Script Discussion S05E01

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
I do have a concern with the Aredhel storyline in Episode 1. I recognize that the script unfolds the story more gradually, not sharing Aredhel's true views until later in the episode. While that can be an interesting way to add anticipation, where the audience wants to find out why she's restless and what is wrong...there are some potential issues with that.

As we discussed in the script discussion, the temptation with Aredhel's story is often to reduce her to a damsel in distress or someone who just became bored and discontent with the structure of Gondolin. While the boar hunting scene alleviates the first point...the second point is still a major concern in this script as written. By waiting until later in the episode to reveal why she is unhappy with Turgon's choices, we invite the audience to form their own conclusions about her discontent.
Twenty pages into the script, this is what we know of Aredhel at this time:
She likes to hunt dangerous creatures.​
She treats the rules surrounding the secrecy of Gondolin more as...suggestions.​
She's melancholic, and misses spending time with her brother.​
Something about Turgon's feast speech bothers her. What, we are not told.​
In the library, she waxes poetic about the might of Angband.​
On page 20 of the script, we are given our first hint of what is wrong - she says that the reason Gondolin was built was because of the might of Angband, and that they must not forget that. But...there is a very ominous twinge to her discontent. Up until this point in the episode, it would be very easy to conclude that the people of Gondolin are happy and living good lives, but that Aredhel personally has some darkness about her that makes her obsess over evil and darkness and question the rules. In other words, if this background were a setup for Maeglin's betrayal, it would be fitting. But...it's not meant to be that. Aredhel loves Gondolin, and is proud of what they have done. She is only dismayed that everyone has become too complacent, and is worried that they will not be ready for the 'next step' in the plan - the part where they save Beleriand. Her disdain for Turgon's rules as well as her relative isolation makes her introduction of the topic of Angband much more foreboding than it ought to be - it almost sounds as though she admires the place!

Later, in her fight with Turgon, her accusation that he is like Fëanor falls a bit flat, since he accuses her of this first...and in a way which the audience is likely to find legitimate. The cooped in a narrow land language is very much Fëanor...and the specific aspect of Aredhel's unrest we did not want to highlight as her chief motivation. What reason does the audience have to think Turgon wrong?

I know that we had originally planned for an Aredhel and Idril interaction in the earlier scene. And while Idril does appear at the feast, she and Aredhel do not interact in any way. I feel that Idril might add a bit of levity to lighten Aredhel's darkness, and also would be a character who is sympathetically thoughtful instead of just chiding Aredhel to be happier. Idril's thoughtfulness and insight would add some sympathy to how the viewer perceives Aredhel's discontent. I think an injection of an understanding listener whom Aredhel may be frank with would greatly help to dispell the ominous buildup of traitor!Aredhel in the early part of the script.

So, my first suggestion would be to add dialogue between Aredhel and Idril at the feast, after Turgon's speech. Perceiving Aredhel's discontent, Idril invites her to open her heart to her, and Aredhel can share a concern that will let the audience know that it's not a matter of Aredhel not liking Gondolin or not fitting in with the culture of Gondolin, but rather that she loves Gondolin and its people...and its raison d'etre. She is feeling like the only true Gondolindrim while the people around her grow insular. Please let her tell Idril that.

My second suggestion is to alter the scene where she confronts Turgon in the library (also, I suggest that Turgon's throne room would be a more appropriate setting than an impromptu meeting in a corner of the library). As written, the reason she gives for wanting to leave Gondolin is that it is not her place. Here, again, we are emphasizing that she does not fit, and the problem is not Gondolin, but her. I think, rather, that she must lead the argument by saying that she must do what Turgon will not. She would have been content to stay in Gondolin for many more years...if the Gondolindrim were preparing for the day in which they may aid in the defense of Beleriand, maintaining communication with their father Fingolfin, etc. But, as he has grown complacent, she must leave to take up the task which Ulmo entrusted to him. If she begins her reasons with the emphasis on the failed mission, rather than her failure to fit in, this will sound much less like the 'I got bored and wanna leave now' speech that we were explicitly instructed to avoid.

I realize there are indications to the audience that maybe not all is well in Gondolin. But making the red flags more and more obvious and anvil-sized while seemingly every other citizen of Gondolin remains oblivious just serves to emphasize that Aredhel is an outsider who doesn't fit here. Much better to keep the causes subtle, but give her more opportunities to articulate them - and an occasional friend who agrees so she is not so alone.

Also, we do need to keep in mind that her departure next episode will take place 15 years after this episode. Knowing that should color how she and Turgon leave things with one another. She needs to express a desire to leave, and he needs to express a desire that she stay, but they should not be discussing the details of her departure. We can include dialogue from the book, but not all of it. Save some for Episode 2.
 
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MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
I do enjoy the emphasis on the importance of song to the people of Bëor. I think that it demonstrates a way that the culture of Men and Elves can overlap while remaining distinct, and it also shows this first group of Men, which is so dedicated to their mission, to find their meaning and their motivation in their songs. The parallel with the poetry of the Vanyar works well. Also, Finrod's introduction as a harpist and Bëor's role as a harpist shows that their friendship stems in part from shared interests. The appearance of Finrod's banner (with the harp) at the end is a silent way to show the meaning of the songs throughout the episode to both of them. Obviously, we were always going to include the scene of Finrod playing the harp in Bëor's camp, but that single scene is amplified by the entire storyline's focus on Bëor's music.
 

Rhiannon

Well-Known Member
Getting the formatting right in the Google Doc is tricky, so here's a PDF that should say exactly the same thing to share with the hosts for Thursday's session.
 

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Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
Getting the formatting right in the Google Doc is tricky, so here's a PDF that should say exactly the same thing to share with the hosts for Thursday's session.
Once we are done with the editing process, we should be able to get the format fixed well enough in the Google Doc to be converted directly into a PDF.
 
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