Season 2: Episode 1 - The Awakening of the Elves

ouzaru

Well-Known Member
Not necessarily.

We could even have the actors pronounce it correctly, in contrast to the very British "mel-koh" I'm positive we're going to get.

Edit: Because all of this is real and not imaginary. :3
 

Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
So the elves just happen to come up with the name 'Mbelekôro' for a being who happens to call himself Melkor? I guess if they make the M silent... But still, don't you think the similarity is pretty remarkable?
 

Atanvarno

Member
Mbelekōro (The M isn't silent) is the Primitive Elvish form that would later become Quenya Melkórë. It literally means something like "mighty-rising", hence the usual translation, "he who arises in might". So the reason for the similarity is they are the same name. Melkor was never a name he gave himself, it's what the elves called him (the same for all the other Ainur names). I think we decided to side step the issue of whether or not Valarin is an actual spoken language, but even if we assume it is, we aren't given Melkor's name in Valarin (nor do we have enough of a corpus to reconstruct it).

So I don't think it makes sense that Mbelekōro is what they would call the hunter to start with; it's a name that would be given specifically to Melkor once they became aware of him, i.e. as a consequence of the ambassadors' trip to Valinor. When the ambassadors return, they might switch to calling the hunter that, if they directly associate the hunter as physically being Melkor. Whether or not that happens is something for episode 2 and 3.

For our immediate purpose, ff we want something that means hunter, we can derive *sparakwēn, which is a derivation with as high a degree of certainty as we're going to get. If want something that means rider, we're actually given rokokwēn. You can throw the adjective mori around for "dark" or "black". That gives you mori sparakwēn or mori rokokwēn, which are perfectly fine descriptions, but they don't look to me like proper nouns.

Hyōba means "spirit, shadow" (rather than a literal shadow that is cast -- Primitive Elvish actually has a couple of different words for shadows). We can derive *Sparahyōba or *Hyōbasparā (both work) for something like the hunting shadow/spirit. (Hyōbasparā could well be commonly abbreviated down to just Hyōba, if we think it's too long for general use.)
 
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Haakon

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Staff member
Yes, I realised that the words sounded similar because they were in fact related. That was why I was hinting that we shouldn't use it, and I think you have come up with better suggestions.

I'm just an amateur when it comes to Tolkien linguistics, so I'll ask a few stupid questions here.
Is it possible to combine the element meaning 'rider' with the word meaning 'spirit, shadow' and get 'rokohyoba' or 'hyobaroko'? I think perhaps the latter could sound sufficiently ominous.
 

Atanvarno

Member
Is it possible to combine the element meaning 'rider' with the word meaning 'spirit, shadow' and get 'rokohyoba' or 'hyobaroko'? I think perhaps the latter could sound sufficiently ominous.
Kind of. The thing is there isn't an element that means "rider". Rokokwēn as a whole means "rider". It's made of two elements: rokkō, which is "horse" and kwēn which is "person" (from which we get kwendi). So "rider" is in fact "horse person". I took a little license and assumed you can use -kwēn with a verb to mean a person who does that verb. So, sparā is "to hunt", hence sparakwēn, a hunting person, or hunter.

So hyobaroko (or hyobarokko -- I'm really not sure what the rules are for compounding with duplicate consonants) means "shadow/spirit horse".

The question then becomes which of these elements do we want to make up the name? (feasibly, we can have up to two)
  • Shadow/spirit (noun)
  • Dark/black (noun)
  • Hunt (verb)
  • Person/an animate entity that is understood by the elves to have its own volition and is capable of independent action like an elf, but is not an elf
  • Horse
I'm happy with shadow/spirit or dark/black with hunt. I'm less keen on trying to use "rider" because really it just emphasises the horse. I accept that hunter and rider are non-literal later translations.

Or 'mori hyoba'? But then we lose the 'rider' element.
Morihyōba (or hyōbamori) works (I think you can compound pretty freely). It means dark/black shadow/spirit, which is pretty menacing. It's a bit tautological, but that hardly matters.

I definitely think we should be using shadow/spirit -- since we're using in the frame "the shadow" to have quite a wide metaphorical meaning and Tolkien gave us a word that points towards what we're trying to say (which he surprisingly rarely does so perfectly). I lean towards including hunt, because it's a verb it lends an active immediacy that I think is threatening. But likewise, emphasising the darkness/blackness is also threatening (but I think perhaps more to human psychology than elvish).

Having said that, using person has a lot to commend it. It's philosophically quite interesting that they have to use the element they use for themselves for the other because their language doesn't yet recognise other animate intelligent begins. But kwēn really comes down to speech and our hunter hasn't, to the elves' knowledge, done that.
 
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Haakon

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So if we use the elements that we want, we get something like 'mori sparakwenhyoba' or 'hyobakwen morispara' or 'hyobamori sparakwen' or some kind of combination (and yes I realise that my examples probably are totally wrong) which are all very long and hard to use. Is it possible to shorten them then? For example (and again, I understand that this example probably is far from possible), if we could use the combination 'sparahyoba mori', could we then shorten it for convenience to 'sparyomori'? (Again, I don't suggest precisely this, it's just an example)
 

Atanvarno

Member
Shortening might be possible. We don't have any evidence for it, but then there's nothing definitive to say we can't do it. I would personally be very wary of it. The meanings of words are held in the root forms (expressed in CAPS). Primitive Elvish adds derivational endings to roots to make usable words. So when compounding, it might be acceptable to drop the odd derivational ending, so long as the final word as a whole has one. But I don't think you can truncate the letters in the roots, or you end up with something that doesn't mean anything (or worse, looks like a different root).

I think we'd be advised to copy how the elves typically come up with 'meaningful' names, that is to pick a root or two and work with them. That is why I said we can only feasibly use up to two elements.
 

Haakon

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Staff member
Ok. Then I suggest that we choose just a couple of the elements we have been discussing. 'Mori' and 'kwen' are later on used together in moriquendi, and, as you pointed out earlier, 'kwen' suggests speech and 'mori' suggests a fear of the dark which is a mostly human trait. If we go along these lines, we're left with 'spara' and 'hyoba'. Either we use just one of them or combine them.

But going back to the 'Mbelekoro' - would it be possible to use the element meaning 'might' together with either 'spara' (or one of the other elements)?
 

Atanvarno

Member
But going back to the 'Mbelekoro' - would it be possible to use the element meaning 'might' together with either 'spara' (or one of the other elements)?
The bit that means "might" is mbelek-. It comes from the root (M)BELEK and as a distinct Primitive Elvish word, it's (m)beleke, an adjective for mighty, large/great/big. The "(m)" is optional, but including it is the 'strong' form. Since we're talking about something pretty exceptional to the primitive elvish mind, I think we're safe to assume the strong form is preferred here.

We're best off going to the roots, since we want a noun (name) out of a verb (sparā) and an adjective ((m)beleke). The root of sparā is SPAR. We're into weird territory here, since the base vowels of the two stems are different, but we can probably make something work. So we mush the two together: either SPAR+(M)BELEK or (M)BELEK+SPAR. I would suggest those would lead to words looking something like *sparambelek (note the insertion of the first stem's base vowel to avoid a three-consonant cluster -- my knowledge is hazy, but I don't think they're allowed. If they are, it's *sparmbelek) or *mbelekespar (*mbelekspar, which you could actually render *mbelexpar).

Then we need a vowel ending. We probably want an O ending, as that generally means an animate (male) being. Our options are: -dō (which likes to go after N), -mō (which is often part of proper names, think Ulmo), -nō (which is a masculine ending that is generally not agental), -o and (which are masculine endings that can be agental, or not), -ondō (masculine, and a longer form of -dō), -ottō (which is for literals), -ro and -rō (are general agental endings) and finally -wō (which is weird and not applicable for our purposes).

I say we want -mō since what we're making is a more like a proper noun/name than a word for general usage.

So we get: *Sparambelekmō or *Mbelekesparmō. I'm guessing both of these are longer than you want.

We can apply the above logic to our single meanings to make things that sound like names:
  • *Sparmō - Hunter
  • *Hyobmō - Shadow/Spirit
  • *Mormō - Darkness/Blackness
  • *Mbelekmō - Mighty
 
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MithLuin

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Staff member
Thanks, Atanvarno! I realized after I looked it up that it wasn't exactly the primitive elvish name for 'the Hunter' that I had misremembered it as, so I like these choices better. I think the two most important elements are Shadow and Hunter, and am not terribly particular about how they are used (combined or singly or....) I do particularly like the meaning of the element 'Hyōba'

I do think we should have an 'elvish' name for this creature they fear. People will accept that it is a monster if we give it a name. We don't have to know what 'Sasquatch' means to get the concept.
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
Not that this is a linguistic case for that, but asking uninitiated persons has indicated that Morihyōba is the more threatening.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
Here is an attempt to combine my Summary with Atanvarno's outline - additional detail/clarification/comments can be added.


0. Skeleton/Story Question
After surviving an attack by the Dark Rider, Elwë tries to overcome his fear. But will he succeed when the War of the Powers threatens Cuiviénen?

1. Teaser
Frame: Arwen looking out from Lothlorien. Celebrían flashback. Arwen and Old Celeborn discuss 'the Shadow has always been with us.'
Main: Elwë saves Celeborn. Young Celeborn is lying on his back enjoying the peaceful idyllic forests near the shores of the Lake, when suddenly Elwë bursts out of the trees and tells him to RUN! Of the group of elves seen fleeing in panic, only Elwë and Celeborn return to the elvish settlements by the Lake.

Act One
2.
Establish Cuiviénen settlements and three tribes. When Elwë and Celeborn return, they share the distressing news with the other elves.

3.
Meeting by firelight. As the news of the attack spreads, the elves gather to discuss what should be done. Elwë tells the other elves what he saw. In this meeting, it is revealed that Elwë is the first survivor of an attack by the Dark Rider [Elvish name used]. Other elves (including many of the Vanyar) have gone missing, but no one knew what had happened to them. We meet Ingwë, who has lost his mother and father, and Finwë who is Elwë's friend and is interested in taking precautions to prevent this in the future. There is a lot of disagreement about what should be done. The Vanyar have been concerned about this for some time (and that's why they live on the island). The Noldor are skeptical about the malicious intent behind the attacks - they know elves have been disappearing, but until now were willing to blame accidents or beasts. The Teleri are rather fearful about all of this and don't know what to do. Dissatisfying end to discussion. [Optional: Mysterious cloaked stranger watching the meeting? Melkor or Sauron?]

3.5
This is followed by a daily elvish life sequence. We learn that Míriel is engaged to Finwë and that Elwë is unmarried.

4. First plot point
Memorial interrupted by Oromë. The elves gather and sing a lament for the elves who have been lost. Suddenly, a large figure on a horse appears before them! For a moment, everyone freezes in shock. Then, most of the elves scatter, wanting to get far away from the terrifying figure. Ingwë stands his ground so there is a tableau of him and Oromë staring at one another in both surprise and curiosity. Then, the moment is broken (someone calls Ingwë's name, Nahar stamps, etc) and he too runs away.

Act Two
5.
Elves try to decide what this visitor means. Ingwë insists that this Rider is not a bad thing; other elves are convinced that it is a bad omen.

6. First pinch point
Earthquake, lightning, panic. The Teleri are terrified ('The Sky is Falling!'). The Noldor accept their fate (We've had a good run, but it's over now.) The Vanyar have Estel (There's nothing we can do about this, but let's trust it will turn out okay). We have the point of view of young Celeborn (possibly with voiceover).

7.
Early battle. There are very remote sounds and flashes from the battle at Utumno. [The viewer should recognize events such the arrival of Eonwë by lighting bolt from Season 1 Episode 13.] The elves abandon some of their houses and build more defensive (underground?) hideouts.

8. Mid point
Lull, fire across the lake. As time progresses, the battle seems to die down. In the lull, the elves wonder...is it over? And then...it is closer! Fire in the trees across the Lake, sounds of battle.

Act Three
9.
Evacuation to Vanyar island. The elves decide to evacuate to the island of the Vanyar (using simple ferry boats).

10. Second pinch point
Fire in the sky, discussion of abandoning Cuiviénen. [Some run off into the woods, never to be seen again?] They watch the fires spread around the Lake.

11.
The battle's anticlimax. It quiets down. A rainstorm comes up and puts out the fires. There is confusion on the part of the elves....is it really over now? Rebuild and return to life as normal (though still on the Island).

12. Second plot point
Establish diaspora plan. The elves do not intend to stay in one place, but to explore the many unknown places of the world. They are preparing their boats and having a feast and song to celebrate 'Hey we're still alive!' [This is meant as a farewell feast for the elves who are leaving the island.] Oromë interrupts.
As they are singing their song, Oromë (less tall/terrifying than before) appears on the shore and joins their song, his voice carrying across the water. The elves...stop singing.

Act Four
13.
Ingwë wants to get in a boat and go to the shore. Other elves try to stop him. Ingwë is insistent that he wants to meet this being and that it's not a bad thing. He is hopeful and excited.

14. Climax 1
Elwë is most adamant about him not going, that it's dangerous. Avari-spokesman (from Episode 3) is adamant that all that is waiting for him across the Lake is death. Ingwë informs everyone that he is going regardless, and invites others to come with him.

15. Climax 2
Finwë passionately convinces Elwë of his sense of adventure; he and Elwë, who overcomes his fear, join Ingwë in the boat. Their boat leaves first, and then other Vanyar (and some others) get in boats and follow him. The Avari all stay on the island.

Dénouement
16.
Main: The boats cross the lake, Ingwë, Finwë and Elwë stand in front of Oromë. [Greetings exchanged?]
Frame: Celeborn emphasizes the choice of response to the Shadow (echoing some of what Ingwë had said). Arwen is no longer silenced/paralyzed by her fears.




I would like to get this cleaned up/finalized enough to share with Corey, Trish and Dave prior to next week's session. So, one week left for input!
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
It occurs to me that the meeting with Oromë is a 'first contact' scene that will not only mirror other later scenes in our series (Finrod meeting the Men of Beor), but also recall other first contact scenes from other films. And I know this is more of a casting issue, but such scenes are *typically* shown from the point of view of the more 'advanced' white culture meeting and interacting with the indigenous culture. [Probably in part because it's not like the Romans had cameras when they met various barbarian cultures, etc.] We have the opportunity to both put more clothes on the elves than is typical, and to have the very blond, possibly very white Vanyar be the 'primitive' receiving culture here. Oromë is, of course, the tall blond Swedish actor Alexander Skarsgård.

Some examples:

The Mission (1986) - the Spanish Jesuit Fr. Gabriel meets the native people who (unfortunately for them) live on the border between Spanish-claimed territory and Portuguese-claimed territory. The last missionary to visit them was killed, so Fr. Gabriel uses music to breach the language barrier without getting killed. [Based on a book, loosely based on some sorta-real historical events. Kinda.]

The End of the Spear (2005) - A group of missionaries from the US want to make contact with the Waodani in Ecuador. This (second) meeting ends rather badly for the missionaries. The setup was actually well done - the viewers follow the story of the Waodani, so they know who these people are and what is going on on their side of the conversation (unlike the missionaries on screen, who were just repeating stock phrases and not understanding). The confusion was conveyed very well. This scene is quite violent and there's not much talking. [Based on real events; the (surviving) people involved were consultants on the film.]

First contact video from Papua New Guinea (1976), narrated by the white man


Now that I think about it, I think I *have* been the first white person someone has ever seen. She was a little 2 year old girl in Ziway, Ethiopia, and when her older brother saw me in the street, he ran back into the house to get her. When she saw me, she cried. [Not unlike my own 2 year old nephew's reaction to seeing a picture of Darth Vader for the first time.] So, all I could say was 'Excuse me! I'm sorry!' over and over in her language to apologize. I could be wrong about that, though - there were white people living in her town, so it's not like she would never have had the chance to see them. It's just possible that...she had not before. Or maybe I'm just naturally terrifying looking.



I bring all of this up in the context of working out what 'fear' means when you encounter a new culture and don't know how to communicate. Obviously, a TV show that frequently deals with the topic of strange cultures meeting is Star Trek. We could look at what they do well (and not-so-well) for inspiration.

I am *not* for instance suggesting that Oromë's entrance have anything to do with Q's!

Nor that Oromë learn elvish speech by trying to mindmeld with them:


But Oromë is a Hunter and he is coming directly from a battle - he should have visible weapons on his person, and the elves might react to that.
 
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Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
You know, I actually met Elizabeth Elliot some years ago. Her husband, Jim Elliot, was one of the missionaries on whose ministry and death The End of the Spear was based.

Her book, Through Gates of Splendour, was an excellent read, and I highly recommend it. An amazing story, especially when the families continued to mininster to the Auca afterwards.

I had not thought of it this way, but perhaps Oromë feels similarly about his mission to how the Elliots and Saints did. One of divine importance and love.

We can depict the initial contact as very hesitant, despite Ingwë's resolve. He fully understands that this being could destroy him with ease.

I think, perhaps, that we should cut from the decision of the Valar to Oromë walking among the Quendi, much as a foreign explorer or missionary would walk amongst the native population of a new land in which he had only just gained limited and very cautious access.

We could see him smiling at curious children, and perhaps some of them are shuffled off by their parents in fear of this intimidating, still rather large person of warlike appearance and garb.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
Yes, 'The End of the Spear' had a much happier ending than 'The Mission,' though you might not guess that from these clips!

I am thinking that showing the extreme hesitance of some of the elves (like keeping the kids away from Oromë) would explain the need for ambassadors in the first place - the elves are certainly not ready to follow Oromë off into the unknown...but Ingwë is!

Oromë should have his own wonder, delight in getting to meet the Children, and a wish to protect them. He will completely drop out of our story after the rebellion of the Noldor, though, so I'm not sure what to make of that.
 
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