Script Discussion S05E04

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
Therefore [Morgoth] sent out an Orc-raid, and passing east it escaped the leaguer, and came in stealth back over Ered Lindon by the passes of the Dwarf-road, and fell upon the Haladin in the southern woods of the land of Caranthir.

Now the Haladin did not live under the rule of lords or many together, but each homestead was set apart and governed its own affairs, and they were slow to unite. But there was among them a man named Haldad, who was masterful and fearless; and he gathered all the brave men that he could find, and retreated to the angle of land between Ascar and Gelion, and in the utmost corner he built a stockade across from water to water; and behind it they led all the women and children that they could save. There they were besieged, until their food was gone.

Haldad had twin children: Haleth his daughter, and Haldar his son; and both were valiant in the defense, for Haleth was a woman of great heart and strength. But at last Haldad was slain in a sortie against the Orcs; and Haldar, who rushed out to save his father's body from their butchery, was hewn down beside him. Then Haleth held the people together, though they were without hope; and some cast themselves into the rivers and were drowned. But seven days later, as the Orcs made their last assault and had already broken through the stockade, there came a sudden music of trumpets, and Caranthir with his host came down from the north and drove the Orcs into the rivers.
As described in the text, the assault seems to have the following components: The initial assault, which is presumably quick, and results in the death of many Haladin at their scattered homesteads in southern Thargelion. The erection of the stockade, which does not seem to exist prior to the attack, but to be a response to the assault organized by Haldad. The siege of the stockade, which lasts long enough for them to exhaust their food supply. Then comes the sortie, in which Haldad is killed, and Haldar as well when he rushes out to try to save their father (or his body, anyway). From that point on, Haleth is holding her people together inside the stockade, trying to repel the orc army which (presumably) tries to attack them each night. The siege lasts for another week, at which point the orcs break through and Caranthir arrives to save the day.

Now, as with everything in the Silmarillion, this brief description hints at a story rather than telling it. We know that the Haladin do not have a centralized form of government, but mostly are a loose grouping of independent homesteads. Haldad, however, is described as 'masterful' - is he some sort of default leader before the attack? If so, has he been urging the people to build a central place of safety they could retreat to if needed? In other words...did he maybe have the location of the stockade and the beginnings of building it already in place prior to the attack? That would mean that it's simply a matter of rounding everyone up and getting them to flee to (relative) safety, and then reinforcing the structure, rather than an issue of building a spur-of-the-moment stockade from scratch at a wilderness location. We might want to weigh how best to show his leadership prior to the attack, though clearly he will also be the leader during the attack.

The text does not specify how long it took for them to run out of food. They fled to this location in panic; there likely was not a large store of food prepared on site in advance. So, they could have exhausted the food quickly, but presumably the siege lasted for some time to get them to that point. The rivers are swift/deep/unfordable at this location, but even so, there must be some food growing there; fish, shrimp, reeds, birds...something. Clearly not enough for the residents of the stockade to subsist on, though, and maybe it was winter. The implication is that Haldad's ill-fated sortie was inspired by an end to the food supply. Knowing they were out of food, he wanted to try to break the siege (but failed).

After the deaths of Haldad and Haldar, and after the food is gone, some people panic and try to flee (dying in the rivers). Haleth has to hold the remaining people together under these bleak circumstances, and continue to defend the stockade against the orcs, who clearly have figured out that the defenders are weakened and desperate. Even so, she still manages to last for seven more days at this point. Is it important to show that? I don't think that the seven days is the important part, so much as the desperation. What do people who have run out of food eat? Are they boiling leather to make 'broth'? Are they eating snails? bark? Are they sifting dirt for grain left behind from threshing? Are they carving up dead human bodies? For how many nights can the situation be, 'and they slept like that' (ie, without eating at all)? We'll have to show something along the lines of desperate wilderness survival to convey their plight, but we don't have to show seven consecutive nights of repelled attacks to convey that desperation. This ordeal is what cements Haleth's leadership of her people, so we obviously can't gloss over this sequence; it's a question of what to show and how to show a formerly independent people coalescing to become 'the people of Haleth'. It is a story of desperation turning to dogged endurance rather than despair.

I do think that having this incident play out right next door to Caranthir's fortress would be...a bit odd. It's meant to be a situation where they've been living in his land for awhile, but he hasn't really interacted with them before. That implies that they're maybe not on his doorstep, if he's able to avoid/ignore them for some time. And it does take him some time to notice the orc army in his lands, gather his host, and attack it. It is forgivable if his vigilance is to the north, and he misses an attack far south of him. It is more...odd...if he misses an attack immediately north of his location for long enough for a siege situation to develop.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
This discussion ran long, as we made some interesting choices with the storyline in this episode.

The main story actually focuses on....16 year old Haleth, 14 years before the Stockade Battle.

Due to working out this new material, we didn't have the time to flesh out the Aredhel/Eöl, Dwarf, and Caranthir scenes in this Episode (they are now the C-plot), so we'll have to do that here. The basic idea of what should happen in those scenes is clear, but we didn't actually work them out yet, so each scene is just a placeholder for now.

Take a look!


(Ange1e4e5, I think you will find that Nick worked hard to incorporate an element of the story you might enjoy.)
 
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Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
This discussion ran long, as we made some interesting choices with the storyline in this episode.

The main story actually focuses on....16 year old Haleth, 14 years before the Stockade Battle.

Due to working out this new material, we didn't have the time to flesh out the Aredhel/Eöl, Dwarf, and Caranthir scenes in this Episode (they are now the C-plot), so we'll have to do that here. The basic idea of what should happen in those scenes is clear, but we didn't actually work them out yet, so each scene is just a placeholder for now.

Take a look!


(Ange1e4e5, I think you will find that Nick worked hard to incorporate an element of the story you might enjoy.)
So how did the decision to put a good chunk of Haleth's story in flashback crop up?

Sauron and the other girl plot is despicable... I love it ! (Beauty and the Beast reference)
:D
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
If you listen to the script discussion, you will see that we brought up how some back story and setup to introduce the Haladin and Haleth as a character prior to the battle was desired. Rather than squeezing all of that into the first act, we considered it a better idea to tell the origin story concurrently with the siege on the Stockade. Similar to the episode structure of 'Out of Gas' from Firefly.
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
So, it's long past time for me to bring this up, but I have some concerns about the scenes with Aredhel, Eöl, and the dwarves. The main problem is that there is no language barrier between Aredhel and the dwarves. Sure, Aredhel and Eöl could speak only Quenya to each other, but how does Eöl engineer that? Especially if these are dwarves with whom Aredhel has previously interacted.
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
So, it's long past time for me to bring this up, but I have some concerns about the scenes with Aredhel, Eöl, and the dwarves. The main problem is that there is no language barrier between Aredhel and the dwarves. Sure, Aredhel and Eöl could speak only Quenya to each other, but how does Eöl engineer that? Especially if these are dwarves with whom Aredhel has previously interacted.
Does Aredhel know how to speak Khuzdul?
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
So, it's long past time for me to bring this up, but I have some concerns about the scenes with Aredhel, Eöl, and the dwarves. The main problem is that there is no language barrier between Aredhel and the dwarves. Sure, Aredhel and Eöl could speak only Quenya to each other, but how does Eöl engineer that? Especially if these are dwarves with whom Aredhel has previously interacted.
I have other concerns about these: if Aredhel intended to try and elevate Eol up to be an Elf-Lord, a peer of, say Fingon, what will make Eol throw up his hands, hijack Aredhel’s contact with outsiders, and shunt Aredhel’s aspirations away?
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
I have other concerns about these: if Aredhel intended to try and elevate Eol up to be an Elf-Lord, a peer of, say Fingon, what will make Eol throw up his hands, hijack Aredhel’s contact with outsiders, and shunt Aredhel’s aspirations away?
Mainly? Misanthropy. He doesn't want any of that. He may convince himself that he does early in his relationship with Aredhel, but that only lasts so long.
 
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Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
So, as I'm thinking about it, we could add a bit of gaslighting to the mix here. Eöl
maintains control of the meet, speaking to the dwarves in Khudzul and telling them to speak only to him. They comply because he makes them nervous. When she does speak to them, bringing up her "mission", they are confused, maybe even a bit suspicious. They ask Eöl what she's talking about (in Khudzul) and he waves it off somehow. As they're leaving, he convinces her that she has offended them somehow.

What do we think?
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
So, as I'm thinking about it, we could add a bit of gaslighting to the mix here. Eöl
maintains control of the meet, speaking to the dwarves in Khudzul and telling them to speak only to him. They comply because he makes them nervous. When she does speak to them, bringing up her "mission", they are confused, maybe even a bit suspicious. They ask Eöl what she's talking about (in Khudzul) and he waves it off somehow. As they're leaving, he convinces her that she has offended them somehow.

What do we think?
These are Dwarves that don’t know Aredhel, right? If they do know her it might be a bit harder to justify why they can’t speak to her directly.
 
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