Session 2.13 for S2E09

Phillip Menzies

Moderator
Staff member
The questions for next session 2.13 concerning Episode 9 due to air on Friday the 4th of November 2016 are:
  • How do we want to show the following things?
    • How do we show Melkor sowing the seeds of doubt and rebellion among the Noldor. The challenge being that Melkor needs to be shown in an absolutely positive way with nothing villainous coming from him,
    • the making of the Silmarils. Do we show their making on stage or off stage? and how we depict the silmarils?
    • the decline of Fëanor. How and in what ways does he shift and change under Melkor's influence? What role do we see the palantiri taking in his decline?
    • introduce the 3rd generation of elves and their subplots
      1. Celegorm and Huan
      2. Maglor and Turgon
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
I want to use the scene of Celegorm and Huan hunting with Oromë to:

1) Establish that Celegorm gets along really well with animals - are we going to have him speaking their languages?
2) Show the relationship of someone from the Fëanorean camp with one of the Valar and have it be one of friendship - there is no awkward distance or distrust between them.
3) Show how Oromë is dealing with Melkor's release. He is not named in the 'Tulkas and Ulmo hate this' camp, but he has to be pretty close to that. So...what are his feeling on the matter?
4) Show Huan's complete loyalty to Celegorm. I mean, he's a dog...show him acting like a dog.

 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
The decline of Fëanor. How and in what ways does he shift and change under Melkor's influence? What role do we see the palantiri taking in his decline?
Hmmmm....I don't really accept this premise. Fëanor fully rejects Melkor and wants nothing to do with him, having 'seen through' him almost immediately. The irony, of course, is that as Melkor's whisper campaign gets underway, the lies do make their way to Fëanor and he does believe them. In part...because there is truth mixed in, and in part because of Fëanor's own insecurities about being usurped in his father's heart by the family of Indis.

The 'truth' is that by inviting the elves to Valinor, the Valar have left Middle Earth wide open...for the eventual coming of Men. The palantíri would show Fëanor how vast the lands of Middle Earth are, and how Valinor feels 'small' in comparison. This would lead to him feeling that he has been stuffed into a cage by the Valar, and was born into captivity. He would...chafe under such an implication, and desire to be free, free to explore other lands, even if they are currently in darkness.

The insecurity would be furthered by actual interactions with Fingolfin, and thus the lies have something to work on.

I would like for Fëanor's first meeting with Melkor to occur in Lorien. Fëanor comes to visit Míriel's body, and when he walks into the grove of trees where she is....he sees Melkor standing over her (apparently) contemplating her dead body. The instant dislike between them would be palpable under these conditions, I think, and Melkor's words could be fair, but his action would be sufficiently creepy enough (while still ambiguous - what was his intention? What was he thinking about? Who knows?)

I would like to see an increase in Fëanor's paranoia and possessiveness, but mostly just hints at this point (it's still too soon for full-blown conflict). The incident with Galadriel's hair should show that he has a disregard for others and doesn't appreciate being told 'No'. (But he does respect her - he doesn't attempt to forcibly cut her hair or trick it out of her or anything like that.)
 

Ray Burns

Active Member
I agree with Nicholas, we must see the creation of the Silmarils on-screen. It doesn't have to be continuous scenes of a shirtless Feanor sweating over a blazing hot forge, but can be him feverishly working on the design at a workdesk, coupled with shots of his work room with drawings all over the walls. And then the AHA! moment when as he's working (and maybe this is shot from behind him so we don't actually see what he's working on) suddenly there's a blazing flash of light that fills the room with a warm glow. And maybe that's when Maglor walks in and is dumbfounded by what he sees that his father has created I say Maglor simply because then he becomes the first and last of Feanor's sons to behold a Silmaril making a nice little cycle.

One way that we might show Feanor's decline in his style of dress. Initially, he would be shown dressed as others of the Noldor, just maybe with more jewelry and adornments. As his skills develop, his raiment becomes even more spectacular. But, as he declines, he begins wearing more things that have a military flare to them with less and less adornments.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
How do we show Melkor sowing the seeds of doubt and rebellion among the Noldor. The challenge being that Melkor needs to be shown in an absolutely positive way with nothing villainous coming from him.
The low-hanging fruit on this is to have him 'accidentally' reveal the coming of Men when the Valar hadn't mentioned it yet. That can be played off as confusion over, 'You don't know? Oh, but I thought you had been here for awhile. Then they didn't mention it? Oh, I'm sorry, I thought everyone already knew...yes, yes, there is another race, you aren't the only Children....but you're here, and no doubt those other children will be in Middle Earth. They really didn't mention it? How odd....'

Melkor would also be curious what the other Valar have said about him to the Elves, and will go fishing for that info. IF the trial was a Valar-only affair (no elves allowed), then Melkor can emphasize the 'well, I'd better not speak about it' fake-reluctance, as if he would be 'betraying' the trust of the Valar by saying anything. And this would make it look like the Valar have something to hide. Melkor could say nothing, and allow the elves to speculate that there was some sort of back-room deal involved.

But as to how he is going to ramp up the interpersonal friction between the different camps of the Noldor...that will be harder.
 

Ray Burns

Active Member
But as to how he is going to ramp up the interpersonal friction between the different camps of the Noldor...that will be harder.
This has, to me, always been puzzling. Did Melkor start the dissension and if so, how? If he didn't start the dissension but only capitalized on existing friction, then what started the original dissension?

Both versions have their appeal and their drawbacks. If Melkor started the dissension, why didn't the Noldor simply compare notes and figure out that they were being played? There had to be some sort of interpersonal friction there already that was just exacerbated by Melkor's lies and half-truths. Perhaps the Finwe/Indis issue was a bigger 'thing' for some elves?
 

Shawn Mitchell

Active Member
This has, to me, always been puzzling. Did Melkor start the dissension and if so, how? If he didn't start the dissension but only capitalized on existing friction, then what started the original dissension?

Both versions have their appeal and their drawbacks. If Melkor started the dissension, why didn't the Noldor simply compare notes and figure out that they were being played? There had to be some sort of interpersonal friction there already that was just exacerbated by Melkor's lies and half-truths. Perhaps the Finwe/Indis issue was a bigger 'thing' for some elves?
Ray, I think it's very easy to forget that the Noldor had become a very prideful people by this time. And I don't mean that in a good way. In reading the Sil you get the feeling that Tolkien is trying to point out that they weren't the "sweet and innocent" children they once were. Not that they were a bad people ... they had just become prideful and jealous of their own works and greatness. I think Melkor simply planted seeds in a field that was already prepped and fertilized. Plus, with the execs not wanting to show any deceit in Melkor we have to show the Noldor, on their own, becoming prideful and jealous. Of course it doesn't have to be done in an absurd, over the top, kind of a way. Throw in some "disgruntled" elves concerning Finwe/Indis (like you mentioned), a "dropped" hint at the coming of men (mentioned by MithLuin) and you have pretty good set up for what is to come.
 

Shawn Mitchell

Active Member
I agree with Nicholas, we must see the creation of the Silmarils on-screen. It doesn't have to be continuous scenes of a shirtless Feanor sweating over a blazing hot forge, but can be him feverishly working on the design at a workdesk, coupled with shots of his work room with drawings all over the walls. And then the AHA! moment when as he's working (and maybe this is shot from behind him so we don't actually see what he's working on) suddenly there's a blazing flash of light that fills the room with a warm glow. And maybe that's when Maglor walks in and is dumbfounded by what he sees that his father has created I say Maglor simply because then he becomes the first and last of Feanor's sons to behold a Silmaril making a nice little cycle.

One way that we might show Feanor's decline in his style of dress. Initially, he would be shown dressed as others of the Noldor, just maybe with more jewelry and adornments. As his skills develop, his raiment becomes even more spectacular. But, as he declines, he begins wearing more things that have a military flare to them with less and less adornments.
The part that is hard for me to conceptualize is whether or not it is leaning towards "magic" or purely "science." Are the scenes of their creation going to be a scientist working on his latest project or a magician working with potions and elixirs? I've always seen it more of a purely science project ... but the science we have now wasn't there in that time. Do we go that route anyway? If we go with a more "magical" perspective is that staying more with what Tolkien wanted us to envision? Would an audience really buy this almost prehistoric figure using current science ... i.e. the drawings are filled with calculus and quantum mechanics? Or should the drawing be more arcane? This part has always been tough for me.
 

Shawn Mitchell

Active Member
I would like for Fëanor's first meeting with Melkor to occur in Lorien. Fëanor comes to visit Míriel's body, and when he walks into the grove of trees where she is....he sees Melkor standing over her (apparently) contemplating her dead body. The instant dislike between them would be palpable under these conditions, I think, and Melkor's words could be fair, but his action would be sufficiently creepy enough (while still ambiguous - what was his intention? What was he thinking about? Who knows?)
MithLuin, I really like this but the very reason I like it suggests that the execs won't go for it. Every time I think of this scene I see Melkor as the super creepy guy ... and he is! Which is why I like the scene but that violates the exec approach in this episode doesn't it? Now I think, and I might be wrong, what your getting at the fact that Miriel's case is such an anomaly it wouldn't be weird for him to be there. We would have to make it VERY clear that Melkor is not the only individual who comes there for the very fact that that her case is so odd ... IF we want to keep Melkor squeaky clean. When I think of myself as an audience member, watching this, and we see Feanor walking down the hall and Melkor is standing over his mother I'm thinking, "... oh so he IS still the bad guy." I think it would be hard to get around that. However, it is an excellent way to set up their animosity towards one another.
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
The part that is hard for me to conceptualize is whether or not it is leaning towards "magic" or purely "science." Are the scenes of their creation going to be a scientist working on his latest project or a magician working with potions and elixirs? I've always seen it more of a purely science project ... but the science we have now wasn't there in that time. Do we go that route anyway? If we go with a more "magical" perspective is that staying more with what Tolkien wanted us to envision? Would an audience really buy this almost prehistoric figure using current science ... i.e. the drawings are filled with calculus and quantum mechanics? Or should the drawing be more arcane? This part has always been tough for me.


My interpretation of the "Art" of the elves has always that they have a deeper, more intuitive understanding of how the world works than we do. Galadriel seems quite hesitant to call what the elves do "magic". It seems quite tied to the making of wondrous things. Instead of needing blackboards covered in equations, Fëanor understands quantum physics. Making any sense?
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
The part that is hard for me to conceptualize is whether or not it is leaning towards "magic" or purely "science." Are the scenes of their creation going to be a scientist working on his latest project or a magician working with potions and elixirs? I've always seen it more of a purely science project ... but the science we have now wasn't there in that time. Do we go that route anyway? If we go with a more "magical" perspective is that staying more with what Tolkien wanted us to envision? Would an audience really buy this almost prehistoric figure using current science ... i.e. the drawings are filled with calculus and quantum mechanics? Or should the drawing be more arcane? This part has always been tough for me.
It can be calculus written in Tengwar so it will look arcane. (I'd lean towards Trig, actually, for gem making, but...you get the idea.)


I realize that doesn't answer your fundamental question - magic or science? This isn't Aulë making the dwarves or Yavanna 'inventing' trees - they are primordial beings and the audience expects them to have magical powers. Elves are...different. They can do things that look like magic to Men, but consider it more 'devices' themselves. So....I think we should hint at magic (it requires his active will; he's not sitting there asleep on the bench waiting for his project to finish cooking). Without it being too....potion-y.


I don't want the viewers to laugh at a sequence of bad science - that's not how that works! haha.... I want it to be a more moving and intense scene of personal creativity. But what does it look like? There's the rub....
 

Richol Richards

Well-Known Member
MithLuin, I really like this but the very reason I like it suggests that the execs won't go for it. Every time I think of this scene I see Melkor as the super creepy guy ... and he is! Which is why I like the scene but that violates the exec approach in this episode doesn't it? Now I think, and I might be wrong, what your getting at the fact that Miriel's case is such an anomaly it wouldn't be weird for him to be there. We would have to make it VERY clear that Melkor is not the only individual who comes there for the very fact that that her case is so odd ... IF we want to keep Melkor squeaky clean. When I think of myself as an audience member, watching this, and we see Feanor walking down the hall and Melkor is standing over his mother I'm thinking, "... oh so he IS still the bad guy." I think it would be hard to get around that. However, it is an excellent way to set up their animosity towards one another.
Indeed, the very first thing I thought of when the Execs mentioned portraying Melkor in a *completely* positive light was "But what does this mean for the creepy Lorien scene??". Because I think it is the perfect way to set up Fëanor's dislike (and eventual hatred) for Melkor and wouldn't want to lose it. You're right - Míriel's case *is* an anomaly; it's not hard to imagine at least some degree of curiosity, for lack of a better word. But who would still be visiting Míriel at this point, besides loved ones? If there was an element of curiosity among any of the elves, might it have worn off by now? However, Melkor is a 'new' arrival. Maybe we could set his visit up with a scene where he briefly converses with someone and he hears about Míriel and seems shocked and saddened that a Child would fade in this way in the Undying Lands. There's probably some better way to do this, but I haven't had coffee yet and my faculties are at 10% right about now. :)
 

Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
I have a few questions. Exactly what is Melkor up to in Lorien in general and at Míriel's resting place in particular? What is he trying to achieve? Is he trying to achieve anything? Or is he just satisfying his curiosity?

Is Míriel in Mandos as well as having her body remaining in Lorien? If so, Melkor could be curious about how this works. I know I would be if I were him. He could argue that he's seen Míriel in Mandos and wants to check out how her hroa is doing... He could even say that he met Míriel when he was leaving Mandos. A bit far fetched, perhaps. Or he could suggest that something should be done with her hroa, that she should be taken to Mandos? I don't know, it's a curious case of out of body experience.
 
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MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
Melkor's curiosity related to the separation of elvish fëa from their hroa is, of course, quite sinister. It's not innocent curiosity. However, I think he can dissemble enough to portray this interest as academic curiosity with a goal of 'helping' to remedy/prevent that situation in the future. He is, among other things, a convincing liar. Fëanor will not buy it and be suspicious, but the audience might see Melkor's point of view.

I agree that this scene would be tricky to keep with 'Good Guy Melkor' - but I think this is also an opportunity for him to talk his way out of situation that does not look good. I'll understand if it gets vetoed, but I want to make sure it is considered.



Could making the silmarils have some nods to alchemy in it? (listening to the web-a-thon :p )
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
I think that here we're seeing some of the drawbacks of attempting to fool the audience with Melkor's repentance. Anyone with half a brain and an internet connection will know that even if genuine, it won't last, and just going back on it after a few episodes won't garner any kind of shock. I maintain still that trying to fool the audience here not only lacks emotional resonance, but will not meet with any kind of success.


All of that off my chest, let me try to make it work anyway:

Every time he lies, someone we like has to be convinced. Also, we have to protray those who aren't convinced as somewhat unsympathetic, as the hosts suggested be done with Tulkas.

To use the creepily standing over Miriel scene as an example, Fëanor could be immediately suspicious, but Melkor makes a good case and convinces Finwë. Finwë then says to Fëanor that, "He's right. No one should have to go through the suffering your mother did..."


So, when Melkor says things that incite Fëanor and Fingolfin (also described as having a pride issue in this situation), they need to A) not be conflicting statements, and B) seem to be out of legitimate concern.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
I don't want to try to fool the audience. It likely won't work and will come off as a cheap trick.

I do, however, want to plant doubt in the audience's minds. I want them to at least consider the possibility that Melkor's repentance is genuine and that he's on a different path now. I want them to question their conclusion that 'obviously' Melkor is bluffing.

So, when he turns out to have been bad all along, they will feel somewhat vindicated - told you that wouldn't last - but in the moment of these 3 or so episodes, they have to wonder if the other characters are right about him or not.

That means that Melkor can never give the game away, speak directly to the camera, or reveal his plans to a confidante. It doesn't necessarily mean he can't behave suspiciously. There just has to be at least one plausible explanation of what he is up to being above-board.
 

Shawn Mitchell

Active Member
My interpretation of the "Art" of the elves has always that they have a deeper, more intuitive understanding of how the world works than we do. Galadriel seems quite hesitant to call what the elves do "magic". It seems quite tied to the making of wondrous things. Instead of needing blackboards covered in equations, Fëanor understands quantum physics. Making any sense?
Nicholas, what you're saying, in concept, makes perfect sense. In fact, in my opinion, your statement on this lines up perfectly with what I perceive Tolkien portrayed/conveyed in the books. However (yes, you knew that was coming), this "concept" is exactly the kind of thing that Professor Olsen has stated over and over again in regards to - it works PERFECTLY in a book, NOT on screen. On screen we have literally show something. And really it's going to have to come down to some science or magic or a combination AND not look hokey.
 

Shawn Mitchell

Active Member
It can be calculus written in Tengwar so it will look arcane. (I'd lean towards Trig, actually, for gem making, but...you get the idea.)


I realize that doesn't answer your fundamental question - magic or science? This isn't Aulë making the dwarves or Yavanna 'inventing' trees - they are primordial beings and the audience expects them to have magical powers. Elves are...different. They can do things that look like magic to Men, but consider it more 'devices' themselves. So....I think we should hint at magic (it requires his active will; he's not sitting there asleep on the bench waiting for his project to finish cooking). Without it being too....potion-y.


I don't want the viewers to laugh at a sequence of bad science - that's not how that works! haha.... I want it to be a more moving and intense scene of personal creativity. But what does it look like? There's the rub....
Yeah the Tengwar/Calculus thing actually could work. Though Tolkien used it sparingly this IS an arcane world that is "magical" in a sense. Nicholas made a very good point about how Feanor probably just KNOWS the science and that IS in line with Tolkiens concepts. The audience will, however, want to see something on the screen and showing science in an arcane language ... well, that might very well suffice AND not look hokey. I agree, we absolutely can NOT have the audience laughing at the process that we show on screen.
 

Shawn Mitchell

Active Member
I think that here we're seeing some of the drawbacks of attempting to fool the audience with Melkor's repentance. Anyone with half a brain and an internet connection will know that even if genuine, it won't last, and just going back on it after a few episodes won't garner any kind of shock. I maintain still that trying to fool the audience here not only lacks emotional resonance, but will not meet with any kind of success.
I fully understand that the execs call the shots and sometimes you just have to roll with it ... but I REALLY agree with you on this one. I've never understood how on earth an audience will be fooled for a second by the "new" Melkor haha. BUT, it is what it is and I'm sure we can find some way to make it work.
 
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