Session 5-02: Scope of the Season

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
The Silmarillion Film Project Season 5 Session 2 will be held on Thursday April 8th at 10 PM Eastern Time.

Having discussed which storylines we want to include in the Season, we now must consider how to tell those stories. Will they be a single episode? Will there be an 'arc' of 2-3 episodes for some characters? Is there a season-long arc we are trying to tell? [In the case of Fingolfin and Finrod, definitely, but with the Men, it has to be a story of their House].

In Session 2, we will definitely be discussing the Themes for the Season. We will also talk about the amount of screentime devoted to the Dagor Bragollach and Aredhel's story. And, if time permits, might be able to hammer out the timeline for Men.

While we probably won't be ready for this until Session 3, it would be a good idea to start breaking down what can go into each episode. Because while there are many stories we want to tell, we do only have 13 one-hour episodes in which to do so, and not everyone in our sprawling cast can be a main character.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
The request is to tell the stories of the three Houses of the Edain using two 'waves' of mortal characters. The first wave will be early season, and the second wave will be late season. The request is meant to focus the audience's attention on a handful of characters they can get to know well, rather than have mortal characters pop into the story briefly for a single episode, do one thing, and then die. We are trying to move away from the 'history text' feel and make sure we are telling an engaging story.

The first 'wave' of Men will be: Bëor, Amlach, and Haleth
The second 'wave' will consist of: Hador Lorindol, Andreth, and Barahir

So, while telling the stories of the House of Bëor, the House of Hador, or the House of Haleth...see if we can use one of those main characters to drive the action. Of course there will be other mortal men on screen that these people are talking to, but the goal is for the audience to really know these 6 people well.


This is a common technique in switching from documentary style history to drama. For instance, in the HBO miniseries Chernobyl, most of the main characters represent real people whose role in the 1980's nuclear disaster is well-documented.

For instance, here is real-life Valery Legasov (0:30-1:30):

And here is Jared Harris playing Legasov on TV ;)

"Khomyuk" is a character they invented for the show. She represents all the Soviet nuclear scientists who weren't Legasov. In this way, it's not Legasov acting alone, and the real people who were there have a place in the story....but the audience is given one single character to get to know and understand, rather than a room of 10 scientists discussing and arguing, with the audience making no effort to tell them apart. She is a well-done character, and I think it was a good choice, but it's definitely a 'storytelling' choice, not a 'historical accuracy' choice. Some people are inclined to think this makes the story 'untrue' because there was no single person who did the things she did. But there were men and women doing those things, and so the story is true, from a certain point of view. Is she 'not real'? Or is she an 'interpretation' of reality? Your mileage may vary.


The commitment of this production to historical accuracy of this very recent history (the Chernobyl disaster occurred less than 40 years ago, within the lifetimes of many of the viewers) is detailed in this 'side-by-side' video with actual documentary/news footage:



What we are being asked to do is to prioritize the story, and include details that help to tell that story, rather than to start with the details and try to work them all in.
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
For the Villains' storyline: perhaps it transpires that Glaurung hypnotized an Orc or two into letting him loose?
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
So, for the stories of the Houses of the Edain, here is what I have for now.....

House of Bëor = We are Loyal Vassals of the Elves, and will gladly join their war
First Wave
•Bëor meets Finrod and agrees to go to Nargothrond​
•Encampment at Estolad?
•Fighting at Maglor's Gap​
BoromirBëor moves to Ladros in Dorthonion​
•Death of Bëor​
Second Wave
•Andreth (young woman) meets Aegnor​
•Andreth (middle-aged woman) and Finrod discuss Aegnor​
•Death of Andreth (elderly woman)
Death of Bregolas in Dagor Bragollach
•Barahir saves Finrod in Dagor Bragollach​

House of Hador = We are not agreed on whether or not to be in Beleriand or to join the Elves in their war
First Wave
Amlach enters Beleriand; a large people divided into multiple hosts​
Malach/Marach – should name one of them Hador?
•Settles in Estolad​
•Council​
•Fake!Amlach and Bereg speak against joining the elven war​
•Amlach joins Maedhros​
Bereg leads Men from Beleriand to Eriador
Magor moves to Hithlum/Ered Wethrin (does not serve elf-lord)
Second Wave
•Hador Lorindol becomes Lord of Dor-lomin (how??)​
•His kids marry the kids of the leader of the Folk of Haleth in Brethil
•Deaths of Hador and Gundor in the Dagor Bragollach​

House of Haleth = We value Independence and will live our own lives and fight our own wars; We don't need the Elves
First Wave
•Conflict with the Green Elves of Ossiriand​
•Settle in Thargelion​
•Attack on their camp​
•Death of Haldad and Haldar at stockade​
•Caranthir meets Haleth​
•Haleth leads her people through Nan Dungortheb​
•Settle in Forest of Brethil​
Second Wave
• At this point, the House of Haleth becomes incidental to the story, perhaps having brief cameos in other storylines.​
Double-Marriage between son and daughter of Hador and daughter and son of Halmir?
Beleg assists them in fighting off Sauron's forces


But really, what I am hearing is that I should restructure this entirely. It's not a list of events that happen to each of the Three Houses. Instead, it's the stories of six mortal characters that, together, tell the story of the arrival of Men in Beleriand. Bëor is the voice of wanting to faithfully serve the elves. Andreth is the example of falling in love with the elves (well, one elf in particular). Barahir is the role of heroism in battle to assist the elves. Amlach is the voice of at-first-I-was-skeptical-but-now-it's-personal. Hador is young heroism and finally making a decision to join the elves after much ambivalence and dithering among his people. And Haleth is Haleth, and she must be awesome and snarky and badass and independent and forge her own path, and her people love her.

So, 'sample' stories of the Houses of the Edain:

First Wave
  • Bëor meets Finrod, and is inspired to swear loyalty to him. He follows Finrod home to Nargothrond, and is clearly enamored of all things Elvish. Meanwhile, his people hang out in East Beleriand, doing whatever. When Bëor goes back to visit them, there is trouble, and he musters his people to confront the incursion of orcs (Gap of Maglor incident). Recognizing that Bëor's people are hardy soldiers and willing to fight Morgoth's forces, and realizing that Angrod and Aegnor are undermanned in Dorthonion, Finrod facilitates inviting the House of Bëor to move to Ladros. They do, and Bëor, now an old man, enjoys seeing his people prosper in their new home. When he is near death, he passes the leadership role on to his son (Boromir?) and Finrod grieves his death from old age.

  • Amlach enters Beleriand with one of several hosts that comprise the second group of Edain. He's a rather dour, skeptical kind of guy; he'd keep Bard company. He has his doubts about the Elves, and even more doubts about being made use of in their war. He warns his people constantly not to become duped. There is a lot of back-and-forth and disagreement between the different parties. And then...there is a council, and 'Amlach' gets up and his dire warnings are more extreme than usual - rather than urging caution, he's actively anti-elf. When Amlach comes back to his settlement, all his neighbors are talking about his gutsy speech. And he's like...what speech? When they figure out what happened...he's like, okay, that's enough, I have to take out Angband now, because no one gets away with impersonating me! His drama is most closely aligned with Maedhros I-am-missing-a-hand-and-don't-you-forget-it, so he decides that he personally will join up offer his allegiance to this elf lord. Some people go with him, but the majority of the group is still pretty ambivalent.

  • A little girl named Haleth enters Beleriand with her father and brother. They run into the Green Elves, and there is some unpleasantness, so they keep moving until they find a nice unoccupied plot of land, and set up camp. No one bothers them, until one day...orc attack! This is dire, and Haleth's father dies, and her brother, too. Everyone thinks they are about to die and start to panic, but young Haleth whips them into shape, gives them instructions of how to be useful, and single-handedly defends her tiny outpost. The orcs don't stand a chance. Caranthir shows up late with Starbucks, and is like, huh, who'd've guessed, these Men are actually useful. If you want, you can stay it my land and fight orcs whenever you want! Haleth gives him a hard pass, and her people are on the move again. They are warned against Nan Dungortheb (by whom??) and told to stay out of Doriath (by whom??), but Haleth is convinced they can go where they want and don't need the elves. Her people go through a difficult ordeal and get really good at killing giant spiders (after some...mishaps). When they come out the other side, they're not overly inclined to listen to Thingol, but someone (who?) intervenes and a diplomatic arrangement is made where the People of Haleth live where they want to live (Forest of Brethil), and Thingol agrees to be cool with that.
Second Wave
  • Andreth is a lovely young woman living in Ladros. She meets the elf lord Aegnor one day, and is smitten. He is so noble and beautiful and definitely not at all like the Men she knows. He is 'in town' for a season, and so they eventually take to spending time together and taking romantic walks and being in love. Then...he leaves. He tells her that he will not be back, and...she is very confused about what happened. They weren't fighting...she was quite certain he loved her too. But suddenly...it's over. She must move on and live her life, and we see her role as a wise woman among the people of Bëor, and the bitterness she can't quite shake. And one day Finrod comes to visit. True, he's not his brother, but he is an elf-lord, and he's interested in reaching out to her, so...they talk. About the differences between Elves and Men, and why Aegnor went away, and why Andreth is unhappy with him for making that choice for both of them. She has a moment of catharsis in knowing that Aegnor did choose her, even if it felt like he abandoned her, and some of her bitterness is gone in later scenes. Then, the Dagor Bragollach comes, and despite being an old woman, she joins the refugees who are escaping Dorthonion and helps save her people.

  • Barahir is a bold and brave young warrior. He has some family members who aren't going to fare well in the Dagor Bragollach, but he decides to heroically rescue Finrod Felagund in the Fens of Serech. He's a minor character.

  • Hador comes to prominence as a teenager. He is a natural leader among his people, and very brave in battle. His dad turns down Fingolfin's overtures to put together an offensive against Morgoth, but he volunteers his own sword. He recognizes that his people waffling on the 'will we or won't we?' join the elves is hurting their efforts to fight Morgoth as a united front. He does some feat that impresses Fingon, and is gifted the Dragon-helm. When he is acclaimed as leader of his people, he pledges his allegiance to the Elves. From now on, the people of Hador are vassals like the people of Bëor. But, he's not brushing asides the concerns of his people who wanted more independence. He marries his kids off to the People of Haleth, so that the voice for 'independence' will be heard in Dor-lómin. He fights and dies in the Dagor Bragollach.

Etc. These aren't the only stories that could be told, and I didn't flesh them out all the way. But these little synopses are definitely more character-centric and less event-driven then the lists that came before. I think that's the direction we're being asked to lean in.
 

Kathrin

Active Member
How about parallel non-linear timelines? (As you might expect, this is influenced by the timelines of the first witcher series, which I thought, having read the books, worked surprisingly well) As an alternative to compressing generations and generations of men so as to all get them into a manageable linear time-frame for the story. The elves and the humans necessarily have to be on two different speeds, and we still seem to be anchored somewhat in elven time. So basically the elves could still be more or less untouched by this (what difference does it make really if something happened 30 years earlier or later) but we could have several human stories happening "at the same time" on screen, but not at the same time in the world. Then we might be able to focus on those important ppl, but not totally destroy the feeling of those different "life-speeds" Also some people could appear in multiple timelines at different ages, so we can have our loose "main cast" of humans but not have them all be contemporaries. The timelines would have to be anchored in some very recognizable events, or in the ages of our human protagonists, the elves are just present for it all.

I know this is quite a risky endeavour, but the alternatives are, if I see it correctly, to have a lot of fragmented character stories thematically tied together in a very loose chronological way, or to radically simplify the houses of men and compress the timeline. But I think there's a big difference between not telling everyone's story - and not dogmatically showing the whole family tree - and just canonically eliminating it from history and changing the whole concept of time in the world. I'm very against the approach of condensing a lot of the generations into a couple of people, not against condensing time, but we need to do it in an understandable, not plot-summarizing way. Now we're at the point where the long-looming "elven-human life-speed - disparity-problem" really kicks in, and we probably need to set up a solid concept how to deal with it.
 
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Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
So, for the stories of the Houses of the Edain, here is what I have for now.....

House of Bëor = We are Loyal Vassals of the Elves, and will gladly join their war
First Wave
•Bëor meets Finrod and agrees to go to Nargothrond​
•Encampment at Estolad?
•Fighting at Maglor's Gap​
BoromirBëor moves to Ladros in Dorthonion​
•Death of Bëor​
Second Wave
•Andreth (young woman) meets Aegnor​
•Andreth (middle-aged woman) and Finrod discuss Aegnor​
•Death of Andreth (elderly woman)
Death of Bregolas in Dagor Bragollach
•Barahir saves Finrod in Dagor Bragollach​

House of Hador = We are not agreed on whether or not to be in Beleriand or to join the Elves in their war
First Wave
Amlach enters Beleriand; a large people divided into multiple hosts​
Malach/Marach – should name one of them Hador?
•Settles in Estolad​
•Council​
•Fake!Amlach and Bereg speak against joining the elven war​
•Amlach joins Maedhros​
Bereg leads Men from Beleriand to Eriador
Magor moves to Hithlum/Ered Wethrin (does not serve elf-lord)
Second Wave
•Hador Lorindol becomes Lord of Dor-lomin (how??)​
•His kids marry the kids of the leader of the Folk of Haleth in Brethil
•Deaths of Hador and Gundor in the Dagor Bragollach​

House of Haleth = We value Independence and will live our own lives and fight our own wars; We don't need the Elves
First Wave
•Conflict with the Green Elves of Ossiriand​
•Settle in Thargelion​
•Attack on their camp​
•Death of Haldad and Haldar at stockade​
•Caranthir meets Haleth​
•Haleth leads her people through Nan Dungortheb​
•Settle in Forest of Brethil​
Second Wave
• At this point, the House of Haleth becomes incidental to the story, perhaps having brief cameos in other storylines.​
Double-Marriage between son and daughter of Hador and daughter and son of Halmir?
Beleg assists them in fighting off Sauron's forces


But really, what I am hearing is that I should restructure this entirely. It's not a list of events that happen to each of the Three Houses. Instead, it's the stories of six mortal characters that, together, tell the story of the arrival of Men in Beleriand. Bëor is the voice of wanting to faithfully serve the elves. Andreth is the example of falling in love with the elves (well, one elf in particular). Barahir is the role of heroism in battle to assist the elves. Amlach is the voice of at-first-I-was-skeptical-but-now-it's-personal. Hador is young heroism and finally making a decision to join the elves after much ambivalence and dithering among his people. And Haleth is Haleth, and she must be awesome and snarky and badass and independent and forge her own path, and her people love her.

So, 'sample' stories of the Houses of the Edain:

First Wave
  • Bëor meets Finrod, and is inspired to swear loyalty to him. He follows Finrod home to Nargothrond, and is clearly enamored of all things Elvish. Meanwhile, his people hang out in East Beleriand, doing whatever. When Bëor goes back to visit them, there is trouble, and he musters his people to confront the incursion of orcs (Gap of Maglor incident). Recognizing that Bëor's people are hardy soldiers and willing to fight Morgoth's forces, and realizing that Angrod and Aegnor are undermanned in Dorthonion, Finrod facilitates inviting the House of Bëor to move to Ladros. They do, and Bëor, now an old man, enjoys seeing his people prosper in their new home. When he is near death, he passes the leadership role on to his son (Boromir?) and Finrod grieves his death from old age.

  • Amlach enters Beleriand with one of several hosts that comprise the second group of Edain. He's a rather dour, skeptical kind of guy; he'd keep Bard company. He has his doubts about the Elves, and even more doubts about being made use of in their war. He warns his people constantly not to become duped. There is a lot of back-and-forth and disagreement between the different parties. And then...there is a council, and 'Amlach' gets up and his dire warnings are more extreme than usual - rather than urging caution, he's actively anti-elf. When Amlach comes back to his settlement, all his neighbors are talking about his gutsy speech. And he's like...what speech? When they figure out what happened...he's like, okay, that's enough, I have to take out Angband now, because no one gets away with impersonating me! His drama is most closely aligned with Maedhros I-am-missing-a-hand-and-don't-you-forget-it, so he decides that he personally will join up offer his allegiance to this elf lord. Some people go with him, but the majority of the group is still pretty ambivalent.

  • A little girl named Haleth enters Beleriand with her father and brother. They run into the Green Elves, and there is some unpleasantness, so they keep moving until they find a nice unoccupied plot of land, and set up camp. No one bothers them, until one day...orc attack! This is dire, and Haleth's father dies, and her brother, too. Everyone thinks they are about to die and start to panic, but young Haleth whips them into shape, gives them instructions of how to be useful, and single-handedly defends her tiny outpost. The orcs don't stand a chance. Caranthir shows up late with Starbucks, and is like, huh, who'd've guessed, these Men are actually useful. If you want, you can stay it my land and fight orcs whenever you want! Haleth gives him a hard pass, and her people are on the move again. They are warned against Nan Dungortheb (by whom??) and told to stay out of Doriath (by whom??), but Haleth is convinced they can go where they want and don't need the elves. Her people go through a difficult ordeal and get really good at killing giant spiders (after some...mishaps). When they come out the other side, they're not overly inclined to listen to Thingol, but someone (who?) intervenes and a diplomatic arrangement is made where the People of Haleth live where they want to live (Forest of Brethil), and Thingol agrees to be cool with that.
Second Wave
  • Andreth is a lovely young woman living in Ladros. She meets the elf lord Aegnor one day, and is smitten. He is so noble and beautiful and definitely not at all like the Men she knows. He is 'in town' for a season, and so they eventually take to spending time together and taking romantic walks and being in love. Then...he leaves. He tells her that he will not be back, and...she is very confused about what happened. They weren't fighting...she was quite certain he loved her too. But suddenly...it's over. She must move on and live her life, and we see her role as a wise woman among the people of Bëor, and the bitterness she can't quite shake. And one day Finrod comes to visit. True, he's not his brother, but he is an elf-lord, and he's interested in reaching out to her, so...they talk. About the differences between Elves and Men, and why Aegnor went away, and why Andreth is unhappy with him for making that choice for both of them. She has a moment of catharsis in knowing that Aegnor did choose her, even if it felt like he abandoned her, and some of her bitterness is gone in later scenes. Then, the Dagor Bragollach comes, and despite being an old woman, she joins the refugees who are escaping Dorthonion and helps save her people.

  • Barahir is a bold and brave young warrior. He has some family members who aren't going to fare well in the Dagor Bragollach, but he decides to heroically rescue Finrod Felagund in the Fens of Serech. He's a minor character.

  • Hador comes to prominence as a teenager. He is a natural leader among his people, and very brave in battle. His dad turns down Fingolfin's overtures to put together an offensive against Morgoth, but he volunteers his own sword. He recognizes that his people waffling on the 'will we or won't we?' join the elves is hurting their efforts to fight Morgoth as a united front. He does some feat that impresses Fingon, and is gifted the Dragon-helm. When he is acclaimed as leader of his people, he pledges his allegiance to the Elves. From now on, the people of Hador are vassals like the people of Bëor. But, he's not brushing asides the concerns of his people who wanted more independence. He marries his kids off to the People of Haleth, so that the voice for 'independence' will be heard in Dor-lómin. He fights and dies in the Dagor Bragollach.

Etc. These aren't the only stories that could be told, and I didn't flesh them out all the way. But these little synopses are definitely more character-centric and less event-driven then the lists that came before. I think that's the direction we're being asked to lean in.
I thought Barahir is middle-aged by the Dagor Bragollach. Unless the period of time between the Dagor Bragollach and Beren and Luthien is going to be longer than eight years...
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
Also on distinctive figures in the House of Beor: Bregor, Andreth’s brother, is a skilled archer, whose bow is an heirloom of the Edain and kept on Numenor until its downfall. This is another character who will likely be compressed, but to whom? And if we compress Bregolas, who will sire his sons Belegund and Baragund, who are the fathers of Morwen and Rian?
 

Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
For what it’s worth, I’d prefer if we avoided compressing characters, but instead just focused on a few while still acknowledging the existence of the others. I think @MithLuin’s ideas above look like they could work really well.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
I thought Barahir is middle-aged by the Dagor Bragollach. Unless the period of time between the Dagor Bragollach and Beren and Luthien is going to be longer than eight years...

Right, he's the father of an adult son by the Bragollach. My guess was that we would introduce him as a daring young man before that, to give the audience some hint as to what type of person he is. Like I mentioned child!Haleth, despite her first important action happening when she's older.
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
Sounds great!

I think what we'e learned from you in the last season is that you're far better if you take some time to tell real and fleshed out stories instead of compressing too much.
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
For a reason why the House of Hador keeps dithering, and an expansion on the Fake-Amlach plotline: could we have Sauron stirring up intrigue by disappearing with some of the young women of the House of Hador, with planted Elves (as a tie-in to the Catch and Release program) to take the fall? Could tie into my ideas of having Sauron menace the populace as a killer (Michael Myers) and charming predator (Arnold Friend); however he's forced to abandon the plan when he pretends to be Amlach and the real Amlach begins moving towards loyalty to the Elves.
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
Sounds great!

I think what we'e learned from you in the last season is that you're far better if you take some time to tell real and fleshed out stories instead of compressing too much.

Here's the problem: The more stories we try to tell this season, the more compression takes place. This is completely independent of whether or not we compress the actual timeline.

I'd say that the six stories @MithLuin laid out are the *most* a single season can bear without major narrative compression. The biggest problem is connecting them to the rest of the story. If our main characters are interacting primarily with other characters we don't really know and don't get to know, then we aren't really going to get attached to the main characters.

For example: When we are getting to know Beren in early S06, it will likely be through the lens of the outlaw band. So we need to know Barahir at least passably well by then, because he is gone pretty quickly.

Now, if Barahir is in command at Dagor Bragollach, we don't really have much of a problem there. He's going to get plenty of interaction with the Elf-lords. We would lose the death of his father in the battle though. Also, we would have to introduce him out of the blue as Barahir, son of Bregolas, son of Boromir, son of Beor if we want the audience to understand his lineage. That is ... tedious. And presumably whomever he is being introduced to already knew his father's lineage.

So we shouldn't eliminate Barahir's father. But if his father is the son of a character we never really got to know, we risk the same confusion. Also, if we didn't spend any time with this man, we aren't going to care much if he dies. Now, if he is the son of Beor and someone we met earlier in the season, this bridges the gap between Beor and Barahir. We can see enough of this character that he matters when he dies, and can get to know Barahir through him.

When we talk about compression here, we are not talking about compressing our stories, but our timeline. Because the larger our timeline, the more stories need to be told, and the more stories need to be told, the greater the narrative compression.
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
Here's the problem: The more stories we try to tell this season, the more compression takes place. This is completely independent of whether or not we compress the actual timeline.

I'd say that the six stories @MithLuin laid out are the *most* a single season can bear without major narrative compression. The biggest problem is connecting them to the rest of the story. If our main characters are interacting primarily with other characters we don't really know and don't get to know, then we aren't really going to get attached to the main characters.

For example: When we are getting to know Beren in early S06, it will likely be through the lens of the outlaw band. So we need to know Barahir at least passably well by then, because he is gone pretty quickly.

Now, if Barahir is in command at Dagor Bragollach, we don't really have much of a problem there. He's going to get plenty of interaction with the Elf-lords. We would lose the death of his father in the battle though. Also, we would have to introduce him out of the blue as Barahir, son of Bregolas, son of Boromir, son of Beor if we want the audience to understand his lineage. That is ... tedious. And presumably whomever he is being introduced to already knew his father's lineage.

So we shouldn't eliminate Barahir's father. But if his father is the son of a character we never really got to know, we risk the same confusion. Also, if we didn't spend any time with this man, we aren't going to care much if he dies. Now, if he is the son of Beor and someone we met earlier in the season, this bridges the gap between Beor and Barahir. We can see enough of this character that he matters when he dies, and can get to know Barahir through him.

When we talk about compression here, we are not talking about compressing our stories, but our timeline. Because the larger our timeline, the more stories need to be told, and the more stories need to be told, the greater the narrative compression.
Well, Barahir's father (he also happens to be Andreth's brother) is apparently skilled with a bow, since that becomes an heirloom of the Edain. Also, if we are insistent on compressing out Bregolas, we could have Baragund and Belegund be Barahir's elder sons and Beren the youngest, since that *could* explain why Barahir gets command of the House of Beor over his nephews, the sons of his older brother.
 

Kathrin

Active Member
But does the audience need to understand the exact genealogy from Beor to Barahir then? Isn't it enough if we distinguish the houses well, so everybody knows that they're watching people of the House of Beor, and that one of them is the heir? Does it matter if people don't feel attached to every single person in the genealogy? I just wonder if we can keep the sense of human life moving very fast, so we don't have to interconnect every generation with protagonists but still have the passage of time...

And while that generation we care less about is happening, instead of cutting them we can pan other to another house and focus on their story. They might even have to do something with the house of Beor, but then we just see in the background how Bregolas for example represents them, but we don't need to be attached to him, since it's not his story. We just know that at that time, there was someone heading the House of Beor.
 
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Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
Here's the problem: The more stories we try to tell this season, the more compression takes place. This is completely independent of whether or not we compress the actual timeline.

I'd say that the six stories @MithLuin laid out are the *most* a single season can bear without major narrative compression. The biggest problem is connecting them to the rest of the story. If our main characters are interacting primarily with other characters we don't really know and don't get to know, then we aren't really going to get attached to the main characters.

For example: When we are getting to know Beren in early S06, it will likely be through the lens of the outlaw band. So we need to know Barahir at least passably well by then, because he is gone pretty quickly.

Now, if Barahir is in command at Dagor Bragollach, we don't really have much of a problem there. He's going to get plenty of interaction with the Elf-lords. We would lose the death of his father in the battle though. Also, we would have to introduce him out of the blue as Barahir, son of Bregolas, son of Boromir, son of Beor if we want the audience to understand his lineage. That is ... tedious. And presumably whomever he is being introduced to already knew his father's lineage.

So we shouldn't eliminate Barahir's father. But if his father is the son of a character we never really got to know, we risk the same confusion. Also, if we didn't spend any time with this man, we aren't going to care much if he dies. Now, if he is the son of Beor and someone we met earlier in the season, this bridges the gap between Beor and Barahir. We can see enough of this character that he matters when he dies, and can get to know Barahir through him.

When we talk about compression here, we are not talking about compressing our stories, but our timeline. Because the larger our timeline, the more stories need to be told, and the more stories need to be told, the greater the narrative compression.
The problem with compressing the timeline comes with Maeglin's life. Maeglin is born in F.A. 320, and is 80 years old when he comes to Gondolin (Elves are considerered full-grown at the age of 100). He'll need some time to establish himself as a being worthy of respect and his attraction for Idril to develop.
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
But does the audience need to understand the exact genealogy from Beor to Barahir then? Isn't it enough if we distinguish the houses well, so everybody knows that they're watching people of the House of Beor, and that one of them is the heir? Does it matter if people don't feel attached to every single person in the genealogy? I just wonder if we can keep the sense of human life moving very fast, so we don't have to interconnect every generation with protagonists but still have the passage of time....
Perhaps not understand it, but we shouldn't cut off pieces of the family tree willy-nilly. I've seen a compression in TV shows, it can be... clumsy. See my post in 5.01 for details on how it's done in Game of Thrones.
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member

Rhiannon

Well-Known Member
I very much agree with all the arguments that have been made against removing generations of Men, so I am going to try to connect and expound upon them here.

Everyone seems to agree that we should focus on the "heroes" of Men. We should follow their stories, get to know them, and not get distracted by the other Men around. The hosts seemed to want to avoid these distractions by basically making the heroes the only Men in their family tree. However, there are other ways to do this without ending up with the published Silmarillion's "The sons of A were B and C, and B was the father of D who wed Q, and their children were X, Y and Z."

@Ange1e4e5 brought up the example of Game of Thrones to emphasize the need for intervening generations to do things that happen offstage but will later impact the story; otherwise, we wind up with plot holes. Since we haven't planned out what events from Season 5 we are going to be referring to in later seasons, I think we should err on the side of caution and leave room for things to have happened outside the narrative focus of our episodes.

For example, we don't need to show the marriage of Galdor and Hareth that joins the House of Hador and the Haladin, but if Earendil mentions that he is descended from all three houses of the Edain, it shouldn't be a lie.

@amysrevenge pointed out that a shortened timeline would have consequences for the stories of the Elves, particularly Maeglin, who would be younger than he is in the book, The hosts seemed fine with a young Maeglin, saying that he could be a "teenager." However, as @Ange14e5 noted, Maeglin is 80, which is essentially "teenage" for an Elf, when he comes to Gondolin in the existing timeline.

I also think that a compressed timeline would have consequences beyond the age of Maeglin, though they are more conceptual. We need to create the impression that the the siege is working and there is peace for a long time, and, conversely, that Morgoth has been building up his armies for a long time. We need time for settlements of Men to arise, for cultural contact with the Elves, and for Elves to perceive Men's lives as moving faster. These could be conveyed with 2-3 generations of Men passing, but they would be much stronger with 6 generations passing. This does not mean we need to meet every generation.

@Kathrin and @amysrevenge have suggested making the different houses distinct enough in appearance that the audience will automatically know which one someone belongs to when that person appears on screen. Since Men are gone so fast, we would get to know the houses as a "characters" rather knowing each individual member, which would help give the audience a sense of the Elvish perspective on mortality.

I have some more ideas on how to convey this coming soon in another post, but first I would like to add another point to the argument against removing generations: the difference between being a character and existing.

Characters appear onscreen. Depending on their importance, they may have dialogue, a name, multiple appearances, and even a story attached to them. People that exist in the imaginary world of SilmFilm do not need to appear onscreen; however, there presence leads to other events that impact the characters. I am arguing that the generations of Men should exist, not necessarily that they should be characters.

Here are the family trees in timeline form:
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This looks like a lot of names, but don't worry! The value of the blocks represents my estimations of people's value in the story.

The darkest blocks (white lettering) are characters who will have their own storylines. A step lighter than that means they will be supporting characters for a few scenes, probably named, but not someone the audience will get invested in. Lighter than that, and names are doubtful, but they may have a line or two of dialogue. The lightest ones will probaly never be mentioned or appear on screen. Just think of them as invisible ghosts making sure other things work out. :)

Poof! Now they're actually invisible (but they still exist).
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The people in this chart are the ones I believe should be characters, meaning that they appear not that they have stories.

I am, however, going to point out potential roles for these characters. Again, these are not stories. They are a scene or two at most and a shot of them doing something at the least. In Season 4, these would be characters like Edrahil, who weren't even talked about on the podcast.
  • Baran - Beor says, "Bye son, I'm off to Nargothrond! Take care of our people," so it doesn't look like he's completely abandoning them.
  • Haldad & Haldar - Scene or two with Haleth so we know they're her family then die.
  • Boromir - Has a role in fighting in Aglon. See my next post.
  • Bereg - He's the guy who is influenced by fake Amlach and leaves Beleriand. Argues at council then shot of him leading folk back over the mountains.
  • Adanel - Wise-woman who hangs out with Andreth so she has someone to talk to.
  • Magor - A voice at the council. It wouldn't be a council if only two people ever spoke.
  • Haldan - Haleth's nephew. There so she doesn't have to soliloquize about where she wants to lead her people next.
  • Bregolas - Just there to die. Probably no dialogue outside of the Dagor Bragollach.
  • Barahir - A little bit bigger character than his brother. Saves Finrod.
  • Emeldir - May have a scene with Barahir before the battle. Leads refugees.
  • Beren - Shown onscreen with Barahir.
  • Galdor - Shown with the Dragon-helm after Hador dies.
  • Gundor - Just there to die with Hador.
  • Baragund & Belegund - Shown near Barahir and end up in his band.
So, to summarize, we should keep the generations of Men because
  • They will be helping the story along in various important ways offstage.
  • Condensing the timeline will interfere in both conceptual and concrete ways with our other storylines.
  • Their rapid passing helps convey the Elvish perspective on Men.
  • Most of them will not even be shown, and those that are will have very minor roles.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
The problem with compressing the timeline comes with Maeglin's life. Maeglin is born in F.A. 320, and is 80 years old when he comes to Gondolin (Elves are considered full-grown at the age of 100). He'll need some time to establish himself as a being worthy of respect and his attraction for Idril to develop.
Elves mature at anywhere from 50 to 100 years old. Fëanor was married before he was 60, so if we wanted a 'teenage' Maeglin going to Gondolin, then I think we could certainly get away with having him 'only' be 40 rather than 80. And if he shows up 10 years later (410 rather than 400), that doesn't really ruin anything. So, yes, we have to keep an eye on Aredhel's timeline and make sure it works, but I don't think we have to worry about slicing 40-50 years out of the timeline and still making that work out.

It doesn't mean we *have* to cut some years here or there, but it's not disastrous if we do. The story is 'meant' to take 146 years. If it 'only' takes 100, we could probably manage. In the end, the years are probably going to seem irrelevant to the audience. They know time is passing, they know people are being born, growing up, and dying....they know this takes time. Exactly how much time? If we don't draw attention to it they aren't going to know that.

I think the Hosts' request is very clearly *not* to start with the timelines and family trees, but rather to start with the story that carries through the season, and then build the details into that organically. Time may be lost in the course of that construction.
 
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Rhiannon

Well-Known Member
Before we start trying to compress the timeline, I think we should make sure we understand the existing timeline and consider how it can serve our purposes. I believe that we can make the timeline work with the storylines discussed last session with only a minor shifting around of events and no compression.

Here is a modification of the timeline from Tolkien Gateway, which draws mainly from the published Silmarillion and some of the chronology in The War of the Jewels. I have removed the births and deaths that I do not consider narratively relevant and color coded based on the storylines and the houses of the Edain.
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This, however, only includes things for which specific years are mentioned. Some of the storylines we want to include, such as the escape of Rhogrin and Annael, Angband internal politics, the making of the Nauglamir, and Fingolfin trying to muster an offensive, can happen whenever we want.

Now, I'm going to put together a 13-episode outline that tells the stories we want to tell about the houses of the Edain and thematically connects them to some of the other proposed storylines.

Episode 1

This is mainly about the House of Beor meeting Finrod. We may want to briefly check in with Fingolfin and the other Elves to remind the viewers that this is a time of peace and the siege is going well. The episode ends with Beor and Finrod going off to Nargothrond.

Episode 2

The other two houses of the Edain arrive in Beleriand in this episode. It doesn't matter who's leading them, though, because this episode is told from an Elvish perspective. The main focus is the Green-elves unfriendship with these two houses and Galadriel and Celeborn's efforts to work things out. This also gives Galadriel and Celeborn a chance to go to Doriath and hear Thingol's ironic proclamation that no man shall come into his lands.

Episode 3

This episode could show in parallel Aredhel's decision to leave Gondolin and Rhogrin and Annael's escape from Angband. The escape/departure would happen at the end, so we have time to show Aredhel getting uncomfortable with Gondolin, and Sauron doing whatever he does to Annael to make him an unwitting traitor.

Episode 4

Now things are starting to get ominous. Aredhel gets through Nan Dungorhteb, stops by Aglon, and goes to Nan Elmoth. She meets and weds Eol at the end of the episode. Annael does some unwittingly treacherous things. If we want to set up the Dwarf storyline, we can do something that involves the Feanorians (while simultaneously explaining why they aren't there when Aredhel visits).

Episode 5

Dwarf storyline and the making of the Nauglamir. Death of Beor and Elves learning about mortality. Finrod is the character that connects these two storylines.

Episode 6

Treachery! Annael revealed and fake Amlach leads to Bereg going east. The bad guys are clearly trying to push Men and Elves apart. However, Haleth becomes leader of the Haladin and proves that it is possible to oppose Morgoth without directly serving the Elves.

Episode 7

We see our two main romantic relationships in parallel. Aredhel and Eol are growing apart while Aegnor and Andreth are falling in love. Both end tracically. Aredhel and Maeglin escape to Gondolin; Eol follows them and kills Aredhel. Aegnor tells Andreth that they cannot be together. Maeglin sees Idril for the first time, and the seeds of evil (and another tragic love story are sown). If there's time, we can check in with Haleth, who is wisely avoiding romantic relationships.

Episode 8

This episode is the largest departure from the timeline so far. What I want to do is compress that cluster of events from 402-416 into a single episode. As we discussed in this thread, there is a little battle at the Pass of Aglon mentioned in The War of the Jewels in some of the older chronology, which, though it doesn't appear in the published Silmarillion, was included in the Tolkien Gateway and doesn't conflict with any of the chronology in the book. I think this battle and its positioning in the chronology would be perfect to include in SilmFilm for a number of reasons.

We wanted a young Hador to impress some Elf lords by proving himself in battle, and here's a battle for him to do that. He can be awarded Dor-lomin and the Dragon-helm right then and there. Boromir can be given Ladros for the same reason. However, we can show the difference between the House of Beor and the soon-to-be House of Hador by having Boromir's help in the battle expected by the Elves and Hador's help a surprise. Also, this ties in with our Elf storylines. It happens at Aglon, which is where Celegorm and Curufin live, and they were just involved in the Aredhel story, so we are familiar with those characters and place. But, best of all, we can inter-cut scenes of Finrod and Andreth talking about how Aegnor wouldn't marry her because this is a time of war with Aegnor literally fighting alongside Andreth's father!

Episode 9

Haleth continues to be awesome. We need to come up with storylines for her, but whatever they are, they can play out here. We may want to have their crossing through Nan Dungortheb and settlement in Brethil in this episode, which also gives us a chance to revisit Doriath. Hador can also do stuff in this episode and/or we can check in with Maeglin in Gondolin.

Episode 10

Fingolfin believes it is possible to assault Angband and goes around trying to convince everyone. Maybe Hador travels around with him so he can be in this episode. Only Angrod and Aegnor (and maybe Barahir with them) are actually interested in an assault. If we want to, we could also check in with the villains and suggest that the Gothmog-Sauron-Glaurung rivalry is a hindrance to Angband's productivity (it's not really).

Episode 11

Everything seems peaceful. I'm not sure what the main storyline should be for this episode, but it should seem small and in no way portentous of next episode's events. There's room here for Hador and Barahir to do stuff, whatever we want that to be. We can check back in with Maeglin or the Dwarves or whoever we want. Maybe someone goes to visit Cirdan. We haven't seen him in a while.

Episode 12 and 13

Dagor Bragollach, pts. 1 & 2 - Suddenly, there is fire everywhere. The siege is broken. Everyone is dying. I've suggested how the events of the battle could be split into two episodes in this post.


So, given the existing timeline, it is completely feasible to tell the stories of our main Human characters, giving them multiple episodes each, and not getting bogged down in the complex genealogy.

Here's the timeline again with the episodes marked.

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