Le sigh... I guess.
We've got different tools and rules for the story than Tolkien.I know - I'm disappointed that they won't let us show how the Island Ferry works before it becomes a dramatic plot point, but....this is the way Tolkien wrote it, so it's not like they're terribly out of line to tell us 'cut it out' here.
I have no polite comment.The situation is that we saw a way to address a structural problem, and the idea was struck down as being our problem without any consideration of the structural issue that led to the problem in the first place. Like when they told us that we 'made the problem ourselves' by wanting to have Ingwë have a dead relative, as if the only reason we were objecting to the 'First Elf' idea was because we wanted him to have dead parents.
But such is life. It's the Execs' jobs to shoot down all of our ideas without considering them fully
Cool. Done.I agree that we should have an Ulmo cameo early on to prepare for the Island, so it doesn't look like we got to that part and then were like 'huh - I wonder how all these people are going to cross the ocean - are they going to have to build boats or something?'
We don't have enormous scope to graft Oromë into the episode... So we can drop him into the teaser – the Elves migrate and big ol's glowing Oromë is with them.Another issue to address is...where is Oromë in this episode and what is he doing? The main reason the Teleri lag behind is that they'll only move forward when he's there (in the book). Are we showing that? Are we going to show Oromë talk to Ulmo (or Ossë) to get this Island Ferry going? Does Oromë help the Vanyar and Noldor move on to the Island and create some of the 'hurry up the boat is leaving' tension?
Well we're not actually showing that it is Melian at the midpoint – that's revealed in the dénouement – so there should be about half an episode of the audience wondering what ensnared Elwë.One advantage of having the Angband update earlier is that it gives us the 'there are bad things out in the world' vibe before we meet Melian in the woods, but we also see Tom Bombadil right before we meet her. That invites the audience to consider both possibilities - evil enchantress or benign mystical being? I mean, assuming they don't recognize her from her scene in Episode 2.
What format would you like this in, Atanvarno? I don't want to make you re-edit/re-format any more than necessary, so...Like so: Revised Outline
1. (Up to 4 pages)
Main: the Eldar journey across Middle Earth - sweeping vistas and awesome music! The Eldar are singing as they traverse majestic terrain under starlight. Oromë is with them.
2. (4 pages)
Frame: Arwen expresses grief at being left behind by her mother.
[Oromë leaves.] Disorganization in the Teleri camp - no one knows the plans, everyone is doing their own thing, impossible to get the group to work together.
Olwë, acting for his brother Elwë, expresses frustration to Lenwë, urging him to get his people together.
3. (4 pages)
Lenwë is organizing his 'lost tribes', but while journeying to and fro, he comes upon a walking tree. In wonder, he stops to investigate. The tree (actually Treebeard) makes some "Hoom, hoom" noises, but fails to talk. After the first attempts at communication reveal that the creature is sentient, Lenwë's folk are delighted. (There are multiple elves and ents present, including Treebeard's wife!)
4. (4 pages)
Lenwë informs Olwë that moving now is out of the question. They've just met the tree-people and have to stay to learn to talk with them! Olwë tells Elwë of the - as he sees it - disaster of Lenwë's people staying behind.
5. (4 pages)
Frame: [Arwen something something looking at the Misty Mountains.]
The rest of the Teleri press on, crossing the Misty Mountains. Elwë decides he better tell Finwë about this development, that he has 'lost' some of his people. He leaves Olwë in charge and sets out with Celeborn, Beleg (and Mablung?) to journey to the Noldor camp.
6. (4 pages)
In the Noldor camp, Elwë is happy to see his friend Finwë. [Random Noldor - Mahtan or Rúmil?] makes a disparaging remark about the disorganized, lagging behind Teleri - Finwë defends his friend. Elwë is also frustrated with his group, and wants to know how Finwë keeps the Noldor on task. The ingenious timekeeping device of the hourglass is revealed, and Finwë gifts one to Elwë to help. Elwë is none-to-pleased when he has to share Finwë's attention with Míriel [and Ingwë], but their tension is mild. Oromë is here.
7.1 (2 pages)
Angband update: Mairon visits the dungeons, and chastises Tevildo for his harsh methods. "They're no good to me dead" type of complaints, and that Tevildo is pushing them too hard. Sauron shows him how it is done, and brings an elf in for a 'good cop' interrogation. He wipes away the blood, tells him it doesn't have to be this way, and starts preaching the cult of Melkor. The elf is obviously terrified of Tevildo (who is prowling in the corner), but responds hesitantly to Sauron's overture.
7.2 (1 page)
Ulmo, annoyed with the elvish migration project, wants nothing to do with it, but tells Ossë and Uinen to help out Oromë if he needs them. They meet Oromë on the shore of Middle Earth, but we don't see their conversation.
7.3 (1 page)
Olwë leads the Teleri across Eriador to the Ered Luin. Tom Bombadil cameo.
8. Midpoint (4 pages)
On their return, Elwë's party is nearing the camp in Estolad when they reach the forest of Nan Elmoth. They hear nightingales singing. They approach a glade in the forest, but only Elwë can enter. The others are turned around and stumbling, confused, and unable to see what is in the glade. Elwë's party searches and calls for him, but to no avail. They decide they have to report back to Olwë (who is in the camp nearby).
Melian's POV: Elwë is in awe and reaches out his hand...
9. (4 pages)
When Olwë hears the news, he is stricken, immediately assuming his brother is lost forever. He thinks this the work of the Dark Hunter. Celeborn speaks up, assuring him that this was *nothing* like the Hunter, and that there is still hope if they keep searching for Elwë. Olwë gives them permission to search, and makes the decision to stay in the camp in the interim.
10. Second pinch point (4 pages)
The [Vanyar and] Noldor have arrived at the Bay and are waiting on the shore. Now what? Much confusion over how to cross the Sea. Oromë leaves camp.
Frame: Arwen looks into the Mirror of Galadriel and witnesses her mother's rescue from the den of the orcs at the hands of her brothers
11. (4 pages)
Back at Anduin: The Nandor have succeeded in teaching speech to the ents! It's still slow going, and their communication is limited, but the entwives are in turn teaching the Nandor farming. Best inter-species collaboration ever!
12. (4 pages)
Mouth of Sirion/Bay of Balar: Oromë returns. Suddenly, a massive island appears! Ossë went to fetch the volcanic island Melkor made in Season 1. The elves are excited to see it, but Finwë is now upset, because the Teleri are nowhere in sight.
13. (4 pages)
Olwë realizes that time is passing and a decision must be made. He announces that those who wish to stay and search for Elwë are free to do so, but that the rest of them will soon be leaving to continue the journey (as Elwë would have wanted).
14. Climax 1 (4 pages)
Finwë asks some of his companions if there has been any news, or if anyone knows where the Teleri camp is at present. There is no information. [Ingwë] speaks some kind words about the Teleri, suggesting they will be along shortly.
Oromë urges the elves to get on board the Island Ferry.
Reluctantly, Finwë agrees that it is time to go, and gives the order for the Noldor to board the island.
As it sails away into the sea, he has a moment of doubt and panic, a premonition that he will never see Elwë again, and almost suggests stopping the island or going back to wait. Míriel reassures him.
15. Climax 2 (4 pages)
Olwë leaves camp, and is dismayed that only half the Teleri are coming with him; the other half have chosen to remain behind in the camp and be part of the effort to search for Elwë. Círdan gives Olwë a bit of a pep talk.
Olwë realizes that it's okay if half his people want to stay for Elwë; they're not going to miss out, they're just going to do something different. It's okay for him to leave them behind and they're fine with being left behind.
Frame: Arwen explains to Celeborn that knowing what happened doesn't give her the peace she thought it would - she still feels the same as she did before seeing the vision in the Mirror. She still misses her mother. But she can accept her mother's choice.
16. (Up to 4 pages)
Olwë and Círdan have their first view of the Sea as their people make their way down the River Sirion.
Elwë and Melian frozen together with the trees growing taller around them and fade out to the sound of nightingales.
The frame is now a mess, and we've now linked the Mirror of Galadriel with Angband rather than the disappearance of Elwë, but other than that, I think this is close to being workable.
Edit based on Atanvarno's comments.
Ingwë's relationship with the others will be dealt with by the episode two rewrite. If you want to redraft along that model, crack on and we'll all pitch in, comment and make it as good as it can be. My initial concern is I think the acts might come out quite uneven and you'll struggle to get a rising through-line of conflict (very much a signature of this episode in general throughout its iterations). But that's just a first impression, I hope I'm wrong and you produce something that solves all our problems.I prefer to solve this problem the way we discussed two weeks ago, by making Ingwe's relationship to Elwe and Finwe much closer so that it's less bizarre that he and Elwe, and by extension, the Vanyar and the Noldor, are milling about together. I would argue it's more interesting for them to arrive at the sea and have either Osse or Ulmo present the island to them, have it being pulled up to the coast before their eyes so we understand the basics of how it works pretty quickly, and then just have them both insist on waiting for Elwe until the end of the episode. I'm not convinced that the Episode is stronger for having the separate trip, per se, and I think the angle that the execs have suggested makes for a better overall depiction of the relationships between the high kings.
My issue isn't that the audience will be confused, it's that without a setup the magical moving island turning up at the climax is deus ex machina. We can't have new story elements appear in act four that weren't established earlier. We lose credibility with the audience.Edit: How exactly are we concerned that people are going to be confused about an island that is being used as a boat, by they way? This particular element has struck me as kind of a bizarre defense of the decision to have two trips.
Well, firstly, we set up the early island trip to solve the structural problem. There are other ways to do it, of course, but it wasn't without cause.I don't really see how the island qualifies as Deus Ex Machina other than in the most literal sense. It is the next step on the journey, and a further complication in the "Elwe is missing" plot, not a resolution.
Edit: saying we "can't" do something simply because it appears to defy narrative convention at first glance is a poor defense. I'm very comfortable setting up the appearance of the island thematically as the "end of the journey" across middle earth and a "crossing the threshold" moment rather than explicitly referencing the existence of the island. If we absolutely must do so, I think a better option would be to use Ulmo-dreams to portend the location they are searching for and the promise of a gift than having a whole extra trip.
I think this is probably the best solution so far, giving the Valar space to do stuff is definitely a good thing, and I'm inclined to agree that Ulmo dreams should not be overused.Well, firstly, we set up the early island trip to solve the structural problem. There are other ways to do it, of course, but it wasn't without cause.
The island ferry is only Deus Ex Machina if we don't explain it, and the climax of the episode is not the time to do setup.
As far as the use of Ulmo-dreams, I feel like we're already doing that quite a lot. The hosts want dreams from Ulmo appearing in episodes 3 and 5, I'd more or less rather not dip into that well in episode 4, making it thrice in a row.
It's a simple enough matter to show a conversation between Ulmo, Ossë, and Uínen and then show them fetching said island.