Session 4.13 - First 'Creative Content' Session for Season 4

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
Session 4-13 will be held on Friday April 19th (Good Friday) at the usual time (10:20-1 PM Eastern Time)

The focus of the session will be...listeners' choice! That means that you, yes you, get to pick the topics you want to talk about during the session, and we will submit that to the Hosts.

So, anything in Season 4 is game, but preferably topics that fit into the first 5 episodes (as we will have more creative sessions later for later topics).

So, focusing on the early episodes, what topics would you like to discuss related to the following:
  • The Frame
  • Casting
  • Creature Design (Thorondor, not Glaurung yet!)
  • Special Effects
  • Locations
  • Music
  • Maps
  • Costumes
  • Elven (or other) Culture
  • Language
  • Architecture
  • Etc.
Use this thread to suggest topics, or include links to other threads where relevant topics are being discussed!
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
I myself would like to focus on casting for the creative session, regarding what characters we should cast this season (maybe Frame as well?), and what particular attributes are necessary to portray certain characters. I don’t want another situation like what we had last year where the Hosts disliked every nomination for Caranthir and didn’t cast him.

https://forums.signumuniversity.org/index.php?threads/season-4-casting-call.3020/
 
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MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
The Eagles of Manwë and Eucatastrophe - Welcome to my TED Talk :p

Eucatastrophe is a word coined by J. R. R. Tolkien in his essay 'On Fairy Stories' to describe the sudden unexpected turn of good fortune in fairy tales. When, despite all reasonable expectations, the hero succeeds in a seemingly impossible task that they never gave up on, even though there was very little hope of success.

In his own stories, such eucatastrophes are often turning points that hinge on...the arrival of the eagles. Bilbo's call in the Hobbit (echoed by the troops of Gondor in The Lord of the Rings) that 'The Eagles are coming!' is meant to be an unexpected moment of joy where the tide of the battle has turned and victory is now within reach. While these may seem to be just moments of fortuitous good fortune, in the Silmarillion, the Eagles are explicitly the servants of Manwë, and thus their actions in the story are meant to be actions of Manwë's mercy in aid of the Elves (even the exiled Noldor).

And take action they do! The Eagles are very involved in the stories of the Silmarillion. Thorondor assists Fingon in his rescue of Maedhros, and rescues Fingolfin's body from being trampled by Morgoth (wounding Morgoth in the process). The Eagles guard the mountains of Gondolin (their home), keeping all of Morgoth's spies out for centuries. And of course when Beren is wounded in the escape from Angband, it is an eagle who rescues him and Lúthien, who had no way home at that point.

But until the War of Wrath, when the eagles assist Eärendil in fighting the dragons (including Ancalagon the Black), they don't actually do much in the fight against Morgoth. So, we are left with a seeming contradiction - the eagles are ubiquitous in their assistance, arriving time and time again to help out....and yet their help is very minimal and turns no tides, wins no battles.

In the Silm Film Project, then, the depiction of these appearances must be given some context for the audience. The audience must be taught what to expect from the eagles and what not to expect. Otherwise, they become a running joke - it's the eagles again!, or even worse, they fall under criticism for not helping enough. After all, if an eagle can attack Morgoth and wound him...why wasn't Fingolfin saved before he was killed? And if Eagles are such good fighters, why aren't they taking part in these battles and only killing spies on their own turf? And why don't they just fly the Ring to Mount Doom, anyway?

So, what must we impress upon the audience? These are not tame Eagles. You cannot just call them up and ask them for help. You can call for help all you want....it's up to the Eagle whether or not they choose to respond. And Manwë's response comes in particularly desperate moments in very particular mercies. You can't count on an eagle shuttle to take you away from danger, but you're more likely to get one if you were doing something recklessly good at the time. Also...while the Eagles hate Morgoth, and all his evil works, and all his empty promises....they're not joining the Noldor in their War. They are content to remain on the sidelines. The Noldor wanted to fight a war against Morgoth without the Valar's help or permission? So be it, the Eagles will let them. They take part in the War of Wrath...which is Valar-sanctioned. They will help individuals (Fingon, Fingolfin, Beren, and Turgon), but they aren't going to arrive on any First Age battlefields.

It would be great if we could craft some Eagle-centric poetry in which an eagle answers the question: Who are you and what are you doing here? Because...that is how Thorondor would convey that information. Like a Psalm of King David.

Thorondor is meeting the Exiled Noldor in Episode 1 of Season 4 when Fingon rescues Maedhros with his aid. So, that would be the perfect time to convey who and what the Eagles are. But there is no reason to suspect that Thorondor was not aware of Fëanor's fatal fight with the balrogs or the fight in which Maedhros was captured and all his men were killed. Thorondor didn't intervene then. Safe to say that neither of them were uttering prayers to Manwë in their desperation!

So, as long as we introduce Eagles as eucatastrophic agents of Manwë's mercy in Season 4, I am confident we will not let them seem silly or superfluous in the story.

Funnily enough, my introduction to both eucatastrophic eagles and the amazing voice of James Earl Jones was this picture book: 'Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain'.
"From the eagle who happened to drop a feather, a feather that helped to change the weather."



Thus ends my sidebar. Onto the actual topic of this thread! But in the meantime, there are a couple of practical questions to answer.

Thorondor's size. The published Silmarillion says his wingspan is 30 fathoms. A fathom is 6 feet. So, that's 180 feet! (=55 meters) That...is one very, very large bird! I know we want him to be very large and very majestic, but....maybe not quite that big?

Here is artwork depicting the largest scale Thorondor I could find in the 'Fingon rescues Maedhros' images fanartists have produced.

Artist: hannah s. j. williams

It's not entirely clear to me how large Thorondor is here, but the 6' tall elves are the size of fish to a normal eagle. Or think of it this way: a real eagle's talons could close that way around a man's forearm. So, probably at most 10x the size of a real eagle? That puts the wingspan at 60 feet, or...half what Tolkien specified.

A real golden eagle has a wingspan of about 6 ft (a little more for the females) The F-16 fighter plane has a wingspan of 32 feet. Thorondor can be bigger than that, but probably shouldn't be the wingspan of a Boeing 747 (195-211 feet).

Most artwork that depicts the full eagle shows him significantly larger than the elves, but very much smaller than Tolkien described him!

Thorondor here is more than twice the height of the elves:


Or in Ted Nasmith's painting, he has a wingspan of roughly 30 ft, based on the size of Beren:



John Howe's Gwaihir looks massive, but even this bird probably doesn't have a wingspan much more than 40-50 feet (perspective makes it difficult to tell how much further away Gwaihir is than Gandalf)



So while I am fine with Thorondor being much bigger than even the other Great Eagles, I'd like to cap his size significantly smaller than in the text.



After scale, the next question is about the type of eagle we use as a template for Thorondor and the Great Eagles of the First Age.
We discussed that a bit in this thread:
https://forums.signumuniversity.org/index.php?threads/beasts.253/

The suggestions there were harpy eagle:

Rob Harding said:
Personally I think a harpy eagle is a really good basis. While giving Manwe feathers in his hair or a feathered crown of some kind is an idea that has been kicked around I see that as really hard to pull off without it being hokey. Not impossible but hard. With a harpy eagle we have a starting point. What if his eagles mirrrored him in their headress. This is an eagle that already has a crown folks.
Tawny Eagle:

Suggestion by The Witch King


And, of course, the eagle Tolkien based his own artwork on (cf 'Bilbo Woke Up With the Sun in his Eyes'), the golden eagle:


Any other suggestions for size and species of eagles for Thorondor?

Edit: Oh, and this is what a bird of prey taking off looks like in slo-mo:
 
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Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
The Eagles of Manwë and Eucatastrophe - Welcome to my TED Talk :p

Eucatastrophe is a word coined by J. R. R. Tolkien in his essay 'On Fairy Stories' to describe the sudden unexpected turn of good fortune in fairy tales. When, despite all reasonable expectations, the hero succeeds in a seemingly impossible task that they never gave up on, even though there was very little hope of success.

In his own stories, such eucatastrophes are often turning points that hinge on...the arrival of the eagles. Bilbo's call in the Hobbit (echoed by the troops of Gondor in The Lord of the Rings) that 'The Eagles are coming!' is meant to be an unexpected moment of joy where the tide of the battle has turned and victory is now within reach. While these may seem to be just moments of fortuitous good fortune, in the Silmarillion, the Eagles are explicitly the servants of Manwë, and thus their actions in the story are meant to be actions of Manwë's mercy in aid of the Elves (even the exiled Noldor).

And take action they do! The Eagles are very involved in the stories of the Silmarillion. Thorondor assists Fingon in his rescue of Maedhros, and rescues Fingolfin's body from being trampled by Morgoth (wounding Morgoth in the process). The Eagles guard the mountains of Gondolin (their home), keeping all of Morgoth's spies out for centuries. And of course when Beren is wounded in the escape from Angband, it is an eagle who rescues him and Lúthien, who had no way home at that point.

But until the War of Wrath, when the eagles assist Eärendil in fighting the dragons (including Ancalagon the Black), they don't actually do much in the fight against Morgoth. So, we are left with a seeming contradiction - the eagles are ubiquitous in their assistance, arriving time and time again to help out....and yet their help is very minimal and turns no tides, wins no battles.

In the Silm Film Project, then, the depiction of these appearances must be given some context for the audience. The audience must be taught what to expect from the eagles and what not to expect. Otherwise, they become a running joke - it's the eagles again!, or even worse, they fall under criticism for not helping enough. After all, if an eagle can attack Morgoth and wound him...why wasn't Fingolfin saved before he was killed? And if Eagles are such good fighters, why aren't they taking part in these battles and only killing spies on their own turf? And why don't they just fly the Ring to Mount Doom, anyway?

So, what must we impress upon the audience? These are not tame Eagles. You cannot just call them up and ask them for help. You can call for help all you want....it's up to the Eagle whether or not they choose to respond. And Manwë's response comes in particularly desperate moments in very particular mercies. You can't count on an eagle shuttle to take you away from danger, but you're more likely to get one if you were doing something recklessly good at the time. Also...while the Eagles hate Morgoth, and all his evil works, and all his empty promises....they're not joining the Noldor in their War. They are content to remain on the sidelines. The Noldor wanted to fight a war against Morgoth without the Valar's help or permission? So be it, the Eagles will let them. They take part in the War of Wrath...which is Valar-sanctioned. They will help individuals (Fingon, Fingolfin, Beren, and Turgon), but they aren't going to arrive on any First Age battlefields.

It would be great if we could craft some Eagle-centric poetry in which an eagle answers the question: Who are you and what are you doing here? Because...that is how Thorondor would convey that information. Like a Psalm of King David.

Thorondor is meeting the Exiled Noldor in Episode 1 of Season 4 when Fingon rescues Maedhros with his aid. So, that would be the perfect time to convey who and what the Eagles are. But there is no reason to suspect that Thorondor was not aware of Fëanor's fatal fight with the balrogs or the fight in which Maedhros was captured and all his men were killed. Thorondor didn't intervene then. Safe to say that neither of them were uttering prayers to Manwë in their desperation!

So, as long as we introduce Eagles as eucatastrophic agents of Manwë's mercy in Season 4, I am confident we will not let them seem silly or superfluous in the story.



Thus ends my sidebar. Onto the actual topic of this thread! But in the meantime, there are a couple of practical questions to answer.

Thorondor's size. The published Silmarillion says his wingspan is 30 fathoms. A fathom is 6 feet. So, that's 180 feet! (=55 meters) That...is one very, very large bird! I know we want him to be very large and very majestic, but....maybe not quite that big?

Here is artwork depicting the largest scale Thorondor I could find in the 'Fingon rescues Maedhros' images fanartists have produced.

Artist: hannah s. j. williams

It's not entirely clear to me how large Thorondor is here, but the 6' tall elves are the size of fish to a normal eagle. Or think of it this way: a real eagle's talons could close that way around a man's forearm. So, probably at most 10x the size of a real eagle? That puts the wingspan at 60 feet, or...half what Tolkien specified.

A real golden eagle has a wingspan of about 6 ft (a little more for the females) The F-16 fighter plane has a wingspan of 32 feet. Thorondor can be bigger than that, but probably shouldn't be the wingspan of a Boeing 747 (195-211 feet).

Most artwork that depicts the full eagle shows him significantly larger than the elves, but very much smaller than Tolkien described him!

Thorondor here is more than twice the height of the elves:


Or in Ted Nasmith's painting, he has a wingspan of roughly 30 ft, based on the size of Beren:



John Howe's Gwaihir looks massive, but even this bird probably doesn't have a wingspan much more than 30-40 feet (perspective makes it difficult to tell how much further away Gwaihir is than Gandalf)



So while I am fine with Thorondor being much bigger than even the other Great Eagles, I'd like to cap his size significantly smaller than in the text.



After scale, the next question is about the type of eagle we use as a template for Thorondor and the Great Eagles of the First Age.
We discussed that a bit in this thread:
https://forums.signumuniversity.org/index.php?threads/beasts.253/

The suggestions there were harpy eagle:



Tawny Eagle:

Suggestion by The Witch King


And, of course, the eagle Tolkien based his own artwork on (cf 'Bilbo Woke Up With the Sun in his Eyes'), the golden eagle:


Any other suggestions for size and species of eagles for Thorondor?
Perhaps Thorondor wants to help, but can't because he answers to Manwe?
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
I would suggest that Thorondor's will is aligned with Manwë's. He isn't constrained by Manwë, here, but rather agrees with him. (Unlike Ulmo, who will always do his own thing, though won't be full-on disobedient.)
 

Phillip Menzies

Moderator
Staff member
Musical commissions?
Are there any scenes, characters or other themes that need themes?
For example do we need a special theme for reconcilliation and when would it be used? Do we need a theme for our starcrossed lovers Galadriel and Celeborn and if so did we need it for S2 frame?
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
I like the golden eagle!

About the size... well... how much can a normal eagle lift and transport on what stretch? I think the depiction should be realistic... also these Eagles are fighting dragons, so they should have a considerable size, a bit bigger than their later third Age offspring i think.
 
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Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
I know that harpy eagles have been recorded lifting their body weight, but eagles regularly fly off with burdens of half their weight or more, which can be up to 20 lbs. or 9 kg. That would mean a bird ten times the size could be depicted carrying a couple hundred pounds without too much difficulty. Obviously, in reality, the square-cube law would apply and if a golden eagle had a wingspan of 36', it would wind up weighing around 1.4 tons. That would make it impossible for a bird that size to fly, so a realistic depiction of a giant eagle isn't really possible. Manwe's eagles aren't just natural animals, though. These are magical, archetypal beings. I would say that depicting them with wingspans greater than 40-50' (about 12-15m) would stretch credulity. A natural animal that size would probably weigh in excess of two tons, but we'll have to assume that Thorondor is magically lighter than that. We also discussed the possibility of giving the early, primevally-created Eagles the ability to do a four-point takeoff, similar to a pterasaur, to help offset the weight issue, but decided it might look a bit too weird.
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
Here is an image depicting Quetzalcoatlus, the largest animal to ever fly, alongside Argentavis, the largest bird to ever fly. It is not believed that either of these animals were able to take off, or even fly while carrying much in the way of extra weight, though so keep that in mind.
argentavis-vs-quetzalcoatlus-vs-meganeura.jpg
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
I know that harpy eagles have been recorded lifting their body weight, but eagles regularly fly off with burdens of half their weight or more, which can be up to 20 lbs. or 9 kg. That would mean a bird ten times the size could be depicted carrying a couple hundred pounds without too much difficulty. Obviously, in reality, the square-cube law would apply and if a golden eagle had a wingspan of 36', it would wind up weighing around 1.4 tons. That would make it impossible for a bird that size to fly, so a realistic depiction of a giant eagle isn't really possible. Manwe's eagles aren't just natural animals, though. These are magical, archetypal beings. I would say that depicting them with wingspans greater than 40-50' (about 12-15m) would stretch credulity. A natural animal that size would probably weigh in excess of two tons, but we'll have to assume that Thorondor is magically lighter than that. We also discussed the possibility of giving the early, primevally-created Eagles the ability to do a four-point takeoff, similar to a pterasaur, to help offset the weight issue, but decided it might look a bit too weird.
Yeah we can definitely stretch the rules since the Eagles don't obey all the rules since they're... not from around here. Same reason we can have talking animals like Huan and the Eagles, right?
 
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Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
So remind me, what did we decide about the Sleep of Yavanna? It should stop now, right? There has to be some reaction to that. I mean, there were reactions to the Sun rising, but the Sleep lifting should affect the plant and animal life significantly, and the Sindar should react to that. If there has been a time skip, they should have established some new habits.
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
So remind me, what did we decide about the Sleep of Yavanna? It should stop now, right? There has to be some reaction to that. I mean, there were reactions to the Sun rising, but the Sleep lifting should affect the plant and animal life significantly, and the Sindar should react to that. If there has been a time skip, they should have established some new habits.
To my recollection, it was retroactively decided the Sleep was lifted before the Valar discovered the Elves because the hosts could not conceive of a way for the Elves to sustain themselves if it were still in effect.
 

Phillip Menzies

Moderator
Staff member
Yes there is the setting up of the Noldor settlements in Mithrim and I think we should be moving down to Nevrast.
There will probably be new costumes as the Noldor settle for more practical wear.
There is casting types for certain characters.
There are weapons to describe.
Remember this is not for us to give all of our ideas. It is a chance for the hosts to set the tone, and then for us to go away and find or create examples of what the hosts are looking for.
 

amysrevenge

Well-Known Member
Are we maybe going to have a separate time later to discuss the frame, possibly at the very end? I was trying to think my way through it a bit, but struggled with anything past Ep1 or 2 as we haven't gotten down to brass tack yet past there.
 
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