Session 3.1 - S3Ep12: Penultimate to the Season Finale

Discussion in 'Episode Questions' started by MithLuin, Mar 9, 2018.

  1. MithLuin

    MithLuin Well-Known Member

    Yes, it's a tradeoff as to which plot line is the dominant one of the Season. You can wrap up your B plot in the penultimate episode, but your primary plot is saved for the finale. Surprising no one, I have a preference for the Feanorean plot line, and prioritize appropriately. That, and Morgoth is the primary antagonist, so the issue he is playing an active role in has to be in Episode 13. Some of the other items can shift (Eol can be in 12 or 13, wherever he fits best.) But Morgoth interrogating Maedhros? That has to go in 13. He'll be stapled to the cliff before the Sun rises, and we *will* show his reaction to that. But as for maintaining any particular timeline between the rising of the Moon and the rising of the Sun. . .the audience isn't going to be given many clues about how long the gap is.
  2. Faelivrin

    Faelivrin Well-Known Member

    Morgoth has appeared on screen before, e.g., sending Gothmog to attack Feanor's camp, and quite personally taking over the Orc project. I don't find that an important enough reason to change the timeline to any significant degree. Especially not if this change requires the parley to happen after the Moon rise, while Fingolfin is already right there next door to the Feanorians... that just couldn't work. Fingolfin's presence would logically have to change everything about what went down. It just doesn't make sense to me for any part of the parley to happen after Fingolfin arrives and the Moon rises, in addition to the problem of changing the story. Maedhros needs to be captured and gone from Mithrim before Fingolfin gets to Middle-earth, before the Moon. Otherwise it would be out of character for Maedhros to go to the parley while completely ignoring Fingolfin's camp and pretending they didn't just arrive in Middle-earth. He would surely choose to delay the parley with Morgoth and first initiate some diplomatic communication with Fingolfin's camp.

    Nor do I conceive of the Feanorian and Fingolfin storylines as being separate from each other anymore in Episode 13. In the Finale, in my mind we just have a single Noldor storyline again, a story that tells of division and distrust/hate and maybe immanent Kinslaying. So I don't see wrapping up a Feanorian subplot and a Helkaraxe subplot before merging them togerther to be a problem -- rather it's one of my goals. I do think their separate events should be concluded before they meet again. To me, the Noldor overall/collectively make up Plot A for the finale, and should especially stay close to the book.

    It also seems that making the Spiders the primary focus of two episodes, and squeezing the Noldor story/stories down into far fewer (and scattered) scenes than the Sindar, would make the Sindar into Plot A instead and the Noldor almost an afterthought. We can give the Spider battle much more than 5 minutes in Episode 12. The Noldor should get more focus than the Sindar in Episode 11 and Episdoe 13 -- because they are Plot A.

    To avoid giving an impression of time passing we would have to never have a shot that showed the position of the Moon in the sky. Otherwise its movement would show time passing and audiences would surely compare that to how long it takes the moon to cross the sky in real life, and conclude that only 12 hours passed. But even the directions of the shadows it casts would give unconscious impressions of time passing at a specific rate to human perception and instincts. Once the Moon rises, we can't make it look timeless.
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2018
  3. Haakon

    Haakon Administrator Staff Member

    I have to say I agree totally with this.
  4. MithLuin

    MithLuin Well-Known Member

    Certainly, the parley happens before the appearance of the host of Fingolfin in Mithrim. That also does not happen until episode 13.
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  5. Faelivrin

    Faelivrin Well-Known Member

    Why can't it happen before the appearance of Fingolfin in Middle-earth? Why can't we put Fingolfin and the Moon at the end of Episode 12?

    And why can't there be any middle ground between "the spider battle takes 5 minutes" and "the spider battle occupies most of 2 episodes" ?
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018
  6. MithLuin

    MithLuin Well-Known Member

    Here is the Season Outline, as updated during the Episode 9 podcast:

    This is what we've been working with. There is some room for shifting things around, but not everything. I am not willing to shift *anything* out of the Finale without a really, really good reason AND a replacement that is equally significant to the season storyline.

    So, in Episode 12, we will see the parley that ends in Maedhros' capture. And we see Fingolfin's host finish crossing the Helcaraxë and arrive in Middle Earth. And the Moon will rise.

    Then, in Episode 13, we will see the Fëanoreans refuse to bargain any further and Maedhros be questioned by Morgoth. He will be stapled to the cliff. The Host of Fingolfin will move into Middle Earth, marching to Thangorodrim and settling in Mithrim.
  7. Ange1e4e5

    Ange1e4e5 Well-Known Member

    On Episode 13: Will Fingolfin’s arrival be heralded by the rising of the Sun? And I take it that Fingon’s rescue of Maedhros will be moved to Season 4?
  8. Faelivrin

    Faelivrin Well-Known Member

    I had suggested moving the Hiding of Valinor from Ep 11 to Ep 13, along with the (less important) the Guest-elves entering Doriath and Eol exiting it. I had generally gotten the impression that the idea was acceptable to people?

    I don't think that the pace of what happens to Maedhros after his brothers refuse to negotiate is hugely important, but at the same time, I also don't see how it would do any harm to show him already on Thangorodrim when Fingolfin marches over there, as in the book. I also don't think Morgoth bothered to wait until after negotiations with his brothers fell through before he started torturing him. This is Morgoth, after all.

    But, @MithLuin, I am not certain at this point whether or not you think Maedhros should be captured after the Moon rises, or wish to put the rising of the Moon in the beginning of Ep 12, the middle, or the end. I think it would be best (most dramatic) for the Moon to rise at the end of Ep 12, after the Girdle of Melian is created.

    I think I did make a good case for why Maedhros needs to be captured before the Moon rises: Maedhros is not going to go attend that parley if he knows Fingolfin and company are marching through Middle-earth, whether or not Fingolfin is still north of the mountains. The Feanorians surely have enough scouts to be aware of their arrival. Maedhros would not pretend that Fingolfin and Fingon had not just arrived, and continue on with the parley as though nothing had changed for the Noldor. It just doesn't make sense to me, it's out of character.

    I don't really think, or am not convinced, that it makes much sense for Maedhros' brothers to also act as though nothing has changed for the Noldor, while they aren't responding to Morgoth's "negotiations", either. All the Feanorians will hear about Fingolfin's arrival pretty soon, from their scouts and/or messengers passing over the plain. They would surely have some kind of reaction, not just continue on with the plot that was written to end before Fingolfin crossed the Ice. The rising of the Moon also ought to change Morgoth's behavior somehow... but in the current outline, the rising of the Moon and arrival of Fingolfin are ignored by the Feanorians and by Morgoth. One of the hugest changes in the history of Middle-earth happens, and... the parley plot continues on, totally unconnected to what just occurred. It doesn't seem to work, for me.

    Also, I though the questions I asked -- about the parley, and the spider battles, and the Moon rising -- were valid ones. I would like to try to compromise about the spider battles or fit them into Episode 12.
    EDIT: But maybe we're talking past each other, and possibly I'm not addressing your points either.
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018
  9. Nicholas Palazzo

    Nicholas Palazzo Well-Known Member

    I'm trying to catch up with this conversation, as I didn't have time at work to do a thorough reading and response to this thread.

    The Fingolfin and Feanorian storylines are decidedly not unified by the end of this season. They will likely only unify for a very short time in S04, but once Maedhros packs them off for parts East, the Feanorians have a very separate story.

    The battle in Doriath with the spiders will certainly not take up most of two episodes, but will occupy a few scenes in both E11 and E12. This will give the Doriath plotline the maximum amount of time to pay off. We do not need to see a bunch of different strategies try and fail, but seeing the spiders nearly penetrate the defenses of Menegroth until Daeron, Luthien, and later Melian get involved, and also seeing Thingol's returning army nearly over-run by the creatures will serve to illustrate just how dangerous these enemies are. This is our B-C plot through E11 and E12, and Doriath is bumped to the C-D plot in E13.

    The Parley

    In my estimation, the parley needs to be teased at the end of E11. There isn't much other story for the Feanorians in that episode besides the death of Feanor, which I would rather treat as an inciting incident for the plot rather than its climax. The Parley itself should take place through E12, culminating with Maedros' capture. His imprisonment should be worked in E13. It is my understanding that in the text, Maedhros witnesses the first rising of the moon from his "perch", but I feel that the only way that works is if we had ended this season with the Death of Feanor. We are not doing so, however. This means that we should not have our Feanorian plot line fully played out a full episode before the end of the season. He can witness the rising of the moon through a window or something and hear the trumpets of the Host of Fingolfin when they arrive. He _will_, however, witness the rising of the sun from atop Thangorodrim, and hear the assault on the gates of Angband below him. As to the second parley... I would honestly rather cut it than have it cause a problem. It adds comparatively little to the story. But the book suggests that it happened at the Feanorian camp in Hithlum anyway, and it need not interfere with anything if we include it.

    Fingolfin's Host
    Should arrive in Middle-Earth, I think, at the end of E12, after the parley itself has concluded. This will give us reason to indicate that by the beginning of E13, some time has passed for them, and they begin their assault on Angband with renewed vigor. They should not arrive in Mithrim until the very end of the episode, because all we have time to do is tease at the potential conflict between the hosts. We should not engage with that plot point until S04. And to answer Faelivrin's question about the rescue of Maedhros being the first thing that happens in S04.... it should happen in the first episode, but the rescue should not be accomplished until the end. This should be the A plot of that episode, as it will resolve the B plot, Conflict Between the Hosts. At least it will keep that plotline from exploding into open warfare. There is little reason why the Feanorians would need to be aware of Fingolfin's movements on the way to Angband. There are thousands of square miles to cover with a scouting screen, and the Feanorians have zero reason to suspect an army will approach from the west.

    The Sun and Moon
    We should deal with the creation of the Sun and Moon as a major plot in E12. The moon should rise at the end of this episode to resolve that plot for now, but it won't come to full fruition until E13. The most dramatic time for the sun to rise is at the Act 3-4 break in E13, coming up behind the Host of Fingolfin. If, however, we follow the pattern of the text, it will rise as Fingolfin is setting up shop in Hithlum. It could feel dangerously anti-climactic if we are not extremely careful in how this is done. As to the plot continuing as is despite the rising of the moon.... I think we can show sufficient amount of character reactions to the moon to illustrate that it is a "BIG DEAL".
  10. MithLuin

    MithLuin Well-Known Member

    Yes, sounds good to me! I am fine with Saeros and Eol being in either Episode 12 or 13, wherever they fit. As minor storylines, it's not important that they be part of the climatic episode, but it isn't a problem if they do. What *must* happen in Episode 13 is for Thingol to get news that the Noldor have arrived in the north (presumably from Círdan).

    Obviously, I agree that Maedhros does not know about the arrival of Fingolfin's host during the parley. Communication in Beleriand isn't exactly instantaneous, and the exit from the Helcaraxë is very far from Mithrim. Sure, they have scouts, but they aren't aware of the Host of Fingolfin right away.

    There are some items to time together - and the arrival of the Host of Fingolfin in Beleriand pairing with the Rising of the Moon could work. I think the Moon rises at the end of the episode. Thus, the parley resulting in Maedhros' capture happens prior to that. We have some wiggle room as to what is going on when/where, but that's my thought - no contact between the Host of Fingolfin and the Host of Fëanor in Episode 12; they remain unaware of each other's location.

    What I do NOT agree with is that Maedhros needs to be hung from Thangorodrim by his wrist in episode 12. I think that Maedhros remains a captive within Angband long enough to be tortured and/or questioned by Morgoth. I don't think Morgoth is going to be visiting him on his cliff perch, so we can save that conversation and the actual chaining for Episode 13. Doing it after his brothers have refused to deal with Morgoth shows a clear consequence to that decision, so it will likely work in that place.

    The Host of Fëanor finding out about the Host of Fingolfin should be a major point of Episode 13, it is true. We'll have to work out when and how they get the news, and what the result is. In the text, they relocate their camp to the other side of the lake.

    Of course we can discuss. As I've already said, there's more than one way to do this, and some of the elements are optional as to what episode they wind up in. I am not interested in moving Morgoth's questioning of Maedhros out of the Finale, and so, I am disagreeing with you there.
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  11. amysrevenge

    amysrevenge Well-Known Member

    Regarding scouts watching the Helcaraxe: isn't that kind of like having a burglar alarm on your toilet? It's technically an entrance to your home, but as far as you know nobody can come in that way, and even if they could they wouldn't want to.
  12. Ange1e4e5

    Ange1e4e5 Well-Known Member

    It’s the route that Morgoth and Ungoliant used to return to Middle-Earth, so it’s not unassailable. However, it is not ideal, considering it’s unstable. Better to use ships.
  13. amysrevenge

    amysrevenge Well-Known Member

    That's actually a really good point. How dare you spoil my delightful jest with your so-called "evidence" and "reasonable objections". Hahaha
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  14. MithLuin

    MithLuin Well-Known Member

    I do think it is safe to say that no one expected the Host of Fingolfin. If Morgoth is watching the Helcaraxë uneasily, it's because he expects a host from Valinor....but of the Valar, not the Noldor. The Fëanoreans, of course, assume that Fingolfin went back to Tirion with his entire Host after they abandoned him.

    So, certainly scouts and spies can get wind of things before the entire Host appears, but it is definitely unlooked-for.
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  15. Faelivrin

    Faelivrin Well-Known Member

    OK, now I feel like I understand more clearly your thoughts, and/or we're converging towards agreement. :)


    OK, it it’s 1-2 scenes in each episode that sounds a lot more manageable to me. Or 2-5 scenes in Ep 12, or 1 scene in Ep 11 and 1-4 scenes in Ep 12 (if it’s alright to discuss the exact timing during the Ep 11 scripting session).

    The Parley
    It looks like we are all agreeing that Maedhros can be captured and in Angband before Fingolfin and the Moon arrive, which can go at the very end of Episode 12, if I read you both right. That’s great. :) And I do want to try to at least begin it the parley in Ep 11, which I think Nick is suggesting. Otherwise, yes – the Fëanorians don’t have much to do for the rest of Ep. 11 except argue with each other while they set up camp. Well, Fëanor’s funeral and maybe crowning Maedhros, but that seems likely to be either brief or boring.

    I thought it rose right while they stepped off the Helkaraxë onto solid land. At least, that was always the way I interpreted that part of the book. We are going to need some more Helkaraxë scenes, both with the aurora and with suffering through cold and starvation and dwindling supplies, hopefully with time for vengeful comments by Turgon, Angrod, Galadriel, etc. So, Fingolfin probably needs to arrive in Middle-earth at the end of Episode 12, anyway.

    Well, the second negotiation with the sons of Fëanor isn’t a really really big deal, but it does add something that Maedhros can yell at/argue with them about after somebody other than his brothers rescues him, so we could make family drama out of it later. I would rather try to fit it in before the Moon-rise rather than try to have messengers crossing the plain (under the Moon which hurts them?) but not running into Fingolfin’s host while they also cross the plain. That wouldn’t “wrap up” the Fëanorians in Ep 12 because we still have to depict Maedhros actually in Angband in Ep 13. In fact, since you’re both against putting him on Thangorodrim in Ep 12 and I will give in about it, we don’t even have to reveal he’s actually alive until Ep 13. If the Balrogs burned and hacked most of the bodies and threw his gear on the ground, his brothers can’t even necessarily be certain his body isn’t somewhere on the battlefield.

    But then again, part of the point is to try to trick the Fëanorians into withdrawing from Beleriand, so it’s probably in Morgoth’s best interest to convince them Maedhros is still alive. Still, they don’t know for sure...

    This all makes sense/looks great to me. :) Do you think it would be possible to use the way that they look less exhausted in Ep 13 as a way to indicate time has passed, or is that too subtle to be noticeable?

    If Fingolfin reaches Middle-earth at the end of Ep 12, then the soonest the Fëanorians can figure out he’s there is in Ep 13.

    But no, I didn’t mean they have scouts actually watching the Ice, I just meant they probably have scouts in the mountains watching the plain where the hordes of Orcs and Balrogs just came from. If a huge host of Elves carrying torches or glistening in the moonlight starts moving across the plain, they’ll probably be noticeable. Elves have good eyesight and (I think) the plain of Ard-Galen is narrower north-to-south than it is east-to-west, yet Fingon could see Maedhros’ army at Aglon all the way from Eithel Sirion. So, I don’t think it’s far-fetched for Fëanorian scouts to know an army of somebody has suddenly come in from the west and is crossing the plain right before their eyes. The scouts won’t automatically know who or what this host is, but if it’s coming from the direction of the Ice, it might be Ñoldor.

    I agree that they wouldn’t make contact with each other, rather the Fëanorians would avoid contact. But once they know or suspect Fingolfin has crossed the Ice, they will react somehow, even before it’s apparent that Fingolfin is planning to become their next-door neighbor.

    Do you mean their arising? I thought they get made and assigned to their Maiar keepers in Ep 11.

    Fingolfin doesn’t march to Thangorodrim until Ep 13, right? The Sun doesn’t necessarily have to rise when he gets there, but it could... then we don’t need to script 2 separate reaction shots from Maedhros, which might get repetitive otherwise.

    Another option is that it rises just as Fingolfin arrives at Mithrim and it looks like he might want to start a fight... because it’s a dramatic tension moment. But, on the other hand, maybe putting the Sun there would distract from the down-to-earth angry-Ñoldor tension.
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2018
  16. MithLuin

    MithLuin Well-Known Member

    Exactly - there is a minor subplot of Círdan following in the footsteps of the Noldor, while trying to piece together who they are and what they are doing. He should eventually discover their encampment by Lake Mithrim.

    Now, preferably, he should discover it from afar or while it is empty - he should not meet any Noldor yet. And they should not meet him. So, it is possible he comes across the carnage of the battle - dead orcs (and some elves) scattered all over, but the rest of the camp deserted as the Noldor are busy off defeating orc armies and maybe left no one behind in the camp? That would be enough for him to figure out that these are Noldor from Valinor. Whether there are banners or craftsmanship or the style of clothing - someone who knew Finwë and his host, who maybe met Mahtan in the past, should be able to identify whose camp he is standing in. Maybe. He would then retreat back to his own ships before the Noldor return, so they never meet.

    Alternatively, he and Celeborn and his elves can be far away from the camp on Lake Mithrim, so that all they can see is fire in the distance. They can be speculating as to who it is (assuming orcs), and then...the Moon rises. In the moonlight, the camp of the Noldor is revealed with more clarity (though not color), and they recognize that it is the work of elves - elves from Valinor! They then go to report this news to Thingol right away (without going any closer). One problem with this is the timing. The Moon will not rise until near the end of Episode 12. So, it will seem as though Círdan sailed down the coast and marched across hostile land to Menegroth nearly instantaneously if he's arriving to deliver this message in the next episode. Since it will be after the sunrise and likely at the very, very end that this news is delivered, it might not be *too* bad, but I do think there is a challenge there. The other issue is to show *why* Círdan decides that delivering the news to Thingol is more important than making contact. If he retreats without meeting them, it might seem as though he's afraid of these elves. Do we want that vibe?

    There are likely other ways to do this. The part I like about the 'empty village' idea is that it still feels as though Círdan is unraveling the mystery of the mariners of the burnt ships. He can still be making false assumptions that are insightful and a counterbalance to Fëanor's rhetoric. And, that can happen early in the episode, so he'll have plenty of time to get back to Menegroth. The part I dislike is that it might seem unlikely that there were *no* live elves left behind in the camp. Is every member of Fëanor's host part of the army? Are there no children, no non-combatants? Also, it might feel a bit anti-climatic for him to just turn and leave after tracing them this far.

    The main reason I like the 'moonlight reveal' is that it gives there something to actually be revealed by the new light, and it can still look mysterious and a bit spooky because this is moonlight. So, the rising of the Moon won't just be dramatic, it will be plot-relevant in a way that doesn't seem too convenient. The creatures of Morgoth shrieking and cowering from the moonlight makes sense, but we wouldn't want to see anyone win a fight due to that.

    Any other suggestions as to how Círdan will first set eyes on the Noldor? And for why he does not make contact with them, but instead goes immediately to Thingol with the news? Does Celeborn play some role in this decision making?
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  17. Faelivrin

    Faelivrin Well-Known Member

    Hm. I like the moonlight idea too, but the downsides would need to be dealt with. The empty camp problem would have to be addressed if we use that version instead.

    Cirdan doesn't suspect the Kinslaying or the nature of the ship-burning, so that can't be the reason.

    So, brainstorming... My first idea was that a part of the orc-host or Werewolves chase Cirdan and company away before they make contact, but if they were in danger they'd run down into the Elven camp to get help, not away from it. Especially if they stood in a high place and saw the Calaquendi summarily stomping all over the Orcs.

    Can we play something with the remarkable insight Cirdan is supposed to have? Ever since he saw that vision from ... the Valar? Eru? ... about the ships he would one day help build, he had amazing insights. Would it work for him to get an insight/intuition that sending the message to Thingol is more important than making contact? But why would he have that insight, since the Feanorians aren't actually hostile/dangerous to him? (The "something here is wrong" vibe would be fitting on top of the mystery, but the Feanorians aren't "wrong" enough that Cirdan would die if he met them... this isn't a horror movie. Then again, if the insight is from Ulmo or Osse or Uinen, then their own caution about just what the Feanorians might try next could inform it. It wouldn't necessarily be a "run away or die" insight but a more nebulous warning to be cautious around these new Elves, that something about them is seriously "off.") But Cirdan is going to want to know if any of the Teleri who supposedly came with are still alive.

    Is there something Cirdan could see that is more valuable or urgent information for Thingol and/or Melian, than actually knowing (more precisely) who these new people are and why they came? Whatever it is, it can't be so urgent that Thingol and Melian need to know before the Girdle is made... because it most likely isn't possible for them to learn that soon.

    For the journey south, Cirdan & co don't have to go purely by land. If they cross a pass in the mountains and take one of the small rivers that flow southeast they can boat down the Sirion (or Teiglin) and then row up the Esgalduin. They must make some hasty boats and paddles first, but that shouldn't be difficult for Cirdan. And Cirdan being himself, he wouldn't walk when he could possibly take a boat instead, right? ;) We can see how he is at whitewater rafting (and we can see that on inland waters Celeborn handles himself more comfortably than at sea -- maybe he's better at whitewater rafting than Cirdan is). After all, the Teleri are all "Nendili".
  18. MithLuin

    MithLuin Well-Known Member

    You don't whitewater raft upstream :p

    No, I agree that Círdan would be travelling via sea/boat. It's just that we've shown Beleg recently making a similar (but shorter) journey, and it took him multiple episodes to reach Menegroth, so it might seem that Círdan has travelled by bunny-sled if he arrives too quickly after his departure from the north. Not impossible - time does pass between the rising of the moon and the rising of the sun, so it doesn't have to be instantaneous travel, nor does he have to arrive in Menegroth as the sun rises. We can make his report to Thingol a tag on the end of the episode, thus happening 'sometime later' rather than 'just now.' Maybe. Just...we have to pay attention to that, is all. We probably won't show the journey at all.

    As for the dream visions - they were originally explicitly from Ulmo. If that helps.

    One option is to leave Círdan (and Celeborn?) in the north, and just stop their storyline before first contact this season. If we were to do that, we would have Círdan decide to send a messenger south as soon as he finds the burnt ships. In that way, having the (nameless) messenger arrive in Menegroth at the end of the season will make logistical sense, and Círdan and Celeborn will be on hand to meet the Noldor early in Season 4. This makes up for the lack of grey elves in Mithrim (for now).
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2018 at 4:54 AM
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  19. Faelivrin

    Faelivrin Well-Known Member

    Heh, no no, they whitewater raft down the rocky mountain streams, out of Eryd Wethrin to the Sirion (or the Teiglin). The Esgalduin flows through flatter country and can be as serene as we want.

    We were going to have Cirdan arrive to Menegroth in Ep 13, right?
  20. MithLuin

    MithLuin Well-Known Member

    Correct. Thingol learning about the arrival of elves from Valinor in Middle Earth is a set up for the next season, where the conflict between the Sindar and the Noldor (and the eventual revelation of the Kinslaying) is a major part of the storyline. So it would be the final scene with Thingol late in Episode 13 (preferably at the very end).
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