Session 4.04 & 4.05 - Overarching Storylines

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
I’ve been unable to post for a while but I have a lot to say.

I didn’t say never. I said that nobody is going to speak of it just 7 years later, which to an Elf is 7 months or less. Especially when Fingolfin has told them they aren’t allowed to speak of it, because he’s not dumb enough to think that the Helkaraxe can be discussed openly without also revealing the arson at Losgar and the Feud. How can he possibly think it would be safe to discuss it? If he says “nobody can talk about the Kinslaying or the arson at Losgar” of course he won’t allow them to discuss the Helkaraxë either.

Your examples are, again, either people who willingly came forward decades after their ordeal, “never again” warnings, or who were forced by law enforcement who already knew the event had happened. The analogy of those coercive law enforcement interviews is when Thingol, already knowing about the Kinslaying, confronts Finarfin’s sons in Doriath. Thingol has no reason at all to confront Angrod when they first meet. Thingol has not personally seen the ships, and has no reason anyway to doubt that if there were fewer ships than people, they were used multiple times. Nobody has to lie. There is no “never again” about the Helkaraxë.

Tolkien showed Angrod not telling Thingol about the Helkaraxë, without having to lie. Why is Tolkien’s word about this not worth anything?

The Trail of Tears, and many other imperial forced removals of people from their homes accompanied by famine, plague, and massacre. And most of those events were widely known, not secret. All of them deserved the "never again" treatment.


That is not accurate. Look at the Annals of Beleriand (Lost Road) and the Tale of Years (War of the Jewels). Just 5 years after the 2nd Kinslaying, the Feanorians learned where Elwing and the Silmaril were. If they had attacked then, when she and Eärendil were just 8 years old, Elrond and Elros wouldn’t have been born. But Maedhros foreswore his Oath and then he and his remaining brothers tried for 26 years to break the Oath. During 11 of those years, they were withstanding torment caused by the Oath. They should have tried harder, certainly, but the fact is that Tolkien clearly showed them trying, very hard, to break the Oath, and showed it causing supernatural and extremely unpleasant effects on them while they were trying to break it. They did not carry it out voluntarily, just for honor’s sake. They were coerced into the 3rd Kinslaying, against their wills. They should have tried harder to break the Oath, but they absolutely did try.

I can quote the sections of the Annals and Tale of Years if you need it.

Christopher Tolkien for some reason reworded his father’s writing to make all the Sons of Fëanor look gung-ho about the Oath and never once try to break it, but that is a change I do not want to make. I don’t want to depict them as remorseless monsters.
Why is Tolkien’s word about this not worth anything? Because the lie of omission is still a lie. Because Angrod knew and didn’t say anything, it would be seen as a lie.
 
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Faelivrin

Well-Known Member
Tolkien made it clear that Angrod did not tell Thingol about the Helkaraxë. He clearly thought that this was possible and in-character, that Thingol did not coerce Angrod, and that Angrod as ambassador was able to avoid discussing the Kinslaying and Helkaraxë. I don’t see any reason to decide Tolkien’s idea there was wrong.


Here are the direct quotes about the Sons of Fëanor trying to break the Oath: https://forums.signumuniversity.org/index.php?threads/feanorean-storylines.1885/page-7#post-23616


By the way, if I come across as short, I do apologize. I have been dealing with having almost no internet access and horrible computer problems for over a week and I’m very frustrated with it. No fault of anyone here.
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
Tolkien made it clear that Angrod did not tell Thingol about the Helkaraxë. He clearly thought that this was possible and in-character, that Thingol did not coerce Angrod, and that Angrod as ambassador was able to avoid discussing the Kinslaying and Helkaraxë. I don’t see any reason to decide Tolkien’s idea there was wrong.


Here are the direct quotes about the Sons of Fëanor trying to break the Oath: https://forums.signumuniversity.org/index.php?threads/feanorean-storylines.1885/page-7#post-23616


By the way, if I come across as short, I do apologize. I have been dealing with having almost no internet access and horrible computer problems for over a week and I’m very frustrated with it. No fault of anyone here.
He’d still be lying about what happened by leaving it out. And a modern audience would see Angrod as lying.
 

Faelivrin

Well-Known Member
I'm OK with them lying by omission, that's in the book already. It's different if they tell the lie "The Orcs totally burned the ships, Thingol, and then Feanor waited patiently for us while we toiled across the Ice, and united we made war upon Morgoth." I'm not OK with the Noldor making up lying stories and telling them to Thingol for years. Tolkien did not at all write about Angrod or Fingolfin making up that kind of lie. And if Angrod stupidly invites Thingol to poke holes in his lies, Thingol won't tolerate lying by omission either. Thingol isn't an idiot, and Angrod and Fingolfin shouldn't be total morons either.


Consider two conversations:

Thingol: How came you from Aman to Middle-earth?
Angrod: Some came by ship, and some walked over the Grinding Ice.
Thingol: If you had ships, why did any of you take the road of Ice?
Angrod: Uh.... I do not want to talk about it.
Thingol: Why not? Círdan said the ships were from Olwë my brother, but they were burned. Who burned them? Was it the Orcs?
Angrod: Uh.... I do not want to talk about it.
Thingol: Why will you not tell me? Those were my brother’s ships. I have a right to know!
Angrod: Uh.... I do not want to talk about it.
Thingol: What are you hiding from me?!​

Thingol is not going to put up with that, and Angrod looks like an idiot. Depicting that requires liberally handing around the Idiot Ball. Contrast:

Thingol: How came you from Aman to Middle-earth?
Angrod: The road was hard, lord, and there was woe and loss which are fresh in my heart. I would not speak of it now.
Thingol: *nods in compassion, assuming they were attacked by Orcs when they landed the ships*​

See, it’s easy and far more plausible and more true to what Tolkien wrote if Angrod isn’t an idiot and doesn’t deliberately invite Thingol to ask questions he doesn’t want to answer. It also doesn't require Angrod to needlessly relive (or trivialize) traumas that are still, indeed, very fresh in his heart. 7 years is the blink of an eye for an Elf to recover from trauma.
 
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Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
Can someone please help me regarding a possible lie of omission?

Now, on Galadriel and Celeborn: I think Galadriel would gravitate towards the Sindar because Finarfin spent more time with his wife’s family amongst the Teleri while in Valinor. Galadriel would likely look for companions amongst the Sindar to find friends. They could meet there. Aredhel could see it as betraying the family (Galadriel is counted amongst the Noldor because her father is one), and a security risk regarding the Kinslaying. How Idril fits into this from the last video? The Hosts were saying that Aredhel could be a surrogate mother figure for Idril after Elenwe died in the Crossing of the Helcaraxe, and Maeglin’s arrival around Aredhel’s death would seem... unnatural for Idril?
 

Faelivrin

Well-Known Member
Aredhel may worry about security, yes. I don’t think she needs to be racist against the Sindar the way Caranthir is, though. His attitude that fraternizing with filthy savages is morally repugnant shouldn’t be the norm among Noldor.
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
Aredhel may worry about security, yes. I don’t think she needs to be racist against the Sindar the way Caranthir is, though. His attitude that fraternizing with filthy savages is morally repugnant shouldn’t be the norm among Noldor.
That’s what I’m saying. She’s not racist, but she’s wary because of the risks of the Kinslaying getting out. And from their thoughts, who knows what Thingol would do if he knew what they did to his brother Olwe?

Speaking of the Kinslaying, does Aredhel know how to fight?
 

Faelivrin

Well-Known Member
Ah now I think I see - you mean betrayal in suspecting that Galadriel may accidentally reveal things to Celeborn. Yes, especially when she starts dating him (or whatever Elf suitors do).

Aredhel is a hunter but I don’t know if she’s trained in combat. I don’t think we included her in the Kinslaying.
 
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Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
Ah now I think I see - you mean betrayal in suspecting that Galadriel may accidentally reveal things to Celeborn. Yes, especially when she starts dating him (or whatever Elf suitors do).

She is a hunter but I don’t know if she’s trained in combat. I don’t think we included her in the Kinslaying.
I think she should be trained, or at least be an archer. She should at least know how to defend herself if need be.
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
@Faelivrin Interesting! I somehow went over that!

About Aredhel... yes it it important that Aredhel is not at all a weak person, that shoukd be clear when we come to the whole complicated eol story... it if very difficult with that weird couple!
 

Faelivrin

Well-Known Member
Maybe that's why Tolkien suggested she was "not wholly unwilling", because she is a strong personality. On the other hand if it was violent rape and imprisonment, she only needs to be less physically/magically powerful than Eol. The "not wholly unwilling" thing is uncomfortable for other reasons, though, because who willingly agrees to such controlling, manipulative, imprisoning behavior? That alone was abusive, things like locking her inside during the day and full moons, and entrapping her in the forest to begin with. It's really weird to run away from your well-meaning brother because he tells you not to leave the valley, or for goodness sakes at least don't leave to visit anyone other than your other brother... and then accept more literal imprisonment in a house/cave/hut by an abusive creep. If she had run away to Himlad and married Celegorm at least it would almost make some kind of sense.


Watching the rest of Session 3 (my internet is working again! :D), I don’t think we need to take up an Overarching Plot session just to talk about Maedhros giving the Kingship to Fingolfin. We know what happens in the books in detail, it’s easy to just write that in the script outline. (I also want to minimize the number of Overarching Plot sessions we do, like not doing one just for “loose ends”. It’s going to take a lot of time to do them.)
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
Maybe that's why Tolkien suggested she was "not wholly unwilling", because she is a strong personality. On the other hand if it was violent rape and imprisonment, she only needs to be less physically/magically powerful than Eol. The "not wholly unwilling" thing is uncomfortable for other reasons, though, because who willingly agrees to such controlling, manipulative, imprisoning behavior? That alone was abusive, things like locking her inside during the day and full moons, and entrapping her in the forest to begin with. It's really weird to run away from your well-meaning brother because he tells you not to leave the valley, or for goodness sakes at least don't leave to visit anyone other than your other brother... and then accept more literal imprisonment in a house/cave/hut by an abusive creep. If she had run away to Himlad and married Celegorm at least it would almost make some kind of sense.


Watching the rest of Session 3 (my internet is working again! :D), I don’t think we need to take up an Overarching Plot session just to talk about Maedhros giving the Kingship to Fingolfin. We know what happens in the books in detail, it’s easy to just write that in the script outline. (I also want to minimize the number of Overarching Plot sessions we do, like not doing one just for “loose ends”. It’s going to take a lot of time to do them.)
Perhaps mind-control or a tranquilizing agent, and he rapes her while she’s unconscious, rendering her with little choice but to stay in Nan Elmoth, particularly because she had Maeglin? Eol can control part of a forest.
 

Faelivrin

Well-Known Member
Yes, if it's a violent rape there are a dozen ways a man can inflict that on a women who's alone with nobody to help her. Violent rape is trivially easy. Even if she's conscious and stronger than him, most humans without intense military training instinctively freeze in place when physically threatened and traumatized, which makes it physically impossible to fight back.

I do think that as soon as she's well along in her pregnancy, escaping becomes nearly impossible. Getting away while heavily pregnant, or while carrying a small child, wouldn't be so feasible. And as it was, she and Maeglin had to wait for a rare moment when they weren't being supervised like prisoners in a maximum-security jail.

It's the part where she initially seems to give in that's more trouble to depict.


Oh, here's an idea: Eol's creepy forest-control is like an inside-out Girdle. Once inside, you can't get out without his permission or a guide. Aredhel can't escape although she can get close enough to the edges for Feanorian scouts to glimpse and recognize her. But she needs a guide to escape... Maeglin is her guide. Eol had taken him to the Dwarf-cities a few times, and he was able to guide his mother. (She's still supervised like an Alcatraz prisoner, because Eol is a controlling abuser, and isn't certain his magic can contain her.) Or is that too much prince-rescues-damsel-in-distress?

edit: Eol, not Maeglin
 
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MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
Aredhel is going to survive the passage of Nan Dungortheb. So, yes, she's competent at fighting giant spiders, anyway. As for the 'not wholly unwilling' thing, isn't 'wholly' an editorial addition in the published Silmarillion? I thought the original quote was that she was 'not unwilling'? Regardless, showing Aredhel being at all interested in what is happening there is going to be tough. I think that, like in many abuse situations, you depict Eöl as being somewhat charming at first, and she truly cares for him. She may not realize (at first) that her inability to leave the forest is an intentional thing that he has control over - she may think she's just in a magic forest, and, for a time, doesn't mind as long as she's with him. Maeglin choosing to lead her out so they can escape to Gondolin is a good idea.



The quote from Maglor I was referring to is when he and Maedhros debate taking the Oath to Valinor unfulfilled or breaking into Eonwë's camp. Neither choice was good, of course, but Maglor is finally saying that, you know, maybe it wouldn't be the worst thing to not fulfill it after all.... And if they went to Valinor, they know the Valar would be able to keep them from fulfilling the Oath, in a way that the elves of Doriath and the Havens could not.

I realize that there is a delay between the 2nd and 3rd kinslaying, and a temporary putting-on-hold of the Oath. They have their reasons, but in the end, they don't hold it worse to keep it than to leave it unfulfilled. We'll have more time than Tolkien allotted to the brief annal entries to explore everyone's mindset at that time, and Amras at least will likely have quite a bit to say of Oaths during that time. Certainly, I imagine we'll show them being conflicted. But, as you say, there is actual torment from the Oath - they are bound, and it's not so easy to just break or get out of.

It's like Frodo warned Smeagol - swear on the Precious at your own peril, because it *will* hold you to your word. And of course Frodo warned him that he would order Gollum to throw himself into the Fire if he tried to take the Ring or touched him ever again, which is, oh look, what happened to Gollum....

It will be our job to show the audience how the Oath enforces itself. We made a good start with the burning ships and the death of Amrod. We are continuing it at the beginning of this season with the inaction of the Fëanoreans (they *can't* make deals with Morgoth to rescue Maedhros). But there will be a lot of seasons between now and the later kinslayings; the Oath will have to come up from time to time.

One opportunity to bring it up is during the planning for the Union of Maedhros. Obviously, at some point, we will need to have Maedhros and Fingon sit down and make those plans between them. While there is the practical reason for attacking Morgoth at this time...Maedhros is also very aware of the silmaril in Doriath. He *has* to be thinking, okay, Fingon, you're High King - let me point my brothers and our armies at Morgoth. If you don't...you know what other target presents itself. I am not saying that Maedhros will use the innocents of Doriath as hostages to manipulate Fingon into attacking Angband...but...I'm not saying that won't come up, either. Surely they are both aware of the Oath and its implications. We just need to make sure the audience is aware, too.
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
Am I alone in wanting the Ban before the Dagor Aglareb and a pact between the Noldor and the Sindar (and the other Noldor as well) that they won’t fight each other while Morgoth is around?
 

Faelivrin

Well-Known Member
I don't imagine that either Maedhros of Fingon actually left his fortress to travel to hold a meeting, after the Siege broke. I think they used messengers.

Regarding what Maglor said, I'd refer you to my interpretation in more detail in the Feanorian Storylines thread. I do not grant that conversation a simplistic black-and-white interpretation. The brothers who would not consider breaking the Oath were fated to die at Doriath.

Am I alone in wanting the Ban before the Dagor Aglareb and a pact between the Noldor and the Sindar (and the other Noldor as well) that they won’t fight each other while Morgoth is around?
I'm neither against or in favor of it, at this point. We might not even be at the point in our overarching storyline planning yet where we can tell which order of events will work out better.


MithLuin, may I request please that you express to the hosts the reasons I think it's not plausible to reveal the Helkaraxe crossing and continue hiding the burning of the Ships, and my objections to trivializing trauma and insulting trauma victims? I plan to try attending tomorrow's session but the comment method doesn't seem amenable to express anything other than 1-sentence soundbytes.

Edit: I'm also guaranteed to miss the first hour or so of the session.
 
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Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
Maedhros and Fingon should travel to hold a meeting. It’s pretty hard to plan strategy when you’re more than 450 miles apart. I don’t think anybody has messenger ravens.
 

Faelivrin

Well-Known Member
They'd want to, but how would they do so? Not through Doriath, Nan Dungortheb, Anfauglith, or Taur-nu-Fuin. What practical, safe route is available? The open lands outside the various kingdoms are deadly to travel through, even the Pass of Sirion after Sauron was kicked out. Post-siege Morgoth owns most of the chessboard.

Sending messengers or riding themselves is risking getting caught, intercepted, and dashing their hopes of secrecy. I imagine them sending birds carrying messages, either talking birds or something like a carrier pigeon.
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
They'd want to, but how would they do so? Not through Doriath, Nan Dungortheb, Anfauglith, or Taur-nu-Fuin. What practical, safe route is available? The open lands outside the various kingdoms are deadly to travel through, even the Pass of Sirion after Sauron was kicked out. Post-siege Morgoth owns most of the chessboard.

Sending messengers or riding themselves is risking getting caught, intercepted, and dashing their hopes of secrecy. I imagine them sending birds carrying messages, either talking birds or something like a carrier pigeon.
And what I’m saying is that you can’t plan strategy when two participants are extremely far from each other with the technology they had.
 

Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
I think Faelivrin has some good points regarding the Noldor and their willingness to speak about the hardships they’ve gone through. People who are traumatised will try to avoid thinking about painful events, and that means avoiding talking about them is a working strategy. As a clinical psychologist partly focusing on ptsd and experiences of catastrophic events, I do have to say though that people react in many different ways, and since the crossing of the Grinding Ice is a series of events over a long period of time, that have produced a range of different memories, some heartbreakingly traumatic, some actually joyful or at least warming, and some filled with hopeless realisation that death can come at any moment, people will have different feelings for the crossing and deal with the experience in different ways. It’s definitely true I think that there’s a lot that the crossers don’t want to think about but since they did manage to cross, the whole thing could well be remembered as proof of one’s capacity of survival. Given that Fingolfin’s people as a whole aren’t suffering from ptsd - or they would behave quite differently than they do in Beleriand - I think we can assume that some will be able to talk about the crossing (and sooner than they would talk about the Kinslaying of course, which, incidentally, I think was what Corey mainly was arguing in the session).
They probably won’t choose to voluntarily though, since doing so risks opening up the Pandora’s box of the whole Shipburning-Doom-Kinslaying mess of a story that’s hard to begin telling part of without suggesting that there’s more. They should also be conflicted when it comes to how to feel about the Fëanoeans, who are their loved kin but have led them through horrible crimes and hardships, who have or have not willingly set fire to the ships etc., but still are closer to most of them than these new Sindar strangers.
So I think that the crossers could talk about the crossing but refer to it in a summarising way, preferring not going into any particular detail.
 
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