Session 4.03 - Frame Narrative for Season 4

Faelivrin

Well-Known Member
Lots of racist people are perfectly nice to races they consider respectable, while being cruel or violent towards races they consider inferior. Most racists, even among the most violent ones, have family and friends, fellow members of their race who they treat decently. Most of them aren't obviously evil wackos the moment you meet them, as long as you aren't one of their targets. So, there's nothing unusual about Thranduil violently hating Dwarves, imprisoning and torturing them, while being a very nice person to fellow Elves and to the Dalemen.

I imagine him grudgingly tolerating Dwarves as long as a profitable trade can be made, preferrably via Human intermediaries so he doesn't have to interact directly with the Stunted Ones very often. I can't imagine him allowing them to enter Mirkwood, though. Consider how the Elves of Lorien react to Gimli.
 

Faelivrin

Well-Known Member
Or for another example just look at Maedhros. His behavior towards his fellow Noldor is admirable. His treatment of Teleri and Sindar... not so. (What makes him more sympathetic to me than Thranduil is that he actually repents of his evil deeds, and tries to change and make amends.)
 
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MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
While looking up something else, I came across this note on Tolkien Gateway:

In the Lord of the Rings, it is stated by Gimli that the Dwarves aided in the making of Thranduil's halls. However, in the Unfinished Tales, it is stated that Thranduil's halls "were not to be compared with Menegroth. He had not the arts nor wealth nor the aid of the Dwarves."
It occurs to me that we might want to delve into that history a bit in the 'politics' of the Frame this season. There's the immediate, recent history between Mirkwood and Erebor, concerning the imprisonment of Thorin and Thranduil's involvement in the Battle of Five Armies. But there's also the historic (pre-Smaug) relationship between Mirkwood and Erebor to consider.

I know that when there were different variants of the text, Tolkien tended to come down in favor of the published work. There are exceptions, but for the most part, I'd say we should at least try to make the LotR version work. So...the elven-king's halls in Mirkwood were built with the aid of the dwarves, but still aren't nearly as grand as Menegroth.

The 'he had not the wealth' part is likely the issue - the dwarves only help as long as they're getting paid, so they may have aided in a much more minor way than Menegroth or Nargothrond...because Oropher or Thanduil was a much less generous elven lord than Thingol and Finrod!

But is it possible that that collaboration went sour in some way? That Thranduil never finished paying for the construction work he commissioned (for instance) and therefore got himself 'blacklisted' by dwarves as untrustworthy? I'm making that up, but it would be nice to have specific, ancient grievances to be able to reference when we need to!
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
While looking up something else, I came across this note on Tolkien Gateway:



It occurs to me that we might want to delve into that history a bit in the 'politics' of the Frame this season. There's the immediate, recent history between Mirkwood and Erebor, concerning the imprisonment of Thorin and Thranduil's involvement in the Battle of Five Armies. But there's also the historic (pre-Smaug) relationship between Mirkwood and Erebor to consider.

I know that when there were different variants of the text, Tolkien tended to come down in favor of the published work. There are exceptions, but for the most part, I'd say we should at least try to make the LotR version work. So...the elven-king's halls in Mirkwood were built with the aid of the dwarves, but still aren't nearly as grand as Menegroth.

The 'he had not the wealth' part is likely the issue - the dwarves only help as long as they're getting paid, so they may have aided in a much more minor way than Menegroth or Nargothrond...because Oropher or Thanduil was a much less generous elven lord than Thingol and Finrod!

But is it possible that that collaboration went sour in some way? That Thranduil never finished paying for the construction work he commissioned (for instance) and therefore got himself 'blacklisted' by dwarves as untrustworthy? I'm making that up, but it would be nice to have specific, ancient grievances to be able to reference when we need to!
Well, things don’t really go south until the Nauglamir, and that leads to Thingol’s death.
 

Rhiannon

Well-Known Member
While looking up something else, I came across this note on Tolkien Gateway:



It occurs to me that we might want to delve into that history a bit in the 'politics' of the Frame this season. There's the immediate, recent history between Mirkwood and Erebor, concerning the imprisonment of Thorin and Thranduil's involvement in the Battle of Five Armies. But there's also the historic (pre-Smaug) relationship between Mirkwood and Erebor to consider.

I know that when there were different variants of the text, Tolkien tended to come down in favor of the published work. There are exceptions, but for the most part, I'd say we should at least try to make the LotR version work. So...the elven-king's halls in Mirkwood were built with the aid of the dwarves, but still aren't nearly as grand as Menegroth.

The 'he had not the wealth' part is likely the issue - the dwarves only help as long as they're getting paid, so they may have aided in a much more minor way than Menegroth or Nargothrond...because Oropher or Thanduil was a much less generous elven lord than Thingol and Finrod!

But is it possible that that collaboration went sour in some way? That Thranduil never finished paying for the construction work he commissioned (for instance) and therefore got himself 'blacklisted' by dwarves as untrustworthy? I'm making that up, but it would be nice to have specific, ancient grievances to be able to reference when we need to!
I like the idea of the Dwarves of Erebor not getting paid for the work they do (or not getting paid as much as they felt they were owed). The Hobbit specifically mentions that: "In ancient days [the elves]had had wars with some of the dwarves, whom they accused of stealing their treasure. It is only fair to say that the dwarves gave a different account, and said that they only took what was their due, for the elf-king had bargained with them to shape his raw gold and silver, and had afterwards refused to give them their pay." The reference to wars makes this sound sort of like the issue with the Nauglamir, but it also says "the elf-king," who, in the context of the quote, is Thranduil. There aren't any wars mentioned between Mirkwood and Erebor, but the conflict may have been so minor that only the parties involved considered it a war.

One thing to consider is that the Dwarves did not come to Erebor until T.A. 1999, after the Balrog drove them out of Moria, and the kingdom in Mirkwood has been their since early in the Second Age. I think the Elves would already have done a lot of the building, so the Dwarves' help would be expanding or furnishing the halls. If they help with the furnishing, then they would be probably be shaping raw gold and silver like in the book.

Maybe the gates of the caves in Mirkwood could be what the Dwarves were commissioned to make. Thranduil mentions that they are "magic doors," and they "clang" when closed, suggesting that they are made at least partly of metal. The Dwarven gates made for an Elven kingdom would be an interesting parallel to the Doors of Durin in Moria. In fact, they could have been modeled after these, and the Dwarves coming from Moria might have been expecting more generosity from the Elves in return for their work.
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
I like the idea of the Dwarves of Erebor not getting paid for the work they do (or not getting paid as much as they felt they were owed). The Hobbit specifically mentions that: "In ancient days [the elves]had had wars with some of the dwarves, whom they accused of stealing their treasure. It is only fair to say that the dwarves gave a different account, and said that they only took what was their due, for the elf-king had bargained with them to shape his raw gold and silver, and had afterwards refused to give them their pay." The reference to wars makes this sound sort of like the issue with the Nauglamir, but it also says "the elf-king," who, in the context of the quote, is Thranduil. There aren't any wars mentioned between Mirkwood and Erebor, but the conflict may have been so minor that only the parties involved considered it a war.

One thing to consider is that the Dwarves did not come to Erebor until T.A. 1999, after the Balrog drove them out of Moria, and the kingdom in Mirkwood has been their since early in the Second Age. I think the Elves would already have done a lot of the building, so the Dwarves' help would be expanding or furnishing the halls. If they help with the furnishing, then they would be probably be shaping raw gold and silver like in the book.

Maybe the gates of the caves in Mirkwood could be what the Dwarves were commissioned to make. Thranduil mentions that they are "magic doors," and they "clang" when closed, suggesting that they are made at least partly of metal. The Dwarven gates made for an Elven kingdom would be an interesting parallel to the Doors of Durin in Moria. In fact, they could have been modeled after these, and the Dwarves coming from Moria might have been expecting more generosity from the Elves in return for their work.

I might be remembering this incorrectly, but was not the 1999 TA inhabitation of Erebor actually a return? I seem to recall that it had been the location of a smaller community of dwarves prior to it becoming the royal seat of the house of Durin.
 

Rhiannon

Well-Known Member
No, sorry, you're right about there being dwarves in Erebor before 1999. The RotK Appendices, where I was looking, don't mention it, but "Of Dwarves and Men" in The Peoples of Middle-Earth says that "for many lives of Men the Longbeards controlled the Ered Mithrin, Erebor, and the Iron Hills, and all the east side of the Misty Mountains as far as the confines of Lorien." Even if there was not a permanent settlement at Erebor when the Elves arrived, there would have been Dwarven settlements near enough for the Elves to get their help constructing their halls.

It still might be interesting to have the gates be the cause of the argument, though, to give us something specific to refer to.
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
Thranduil's father Oropher founded the Woodland Realm in S.A. 750. Since it's stated that there were Dwarves in the vicinity of Erebor, it's certainly possible that he could have asked for their help. Though that he wouldn't have compensate them doesn't say much for Oropher's character. If we want Oropher and/or Legolas to contrast Thranduil, I'm not sure if we can do this.
 

Arnorion

Active Member
I know this is an old thread but I couldn't find a better place for this. I've been working my way through the completed episode outlines to get caught up. While I was in there, I pulled out the teaser and tag descriptions and combined them to get a comprehensive view of the frame story (as outlined). I've pasted the results below.
This kind of tool helps me to visualize the story in larger arcs and might be of interest/use to others. If stuff like this is of use it may end up in Nick's SFP Show Bible. I have ideas for other tools to try out later once other more pressing work is complete.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
S4E01: “The Laughter of Morgoth”; Bilbo welcomes Gandalf and Balin at Bag End as they visit on their way to the Lonely Mountain. There is to be a great feast to commemorate the seven-year anniversary of the demise of the dragon. Though they haven’t invited Bilbo to join them, he manages to accompany them (somehow).

S4E02: “The Dispossessed”; Bilbo, Balin, and Gandalf encounter Thorin’s sister Dís on the way to Erebor. She accosts Gandalf, blaming the wizard the death of her sons and brother Later, the concept of were-gild is discussed.

S4E03: “Swords and Councils”; Bilbo is reintroduced to the political and economic situation surrounding Dale and Erebor. In the marketplace they observe signs of tension among the citizenry. Bilbo doesn’t understand why all folk can’t get along and live in peace. Gandalf explains that the tension results in part from the way the subjects perceive their kings.

S4E04: “The Realms of Beleriand”; Bilbo is astonished to see the ongoing renovations of Erebor, already much improved from when he last beheld the Mountain. But tensions rise as Bilbo notices warlike preparations. But just as Gandalf is explaining the history of dwarf-trade with Mirkwood, horns at the gate announce the arrival of Thranduil.

S4E05: “The Feast of Reuniting”; Bilbo attends the first party of the larger celebration and meets Celeborn’s sister. She herself attended the Mereth Aderthad and describes it for him. Bilbo wonders if their own tense reunion of would-be allies will turn out as well. She admits it is possible, but it is clear that she has her doubts.

S4E06: “The Sun Doth Still Shine”; Dain asks Gandalf to study an ancient document and Bilbo takes an interest since moon letters are involved. This particularly special Durin’s Day illuminates a crafting technique long thought lost but the truth could prove dangerous, re-opening old wounds and further complicating tensions between Dain and Thranduil.

S4E07: “Aranruth, the King’s Ire”; Uncomfortable keeping the secret, Bilbo reveals Gandalf’s discovery: an ancient design for dragon-proof doors,
which reminds the dwarves they were never paid in full by the Wood-elves. The resulting confrontation escalates until Bilbo reminds Balin they supposed to be commemorating an alliance, not starting a war.

S4E08: “The Spell of Bottomless Dread”; Dis confronts Dain in Erebor and the conversation devolves into a shouting match. Dis’ family sacrificed much for the throne on which Dain sits. Later, Dain summons Dis to a large workshop, it is his gift to her where she can forge a new legacy, he offers his son Thorin (later Stonehelm) as her first student.

S4E09: “The Glorious Battle”; Brooding over grievances and debts, Dain climbs Ravenhill to visit Roac. They discuss Dain’s pointed absence from the celebration after the incident with Thranduil. Roac observes that nothing silence solves nothing. Bard is wary when Dain returns to Dale, but now party clothes Dain appears to have come in good faith.

S4E10: “Builded From Sand”; Dain and Bard cannot understand Thranduil’s ire, but Bilbo knows a thing or two about Elven-kings by now. After learning about the rediscovered technique for making dragon-proof doors, Bilbo realizes that the protective spell engraved into the dwarf-made doors is written in Quenya, the ancient tongue of the Noldor.

S4E11: “Devices of the Heart”; Dain gives Thranduil a tour, but he is underwhelmed with the dwarves’ post-desolation restoration wo. Hoping to change his mind, Dain invites Thraduil into Erebor to see their underground work. Thranduil is so impressed with the dwarf mines that he changes his policy and allows the dwarves to traffic through Mirkwood.

S4E12: “Mighty Kings”; Bilbo and Gandalf accompany Balin on a visit to Dis' workshop. Balin places an order for some armor and speaks of his plan to reclaim Moria. Dwalin has finished the dragon-proof doors and joins their conversation. Bilbo later returns to give Dis a copy of his book. Gimli is one of the students.

S4E13: “The Long Peace”; The new dragon-proof doors are installed at the front gates of Erebor amid a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony. Dain as King under the Mountain restored expresses confidence that they'll never be attacked by a dragon. Eventually Bilbo says his farewell to Erebor and begins the long journey back to Bag End.
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
I know this is an old thread but I couldn't find a better place for this. I've been working my way through the completed episode outlines to get caught up. While I was in there, I pulled out the teaser and tag descriptions and combined them to get a comprehensive view of the frame story (as outlined). I've pasted the results below.
This kind of tool helps me to visualize the story in larger arcs and might be of interest/use to others. If stuff like this is of use it may end up in Nick's SFP Show Bible. I have ideas for other tools to try out later once other more pressing work is complete.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
S4E01: “The Laughter of Morgoth”; Bilbo welcomes Gandalf and Balin at Bag End as they visit on their way to the Lonely Mountain. There is to be a great feast to commemorate the seven-year anniversary of the demise of the dragon. Though they haven’t invited Bilbo to join them, he manages to accompany them (somehow).

S4E02: “The Dispossessed”; Bilbo, Balin, and Gandalf encounter Thorin’s sister Dís on the way to Erebor. She accosts Gandalf, blaming the wizard the death of her sons and brother Later, the concept of were-gild is discussed.

S4E03: “Swords and Councils”; Bilbo is reintroduced to the political and economic situation surrounding Dale and Erebor. In the marketplace they observe signs of tension among the citizenry. Bilbo doesn’t understand why all folk can’t get along and live in peace. Gandalf explains that the tension results in part from the way the subjects perceive their kings.

S4E04: “The Realms of Beleriand”; Bilbo is astonished to see the ongoing renovations of Erebor, already much improved from when he last beheld the Mountain. But tensions rise as Bilbo notices warlike preparations. But just as Gandalf is explaining the history of dwarf-trade with Mirkwood, horns at the gate announce the arrival of Thranduil.

S4E05: “The Feast of Reuniting”; Bilbo attends the first party of the larger celebration and meets Celeborn’s sister. She herself attended the Mereth Aderthad and describes it for him. Bilbo wonders if their own tense reunion of would-be allies will turn out as well. She admits it is possible, but it is clear that she has her doubts.

S4E06: “The Sun Doth Still Shine”; Dain asks Gandalf to study an ancient document and Bilbo takes an interest since moon letters are involved. This particularly special Durin’s Day illuminates a crafting technique long thought lost but the truth could prove dangerous, re-opening old wounds and further complicating tensions between Dain and Thranduil.

S4E07: “Aranruth, the King’s Ire”; Uncomfortable keeping the secret, Bilbo reveals Gandalf’s discovery: an ancient design for dragon-proof doors,
which reminds the dwarves they were never paid in full by the Wood-elves. The resulting confrontation escalates until Bilbo reminds Balin they supposed to be commemorating an alliance, not starting a war.

S4E08: “The Spell of Bottomless Dread”; Dis confronts Dain in Erebor and the conversation devolves into a shouting match. Dis’ family sacrificed much for the throne on which Dain sits. Later, Dain summons Dis to a large workshop, it is his gift to her where she can forge a new legacy, he offers his son Thorin (later Stonehelm) as her first student.

S4E09: “The Glorious Battle”; Brooding over grievances and debts, Dain climbs Ravenhill to visit Roac. They discuss Dain’s pointed absence from the celebration after the incident with Thranduil. Roac observes that nothing silence solves nothing. Bard is wary when Dain returns to Dale, but now party clothes Dain appears to have come in good faith.

S4E10: “Builded From Sand”; Dain and Bard cannot understand Thranduil’s ire, but Bilbo knows a thing or two about Elven-kings by now. After learning about the rediscovered technique for making dragon-proof doors, Bilbo realizes that the protective spell engraved into the dwarf-made doors is written in Quenya, the ancient tongue of the Noldor.

S4E11: “Devices of the Heart”; Dain gives Thranduil a tour, but he is underwhelmed with the dwarves’ post-desolation restoration wo. Hoping to change his mind, Dain invites Thraduil into Erebor to see their underground work. Thranduil is so impressed with the dwarf mines that he changes his policy and allows the dwarves to traffic through Mirkwood.

S4E12: “Mighty Kings”; Bilbo and Gandalf accompany Balin on a visit to Dis' workshop. Balin places an order for some armor and speaks of his plan to reclaim Moria. Dwalin has finished the dragon-proof doors and joins their conversation. Bilbo later returns to give Dis a copy of his book. Gimli is one of the students.

S4E13: “The Long Peace”; The new dragon-proof doors are installed at the front gates of Erebor amid a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony. Dain as King under the Mountain restored expresses confidence that they'll never be attacked by a dragon. Eventually Bilbo says his farewell to Erebor and begins the long journey back to Bag End.
As I peruse this, it occurs to me that the frame might be described separately from the main story, for example, dropping what you've done above in after the episode descriptions for S04. What do you think?
 

Arnorion

Active Member
the frame might be described separately from the main story
I was thinking along similar lines. The episode summaries in the SFP Show Bible each have only a short frame teaser. Dropping the consolidated frame narrative after would allow us to wrap up the season description and maybe even comment briefly on how we were trying to tie the frame to the main content. I’d also like to put in there the explicit season theme, maybe right at the beginning of each season.
 

Arnorion

Active Member
...Dropping the consolidated frame narrative after would allow us to wrap up the season description
Done. Even with edits, the frame narrative for season four runs a little over two pages in the SFP-SB. If you have any commentary on how the arcs of the frame related to the action of the main story or theme for the season (reconciliation?) you could pop it in just before the season five placeholder.
 
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