Thank you for the breakdown of the tension and themes of this episode. I am certainly not as invested in having Sauron kill Edhellos as I am in the survival of Angrod, and I will change the script so that Gothmog kills her if necessary. However, I think it is both possible and worthwhile to work out a way for both to occur.Certainly, there's more than one way to achieve this outline of the battle. One can alter the details as necessary to tell the story. But I am not a fan of this endless invention of subplots just to make something play out in a particular way.
There is no reason not to have Gothmog kill Edhellos. None. It's something Gothmog would do, they're both on the battlefield, and it makes sense as an end to her arc. Are there other ways she could die? Sure. She could simply run into the front line and get taken out by orcs/trolls in a suicidal rush. She could run away and drown in the swamp. A bolt of lightning from the blue could strike her dead. I'm not worried about coming up with alternate ways to kill her. I am concerned with why we think it important to do so.
I know you have written Sauron killing her, Rhiannon. And it is true that Corey Olsen spoke positively of the scene you wrote (with the light through the clouds and the stone troll, etc). But he also said he didn't think it fit the story to have Sauron kill Edhellos. He essentially vetoed that idea. One can disagree with him, sure. But, at the end of the day, one does have to accept that this is his project, and recognize that his decisions will stand moving forward.
You have the opportunity to try to convince people, but if you fail to convince, the answer isn't always to keep arguing for your own personal vision. Sometimes, you have to try to figure out how to preserve what you think is essential while working with someone else's idea.
So, if you want my honest feedback, it would be to take the parts you liked best about the Edhellos death scenes you've written, and substitute Gothmog for Sauron. There's no reason to lose the ray of sunlight and her final prayer for Angrod. But all of this effort to put Sauron in that scene looks and feels contrived and unsatisfactory.
I am not at all convinced that we lose *anything* by not having Sauron personally kill Gil-galad's grandmother that he will never meet. Sauron's torture of Edhellos was sufficiently personal, no? Nor do I think it important that Sauron personally break Aegnor's Valinorean sword to inspire Maedhros to commission a dwarven-made replacement that will be Narsil. Narsil being a replacement for a broken sword is sufficient dramatic irony.
I remain thoroughly unconvinced that Angrod needs to survive this battle. Sure, he *can* survive, and I'm fine with that, but I don't think it's very important one way or another if he dies now or dies in the Dagor Bragollach. Corey Olsen likewise isn't set on his survival, though he would actually prefer if Angrod die now. So, yes, you were granted a reprieve with the death of Angrod being postponed until late Season 5. But that reprieve was conditional. It was conditional on the death of Edhellos satisfying the balrog rule by having the balrogs in the battle kill a major character the audience knows and cares about.
But I don't think it's even a question of which is more important to you - the survival of Angrod, or having Sauron personally kill Edhellos. You were able to convince Corey Olsen that the death of Angrod was unnecessary (because the death of Edhellos filled that role). As our two hour discussion of Episode 9 showed, you were not successful at convincing him that Sauron should be on that battlefield or the one to kill Edhellos. Nick and I weren't convinced, either. Neither is Haakon. Please keep that in mind moving forward.
While I definitely don't want Sauron to seem to appear on the battlefield for the sole purpose of killing Edhellos, I also don't think Sauron's presence in the Dagor Aglareb requires an elaborate subplot to explain. He shouldn't appear out of the blue, but his forces are nearby, the main characters from Angband with whom he usually interacts are nearby, and the viewers know that he holds a high rank in Angband and Morgoth thinks favorably of him. Little hints about capturing more prisoners or doing spy-work or something like that are all I think the viewers need to be convinced of why he is there.
Since Sauron cannot be commander of the second army of Orcs, as I wrote in my first script, his presence requires another explanation. As long as it is not wildly out of character for Sauron, what specifically that is is not super important because, to the viewers, Sauron's character will be shaped by his actions. I've been making suggestions because I want to know what kind of questions I need to answer in order to write them in a way that does not seem contrived within the script.
Narsil is not the only benefit I see from having Sauron present in this scene. I think having Sauron there allows for more development of all the characters involved. The scene demonstrates that Sauron, who previously defended his prisoners from Gothmog, is perfectly willing to kill them off when they no longer serve a purpose. Edhellos' charge at Sauron somewhat redeems her character rather than seeming completely mad and suicidal. Angrod, Aegnor, Orodreth, and their friends (especially Celebrimbor) and family have much more to discuss, and by seeing Sauron shift into Angrod, all the Elves nearby get a sense of just how horrible torture in Angband is.
If Gothmog were the one to kill Edhellos, the viewers and characters would be reminded that Balrogs like smashing Elves.
What I asked to write at the end of our discussion was a new version of Episode 9 in which Sauron was the one to kill Edhellos and there were Balrogs present in the battle, which Corey Olsen seemed open to. He suggested that Sauron could be waiting opportunistically around the fringes of Gothmog's troops and trying to capture prisoners and conceded that, while that would not bring Sauron to the front, it would certainly bring him closer to Edhellos. While he seemed skeptical of no named characters getting smashed by Balrogs, he still seemed open to my suggestion of making the Balrogs terrifying enough that the Balrog rule could be ignored.
I don't want to come across as inflexible or unwilling to change what I have written, but I would want us to be sure that it is absolutely impossible for Sauron to kill Edhellos before we abandon the idea.