And ... so it would seem that I neglected to establish breaks during the broadcast after the first hour, which means that progress will be slower, since I have to wait for each video to render before I can start editting the next one. Gah...
Here we go, this is more what I think we intended!
Outline: S2E2 Rewrite: Starlight - it's an elvish thing
Conflict: Do the elves belong in Middle Earth or in Valinor?
1. (Up to 4 pages) Frame: Arwen is preparing/dressing, with her confidant [?name]. It is on the eve of an Elvish festival celebrating starlight and she shares her anticipation and excitement for the festival to come, happy to share one last one together with [friend]. During a formal ceremony, Galadriel gives Arwen a starry cloak. Arwen gives Galadriel a tapestry she made showing Varda making the stars. A courtier remarks on the strangeness of the imagery. Galadriel and Arwen share an informal moment, where Galadriel reminds Arwen that Varda is not well-known in Lothlorien. Arwen understands that, and mentions that she doesn't know the Valar any better than the elves of Lothlorien, even if she is considered a High Elf herself. She asks Galadriel what Varda is like?
2. (4 pages)
The debate of the Valar in the ruined throne room of Utumno. Oromë and Yavanna return from battle, and Oromë warns that the elves are in grave danger in Middle Earth. He urges the others to bring the elves to Valinor for safety. Tulkas downplays the danger, suggesting that surely the elves can handle themselves against whatever is left of Morgoth's beasts? Ulmo says that their place is in Middle Earth. Aulë begins talking about how wonderful it will be to invite the elves to be with them in Valinor, and how they can teach them everything. Irmo[Lorien] supports that idea, but Oromë warns that the elves might be frightened of the Valar, so perhaps just a few at first? Manwë agrees with this, and asks Oromë to invite some of the Children to visit Valinor. Námo[Mandos]: "So it is doomed." Varda looks up sadly at the stars (visible through the ruined roof), but says nothing.
3. (4 pages)
Oromë greets Ingwë, Finwë and Elwë on the shore of Cuiviénen (picking up where Episode 1 left off). He introduces himself as one of the Valar, and speaks to them of his homeland in the West (Valinor). He is invited into the Quendi settlement, but there is still significant fear. Several children try to approach him and are restrained by their parents, admonishing them to stay away from the glowing giant. Finwë, Míriel and Elwë discuss the arrival of Oromë. Elwë has come round to Oromë, Míriel expresses some concerns about the unknown, and Finwë is undecided/neutral. Can Oromë be trusted and taken at his word? Oromë extends the invitation, and those who are most uncertain put forward Ingwë, Finwë and Elwë as the ones who spoke to Oromë and invited him in. It seems clear that these people are happy to get rid of Oromë and the elves who wanted to meet him.
4. First plot point (4 pages)
Ulmo approaches Varda, and warns her that Manwë has made the wrong decision. Someone needs to talk to him, or there will be consequences! Varda explains that she shares Ulmo's concerns, and was going to discuss this with Manwë. It is uncertain what Ulmo will do if the Valar do not change their minds - is he going to be the next antagonist, with Melkor out of the way?
5. (4 pages)
Back at Cuiviénen, the ambassadors prepare to leave for Valinor. Ingwë says goodbye to his daughter Indis. Elwë says goodbye to his brother Olwë and many of their people. Míriel and Finwë say farewell to one another, putting their life together on hold once again.
6. First pinch point (4 pages)
Back in Valinor, some of the Valar are discussing the imminent visit of the Children. Yavanna expresses a desire to go to Middle Earth to be with them rather than inviting the elves to come here. Aulë points out that then the elves would never see the Trees. Varda listens to their conversation with concern. It becomes clear that while the Valar can move back and forth, the elves will have to choose, as the journey is long and difficult. Varda recognizes that if the elves come to Valinor, they will not be under starlight any more, but her starlight was made for the elves.
7. (4 pages)
The Ambassadors arrive in Valinor and meet with the Valar. Cast shot. Vairë touches Námo's arm, leaving. As she goes, she shares a meaningful look with Finwë who is unnerved by her. Walking through Valmar. Ingwë is attentive to everything the Valar say. Elwë is excited, looking through every window and door. Finwë is withdrawn, not quite certain what to make of this place.
8. Midpoint (4 pages)
In Valmar, they meet Nienna, who asks Ingwë about his loss. He explains how his wife was taken by the Hunter, and Nienna grieves with him. Tulkas, who is nearby, looks rather sheepish and has learned that the Children were a bit more fragile than he had thought. Nienna suggests they visit Estë in Lorien to rest after their long journey.
Brief scene of Vairë spinning some thread and laying out her weaving tools.
In Lórien. Finwë stands in the glade where Míriel's body will lie. Melian and Aiwendel (Radagast) discuss a longing for the lands of Middle-earth. Melian expresses a desire to go there, and Aiwendel is interested but decides to stay in Valinor (too timid?) Elwë catches sight of Melian from afar, but they do not meet or speak to one another (she is gone before he can approach).
9. Second pinch point (4 pages) The Ambassadors visit the home of Oromë. Finwë and Elwë discuss what they miss about Cuiviénen (Finwë misses Míriel, but a more general discussion of homesickness in a foreign land). Vána asks Finwë what Míriel is like, and he tells her she is like starlight to him. Vána expresses some disagreement with her husband's enthusiasm for bringing the elves to Valinor and leaving all of these things behind. While Oromë takes the Ambassadors on their continued tour of Valinor, Vána seeks out Yavanna and Varda to share her newfound doubts.
10. (4 pages.)
Back at Cuiviénen, Míriel has a conversation with her sister Tatië, who is confused about why she hasn't moved on with her life. We see some 'life in the elvish settlement' scenes. Morwë is telling stories to some Quendi children as Míriel watches. He tells them about Oromë's arrival, hinting that he was the Dark Hunter and how he took away Ingwë, Finwë and Elwë, "...and they were never seen again." Míriel angrily shouts at him to not tell that story and that "they're coming back!" She storms off.
Brief time-lapse scene of Vairë beginning to weave a tapestry.
11. (4 pages)
Finwë making stuff with Aulë - jewels? (Ingwë and Elwë are present, but not actively making anything themselves.) Aulë talks about the knowledge and craft he wants to teach the Quendi and makes his case for why the Quendi should come to Valinor. [Finwë will echo some of Aulë's arguments in the Episode 3 debates.] While involved in arts and crafts time, the Ambassadors ask Aulë about the events during the War (earthquakes, etc).
12. Second plot point (4 pages)
To answer their questions, he takes them to the Courtyard of the Halls of Mandos. Aulë explains to them about the war and Melkor, and that Melkor is chained inside. Walking through the Courtyard, Finwë sees Vairë hanging a new Tapestry - it depicts him and Míriel holding a baby together in Lorien. Finwë is happy to see this image, but Vairë's face betrays sorrow (he misses that.)
13. (4 pages) Varda speaks with Manwe, as she promised Ulmo she would do. Manwe asked if she has spoken to the elves, to which she replies that she has listened to everything they have said. He chides her gently, asking if she has spoken with the elves, which she confesses she has not.
14. Climax 1 (4 pages)
Varda speaks with Finwë and Elwë privately (we don't hear the conversations) and then Ingwë. He is a bit overwhelmed by his experience thus far, and only haltingly is able to explain himself. He resorts to song to get his point across, and sings of starlight, the Two Trees...and of meeting Varda, the source of beauty in the world. She understands that he has found a new home in Valinor, and will never forget his home at Cuiviénen, so is at peace with the decision to bring the elves to Valinor. She expresses her own hopes/welcome to Ingwë
15. Climax 2 (4 pages)
The ambassadors are preparing to return to Cuiviénen; gift-giving. The Valar ask the Ambassadors what message they will give to the other elves, and they say they will go home and urge their people to begin the great journey to Valinor. [Edit: Ulmo, clearly displeased with this result, shares a significant look with Varda and turns to speak to Irmo about warning the elves of Cuiviénen against this.]
16. (Up to 4 pages)
At Cuiviénen, Míriel is going about her life. There is the sound of hoofbeats and there is panic. Three glowing riders emerge from the forest. Míriel realises the ambassadors have returned. The ambassadors are laden with swag from Valinor. She and Finwë run to each other and embrace. Frame: Galadriel and Arwen discuss Varda's character, and why she is (essentially) the patroness of the elves.
Varda is a really tricky protagonist - she does a lot of passive watching and listening, but not a whole lot of interacting with others. I do feel like we have a cohesive story, though, so am quite pleased with how it turned out. Is it problematic that Ulmo did not reappear by the end of this episode?
I do believe we did have another scene with Ulmo, this one around ... 12, right after the tapestry scene. Ulmo is conversing with the Ambassadors with Varda present, which is, I think, where we landed the whole "can't see the stars here" moment, with knowing glances from Ulmo to Varda over the heads of the Ambassadors.
Ah. I think we decided that someone (of the Valar) was going to ask Finwë what Míriel is like, and he describes her as being like starlight to him.
We also decided that Varda was never going to speak to the elves prior to her conversation with Manwë in Act 4.
So, I put the question into Vána's mouth, since we need her to express the opinion that elves should stay in Middle Earth at some point anyway. Ulmo can be there when Vána talks to Yavanna and Varda in the aftermath of that scene, but since Varda hasn't spoken to Manwë yet, their conversation can't go any further than it already has.
I guess I more meant that we don't know that Ulmo has decided to work against this idea by sending dreams to the elves, which suggests a conversation between him and Irmo at some point. Perhaps Ulmo could stand next to Irmo at the gifting/farewell scene and say something to him there?
I see I put the 'Back at Cuivienen' scene a little earlier than it was meant to be. Do people like it where it is (10)? Or would you prefer I put it at (12) after the tapestry?
I also hear now what I was supposed to do with Varda and Ulmo in Act 3, but I really didn't see how that works. If we have to bring Ulmo back in...but he can't advance his argument or get anywhere further...because Varda still hasn't spoken with Manwë - what is the point? I'd rather save his come back for the leave-taking scene, and let Vána, Yavanna and Varda have the private conversation (without the Ambassadors present) rather than Varda eavesdropping-but-technically-not-speaking-to the elves (because we want Manwë's criticism to be more than technically true). That would give us: Act 1 - Varda and Ulmo speak; Act 2 - Varda, Yavanna and Aulë speak before the arrival of the elves; Varda present will all the Valar during the 'welcome to Valinor' scene; Act 3 - Varda, Vána and Yavanna speak...and then in Act 4, she speaks with Manwë and the Ambassadors.
Well, the scene with Miriel was supposed to follow the Ulmo/Finwe conversation with Varda in attendance. He is advancing his argument by steering the course of the conversation towards Middle-Earth, and communicating that to Varda nonverbally. If Varda is not fully committed to trying to change Manwe's mind after their first conversation, this one does it.
Manwe's criticism isn't just that she hasn't "spoken" to the elves, but that she hasn't built a relationship with them in any way.
Right - so standing there while Finwë explains that his girlfriend is like starlight isn't building a relationship? I mean....I feel like she has to be a step removed from this conversation, or Manwë's criticism rings hollow.
But...group effort and all, so I can certainly change the outline to reflect our discussion.
Rewritten Outline. Yeah, I didn't figure out how to put the scene with Ulmo by the ocean in without losing the scene where the Ambassadors visit Oromë's house. And, well...that seemed like something that needed to happen. But I haven't submitted it yet, so if anyone wants to edit - go for it!
Looks pretty good I think. I understand the problem with Varda as protagonist. She really isn't very active. I can't remember exactly what kind of discussion I've heard about this. Is it possible to change protagonist? To Ulmo, maybe? (Just throwing that on the table, I haven't thought it through at all)
No sorry I get it, it's gotta be Varda.
We certainly considered Ulmo. Among other issues, he 'loses' this argument and the elves come to Valinor, so he's an antagonist more than a protagonist. Also, he has no reason to change anything he is saying over the course of the episode - so harping on one note repeatedly just doesn't do much. Ulmo's story for this season stretches through multiple episodes.
But if you start by asking 'which Vala is most important to the elves later on?' the answer has to be...Varda. And we don't have many opportunities to develop that, so it has to be highlighted in this episode. But she's such a distant character by the time that you get to LotR, and we don't see her doing much in the Silmarillion, so it's...tricky...to do 'shining woman on a mountaintop' and translate that into a character who has conversations.