Script Discussion S05E10

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
Ah. I appreciate your perspective here. You listened to all of the Season 5 podcasts more closely together, and can see the progression.

It is safe to say that 'Fingolfin's vision' is the most controversial adaptation choice of the season. I do not think that anyone particularly likes it. However, Corey Olsen and Dave Kale were quite sure it was an improvement to the story, one that could be used to frame the climatic duel between Fingolfin and Morgoth correctly for the audience - making sure it was viewed as suitably epic, and not merely an act of rash despair.

So, given that they have been consistent in their request for a vision, we have delivered one. If they decide that it is unnecessary, we could consider removing it, but we did not want to simply delete it and...hope they didn't miss it? Or something like that. Because we held all the script discussions before we got to this point, it's important to us not to get sent 'back to the drawing board' to completely rework the end of the season. We wanted to do the best possible job of telling the story they requested.

It is also true that we have been working on storylines that would address some of their concerns. So, as you have pointed out, Fingolfin's interest in training Fingon as his heir (a lesson he has learned from Bëor) was something we invented to give Fingolfin a storyarc this season...but also is meant to address the complaint about his challenge to single combat being 'irresponsible kingship.' By showing that he has prepared for his own absence, he is a responsible king. By introducing this in Episode 2, we are setting up the finale from the beginning.

And while Corey Olsen was justifiably puzzled as to why Maedhros (of all people) would not be supportive of Fingolfin's initiative to attack Angband, we are making sure to emphasize that the Fëanoreans are lacking in manpower, and have been unsuccessful at recruiting Men or Dwarves as allies. So, when Maedhros tells Fingolfin that his plan is not viable, we will understand why Maedhros seems so stressed by this.

Will that be enough to address their concerns that they hoped the vision would address? We shall see. But we did keep the vision as a way to show Fingolfin gaining a new perspective, to answer the question as to why he goes from staunch proponent of an indefinite siege...to a desire to attack Angband...to then a desire to call Morgoth out for single combat. IF they chose to veto the vision altogether, then yes, we would need to use something with the humans gathered for the double wedding to serve as the impetus for the Big Push.
 
Totally get where you are coming from. We'll see what the execs think. I think you've been heroically trying to thread the needle on this one.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
There are some...inherent challenges...in the vision as originally requested. I do not think that the concept of premonitions or visions is out of place, though. In this same episode, we have Curufin uttering a prophetic warning to Eöl concerning his death, and then Eöl returning the favor and saying something similar to Maeglin. In a more subtle way, Fingon will be reacting to his sister's death (though not having direct knowledge of it). As structured, it would even be possible for a viewer to interpret Olórin's presence as a version of what Aredhel would have said, had she been able to complete her mission when she left Gondolin. The vision 'kicks off' Fingolfin's actions in the final three episodes. It fits in this world, as far as that goes.

When discussing the vision in the pre-planning stages, the executive producers naturally were considering what use the plan would be for telling the story. But when planning it out in detail, we had to make sure each detail/component would be within the parameters of how each character would act, and would fit within the context of the greater story.

Since the vision is meant to come from the Valar, it was important to all of us to plan it in such a way that the Valar would not be liars. They could not promise anything that they would then 'cheat' and not deliver. A promise to intervene in Beleriand will not be fulfilled until the time of Eärendil, so if there were 'conditions', those conditions MUST be met by the time of Eärendil's voyage...but not before. And so...an attack on Morgoth will happen. Fingolfin's private one, and then the combined might of the Noldor in the Nirnaeth Arnoediad. But neither event will spur the Valar to intervene. So, that alone can't be the condition. The idea that the Fëanoreans must forswear their oath is an interesting one, but this condition will *not* be met prior to the War of Wrath. Maedhros and Maglor will both be oath-bound after that battle is over. So, the proposed conditions were a bit tricky to work with. We could have gone the 'threat not promise' route, where the vision seems to say that the Valar will *not* intervene, unless some seemingly impossible tasks are met. But that was tricky to differentiate from the Doom of Mandos. As should be clear from the outline, we chose to move away from the idea that the Valar would promise to intervene at all. We left it at 'true statements of prophecy' rather than any promises or threats about actions of the Valar.

It was equally important that Fingolfin not come across as a fool for misinterpreting the vision. If he *thinks* his duel is going to accomplish something...and then it...doesn't.... that sense of failure would cast a pall on his heroic sacrifice. The audience would judge him for getting the meaning wrong. For this reason, the vision could not simply be a series of images left to his interpretation. There had to be a clear, explicit message in words. So, we interpreted the vision as a conversation in a dream, and have left Fingolfin free to choose his own actions in response to that message. Fingolfin will not 'get it wrong', because he was not told to do something specific. He was urged to act, and encouraged not to lose hope. There is a warning that his time is running out and that the Siege will not hold...but what he does with this warning is reasonable. So, he's not 'getting it wrong' in our version (hopefully!)

There was a strong request to avoid portraying Fingolfin's action of riding to Angband as a desperate, suicidal charge - merely throwing his life away. While that is a question for Episode 13 rather than Episode 10, it's probably worth pointing out here that the intention is to move Fingolfin through a variety of emotional landscapes at the end of his life. He will be very angry at Morgoth after the Dagor Bragollach, and he will be feeling some despair. But hopefully *not* the throw your life away variety. Rather, we hope to convey that Fingolfin has realized that the Noldor are facing the Long Defeat...they cannot win. And if there can be no victory....well then, riding off to challenge Morgoth to single combat seems a much more splendid idea. As Atreyu tells the Gmork in The Neverending Story, 'If we're about to die anyway, I'd rather die fighting!' So, it's not simply a suicidal charge, but after he gets into the duel, he's not going to be driven by the same things that brought him to the Gate. He's going to manage to land some blows on Morgoth. By the end of the duel, he will have realized what he has accomplished there, knowing that his actions were not vain. Even when he loses, he wins.

A person who is 'fey' behaves recklessly, but is not necessarily crazy nor irrational. Rather, they have decided that they have little to lose, and act on a strong emotion that amazes those around them.

Here is the scene where Atreyu tells Gmork that he is the person Gmork was hunting - he issues a direct challenge, goading the giant wolf to attack him (granted, the wolf did already state that Atreyu would have the honor of being his last victim, so, this fight was pretty inevitable)

And here is the discussion between Aragorn and Theoden at Helm's Deep from Peter Jackson's The Two Towers. Clearly, Theoden has little hope of survival, but he's going to fight anyway.

Bernard Hill had previously played the role of Captain of the Titanic, where he goes down with the ship. One can contrast the despair and quiet stoicism of that scene, with the desperate energy of the one at Helm's Deep. Captain Smith is not fey.
 
Ahhh Bernard Hill’s Theoden was one of the bright lights of that film. I do think you did really well with the vision, given the directive, don’t get me wrong. Olorin did hang out in Lorien a lot, after all, so would know a thing or two about visions (I imagine that‘s why you chose him).
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
One of the truly "fey" moments for Film!Theoden comes in "Return of the King" when he declares that they cannot defeat the armies of Mordor, but they will meet them in battle nonetheless.

This is a case of someone making a deliberate choice to throw themselves into an offensive they are reasonably sure will end in failure, and their own death. Their cries for death prior to the charge suggest this as well.

Tolkien himself says that Theoden at least appeared fey during the charge, and describes him as riding out way ahead of his soldiers. Irresponsibly far, one might say.


 
I get chills from his performance. the 1981 BBC radio play version of that part is pretty good too - sung in alliterative verse with a very fey Eomer.

I think have pictured Fingolfins final challenge to be like what Theoden is doing here. He isn’t dispairing but is bold without much hope of victory. Same with the final assault on Mordor to give Frodo a chance. I wouldn’t call these suicidal acts. .
 

Ryan Kimbell

New Member
Regarding Aredhel's pop-up book: I feel like this should be one of the things hastily packed during their ultimate flight from Nan Elmoth. After Aredhel's death, it could serve as a reminder of her for Maeglin and subtly represent his innocence. At some point, when Maeglin embraces evil (?after Tuor arrives?), he destroys it.

Sorry for dropping new posts a little behind. I'm considering more involvement on Script boards bc I'm tired of having great (imo), fleshed-out scene ideas as I listen to the podcast episodes, but everything has already been planned out.
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
Sorry for dropping new posts a little behind. I'm considering more involvement on Script boards bc I'm tired of having great (imo), fleshed-out scene ideas as I listen to the podcast episodes, but everything has already been planned out.
Careful, once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny...


But seriously, we always need more people with ideas. We're pretty much done with the scene-by-scene discussions for season 5 at this point, unless the Executive Producers send us back to the drawing board on an episode. But there are scripts for episodes 11-13 in the works that are going to need editing suggestions. (Half of E12 is already posted for editing suggestions and comments).
 
Regarding Aredhel's pop-up book: I feel like this should be one of the things hastily packed during their ultimate flight from Nan Elmoth. After Aredhel's death, it could serve as a reminder of her for Maeglin and subtly represent his innocence. At some point, when Maeglin embraces evil (?after Tuor arrives?), he destroys it.

Sorry for dropping new posts a little behind. I'm considering more involvement on Script boards bc I'm tired of having great (imo), fleshed-out scene ideas as I listen to the podcast episodes, but everything has already been planned out.
Totally relate Ryan.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
I must admit that the podcast is a lot more fun if you can find a way to participate actively! Either by posting suggestions on the boards, or by listening live and sharing your thoughts then.

While it's true that the script discussions are already completed for Season 5, a detail like having Maeglin pack the picture book can easily be added to the outline at this point. Follow-through with items and story elements we invent is important. We made a big deal of giving Aredhel a white cloak in Season 4; it made sense to let that white cloak serve as a plot point in Episode 2 of Season 5, to make Turgon aware of her 'death.' Likewise, if this pop-up book represents the legacy of the memory of Aredhel, having it on screen in Gondolin to show how Maeglin is dealing with his mother's death sounds like a good plan to me. I don't know what (if anything) we'll decide to do with this item in future seasons, but its fate (left in Nan Elmoth or taken to Gondolin?) should be established in Season 5 Episode 10; showing Maeglin pack it sounds like a good idea to me.
 

ouzaru

Well-Known Member
I cannot watch, like, 90% of Bernard Hill's performance without bursting into tears, dude absolutely shredded his role.

Edit: Real post, I would like to echo Marie's encouragement to participate: The broad strokes and the outline get worked out earlier in the season, but if you've seen the outlines, there isn't a ton of detail there. Making contributions after the fact or reopening discussions is fine, provided you're realistic about how much of what's already been done can reasonably change.
 
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I cannot watch, like, 90% of Bernard Hill's performance without bursting into tears, dude absolutely shredded his role.

Edit: Real post, I would like to echo Marie's encouragement to participate: The broad strokes and the outline get worked out earlier in the season, but if you've seen the outlines, there isn't a ton of detail there. Making contributions after the fact or reopening discussions is fine, provided you're realistic about how much of what's already been done can reasonably change.
I’m crying now just thinking about Bernard Hill’s scene at Theodred’s mound. Tolkien talked about people going mad with grief (Feanor at Finwe’s death, or Eomer when he thinks Eowyn is dead) or Elves dying of grief (Luthien - the first time) but it is quite understated when it comes to characters having dialogue. Presumably the scene between Hurin and Morwen at the graves of their children will have some of that to it. Thingol’s But again, it is understated in the written text. Tolkien understood grief very well, both from war and from illness, and it is possibly because of this did not belabour it. I wonder if it would have been painful for him to write too much about the experience of grief.

Silmfilm dealt with this with Galadriel’s response to her mother’s death, and Angrod with Edhellos - so far. There will be lots more opportunities to explore quiet responses to grief coming up.
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
I’m crying now just thinking about Bernard Hill’s scene at Theodred’s mound. Tolkien talked about people going mad with grief (Feanor at Finwe’s death, or Eomer when he thinks Eowyn is dead) or Elves dying of grief (Luthien - the first time) but it is quite understated when it comes to characters having dialogue. Presumably the scene between Hurin and Morwen at the graves of their children will have some of that to it. Thingol’s But again, it is understated in the written text. Tolkien understood grief very well, both from war and from illness, and it is possibly because of this did not belabour it. I wonder if it would have been painful for him to write too much about the experience of grief.

Silmfilm dealt with this with Galadriel’s response to her mother’s death, and Angrod with Edhellos - so far. There will be lots more opportunities to explore quiet responses to grief coming up.
Plus... Denethor.
 
Plus... Denethor.
I reckon Theoden’s malaise when we meet him in the book is driven by grief - something totally mucked up in the film. Denethor‘s grief for Boromir is definitely interesting - he seems to be grieving the idea of Boromir as much as the man himself. (“I would have things as they were all the days of my life…” speech)
 
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