Script Discussion S05E11

Odola

Well-Known Member
So true!

Btw. Luthien did leave the circles of the world? But only after her second death finally.Her first one she begs Mandos to release Beren before HE does leave them. I found that resurrected couple thing always odd and never really got it. Just like i was never much into Earendil... i find him obscure at most. But i am waiting for my next SFEE, maybe with next season when we get beren and luthien or season 9 or ten when we get Earendil... (that is... we get Tuor and turin next... is there something else in between, hurin? My guess is 9/10 being the earendil season...)
The "resurrected couple" thing is needed so that Luthien can have offspring. And Earendil is a mythical figure and as an absent father doomed to be obscure even to his own very wise half-elf son Elrond, not only to us. So we are in very good company here.
 

David_M_R

Member
I'm not sure Tolkien got to work on the end of the B&L story to bring it up to "modern" standards. Seems to me like their ultimate fate only minimally changed from the early versions (where IIRC Luthien faded, rather than died).
 

ouzaru

Well-Known Member
Resurrection is obscure by design, I think, there are a lot of points where I think Tolkien was somewhat shy of laying out in meticulous, graphic detail how certain things work, especially metaphysical, supernatural elements. I think it would be easy to have the result feel silly, and Tolkien very clearly prefers to evoke Old English and Scandinavian mythological aesthetic, were “it’s magic” is all that’s really required and you can get on with the actual story.

Earendil is only obscure because Tolkien never really wrote his stories, which is a bummer, Elvish Sinbad would have been an awful lot of fun.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
This episode went over very well with Dave Kale and Corey Olsen! It helps that Corey really loves the Athrabeth, and did not have the reaction of a 'typical' executive producer to the 'so...we're gonna have a philosophical debate about death for an hour, cool?' There were places he found the transitions abrupt and jarring, but for the most part, it was well received.

He found Andreth's depiction more sympathetic than in the original, not because her lines were changed, but because her situation was contextualized, inviting the audience to 'make excuses' for how abrupt she is being with Finrod. She does not stand on ceremony, and is maybe a refreshing contrast to the highly diplomatic way in which Fingolfin's interlocutors respond to him.

Also, there was a discussion of the 'cost' of bringing up the 'Old Hope' here - we can do it, but then...we have to do something with that. We can't just forget about it! It will have to play a role in the Faithful in Numenor, and in other places in the story (even our frame in Harad). Tolkien never integrated this idea into any other part of his story, but, it's our job to do so. If we're going to bring it up...we have to remember it and reintroduce it from time to time. The idea floated was to make a really versatile symbol of the Old Hope that we can evoke in other stories - a sunburst, which is clearly a symbol of light, and the light of the Sun in particular is associated with Men. And probably to come up with a name for 'people who believe in the Old Hope' to use in future. The 'Old Hope' in Silm Film will never become as specific as 'Eru will enter into Arda and become Incarnate as a Man,' but it will remain the idea that 'Eru will heal Arda Marred, and Men are (somehow) the source of that hope'. So, while, yes, it does point to the Incarnation of Jesus Christ (an event we will not be including in our story), what it really will point to in Silm Film are the 'types' of Christ that appear in the story. Eärendil's messianic role, Aragorn's kingship, and possibly even the Dagor Dagorath prophecy where Túrin kills Morgoth. Etc. It will retain its meaning of an Estel for the future, in which the hurts of Arda Marred are healed by Eru. Finrod's vision of a paradise in which Men and Elves can live together after the end of Arda is not a false hope! (Even if we'll never see it.)


One thing I have been thinking about since the session is the practice of royal gift-giving. We see this when Finrod visits Ladros - he arrives with gifts of wine from Nargothrond. In the past, we have seen Maedhros play the role of generous ruler - gifting Fingon with horses and Aegnor with Narsil in Season 4. While we certainly don't have room for more dialogue in this script (*ahem*), would it be appropriate for Fingolfin to be distributing gifts as he goes on his tour? And if so, what gifts would be appropriate for the High King to give in exchange for hospitality? It can be something his entourage brings with him; it doesn't have to all fit in his saddlebag. But we should probably see him practicing generosity during his travels...right?
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
One thing I have been thinking about since the session is the practice of royal gift-giving. We see this when Finrod visits Ladros - he arrives with gifts of wine from Nargothrond. In the past, we have seen Maedhros play the role of generous ruler - gifting Fingon with horses and Aegnor with Narsil in Season 4. While we certainly don't have room for more dialogue in this script (*ahem*), would it be appropriate for Fingolfin to be distributing gifts as he goes on his tour? And if so, what gifts would be appropriate for the High King to give in exchange for hospitality? It can be something his entourage brings with him; it doesn't have to all fit in his saddlebag. But we should probably see him practicing generosity during his travels...right?
My only caution here is one of repetition. We already have a scenario where in nearly every scene we meet him, Fingolfin rides up to a place and lays out his "Big Plan". I'd be careful when adding a new element to this pattern. Otherwise, I'm onboard.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
Right - it might be a way to make the introductions more varied. We see him already seated at Círdan's table, riding up to the hall in Dor-lómin, his banner being raised over Minas Tirith, already in conference with Aegnor on the walls in Dorthonion, riding up to Ladros and doing full formal introductions, and arriving in Himring. While it could be implied that he is giving gifts on many of these occasions, we could show it explicitly only once...the way the intro at Ladros is more 'in full' than many of the others, he could give a gift to Maedhros, with the implication being he's done that at every stop on his tour, not just the final one.
 

Odola

Well-Known Member
I generally like the idea of introducing the old hope for the future, as we'll need to describe the faithful as a religious group.
How about a specific gesture or blessing? Like that pseudo-religious gesture Movie-Aragorn does at Boromir's death scene?
 
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ouzaru

Well-Known Member
I generally like the idea of introducing the old hope for the future, as we'll need to describe the faithful as a religious group.

I was shocked how much work Ouzaru put into that script. Wow.
It’s been a little bit slow this month for work, so I had a lot of extra time to give. Taiwan went into lockdown over COVID in May and the whole summer has been unusually slow, so I was able to give an unusually large amount of my time over to it. :p. In the future I hope to have slightly less time to give (and I think the task will be somewhat less daunting for most of the other scripts we will produce for this project). Again, I very literally could not have completed the thing in time without so much help from everyone on the project, and am very glad we got it all done in time to be reasonably readable for the podcast. I look forward to going back to it a little at a time in the near future!
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
How about a specific gesture or blessing? Like that pseudi-religious gesture Movie-Aragorn does at Boromir's death scene?
Well, i guess we'd have to think about such things at one point... elaborate the two religions we will see, the dark cult and Eruism.I wonder if JRRT gives any hints in the books, or any descriptions we could draw inspiration from (like vana cutting her hair short to make ropes for the celestial vessels so... short hair as a symbol for modesty or piety inncontrast to very long hair interwoven wirh jewels as a symbol for pride).
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
JRRT very deliberately removed religious practices from the good guys in his stories. If you're pre-Christian and worship Eru, apparently you do this without any holy places or buildings or priesthood or rituals or...you know, anything that looks like religion. If someone's building temples and starting up religious traditions...it's often Morgoth-worship.

Here are the exceptions I am aware of:
The peak of the Meneltarma on Numenor is meant to be a hallowed place, and it is visited at specific times for what can be viewed as worship purposes. But it's a silent place, and there's no structure built there.
Elendil's grave in Gondor is likewise viewed as a sacred space, with rules about who may go there. There is an expectation of silence, reminiscent of Rath Dinen, the silent street where the kings and stewards have their tombs in Minas Tirith.
Faramir's tradition of 'we look west before dinner' is a ritual, and it has religious meaning for the people of Gondor, since one of the things they are looking to is 'Numenor that was.' The Standing Silence is, naturally, silent.
When Frodo 'speaks in tongues', he is often uttering prayers. On Weathertop, it's simply the name of Elbereth. In Shelob's layer, it's an entire sentence: Aiya Eärendil elenion ancalima - Hail Eärendil, brightest of stars (which is obviously a line from the poem Crist).
The High Elves sing hymns to Elbereth as they walk through Middle-earth in LotR. Galadriel's Namárië poem likewise has prayer of petition element to it.
In Lost Tales, there is an elvish word for 'fane' - a hallowed place.

So, I'm okay with people going up on a mountain and looking west to demonstrate the Old Hope, but I'm not comfortable with a lot of religious trappings or practices associated with it. We have to be subtle. A sun-symbol is fine, because 'no graven images' doesn't seem to be a rule in Middle-earth. But I do hesitate to make people who follow the Old Hope stand out too much...
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
Yes all of that is true.Eruist religion is very private and unobstrusive, people sing hymns and praises, do the standing silence and have sacred places like the white trees or maybe other sources, for example wells where ulmo's power is strong. They seldom do prayers or adress eru directly.

But i still think they would have signs and symbols, like sigils of the valar and certainly gestures.The Faithful would be a bit like the christians in old rome who would have to meet in secret and develope simple handsigns, symbols, gestures etc. That should be interesting.Also we know the men, even the edain have some tribal religious practises... i am sure they 'd also do simple things like raising the hands to the sky or others... i am wondering if there are for example some gestures associated wirh specific valar that men would eventually adapt. These things... i do not intend an imitation of the catholic church or anything like that.. But i do think the dark cults later would be maybe similar to the pre-israelite religions we see in the bible like Baal, Moloch, the Kanaanite and Mesopotamian religions for example.
 

Ilana Mushin

Active Member
Yes all of that is true.Eruist religion is very private and unobstrusive, people sing hymns and praises, do the standing silence and have sacred places like the white trees or maybe other sources, for example wells where ulmo's power is strong. They seldom do prayers or adress eru directly.

But i still think they would have signs and symbols, like sigils of the valar and certainly gestures.The Faithful would be a bit like the christians in old rome who would have to meet in secret and develope simple handsigns, symbols, gestures etc. That should be interesting.Also we know the men, even the edain have some tribal religious practises... i am sure they 'd also do simple things like raising the hands to the sky or others... i am wondering if there are for example some gestures associated wirh specific valar that men would eventually adapt. These things... i do not intend an imitation of the catholic church or anything like that.. But i do think the dark cults later would be maybe similar to the pre-israelite religions we see in the bible like Baal, Moloch, the Kanaanite and Mesopotamian religions for example.
As Marie said, Tolkien very deliberately did not make use of religious symbols and rituals on the most part for the ‘worship’ of Eru. It’s hard really to call this worship in a common modern monotheistic sense. More like reflection on creation and on the creator. Likewise I don’t think there are signs and signals associated with the Valar for either Elves or humans. If the Faithful had signs and symbols to show that they were Faithful, I can imagine this is like how the Jews of Spain managed to communicate to each other in the time of the inquisition - this is not religious practice but rather a way to ensure that the community can band together and protect each other when necessary (or plan to take 9 ships to Middle Earth before the apololypse, or whatever).
 

Odola

Well-Known Member
As Marie said, Tolkien very deliberately did not make use of religious symbols and rituals on the most part for the ‘worship’ of Eru. It’s hard really to call this worship in a common modern monotheistic sense. More like reflection on creation and on the creator. Likewise I don’t think there are signs and signals associated with the Valar for either Elves or humans. If the Faithful had signs and symbols to show that they were Faithful, I can imagine this is like how the Jews of Spain managed to communicate to each other in the time of the inquisition - this is not religious practice but rather a way to ensure that the community can band together and protect each other when necessary (or plan to take 9 ships to Middle Earth before the apololypse, or whatever).
What about blessings? Blessings are accompanied with certain gestures in varously diverse cultures.
Or simple gestures like bending one's head to the rising sun.
Actually an outright symbol persisting throughout ages without a change of meaning everywhere is unprobable.
Take e.g. the ancient "Sun of the Alps" symbol [Six-petal rosette - Wikipedia], you find them in the folk art of the Italian and Walachian infiluenced areas of Europe, in Celtic art and in ancient Jewish artefacts like the "Magdala stone", and nowadays in esoteric symbolism and North Italian nationalism movements but each time it means something slightly different beside being a general sun symbol of a vague metaphysical significance.
 
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Haerangil

Well-Known Member
Did Tolkien use any such symbols in his art?

I mean... the star of numenor and the white tree and such things EXIST.They are also quasi-religious symbols in my opinion. Just don't think of the holy cross or the star of david... there are other things.The Valacirca and so on.

The eye of Sauron also is a religious symbol.
 
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Ilana Mushin

Active Member
Did Tolkien use any such symbols in his art?

I mean... the star of numenor and the white tree and such things EXIST.They are also quasi-religious symbols in my opinion. Just don't think of the holy cross or the star of david... there are other things.The Valacirca and so on.

The eye of Sauron also is a religious symbol.
I‘d suggest that symbols like the white tree are partly heraldic (like Tuor taking the swan’s wing as a device - most of Tolkien’s devices for other houses seemed rather abstract though). The white tree as a symbol of lost Numenor I’d suggest is a memorial rather than a religious device. It is a sign of the house of Elendil. The Valacirca is a Valar symbol made by Varda - a warning sign. Again, the eye of Sauron is a heraldic device. But no one is arguing about the use of religious devices and symbols for the worship of the bad guys - that’s the kind of idolatry that is expected.
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
I am feeling misunderstood. I was not intending any religious symbols in our modern sense... i see the white tree as a religious symbol because it was a sapling of the white tree of meneltarma, which was a holy place.The same i see the star of numenor as a heraldic device as well as a symbol of political power and also a symbol that has some religious significance due to referring to the land of gift.

The same goes for gesture and ritual.I was referring to cultic practises such as the standing silence, the Eruhantale, Erukyerme or Erulaitale... which ARE religious ceremonies. I do not want anyone to read the holy mass but i wonder what they do... if they cross or rise their arms, if they put a hand on their heart, fold their arms or whatever. Same for their marriage rites or when they give a name or bury their dead or whatever they do when a child is born.

I am talking about religion in the very broadest sense.

Of course what the Dark Lords demand is idolry!
 
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