Season 1-Session 2

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
Well, I'd certainly like to see them during the establishing shot of Almaren during the opening act of Episode 4. I would like to see more of them, but I have no idea where to go with them.
 

ouzaru

Well-Known Member
Yes, I agree that it's problematic for that reason. The whole point was not to introduce them, so...why would we introduce them?? I do want to hammer down who the voices of dissent are, though. I would perhaps be okay with Lorien (Irmo) saying that he has to get back to someone and just wander off - so it's not defiant, it's just vaguely mysterious. When we meet him later and discover that his wife sleeps on an island all the time, we might understand why he couldn't really come to Almaren without her. Very minimal defiance, but also no emotional impact as we won't know who he is. [It is my understanding that Valinor currently exists, and is just the far western part of the land that is still connected to Almaren - once the Lamps are destroyed, the sea will cover Almaren, separating Valinor from Middle Earth - but Mandos could certainly have foreseen that and planned accordingly so his Halls don't flood in the cataclysm.]

As for Ungoliant....

The hosts did say that she could be at the meeting Almaren...but this was before the story with Nessa was developed.

We (okay *I*) vetoed that idea, as we had leaned towards her being a creepy creature of darkness, not someone who could just wander into a gathering of other people and have a conversation with them. It...doesn't fit her very well. [I thought we were in agreement on this.] Instead, we see her briefly in this episode, as a mysterious figure who retreats into shadow when the call to gather in the center goes out. We introduce her in Episode 3, when Melkor meets her in the Void and they have a conversation. Her effect is seen in Episode 4, when some injured Maiar are blamed on Melkor but (for once!) not his fault. And then in Episode 5, Nessa will meet her for the first time, not knowing who she is, but the audience will have some knowledge of her (and thus interest in learning more about her at this point). Nessa's innocent curiosity was an important part of their interaction, and it would be difficult to maintain that if Ungoliant was known to the Valar as someone who had defied Manwë and rejected his plan for Arda. Nessa (even a 'the Valar are really innocent right now!' version of Nessa) would show at least some suspicion or trepidation on being invited into Ungoliant's lair if she had seen first hand what type of character this woman had.


I am fine with someone defiantly opposing Manwë at the meeting, and leaving in a huff. If we want a canonical character, I suggest Thuringwethil. But we could just as easily substitute in any random 'follower of Melkor' as not a few of the Ainur switched to his side during the Music.

Even if Tom Bombadil is not one of the Ainur, he would already be present in Arda at this time [first rain-drop, before Melkor comes....]. So, if he is introduced as an anomaly they 'meet' while out and about, mystery preserved.

Ulmo will be a vocal voice of opposition, but of course he will be brought around by Varda.

Couple of things off the top of my head: there's no rain before Melkor shows up, because there's no clouds until he shows up, because tehe's no water vapor, because there's no extremes of hot or cold yet, remember? Not to say that Bombadil shouldn't be there per se, but that particular line doesn't make for the best support, is all I'm saying.

I definitely need to go back and listen again to What you guys did for Episode three, I'm not sure why Ungoliant would be in the Void. That seems to pretty explicitly go against the passage you just quoted in the Ainulindale, that darkness doesn't exist in the Void until after the Valar go into it and have seen the vision of Arda.

I don't really think having Nessa be cautious wrecks the premise of her going into Ungoliant's lair if she's been invited. I'm also still having a lot of trouble with the idea of "drained" Maiar, that seems like such a... hostile thing, why wouldn't the Valar be moved to at least investigate it? It seems kind of nuts that they would shrug their shoulders and say "something mysterious and powerful is out there, let's conveniently ignore it and get back to working on Almaren". Scapegoating Melkor seems like a plausible start, but where does it go from there? Melkor swears up and down he's not responsible, and... those that don't believe him do nothing? Those that do believe him don't offer other plausible explanations? Plus aren't we sort of in danger of legitimizing Melkor's martyr complex if anyone else but Ulmo is openly suspicious of him.

I'm not making any changes at this point because I'm not convinced that this angle can't work, but as you've presented it I'm having a lot of trouble with it right now.
 

ouzaru

Well-Known Member
Okay, re-listening to our session (the link to Blab is available above).

We start discussing the formation of Almaren at the 1:56 mark. The discussion of who should be present in Almaren comes up at 2:11-2:13. ouzaru, you are the one who said 'not Ungoliant'! But I agree the discussion was brief and I maybe didn't give you a chance to consider all of the ramifications before moving on, so maybe the 'agreement' was in my head. 2:20 is where Ungoliant being missed comes up.

I want to point out that the main conflict of this episode is the Valar learning to work together - so while some should probably hie off and not join in, the stepping-on-each-others-toes in Almaren for those who stay is a more pertinent conflict. The challenge to Manwë's leadership does not come until Melkor arrives in Episode 4.

Ulmo is the 'I don't have time for this' guy and Oromë is 'I don't remember this in the Music.' Do we really need more defiance than that? And, if so - please consider using Thuringwethil here.
Then my memory of podcasts and sessions and round tables is really super jumbled, I have no memory of objecting to Ungoliant at all. For some reason I've got Corey and Trish going on about Ungoliant in my brain and that's all I can hear.

I'm shy of using Thuringwethil, in part because we'd have to basically invent her from whole cloth, and because she's a subordinate of a subordinate, having her be a major voice of dissension here and then never seeing her again until Beren and Luthien seems not so good, and I'm not sure where else we could reasonably insert her.

I had a thought just now for a possibility, and I lost it, damn.... Give me a minute, I hope it'll come back.
 

ouzaru

Well-Known Member
I am beside myself, I really had a great possibility for a dissenting voice, and it is completely gone now. Maybe it was Osse? I certainly think Osse and Uinen could have a moment during the debate where they waffle about whether to join up or go off on their own.

I need to get a hold of a copy of the Silmarillion, but I guess I can do the next best thing and go digging through the History of Middle Earth.

Edit: oh! I remembered! Tevildo!!! Corey said he wanted Tevildo to show up in some form or other! What do you guys think of adapting Tevildo?
 
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MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
Well, I'd certainly like to see them during the establishing shot of Almaren during the opening act of Episode 4. I would like to see more of them, but I have no idea where to go with them.
During the establishing shot at the opening of Episode 4 would be a good place for them to be seen together (without explanation). In episode 2, Ossë is involved in conflict with Mairon (as part of the combative cliff building scene), so we've seen him acting alone...it will be nice to see him with someone now. Also...Nessa should stand out as someone who is alone and without a partner, and having everyone else paired off in Episodes 2 and 4 should help to set her up for Episode 5. And then, if we can work in some scene with the two of them together in Episode 6, that will help to establish the important information we will need for the Ossë rebellion arc. Also - by the time we get to the wedding, Nienna and Ulmo (and Melkor!) being loners should be...clear to the audience. So, all the other partnerships that are going to happen should be explicit by then - I'm thinking mostly of Aulë and Yavanna, who have had multiple scenes together, but nothing particularly exclusive or romantic to make it overtly clear they are partners. I mean, hopefully those scenes will play out as 'these two work really well together,' but we'll see both of them working with Melkor, etc, so...probably will need to do something with them (and Oromë and Vana) in Episode 6.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
Re: Tom Bombadil cameo

We can show him whenever we want in this project. So, he could randomly be there as the elves are making the journey from Cuivienen to Valinor in Season 2 (for instance). He could be hanging out in Ossiriand with the ents when Beren and Luthien move down there after their rebirth in Season ??? So, by no means is it necessary to introduce him now. We can definitely wait on that decision. I think that, no matter what, he should get no more than one brief cameo per Season. Or, he could appear not at all.

I understand why making him come to the first gathering of Valar and Maiar in Almaren would make it look like we have explicitly labeled him one of the Ainur, so perhaps we'd want to avoid that. Certainly, we want his origins to remain an unanswered mystery, giving away no more than Tolkien did on the subject. We could save his 'cameo' for later, after the Valar have gone to Valinor.

I thought of him for here as he is clearly the type of person who would say 'Thanks but no thanks' to Manwë's idea. But's he's not needed, and if it detracts from his character to put him front-and-center in the action, then we shouldn't use him for this. I do think he is in Middle Earth at this time, but we needn't see him just yet.
 
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MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
Re: Tevildo and Thuringwethil

With our adaptation, we will likely be spending a lot more 'time' in the bad guy's lair and seeing what they are doing...whereas Tolkien seldom did that. So, we will have to do a lot of character development (or character fleshing out, at any rate) of our mooks. We've already established a rivalry between Gothmog and Sauron that I think is nowhere even implied in Tolkien's writing. So, yes, we'll have to flesh out Thuringwethil, and we'll likely do something with her other than just wait til the Beren and Luthien story to kill her off. We could begin that process now, or wait until after Melkor's arrival. She'll probably be in monstrous form by the end of this Season, so we'll want to see her (at least) a little earlier in her 'fair' form. But I agree that speaking out in front of all the Valar doesn't seem the best way to introduce her, either.

Tevildo should...be a cat. I mean, he can be a saber-toothed tiger, not a kitty cat, but....he probably shouldn't be humanoid. I can see him disdainfully walking out (as only a cat can), but I wouldn't see him having any particular dialogue (unless we needed something to establish that he's not a beast).

I think there were a few other bad guy types mentioned in HoME - we have Gothmog's ogress mother in the Book of Lost Tales, and the giant named in Luthien's lengthening spell in the Lay. Mostly, we should probably figure out what we are looking for in a character, and then see if there is a canonical name we can attach to it. ALL of these will be underlings, not Melkor's lieutenants. So, perhaps having them in the defiant speaking out role does not work, so much as disgruntled mumbling and slinking off?
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
Re: Ungoliant and the Void

Ungoliant is the Gloomweaver, it is true - she makes Darkness. But....it's a 'by-product' of what happens when she consumes Light. So, if she's not eating Light, she's not making Darkness. Therefore, there is no contradiction with the Ainur first perceiving Darkness after Iluvatar takes the vision of Arda away.

As for her origin, it is said, 'The Eldar knew not whence she came,' so...it's left open-ended. But the Silmarillion goes on to say: 'but some have said that in ages long before she descended from the darkness that lies about Arda, when Melkor first looked down with envy upon the Kingdom of Manwë, and that in the beginning she was one of those he corrupted to his service. But she had disowned her master, desiring to be mistress of her own lust, taking all things to herself to feed her emptiness...'

The 'some have said...' language gives us a lot of leeway to choose our own path forward. I have identified the 'darkness that lies about Arda' with the Void, and it says she comes from there, so.... We are going to show Melkor looking down on Arda from the Void at the end of episode 3, but he will have his loyal proto-balrogs with him at that moment, not Ungoliant.

If you have HoME, I think the Darkening of Valinor and the Thieves Quarrel is told more fully in Morgoth's Ring than in the published Silmarillion, so there may be more details about Ungoliant there.


We needed something or someone in the Void, because otherwise we spend way too much screentime on Melkor silently roaming a blank dark space while not talking. So, we have him go once alone, and meet no one, and then see him speak with Varda on his return. Then, we have him go another time and meet Ungoliant. After this, he tries to convince Varda to join him on his next trip to the Void. We then see him after the Music, looking down on Arda from the Void. So, removing Ungoliant from that scene would definitely diminish the amount of material we have to work with in this Episode. Our focus was on the Flame Imperishable, so having Varda explain that for our audience and establishing that that is what Melkor desires was the key point. There is likely room to both add to and flesh out the outline we came up with, so after you have the chance to listen to the discussion you can chime in or edit the document.
 
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MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
I'm also still having a lot of trouble with the idea of "drained" Maiar, that seems like such a... hostile thing, why wouldn't the Valar be moved to at least investigate it? It seems kind of nuts that they would shrug their shoulders and say "something mysterious and powerful is out there, let's conveniently ignore it and get back to working on Almaren". Scapegoating Melkor seems like a plausible start, but where does it go from there? Melkor swears up and down he's not responsible, and... those that don't believe him do nothing? Those that do believe him don't offer other plausible explanations? Plus aren't we sort of in danger of legitimizing Melkor's martyr complex if anyone else but Ulmo is openly suspicious of him.
Okay, well, I wasn't suggesting that anyone shrug their shoulders and ignore it. It was supposed to be a pretty serious thing.

We had Melkor deny it, but get a worried look on his face because he thinks he knows who it might be (Ungoliant - though the others don't know about her).
Varda would immediately see that Melkor is telling the truth, and thus speak up to put an end to the accusations.
Feeding Melkor's martyr complex was somewhat the point - he takes offense very easily, so would not forget that when the first thing went wrong, fingers were pointed at him. But having him be innocent (this time) will make it much more plausible the next time he is accused (the Lamps) for him to cry offense and that they are treating him unfairly (like Gollum's umbrage at being called 'sneak'). It was meant to set up that scene.

As for what is done....well, they try to help/heal the injured Maiar the best they can [mostly unsuccessfully], and ask them what happened, but they get a jumbled account of a creature in the darkness and not much else. They could send people off to check it out, but nothing is discovered. So, it remains an open mystery moving into Episode 5.
 

ouzaru

Well-Known Member
Re: Tom Bombadil cameo

We can show him whenever we want in this project. So, he could randomly be there as the elves are making the journey from Cuivienen to Valinor in Season 2 (for instance). He could be hanging out in Ossiriand with the ents when Beren and Luthien move down there after their rebirth in Season ??? So, by no means is it necessary to introduce him now. We can definitely wait on that decision. I think that, no matter what, he should get no more than one brief cameo per Season. Or, he could appear not at all.

I understand why making him come to the first gathering of Valar and Maiar in Almaren would make it look like we have explicitly labeled him one of the Ainur, so perhaps we'd want to avoid that. Certainly, we want his origins to remain an unanswered mystery, giving away no more than Tolkien did on the subject. We could save his 'cameo' for later, after the Valar have gone to Valinor.

I thought of him for here as he is clearly the type of person who would say 'Thanks but no thanks' to Manwë's idea. But's he's not needed, and if it detracts from his character to put him front-and-center in the action, then we shouldn't use him for this. I do think he is in Middle Earth at this time, but we needn't see him just yet.
I think my strongest objection is the idea that he would be around for the falling of the lamps, that seems weird to me, but frankly his history is so up in the air that probably any reasonable argument could be made for his being present at any period in primordial Arda's history.
 

ouzaru

Well-Known Member
Okay, well, I wasn't suggesting that anyone shrug their shoulders and ignore it. It was supposed to be a pretty serious thing.

We had Melkor deny it, but get a worried look on his face because he thinks he knows who it might be (Ungoliant - though the others don't know about her).
Varda would immediately see that Melkor is telling the truth, and thus speak up to put an end to the accusations.
Feeding Melkor's martyr complex was somewhat the point - he takes offense very easily, so would not forget that when the first thing went wrong, fingers were pointed at him. But having him be innocent (this time) will make it much more plausible the next time he is accused (the Lamps) for him to cry offense and that they are treating him unfairly (like Gollum's umbrage at being called 'sneak'). It was meant to set up that scene.

As for what is done....well, they try to help/heal the injured Maiar the best they can [mostly unsuccessfully], and ask them what happened, but they get a jumbled account of a creature in the darkness and not much else. They could send people off to check it out, but nothing is discovered. So, it remains an open mystery moving into Episode 5.
If we're gonna do that, I think it needs to be an open and ongoing debate among the Valar as to what should be done. I don't think they would necessarily drop everything to solve the problem, especially if there are dissenting opinions, but it would certainly give Orome something hunt-y to do this early in the season, and could get him and his spirits a little something to do while everyone else is busy in Almaren.

I want to stress, though, that what we're talking about is a real dialing up of Ungoliant's role in the first half of the season. I think this can work, and as we said will take some of the pressure off Melkor, but I'm not entirely sure that's a good thing. I feel that this does amp up the dischord in a way that really isn't attributable to Melkor and I think that thematically that is a big transference of agency away from him and onto Ungoliant's in a way that isn't borne out by what's in the Silmarillion. Unless we do some real hard character work on Ungoliant's in here scene with Melkor in the Void (which I'm still not 100% on, I'll check out Episode 3's round table tonight), we're kind of in danger of painting her as a real free agent who is inherently evil. That is both a thing we could do, and I personally believe is supported by some readings of the text, but it also definitely muddies the nature of Evil and the dischord of Melkor in a way that I think is *not* as well supported by the text. Having her present at the Summoning and making the explicit choice to reject Manwe's offer and go off on her own adheres to her character as a dangerous but less active loner a little better, and as I said before, makes her a little less one-dimensional. If we read Nessa's journey to Ungoliant's lair as a result of Melkor's impulse to hoard light, that makes him the pot-stirrer, which I really do like better than Ungoliant attacking Maiar unprovoked.

Hashing it out this way makes both seem totally viable, and I'm to the point now where I'm pretty comfortable going either way with it, but hopefully I've articulated the subtext of the two scenarios enough to make a firm, informed decision about which way we're taking things. Does anybody see things differently?
 
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ouzaru

Well-Known Member
Re: Ungoliant and the Void

Ungoliant is the Gloomweaver, it is true - she makes Darkness. But....it's a 'by-product' of what happens when she consumes Light. So, if she's not eating Light, she's not making Darkness. Therefore, there is no contradiction with the Ainur first perceiving Darkness after Iluvatar takes the vision of Arda away.

As for her origin, it is said, 'The Eldar knew not whence she came,' so...it's left open-ended. But the Silmarillion goes on to say: 'but some have said that in ages long before she descended from the darkness that lies about Arda, when Melkor first looked down with envy upon the Kingdom of Manwë, and that in the beginning she was one of those he corrupted to his service. But she had disowned her master, desiring to be mistress of her own lust, taking all things to herself to feed her emptiness...'

The 'some have said...' language gives us a lot of leeway to choose our own path forward. I have identified the 'darkness that lies about Arda' with the Void, and it says she comes from there, so.... We are going to show Melkor looking down on Arda from the Void at the end of episode 3, but he will have his loyal proto-balrogs with him at that moment, not Ungoliant.

If you have HoME, I think the Darkening of Valinor and the Thieves Quarrel is told more fully in Morgoth's Ring than in the published Silmarillion, so there may be more details about Ungoliant there.


We needed something or someone in the Void, because otherwise we spend way too much screentime on Melkor silently roaming a blank dark space while not talking. So, we have him go once alone, and meet no one, and then see him speak with Varda on his return. Then, we have him go another time and meet Ungoliant. After this, he tries to convince Varda to join him on his next trip to the Void. We then see him after the Music, looking down on Arda from the Void. So, removing Ungoliant from that scene would definitely diminish the amount of material we have to work with in this Episode. Our focus was on the Flame Imperishable, so having Varda explain that for our audience and establishing that that is what Melkor desires was the key point. There is likely room to both add to and flesh out the outline we came up with, so after you have the chance to listen to the discussion you can chime in or edit the document.
That's a really mechanical way of thinking about it, and not entirely appropriate for what the Valar and Maiar represent. These are mythic beings, embodiments of the powers which they wield. There is a metaphorical significance to having Ungoliant go into the void with Melkor, especially since this would be quite an elaboration on the relationship they have in the text. This is not to suggest we can't or shouldn't make it, just that we should be aware that we're doing it and consider the consequences of it.

The passage you quoted above is one that I forgot, great find. It is SUPER interesting and does make a pretty strong case for having her show up, and specifically IN the Void. It opens up a lot of angles for exploring not only Melkor's relationship with her, but also paralleling his relationship with Varda. I think there may even be some space to interpret Ungoliant's disintrest in playing ball with the rest of the Valar as an expression of anger and loneliness that Melkor didn't immediately come with the initial group into Arda.

Pretty much every time I make an objection, what I'm really asking for is a close reading of the choice we're making rather than saying "we can't do that because I don't like it". I'll always try to articulate my objections as my own personal reading of the source material, I don't want our disagreements to be anything less than constructive.
 

ouzaru

Well-Known Member
Re: Tevildo and Thuringwethil

With our adaptation, we will likely be spending a lot more 'time' in the bad guy's lair and seeing what they are doing...whereas Tolkien seldom did that. So, we will have to do a lot of character development (or character fleshing out, at any rate) of our mooks. We've already established a rivalry between Gothmog and Sauron that I think is nowhere even implied in Tolkien's writing. So, yes, we'll have to flesh out Thuringwethil, and we'll likely do something with her other than just wait til the Beren and Luthien story to kill her off. We could begin that process now, or wait until after Melkor's arrival. She'll probably be in monstrous form by the end of this Season, so we'll want to see her (at least) a little earlier in her 'fair' form. But I agree that speaking out in front of all the Valar doesn't seem the best way to introduce her, either.

Tevildo should...be a cat. I mean, he can be a saber-toothed tiger, not a kitty cat, but....he probably shouldn't be humanoid. I can see him disdainfully walking out (as only a cat can), but I wouldn't see him having any particular dialogue (unless we needed something to establish that he's not a beast).

I think there were a few other bad guy types mentioned in HoME - we have Gothmog's ogress mother in the Book of Lost Tales, and the giant named in Luthien's lengthening spell in the Lay. Mostly, we should probably figure out what we are looking for in a character, and then see if there is a canonical name we can attach to it. ALL of these will be underlings, not Melkor's lieutenants. So, perhaps having them in the defiant speaking out role does not work, so much as disgruntled mumbling and slinking off?
I do largely agree either at you're saying here, but we do kind of need, for the audience's sakemostly, to have a real spokesperson for those that don't want to play nice with everybody. In another version of the adaptation, I might just give it to Melkor, but I like the more nuanced version of him we've put together way more for TV. Thuringwethil I think is particularly ill suited because she's basically a name and a hide, but I think you're onto something with digging up some older characters. I liked Ungoliant best because she's immediately relevant for the next several episodes. I don't think we can use any of the Balrogs without splitting their ranks, which I'd rather not do.

I don't know exactly what role Professor Olsen had in mind for Tevildo, Whether it was a cameo or what, I'd like to try and pester him about it on Friday. I think the obvious comparison for him on the other side would be Huan, and I believe Huan has a lot more of a speaking role in the original Beren and Luthian, and since I would prefer to keep his "speak 3 times" tidbit, it does sort of beg the question as to why Tevildo would be able to soliloquize to his hearts content. I'll do some spelunking this weekend and save it for when we're done with the episode(s) we've got scheduled.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
There is a metaphorical significance to having Ungoliant go into the void with Melkor, especially since this would be quite an elaboration on the relationship they have in the text. This is not to suggest we can't or shouldn't make it, just that we should be aware that we're doing it and consider the consequences of it.

The passage you quoted above is one that I forgot, great find. It is SUPER interesting and does make a pretty strong case for having her show up, and specifically IN the Void. It opens up a lot of angles for exploring not only Melkor's relationship with her, but also paralleling his relationship with Varda. I think there may even be some space to interpret Ungoliant's disintrest in playing ball with the rest of the Valar as an expression of anger and loneliness that Melkor didn't immediately come with the initial group into Arda.

Pretty much every time I make an objection, what I'm really asking for is a close reading of the choice we're making rather than saying "we can't do that because I don't like it". I'll always try to articulate my objections as my own personal reading of the source material, I don't want our disagreements to be anything less than constructive.
Oh, I think we *need* to have people raise objections to ideas that don't fit or will have serious implications down the line. Our goal is to adapt the story, flesh it out - but obviously to *keep* the story, as it is, and to try to tell the same (or nearly the same) story that Tolkien does. It certainly isn't meant to be a 'let's grab these characters and do whatever we want with them' adaptation so that the end result has little of Tolkien's story left in it. That would be sadder than the actual Silmarillion.

The meeting of Ungoliant and Melkor in the Void is necessary because Melkor *must* meet and interact with Ungoliant prior to recruiting her for the 'let's destroy Valinor' project. They have to know one another personally for that partnership to be plausible.

There is no reason for him to interact with her during the Nessa story (Episode 5), because he is busy with the Lamps at the time. And he's not there yet in Episode 2. The original idea was to have her flee/disappear after the Nessa incident, and not be seen again until the destruction of the Trees (well, okay, not quite true - the spiders would be harassing Thingol's people). If we wanted to, we could alter that, and give her some role in the latter half of this season. But....that's not there yet, and certainly was not discussed by our hosts.

So, I'll let you listen to our round table discussion of Episode 3 first, and see what you think about the idea of having Melkor meet Ungoliant in the Void. If you do decide that just doesn't work....we'll need to come up with something else for Melkor to be doing in the Void other than walking around silently, and we'll need to come up with a meeting between Melkor and Ungoliant later in the Season that makes sense.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
I do largely agree either at you're saying here, but we do kind of need, for the audience's sake mostly, to have a real spokesperson for those that don't want to play nice with everybody. In another version of the adaptation, I might just give it to Melkor, but I like the more nuanced version of him we've put together way more for TV.
I think Ulmo is intended to be the spokesman for those who do not want to be part of the Almaren project.

When he is talked around by Varda, those who were in agreement with him can leave in disgust with some grumbling, while others can stay. We should dig up some characters so 'those who leave' is spelled out a bit more, though.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
I think my strongest objection is the idea that he would be around for the falling of the lamps, that seems weird to me, but frankly his history is so up in the air that probably any reasonable argument could be made for his being present at any period in primordial Arda's history.
Here is what we know of Tom's history, based on his own telling:

"Eldest, that's what I am. Mark my words, my friends: Tom was here before the river and the trees; Tom remembers the first raindrop and the first acorn. He made paths before the Big People, and saw the little People arriving. He was here before the Kings and the graves and the Barrow-wights. When the Elves passed westward, Tom was here already, before the seas were bent. He knew the dark under the stars when it was fearless - before the Dark Lord came from Outside."
You would be hard-pressed to identify a time period in the history of Arda that Tom did *not* witness - he's always been there. That being said - we certainly don't need to put him in the middle of things - he can be off on his own, doing his own thing, just with the occasional cameo. We don't need to show him before the destruction of the Lamps.
 

ouzaru

Well-Known Member
I think Ulmo is intended to be the spokesman for those who do not want to be part of the Almaren project.

When he is talked around by Varda, those who were in agreement with him can leave in disgust with some grumbling, while others can stay. We should dig up some characters so 'those who leave' is spelled out a bit more, though.
I meant a representative of those who go off on their own, which Ulmo obviously does not do.
 

ouzaru

Well-Known Member
Here is what we know of Tom's history, based on his own telling:

"Eldest, that's what I am. Mark my words, my friends: Tom was here before the river and the trees; Tom remembers the first raindrop and the first acorn. He made paths before the Big People, and saw the little People arriving. He was here before the Kings and the graves and the Barrow-wights. When the Elves passed westward, Tom was here already, before the seas were bent. He knew the dark under the stars when it was fearless - before the Dark Lord came from Outside."
You would be hard-pressed to identify a time period in the history of Arda that Tom did *not* witness - he's always been there. That being said - we certainly don't need to put him in the middle of things - he can be off on his own, doing his own thing, just with the occasional cameo. We don't need to show him before the destruction of the Lamps.
Yeah, first raindrop is definitely before the lamps, though we're not really sure how long the Valar spent forming Almaren and its surrounding lands, it could have been an awful lot of time before Melkor finally showed up.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
I meant a representative of those who go off on their own, which Ulmo obviously does not do.
I see why this would be useful, but as this is our 'introduce our main characters' episode, it might seem jarring to introduce someone who is obviously a low-ranking minor character by giving them such a central speaking role. Melkor and the balrogs aren't here yet, so they can't do this until episode 4. I'd rather devote screentime to the main characters, so allowing Ulmo to voice all of the concerns of those who are of a mind to leave seems to make sense to me, with milder voices of dissent being represented by Oromë, who isn't opposed, but just doesn't get it.

Once Ulmo changes his mind, I can see why those who sided with him might give up in disgust and make some clear statement of why they are leaving....but is that really necessary? We aren't looking for anyone to reject Manwë's leadership just now. We just want people to....leave. Some of the grumblers stay (once they see Ulmo on board), and others leave, but the ones who leave can more slink off than defiantly condemn everyone before doing so.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
We're kind of in danger of painting her as a real free agent who is inherently evil. That is both a thing we could do, and I personally believe is supported by some readings of the text, but it also definitely muddies the nature of Evil and the dischord of Melkor in a way that I think is *not* as well supported by the text. Having her present at the Summoning and making the explicit choice to reject Manwe's offer and go off on her own adheres to her character as a dangerous but less active loner a little better, and as I said before, makes her a little less one-dimensional. If we read Nessa's journey to Ungoliant's lair as a result of Melkor's impulse to hoard light, that makes him the pot-stirrer, which I really do like better than Ungoliant attacking Maiar unprovoked.
I agree with you that the 'unprovoked' attacks on the Maiar make Ungoliant a little bit more clearly evil - in a completely depraved kind of way. It also seems rather in character for her to try to eat light whereever she finds it, though, and if there is some illumination around the Maiar and Valar as they travel about Arda...that's going to attract her attention. I am fine with dropping this side story, though, if it creates too many problems. The purpose of it was to:
  1. Create a mystery to generate audience curiosity for the next episode
  2. Allow for a problem-that's-not-directly-Melkor's-fault *after* his arrival
  3. Generate wounded Maiar who cannot easily be healed to explain that 'physical' danger is a reality for our angelic beings (relevant to the audience buying that Nessa is in true danger) as well as highlight the need for the gardens of Lorien.
So, basically, it's a set-up for a bunch of things that will come into play later, but Episode 4 can likely survive without it. Setting up the need for Lorien could happen in the aftermath of the destruction of the Lamps, but that may seem too convenient if, after the first injury in thousands of years, they suddenly meet a healer who has been there all along.

I think we are all agreed that Ungoliant makes no appearance whatsoever in the Music of the Ainur (Episode 1). So, we have three Episodes in which we could 'introduce' her prior to her main appearance in Episode 5.

If we introduce her in Episode 2, then she is being defiant to the Valar directly prior to Melkor entering Middle Earth. This seems to me to be problematic as it immediately takes away her 'mysterious outsider' vibe. Having her speak at the gathering at Almaren is almost as out of place as having Tom Bombadil speak there. Yes, both of them are loners who would reject Manwë's invitation for communal living....but they are such loners that they would never respond to the summons or take part in the group debate either. Right? Having them there feels rather artificial - they don't belong. Also, any motivation she would have that would be tied to Melkor wouldn't make any sense at all, because the audience has not yet seen him interact with her. It also removes a lot of the mystery from her meeting with Nessa later on, which concerns me. I am fine with a brief wordless teaser cameo of her being 'missed' when everyone is gathered, but I am uneasy with her showing her face in front of such a large gathering. It also will make Nessa's invitation to 'come, join us' into a bit of a duplicate of Manwë's invitation that she's already rejected - that can either strengthen or weaken it, I suppose.

Introducing her in Episode 3 allows us to show that the first person she ever met/spoke with was...Melkor. Thus, her twisted nature is tied to him (and the potentially corrupting nature of the Void) very explicitly. It would be possible to introduce her in Episode 2, and then show her meeting Melkor as a flashback in Episode 3 as well. Giving her a prominent role in Episodes 2, 3 and 5 and then dropping her until the penultimate episode of Season 2 might feel like a cheat, though. The audience is going to wonder why she was played up so big and then just disappeared. I'd rather have her interaction with Nessa be the first time we see her speak with someone within Arda. That makes her into a bit more of a one-time villain who is scared off, clearly capable of returning later...which is what she is.


Anyway, that's my understanding of how things stand: a brief appearance in Episode 2 (no dialogue), an appearance in the Void with Melkor in Episode 3, off-screen attacks in Episode 4, and then the interaction with Nessa and Tulkas in Episode 5, only to be scared off and flee into a cave at the lighting of the Lamps....and then not to be seen again until Season 2.
 
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