Frame Characters

Kyle Latino

New Member
It strikes me that most of the attention has been paid to the Valar, but we still need reference for the frame story characters. It would be great if folks could make a design document that quotes from the primary sources for our friends in Rivendell for season 1. I'm working up a storyboard scene, and it would be great to have this stuff all in one place just like the google doc for the Valar.
 

Anastasia

Member
Hello Kyle Latino,
This is a really good point, and I admit that I have been avoiding it for the sole reason that it means that I have to think through three ages of the clothing of men and elves to figure out what Elrond, Gilraen, and Estel might wear :oops:
I agree that having a document of the descriptions of the frame characters would be great, but in the mean time I have found a few fan wiki's that might be of use.

Estel: http://lotr.wikia.com/wiki/Aragorn_II_Elessar - http://www.tolkiengateway.net/wiki/Aragorn
Gilraen: http://lotr.wikia.com/wiki/Gilraen - http://www.tolkiengateway.net/wiki/Gilraen
Elrond: http://lotr.wikia.com/wiki/Elrond - http://www.tolkiengateway.net/wiki/Elrond

I think we might simplify the thought process by imagining that Gilraen and Estel would wear the clothing of Rivendell. The reason for this would be that 1) They are in Rivendell, and that is the clothing that is available to them 2) It would be better to hide Estel by allowing him to be thought an Elf, than to make it apparent that there is a human mother and her child living for an extended period of time in Rivendell. Gilraen could, of course, wear her clothing differently - both because she is human and has different taste, but also because throughout this story she is at odds with Elrond regarding how best to raise Estel - but the garments themselves would be Rivendellian (Rivendellish?)

The next thought process must then be, what is the style of Rivendell? I think to figure this out we need to think about the influences that might exist in Rivendell. The biggest influence is Elrond himself, the next are the people who live there, and the third is the physical environment, and the final influence is its purpose.

Elrond is half-elven, he was raised by Maglor and lived for a long time in Lindon. So I'm thinking there might be a lot of the influence of the sea in the way he would dress. An example of this influence might be that his hems might be ankle length or shorter, his clothing might be smooth and vaguely conical to keep the rain off, another influence might be that he has some jewelry that is sea-inspired. His clothing would also be influenced by Noldorin dress which in this early stage I am imagining as having very fine and complex woven patterns. Being half-elven, he could also give a nod to the Numenorians but I am thinking that might be a small token, maybe a piece of jewelry or a little pouch that he keeps his keys in (or something).

The people who live in Rivendell are many and varied, but I think the predominant influence is Noldorin elves. As I said in the previous paragraph, this might be distinguished by complex woven patterns, or fine embellishments. The clothing might also be precisely fitted, since elves live a long time. I do not, however, think the clothing would be uniform, far from it, I think that the many travelers that come through and the close relationship Rivendell has with Lothlorien and the Dunedan might provide an interesting cosmopolitan feel to the place.

The physical environment seems to be a lush valley in a moderate climate. They would need warm clothes in winter and cool clothes in summer. The flora and fauna of the valley could be represented, and the river and waterfalls could be featured as motifs. The valley is described as having steep walls so the clothing might be functional enough to walk and/or climb around the steep valley.

The purpose of Rivendell is as a resting place for travelers, a place of lore, and a stronghold against evil. I think these functions might be represented individually, depending on the person wearing the clothes. For example, Elrond is a lore master so his clothing might be comfortable for sitting, reading, and singing songs. Elladan and Elrohir might represent the stronghold aspect of Rivendell and their clothing might be sturdy, simple, and functional. There may be elves in Rivendell who like to make travelers comfortable, and they might wear functional clothes with various cultural influences.

These are my thoughts so far. What do you think? Have I missed anything?
 

Anastasia

Member
Here are the casting results for the frame characters

Estel: Jason Drucker
Gilraen: Alicia Vikander
Elrond: Benedict Cumberbatch

Note also, I think it was in the sets episode, the hosts mentioned that they wanted a human-style house for Gilraen and Estel to live in within Rivendell, so perhaps their costumes can be more human as well. This is in contrast to the idea I previously posted, but I'm flexible.
 

Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
Here are the casting results for the frame characters

Estel: Jason Drucker
Gilraen: Alicia Vikander
Elrond: Benedict Cumberbatch

Note also, I think it was in the sets episode, the hosts mentioned that they wanted a human-style house for Gilraen and Estel to live in within Rivendell, so perhaps their costumes can be more human as well. This is in contrast to the idea I previously posted, but I'm flexible.
If it isn't impossible I think it would be interesting to have Gilraen and Estel wear mixed clothes - both elven and human (although I am uncertain of the difference). It would make their status as guests more obvious if they are trying hard to fit in (and not succeeding completely) as well as struggling to maintain their own ways (and failing that also).
 

ouzaru

Well-Known Member
I wrote a bunch and then erased it all because I realized I was thinking too broadly. Let's instead start with some simple questions.

Where do Gilraen, Estel, and Elrond get their clothes from? Who makes them? Does Elrond get new clothes periodically or has he worn the same stuff for hundreds of years (magic!)? What does Gilraen do all day? Wouldn't at least some of her time be spent making clothes? Would she be nonplussed with the idea of Estel running around in Elf clothes? Would Estel ask her to make him something Elvish?

I would think that thematically we would want to give Estel some things that are immediately recognizable as "Elvish", but that Gilraen would mostly dress him in clothes of her own making, to the point that I think it would need to appear on camera, giving him a shirt or tunic or something on screen. Personally I think that Gilraen would be increasingly less likely to wear things identifiably Elvish, even as the season progresses, maybe hitting a turning point in the final episode. Maybe Elrond comments that she's stopped wearing a small gift of friendship he gave her when she first arrived and she takes to wearing it again after her resolution with Elrond?

What do you guys think?
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
I see our Gilraen as a very industrious, practical person. Thus, she is devoting significant effort to running her (small) household. I would like to see her cooking, making clothes, tending a garden, mending a leaky roof, keeping some chickens, etc. throughout the season, as this would give her something to 'do'...and help her to fight the designation of 'passive guest.'

On the other hand, there should be some generous hospitality extended by Rivendell, and I don't want her to appear ungrateful for that. So...striking a balance of fiercely independent and a part of the community.

You know, in the <5 minutes she gets on screen in each episode!
 

Alex Long

Active Member
As it's scripted now, she has (potentially) a lot of screen time in episode 3. She's even shown cooking (and "knitting or something" although I personally prefer the "or something" option. She can't both knit and cook in the same episode; that's not very 21st Century of her.)
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
Knitting seemed to match the rainy day scenery of that episode, and something needlework-esque would be appropriate for her non-capricious, non-elvish viewpoint. But yes, another activity would be fine!
 
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ouzaru

Well-Known Member
Is Gilraen originally a peasant girl who marries up? I really like the idea that the "routine" of daily domestic chores helps her think and deal with stress, but what she spends almost all of her time thinking about are matters of state that are within her control. Like, she is equal parts medieval European peasant mother and Queen mother to the King of Gondor. The second thing is foreign to her, but not unfamiliar, and while her reign is pretty humble, she maintains her memory of her husband through regular meditation on her son's future and his connection to that greater lineage she's married into. I don't think we should be afraid to depict her as successfully filling a more traditionally domestic role as long as that is only one aspect of her personality, and one that services and synergies with the rest of her roles in the narrative.

I think this housekeeping is also her attempt, as with the clothes, to keep Estel grounded in his own culture in the midst of all this Elvishness. Gilraen is a single, immigrant parent, and while she wants Estel to be fluent enough in the culture he lives in to have a smooth and respectful public life in Rivendell, she absolutely does not want him to integrate into that culture and leave his heritage behind. So all of this, the clothes, the housekeeping, these all reinforce the idea that she really intends for Estel, and if possible, herself, to one day return to Gondor, and that he needs to know that culture of he's going to do that successfully.
 

Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
Is Gilraen originally a peasant girl who marries up? I really like the idea that the "routine" of daily domestic chores helps her think and deal with stress, but what she spends almost all of her time thinking about are matters of state that are within her control. Like, she is equal parts medieval European peasant mother and Queen mother to the King of Gondor. The second thing is foreign to her, but not unfamiliar, and while her reign is pretty humble, she maintains her memory of her husband through regular meditation on her son's future and his connection to that greater lineage she's married into. I don't think we should be afraid to depict her as successfully filling a more traditionally domestic role as long as that is only one aspect of her personality, and one that services and synergies with the rest of her roles in the narrative.

I think this housekeeping is also her attempt, as with the clothes, to keep Estel grounded in his own culture in the midst of all this Elvishness. Gilraen is a single, immigrant parent, and while she wants Estel to be fluent enough in the culture he lives in to have a smooth and respectful public life in Rivendell, she absolutely does not want him to integrate into that culture and leave his heritage behind. So all of this, the clothes, the housekeeping, these all reinforce the idea that she really intends for Estel, and if possible, herself, to one day return to Gondor, and that he needs to know that culture of he's going to do that successfully.
Yes it's like her cottage is an embassy.
 

ouzaru

Well-Known Member
Yes it's like her cottage is an embassy.
Like, I don't think she would trifle over political niceties whenever Elrond comes to visit, that's not her style, but privately, yeah, she kind of feels like it is sovereign, gondorian soil.
 

Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
It would be fun to have a scene where he visits her, and he has to adjust to her ways... Well, maybe the differences are small, but... I don't know, perhaps she serves dunedain food.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
I agree that we don't want to go overboard with the peasant girl idea. She's married up, sure, because she married the Chieftain of the Dunedain when she was younger than most girls got married. But...she was herself one of the Dunedain, and thus no mere 'peasant'. (Any more than Eowyn was a peasant marrying Faramir.)

But I think the domestic stuff is 'her' realm, and distinct and separate from the elvish culture of Rivendell. It's also her way of being independent, self-sufficient - otherwise she is a guest totally reliant on the elves for everything that she has. It's one thing to accept a house; it's another to let them feed her every meal she eats for 10 years. The Gilraen we've constructed would not settle into that role comfortably, and would insist on running her own household (humble as it might be compared to the main household of Rivendell).
 

Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
In the outlines I've edited, it isn't much of a household. We should give her one or two servants.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
Hmmm, a modern American audience would see that as fairly pretentious. There's probably a way to make it work, though. These would be 'her' people, perhaps an old man who was loyal to her dead husband or something?
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
In the outlines I've edited, it isn't much of a household. We should give her one or two servants.
I don't necessarily mind that idea, but I think that it poses some problems. Are these servants elves or humans? Each comes with a different set of problems.

Also, what does one woman with one child, a woman who is used to living in semi-permanent villages in the wilderness, need with servants.

As Mithluin may have been hinting at, it also makes her at least a little less sympathetic to a modern audience.
 
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