Managing Character Deaths

MithLuin

Well-Known Member
Obviously, in the Silmarillion, most of our characters will eventually be killed off. Círdan, Celeborn, Galadriel, Elrond...these characters will stick around. Everyone else? Not so much.

In most TV shows, the audience hates when beloved main characters are killed off. But we'll have a rotating cast, introducing new characters to replace those who die off, background characters stepping forward to new prominence as the show progresses. In this way, our show is somewhat like The Walking Dead or The Tudors. But without the main through characters who will survive through all the events...

But, despite the catastrophic death toll of the Silmarillion, deaths aren't actually all that frequent. We'll only kill off a handful of named characters each season, for the most part (with a few exceptions). We will have 'Hamlet' events where there are no bodies left standing. But for the most part, we should have the opportunity to focus on a character's storyline before they die and make the most of it.


During today's session, 'fridging' came up. For those who are not familiar, this is the complaint/outrage that a character is murdered or has something horrible happen to them (typically torture or rape) for the sole purpose of making the main character horrified and need to seek revenge. It's generally a very contrived plotline, and is most likely to be associated with comic book villains targeting the good guy's gf/wife/mother/daughter. Mostly, viewers complain when a situation is created in which a character could easily survive, but they die to further the plot. Most of the time, it's an extraneous minor female character who dies in this way, simply to add tension to the story of the main characters. It's like she isn't even there, and the story is just about the villain and the hero's need to avenge her.

Three (3) examples:
In Thor 2, Dark Elves invade Asgard. During the attack, they corner Queen Frigga. She has been established as a master of illusion magic, and she's armed with a blade. She's also not their real target. But, yes, you guessed it - moments before Thor bursts in to save the day, she's stabbed and lying on the floor. Apparently, there's nothing even Asgard's amazing high tech medical advances can do to save her. She's dead. Why? Because nothing short of her death was going to get Thor and Loki to work together. And that was what needed to happen in the film. She wasn't important and had no further role, so killing her off was fine....from a plot viewpoint. It felt like a cheap shot, character-wise.

In Into the Badlands, Sonny is a super skilled marital artist who can take out literal legions. He of course has a pregnant girlfriend who is in danger and kidnapped and at risk for a large part of the story. She is a character in her own right - you learn her back story right away, and she is medically trained, having her own storyline. So, she's not 'just' a damsel in distress to motivate his plot line. But. In the end of her story, Sonny has infiltrated the stronghold where his enemy is keeping her and the newborn baby prisoner. He fights the villain, takes him out (but forgets to double tap), and rescues the girl and baby. Then...the villain isn't dead! He grabs the girl and threatens her with a blade to the throat. She tells Sonny not to give in to the villain's demands, then grabs the blade and stabs through her own throat to stab the enemy behind her. Naturally, she does not survive this fight scene. While the storytelling did a few things right (made her an actual character who was more than just 'pretty' or 'in love with the hero' and gave her agency in her own death), it *still* felt stupidly pointless. Because after a zillion fight scenes where this guy survives no matter what is done to him, and while he is able to take out every foe effortlessly, he somehow fails to make sure that his foe is dead, and she just dies? It seems like a cheat, and that he only needed her to make the baby for him.

In Supernatural, every love interest who is ever introduced for Sam Winchester dies horribly. It tends to make sense for the plot, and lots of people die in that show, but, still. The pilot involves both his mom and his girlfriend burning to death on the ceiling (22 years apart, but the point is pretty clear). The most blatant example of bad storytelling with this trope is the character of Sarah Blake. She is in a single episode in Season 1 ('Provenance'), and she and Sam hit it off, go on a date, kill a ghost together. The usual. Dean is thrilled and is hardcore pushing his brother at this girl. And...they never see her again. That's all fine; their story was that they were both giving the other person confidence/permission to move on from grief and start dating again. And then....7 seasons later, they brought her back. Just because Crowley was killing off everyone they ever saved, he targeted her, let the brothers reunite with her, and...she was dead by midnight. It was a pointless death, one that no one was able to prevent, and was merely supposed to...make them hate Crowley more? It seemed extremely unfair to reintroduce her just to kill her. This issue is extremely common in shows with long running times. Apparently, the idea that someone could actually get married, settle down, and have a family is antithetical to American TV storytelling - the whole point is 'will they or won't they?' and if they actually were to decide to get married that would ruin everything? So, lots of shows have confirmed bachelor/bachelorette characters who are unlucky in love as a string of love interests come and go. Apparently Bonanza was notorious for this, but they're not the only ones.


One example of a show that kills a lot of female characters, but does not seem to be guilty of doing this: The Tudors. It's no secret that Henry VIII's wives were wildly unlucky. Two of the six manage to outlive him, but for the rest.... And yet, being based on a historical story, the characters' motivations do not feel arbitrary. They are victims of political intrigue and their own mistakes (and the failure to produce a male heir), but in general, their stories make them feel like real people. It's not bad storytelling to kill off the love interest. It's bad storytelling to do so arbitrarily or simply to create tension. Considering the Lord Chamberlains are about as short-lived as the wives, it's clearly not the case that there is a static male cast with a revolving female cast. Deadly outcomes all around!


So, our goal is to avoid making our audience say, 'oh, come on!' when our characters die. Their deaths shouldn't feel like we're just conveniently eliminating people once they have served their role in the story. You die in Game of Thrones as soon as you are no longer needed. We don't want to do that. The deaths have to make sense, and they have to work within the rules we've already established. Just as someone can't survive a ridiculous situation simply because we need him later, no one should die just because it would be heartwrenching for the other characters.
 
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MithLuin

Well-Known Member
A quick run-down of our character deaths thus far (Frame not included):

Season 1 - Eonwë. We made a very big deal of him being taken out by the balrogs at the command of Melkor. He got better.

Season 2 - (offscreen) Indis' mother Iminyë. She returns from the dead in Valinor as part of Ingwë's story, and to teach the audience about elvish reincarnation. She has no particular storyline of her own apart from 'Hi, I used to be dead.'
Míriel's life and death is her own story, though clearly it's connected to Finwë and Fëanor. I don't think we have any issues with how we showed her character development. She is all about 'a dream deferred' and that is her tale, not her husband's. True, her death will have a huge impact on her son, but because we meet her 5 episodes before he's born/she dies, it doesn't seem as though her story is just about him. We aren't treating her as 'Fëanor backstory.'
Finwë's death is the culmination of Season 2, obviously having everything to do with Fëanor's feud with Morgoth. It may seem cheap that we don't even show him fighting, but I think his weaknesses that led him to wind up standing alone in Formenos are his own story.

Season 3 - Olwë, Irimë, and Earwen perish in the Kinslaying. Obviously, it's important to kill off named characters in this battle sequence. Olwë will get better by the time the War of Wrath comes around. So, he won't stay dead, but he seems pretty finally dead here. His story has been pushed to the side since the episode when he and Círdan parted ways, in favor of focusing on the Noldor storyline. He has been merely on the periphery for the second half of Season 2. But for a minor character, he seems to have some good scenes that make his death solid, not pointless. He is murdered by Fëanor at a key point in that battle.
Irimë is simply killed off to motivate her brother Fingolfin to join the Kinslaying. Tolkien suggested that she went to Middle Earth with the Noldor, but gave her no stories there, so we're killing her off at the first opportunity. We made her grief for her father's death make her a voice for vengeance against Morgoth so it isn't only Fëanor who is saying that. Honestly, I'd almost be fine making her Gil-galad's mother, just to tie her to the later story in some way, but I imagine she will be largely forgotten after this.
Earwen is more complicated. Finarfin's wife fights on the side of the Teleri in the Kinslaying, joining her father and brothers against her husband's people. There was no easy way to allow her to survive. Had she done so...the Noldor story as written would need some changes. Her death impacts her daughter Galadriel, her husband Finarfin, and her best friend Anairë (Fingolfin's wife). She is certainly not passive in the Kinslaying episode but killing her off may seem unfair to the audience. It may seem that we're just creating grief for Galadriel, who had to fish her mom's dead body out of the blood-stained harbor.
Amrod - Killing him in the Shipburning may also feel like we are milking the scene for pathos. It's a (mostly) accidental death. He's a minor character prior to this scene, so while we will see his motivations, the audience is unlikely to be invested in his death or prepared for it. It should catch viewers by surprise. Obviously, his death will be a defining moment in his twin Amras' story.
Elenwë - She will die on the Helcaraxë, falling into the freezing water when the ice she is standing on pitches up into the air. Her husband will save their daughter Idril, but fail to save her. Certainly, her tragic death will define Turgon's character moving forwards. His unwillingness to work with the Fëanoreans (he blames them for the entire crossing of the Helcaraxë in the first place), as well as his need to keep his loved ones close and safe in Gondolin. She is a relatively minor character, but she is introduced at her wedding to Turgon in Season 2. She is mostly going to be on screen as 'Idril's mom', and her only contribution to the Season 3 storyline will be to express prophetic hope about her family's destiny in Middle-earth, making it clear that she was definitely in favor of attempting to cross the Helcaraxë in the first place.
Gamil-Brôg? - While the Hosts have yet to learn of the existence of this character, we have suggested that Telchar, who is young, would have an older dwarf master who is more skeptical about the idea of working with the Sindar. He is willing to teach Eöl, though, so he's not anti-elf. He will come into conflict with the Green Elves and Ents over the dwarves' logging practices, and be killed in an ent attack on his forge. His death serves the themes of the story.
Denethor - He dies shortly after being introduced. He's the leader of his people, but an antagonist to Thingol, so we won't see an overly sympathetic portrayal of him. His death will be a result of being completely underequipped and unskilled in battle. He will die because his friend Treebeard is not there to save him.
Fëanor - He had it coming. The story is all about him from the moment he was born. It will still shock the audience, because we show him wounded, so they will be expecting a save/recovery, not a death scene.
 
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cellardur

Active Member
A quick run-down of our character deaths thus far (Frame not included):

Season 1 - Eonwë. We made a very big deal of him being taken out by the balrogs at the command of Melkor. He got better.

Season 2 - (offscreen) Indis' mother Iminyë. She returns from the dead in Valinor as part of Ingwë's story, and to teach the audience about elvish reincarnation. She has no particular storyline of her own apart from 'Hi, I used to be dead.'
Míriel's life and death is her own story, though clearly it's connected to Finwë and Fëanor. I don't think we have any issues with how we showed her character development. She is all about 'a dream deferred' and that is her tale, not her husband's. True, her death will have a huge impact on her son, but because we meet her 5 episodes before he's born/she dies, it doesn't seem as though her story is just about him. We aren't treating her as 'Fëanor backstory.'
Finwë's death is the culmination of Season 2, obviously having everything to do with Fëanor's feud with Morgoth. It may seem cheap that we don't even show him fighting, but I think his weaknesses that led him to wind up standing alone in Formenos are his own story.

Season 3 - Olwë, Irimë, and Earwen perish in the Kinslaying. Obviously, it's important to kill off named characters in this battle sequence. Olwë will get better by the time the War of Wrath comes around. So, he won't stay dead, but he seems pretty finally dead here. His story has been pushed to the side since the episode when he and Círdan parted ways, in favor of focusing on the Noldor storyline. He has been merely on the periphery for the second half of Season 2. But for a minor character, he seems to have some good scenes that make his death solid, not pointless. He is murdered by Fëanor at a key point in that battle.
Irimë is simply killed off to motivate her brother Fingolfin to join the Kinslaying. Tolkien suggested that she went to Middle Earth with the Noldor, but gave her no stories there, so we're killing her off at the first opportunity. We made her grief for her father's death make her a voice for vengeance against Morgoth so it isn't only Fëanor who is saying that. Honestly, I'd almost be fine making her Gil-galad's mother, just to tie her to the later story in some way, but I imagine she will be largely forgotten after this.
Earwen is more complicated. Finarfin's wife fights on the side of the Teleri in the Kinslaying, joining her father and brothers against her husband's people. There was no easy way to allow her to survive. Had she done so...the Noldor story as written would need some changes. Her death impacts her daughter Galadriel, her husband Finarfin, and her best friend Anairë (Fingolfin's wife). She is certainly not passive in the Kinslaying episode but killing her off may seem unfair to the audience. It may seem that we're just creating grief for Galadriel, who had to fish her mom's dead body out of the blood-stained harbor.
Amrod - Killing him in the Shipburning may also feel like we are milking the scene for pathos. It's a (mostly) accidental death. He's a minor character prior to this scene, so while we will see his motivations, the audience is unlikely to be invested in his death or prepared for it. It should catch viewers by surprise. Obviously, his death will be a defining moment in his twin Amras' story.
Elenwë - She will die on the Helcaraxë, falling into the freezing water when the ice she is standing on pitches up into the air. Her husband will save their daughter Idril, but fail to save her. Certainly, her tragic death will define Turgon's character moving forwards. His unwillingness to work with the Fëanoreans (he blames them for the entire crossing of the Helcaraxë in the first place), as well as his need to keep his loved ones close and safe in Gondolin. She is a relatively minor character, but she is introduced at her wedding to Turgon in Season 2. She is mostly going to be on screen as 'Idril's mom', and her only contribution to the Season 3 storyline will be to express prophetic hope about her family's destiny in Middle-earth, making it clear that she was definitely in favor of attempting to cross the Helcaraxë in the first place.
Denethor - He dies shortly after being introduced. He's the leader of his people, but an antagonist to Thingol, so we won't see an overly sympathetic portrayal of him. His death will be a result of being completely underequipped and unskilled in battle. He will die because his friend Treebeard is not there to save him.
Fëanor - He had it coming. The story is all about him from the moment he was born. It will still shock the audience, because we show him wounded, so they will be expecting a save/recovery, not a death scene.
I think the concept of 'fridging' is a bit overblown, because killing loved ones to get to the hero is precisely what evil people do. Morgoth will do it to Hurin. Saruman will try and destroy the Shire for the same reason. When you are evil you become spiteful and petty. I think Feanor in part burns the ships to inflict the Teleri with the same sense of loss his has over the Silmarils. Later Maeglin will attempt to kill Earendil for the same reasons. I do see your very valid point. I think the best way to confront this is to have the characters constantly react in 'realistic' way.


As you said Miriel and Finwe will be well developed with entire seasons devoted to their issues.

With Elenwe, we can give her some unique customs associated with the Vanyar.

Killing off Earwen and Irime to me is going to be hard for the audience to take. It just so happens in this battle that every one close to Finnarfin's family dies. It will also make things very difficult when Orodreth and Finrod take in the sons of Feanor. I think we are underestimating how bad Finnarfin's children are going to look. They are going to sit in the House of Thingol and never mention to him, his brother and niece are dead.
 

MithLuin

Well-Known Member
Certainly, the threat to friends and family is a typical mob tactic; I'm not suggesting that villains *wouldn't* kidnap or kill a girlfriend. My suggestion is that we don't introduce such characters just to kill them off for motivation without making them characters in their own right. If they seem superfluous and easy to kill off...it means we haven't really integrated them into the story. That was partly why we didn't include Argon in this telling of the story; he would have been 'the little brother who shows up to get killed for no reason' and we hadn't had any real opportunity to develop his character previously. While juggling such a large cast, the minor characters are indeed periphery. We have invested time in getting the audience to know Fingon and Turgon...we had not done the same for Argon, and there was not much character there to get to know. So, we skipped him in favor of spending time developing some of his cousins instead. Also, I can't think of too many scenes in the Silmarillion where it will make sense for someone to grab a character and hold them at knifepoint as a threat to someone else. The Eöl-Aredhel-Maeglin situation comes to mind, but other than that. Or for someone to come home to find the mutilated corpse of a loved one. I'm mostly asking that we be more subtle than that with our storytelling. I'm not saying we can't have Gorlim the Unhappy's story play out as written. There is a perfectly valid reason for his wife to be dead, and we can have it make sense in the story that he'd have a reason to think she's still alive.

With Irimë, it is certainly the case that we did not take any effort to develop a storyline for her in Beleriand. We could have kept her until later, and come up with new stories for her in Middle-earth. As Fingolfin's sister, she could have supported him as High King in the absence of his wife, taking on a queenly role and giving Fingolfin a confidante (in the absence of his wife and brothers and sisters, we've made him a very lonely king). We could see her grief at his death. Etc. We chose not to do that, and instead to use her death to motivate Fingolfin in the Kinslaying. I'm not saying we shouldn't have done that - I just think it's important to acknowledge that that is what we've done, and make sure we see that. It's the type of thing that you are allowed to do, but you shouldn't overdo. I'm mostly hoping that people will remember that, and not say, 'Hey, Eldalotë doesn't do anything important...let's kill her to help explain Angrod's fierce determination to defend Dorthonion.' Instead...maybe think of something useful for Eldalotë to do? And if we've already killed Earwen...have that matter to Angrod and Aegnor and explain their anger and grief towards the Fëanoreans. No need to kill yet another female relative of theirs and be redundant.

Tolkien's description of the Kinslaying is very remote. He does not name anyone who dies there. We definitely needed to bring the grief home by killing particular characters, not just unnamed faces. Earwen has brothers. We could have killed them. But that would have meant introducing them and giving them stories in Season 2, which...we did not do. We reminded the audience that Alqualondë existed a few times. We had a labor dispute in Finwë's court over construction in Alqualondë, and we had Galadriel visit her cousins there and first give voice to her restlessness and desire to leave Valinor. (Her cousins are the children of Earwen's brothers). So, it is true that we saw some of these people. But a glimpse in a single scene was not enough for the audience to care; the only important character in that scene was Galadriel. She was the one we were focused on and getting to know, and she was the one who appeared in other scenes. So, when it came time to plot out the massacre of the (nearly) defenseless Teleri...Olwë and Earwen were literally our only two named characters. We had to kill them. And yes, that certainly has repercussions for later, which we have to keep in mind. Perhaps we will show the truth come out sooner when Finarfin's children meet Thingol. Or maybe they are *too* angry and griefstricken to talk about it. Whatever, we'll certainly keep that in mind while plotting the reveal of the Kinslaying to Thingol.
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
I think the concept of 'fridging' is a bit overblown, because killing loved ones to get to the hero is precisely what evil people do. Morgoth will do it to Hurin. Saruman will try and destroy the Shire for the same reason. When you are evil you become spiteful and petty. I think Feanor in part burns the ships to inflict the Teleri with the same sense of loss his has over the Silmarils. Later Maeglin will attempt to kill Earendil for the same reasons. I do see your very valid point. I think the best way to confront this is to have the characters constantly react in 'realistic' way.


As you said Miriel and Finwe will be well developed with entire seasons devoted to their issues.

With Elenwe, we can give her some unique customs associated with the Vanyar.

Killing off Earwen and Irime to me is going to be hard for the audience to take. It just so happens in this battle that every one close to Finnarfin's family dies. It will also make things very difficult when Orodreth and Finrod take in the sons of Feanor. I think we are underestimating how bad Finnarfin's children are going to look. They are going to sit in the House of Thingol and never mention to him, his brother and niece are dead.
Well, Irime is no closer to Finarfin than Fingolfin or Findis, both of whom survive, so I'm not sure what you mean by "everyone close to Finarfin's family dies." As to Olwe, it is altogether possible that only Feanor is certain of his fate. His death happens in the middle of a chaotic situation, and Feanor may not be in a rush to cop to straight-up murder. Earwen may be Thingol's niece, but he has probably never met her.
 

cellardur

Active Member
Well, Irime is no closer to Finarfin than Fingolfin or Findis, both of whom survive, so I'm not sure what you mean by "everyone close to Finarfin's family dies." As to Olwe, it is altogether possible that only Feanor is certain of his fate. His death happens in the middle of a chaotic situation, and Feanor may not be in a rush to cop to straight-up murder. Earwen may be Thingol's niece, but he has probably never met her.
Sorry I should have been more precise, I meant all the Teleri close to Finnarfin's family die. This is a huge deal. The Sons of Feanor are going to be directly responsible for the death of Galadriel/Finrod's mother and grandfather. This change is monumental. I don't see how Thingol never having met Earwen is going to make any difference in the slightest. He goes out of his way to be kind to Finnarfin's children precisely, because of the connection they share. He was angry enough to hear that his people had been killed, but it make things much, much worse when he discovers his brother has been killed.
Certainly, the threat to friends and family is a typical mob tactic; I'm not suggesting that villains *wouldn't* kidnap or kill a girlfriend. My suggestion is that we don't introduce such characters just to kill them off for motivation without making them characters in their own right. If they seem superfluous and easy to kill off...it means we haven't really integrated them into the story. That was partly why we didn't include Argon in this telling of the story; he would have been 'the little brother who shows up to get killed for no reason' and we hadn't had any real opportunity to develop his character previously. While juggling such a large cast, the minor characters are indeed periphery. We have invested time in getting the audience to know Fingon and Turgon...we had not done the same for Argon, and there was not much character there to get to know. So, we skipped him in favor of spending time developing some of his cousins instead. Also, I can't think of too many scenes in the Silmarillion where it will make sense for someone to grab a character and hold them at knifepoint as a threat to someone else. The Eöl-Aredhel-Maeglin situation comes to mind, but other than that. Or for someone to come home to find the mutilated corpse of a loved one. I'm mostly asking that we be more subtle than that with our storytelling. I'm not saying we can't have Gorlim the Unhappy's story play out as written. There is a perfectly valid reason for his wife to be dead, and we can have it make sense in the story that he'd have a reason to think she's still alive.
I disagree with how important Argon's role would have been. Argon could have been the kid brother always trying to impress Fingon and Maedhros. He could even hero worship those two. A couple of scenes of Argon in the background running to meet Finrod or being told he is too young could establish this. This could have been used a joke, because he would later be the tallest elf about. Then his heroic actions turning the tide of the battle himself, sacrificing himself and living a 'short,' but heroic life perhaps could have been very poignant. But the decision has already been made.
With Irimë, it is certainly the case that we did not take any effort to develop a storyline for her in Beleriand. We could have kept her until later, and come up with new stories for her in Middle-earth. As Fingolfin's sister, she could have supported him as High King in the absence of his wife, taking on a queenly role and giving Fingolfin a confidante (in the absence of his wife and brothers and sisters, we've made him a very lonely king). We could see her grief at his death. Etc. We chose not to do that, and instead to use her death to motivate Fingolfin in the Kinslaying. I'm not saying we shouldn't have done that - I just think it's important to acknowledge that that is what we've done, and make sure we see that. It's the type of thing that you are allowed to do, but you shouldn't overdo. I'm mostly hoping that people will remember that, and not say, 'Hey, Eldalotë doesn't do anything important...let's kill her to help explain Angrod's fierce determination to defend Dorthonion.' Instead...maybe think of something useful for Eldalotë to do? And if we've already killed Earwen...have that matter to Angrod and Aegnor and explain their anger and grief towards the Fëanoreans. No need to kill yet another female relative of theirs and be redundant.
Has Eldalote gone into exile with her husband?
Tolkien's description of the Kinslaying is very remote. He does not name anyone who dies there. We definitely needed to bring the grief home by killing particular characters, not just unnamed faces. Earwen has brothers. We could have killed them. But that would have meant introducing them and giving them stories in Season 2, which...we did not do. We reminded the audience that Alqualondë existed a few times. We had a labor dispute in Finwë's court over construction in Alqualondë, and we had Galadriel visit her cousins there and first give voice to her restlessness and desire to leave Valinor. (Her cousins are the children of Earwen's brothers). So, it is true that we saw some of these people. But a glimpse in a single scene was not enough for the audience to care; the only important character in that scene was Galadriel. She was the one we were focused on and getting to know, and she was the one who appeared in other scenes. So, when it came time to plot out the massacre of the (nearly) defenseless Teleri...Olwë and Earwen were literally our only two named characters. We had to kill them. And yes, that certainly has repercussions for later, which we have to keep in mind. Perhaps we will show the truth come out sooner when Finarfin's children meet Thingol. Or maybe they are *too* angry and griefstricken to talk about it. Whatever, we'll certainly keep that in mind while plotting the reveal of the Kinslaying to Thingol.
I think the shock of Elf killing Elf works well enough. A civil war in the Shire would be shocking enough for us, without having to know the individual Hobbits killing each other. Only two elves in Valinor have ever died, whilst Kinslaying is unthinkable. It would be great to have a named character, but Finrod's mother and grandfather is too close to home.

We are going to have scenes where Finrod takes in Curufin/Celegorm and will eat with them. Angrod and Aegnor are supposed to have council meetings with the men, that killed their mother and grandfather? I can't see how any of this works without the Sons of Feanor being apologetic, repentant and performing some penance for their actions.
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
Sorry I should have been more precise, I meant all the Teleri close to Finnarfin's family die. This is a huge deal. The Sons of Feanor are going to be directly responsible for the death of Galadriel/Finrod's mother and grandfather. This change is monumental. I don't see how Thingol never having met Earwen is going to make any difference in the slightest. He goes out of his way to be kind to Finnarfin's children precisely, because of the connection they share. He was angry enough to hear that his people had been killed, but it make things much, much worse when he discovers his brother has been killed.
All Teleri other than Olwe's wife or children other than Earwen, I suppose. I think we're getting into relatively subjective territory. The Sons of Feanor are certainly not directly responsible of the deaths of either Olwe or Earwen in this adaptation. And there is a tremendous difference between the death of a relative you know, and one you do not. Once again, Thingol need never find out the true fate of his brother, so I'd say we can safely avoid anything world-shattering.

I disagree with how important Argon's role would have been. Argon could have been the kid brother always trying to impress Fingon and Maedhros. He could even hero worship those two. A couple of scenes of Argon in the background running to meet Finrod or being told he is too young could establish this. This could have been used a joke, because he would later be the tallest elf about. Then his heroic actions turning the tide of the battle himself, sacrificing himself and living a 'short,' but heroic life perhaps could have been very poignant. But the decision has already been made.
Again, we're getting pretty subjective here. You may disagree on this point, but I have to go with Marie on this. We have spent zero time with this person, and him being in the background is not enough for us to get to know him.

I think the shock of Elf killing Elf works well enough. A civil war in the Shire would be shocking enough for us, without having to know the individual Hobbits killing each other. Only two elves in Valinor have ever died, whilst Kinslaying is unthinkable. It would be great to have a named character, but Finrod's mother and grandfather is too close to home.

We are going to have scenes where Finrod takes in Curufin/Celegorm and will eat with them. Angrod and Aegnor are supposed to have council meetings with the men, that killed their mother and grandfather? I can't see how any of this works without the Sons of Feanor being apologetic, repentant and performing some penance for their actions.
The shock of Elves killing Elves works for us as sufficient emotional drama, but we are not writing this show for Tolkien enthusiasts. We are writing it for anyone who would want to give it a shot. A general audience does not get emotionally invested in the tragedy of nameless groups of people dying in combat. Especially when the protagonists that we do know are the initiators.

Past deaths are something of a moot point, though. The Kinslaying is not likely to be rehashed at this point. I think a more productive discussion would concern decisions that have not yet been made.
 

cellardur

Active Member
All Teleri other than Olwe's wife or children other than Earwen, I suppose. I think we're getting into relatively subjective territory. The Sons of Feanor are certainly not directly responsible of the deaths of either Olwe or Earwen in this adaptation. And there is a tremendous difference between the death of a relative you know, and one you do not. Once again, Thingol need never find out the true fate of his brother, so I'd say we can safely avoid anything world-shattering.
Let's not be pedantic. Their closest Teleri relatives: grandfather and mother will die. Yes the Sons of Feanor are responsible, they start stealing the ships and killing the Teleri, which leads to Olwe and Earwen dying. They may not have stabbed them personally, though Feanor does in the case of Olwe, but in every western court of law they would be guilty of their deaths.

Yes it hurts more losing a close relative you know, rather than one you don't but it still hurts tremendously losing a close relative and especially one younger than you. Thingol is not going to be sitting at home saying 'Meh, I don't care about Earwen never got to see.' For anyone with siblings just imagine your sibling has a young daughter. You haven't had the chance to see her, because they live in a different part of the world. Then you find out she has been killed. It will still be absolutely devastating.

How can we avoid Thingol finding out the truth about his brother, without making Finnarfin's children look deceitful and cruel. Thingol's brother has died and they refuse to tell him this. Again imagine someone repeatedly staying at your house, but neglecting to tell you your sibling had died.

It's going to be disastrous for Finrod and Galadriel's character.

EDIT
In the Shibboleth of Feanor, part of the reason Galadriel and Finrod even wanted to go back, is because they wanted to see the Great Elwe, they had heard so much about.
Again, we're getting pretty subjective here. You may disagree on this point, but I have to go with Marie on this. We have spent zero time with this person, and him being in the background is not enough for us to get to know him.
It's decided already. So we shall move on.
The shock of Elves killing Elves works for us as sufficient emotional drama, but we are not writing this show for Tolkien enthusiasts. We are writing it for anyone who would want to give it a shot. A general audience does not get emotionally invested in the tragedy of nameless groups of people dying in combat. Especially when the protagonists that we do know are the initiators.

Past deaths are something of a moot point, though. The Kinslaying is not likely to be rehashed at this point. I think a more productive discussion would concern decisions that have not yet been made.
I typed out a detailed answer, but as you said it's a mute point. The decision has been made.

However, this is going to drastically change the narrative.
 

MithLuin

Well-Known Member
I'm not sure how drastically you think it will change things. Angrod and Aegnor are pretty angry with the Fëanoreans as it is; being angry because of the Kinslaying, or being angry because of the Kinslaying that resulted in their mother's death is a matter of degree. And Earwen wasn't a bystander; she's the one who commanded the Teleri archers to fire on the Noldor. That's why we can't have her live through it, more than anything. There's no reasonable resolution to her story unless she's...dead.

Fëanor is personally responsible for the death of Olwë; he murders him outright. If anyone among the Noldor saw that happen, they were in Fëanor's host, as the host of Fingolfin arrives after that point in the battle. So, yes, I think Fëanor's secret is safe enough, and the sons of Finarfin cannot deliver news that they don't know/have. Finarfin should know that Olwë is dead, but that is all.

Earwen is killed in an action that can directly be laid at Fingolfin's feet, not Fëanor's nor the Fëanoreans. But again, she was an active participant in the battle, and her archers turned on Fingolfin's people as they approached her position. At the time, Fingolfin and company did not yet have their weapons out, so it was Teleri aggression that caused Irimë's death that led to Noldor aggression that caused Earwen's death. Or, to be fully accurate....

Fëanorean aggression in an attempt to steal the ships resulted in Teleri retaliation as they tried to prevent the theft of their ships. Weaponless fighting included Teleri pushing armored Noldor into the water (which drowned them), and the Noldor drew blades. Pirate boarding and repelling boarders ensued, Olwë tried to make peace and was murdered by Fëanor. Earwen saw Olwë's death and ordered the archers to fire on the Noldor to prevent any ships leaving the harbor. Fingolfin saw the Teleri archers on the Arch and went to stop them. Irimë died, and Fingolfin's men charged, killing Earwen. Maedhros (who killed the first Teleri elf on screen, but in defense of Maglor), saw Fingolfin's people on the Arch and took the other side, trapping the Teleri archers who were all killed or jumped into the harbor. In other words, what we've crafted is a very messy back and forth where one action cascades to another action, and a lot of people wind up dead, even though those attacking them didn't really mean/want to kill them.

Fingolfin and Earwen certainly know one another well, and I have no doubt that neither of them wanted to see the other dead. This is a 'brothers fighting on opposite sides of a civil war meeting in battle' type of situation - both people are actively involved in the fight, but neither one would have dealt a deadly blow to the other.

To be honest, I don't feel that we've changed anything. The entire Fëanorean host has blood on their hands from the Kinslaying, and for the most part, they continue to work with the other Noldor throughout the First Age. Not...all of them, and not the Sindar. Finrod (and Orodreth) are the only ones from the Host of Finarfin who show any willingness to cooperate with the Fëanoreans. Finrod...is an extremely well-liked person who makes friends with literally everyone (Sindar, Dwarves, Noldor, Men, and, yes, Celegorm and Curufin). Does he seem like the kind of person who could make peace with those associated with his mother's killers hundreds of years after the fact? Yeah, actually...he does. No doubt he thinks that accepting them in Nargothrond will help to heal the divide between the Fëanoreans and the other Noldor. Fingon and Fingolfin will have blood on their hands from the Kinslaying in our version of the story, and that's important to the story of the Noldor. They are allowed to repent of it and move on.

But, yes, we need to focus on future deaths in this thread.
 

cellardur

Active Member
I'm not sure how drastically you think it will change things. Angrod and Aegnor are pretty angry with the Fëanoreans as it is; being angry because of the Kinslaying, or being angry because of the Kinslaying that resulted in their mother's death is a matter of degree. And Earwen wasn't a bystander; she's the one who commanded the Teleri archers to fire on the Noldor. That's why we can't have her live through it, more than anything. There's no reasonable resolution to her story unless she's...dead.
Thanks for the outline and I appreciate the hard work done in outlining the story so far. I was up to date and aware of how the story had been outlined. It's the bolded where we disagree. I would argue there is a difference between your reaction to the murder of a neighbour compared to that of your mother and grandfather. Anyway I won't hijack the thread any longer.


The next major death I suppose is Aredhel and Eol.
Those two should be well fleshed out before their deaths and we are dedicating a lot of time to the story. They also have both already been introduced.

I think the worry is for Angrod. He is the next of the Noldor princes to die, but will that be in season 5? Again this gives us plenty of time.
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
Thanks for the outline and I appreciate the hard work done in outlining the story so far. I was up to date and aware of how the story had been outlined. It's the bolded where we disagree. I would argue there is a difference between your reaction to the murder of a neighbour compared to that of your mother and grandfather. Anyway I won't hijack the thread any longer.


The next major death I suppose is Aredhel and Eol.
Those two should be well fleshed out before their deaths and we are dedicating a lot of time to the story. They also have both already been introduced.

I think the worry is for Angrod. He is the next of the Noldor princes to die, but will that be in season 5? Again this gives us plenty of time.
Depends on whether or not we move Dagor Bragollach to Season 5. And doesn't Aegnor die during that time?
 

MithLuin

Well-Known Member
Here are the upcoming canonical character deaths in the Silmarillion for the first 455 years of the First Age:

Bëor the Old - So it turns out that humans are mortal and die of old age. Who would have thought? The elves may have been slow to figure this truth out about the Dwarves, but they certainly learn it quickly about Men. (Speaking of dwarves: both Telchar and Norn will quietly slip out of the story, having died. Do the elves know that they're dead? Or do they just...stop showing up?)

Aredhel - She will die when her husband follows her back to Gondolin after she flees their home. This is going to play out like a battered woman trying to leave for a shelter and being caught and killed by her abusive husband, most likely. The actual details are a bit different; she is trying to return to her people after having been locked away in Nan Elmoth. But it was Turgon's ruling that Eöl cannot leave and Eöl's subsequent attempt to kill Maeglin that resulted in Aredhel's death; she will die saving her son's life.

Eöl - He will die two minutes after Aredhel. His death is significant because it is capital punishment, which is very rare in Tolkien's writings. Turgon is very clearly executing his brother-in-law in this scene.

Angrod and Aegnor will die in the Dagor Bragollach of 455. Tolkien did not write the details of their deaths in that battle, but we plan to have Aegnor killed by a balrog. His death will be tragic because he is Andreth's beloved, and their love-story-that-wasn't was halted by her mortality, but she still outlives him.

Fingolfin will die in the aftermath of the Dagor Bragollach when he challenges Morgoth to single combat. That scene should be as iconic as Eowyn fighting the Witch-king, and if it's not, we're doing something wrong.
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
Here are the upcoming canonical character deaths in the Silmarillion for the first 455 years of the First Age:

Bëor the Old - So it turns out that humans are mortal and die of old age. Who would have thought? The elves may have been slow to figure this truth out about the Dwarves, but they certainly learn it quickly about Men. (Speaking of dwarves: both Telchar and Norn will quietly slip out of the story, having died. Do the elves know that they're dead? Or do they just...stop showing up?)

Aredhel - She will die when her husband follows her back to Gondolin after she flees their home. This is going to play out like a battered woman trying to leave for a shelter and being caught and killed by her abusive husband, most likely. The actual details are a bit different; she is trying to return to her people after having been locked away in Nan Elmoth. But it was Turgon's ruling that Eöl cannot leave and Eöl's subsequent attempt to kill Maeglin that resulted in Aredhel's death; she will die saving her son's life.

Eöl - He will die two minutes after Aredhel. His death is significant because it is capital punishment, which is very rare in Tolkien's writings. Turgon is very clearly executing his brother-in-law in this scene.

Angrod and Aegnor will die in the Dagor Bragollach of 455. Tolkien did not write the details of their deaths in that battle, but we plan to have Aegnor killed by a balrog. His death will be tragic because he is Andreth's beloved, and their love-story-that-wasn't was halted by her mortality, but she still outlives him.

Fingolfin will die in the aftermath of the Dagor Bragollach when he challenges Morgoth to single combat. That scene should be as iconic as Eowyn fighting the Witch-king, and if it's not, we're doing something wrong.
Perhaps Fingolfin’s duel with Morgoth is a season finale?

And what do you think of my idea of having Turgon execute Eol personally?
 

MithLuin

Well-Known Member
Yes, the intention is for Fingolfin's duel with Morgoth to be a Season Finale.

I don't think there is any need for a king to carry out his own executions. I realize that's a thing in Winterfell in Game of Thrones, but I see no reason for that to be the case in Gondolin.
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
I thought for Andreth that she and Aegnor couldn’t marry because there’s an Elvish law against wartime weddings. So even if Andreth was an Elf, she and Aegnor couldn’t marry.
 

MithLuin

Well-Known Member
It's not a law, it's a custom. Wartime wedding are Not Done for the elves (at least according to Laws and Customs of the Eldar and the Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth). But it's not like it was illegal or something. It's a stigma (with a reason) that Aegnor is not willing to break.

Finrod points out that Aegnor will never marry, because he met Andreth, and that he was not willing to live a life with Andreth because he would just pity her in her old age or something. (It's a little convoluted.) In other words, there is very much a cultural barrier between them that causes Aegnor to push Andreth away rather than marry her, but in the end part of that decision is because he is indeed a soldier in Dorthonion, and occupied with war. We need the war-time restriction to give some immediacy to the cultural barrier.

The idea here is to disappoint the audience. We should see the meeting of Andreth and Aegnor, the moment when they notice one another, and see the beginnings of a relationship. We should see the scene where he will remember her with the stars in her hair by the lake. But...nothing comes of it. He leaves her there; she grows old, he dies in battle. There should be some sort of indication that most elves and most humans think that there can be no marriage between the two kindreds because of their different natures. (It's a mayfly december thing.) In other words, we are using their (failed) romance to set up our Beren-Lúthien and Tuor-Idril storylines. The only other opportunity we have to tease an elf-human relationship of any sort is the meeting of Caranthir and Haleth. And that's more one-sided respect than any sort of budding romance. What happens in that scene is that Caranthir comes to the (belated) realization that, hey, humans are wothwhile creatures that maybe he should get to know. Haleth is not terribly impressed with his behavior, so.... But she too will never marry, and we could do something with her storyline if we wanted to.
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
Yes, the intention is for Fingolfin's duel with Morgoth to be a Season Finale.

I don't think there is any need for a king to carry out his own executions. I realize that's a thing in Winterfell in Game of Thrones, but I see no reason for that to be the case in Gondolin.
So there’s a position for dumping people off mountains in Gondolin?
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
It's not a law, it's a custom. Wartime wedding are Not Done for the elves (at least according to Laws and Customs of the Eldar and the Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth). But it's not like it was illegal or something. It's a stigma (with a reason) that Aegnor is not willing to break.

Finrod points out that Aegnor will never marry, because he met Andreth, and that he was not willing to live a life with Andreth because he would just pity her in her old age or something. (It's a little convoluted.) In other words, there is very much a cultural barrier between them that causes Aegnor to push Andreth away rather than marry her, but in the end part of that decision is because he is indeed a soldier in Dorthonion, and occupied with war. We need the war-time restriction to give some immediacy to the cultural barrier.

The idea here is to disappoint the audience. We should see the meeting of Andreth and Aegnor, the moment when they notice one another, and see the beginnings of a relationship. We should see the scene where he will remember her with the stars in her hair by the lake. But...nothing comes of it. He leaves her there; she grows old, he dies in battle. There should be some sort of indication that most elves and most humans think that there can be no marriage between the two kindreds because of their different natures. (It's a mayfly december thing.) In other words, we are using their (failed) romance to set up our Beren-Lúthien and Tuor-Idril storylines. The only other opportunity we have to tease an elf-human relationship of any sort is the meeting of Caranthir and Haleth. And that's more one-sided respect than any sort of budding romance. What happens in that scene is that Caranthir comes to the (belated) realization that, hey, humans are wothwhile creatures that maybe he should get to know. Haleth is not terribly impressed with his behavior, so.... But she too will never marry, and we could do something with her storyline if we wanted to.
Perhaps Andreth dies of a broken heart after Aegnor, that echoes how Luthien dies after Beren?
 

MithLuin

Well-Known Member
Dying of broken hearts is more of an elvish thing. There is little reason for Andreth to die of a broken heart as an old woman over the death of her sweetheart who ditched her when she was a teen. I'm sure she was sad to hear about it. But...they weren't even together.
 
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