other events that will happen.

To give an example, before my wife knew anything about the Silmarillion (she's reading it now in her native Mandarin, which is awesome), I tried to tell her the story of Beren and Luthien. While it is a perfectly good story on its own, and inspiring in its own right, I found that the telling was lacking in a great deal of the resonance that I find in the original story, because she did not have the backdrop. So, another day I told the story of Feanor and the Simarils, and that fared no better. Because the story is immense, and completely intertwined. Out of context, the stories are good, wonderful tales. Together, they are the masterpiece that all of us here have come to love.

I could not imagine either removing, or rushing through the Ainulindale, the Valaquenta, or the parts of the Quenta Silmarillion that come before the Awakening of the Eldar.
 
I don't think we need to move up the awakening of the firstborn.... however I think this is another indication that season 1 is TOO LONG. The arbitrary decision to make each season an approximately equal length still baffles me.

Great art stands on its own terms. A tightened-up season of maybe 8-10 episodes could be fantastic. Even with all the work that's gone into discovering/exploring/inventing plot lines, I just think this season would drag on for longer than is necessary to tell a great story.
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
We could certainly tell the story that is published in that amount of time. Whether or not viewers would care about the characters we are showing them or not is another problem. I think we could (theoretically, as this all is) create a "fantastic" season with the structure as we have shown it, rather than simply making it a stripped-down documentary-style telling of the tale.
 
I missed a few different elements of this Elves-Awakening discussion somewhere along the line.
The published Silmarillion has the elves awakening first, and the Valar going to war as an explicit response to Orome's discovery of them. However we are following the alternate chronology in which the war is a pre-emptive strike to prepare the way for the elves. The change itself is not that big a deal, the story works well either way. But I've got questions about where it takes us:

1. How does Morgoth get ahold of some of them as prisoners if he's already been captured before they awake? They must be already corrupted and familiar with his authority before his return to Middle-Earth, based on the chronology of battles in Beleriand before the rising of the sun. It was during the third age of Melkor's captivity that beasts and Orcs troubled Thingol and he began to fortify his realm. And not that much time seems to pass between Morgoth's return to Angband and his attack on Ossiriand/Falas/Doriath. Either some of Morgoth's lieutenants are solely responsible for the orcs, or he had to have snuck back earlier to get this work started somehow.
2. What exactly is the cathartic moment/conclusive evidence that sends the Valar to war? The tension is rising to this point, but I'm not sure what exactly we're building up to. Who discovers what that finally tips Manwe & Co. over the edge?
3. When will Melian travel to Beleriand? In the published work she does this when the elves awaken - i.e. BEFORE the war. Will her journey now wait until season 2, since the war has been moved relative to the awakening?
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
1. I was concerned about this as well. Prof. Olsen's response was that if we don't show the Elves until Orome meets them, we can leave the question of the orcs' origin vague. Tolkien grew more and more uncomfortable with the idea of having what are essentially mutated elves being the poster children for irredeemable evil. Now, that doesn't mean that there's a better way, so rather than commit to something that Tolkien himself never could, we ... don't.

2. I would say that there will come a point at which _someone_ will discover Melkor's private monster collection. It will clearly show them that they cannot allow Melkor to remain "Unchained".

3. This is probably the easiest. I would say that if she went after the war, she could be repairing some of the environmental damage.
 

Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
1. This could still be a problem even if we don't show the origins of the orcs. The logical conclusion will be that the orcs have been created before Melkor's imprisonment, and that they are some kind of humanoid beasts - since they haven't been given part of the Imperishable Flame. From what I understand, Tolkien himself described them more or less as such in some texts. If we accept this view, I don't see that we have much of a problem, though.
2. At this point it is clear not only that Melkor is not cooperating, but that he has something to do with the destruction of the Lamps (either directly or by influence). I think, as Nicholas says, that his monsters must be discovered, and I think that when Manwë goes to Utumno that more of the marring of Arda must be evident. I mean the closer they get to Utumno, the more of Arda Marred. And as everyone understands that the Awakening of the Children is drawing near, it will be more and more clear that Melkor must be removed from Middle-earth.
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
I think that what was discussed back when this was brought up was that when Orome finds the Elves, they tell him about the "Dark Rider" who has been snatching them and spiriting them off somewhere. The implication being that perhaps they were there before the "Chaining" and had not been found yet.
 

Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
Yes I have some memory of that. But from what I have understood, there is a problem with the idea that the orcs are descendants of captured elves. That would mean that they have free will. And with that comes a lot of consequences, for instance one might wonder if there are absolutely no good orcs, why are they not turning good in times when Morgoth and Sauron are gone, etc.
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
I think that was the motivation behind never making it clear that the orcs are mutated elves. I do have a theory that helps with the whole free will issue, but it is far too complicated to address in our adaptation. It involves proto-Orc demons, captured elves, and the Biblical Nephilim. Way too much.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
Yes, we will have opportunities for tortured elf captives later. No need to get into that here.

I agree that 'orcs with free will' is a problem, when they are clearly meant to be fully depraved creatures. Equally problematic would be any implication that Morgoth made them 'from scratch' - he can't do that. Some seriously messed up process that explains where Sauron learned his necromancy skills could explain what Melkor is doing, but....better that we not explain.

When do we see orcs for the first time, though?
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
In our show, I would suggest starting to drop them in during season 2.
The book first describes them during Orome's discovery of the Firstborn.


It has been suggested by non-Tolkienian sources that the Orcs were more properly descended from the breeding of monstrous, proto-orc creatures with captured and tortured elves, and that it is this unwilling conjugation that left the Orcs bereft of true free will, which is why they are no longer amongst the Free Peoples.

It isn't far from the suggestion that the 'giants' spoken of in the Bible were to be wiped out at the command of God, because they were descended in part from angelic beings, and therefore irredeemable.

None of this is canon, of course, but Tolkien likely would have been familiar with the concept of the Nephilim. Again, not something we'd have to get into on screen, but it does cover most of the angles.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
Tolkien more-than-suggests that a elf who is forced into a sexual encounter can die on the spot, fleeing to the Halls of Mandos to be reborn rather than to suffer through the rape. He uses this same idea in the (later) version of Morgoth's assault on Arien (the Sun), though she flees Arda and returns to the Timeless Halls instead. Given this, I'm not entirely sure how you would use them in a forced breeding program, though it is possible that Morgoth could 'trap' their spirits so they can't flee right away....

Anyway, no matter how it is done, the horror levels would be Nightmare Fuel, and it would be best not to show anything and leave it up to viewer speculation as to what actually...happened. We can have our commenters (Elrond, etc) make the necessary points about Melkor being unable to create new life, but being very good about twisting all of creation to his own purposes.....
 

Halstein

Active Member
I also agree that we should not be to specific how orcs are made. Aulë made the Dwarves, so Melkor could do something with the elves, without breeding in the ordinary manner.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
No - the dwarves are sentient due to the intervention of Ilúvatar, NOT how Aulë made them in the first place. Even the Valar do not have the power to make sentient creatures, and we can make that very explicit in the Aulë and the making of the dwarves storyline. All Melkor can do is twist existing creatures (including his Maiar followers).

But yes - let's not show the specifics of orc origins, and above all, let's not have uruk-hai pods.
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
In the last broadcast, Prof. Olsen talked about doing the origin of the orcs in flashback during season 2, but I hope that we can dissuade him from that when it comes up.
 
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