Script Discussion Frame Backfill Session

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
Gandalf is the character who connects this season's frame to last season, so beginning with him is all the hand-off we need. Certainly, he can discuss with the ship-captain where he has come from, indicating that he was spending time in the north (he can reference the Lonely Mountain and the commemoration in Dale, possibly), and express his desire to travel south now. That will tell the audience what they need to know about where in Middle-earth we are. If you begin with a montage before anyone has spoken, you do have to keep it *very* brief, so the focus can be on getting to the story. So, perhaps showing Gandalf travelling from Minas Tirith to Pelargir and then taking ship might be all we need, rather than a full-blown travel montage.

I like stories about brothers, so I wouldn't mind keeping the two youths in Harad as brothers, and I think the idea of making the leader their mother rather than their father gives us more parallels to the Season 1 frame, with Gilraen and Elrond. Also, this is the season with Haleth and Andreth, so having this one city-state in Harad ruled by a queen might allow for some nice connections.

As for the missing moms of Tolkien's stories - yes, it's very common, but it doesn't mean that *every* family dynamic has to involve an orphan or a motherless child! We don't have to copy the death of Finduilas from the Boromir/Faramir story if we don't want to. I also hesitate to draw any sort of conclusion like, because Tolkien grew up without a mother, he could only write characters who also grew up with that loss. George MacDonald had a very good relationship with his own father, but that doesn't mean he couldn't write stories about characters with distant or troubled relationships with own fathers. Similarly, while J.R.R. Tolkien was quite familiar with the experience of witnessing the death of a mother and then living without her, that doesn't mean that the only way to tell a story set in his world is to reiterate that.

I do want to make sure we give the 'traitor' a motive beyond personal power grab or a bitterness or resentment. Something about this choice has to feel as though it is for the best for their people - he's making the difficult but right choice in his own mind. But the dynamic is there that this person would not be in charge without challenging the rightful heir and usurping. Gandalf doesn't have to be guiltless in this eventual decision.
 

Rhiannon

Well-Known Member
Since we want to imply the main family has Numenorean blood, perhaps we could give them names in Adunaic, or even reuse some Numenorean names.
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
Gandalf is the character who connects this season's frame to last season, so beginning with him is all the hand-off we need. Certainly, he can discuss with the ship-captain where he has come from, indicating that he was spending time in the north (he can reference the Lonely Mountain and the commemoration in Dale, possibly), and express his desire to travel south now. That will tell the audience what they need to know about where in Middle-earth we are. If you begin with a montage before anyone has spoken, you do have to keep it *very* brief, so the focus can be on getting to the story. So, perhaps showing Gandalf travelling from Minas Tirith to Pelargir and then taking ship might be all we need, rather than a full-blown travel montage.

I like stories about brothers, so I wouldn't mind keeping the two youths in Harad as brothers, and I think the idea of making the leader their mother rather than their father gives us more parallels to the Season 1 frame, with Gilraen and Elrond. Also, this is the season with Haleth and Andreth, so having this one city-state in Harad ruled by a queen might allow for some nice connections.

As for the missing moms of Tolkien's stories - yes, it's very common, but it doesn't mean that *every* family dynamic has to involve an orphan or a motherless child! We don't have to copy the death of Finduilas from the Boromir/Faramir story if we don't want to. I also hesitate to draw any sort of conclusion like, because Tolkien grew up without a mother, he could only write characters who also grew up with that loss. George MacDonald had a very good relationship with his own father, but that doesn't mean he couldn't write stories about characters with distant or troubled relationships with own fathers. Similarly, while J.R.R. Tolkien was quite familiar with the experience of witnessing the death of a mother and then living without her, that doesn't mean that the only way to tell a story set in his world is to reiterate that.

I do want to make sure we give the 'traitor' a motive beyond personal power grab or a bitterness or resentment. Something about this choice has to feel as though it is for the best for their people - he's making the difficult but right choice in his own mind. But the dynamic is there that this person would not be in charge without challenging the rightful heir and usurping. Gandalf doesn't have to be guiltless in this eventual decision.
Perhaps there is something that Gandalf says that the 'wizard's pupil' takes to heart, but uses in such a way that results in him usurping? What that should be, I do not know.
 
Last edited:

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
Rhiannon suggested above that we should use Adûnaic names in the Frame, and that was greenlit on Thursday's podcast.

Here are the suggestions for Adûnaic names for the Frame (to stress the Numenorean descent) that we have so far:
Younger Son (future Mouth of Sauron): Arnubên (King-servant, steward)​
Queen: Azrâindil (Sea-flower)​
Older Son (exile to Gondor): Abrazân (Steadfast)​
Town: Port of Ûrîsakal (sun-shore)​

A few notes on the name "Incánus." Clearly, this is Latin for "grey-haired," but presumably there is another story-internal reason for Gandalf being given that name in Harad. (Just as "Gandalfr" appearing on a list of dwarf-names in the Elder Edda doesn't 'explain' the origin of Gandalf's name within the tale.) "Cistus Incanus" is the name of Mediterranean rockrose, a shrub that grows in dry regions around the Mediterranean Sea. So, it would be neat to include this plant in the Harad scenery, but it doesn't get us closer to reaching the source of his name. (The plant is medicinal; you can make tea from the flowers, and the sap is used to make labdanum.)



There are a couple of choices that Tolkien came up with to explain this name. If we wanted to, we could incorporate these, or come up with our own, or simply never give a meaning/explanation. One is that the name is in the language of the people of Harad, and that it means "North Spy" (where inká meant 'north' and nûs meant 'spy'). If so, it is likely meant to be pronounced "Incanush." This version is referenced in Unfinished Tales. There are likely reasons we would not want to use this meaning, as Gandalf is meant to have a good relationship with the people of this community.

An alternative version of the etymology offered by Tolkien is that the name was Quenya, and was given to Gandalf in his early time in Gondor (c. 1150-1200 in the Third Age). It means something like "loremaster" or "learned lord" (the two elements mean 'mind' and 'ruler'). If we wanted to use this, 'Incánus' would not be his name given to him in Harad, but a name he gave to the Haradrim to call him by, recalling the earlier name the people of Gondor used for him in the past which fell out of use at some point. This fits more closely with the relationship Gandalf has established for himself in this particular place.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
Session 5-25 led to a significant fleshing out of our frame story and its location!

Here are some of the alterations that would be necessary to incorporate into our frame stories in earlier episodes:

Episode 1 - As the city-state is south of Umbar, the boat Gandalf is taking must travel through the waters of the Corsairs of Umbar to get from Gondor to Harad. Therefore...some subterfuge crossing this potentially hostile/dangerous territory is likely needed and should be remarked upon. Something as simple as 'switching out' Gondor-style sails for Corsair-style sails so their ship blends in and isn't challenged would be sufficient, but it should be remarked upon that they are crossing unfriendly waters (unfriendly to Men of Gondor, that is).

Episode 2 - When the queen explains her 'benign neglect' towards the cult of Sauron, she should not only mention her resistance to foreign control, but also how the people of her city are quite fond of their cultural traditions.

Episode 3 - No change to the outline required

Episode 4 - Shift the description of the queen's court in the teaser to reflect the existence of an oligarchical council of elders who oversee the judicial/legislative tasks of the city. The city guard still reports directly to the queen.

Episode 5 - Alter the description of the court to reflect the existence of the oligarchical council of elders (who do not support the cult of Sauron).

Episode 6 - No changes to the outline necessary; content of their debate should reflect the story decided upon in Session 5-25.

Episode 7 - Perhaps a mention in the teaser of Umbar as the 'buffer' between this city-state and Gondor, with the tribute paid to the corsairs?

Episode 8 - In Scene 16, mention of the cult of Sauron being from 'within' their culture, and to beware of strangers from 'outside' guiding their city away from their ancestors.

Episodes 9-13 will be planned to reflect the discussion in Session 5-25, so we should be fine there.
 
Hi, I apologize if this isn't the right place to comment; please forgive me for I am a bit of a noob. Please redirect if if this is so.

There was some discussion from Corey during the recent live stream that was about the Cult of Sauron having changed/deviated over time, and of course this would happen. This is a great opportunity to bring in some sort of light cameo of Tevildo!

There could be some sort of cat symbol that is subtly in the "architecture" or symbolism of the cult. Perhaps something like over time there were exaggerated tales or something that use the metaphor/image of a giant predatory cat (lion, tiger?) in its depiction of this great spiritual being whom they used to worship thousands of years ago. I think it would be a great way to bring in this nice nod to the original Book of Lost Tales stories!
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
Hi, I apologize if this isn't the right place to comment; please forgive me for I am a bit of a noob. Please redirect if if this is so.

There was some discussion from Corey during the recent live stream that was about the Cult of Sauron having changed/deviated over time, and of course this would happen. This is a great opportunity to bring in some sort of light cameo of Tevildo!

There could be some sort of cat symbol that is subtly in the "architecture" or symbolism of the cult. Perhaps something like over time there were exaggerated tales or something that use the metaphor/image of a giant predatory cat (lion, tiger?) in its depiction of this great spiritual being whom they used to worship thousands of years ago. I think it would be a great way to bring in this nice nod to the original Book of Lost Tales stories!
That's not a bad idea, though I'd remind (inform?) you that Tevildo has been a separate character in our story since the beginning. He meets his end in this season in episode 6.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
Still, Tevildo is one of Sauron's lackeys, and if we are introducing the Mouth of Sauron here to be 'shades of Thuringwethil', then why not incorporate 'shades of Tevildo' as well? Lions and Tigers are the type of powerful animals you'd expect to be associated with the Cult of Sauron anyway, so it would be nice to have a visual associated with figures for the temple. We've been instructed to steer away from Muslim architecture, and portraying animal figures would definitely do that!
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
An idea for the season finale: Gandalf reaches Minas Tirith with Abrazan in tow to inform Turgon, Steward of Gondor (or perhaps his son Ecthelion II if we so choose) of his failure in Harad.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
We will be discussing the Frame scenes for Episodes 11-13 (the festival, the coup, and the sudden emigration of the elder son) on Sunday June 6th. The first part of the script discussion will focus on the Season 5 finale, and then we will discuss the frame scenes.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
Here is our current outline for the Frame story, with all of the scenes from the various episodes collected in one place:


Silmarillion Film Project
Season 5
Frame Story

Gandalf (Incánus) visits Harad. He has a Hobbiton-in-the-south community that he visits there - a coastal town with Black Numenorean origins. The leader Azrâindil has two sons. The older brother Abrazân (21) is more of a jock type. The younger brother Arnubên (19) is more studious - more of a wizard’s pupil. (Boromir/Faramir dynamic) Incánus is a tutor for the brothers. The Mouth of Sauron is also in the area, trying to recruit support for Sauron by rebuilding his ruined temple. A festival turns into a deadly coup attempt. At the death of their mother the queen, the younger brother accuses his older brother of treason, and Incánus and Abrazân flee to Gondor. Arnubên will go on to become the next Mouth of Sauron.

Episode 1
Teaser: Gandalf (Incánus) boards a ship in Gondor to Harad, mentioning his travels.
Scene 1: Entrance to Hobbiton-in-the-South - parallels to Gandalf’s entrance with hobbits, but also a street preacher in the marketplace. The younger son Arnubên meets “Incánus” and gives a Bilbo-like speech. He brings Incánus in to meet the leader - his mother the queen.
Scene 16: Incánus meets with the leader of the seaport town. The queen reacts with surprise that Incánus, who was an old man last time she saw him, is still around - the Men of the West are long-lived. She introduces her older son Abrazân.

Episode 2
Teaser: Incánus and the leader Azrâindil discuss the cult of Sauron. The queen has a ‘benign neglect’ attitude - she dislikes ‘foreign’ influence, but considers them weak at the moment. She has a greater concern though; her sons are not ready for the challenges of leadership. The elder son Abrazân is not interested in learning about the past, and the younger son Arnubên is not interested in the here and now. They look down on the sons in a courtyard from a balcony.
Tag: The brothers are getting instruction from a terrible instructor - it’s boring and about economics or something. The queen calls the instructor out of the room. Incánus begins with a booming voice, reciting a lay about the adventures of the First Age. He turns to face them. Let’s start at the beginning though.

Episode 3
Teaser: Abrazân (older brother) is teasing younger Arnubên for book-reading. Lesson - You can impact the world, but only your corner of it. Your life makes a difference. You have to write your own destiny. (You have to decide what to do with the time that is given to you, but NOT THOSE WORDS)
Tag: Arnubên is reading. Abrazân tosses a ball at his face. Younger brother catches it without looking up; he and his brother exchange a grin. Younger brother closes his book, and they go out and spar together.

Episode 4
Teaser: A weird event has occurred! A guard reports to the queen that they keep finding piles of dead birds left in abandoned buildings. Incánus, who was there to hear the news, goes to investigate. The elder son Abrazân accompanies him.
Tag: Scene of the crime. Incánus walks around the scene, looking for the altar. Abrazân wants to know...what happened here? Incánus tells him this was no accident, but this was a beginner’s attempt at blood magic. Audience sees a flash of the ritual (live bird, knife, chanting). Abrazân is horrified - who would do that?! Incánus says that of all the evil deeds those in service to this master would do, this is the least.

Episode 5
Teaser: The Mouth of Sauron arrives in the city to petition the queen for ‘permission’ to rebuild the old temple. The queen receives the ‘guest’ graciously, and offers to think over it. Incánus and the younger son Arnubên are together at this meeting in court, and Arnubên has a ‘Do something! Stop this!’ approach. Incánus pulls him aside. Arnubên: You know how this will end! You know what Mordor is! We should put a stop to this right now! Incánus: Your mother knows what she is doing.
Scene 16: Being so heavy-handed will drive people to resent the leader’s decisions. You must do the right thing, yes, but in the right time and in the right way. Do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement {not those words!}….. Arnubên: But...you know what is right, don’t you? Incánus: Yes, but we cannot force the issue now. Trust your mother’s sense of what to resist and how to resist it.

Episode 6

Teaser: Abrazân, the elder of the two brothers, is engaged in a public debate with a street preacher. His younger brother Arnubên and the Mouth of Sauron are in the audience. Abrazân’s debate skills are...not impressive, and his younger brother is frustrated with him and embarrassed by him.
Tag: The Mouth of Sauron, who stands behind Arnubên in the crowd, mentions that while men of action will always be necessary, it is men of words who are most important.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
Episode 7
Teaser: Incánus talks about the history of Gondor while teaching the brothers. Arnubên had a question that brings up Gondor’s history - perhaps something about Numenor. Abrazân says they know all they need to know - Gondor was their enemy at such and such time/place. Incánus replies that everything you’ve said is true, but you will need allies if you are going to keep Mordor from your gates, and if you hold on to the old enmities, you will be blind to the possibilities.
Tag: Incánus points out that the Men had legitimate grievances against the elves, but even so, chose to join them in the fight against evil, because without doing so, they all would have been destroyed. Abrazân points out, ‘Not all of them,’ and Incánus agrees, ‘Sadly, not all.’ Arnubên is troubled.

Episode 8
Teaser: Abrazân volunteers to check out the Cult of Sauron, see if they are up to no good or planning harm to the city. Arnubên: No, I’ll go. Remember the street preacher? Incánus: Take care.
Scene 16: Street preacher introduces Mouth of Sauron. Survival through strength! We must all fight for our land and our people! Arnubên listens.

Episode 9
Teaser: Incánus is spending time in his favorite hookah bar. He hears the news that the newly-rebuilt Temple of Sauron will be open in time for the annual festival. He expresses concern to the queen and Abrazân about the cult of Sauron should not be allowed to take over planning for the festival. The queen is thoughtful.
Tag: The queen announces a new change to this year’s festival. Some people in the audience react with upset that the queen would make changes to their beloved traditions. The older brother hears these remarks.

Episode 10
Teaser: Abrazân is flirting with a servant girl. His mother the queen sees him and calls him to task. Despite his protests that it was all in fun, she informs him that because of their different stations, the girl is in no position to say no and thus his behavior is scandalous. He retorts that it is surely no worse than the changes she made to the festival. She relates the story of her own arranged marriage to his father - she was reluctant, but had the protection and assurance of her family looking out for her. You may not remember your father, but he was not a gentle man.
Tag: Abrazân asks his mother if she regrets her decision to marry his father. She says of course not - she loves her sons dearly and it all worked out. But...she would not want her son to put someone else through a situation that they may regret. He has responsibilities, and their people look up to him. If what the people think is so important, why not give them what they want? Why change their beloved festival traditions? She says - it is her responsibility to look out for the people. As I look out for you - and as queen, I look to the happiness of you and your future bride.

Episode 11 - Assassination of Queen
Teaser + Scene 7 - Conversation between Mouth of Sauron and Incánus. She approaches him as if they are equals. He recognizes that she is a slave, and reacts to her show of ‘power’ with pity and compassion, urging her to turn away. But this is a distraction, because at the same time…cries are heard, and when Incánus tries to leave the room, he is arrested. (intercut with)
Abrazân goes to visit his mother. They are talking in her room. Suddenly, people from the cult of Sauron burst into the room! They restrain the prince and stab his mother...with his own ivory-handled dagger. He is then gagged/blindfolded and dragged away.
Scene 15: Funeral of the Queen - Arnubên presides over this solemn occasion. He tells the Council of Elders that he cannot understand what happened. Where is his brother? Why was his mother killed with his brother’s dagger?

Episode 12
- Festival
Teaser: Parade through the city during the yearly festival. Arnubên speaking to members of the Council about how the people needed this festival, and it’s so good they’ll be able to use the Temple of Sauron this year. Abrazân in jail, hearing sounds of festival. A child on an elephant throws trinkets into the crowd. During the parade, members of the Council are ‘disappeared’.
Tag: Parade reaches Temple. ‘Sacrifice’ scene in temple - the young child is mock-sacrificed to Sauron. Guards are distracted; Abrazân escapes the dungeon under the Temple. Witnesses mock-sacrifice of child. Heads back to palace to confront his brother Arnubên.

Episode 13 - Farewell to Hobbiton-in-the-South
Teaser: Confrontation between the Brothers - Arnubên has disbanded the Council, taken control of the City, and accuses his elder brother of treason in the death of the queen. He attempts to kill Abrazân, who gets the upper hand, chooses not to kill his younger brother, and flees.
Scene 16: Abrazân seeks out Incánus in Jail. They flee; the alarm is raised. They find a convenient pen of elephants, steal one, and start a stampede.
Tag 2: Arrival in Minas Tirith by Gandalf and Abrazân. Arnubên on throne of city-state (Ûrîsakal), Mouth of Sauron by his side.



So, there we are! The full story of our Harad frame, culminating in a beloved festival, an assassination, a coup, and an elephant stampede.

By the way, we are desperately in need of a name for this annual festival celebrating Sauron. We can't keep calling it 'Haradrim Christmas', and we really can't call it 'Sauron Day.' Any thoughts on what it should be called? A reminder that it is a cultural festival, perhaps originally celebrating Sauron freeing the city from Numenorean rule, but now very much a secular holiday separated from any 'real' history involving wars or religious worship of Sauron.
 

ouzaru

Well-Known Member
So I've been doing a little cursory research, and I think the gifting might be Yule. Yule is a Third Age holiday celebrated by Hobbits and the Rohirrim apparently descended from the tradition of the Northmen, obviously inspired by the Germanic Yule holiday, though apparently for the Anglo-Saxons it was more like a season than an actual festival. One of the traditions of Yule was gift-giving, itself an extremely significant cultural tradition in wider Germanic culture. The Northmen never settled in Beleriand, but I was always given to understand that this fact was the primary distinction between the Northmen and the people who became the Dunedain. I think this is an opportunity for us to tie into the written material, and I thiiiiiink "the gifting" is a winter holiday? If so, even if we decide to call it something else, I think it'd be nice to do a little amateur sub-creative anthropology and see if we can't make some references to Hobbit Yule.
 

ouzaru

Well-Known Member
You are very correct!
So now we have more steps to take. Do we know how, if at all, the people of Harad are related to the other groups in Middle Earth? Were they part of separate migrations, or was Harad populated by refugees of Numenor? If we're given to understand that the people of Harad are not at all connected to the Second Age migrations of Men into Beleriand (Harad would have been South East of the Southernmost points of Ossiriand, right?), then we wouldn't expect any cultural connection between them... but if they're related to the Northmen, then there would need to be shared culture by necessity, however we choose to change it.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
This particular community in Harad has strong Numenorean influence. The older stone buildings in the city (ie, the palace) were built by the Numenoreans, and the name of the city is Adunaic. The view of the Numenoreans is not particularly positive, however. They threw off their Numenorean overlords when Sauron gained power in Harad during the Second Age, and have been antagonistic towards Gondor in the Third Age. Currently, they pay a tribute to the Corsairs of Umbar to keep their port city free of menace from Gondor.
 

Odola

Well-Known Member
I've been thinking of a day of gifts or the gifting...
That reminds me of Christmas, but also has an uncanny Annatar vibe.
Actullay there were not many gift giving festivals in the ancient world. Gifts were exchanged more around birthdays, weddings, in host-guest context, king-vasal relationship, or in alliances/tributes. At specific times gifts/offerings were presented to the gods/kings or the dead, but the gift giving among the living not really had a fixed season. Diverse harvest festivals were quite common, or times where certain animals were due to be slaughtered, or when some produce cycle of a valued important good has been commenced or completed.
Birthday's or anniversaries of ascension to the throne of a ruler, the coming of age of a rules's heir - maybe.

If e.g. there was a round anniversary of e.g. the tribute goods due to being send to the Numenorians having been distributed to the common folk instead and to celebrate this occassion the treasury were to give out some goods to the people in remembrance of this past event, that could be in keeping with the common practice, I think.

Maybe one could search for some inspiration e.g here: https://www.worldhistory.org/article/1032/festivals-in-ancient-egypt/
 
Top