Session 4.12 - Episodes 1 and 2

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
I think it's impossible to have both families of Noldor present in the immediate vicinity of Thorondor's landing, unless they're living together in one reunited camp, which they can't be. But we can have Thorondor descend within one of the camps, and choose which will be most dramatic (Amysrevenge has a good suggestion for justifying whichever camp we want). The other camp will need to be told by Fingon or a messenger.
Is it possible for them to be having a meeting that is disintegrating at that time? I mean, they don't have to live together to be in one place at one time, do they? I go to Mythmoot once a year and I don't live with any of those people.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
Yes, the request is for them (ie, Fingolfin, Turgon...as well as Curufin, Maglor) to all be present when the eagle lands.

We are certainly allowed to have different camps across the lake from one another...we just have some characters 'away from home' at the moment. It's our job to come up with....why?

Since 'tension between the two Noldor camps' is one of the subplots in the episode, that should be coming to a head when Fingon returns. Fingon was one of the most reluctant anti-Fëanor voices in Fingolfin's camp. Once he leaves, who is there to be the 'voice of reason'? Wouldn't it make sense that the understated tension would be more likely to boil to the surface at this point? Also, we will likely be showing that Maglor is ineffective at containing his brothers - Curufin is the one who is directing things in that camp. So...what would happen if Curufin and Turgon (say) had a conversation about...anything...at this point? There would be accusations and open hostility, right? The kind that would draw in others?


In the text, the reason the Fëanorean camp is withdrawn and not talking to the Host of Fingolfin very much is because they are embarrassed that these people whom they abandoned and wrote off as useless went to great effort to show up anyway. The reason the people of Fingolfin's camp aren't thrilled with the Fëanoreans is....Helcaraxë. But there has been some communication. Fingolfin knows Fëanor is dead. Fingon knows Maedhros is captive. That means...there was some exchange of stories of what happened to this point. Not the full story, of course. Fingon doesn't know that Maedhros stood aside at the burning of the ships. We have yet to determine whether or not the Host of Fingolfin knows about Amrod's death in the ship-burning.

Regardless of what excuse we use for a meeting between them, it should be clear to the audience that reconciliation is not remotely likely....and then the eagle arrives.
 

Marielle

Well-Known Member
Is it possible for them to be having a meeting that is disintegrating at that time? I mean, they don't have to live together to be in one place at one time, do they? I go to Mythmoot once a year and I don't live with any of those people.
I'm wary that "peace conference that's falling apart only to be saved in the nic of time" could come across as slightly... cliche? Could one of Fingon's siblings, Aredhel perhaps, or one of his cousins like Galadriel or Finrod, think that the Feanoreans have absconded with him, and that's the confrontation Thorondor's arrival interrupts?
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
I'm wary that "peace conference that's falling apart only to be saved in the nic of time" could come across as slightly... cliche? Could one of Fingon's siblings, Aredhel perhaps, or one of his cousins like Galadriel or Finrod, think that the Feanoreans have absconded with him, and that's the confrontation Thorondor's arrival interrupts?
I mean, that is a thing that could happen, but I'm not sure it averts the issue.
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
So, the way that you avoid things like this are through good structure. It is purely coincidence that the Empire Strikes Back duel between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader comes to an end within a minute of the time Leia & Co. escape Cloud City. If that timeline diverges by five minutes, Luke falls to his death.

But by having a coherent tension arc to the story, Lucas keeps the audience too engaged to find the coincidence cliche. We don't wonder why Han has a change of heart just in time to get Vader off Luke's back so he can destroy the Death Star. Or how the events in the Emperor's throne room get wrapped up in time for Luke to escape the second Death Star.

Essentially, if the conflict between the Feanorians and the Fingolfinians is on the road to disintegration, we are laying the ground work to avoid the sensation of this being an awkward coincidence.

(Of course, the hosts' plan of going from Fingon preparing to shoot his best friend to Thorondor, who we haven't seen in several years, arriving with Fingon and Maedhros, having three hands between them, makes this significantly more difficult.)

PS And before anyone hits me with the argument that The Force orchestrated all of those coincidences, I'd remind you that we similarly have an Intelligence orchestrating our story.
 

Marielle

Well-Known Member
(Of course, the hosts' plan of going from Fingon preparing to shoot his best friend to Thorondor, who we haven't seen in several years, arriving with Fingon and Maedhros, having three hands between them, makes this significantly more difficult.)
It seemed to me that the Hosts skirted making that a settled Decretum, so we can ignore that if we find it too difficult. But I acknowledge their point that the "mundane" acts of trying to break/pry loose the iron staple probably wouldn't be riveting television.

Idea that literally just came to me as I was typing above, and therefore isn't fully thought out yet... could we move the location of the eucatastrophic arrival? Have Fingon find his friend and climb up, try to free him, and then be prepared to kill him since there's no way to free him except cut off his hand, and there's no way to climb down, even for a Calaquinde, without two strong hands? That might remove the Hosts' concern that the eucatastrophe gets interrupted by futile, possibly comic, actions. But it could open up a whole new host of problems...
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
It seemed to me that the Hosts skirted making that a settled Decretum, so we can ignore that if we find it too difficult. But I acknowledge their point that the "mundane" acts of trying to break/pry loose the iron staple probably wouldn't be riveting television.

Idea that literally just came to me as I was typing above, and therefore isn't fully thought out yet... could we move the location of the eucatastrophic arrival? Have Fingon find his friend and climb up, try to free him, and then be prepared to kill him since there's no way to free him except cut off his hand, and there's no way to climb down, even for a Calaquinde, without two strong hands? That might remove the Hosts' concern that the eucatastrophe gets interrupted by futile, possibly comic, actions. But it could open up a whole new host of problems...
The idea that physical effort can be comical lies in the mind of the person imagining it until it is captured on film.

For example:

Now, there are certainly ways we could be invited to laugh at that scene. But we aren't. The editing, cinematography, and music come together to make the simple act of pulling something a moment of epic heroism.

Fingon is desperately trying to free his friend, while Maedhros does not rise from his despair for a moment, even when Fingon seems unwilling to give up. It seems that nothing Fingon does will free Maedhros from the wall and raises his blade, seemingly to slay his friend. THEN we cut back to the Noldor nearly coming to blows, when someone in the camp looks up and sees Thorondor high above and cries out. We follow the eagle down, getting a close-up of Maedhros' stump, so we know what happened.


I don't think anyone will laugh at that. Not when everything is working together.
 

Marielle

Well-Known Member
Agreed. But what about the concern that the futile effort will undermine the eucatastrophe?

If I recall correctly, the Hosts' were worried the scene might go something like this:

"Oh, Yay, an Eagle of Manwe is here to help!" [Flying] "I'm here to rescue you! And..." [futile struggle] "I can't do anything except chop off your hand. Sorry, old pal!"
[screams and blood and sad flight back to camp, with everyone wondering why Manwe couldn't send anything more useful than a taxi]

I'm not sure I agree, but it's something I hadn't considered before and can't just dismiss. I'm sure we can do this, but I think we need to make a priority of not undermining the incredible gift the presence of Thorondor is.
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
The Eagles aren't there to solve all of Middle-earth's problems, though. Thorondor shows up to do what Fingon could not, but the rest is up to him, and Maedhros' healing and recovery are ultimately in his own ... hand.
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
Also, I'd point out that eucatastrophic events in Tolkien often aren't immediately successful or are bittersweet.

The Battle of Pelennor Fields is full of these. The Rohirrim show up, much to the surprise of the defenders, and perhaps the attackers, but it doesn't break the assault. Eowyn shows up to intervene in defense of Theoden, but he dies anyway. Merry stabs the Witch-King, but he doesn't die until Eowyn attacks.

This is something Tolkien is always doing. He is giving hope, and pulling it out from under us throughout the LoTR and also the Silmarillion. This is indeed one of those cases.
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
Also, I'd point out that eucatastrophic events in Tolkien often aren't immediately successful or are bittersweet.

The Battle of Pelennor Fields is full of these. The Rohirrim show up, much to the surprise of the defenders, and perhaps the attackers, but it doesn't break the assault. Eowyn shows up to intervene in defense of Theoden, but he dies anyway. Merry stabs the Witch-King, but he doesn't die until Eowyn attacks.

This is something Tolkien is always doing. He is giving hope, and pulling it out from under us throughout the LoTR and also the Silmarillion. This is indeed one of those cases.
Heck, just look at The Hobbit. The Eagles showing up is nice, but it still isn't enough. It takes Beorn's appearance and him charging through the Goblins' ranks and killing Bolg to completely turn the tide of the Battle of Five Armies.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
I think Dave's idea has merit. Obviously, it's not the only way to handle this scene (I certainly intended to show Fingon cutting off Maedhros' hand), but it is evocative.

The most heartbreaking part of the rescue is where Maedhros begs for death...and Fingon prepares to kill him. Leaving the audience 'stuck' there for a moment is probably a good idea. If we jump ahead to the part where Thorondor arrives and Fingon is rescuing Maedhros in the very next 5 seconds....the audience doesn't get to have the full reaction.

And...there's a timing issue. Fingon utters his prayer while pulling back the bow string. For Thorondor to arrive before Fingon shoots Maedhros, he has to be *right there*. And, when Tolkien first invented this story, he was; he lived in the mountains of Thangorodrim. But...we aren't having that happen, so having *suddenly, an eagle appears!* is going to be...weird. We'd almost have to cut away there anyway....but we'd be cutting back at the very second we left.

And so, I think I am fine with showing the scene with Fingon and Maedhros up to the point where Fingon utters his prayer (and possibly an eagle call is heard), and the audience is left thinking, wait, did Fingon just kill Maedhros? and then cutting back to the camps of the Noldor where *whatever tension we develop* is coming to a head...only for Thorondor's arrival to interrupt that.


...And then, in Episode 2, show a flashback of the rescue where Fingon cuts off Maedhros' hand as part of Maedhros' recovery. See, I wasn't going to give up on this scene that easily! ;) But it then focuses on Maedhros' maiming, since we know he's alive, and what that leaves between Fingon and Maedhros moving forwards. In that context, it's inviting the audience to think about the consequences of a desperate decision rather than the tension of the desperation itself. I think that can work.


And honestly, Nick, I think Winter Soldier is one of the best Marvel films....and I pretty much laugh out loud at that scene in Civil War when Cap changes his grip to show off his bicep. So, yeah, even when they're trying really hard to make you take a scene seriously, it doesn't mean there won't be inappropriate laughter from the audience.
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
I think Dave's idea has merit. Obviously, it's not the only way to handle this scene (I certainly intended to show Fingon cutting off Maedhros' hand), but it is evocative.

The most heartbreaking part of the rescue is where Maedhros begs for death...and Fingon prepares to kill him. Leaving the audience 'stuck' there for a moment is probably a good idea. If we jump ahead to the part where Thorondor arrives and Fingon is rescuing Maedhros in the very next 5 seconds....the audience doesn't get to have the full reaction.

And...there's a timing issue. Fingon utters his prayer while pulling back the bow string. For Thorondor to arrive before Fingon shoots Maedhros, he has to be *right there*. And, when Tolkien first invented this story, he was; he lived in the mountains of Thangorodrim. But...we aren't having that happen, so having *suddenly, an eagle appears!* is going to be...weird. We'd almost have to cut away there anyway....but we'd be cutting back at the very second we left.

And so, I think I am fine with showing the scene with Fingon and Maedhros up to the point where Fingon utters his prayer (and possibly an eagle call is heard), and the audience is left thinking, wait, did Fingon just kill Maedhros? and then cutting back to the camps of the Noldor where *whatever tension we develop* is coming to a head...only for Thorondor's arrival to interrupt that.


...And then, in Episode 2, show a flashback of the rescue where Fingon cuts off Maedhros' hand as part of Maedhros' recovery. See, I wasn't going to give up on this scene that easily! ;) But it then focuses on Maedhros' maiming, since we know he's alive, and what that leaves between Fingon and Maedhros moving forwards. In that context, it's inviting the audience to think about the consequences of a desperate decision rather than the tension of the desperation itself. I think that can work.


And honestly, Nick, I think Winter Soldier is one of the best Marvel films....and I pretty much laugh out loud at that scene in Civil War when Cap changes his grip to show off his bicep. So, yeah, even when they're trying really hard to make you take a scene seriously, it doesn't mean there won't be inappropriate laughter from the audience.
*Must.Resist.Urge.To.Quibble.About.Marvel Movies*

Anyway, the Dave's idea might have merit if this were a minor plot point. This is the climax of the episode, and you are asking the audience to accept that a ginormous eagle showed up and rescued both Fingon and Maedhros, Maedhros is now missing a hand, and has no arrows sticking out of him offscreen. That isn't a reasonable ask. It is inviting the audience to sit there, dumbfounded, wondering what just happened. Sure, you can explain it in the next episode, but it severely diminishes Fingon's heroism for now, and makes it appear as if Thorondor did it all for them. Shocking the audience can be a good thing, and having something completely unexpected happen in the tag of the episode and explaining it later is a good way to throw folks off guard. This is just confusing, and confusing to avoid something that only has to look stupid if you want it to look stupid.
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
*Must.Resist.Urge.To.Quibble.About.Marvel Movies*

Anyway, the Dave's idea might have merit if this were a minor plot point. This is the climax of the episode, and you are asking the audience to accept that a ginormous eagle showed up and rescued both Fingon and Maedhros, Maedhros is now missing a hand, and has no arrows sticking out of him offscreen. That isn't a reasonable ask. It is inviting the audience to sit there, dumbfounded, wondering what just happened. Sure, you can explain it in the next episode, but it severely diminishes Fingon's heroism for now, and makes it appear as if Thorondor did it all for them. Shocking the audience can be a good thing, and having something completely unexpected happen in the tag of the episode and explaining it later is a good way to throw folks off guard. This is just confusing, and confusing to avoid something that only has to look stupid if you want it to look stupid.
Perhaps they think that the climax is Fingon returning with Maedhros to the camp (which one the Hosts didn’t decide on)?

But I think we should show the rescue of Fingon, hand-chopping and all.

Which brings me back to the question I had earlier about what type of tale we are trying to craft: an epic fantasy, or a psychological drama?
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
Perhaps they think that the climax is Fingon returning with Maedhros to the camp (which one the Hosts didn’t decide on)?

But I think we should show the rescue of Fingon, hand-chopping and all.

Which brings me back to the question I had earlier about what type of tale we are trying to craft: an epic fantasy, or a psychological drama?

It certainly is an epic fantasy, but one in which we will be spending a lot of time with characters. Phycological drama is going to happen.
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
It certainly is an epic fantasy, but one in which we will be spending a lot of time with characters. Phycological drama is going to happen.
I understand that we have a lot of time with characters and psychological drama is going to happen, but we shouldn’t have key moments like this be offscreen. Keep too much offscreen, and there is a risk of the audience being confused about what happened.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
This is just confusing, and confusing to avoid something that only has to look stupid if you want it to look stupid.
Not quite. The reason to do this isn't just to avoid showing Fingon hacking at a cliff with a knife/sword/whatever he has with him that isn't the harp or the bow. It's also to introduce Thorondor's involvement in a way that makes the reaction of the audience mirror the reaction of the elves.

The Hosts were right to pan some of the possible ways to introduce Thorondor here. Fingon should be surprised that his prayer is answered, which is fine, but what kind of startling are we going for? As Ange1e4e5 points out...not a jump scare. And not a slow-mo eagle flying in. So...he just shows up? And Fingon, what, asks for a ride? Handling the 'S'up, Fingon' appearance of Thorondor is something that has to happen if we're going to show that scene all the way through Fingon getting up on the cliff.

Not that it can't be done....but Thorondor flying into the camp of the Noldor has a much greater chance of success as an introduction. That one can work without question. Now...if we do want to show Thorondor's arrival in Thangorodrim, we have a lot of choices to make about how to pull that off. Possibly, Thorondor could swoop in, pick up Fingon, and deposit him on the ledge, all without conversation. Also possibly, Fingon and Thorondor could have a conversation about what type of assistance Fingon needs. But....the eagle is huge. It's going to get really crowded on that ledge, and we're going to wonder why the eagle's beak/talons couldn't cut through that iron band holding Maedhros in place. It's just...really difficult to ignore a giant eagle once you have one, and if the scene is meant to be about Fingon....


Not that I don't see your point about the climax being something we can't skip over. I think it's very clear that we intend Fingon to be our point-of-view character in this episode, and the struggle he's facing is making things right between the two camps personified in his efforts to rescue Maedhros. And so...we can show defeat after defeat as he keeps trying, but if we seemingly end on a note of defeat....how then is Maedhros rescued? Making the arrival back at the camps the climax (of both Fingon's story and the subplot involving Fingolfin) is probably not the easiest thing to do, but wasn't an awful idea, either.

If we plan to skip such a big scene as Maedhros' hand getting chopped off, then we do have to think carefully about what hints we've given the audience and how we convey to them what happened.

Idea that literally just came to me as I was typing above, and therefore isn't fully thought out yet... could we move the location of the eucatastrophic arrival? Have Fingon find his friend and climb up, try to free him, and then be prepared to kill him since there's no way to free him except cut off his hand, and there's no way to climb down, even for a Calaquendi, without two strong hands? That might remove the Hosts' concern that the eucatastrophe gets interrupted by futile, possibly comic, actions. But it could open up a whole new host of problems...
Yeah, I keep coming back to this. In the book, Thorondor helps with two things - lifting Fingon up the mountain so he can reach Maedhros on the cliff, and also carrying them both back to Mithrim. If we didn't want to show the Eagle hanging around while Fingon tries to cut Maedhros free, the solution is to have Fingon climb the cliff on his own (not actually an impossible task).

But...then when does he make the prayer to Manwë? And why does Thorondor arrive? Not that the taxi service isn't helpful, but....if that's all he's doing, it's potentially almost an afterthought to have him there. And if he arrives while Fingon is trying to cut through the iron cuff, we would expect the eagle to cut/bite through that for him. When the eagle just stands by and watches Fingon cut Maedhros' hand off....that might look...superfluous?
 
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Faelivrin

Well-Known Member
For Thorondor to arrive before Fingon shoots Maedhros, he has to be *right there*. And, when Tolkien first invented this story, he was; he lived in the mountains of Thangorodrim. But...we aren't having that happen,
I think we have to. There's no other logical explanation for how Thorondor could have arrived on time unless he was on the mountain at the time, watching Fingon's progress. Maybe he doesn't live there, but he does have to be there at the time.

He needn't have a conversation with Fingon, but I wouldn't want him to just appear and snatch Fingon off the cliff without warning or explanation. I think he swoops down, and either calls from above or says as he lands, "Stay your weapon" or something like that, very simple. And then... does whatever it is to put Fingon where he needs to be. Actual conversation would wait until they're flying back to Mithrim. Fingon of course will thank him and assume he was sent by Manwe. Thorondor can say, briefly, that Manwe commanded them to watch Morgoth and the war but not to intervene except in the most extreme circumstances. And he can have a terse style of speaking. We can thus make it clear (in case anyone doubted it) that he was sent by the Valar, while also establishing that he is not a deus ex machina to call upon whenever they feel like it.



I am not attracted to any of the suggestions for the Fingolfinians and Feanorians to be having a meeting when Thorondor shows up. When Fingolfin arrived he had things to say to Feanor Maedhros Maglor. They had news for him. After that... why would they be talking to each other? What else do they have to say? Nobody except Fingon and maybe Finrod or Aredhel is interested in any kind of reconciliation. The Fingolfinians hate the Feanorians, for the most part. The Feanorians either despise the Fingolfinians, or are too ashamed to talk to them. What topic could they meet about that wouldn't look contrived and silly, or look like premature reconciliation? Does Turgon walk over to their camp to yell at them, just to blow off steam? Do Fingolfin and Curufin repeatedly exchange depressingly repetitive demands for the other side to submit to him? They wouldn't schedule a meeting just to have a forum to argue with each other. They aren't interested in negotiation.
 
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Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
I think skipping the arrival of Thorondor is an understandable idea. But it won’t work. As you’ve said, people will wonder, and then go, ‘aha, one of those Eagle rescues’, and the general feeling will be that the creators of the series can’t bother or find the energy to deal with the task of keeping the viewers interested.

We should definitely show Fingon cutting off the hand. It has to be there. It is almost like Abraham sacrificing his son. You can’t cut these things out.

I think the arrival of the Eagle has to come as a direct response (from Manwë) to Maedhros accepting to get killed, and Fingon accepting to cut off his hand and carrying him back. Thorondor should at the same instant they agree and start doing it break through the low hanging dark clouds - that should be just above them, high up as they are. It won’t be a ‘Eagle is coming’-moment that way, but kind of a positive version of a jump scare.
 
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