Script Discussion S05E10

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
Hmm...
But how can i explain? I guess it is my main trouble if Olorin is present physically, that is: Gandalf was there in Beleriand, before the Host of the west, before Earendil.
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
Hmm...
But how can i explain? I guess it is my main trouble if Olorin is present physically, that is: Gandalf was there in Beleriand, before the Host of the west, before Earendil.
That he's there physically seems to me a mere technicality, as the most significant thing he does in the episode is not physical. That the Valar (other than Ulmo) act at all in this part of the story is a much bigger issue, but one the hosts have not been swayed from.
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
The Valar outside of Ulmo don’t seem to want anybody coming back to Valinor; they hide it, put up a spell of eternal sleep. Nobody comes the other way after the Noldor until the War of Wrath; how does Olorin gain permission from the Valar to go to Beleriand? Also, the nature of the dream conversation, maybe something that harkens to Avatar Roku’s conversations with Aang?

 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
The Valar outside of Ulmo don’t seem to want anybody coming back to Valinor; they hide it, put up a spell of eternal sleep. Nobody comes the other way after the Noldor until the War of Wrath; how does Olorin gain permission from the Valar to go to Beleriand? Also, the nature of the dream conversation, maybe something that harkens to Avatar Roku’s conversations with Aang?

Making Olorin the messenger makes the identity of the sender ambiguous. So we don't know whose idea this or how Olorin got "permission ".
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
I still think it is a strange choice to imply there is a quasi-istar there in beleriand before Earendil.Though there are of course always the Eagles...

So, ok.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
There is certainly tension between the idea that the Valar have abandoned Middle-earth and left it to its own devices...and what we are trying to do in this episode with Fingolfin's vision. So, I can understand the skepticism, or, 'wait...how does that work?' at play.

Canonically, we know that Ulmo is still actively involved - he has plans. He sends visions. He appears in person. He sends messengers. His power is present in the waters of Beleriand. He actively hides the passage of the elves entering Gondolin. So, when we have wanted to add more of the same to our story, it fits in with Ulmo's known activities.

Manwë, on the other hand, is less active. It was his decree to leave the Noldor to their own choices. And yet...Thorondor. Fingon invokes the name of Manwë, and Thorondor appears to help him save Maedhros. The Eagles guard Gondolin and help keep its secrecy. One could make the argument that the Eagles do not intervene while Fëanor is alive, but it cannot be denied that they do play a role in the story, helping not just innocents like Beren and Lúthien, but also Noldor such as Turgon, and even known kinslayers such as Fingon and Maedhros. Thorondor will recover Fingolfin's body after his duel with Morgoth, so he is directly involved in Fingolfin's story at this point.

Fingolfin's vision is obviously something we have invented to add to the story. I would venture to say that the idea hasn't been super popular. Corey Olsen and Dave Kale wanted to add this piece into the story to show how Fingolfin's duel with Morgoth fit into the larger war, to answer a question about what he hoped to accomplish, and to prevent the audience from having the, 'well, that was stupid - what an irresponsible king' reaction to Fingolfin's decision. Our challenge was to introduce this vision without making it seem as though the Valar lied to Fingolfin, and to avoid making his death look like a 'mistake' on his part. We also had to figure out how not to present this as a 'competing' plan to what Ulmo is doing with Eärendil.

The idea to use Olorin as the spokesman for the Valar arose on the boards, and the clear advantage of having him present in the dream is that he can speak a very direct and specific message - we are not relying on Fingolfin interpreting the imagery of his vision to reach an understanding of what it means. And, obviously, the ability to enter dreams fits Olorin.

Now, the choice to make Olorin a being walking around in Dor-lomin disguised as a human? I recognize that that is taking things a bit further. He is not acting as an Istari, at least - merely an observer, present to see what is happening, but not guiding nor intervening. He is present in the background of several scenes, so that when he appears in the vision, he's not coming out of nowhere. I understand why this choice feels a bit radical, and it remains to be seen what the hosts of the podcast will think about this version of their vision idea.
 
Last edited:

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
Hmm... well ok.I find it still a strange choice, with just the dream i would be more okay.But allright.
 
Last edited:

ouzaru

Well-Known Member
Just digging through here in an effort to catch up, and jotting down my two cents as much for posterity as to get some feedback, buuuuuuuut...

While I don't personally think the "explanation" for Fingolfin's actions is strictly necessary, I do think having the Valar be present to some degree in a more obvious way isn't unwelcome, and I think the way its presented here works pretty well. A random dream from out of nowhere seems more portentous than Olorin being present and making a decision as best he can in the moment, which is very in keeping with his portrayal in the Lord of the Rings. If we get a random vision with no context, then it seems an awful lot like the Valar are setting Fingolfin on a path that ends with his death. I think we might need to give Olorin a moment at the death of Fingolfin, one filled with self-doubt, but likewise I think this moment makes his persistence and perseverance all the more poignant, and adds a bit of irony and weight to the utterance "Even the very wise cannot see all ends": it adds some character depth that I think has a lot of appeal.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
We will be discussing this episode during the next SilmFilm podcast session on Thursday July 8th at 10 PM EDT.

Any suggestions for the title of the episode where Fingolfin receives his vision and Aredhel dies?
 

Ilana Mushin

Active Member
I've just read the outline. Re Title: There's something a bit 'Many Meetings' about this episode (love the Hador, Andreth, Haleth older generation discussion). Aside from that, you have Aredhel and Turgon reunited (albeit briefly), the unions of the weddings. I guess another angle could be 'the ties that bind' - Aredhel ultimately unable to escape from Eöl, Weddings binding people together, and Fingolfin trying to understand his place in the Doom of the Noldor (or the relationship between the siege as a strategy and the Doom) - he must know he can't escape the doom at some level (another 'ties that bind'). Fingolfin is not bound by the Oath of Feanor so we don't usually think of him as compelled in that way - so it I interesting to see people unable to escape in this episode - without the Oath having anything to do with any part of the plot.
 

Ilana Mushin

Active Member
I like 'bind' as a word because it can mean voluntary uniting or it can me compelled to be together. Another aspect of 'bound' is the Valar's obligation to Arda (including the Children). A more cryptic one could be 'The Family that Stays Together...' - which would cover the Aradhel/Eöl, weddings between the houses of the Edain, and Elves and Men working together (both being Children of Ilúvatar). As a start of a proverb it has a sense of 'Doom' about it - but we have different resolutions in this episode.
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
When Eol tracks Maeglin and his wife... and he hears their horses...
That is basically him using perception-magic, right? That is a thing he does, and can do because... he is an elf and does have powers to track and find and hear that... goes beyond what a mortal could do. Without us showing him castimg some obvious spells... butbthat is a moment where we assume some subtle magia naturalis at work.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
Corey Olsen really liked the suggested title for this episode - thanks for the bind/bound idea, Ilana!

In Thursday's session, we discussed the Aredhel storyline from this episode. While this storyline contained the least adaptation work of any episode we've crafted thus far in this project, there was still a lot to talk about, as we discovered in our script discussion. The goal is to make our previous adaptation choices 'shine through' in the text as Tolkien wrote it in the published Silmarillion.

Our next podcast session will be on July 29th, and then we will discuss the rest of the episode. This is rather the opposite situation - the vision is a plotline entirely invented by us, and one of the more controversial elements of adaptation this season. While we set it at the double wedding which was planned by Tolkien, everything else was...determined by us. And we spent a lot of time and effort here on the boards discussing what that vision would look like, so in the end it is rather different from the vision originally proposed by the hosts. So, a lot to talk about next time!

For anyone curious what the original request regarding the vision was, I recommend checking out the following podcast sessions:

Session 5-02 (April 9, 2020) - the question of Fingolfin begins at the 59 minute mark

Edit: Here are Rhiannon's Session notes from this podcast (thanks, Octoburn, for tracking these down!)

How should we handle Fingolfin's duel with Morgoth? It seems both incredibly heroic and a tragic act of despair. It does not really accomplish much; however, it is bad PR for Morgoth. He has to go fight Fingolfin; otherwise, he would look like a coward, and then Morgoth's captains see him almost defeated by an Elf. Perhaps this could be the moment Sauron loses faith in Morgoth.​
Why does Fingolfin decide to essentially abdicate and go charging off to Angband? He is not seeking glory for himself. He is not in the middle of battle and presumably going to die anyway like Eomer. Fingolfin must see this as the only hope. Does he actually believe he can defeat Morgoth? Perhaps he sees that the only hope the Elves have is aid from the Valar and that is why he decides to challenge Morgoth.​
In The Book of Lost Tales, Ulmo's warning delivered to Turgon via Tuor is different. Instead of telling Turgon to get his people to safety, Ulmo tells him to march out to battle against Morgoth. If Turgon does this, Ulmo will muster the other Valar and Morgoth will be defeated (Turgon still decides to stay in Gondolin). There could some element of this in Fingolfin's rationale for challenging Morgoth. Fingolfin may receive foresight that Morgoth will be defeated by one of his house. He may believe that if he rides out, the Valar will come aid the Elves. This foresight would actually be referring to Earendil's deeds, though we will have to be careful not to reveal too much of this. It is fitting that the divine intervention Fingolfin's duel does prompt is Thorondor bearing his body to Turgon.​

Session 5-10 (August 1, 2020) - the vision comes up at the 34 minute mark, but the discussion beforehand is crucial to understand what problem they are attempting to solve


The version that is currently in the episode outline reads:

Fingolfin has a dream conversation with Olórin. Olórin tells him to look at the changes the Men bring with hope. Your true hope lies in the west, but also in the union of Men with the Noldor. He warns him that his time is running out. The Siege will not last, but Morgoth is not unassailable.​
 
Last edited:

Ilana Mushin

Active Member
Thanks Marie. It was so awesome to be there in person last week. I recall well the request for the vision being tied to giving Fingolfin a plausible reason to challenge Morgoth and not for it to look like suicide. So am I right in thinking that if we think of a good story, then we don‘t need the vision. As someone who has just binged the SilmFilm from start to now, visions have been used frequently (there’s the ones in the book and I think a few more added). We have in this episode already had Eöl’s curse of Maeglin, so there has already been some stated foresight in this episode - so do we need another one?

Fingolfin-in-the-book was always a bit of an enigma to me - kept at a distance, retaining only mythic resonances. He is rarely split from Fingon once he takes up the high kingship. I always felt I had more of a handle on Finarfin even - he was consistent with his character in turning back after the kin slaying.

I’ve been thinking about Fingolfin-in-Silmfilm character arc over all seasons. He starts off as a snotty little brother to Feanor. He shows rashness, especially in the entry to the kin slaying, and then bloodymindedness in staying the course, and then crossing the Helcaraxe. That experience teaches him a lesson in consequences for rash decisions and so I see the siege as his baby because he is trying to avoid another Helcaraxe mass-death experience, as much as cooling things down after the tensions that led to Maedhros’s decision to hand the high kingship over. Through all of this, Maedhros actually comes across as wiser than Fingolfin - I actually think he would have been a more effective high king than Fingolfin (But that ship had sailed, so to speak). His last chutzpah action I recall was banging on the gates of Angband at the end of Series 3.

So from my perspective, Fingolfin‘s natural temperament is to act instinctively and possibly rashly. He has tempered that with experience and diplomacy, but maybe we can motivate his duel as a battle within himself to control his rash tendencies. I am NOT advocating that he get goaded into the duel though, but rather that his Big Push come from his own decision that with the addition of the new human allies, and perhaps with Maedhros’ new fortifications at Himring, and with reinforcements from Nargothrond, that he genuinely feels the good guys have a chance. Then when he is outplayed by Morgoth’s sudden flames, and the Dragon, that it is entirely within Fingolfin’s character to try and stop the enslaught by putting himself between Morgoth and the good guys - singlehandedly holding him back. He may be wise enough to know Morgoth’s character will be one where he will be humiliated regardless of what happens.

It is an exercise in self-sacrifice - but he has been preparing Fingon for kingship and has learned something about mortality from humans - this could be a way for us to show how the elves have learned something from humans about the value of sacrifice for a larger good. The humiliation of Morgoth, and also buying time for the good guys to get to places of safety would seem to be rationale enough for Fingolfin to sacrifce himself.

I also suspect Fingolfin is still weighed down by his role in the kin slaying and his responsibilty for the deaths of many of his followers during the Helcaraxe crossing, and his failure to unite everyone following the Mereth Adrethad (because of the kinslaying reveal).

None of this to me makes Fingolfin any less awesome, and seems consistent with the character you guys have been developing.
 

Ilana Mushin

Active Member
Further to these thoughts... This part of the story (which will also be the next few seasons), marks the time when humans had the closest relationships with elves, so this is really the golden period where elves can learn something from humans. This has been set up so nicely with Finrod's education into mortality, but Fingolfin was the one who immediately learned from Beor's folk about the benefits of training successors. After the Nirnaeth, the Elves are never really going to feel they have something to learn from humans again. Fingolfin has the benefit of learning more once the House of Hador move to Dor-Lomin. The story has mostly revolved around Fingon's relationship with Hador, but since it was Fingolfin who saw the wisdom in some of the customs of humans, perhaps this could be developed more as part of his motivation and strategy with the Big Push.
 

Ilana Mushin

Active Member
I realise that the script discussion on this episode was a while ago, so perhaps you considered these things and rejected them for good reasons.
 
Top