S04E01 Script Discussion

Discussion in 'Season 4' started by Nicholas Palazzo, Apr 5, 2019.

  1. Nicholas Palazzo

    Nicholas Palazzo Well-Known Member

    Right, and his people live in communities around the lake. I could even see Falathrim joining them there, plying boat trade back and forth.
     
  2. MithLuin

    MithLuin Well-Known Member

    Right. Tense 'there could be war at any time' scenarios...don't look like an actual war. There is a high alert, but no one is shooting (arrows) at anyone else.

    In The Two Towers film, they of course include the scene where the uruk-hai march on Helm's Deep. The Rohirrim have prepared for an attack. The Uruk-hai are coming....so far, that is not unlike the books. But in the books, of course you have enough men to place some of them at outer defenses (Helm's Dike, etc), and so there are archers who harry the advance of the Uruk-hai, shooting the torch-bearers and then riding back to the safety of Helm's Deep. It's clear the battle has already begun well before Saruman's army is within sight of the wall. And yet in the film, they eliminate this 'preliminary' fighting, so the army just marches right up to the wall without challenge. And there's...a moment of stand off. Everyone knows what's going to happen; the uruk-hai are there to breach the wall and take the fortress. The men (and elves) are going to defend it. But it's this weird pause, where the uruk-hai clash their shields and one lone archer from the Rohirrim fires and kills a single orc. And...then the battle starts.

    I've never understood that scene. There was no question of avoiding that battle. 'Hello, we are the monsters who are here to kill you' isn't something where you think, gee, if only they'd been more diplomatic about it, it would have turned out better. And if you're going to advance on a manned wall and then halt...you wouldn't do so within bow range. You halt well enough back to be safe....and then charge the wall with the ladders quickly, so as to avoid all being picked off. So there was a lot about that scene that was meant to generate tension and make you feel a certain way, but was...weirdly done. And even so...that scene is clearly a 'battle' scene, even in the parts before hostilities break out. It's not a prepared 'just in case' scenario; everyone knows there's going to be a fight.

    We need a more uncertain state of affairs between the Noldor in episode one. They are not 'inevitably' going to have a battle. But...they very well could have a battle, and neither side really trusts the other side not to attack. So, is it life as usual? And to what extent. Being concerned about an attack that doesn't come isn't easy to show. We can show armed guards/archers. We can show a defensive perimeter with a no mans land between the camps. But....since we're not showing any actual fighting, I think the tension will bleed right out of that scene as people go about their business.
     
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  3. Ange1e4e5

    Ange1e4e5 Well-Known Member

    I've presumed that scene was on the one hand a macho display of seeing who's gonna strike first, and on the other a means of humanizing the Uruk-Hai, considering that they attack immediately when one of their own is killed.
     
  4. Nicholas Palazzo

    Nicholas Palazzo Well-Known Member

    I would say that that scene is designed to ratchet up the anticipation for the battle, to get the audience excited. Once they had done that, though, they had painted themselves into a bit of a corner. If they just start moving forward again, it accentuates the problem that Marie is pointing out. So they needed some sort of triggering event. What is weirder to me is how long the archers have their bows drawn. Anyone who has drawn a longbow knows that's not a thing.
     
  5. MithLuin

    MithLuin Well-Known Member

    It almost has to, right? In all the parts of the world where I can think of this sort of situation existing (the Berlin Wall in the 1980s, the Israel/Palestine border crossings, North/South Korea, Northern Ireland while the IRA was active, the current Ethiopia/Eritrea border)....there is tension, and violence can break out, but, for the most part....it would look like people living their lives. It's subtle, because your average person is not affected by this on a day-to-day basis. What gives it away are the razor wire topping the fences and the armed guards and the patrols and the 'no man's land' where there are no people/towns/etc. And...the fact that no one crosses that boundary casually. But...can you tell just by seeing a scene that the alert level is so high and that violence could boil over so easily?

    Obviously, this has been done on film before. I'm not saying we can't show this, just that it becomes a frustrating challenge to do so well without convincing the audience that the threat level is greatly reduced. 'Domestic' scenes read as not-a-war-zone, and if things are that calm, then we would expect more interaction between these two groups of Noldor.

    The film Shooting Dogs is about the genocide in Rwanda. So, it's an active war situation, not a cold war....but the 'enemy' are civilians and the people carrying it out are a rag tag group with machetes, not an army. There is a situation where people are hiding in a compound, where they are trapped, because outside the compound are the militants who wish to slaughter (almost) everyone inside. How can they show that it's dangerous to leave the compound? Obviously, they have to show someone try and fail, and be killed. But one of the cues for the audience is the whistles the militants are using to keep organized. If anyone sees someone leaving, they raise the alarm, and the whole group beats the bush and looks for escapees to kill. That whistle sound becomes the indication that the militants are active and the danger level is increased. We would need some cues like that - showing people on guard duty at all times, patrolling a perimeter, etc....that helps to establish that they are vigilant and alert, not just going about their lives.

    But realistically, do you sit at 'high alert' for years and never make any attempt to diffuse or escalate the situation? It's this weird limbo we're putting them into, and I'm glad we don't have to show much of it, because it just doesn't seem sustainable.
     
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  6. Nicholas Palazzo

    Nicholas Palazzo Well-Known Member

    This is one of the drawbacks of holding rigidly to a timeline that isn't even present in our primary text. Tolkien wasn't always particularly interested in discussing logistics and economics in his world, at least not in his primary writings, and I think that the Tale of Years demonstrates this.
     
  7. Ange1e4e5

    Ange1e4e5 Well-Known Member

    If we do the five years between the arrival of Fingolfin to Fingon's trek to Angband, at what point during the five years between the Rising of the Sun and Maedhros' rescue should Fingon leave for Angband? And how do the Orcs feed Maedhros (every image I see is of Maedhros on a sheer cliff, with no way to get to him)? Are they feeding Maedhros? If they aren't, how long can an Elf survive without food and water (a human can live for three days without water, three weeks without food)?

    I can see us running into trouble with this timeline.
     
  8. MithLuin

    MithLuin Well-Known Member

    We did conveniently put a ledge above Maedhros, and there's presumably an exit from Angband with easy access to him. So it's quite possible that he's being fed/watered with some regularity [we have no intention of showing this]. It's also possible that MAGIC. After all, when we show Morgoth force Húrin into that chair to look out on Beleriand and watch the downfall of his kin for the next 20 years....are we presuming that Húrin gets catering with that set up, or does Morgoth just make him magically endure that without death?

    Currently, the outline does not specify how much time passes between Act 1 (shortly after the arrival of the Host of Fingolfin) and Act 2 (the events that lead up to Maedhros' rescue starting with the creation of the Darkness). Presumably a significant amount of time passes - not just a few weeks or months. But, there is no indication to the audience that this is 5 years later, and we're not planning to have a timestamp 'F.A. 5' on the screen, so....I guess it's just an indefinite amount of time?

    Presumably, Fingon is going to argue that it's been 'too long' that the Noldor have been encamped across the lake from one another doing nothing, but it seems less likely that we'd want to give him awkward dialogue of 'it has been x amount of time since we arrived here.' Without explicitly stating it in dialogue...I'm not sure how the audience would get a specific indication of the passage of time. We'll know time has passed; the camps will look a lot more 'lived in' and less new. Old leaves can be piled up in corners, all the paths are beaten/worn, etc.

    One thing that the Host of Fingolfin probably wants from Círdan (that we did not discuss) is supplies. They arrived in Middle-earth pretty much out of food and animals. They *may* have saved some grain stock in hope or something, but chances are they ate every last edible thing they had while crossing the Ice. Which means...not much from which to begin growing crops or herding animals or anything like that. They're going to start by foraging and hunting, but to stay in one place for any amount of time...they're going to need more supplies. They could ask the Fëanoreans...but they presumably do not do so. That means...they'll ask the Sindar.

    I've been a bit nervous about showing Círdan essentially living with the Noldor for 5 years and not figure out any of their secrets. We could have the Noldor request supplies in the meeting in Act 1, and he agrees to bring some (maybe presuming the Camp across the Lake is also low), and then come back later with them. If so, we can show him visiting briefly (coming and going) in that scene with Celeborn in Act 2. Celeborn may have been in residence for 5 years, but we're showing him as a less suspicious person, so he is (presumably) just interested in learning Quenya and getting to know the estranged Noldor.

    The difficulty with this is...it would be a whole thing. We can show Círdan being requested to get supplies/leaving easily enough. But then, how do you follow up? The Fingolfinians would have to send a rather large armed escort with Círdan to shuttle the supplies from the Firth of Drengist over land to Mithrim. And Círdan would no doubt want to know if he should be bringing supplies for the other camp....which....he apparently keeps not talking to? And then we'd have to show the Fëanorean reaction to the supplies arriving in the other camp...it would be this whole big subplot, which....we have enough of those here already, I think! If that all happened (but we didn't show it because it was during the time skip), I suppose it could be mentioned at the meeting in the part that is still civil.

    At any rate, that's a very convoluted way of saying Maedhros isn't the only one who is going to run out of food before five years are up.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2019
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  9. Haerangil

    Haerangil Well-Known Member

    I am totally okay with skipping most of the details and not specifying how much time has passed leaving it up to the audience to judge that!

    After all whats happening in a book and adapting that for a tv series are two entirely different things.However i am not sure that Jrrts timeline was flawed at this point... living for five years at mithrim seems reasonable i guess he had his reasons to establish it the way it is in the books... but our adaption should leave those details open.
     
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  10. Ange1e4e5

    Ange1e4e5 Well-Known Member

    Perhaps we have a scene with Finrod conversing with Cirdan or Celeborn and realizing that he understands what they're saying, so he can break the language barrier down a bit?
     
  11. Nicholas Palazzo

    Nicholas Palazzo Well-Known Member

    That is essentially the point of scene 3.
     
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  12. amysrevenge

    amysrevenge Well-Known Member

    I think you can write a way to tell how long it's been without saying how long it's been.

    Like, two characters arguing about whether it's futile to even try, going back and forth, and like the 10th line for one of them is something like "We've gotten nowhere in five f-ing years, why do you think tomorrow will be any different?"

    I know we're not particularly measuring Years of the Sun yet here, but whatever words they use to measure time.

    Now that I say that though...

    We've got a Sun now. And a new calendar. And we need to introduce the concept that they are starting to use the Sun to count time. And the only really significant time they have to measure is the time since the first Sun rise...
     
  13. Nicholas Palazzo

    Nicholas Palazzo Well-Known Member


    I agree that we have plenty of ways to show the passage of time. I'm much more concerned about how the passage of time and how we show it will affect the tension in the episode. If we show them moving on with their lives and engaging in peaceful pursuits, it damages the impression that these groups might break out in lethal violence at any moment.
     
  14. Ange1e4e5

    Ange1e4e5 Well-Known Member

    Perhaps we have semi-permanent settlements, but everyone’s always wearing armor, carries a weapon (even the children), cash and carry system?...
     
  15. Haerangil

    Haerangil Well-Known Member

    I 'm still not sure... impression of siege/cold war about realism?

    They're for certain heavily militarized cultures at this point... completely different from the Sindar we have met.
     

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