Frame Narrative

Well, the main reason to jump is to leave Aragorn for a bit. He can't grow up too much before Beren and Luthien, which is way down the road as far as seasons go. But if we could somehow figure out how to keep RIVENDELL and ELROND, I would be happy :). There has been talk of introducing Bilbo at the very end of season one (after his cameo on his way out to Erebor), so I would be thrilled if we would consider 'young(er) Bilbo in Rivendell' for season two. We don't know how long he and Gandalf stopped there, but it could be long enough for our purposes ;). This would still keep young Estel and Gilraen as background characters, so the viewer won't forget who he is until he comes back in a later season. I know, I know, people want Sam in the Shire, not Bilbo in Rivendell, but....but.... Bilbo is not a child, so it would change the 'teacher-student' dynamic of Elrond and Estel into more of a dialogue. Bilbo is plenty willing to be cheeky to Master Elrond, and Elrond has plenty to learn about hobbits.


There have been a lot of references to The Princess Bride as a model for the frame narrative, but I think that what we are really going for is more like The Neverending Story, where the characters in the frame are interacting with the actual story in some way. That is as simple as 'the characters in the main story stop for a meal; the reader also takes a break to eat', so for us, that means visual cues that tie the two together. But also eventually, the conflicts overlap.
 
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Well, the main reason to jump is to leave Aragorn for a bit. He can't grow up too much before Beren and Luthien, which is way down the road as far as seasons go. But if we could somehow figure out how to keep RIVENDELL and ELROND, I would be happy :). There has been talk of introducing Bilbo at the very end of season one (after his cameo on his way out to Erebor), so I would be thrilled if we would consider 'young(er) Bilbo in Rivendell' for season two. We don't know how long he and Gandalf stopped there, but it could be long enough for our purposes ;). This would still keep young Estel and Gilraen as background characters, so the viewer won't forget who he is until he comes back in a later season. I know, I know, people want Sam in the Shire, not Bilbo in Rivendell, but....but.... Bilbo is not a child, so it would change the 'teacher-student' dynamic of Elrond and Estel into more of a dialogue. Bilbo is plenty willing to be cheeky to Master Elrond, and Elrond has plenty to learn about hobbits.


There have been a lot of references to The Princess Bride as a model for the frame narrative, but I think that what we are really going for is more like The Neverending Story, where the characters in the frame are interacting with the actual story in some way. That is as simple as 'the characters in the main story stop for a meal; the reader also takes a break to eat', so for us, that means visual cues that tie the two together. But also eventually, the conflicts overlap.
I'd like to bring this up again. So MithLuin this would be one question to the execs: would it be possible to rethink the frame idea for season 2? I think Rivendell and Elrond (or Rivendell and Glorfindel - or Círdan) is needed for season 2. And we need to develop Gilraen and Estel more. An alternative could be Galadriel and Arwen.
 
Perhaps Arwen comes into the story around Beren and Luthien?

Unfortunately, I'm not particularly sold on the framing device.
 
As MithLuin wrote earlier, leaving Estel to grow is a reason to introduce another frame. But starting a completely new frame is problematic. Our main story will suffer from it, I think. In season one, we needed more relatable characters to convey the story of the Valar, but now we have the elves and they need our attention. So I would argue that we continue the frame we have had so far, perhaps with variations. We could leave Estel, but then, who gets to hear the story? I think that if we stay in Rivendell, we must stay with Estel. But maybe we can introduce another storyteller? That's why I mentioned Glorfindel and Círdan earlier. I would prefer Círdan, I think. If we must leave Rivendell, I would suggest Arwen being in Lothlorien, talking to Galdriel. That would be a story line that would eventually lead to Estel's. But that frame would need some drama, some drive.
 
Quick thoughts on three different frame location possibilities:

Rivendell: Well known to many. Established in the frame for season one. Established characters should be evolved further.

Grey Havens: Connects to earliest history through Círdan. Introduces the sea and the longing to the West.

Lothlorien: Well known many. Connects to earliest history through Galadriel. Galadriel could speak of Thingol and Melian. A storyline about Arwen could later be woven into the story of Estel. If we stop following Estel we won't have to deal with his identity this season.

Transition: Estel could go with Gilraen and Elrond (?) to the Grey Havens during the season. He could go to Lothlorien but preferably not because in ten years or so he meets Arwen there for the first time.
 
I think it would be pretty daring to jump from People we know so well from LotR like Elrond and Aragorn to a virtual unknown like Cirdan. I definitely don't hate the idea.

However, I like that the beginning of our Series basically mirrors the end of LotRo: he spend time with the heads of State, Elrond and Estel, and then we go back to the Shire with Sam. I really think we ought to start with Sam at the havens as the ship is fading into the distance, introduce Cirdan for later and maybe give them a small scene talking about having to watch those they love sail away from the Havens, and then maybe jump forward to the campaign for Mayor!

I just really like starting the Silmarillion structurally where we left off at the end of LotR. It's a lot of fun, and I think I'd be hard pressed to come up with anything better than that. I think opening with such an iconic scene as Frodo and Bilbo leaving the Havens would pretty much wrap up any concerns about people being confused, a LOT of people have seen the Lord of the Rings films, never mind read the book.

Edit: one other possibility is maybe returning to Bilbo instead? I don't want to introduce the Elves from the perspective of the Elves. The whole season is going to be about the Valar learning about the elves, I think we should parallel that in the frame. At the end of the Hobbit it says that Bilbo never really got on with his neighbors after his Adventure, but that elves and dwarves were always coming and going out of Bag End. We could do some fun things with that. I think a Hobbit perspective is definitely best, though, whether it's Sam or Bilbo.
 
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I'm afraid I don't agree. Perhaps it is a failing on my part. I can't see the story arc of Sam containing enough drama to be an interesting story in itself. I fear we will reduce him to a mere storyteller, distancing viewers from the main story. If we keep Estel, and have Elrond take him to the Grey Havens to see them, we connect to someone who was at Cuiviénen and who still carries the memories of the Forsaken Ones. We also bring Elrond to the place where he last met her wife, who sailed to the west just a few hundred years earlier. Regardless of how many viewers that have seen this before, this has more dramatic potential. This would be something the viewers didn't know they wanted to see.
 
I definitely don't want to turn The Silmarillion into the Aragorn Dog and Pony show, though. Won't it be more jarring to set the viewer up to assume we're just seeing everything from Aragorn's perspective forever and yank the rug out from under them later? If we set the expectation here that every season will be a new frame, I feel like we do a lot of work right up front.

There's plenty of potential from drama with Sam or Bilbo here, we just have to find it. I certainly agree that if all we do is make Sam a story teller then we're doing everyone, characters included, a disservice, but we more or less invented the drama between Elrond and Gilraen using Finrod and Andreth as a basis, I'm not sure why you assume we can't do something similar with Sam or Bilbo.
 
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Well, Bilbo would be the better alternative I think. He's got so much more inner conflict than Sam. Also, if we go for Sam after Frodo left as frame focus, he more or less has a good life and then leaves. It's not particularly thrilling.
 
Part of the difficulty with the frame for season one was exactly that, we invented it more or less from scratch. A frame with inherent dynamics is easier to write when you have a deadline, and we will have a lot of those.

As fun as it would be to jump between different places in time, I think that a series which jumps in time in each and every episode will risk taking it too far by jumping in the frame as well. We don't want people to call it 'the jumpy series'.
 
But isn't that point moot here anyway? Aren't we picking the frame up pretty much exactly where we left off in the aftermath of the First War?
 
Well, Bilbo would be the better alternative I think. He's got so much more inner conflict than Sam. Also, if we go for Sam after Frodo left as frame focus, he more or less has a good life and then leaves. It's not particularly thrilling.
I think you're wrongly saying Sam's major formative conflicts in LotR are the only conflicts he ever experienced in his life. Even if we are to assume that MARRIED LIFE and BEING A FATHER and LEADING HIS PEOPLE would not somehow be formative experiences in their own right, there is also the "Captain America" or "Superman" angle to take with this: that Sam's resolute goodness is a super interesting foil for the other characters in his life to play off of.

Like, the more you insist that it'd be difficult, the more I want to take a crack at it. I don't agree that the limitations you've outlined are even necessarily there, but if they were they'd make for a very interesting writing-hill to climb!
 
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I'm not sure what you mean. Could you elaborate that?
Like, the narrative isn't jumping at all here. We end with the War and we pick up with meeting the elves pretty much right after the war. Like, I would almost want the elves to see Melkor in chains before he's spirited away to Mandos.
 
Well, I guess I'm painting it in bleaker colours than is necessary. It will of course be possible to construct a story out of it.
 
We don't have to go in any particular way, is my point. If we in the end decide that the Aragorn story is better or necessary for some reason, great, I just don't want to throw all other options out the window before we even start.
 
Like, the narrative isn't jumping at all here. We end with the War and we pick up with meeting the elves pretty much right after the war. Like, I would almost want the elves to see Melkor in chains before he's spirited away to Mandos.
Well the main story isn't jumping. The frame will jump, thouogh. I think it might be a distraction from the main story in a way that's not ideal.
 
We don't have to go in any particular way, is my point. If we in the end decide that the Aragorn story is better or necessary for some reason, great, I just don't want to throw all other options out the window before we even start.
That's exactly my point. The Sam story has been decided on, and I want to discuss other options.
 
Well the main story isn't jumping. The frame will jump, thouogh. I think it might be a distraction from the main story in a way that's not ideal.

I think I probably agree that if we're jumping around in the frame AND the narrative it's too much, especially this early on in the series.

If one is fairly linear, though, I don't think we should be obliged to worry too much about losing anybody in the other. Like, if we do Sam here, I wouldn't be afraid to move him forward in time here and there while the narrative remains focused on, say, the Bliss of Valinor.
 
That's exactly my point. The Sam story has been decided on, and I want to discuss other options.
I would encourage you to maybe come up with something that isn't going back to Estel, then. When the Episode question pops up for the end of the month we should totally revisit the original idea, but I think falling back on Estel isn't a great option.
 
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