Session 4.12 - Episodes 1 and 2

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
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....
I'm not sure this actually gets away from what I'm saying. :) You are basically saying that a giant eagle dropping down and talking to Fingon and Fingon trying to get the staple off Maedhros' hand is going to look stupid. I'm just saying that I can certainly imagine ways in which is would, I can also imagine ways in which it wouldn't.

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?
So, I agree that this makes Thorondor an afterthought. If Fingon can climb up, he can surely climb down. And he didn't come this far without a rope with which he can lower the injured Maedhros down, did he? I am confused about the suggestion that Thorondor would be able to bite or claw through the steel bar which has Maedhros trapped. This doesn't make much sense to me. Assuming that his beak and talons are strong enough to cut through the metal, which I'm not sure they would be, how could he do that without ripping Maedhros' arm apart? This seems to depend on the design of the metal bond. If it looks sturdy enough, I'm not sure anyone would be led to ask that question.

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 do think that Thorondor is perched up on Thangorodrim at that time. I'm working on the exact structure of the scene, since I feel compelled to actually script it to show that it works.

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.
Negotiations are not often done in a single meeting. If you look at any union dispute, for example, there will often be a series of meetings before some kind of arrangement is reached. I don't agree that only Finrod and Aredhel are interested in negotiation, because the alternative is war. Marielle's point about Fingon being missing can certainly be a catalyst for this meeting, though.
 

Faelivrin

Well-Known Member
The whole point of the story is that they were not negotiating, at all, until Fingon convinced them to reunite. His gesture is almost meaningless if they were already negotiating. The entire visual and concept of them reuniting is ruined if they're already meeting and negotiating without Fingon's encouragement. He should not arrive to find them already reunited.

They also have nothing to talk about. Of course they're on the verge of another Kinslaying -- that's what it says in the book. That's the problem Fingon is trying to solve.


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.
How does Fingon fly up to the top of the cliff without Thorondor's help?

Thorondor needs to arrive in response to Fingon's prayer, not wait until after he finishes cutting Maedhros down on his own.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
I imagine we can show unsuccessful/fruitless negotiations. It is quite possible that Fingon's sudden disappearance will be blamed on the Fëanoreans, and thus what they are talking about amounts to "Where's Fingon, what have you done with him?" and "How should we know? We haven't seen him." I would not classify such a conversation as an attempt at reconciliation.


Yeah, I really don't like the idea of Fingon being able to scale the cliff on his own. It doesn't help our story to leave out the eagle assistance there. However...Thorondor's wingspan is 30 fathoms (=180 feet = 55 meters). He's huge. That's 30x the wingspan of a 'regular' golden eagle. He's probably something like 75 ft tall. Just, really, really massive, and dwarves the elves significantly. We might decide to downscale him a bit, just because.
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
The whole point of the story is that they were not negotiating, at all, until Fingon convinced them to reunite. His gesture is almost meaningless if they were already negotiating. The entire visual and concept of them reuniting is ruined if they're already meeting and negotiating without Fingon's encouragement. He should not arrive to find them already reunited.
The text certainly does not state that there were no communications or meetings between the Noldorin leaders before Fingon's return. Nor is anyone suggesting that the Noldor are reunited before that happens. I don't think that anyone has said that at all. Ongoing negotiations are not the same as resolution. The Noldor cannot live permanently in fortified camps. At some point, they both need to move, and doing so puts them at risk of an attack from the opposing side. That means that some sort of cessation of hostilities has to be achieved in order for them to move forward. These efforts are going to break down specifically because Fingon is missing and because Maedhros isn't there to moderate his brothers.

How does Fingon fly up to the top of the cliff without Thorondor's help?

Thorondor needs to arrive in response to Fingon's prayer, not wait until after he finishes cutting Maedhros down on his own.
Doesn't Maedhros ask Fingon to shoot him before Thorondor shows up.

Yeah, I really don't like the idea of Fingon being able to scale the cliff on his own. It doesn't help our story to leave out the eagle assistance there. However...Thorondor's wingspan is 30 fathoms (=180 feet = 55 meters). He's huge. That's 30x the wingspan of a 'regular' golden eagle. He's probably something like 75 ft tall. Just, really, really massive, and dwarves the elves significantly. We might decide to downscale him a bit, just because.
I agree on both points. Fifty feet seems to me to be the widest believable wingspan. I also think that Thorondor shouldn't land on the ledge when he drops Fingon off, but a crag somewhere above them. As has been mentioned, it will appear to be a bit crowded.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
Canonically, Maedhros pleads for death twice - once when Fingon finds him, but can find no way up to the ledge (so, death-by-arrows), and then a second time, after Fingon has reached the ledge with Eagle assistance, but can find no way to get the iron band free (so, death-by-blade).

The suggestion (what if Fingon just scaled the cliff himself, sans eagle?) would mean that Maedhros would be pleading in the second case only (or at least, Fingon only agrees then). So, we'd still get the scene where Maedhros begs and Fingon prepares to kill him. It's just...in this case, the alternative is somewhat more obvious.

Also, the prayer to Manwë is meant to be: 'O King to whom all birds are dear, speed now this feathered shaft, and recall some pity for the Noldor in their need!' That works much better with the bow-and-arrow scenario. If we only get one begging for death scene, I'd prefer the former as more poignantly hopeless.


I think that, perhaps, the solution to the Thorondor problem is to introduce him much earlier in the episode, but to make his allegiance very unclear. Just as when there is an eagle seen far off in Lord of the Rings, and they don't know whether it's a spy of Saruman or not. (Spoiler: it's not, as Gandalf tells them later) So, when the clouds of darkness roll out from Angband, we can see Thorondor take interest and go to investigate. And as Fingon is clambering around the rocks of Thangorodrim, trying to be stealthy, we see this massive eagle fly by, and wonder if, oh no! Fingon has been spotted.... But then when Fingon utters his prayer, Thorondor hears it and answers. That would prevent his arrival from seemingly coming out of nowhere.

If there is dialogue, we should make it clear that Thorondor knows the Noldor have been banished from Valinor and there's no going back for them. He's not 'out of the loop' just because he's far away from Manwë. But Manwë's pity extends even to the exiles, and so.....
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
I think that, perhaps, the solution to the Thorondor problem is to introduce him much earlier in the episode, but to make his allegiance very unclear. Just as when there is an eagle seen far off in Lord of the Rings, and they don't know whether it's a spy of Saruman or not. (Spoiler: it's not, as Gandalf tells them later) So, when the clouds of darkness roll out from Angband, we can see Thorondor take interest and go to investigate. And as Fingon is clambering around the rocks of Thangorodrim, trying to be stealthy, we see this massive eagle fly by, and wonder if, oh no! Fingon has been spotted.... But then when Fingon utters his prayer, Thorondor hears it and answers. That would prevent his arrival from seemingly coming out of nowhere.
So, I immediately thought of two issues: A) It is difficult to illustrate the scale of a creature like a giant eagle until you put them next to something of a known size. B) It will be difficult to suggest that the Eagle's allegiances are ambiguous, considering that the last time we saw the eagles, they were fighting Melkor, and were in fact created by Manwe himself.

I did come up with a potential solution to the second problem when working out the first, and I will reveal this solution ... TONIGHT!!!
 

Faelivrin

Well-Known Member
I don't think Thorondor can be nearly as ginormous as Tolkien wrote. A 180-foot wingspan is just... absurd.

I don't think we should change the events in the rescue. Whether or not we show all of them, it should happen as in the book.



I could maybe be persuaded that it isn't silly for the Fingolfinians to accuse the Feanorians of kidnapping Fingon. But I still think it's silly and turns the episode upside-down for them to be in any type of peace negotiations.
 
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Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
I don't think Thorondor can be nearly as ginormous as Tolkien wrote. A 180-foot wingspan is just... absurd.

I don't think we should change the events in the rescue. Whether or not we show all of them, it should happen as in the book.



I could maybe be persuaded that it isn't silly for the Fingolfinians to accuse the Feanorians of kidnapping Fingon. But I still think it's silly and turns the episode upside-down for them to be in any type of peace negotiations.
It depends upon what you mean by peace negotiations. If they are drafting a treaty of reunification, sure. But being involved in negotiations with the goal being, "Don't attack me when I leave," I don't think that is the case. Remember that neither camp is exactly flush with supplies. It would be foolish of them to think they could just stare across the lake at each other indefinitely, and I don't think either party that stupid.

Also, remember that I'm not advocating for successful negotiations here. They are breaking down as we approach the finale. I don't see how that makes Fingon's effort irrelevant. If Fingon and Maedhros do not return when they do, they fight. I'm just looking to illustrate the situation the way the book describes it in a dynamic way that isn't the two parties bad mouthing each other at a distance for an hour.
 

Faelivrin

Well-Known Member
At some point, they both need to move, and doing so puts them at risk of an attack from the opposing side. That means that some sort of cessation of hostilities has to be achieved in order for them to move forward. These efforts are going to break down specifically because Fingon is missing and because Maedhros isn't there to moderate his brothers.
The entire point of that section of the book is that the Noldor were not moving forward, not thinking of the future, at all. It's explict that they "achieved nothing", went nowhere, planned nothing, and were completely unprepared for war, while Morgoth started making plans, weapons, and a giant smoke-cloud. Yes, they are being foolish. That is the point of this part of the story: feuds and grudges are stupid and self-destructive when your real enemy is Satan.

This notion that they're planning for the future, making peace negotiations, and planning out their war against Morgoth is in complete contradiction of the entire spirit of this part of the story. It is the total opposite of the spirit of what Tolkien wrote.

It's also visually and thematically the total opposite of showing two separated groups being brought together by Fingon's action. Visually and thematically, you can't tell that story by putting them all in peace talks before he leaves. We need a visual theme of them being separated, and then coming together after Fingon returns. That means we need to actually show and emphasize that they are separated, not just put them in all in the same room and have somebody mention offhand that they're not living together. How will it be visually or thematically any different from them arguing in Tirion before Feanor's exile?
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
Okay, so don't put them in peace talks.

Can you think of a reason for Maglor, Curufin, Fingolfin, and Turgon (and possibly others) to be in close proximity to one another when Thorondor arrives with Fingon and Maedhros? That is what we are requested to do - to have them in proximity. What they are doing there is completely up to us.
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
The entire point of that section of the book is that the Noldor were not moving forward, not thinking of the future, at all. It's explict that they "achieved nothing", went nowhere, planned nothing, and were completely unprepared for war, while Morgoth started making plans, weapons, and a giant smoke-cloud. Yes, they are being foolish. That is the point of this part of the story: feuds and grudges are stupid and self-destructive when your real enemy is Satan.
And I'm saying that they are not achieving anything. They do, in fact, give in to foolishness.

This notion that they're planning for the future, making peace negotiations, and planning out their war against Morgoth is in complete contradiction of the entire spirit of this part of the story. It is the total opposite of the spirit of what Tolkien wrote.
They aren't making peace or planning out their war against Morgoth. So no contradiction there and no opposition to what Tolkien wrote.

It's also visually and thematically the total opposite of showing two separated groups being brought together by Fingon's action. Visually and thematically, you can't tell that story by putting them all in peace talks before he leaves. We need a visual theme of them being separated, and then coming together after Fingon returns. That means we need to actually show and emphasize that they are separated, not just put them in all in the same room and have somebody mention offhand that they're not living together. How will it be visually or thematically any different from them arguing in Tirion before Feanor's exile?
The two peoples would indeed be separate. There is no reason for the Feanorians or the Fingolfinians to bring their entire peoples' to such a meeting, and certainly not in the same room. The talks would not even have to happen in one of the camps, but on neutral ground. This is pretty much the way that every medieval battle began, with the leaders meeting to discuss terms, which might or not be rejected. When I said that we show at least one of the envoys leaving their camp and an establishing shot showing the two camps separated, how would you interpret that as a mere offhand remark?
 

Faelivrin

Well-Known Member
To Marie: There is no reason for every single surviving descendant of Finwe to gather for a family reunion in one place. The Hosts are asking for something nonsensical that subverts and thwarts the themes of the story. At most I can imagine one or at most two messengers (non-royals) going to Maglor to accuse him of abducting Fingon.

Using mere words, an argument, to try to convince the audiences that these people hate each other and do not want to reunite is weak. It would be vastly stronger if we use Tolkien's own concept by showing them, visibly on screen, as actually physically separated from each other for this whole episode. That is a strong visual theme. Just making them argue with each other for an hour is not a strong visual theme.


There is no reason for the Feanorians or the Fingolfinians to bring their entire peoples' to such a meeting, and certainly not in the same room.
What Corey wants, if I heard him correctly is everybody in all three families in one place at once.

They aren't making peace or planning out their war against Morgoth.
What, then?
If they're getting together to negotiate something because they wisely realize that they can't achieve anything in the war until they reunite... Yes, that does mean they are achieving something, planning for the future, planning to reconcile, acknowledging that their feud is self-destructive and needs to end.

None of those things should even begin to happen until Fingon gets back. That is the whole point of his action: he acted because nobody else would, not because he was impatient or bored with the slow pace of the peace negotiations. The whole point is that there were no negotiations or intelligent planning happening at all.
 
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MithLuin

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Staff member
To look at this another way...are we going to show the Fëanoreans in this episode? I mean...the Fëanoreans talking amongst themselves, privately? They're not one of the subplots. We're dealing with Fingon, Fingolfin, Círdan, Angband....you'll note that Curufin and Maglor aren't on that list.

So, if we keep the camps completely separate with no interaction (which is not actually what Tolkien wrote, as he did have *some* news cross between the camps), then...will we ever have a reason to have any of the Fëanoreans on screen? And if not...then are we just going to have Fingolfin's camp grumbling about the people across the lake with no changes for the entire episode? That seems...not very dynamic storytelling.

I know they're angry with one another. What I want to know is...what are they doing about that?

The Hosts are asking for something nonsensical that subverts and thwarts the themes of the story.
...
What Corey wants, if I heard him correctly is everybody in all three families in one place at once.
The Hosts' request is difficult, not nonsensical. It only subverts the themes if we tell it that way. We are not required to have everybody present. We do need enough key players from both sides present, though. Círdan's presence is also optional.
 

Faelivrin

Well-Known Member
I have agreed that we need them interacting... once. I do not agree that their interaction should be long, or that it should continue for years after they have exchanged what little news they want to share. There is no reason for them to have a huge family reunion that will not be incoherent and nonsensical.

(No, the book didn't specify where Fingolfin got the news, and I think it's obvious that it came via the Sindar. I realize we won't do that but that is not at all evidence that Tolkien wanted them in peace negotiations or family reunions.)

MithLuin, you previously argued that it wouldn't make any sense for any form of negotiation or reunion to happen between them until after Fingon returned with Maedhros and Maedhros gave something more than an apology. Now you and Nick are trying to come up with ways that the Noldor can start peace negotiations without any prompting at all. Can't we just admit what the Hosts are asking for something utterly nonsensical, and write a script outline faithful to the book in which the characters act in-character and there aren't any plot holes? Sometimes we are going to have to try something different from what the Hosts want.
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
Using mere words, an argument, to try to convince the audiences that these people hate each other and do not want to reunite is weak. It would be vastly stronger if we use Tolkien's own concept by showing them, visibly on screen, as actually physically separated from each other for this whole episode. That is a strong visual theme. Just making them argue with each other for an hour is not a strong visual theme.
And I am advocating for showing that visually on screen. And I'm certainly not advocating for them arguing for the entire episode. I'm not recommending that they be in a meeting the entire time. Just at the end of the episode.

What Corey wants, if I heard him correctly is everybody in all three families in one place at once.
Everybody being the lords, no the thousands of people they have with them. The camps would still be separate.

What, then?
If they're getting together to negotiate something because they wisely realize that they can't achieve anything in the war until they reunite... Yes, that does mean they are achieving something, planning for the future, planning to reconcile, acknowledging that their feud is self-destructive and needs to end.
Did I recommend that they are trying to reunite?
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
I have agreed that we need them interacting... once. I do not agree that their interaction should be long, or that it should continue for years after they have exchanged what little news they want to share.

(No, the book didn't specify where Fingolfin got the news, and I think it's obvious that it came from the Sindar. I realize we won't do that but that is not evidence that Tolkien wanted them in peace negotiations.)

MithLuin, you previously argued that it wouldn't make any sense for any form of negotiation or reunion to happen between them until after Fingon returned with Maedhros and Maedhros gave something more than an apology. Now you and Nick are trying to come up with ways that the Noldor can start peace negotiations without any prompting at all. Can't we just admit what the Hosts are asking for something utterly nonsensical, and write a script outline faithful to the book in which the characters act in-character and there aren't any plot holes? Sometimes we are going to have to try something different from what the Hosts want.
What the Hosts are asking for on this point is totally doable, and we can incorporate it into an outline faithful to the book in which the characters act in-character and there aren't any plot holes.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
I am fairly certain that what we need to deal with in the intra-Noldor part of this episode is "set up for the 2nd Kinslaying....that then didn't happen because Fingon"

There is no healing of the feud until after Maedhros acknowledges his debt to Fingon and cedes the crown to Fingolfin.

What doesn't make any sense is for the camp of Fingolfin to be mad as hornets at the Fëanoreans...and then just sit there for 5 years. They should be doing something, even if that something is threatening to annihilate them.
 

Faelivrin

Well-Known Member
How do we show the Feanorians? All the same ways were were planning to show them before the Hosts said this episode has to invovle a big family reunion. There are 5 sons of Feanor plus Celebrimbor. They're capable of talking to each other.

1. Their dismay among themselves when Fingolfin shows up with a bigger host.
2. Exchanging news, briefly.
3. Some kind of contact with the Sindar
4. Discussing what the heck to do now that Fingolfin may or may not want revenge. Curufin undermining Maglor's leadership
5. Reacting to a messenger accusing them of kidnapping Fingon (1-2 messengers, not the entire Houses of Fingolfin and Finarfin)


What are the Fingolfinians up to? They are busy:
1. Recuperating from the Helkaraxe. This is not instantaneous.
2. Building decent shelter. Hithlum is a treeless, subarctic tundra
3. Reforging weapons, like Ringil
4. Making contact with the Sindar, and negotiating with them.
5. Scouting?

The point is they are achieving nothing towards the war against Morgoth.



Everybody being the lords
What possible reason would the entire Houses of Fingolfin and Finarfin, every single member of both families, have for visiting the Feanorian camp except peace negotiations? You don't bring every one of your lords into a potentially violent situation, inviting them to take you all prisoner, just to accuse them of abducting Fingon. (Not unless the Helkaraxe melted their brains...) This is what messengers are for.

Did I recommend that they are trying to reunite?
What other reason would every single member of all three families have for gathering in one spot? That is a family reunion. It is not something that you do with people you utterly hate who might up and kill you, inviting them to wipe out your whole House.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
The Hosts requested that at the time and place where Thorondor touches down, members of both camps be present. That does not mean that the episode is about a family reunion. It means that they asked us to have some of our main characters talking to one another at one point at the very end of the episode. This is not a huge ask. It's not the simplest thing to orchestrate (obviously), but it is not nearly as catastrophic as you are painting it.

Meanwhile, I will add the Fëanorean subplot to the lists of things we are trying to have happen in this episode. The subplots are getting a little crowded, though. If only there were some way to tie together the Fingolfin and Fëanorean subplots.....
 

Faelivrin

Well-Known Member
So why, when both sides think the other side wants to kill them, would they choose to put ALL of their lords, with no bodyguards or armies, in the enemy camp, just sitting around waiting to be captured or killed? Can you suggest any plausible, non-suicidal reason for every single member* of all three Houses to choose to be in the same room at the same time? What can that possibly be, other than peace talks and a family reunion?

You know that part of Braveheart, where all of the Scottish lords go to the "peace talks" with the whoever they were fighting, and surprise, all of them get killed? Let's not make the Noldorin princes walk into what could be that kind of trap.

If this is so easy, please suggest something that is not peace talks, not a subversion of the themes of the story, and not suicidal stupidity on the part of one faction.



*Just to be clear, we are talking about a plausible reason to get together Fingolfin, Fingon, Turgon, Aredhel, Finrod, Angrod, Aegnor, Galadriel, Orodreth, Idril, Lalwen, Glorfindel, Maglor, Celegorm, Caranthir, Curufin, Amros, Celebrimbor, and the various wives all together in one place, all at the same time.
 
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