Session 4-20: Episodes 9 (& 10)

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
No. Our choices are:

Angrod dies being killed by a balrog in reckless grief/anger at the Dagor Aglareb.

OR, Angrod is killed by a balrog or Glaurung in the Dagor Bragollach.

OR, Angrod is captured but presumed dead at the Dagor Bragollach, and the elves never learn his fate.



The Hosts have chosen the first option, and are not aware of the third option. The people here are strongly in favor of the second option (published Silmarillion version).
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
No. Our choices are:

Angrod dies being killed by a balrog in reckless grief/anger at the Dagor Aglareb.

OR, Angrod is killed by a balrog or Glaurung in the Dagor Bragollach.

OR, Angrod is captured but presumed dead at the Dagor Bragollach, and the elves never learn his fate.



The Hosts have chosen the first option, and are not aware of the third option. The people here are strongly in favor of the second option (published Silmarillion version).
I’m not really on board with the first option or the third, but the first because it seems too similar to the death scene concept for Aegnor. I’d be fine with him getting killed by a Balrog or Glaurung in the Dagor Bragollach, to depict how dangerous they are.
 

amysrevenge

Well-Known Member
I'm all about Option Three, if we can get there. It's functionally equivalent to Option Two (a non-omniscient writer of PubSil would not know the difference) and it gives us opportunities with a character we know in there. I don't see a downside frankly.
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
I'm all about Option Three, if we can get there. It's functionally equivalent to Option Two (a non-omniscient writer of PubSil would not know the difference) and it gives us opportunities with a character we know in there. I don't see a downside frankly.
We already have one Elf stuck in Angband, we don’t need two. The Dagor Aglareb loses the impact of being a resounding victory if we have a major character killed or captured like that, and it lessens the impact that the Dagor Bragollach will have on Fingolfin with only one nephew getting killed instead of two.
 

amysrevenge

Well-Known Member
Fair, but a major battle with one notable casualty out of thousands of combatants is hardly less resounding than one with zero.
 

Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
As I understand it, it is the presence of Balrogs that demands the death of a named character, right? So, as long as there are Balrogs in Dagor Aglareb, we won’t convince the execs to let Angrod survive (unless we kill someone else). So we have to come up with a reason to keep the Balrogs off the battle field.
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
As I understand it, it is the presence of Balrogs that demands the death of a named character, right? So, as long as there are Balrogs in Dagor Aglareb, we won’t convince the execs to let Angrod survive (unless we kill someone else). So we have to come up with a reason to keep the Balrogs off the battle field.
Why do we think they aren't there in the PubSil? I mean, they aren't specified as being there, while their presence is called out in almost every other campaign.
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
Why do we think they aren't there in the PubSil? I mean, they aren't specified as being there, while their presence is called out in almost every other campaign.
Perhaps they want to, but whoever is there prevents the Balrogs from taking part, ie Morgoth, maybe Gothmog being overconfident thinking that Beleriand could be conquered with just Orcs, and realizing that Morgoth needs bigger and deadlier weapons (Dragons, disease, siege weapons) to beat the Elves? I’ve thought about having one Balrog present during the battle to keep the Orcs from fleeing from the Elves.
 

Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
We’ve made it our rule that there can be no Balrog participation without the death of one or more named characters. So it can be either way in PubSil. If they’re in, an Elven life is taken.
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
We’ve made it our rule that there can be no Balrog participation without the death of one or more named characters. So it can be either way in PubSil. If they’re in, an Elven life is taken.
Maybe no Balrog? The published Silmarillion doesn’t mention Balrogs present during the battle.
 

Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
Morgoth isn’t around, right? Could he have taken some of the Balrogs with him, leaving Gothmog in command with so few Balrogs that he does not want to use them in battle?
 

Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
Alternatively, the whole battle is - as was pointed out earlier - a test to see how the Elven defence works. Sending in Balrogs isn’t necessary.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
Morgoth, in fact, is around*. He returns to Angband in the episode immediately before the battle, and plays a major role in the climax (setting the spell of bottomless dread on Edhellos). So, if we want him to go back to the East, we'll have to have that explicitly happen at the beginning of the episode before the battle. Since we need him there afterwards to make dragons, that seems...unnecessary. We can send him back East in, say, Episode 11 if we want....



To sum up the train of thought here.

1) The Execs did not see a credible reason for Morgoth not to include balrogs in this battle. Why *wouldn't* he use his best available infantry in this attack down Sirion?

2) If balrogs are present and used in the battle, our 'balrog rule' means that a balrog must kill a named character.

3) The most expendable descendant of Finwë available at this time is Angrod (he has no major tasks left to complete), and so he was chosen as the victim.


If we want to preserve Angrod's death occurring in the Dagor Bragollach, then we need to convince the Execs on Point #1 above of a good reason not to send the balrogs into battle and have this force be 'just orcs'.

As for the published Silmarillion, I think it's fairly clear balrogs were not present. The narrator makes a big deal of pointing out that this battle demonstrated to Morgoth that orcs alone were insufficient to fight the Noldor. Ergo, no balrogs on the battlefield.



* I know Morgoth's timeline in the East is hazy. Here's the breakdown thus far:
Episode 2 - Morgoth departs for points east for a special secret mission project he's working on, something foretold in the Music.
Episode 6 - A solar eclipse occurs, and we get a glimpse of Morgoth on his newly constructed ziggurat with shadowy pseudo-worshipers.
Episode 8 - Morgoth returns to Angband. He puts the spell of bottomless dread on Edhellos (and other elves)
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
Morgoth, in fact, is around*. He returns to Angband in the episode immediately before the battle, and plays a major role in the climax (setting the spell of bottomless dread on Edhellos). So, if we want him to go back to the East, we'll have to have that explicitly happen at the beginning of the episode before the battle. Since we need him there afterwards to make dragons, that seems...unnecessary. We can send him back East in, say, Episode 11 if we want....



To sum up the train of thought here.

1) The Execs did not see a credible reason for Morgoth not to include balrogs in this battle. Why *wouldn't* he use his best available infantry in this attack down Sirion?

2) If balrogs are present and used in the battle, our 'balrog rule' means that a balrog must kill a named character.

3) The most expendable descendant of Finwë available at this time is Angrod (he has no major tasks left to complete), and so he was chosen as the victim.


If we want to preserve Angrod's death occurring in the Dagor Bragollach, then we need to convince the Execs on Point #1 above of a good reason not to send the balrogs into battle and have this force be 'just orcs'.

As for the published Silmarillion, I think it's fairly clear balrogs were not present. The narrator makes a big deal of pointing out that this battle demonstrated to Morgoth that orcs alone were insufficient to fight the Noldor. Ergo, no balrogs on the battlefield.



* I know Morgoth's timeline in the East is hazy. Here's the breakdown thus far:
Episode 2 - Morgoth departs for points east for a special secret mission project he's working on, something foretold in the Music.
Episode 6 - A solar eclipse occurs, and we get a glimpse of Morgoth on his newly constructed ziggurat with shadowy pseudo-worshipers.
Episode 8 - Morgoth returns to Angband. He puts the spell of bottomless dread on Edhellos (and other elves)
I think maybe Morgoth thinks that the task can be done with only Orcs and not need Balrogs (overconfidence), and hence sends out only Orcs. When they get beaten in the Dagor Aglareb, he realizes that was a mistake, and that he needs to throw everything that he can muster at the Noldor. Maybe Morgoth kept them in reserve in case the Valar decide to attack? Maybe Gothmog convinces Morgoth that the Orcs are all that’s needed, and that puts him in the proverbial doghouse for the next 400 years, since he isn’t mentioned until the Dagor Bragollach?

I made a thread about what Sauron is doing during the 395 years of the Siege of Angband, is my idea of him being a quasi-boogeyman stupid?
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
Overconfidence is a mistake, and a foolish one, if he's going to roundly lose a battle by...intentionally handicapping himself out of sheer hubris? There's almost no way to go this route without making the villains look dumb. Battle of Malden levels of 'overmastering pride' and some weird sense of chivalry isn't really the look we're going for with Morgoth. I agree that Gothmog can be not the brightest, but...he's into brute force. Why wouldn't he send in his full force? Holding back is a calculated move, not a 'Hulk smash!' move. So, we're left with making our villains seem foolish, and then shocked by the failure of their foolish plan...which is fine for a cartoon villain you don't expect the audience to fear, but not okay for this story.

I do agree that Morgoth is worried the Valar could attack at any time. The problem is...Morgoth isn't going to *say* that. So, there's not really an easy way to convey to the audience that he's keeping the balrogs close for his own personal safety. Also...he was just away from Angband for an extended time with no balrogs, so, it would be a tough sell.

If, on the other hand, he is testing the elves' defenses, communications, battle-readiness, etc....the loss isn't a problem. Morgoth doesn't mind losing some orcs. He wants all the orcs and all the elves dead anyway. The elves win the battle, resoundingly, but in this case Morgoth would not be phased by that. Sure, he lost the battle. Now, he knows what he needs to do to win a full scale battle, so he can go take a couple of centuries to build the army he needs to make that happen. In this way, the audience may at first rejoice with the elves for winning the battle, but then when they see that Morgoth isn't all that upset by the loss, they'll have that uh-oh....moment of realizing that Angband's plan was bigger/worse than just this one offensive. And then when the elves show confidence in their easy victory later, the audience will be worried for them that they are ignoring how serious the threat is.


Ange1e4e5, as we've told you before, there is no reason to think that lack of response means that people think your ideas are stupid. There are only a handful of people active here at any given time, and we don't all respond to every thread. You will have to accept that sometimes, your ideas/suggestions will not garner a response. This doesn't mean they are bad, and there's no need to ask people to respond to each idea as you make them - let people respond to the ideas they wish to as they come up. Silence implies consent (qui tacet consentire videtur), or possibly that people aren't paying attention, so please wait for actual disagreement before worrying that people disagree.
 
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Rhiannon

Well-Known Member
I think keeping the Balrogs in Angband as the home guard is the most logical reason for them to stay out of the battle. Perhaps Morgoth's doubts about the effectiveness of orcs could be the reason he keeps them back. He wouldn't send a force of only Balrogs to fight the Noldor, and, if the Noldor defeat the orcs as easily as they did when the sun rose, that's essentially what he would be doing. He also may have some suspicion that the Noldor will chase the orcs back to Angband, so he will be keeping part of his army in reserve in case this happens. Since the Noldor only drive the orcs back to Angband and do not attack the fortress itself, there is no need for him to send the Balrogs out of their position of strength.

Alternatively, Morgoth could be planning to send the Balrogs out as a third force, but the defeat of his two armies of orcs makes him realize he needs to change his strategy, so he decides to keep the Balrogs out of battle until he can set things up for the Dagor Bragollach.

In the book, Morgoth often uses armies smaller than his full force in order to test the strength of his enemies, make them overconfident, or lure them into a trap. He doesn't send his full strength out of Angband until towards the end of the Nirnaeth Arnoediad.

Although Morgoth was just travelling alone without his Balrogs, that was a covert mission. He also may have extended so much of his power in corrupting men that he no longer feels comfortable without Balrogs to protect him.

Another possible reason to keep the Balrogs back in Angband would be placing them in charge of guarding and torturing the prisoners. Morgoth liked Sauron's idea of using prisoners as slaves, so he may have assigned the Balrogs to help with that. We could have a scene early in the episode where Morgoth tell's Gothmog that if the orcs are as great as Gothmog says they are, there will be no need for the Balrogs in battle, and Gothmog takes out his anger on the slaves.

The Balrogs could also be kept out of the Dagor Aglareb for a combination of several reasons, and, if the scenes in this episode focus on the Noldor, we do not necessarily need to show all or any of them. We could even have the elves wonder after the battle why the Balrog's weren't there, and someone could worry about future attacks because this obviously wasn't Morgoth's full force.
 

amysrevenge

Well-Known Member
The power expended corrupting Men is a good point. It's probably the largest single action he ever takes, and his biggest success. We need to somehow convey just what this cost him.
 
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