Noldorian camps in Mithrim

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
fingolfiniancamp.jpg Hi there! Listening to your podcst I noticed some dissent about the nature of the noldrian War-camps in Mithrim, and I think I can help shed some light on the Situation...

As I have explained before Fingolfin and Feanor could easily have had a comlete Host (including women and children) of up to 400.000 and 200.000 people. Elves or not, such high numbers ARE a major issue in concern of logistics and economy.

Mostly I am on Faelivrins side with her considerations on the nature of these settlements and opposing Nicks point of view. I wish to explain why...

this is a short sketch of Lake Mithrim:

hithlumsketch.jpg

According to KWFs map that I saw lake Mithrim is up to 40 miles in length, four major rivers contribute to the lake. Now As far as I can see the Lake and the eastern and western river would NATURALLY serve as a red line between the two camps, a line noone would dare to cross...

there certainly would have been Scout camps, Watchposts, Outposts whatever on possible narrows or fords of these rivers. Both sides would have such outposts and literally lurk on each other, possibly in line of the reach of an Elven Bow.

The main camps would probably be not on the Hills - that´s where i would suggest Watchtowers and Outposts -but in the broad valleys, next to the lake... i suppose it is a sweetwater-lake so they need a large reservoir of freshwater for their folks.
As you can see, if both rivers and the lake serve as a red line, secured by each others Watchposts and Archers, there is a large hinterland for each camp to the north and the south. Now we know Hithlum was a cool, but not a barren land... I suppose it has it´s forests and plains and many herds of wild animals living there...
to feed such a large number of people it will be essential to chop down the wood and to catch and domesticate animals, hunting is not an option for such a large crowd!

They would also need to grow crops, so all in all, I side with Faelivrin here as I also think these camps would quite quickly develope into cities of wod, and maybe even some stone.

Now the biggest Refugee camp, Daadaad in Kenya once housed up to 40.000 people in an area of 20 Squaremiles. I suppose the Fingolfinian camp to have a similar size and the feanorian camp roughly half of it - not counting the smaller outposts and watchposts in which only small contingents would be housed - who would have to wacht out that nobody crosses the line from both sides, because they would not only have to defend or protecttheir loggers and gatherers and hunters and scouts from the other side, they would also need to hold back their own people som that no hoistile yelling, throwing of rocks or provocations can happen.

I have sketched out possible layouts for both camps:

Feanorians:
feanorianjcamp.jpg

Fingolfinians:

possible scout/Watch/Outpost:
noldooutpost.jpg
I have modeled the campf roughly after the design of Roman War-camps, because these also were very quickly rised and soon became fortified settlements and did not stay rows of tents with a wooden frame around, but had eath dikes, bridges, streets, a Forum...

The one thing i did change is that i decided that these camps would be circular, like Tirion, baecause round settlements seem natural to Elves and also serve a practical purpuse because these are elves, they can see longer stretchen than humans, they can watch for enemies to all sides.

Apart from its smaller size i also think that the Feanorian camp does not have a "Gar Ainion" or sanctuary, but the Fingolfinian camp may have one...
any way both camps have workshops, roads, smithies, housing and much room for keeping animals. Also the erea around the camps would quickly be deforested and can serve for agriculture (again modeled after Minas Tirith and Gondolin where the Pelennor or the valley of Gondolin served as agricultural space for slarge fields and small farmbuildings. A five years timespan is by far sufficient for the developement of such a grea t Camp-City, if you take ito account how fast the romans were able to put up fortified camps of consoiderable size- and we are dealing with Elves here, who should be even more able to do so.

Also:

the points along the rivers where there are Watchposts from both camps facing each other could be perfect places for a meeting on neutral ground, if there was for example a ford or an islet in midst of the River Estuary... the camps would have Watchtowers with Archers in closest distance, and not only Warriors to come to Aid if necessary, but also healers and everything needed to look after wounded warriors... so if Finfin and Maedhros are brought HERE, it is as good as any of both main camps, because there are healers and herbs and everything needed very very close...

We have to keep in mi d the situation is antique/medieval warfare...
elves or not, they do not have modern artillery, both camps are not under fire.They are not able to have supplied delivered from anywhere by helicopter... they have to built up camps that arevable to be much self-sustained as they probably also dont expect much help from the Sindar far south and southwest..., yet these are high-elves, natural tamers of beasts, natural growers of things, abd pretty much the best workers, architechts, builders the elves have... they can outdo the romans easily i think... IF theyr logging parties, gatherers and herders stick to their territory north and south of the lake/rivers and do not cross the red line!
 
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Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
View attachment 2019 Hi there! Listening to your podcst I noticed some dissent about the nature of the noldrian War-camps in Mithrim, and I think I can help shed some light on the Situation...

As I have explained before Fingolfin and Feanor could easily have had a comlete Host (including women and children) of up to 400.000 and 200.000 people. Elves or not, such high numbers ARE a major issue in concern of logistics and economy.

Mostly I am on Faelivrins side with her considerations on the nature of these settlements and opposing Nicks point of view. I wish to explain why...

this is a short sketch of Lake Mithrim:

View attachment 2017

According to KWFs map that I saw lake Mithrim is up to 40 miles in length, four major rivers contribute to the lake. Now As far as I can see the Lake and the eastern and western river would NATURALLY serve as a red line between the two camps, a line noone would dare to cross...

there certainly would have been Scout camps, Watchposts, Outposts whatever on possible narrows or fords of these rivers. Both sides would have such outposts and literally lurk on each other, possibly in line of the reach of an Elven Bow.

The main camps would probably be not on the Hills - that´s where i would suggest Watchtowers and Outposts -but in the broad valleys, next to the lake... i suppose it is a sweetwater-lake so they need a large reservoir of freshwater for their folks.
As you can see, if both rivers and the lake serve as a red line, secured by each others Watchposts and Archers, there is a large hinterland for each camp to the north and the south. Now we know Hithlum was a cool, but not a barren land... I suppose it has it´s forests and plains and many herds of wild animals living there...
to feed such a large number of people it will be essential to chop down the wood and to catch and domesticate animals, hunting is not an option for such a large crowd!

They would also need to grow crops, so all in all, I side with Faelivrin here as I also think these camps would quite quickly develope into cities of wod, and maybe even some stone.

Now the biggest Refugee camp, Daadaad in Kenya once housed up to 40.000 people in an area of 20 Squaremiles. I suppose the Fingolfinian camp to have a similar size and the feanorian camp roughly half of it - not counting the smaller outposts and watchposts in which only small contingents would be housed - who would have to wacht out that nobody crosses the line from both sides, because they would not only have to defend or protecttheir loggers and gatherers and hunters and scouts from the other side, they would also need to hold back their own people som that no hoistile yelling, throwing of rocks or provocations can happen.

I have sketched out possible layouts for both camps:

Feanorians:
View attachment 2018

Fingolfinians:

possible scout/Watch/Outpost:
View attachment 2020
I have modeled the campf roughly after the design of Roman War-camps, because these also were very quickly rised and soon became fortified settlements and did not stay rows of tents with a wooden frame around, but had eath dikes, bridges, streets, a Forum...

The one thing i did change is that i decided that these camps would be circular, like Tirion, baecause round settlements seem natural to Elves and also serve a practical purpuse because these are elves, they can see longer stretchen than humans, they can watch for enemies to all sides.

Apart from its smaller size i also think that the Feanorian camp does not have a "Gar Ainion" or sanctuary, but the Fingolfinian camp may have one...
any way both camps have workshops, roads, smithies, housing and much room for keeping animals. Also the erea around the camps would quickly be deforested and can serve for agriculture (again modeled after Minas Tirith and Gondolin where the Pelennor or the valley of Gondolin served as agricultural space for slarge fields and small farmbuildings. A five years timespan is by far sufficient for the developement of such a grea t Camp-City, if you take ito account how fast the romans were able to put up fortified camps of consoiderable size- and we are dealing with Elves here, who should be even more able to do so.

Also:

the points along the rivers where there are Watchposts from both camps facing each other could be perfect places for a meeting on neutral ground, if there was for example a ford or an islet in midst of the River Estuary... the camps would have Watchtowers with Archers in closest distance, and not only Warriors to come to Aid if necessary, but also healers and everything needed to look after wounded warriors... so if Finfin and Maedhros are brought HERE, it is as good as any of both main camps, because there are healers and herbs and everything needed very very close...

We have to keep in mi d the situation is antique/medieval warfare...
elves or not, they do not have modern artillery, both camps are not under fire.They are not able to have supplied delivered from anywhere by helicopter... they have to built up camps that arevable to be much self-sustained as they probably also dont expect much help from the Sindar far south and southwest..., yet these are high-elves, natural tamers of beasts, natural growers of things, abd pretty much the best workers, architechts, builders the elves have... they can outdo the romans easily i think... IF theyr logging parties, gatherers and herders stick to their territory north and south of the lake/rivers and do not cross the red line!

Ok, here is the deal. People pursue agriculture when they feel safe, which is neither something the Elves feel, nor something we want the audience to think. Having functional settlements gives the impression that these two groups have some assurances that they won't be attacked, and their farms won't be razed.

As Faelivrin pointed out, there are not going to be a lot of trees available at this point for major construction or for cover. The land is relatively flat on the plain surrounding Mithrim, so it is doubtful that the rivers are impassable or even difficult for an army to cross.

So, no, we should not be depicting farming or industry going on. Not only is it implausible from sociological, psychological, and strategic standpoints, it definitely gives an impression of safety to show pastoral scenes of peaceful farming communities, and would undercut the tension of the two camps in this episode. Honestly, they could even be nervous a out farming that close to Angband in the first few years, and even more so each other at a much shorter distance.
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
Hmm... i can see your point, but i have to say, Angband is still 150 miles away and on the othervside of the mountains... and at least the western river comes down from the mountains... the only flat land is directly surrounding mithrim and quite possibly eastern mithrin to the foothills of the Ered Wethrin.

I disagree on your concepts of agriculture and herding... people ALWAYS did agriculture in times of war, even in dangerous frontier settlements... because well simply because they HAD to...
Thats why settlers mostly were a well armed watchful lot..


I'm not saying we HAVE to depict farming communities ON screen... we do not need to show any if we feel it misleads the viewer. I am also not sure about timber... in the books Mithrim will later be the most densely populated part of the entire land - and the Ered Wethrin definitely had pine and fir forest. But i am now talking on logic and how it would have been according to the books...

I realize that its a different thing what you may wish to show on a tv adaption on screen..
 
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MithLuin

Well-Known Member
Ah, yes, my recalling of a walled compound in Afghanistan under daily fire and getting supplies by helicopter was *not* meant as an example of the situation at Mithrim! My only point there was that in a wartime situation, you return to your base after short forays and that both travel and getting supplies are difficult and unsafe.

Granted, the Noldor are not at war. We are several steps down from an open war situation. This is not a 'lawless' territory like the Wild West or northern Kenya...places where your safety can easily be endangered by other people with weapons and no fear of reprisal. There are not roaming bands of brigands to waylay travellers. It's more that there is a perceived risk of attack.

And yet...there is high tension. They have reason to suspect hostilities could break out, and some people in each camp no doubt welcome that possibility.

Choices of what to show...how armed and guarded are they? How fearful are they to venture outside their walls? Overnight? How strongly do they avoid one another? What interactions, if any, between the camps? Are they exchanging news? ultimatums? trading supplies?

While I recognize the importance of a large sedentary camp establishing agriculture quickly. ..only the Feanoreans have the supplies to do so. So, how do the Fingolfinians get their supplies? Do they domesticate local wild crops and animals on the spot? Do the Sindar help them? Or do they need the Feanoreans to return the supplies stolen with the ships?
 

MithLuin

Well-Known Member
I have been mulling over what current political situation would be even remotely comparable to the tension between the two camps of the Noldor at Lake Mithrim at the beginning of Season 4. And I think the best I've come up with is Russia/Ukraine. About 5 years ago, Russia invaded Crimea, and there was an issue in Eastern Ukraine. Since then, Russia has (ostensibly) done little to directly interfere with the Ukraine. But, you know, they were avidly watching the current elections, etc. There's tension and distrust there, even if it's not active warfare (at the moment). But it could turn into something more at any time. It is generally understood that Russia does not want the Ukraine to remain an independent nation.
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
To my understanding, it is not unheard of for the Russians to move their border "fence" by a few feet overnight every once in a while.
 

Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
I'm not as learned about the flora and fauna in Mithrim as you are - and I'd be happy to get some reading tips to catch up on the subject! I might add that in this project, the area will be filmed in the Scottish Highlands. There isn't a lot of forest, except for lower bushes and such.

This might be a foolish thought, and you will probably say I'm wrong, but I feel that showing the Elves farming gives a weird impression. It feels so human, and they're not. I know, they are thousands... But if we're showing farming, it all gets so mundane. We should think outside the human box. They should be growing things, of course, but plowing and sowing...really? Perhaps they could grow berries and have some cattle? They could make things grow there that wouldn't naturally grow there before. Would they cut down a lot of trees? It would look like they're forshadowing Sharkey's gang. Instead, they could make trees grow in a defensive line, like a pallisade? And maybe they could make wild cows come by to get milked? I dunno, perhaps silly.
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
So if they're not farming, how are they getting enough foodstuffs to function? Foraging? Pastoralism (that is nomadic herding)? Horticulture? If you're in one area for too long, all the resources are burned out.
 
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MithLuin

Well-Known Member
So, there are multiple angles to consider here.

One is that, yes, this is a fantasy world, and we want our attempt at 'realistic' portrayals not to go so far as to destroy what people like about elves in the first place. There will be some magical things. Maedhros will just be alive even though he's been hanging from a cliffside for a really long time. Realistically, he would have died of exposure and suffocation long before starvation became a problem. I'm not exactly certain what the human limit is for hanging from your wrist, but...crucifixion works as a way to kill people, and it works *much faster* if you have no leverage to lift your weight up to let your ribcage expand. So, you know....Morgoth magically sustained his life for torture reasons, and we leave it at that.

Ways to suspend a person without putting any undue stress on the lungs:

So, while the elves at Mithrim do need to eat, we probably aren't going to spend a lot of time showing how they get their food or how they organize their village or a lot of the 'day to day' reality of keeping everyone alive. We'll get glimpses, and that will have to suffice. And if all you get is a glimpse, farming may look very peaceful and pastoral, which doesn't lend itself to establishing how dangerous the setting is. Tolkien never 'showed' us the fields where Sauron grew the food for his armies, either - he only showed us the blasted and barren landscape of northern Mordor.


Another issue is that while the camp of the Fëanoreans is well-supplied and has livestock and grain and stores of food....the camp of Fingolfin is not. Their animals all died while crossing the Ice. They ate whatever food they brought with them. And while they surely have some tools, they don't have the basics to get started with farming. So...how do they feed themselves? They could live on fish for a bit, but eventually they're going to need some help. They can ask the Sindar for assistance. They could ask the Fëanoreans for help (not too likely). Or...they can start from scratch, 'domesticating' the flora and fauna local to Lake Mithrim. That's...not particularly easy to do, but we could imply that in some very minor ways. A wooden fence with berries growing all over it within the camp, for instance.



Another issue is wood. Both food and wood are reasons why certain groups have to be nomadic. A permanent settlement requires more intensive agriculture to support it, true, but it also needs fuel. There are alternative fuel sources (maybe there's a peat bog around Mithrim somewhere), but in general a large settlement is going to clearcut whatever forests were there when they arrived. Which...is maybe not very elvish? Again, no one is arguing that they don't need wood, but rather that the quantities of wood required to sustain a group of this size would likely result in the immediate deforestation of the area, and....we probably don't want to show that? Elves care a lot more about sustainability than mortals do, and would thus make pretty significant efforts to cultivate forests.



All of that is just to say that while it might seem fairly obvious that the first thing an elvish settlement would do is start farming...we might not have the opportunity to show any of that, because we probably want to show Mithrim as 'nature' and the camps as guarded. Not saying they don't farm...but just that the chances of us *showing* farmland are maybe lower than you'd think (at least at first). Seems more likely something we'd include during the Siege of Angband when Fingolfin is busy telling everyone that Morgoth's forces can't leave Angband.
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
I'd still argue that as the Silmarillion does not specify a length of time, neither should we. There is no narrative need for the Noldor to be in their separate camps for years. In addition, as Marie pointed out above, and I have done in the past, any depiction of the elves moving on and going about their lives with pastoral pursuits (especially in the ways we are led to believe that Elves do this sort of thing) will severely undercut the tension that we have onscreen between the two groups and also between them individually and their environments. If they could sustainably live out here on opposite sides of Lake Mithrim, at least until the Dagor Aglareb, then there aren't really any stakes driving them to change the status quo. At least not any time soon.
 

MithLuin

Well-Known Member
Oooh, I like the flet-watchtowers! I agree that the round shape works well. And, of course, no mammoth tusks, but we should incorporate something from their surroundings (maybe reeds from the lake?). And we're not ready for the full-fledged stone towers until a little later in the Season, so gotta start somewhere.

Like these roundhouse log roofs:

 
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MithLuin

Well-Known Member
Hehe, my dad erected a large tent in the backyard one time for my sister's wedding... A couple of large tarps, some steel cable, a few support posts, tons of rope, and some conveniently placed trees. Worked out well for a temporary structure. Though this is perhaps something the Falathrim would be more likely to make.

lightfoot0774-small.jpglightfoot0571-small.jpg
 
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