Session 2.12 for S2E08

Ray Burns

Active Member
I was thinking more the testosterone-filled (or Elvish equivalent) 20 year old Fingolfin. By the time we get to the sword-brandishing incident, Fingolfin has learned what will anger Feanor the most and still get his point across.

Which brings up a point to ponder... how does the rest of the room react? Are there other Feanorians in attendance who's hands fall to the hilts of their swords to back Feanor's play? Does anyone follow Fingolfin out of the room?
 

Shawn Mitchell

Active Member
I was thinking more the testosterone-filled (or Elvish equivalent) 20 year old Fingolfin. By the time we get to the sword-brandishing incident, Fingolfin has learned what will anger Feanor the most and still get his point across.

Which brings up a point to ponder... how does the rest of the room react? Are there other Feanorians in attendance who's hands fall to the hilts of their swords to back Feanor's play? Does anyone follow Fingolfin out of the room?
What Feanor did (in conjunction to the open brandishing of weapons), to my understanding, was unprecedented. I've always imagined stunned and shocked elves ... except for Fingolfin. Who, as MithLuin pointed out, just gave him the silent death stare.
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
As I read it, Finwe calls all of the lords together to discuss the unrest that Feanor has been fomenting. Fingolfin has just finished speaking on the subject when Feanor enters, accuses him of usurpation, and draws his sword. Fingolfin doesn't even look at Feanor, but leaves, probably trying to restrain himself and de-escalate the situation.

Then Feanor follows him out into what looks like a doorway to a large courtyard (lots of people hear him, it says, not just the people in the room), and actually threatens him with the sword. Again, Fingolfin doesn't say a word, but walks off. It would seem that Finarfin is not present, by the way, since Fingolfin is going to find him.
 

Marielle

Well-Known Member
I was thinking more the testosterone-filled (or Elvish equivalent) 20 year old Fingolfin. By the time we get to the sword-brandishing incident, Fingolfin has learned what will anger Feanor the most and still get his point across.

Which brings up a point to ponder... how does the rest of the room react? Are there other Feanorians in attendance who's hands fall to the hilts of their swords to back Feanor's play? Does anyone follow Fingolfin out of the room?
While it's an essential moment for Fingolfin to walk away from Feanor's threats, there is a danger in making him too stoic. Remember, this is the guy who basically throws his life away challenging Morgoth to a direct fight (I know, it's awesome and heroic and everything, but it's still a Child challenging a Vala. It's reckless, to say the least), paralleling Feanor's end in some interesting ways.

Rather, it would emphasize the fundamental differences between the two if there are sharp words shared between the two in earlier confrontations, making it an open question how Fingolfin could respond. In that critical moment, we could set it up that, for an instant, we think he's going to return violent gesture with violent gesture, but then Fingolfin takes a deep breath/looks at his father/glances at his wife/something to indicate thinking this through, and chooses to walk away.

As to how the rest of the room reacts: I'm thinking stunned silence until Fingolfin is out of the room. Then they explode in a fury of whispers-that-aren't-exactly-whispers. Something along the lines of "DID THAT JUST HAPPEN!?!"

After all, the Valar are going to exile Feanor for this, and everyone except Finwe should be able to see how much as Big Deal this is.
 

Ray Burns

Active Member
While it's an essential moment for Fingolfin to walk away from Feanor's threats, there is a danger in making him too stoic.
I like this. We should be able to see that, under other circumstances, Fingolfin would not walk away. With family and friends around to support him, he does take that metaphorical and literal deep breath and step back. The audience should be thinking, 'whoa, it's a good thing that there were people there, or who knows what Fingolfin would have done'.
 

Phillip Menzies

Moderator
Staff member
I thought it was about time a weighed in after reading all your great ideas.
  1. the Trial. I think this is another opportunity to show the passage of time. Remember time means almost nothing to the Valar and I think the trial should last many many cycles of the trees (we cannot use terms such as day or years). Don't forget these are the people who forgot about the Teleri and left them on the shores of Middle Earth for a couple of thousand years. This will give us the opportunity to switch away from the trial and see the elf generations growing up. I would say the ents are positively hasty in comparison to the Valar when such an important issue is on the table. We also need to believe that Melkor's repentance is genuine and he can refer to the time spent with his hosts (Mandos and Vaire) as cherished time where he learned the error of his ways.
  2. I think there should elf representatives at the trial for the same reasons put forward by Nick in his scenarios and it is also a great opportunity to show some elf culture. We need to establish the pattern of the Lord and Lady of the elf kingdom so the reps should be Ingwe and spouse, Finwe and Indris and finally Olwe and spouse (this becomes such a regular thing in Tolkien). I appreciate that the Teleri do not get involved in the goings on in Valinor but this is such an important thing and we can get across their attitude through dialogue or maybe Olwe and his wife do not continue attending to the very end.
  3. As for B stories or what else apart from the trial, the idea of Melkor working among the people of Valinor to prove his trustworthiness is valid, but in addition it needs to be in terms of reparations for what he did in season 1. So what were his crimes in season 1? The breaking of the lamps although not directly responsible he should still deny liability but accept the responsibility for the misguided efforts of his followers (he took light away, he should bring light back to all) . There were the monsters which is why I think the hunting for rouge ones on the borders of Valinor is good (this may be when he discovers the location of Ungoliant). He can accept his mistake in creating them in the first place. There was also the chaos (remember the Blind Guardian moment?) so he can work towards the ordering of the world. I like the ideas about light and illuminating Tirion.
  4. What everyone else said.
 
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Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
Ok, we need to be careful with the structure of this episode. Either the trial is the main focus and is not resolved until the episode ends, or it is resolved in the first act, setting up his probation to be the main conflict of the story. We cannot have the trial as the main plot, with Melkor's Noldor Outreach Program (NOP) as a B plot, otherwise we lose momentum halfway through the episode.

Typically, we address such issues in the script discussion, but I bring this up now to minimize changes that we would need to make at that point, forcing us to defend such changes later.
 

Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
I think it would be better to show passage if time after the trial than during it. I mean I guess you could do it th eway Phillip suggests but I think it would be a bit strange and risk looking silly. I mean, a Vala is talking, and Finwë leaves with a small grandchild, another Vala answers and Finwë returns with the grandchild grown up... It would be like an extreme version of the Entmoot.
 

Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
We should do something involving Eärwen and Anairë, wives of Finarfin and Fingolfin, showing their close friendship. This could be done in Alqualondë, involving the places where the kinslaying takes place later on.
 

Ray Burns

Active Member
As for the trial, it can be a main focus of the episode without dominating the episode timewise. Game of Thrones has done that to great effect in a couple of events. The trial of Tyrion actually takes up less than 20 minutes of screen time, but it literally is one of THE focal points of the episode and of the series, so all anyone remembers is the trial. The (spoiler) destruction of the Sept of Balor was 12 minutes long, but everyone talks about it as if it was the entire episode.

The key was that every moment of those events was a 'punch in the gut' for the viewer. If we can do that for the trial, then the length devoted to it isn't as important as the import that we deliver it with.
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
I'm not concerned about the screen time of the trial. It just would need to end at the climax of the episode in act 4 in order for it to be the main focus.
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
Ok, we have a major problem with this episode structurally, and I want to address it here before it goes into Script Discussion in a few week.s


If the trial ends mid-episode, the main conflict of the episode is not the trial, but the elves' reaction to Melkor. If we do not set up that conflict until the midpoint of the episode, we have two separate episodes.... Discuss.
 

Ray Burns

Active Member
Would it be possible that, during a break in the trial when the Elves (and the audience) take a breath that we have a discussion amongst the Elves about what they are seeing and their perceptions of the trial in general and Melkor in particular? That way, we can be developing the reaction to Melkor in parallel with the progression of the trial. That way, when the trial ends mid-episode, the Elvish reaction to Melkor is already beginning to develop. We could even have, during the trial itself, reaction and whispered discussions between the elves in attendance so rather than having two separate episodic conflicts, we have one that dovetails into the other.

From a script perspective, it's going to have to rely a lot on switching from the trial itself to the elvish reaction and discussion without losing momentum for both.
 

Richol Richards

Well-Known Member
Here's everything I gathered from the live session:


Preamble

- Begin episode with flashback of trial (depiction of Melkor as haughty/defiant/angry)

- Big picture view for episode: replicate the feeling that something is not right for the viewers (should believe Melkor but…)

- Emphasis: Melkor in a positive light, all the way through to episode 10(?).


Trial

Location: Ring of Doom

Ends: middle of episode

Attendees:

Melkor

· His three ages of confinement given for him to reflect and contemplate the error of his ways and hopefully change (this is especially Manwë’s hope) <-- Set all this up in flashback, during sentencing

· He gives them *exactly* what they wanted (above)

· NO hint of pride at all, completely changed (for all appearances)

· Repentant, sincere manner. Willingness to comply


Manwë

· How do we make Manwë give Melkor a chance without making him look stupid?

- Private conversation with Varda post-trial, shows that he believes Melkor could actually change, which he saw at the trial. Has a decision to proceed in hope or in no hope. He chooses hope, knowing it may not work out. (A hint of “evil may be good to have been” in this conversation, a lot of “Deep Silmarillion Philosopy”, etc)


Tulkas & Ulmo

· Attitude of Tulkas a possible foil for Manwë's leniency

- Tulkas shown as closed-minded, doesn’t trust Melkor AT ALL.

- Viewers may be hesitant to side with Tulkas’ closed-mindedness, more sympathy for Melkor

- Melkor to Tulkas/Valar: “What could I possibly say or do to satisfy you, Tulkas?”

· Ulmo says very little, but clearly not moved by Melkor’s words


Nienna

· Speaks up for Melkor (should be a central, moving point in the Trial)

· Foreshadows the pity of Bilbo for Gollum

· Speech further highlights Manwë didn’t necessarily make the wrong choice

· Has follow up conversation (after the Darkening) with an ‘antagonist’ Vala (Tulkas/Oromë?)

Vala: “So it was wrong to have pity on him.”, etc.

Nienna: “No, it wasn’t wrong.”, etc. (More connection to Frodo and Gollum)


Mandos

· Silent, does nothing

· Possibly exchanges glances with Vairë during trial



Concerning Elves…


· No elves

- Works in favour of Melkors lies later

- Supports Fëanor’s implication in his speech “Is he not Vala, as they?” (doesn’t trust Valar, thinks they’ve been keeping secrets)

- This clear division could be made to look ominous

- Elves would otherwise have a role of “judges” in relation to Melkor, just by being present as witnesses at the trial(should be asked to accept Melkor afterward instead, by the Valar)


But….


· How doe we avoid making the Valar look shady to the viewers, if no elves invited?

- Set up relationship of Valar and elves accordingly so that it’s understandable/natural they wouldn’t include the elves in this matter

- Clear hierarchy in relationship (parents/children, big sibling/little sibling)… they don’t just “hang out” as equals…but the Valar are accessible

- Maiar-elves relationship similar? Shouldn’t be close enough to assume a romantic relationship between the two races (e.g. Olorin more aware of and
knows the elves more than they know him)



Post-Trial


· Not a lot of Melkor & elves interaction in latter half of episode (pushed to later). Show Melkor as what he would have been like as a good guy all along, the one Manwë believes in.

· Elves to focus on:

- Fëanor & Fingolfin (establish the characters, viewers begin to see their relationship)

- Fingolfin as better leader, selfless, giving, but Fëanor is clearly Greater. Fingolfin shouldn’t look too smarmy, nor should Fëanor look too petty

- Nerdanel’s take on the brothers

- Finarfin (third wheel, totally eclipsed by other two brothers throughout most of the episodes but ends up being the greatest of all in terms of choices)

- Fingon & Maedhros (basically establish they’re best buds, a matched set, friendship predates tension)

- Aredhel & Galadriel as babes in arms


Mairon Plot....

- Angband gang shouldn’t have info on Valinor or Melkor

- Parallel Melkor’s ‘good’ with Mairon’s increasing evil (Mairon gets a taste of power…and likes it.)

- In effect (for those who may buy into it), Mairon is taking over as the main villain, leaving Melkor out of suspicion.


Okay so in answer to the main conflict question... I think I'm a bit mixed up on whether the conflict is the audience's interpretation of Melkor or the elves' reaction to him. I think if we're going to have the elves reaction it should, as Ray says, probably be during the trial itself. But this means the elves are present, which is something we'll have to nail down for sure.

Edit: I totally forgot to include the whole Palantiri dilemma, but MithLuin has created a special post for that, which is way more helpful. :)

Additional edit: "So it is doomed" correction
 
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MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
The elves are not going to be present at the Trial.

Also, Melkor is not going to be doing much reaching out to the elves (or the Noldor, rather) in this episode, as that is now meant to be saved for next episode. I...think this episode will need some structuring help, because as-is, it's not really workable. I think we can preserve the key ideas from the Session (that's not an issue), but we will need to work out a plot and storyline. TBD after Halloween, though :p
 

Ray Burns

Active Member
How about this? We have, in brief cutaways during the trial, the reactions of the Elves at being excluded from the trial. They know something big is going on, they know it has to do with another Valar, but everything else is just speculation. So that after the trial is concluded, we have the introductions of the future players in our little game, but we also have some discussion continuing about 'what was the big deal happening at the Mahanaxar? Why weren't we invited?'. That way, in the next episode, as Melkor begins to talk to the Elves, he has a ready-made wedge that he can take advantage of.

It's almost as if the Valar (again, super powerful but not infallible) went out of their way to create a situation that Melkor could later turn to his advantage. (so it is doomed)
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
As a note, 'So it is doomed' is what Mandos says when the Valar invite the elves to Valinor. According to the published Silmarillion, Mandos says *nothing* about/during Melkor's trial here.
 
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