Session 5-17: Season 5 Frame Story

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
To confirm, yes, we are on for tonight.

To register for the live podcast session in GoToWebinar, go to this website:

And click "+ Live Discussion" to get to the registration page. The current dates are shown there.

Also, if you attended the last session, you should be able to use the link from that e-mail...with the understanding that sometimes the reason you don't get e-mails is because you need to register for a new session that has been set up. That is not the case this week, but sometimes.
 
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Rhiannon

Well-Known Member
Session 5-17: Season 5 Frame Story

House of Bëor timeline


Leadership passes from Bëor to Adanel to Andreth to Bregolas to Barahir to Beren. The House of Bëor moves out of Nargothrond in 410, which is the same year that Adanel dies. Perhaps the entire house could wait for Adanel to die before moving because they know she can’t make the journey and don’t want to leave her behind. Emeldir, the wife of Barahir, is a descendant of Adanel, making Beren a descendant of several people we have focused on in the House of Bëor. Andreth will initiate the transition from council of the wise to warrior chiefs. The first leader in this transition is Bregolas, Andreth’s younger brother. Bregor might just not be the leader type and request to be passed over.

A generational split may arise in the House of Bëor between the older generation who grew up in Nargothrond and the younger generation who grew up in Dorthonion. Andreth’s family [Bregor (30 at the time of the move), Bregolas (14 at the time of the move), and Boromir (55 at the time of the move)] can illustrate this. Bregolas will adjust to the warrior/ranger lifestyle easier than Bregor. Perhaps Barahir will be trained by Bregolas and Bregolas will be trained by Aegnor. Bregolas might also be someone who stirs up trouble in Nargothrond before the move. Bregolas’s death will be significant in the Dagor Bragollach because we will have seen him grow up from an unruly teenager to someone who humbly steps aside to let Barahir be leader.

Emeldir, wife of Barahir, could be trained as the next wise woman while Barahir is being trained to be leader. She might have a scene with Morwen and Rían.

House of Haleth timeline

The House of Haleth arrives in Beleriand after the House of Bëor. Haleth will be born in Beleriand. She will be 30 at the battle of the stockade. Haleth becoming the leader of her house should not come as a surprise to anyone. Haldan, Haleth’s nephew becomes leader after her. He could be dead by the Dagor Bragollach, as Húrin and Huor are the wards of Haldir, Haldan’s son. The Haladin will not fight in the Dagor Bragollach, and they will probably not get much screentime towards the end of the season.

House of Hador timeline

The House of Hador timeline starts later because they are the last to have episodes about them this season. Hador will be 21 at the time of the council (FA 399). He may be 15 or 16 when he goes to Hithlum to serve Fingon. Hador’s children (Glóredhel, Galdor, and Gundor) will be born after the move to Dor-lómin. Galdor will die in FA 462, seven years after the Dagor Bragollach, which will probably be Season 7 of SilmFilm. The double wedding will be Haldir marrying Glóredhel and Galdor marrying Hareth in 436. Gundor will die in the Dagor Bragollach. Húrin and Huor will be 14 and 11, respectively, at the time of the Dagor Bragollach. Maybe they will be sent off to be wards of their aunt and uncle, Glóredhel and Haldir, after the death of Hador in 450. Talk of war will be in the air around that time because of Fingolfin’s big push.

Frame story

This is a story about Gandalf as Incánus in Harad around 2951, about 70 years before LOTR and 8 years after the Hobbit. In order to earn the name “Incánus,” Gandalf is probably a pretty significant figure in the south.

The colors of the Wizards may be more an indication of their roles than of their ranks. The role of Gandalf the Grey seems to be involving himself in the business of various peoples. Gandalf mentions to Saruman that he has hears speeches like Saruman’s before from emissaries sent by Sauron to deceive the ignorant. There are very few places west of Mordor that it would make sense for Sauron to send emissaries. It is most likely he would have sent them to the east to reestablish relations with people who used to worship him as a god. In order to get humans to serve him, Sauron must not just recruit them, he must corrupt them so they are willing to serve alongside Orcs.

What is Gandalf’s purpose in Harad? Sauron does not have all of Harad under his control. Gandalf would see the strategic importance of trying to hinder Sauron and prevent him from reestablishing his allies, and he would also take pity on the people. We can show that Gandalf has visited Harad before several times like he has to the Shire. Establishing shots can make Harad seem like an alternate Hobbiton. There may be a Bilbo figure who is Gandalf’s friend and ally. The enslavement of the Shire that Gandalf is trying to prevent in LOTR could be what happens here. The community might choose Sauron over Gandalf and drive Gandalf out. Gandalf’s friends could have to flee with him, turn against and betray him, or be killed.

Harad is the alternative Hobbiton. Children are excited to see Incánus, who is something of a legend. There may be a family like the Tooks who have had dealings with Gandalf in the past and two siblings, one of whom betrays Gandalf in the end and one who escapes. Sauron will be sending emissaries to deceive the people. They will be priest figures trying to reawaken the cult of Sauron. The Mouth of Sauron could be the main enemy, but a Nazgûl might show up at the end. The Mouth of Sauron could be a title that is passed down, so this would not be the same guy from LOTR. Gandalf friend who betrays him becomes the future Mouth of Sauron. The Mouth of Sauron from LOTR is a Black Númenórean. Gandalf might initially seek these people in Harad out because of their Númenórean blood. The current Mouth of Sauron in this frame could be a high priestess of Sauron who has a bat-inspired costume as homage to Thuringwethil. Gandalf’s friend who escapes could move to Gondor and appear in later frame stories.
 

Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
Sounds pretty good! Just a question: doesn’t it seem like the Mouth of Sauron haven’t met Gandalf before? This is from TROTK:

'So!' said the Messenger. 'Then thou art the spokesman, old greybeard? Have we not heard of thee at whiles, and of thy wanderings, ever hatching plots and mischief at a safe distance? But this time thou hast stuck out thy nose too far, Master Gandalf; and thou shalt see what comes to him who sets his foolish webs before the feet of Sauron the Great. I have tokens that I was bidden to show to thee - to thee in especial, if thou shouldst dare to come.' .
 

Alcarlótë

Active Member
Sounds pretty good! Just a question: doesn’t it seem like the Mouth of Sauron haven’t met Gandalf before? This is from TROTK:

'So!' said the Messenger. 'Then thou art the spokesman, old greybeard? Have we not heard of thee at whiles, and of thy wanderings, ever hatching plots and mischief at a safe distance? But this time thou hast stuck out thy nose too far, Master Gandalf; and thou shalt see what comes to him who sets his foolish webs before the feet of Sauron the Great. I have tokens that I was bidden to show to thee - to thee in especial, if thou shouldst dare to come.' .
It's kinda implied that he only heard of Gandalf, but it doesn't feel like it's out of the question that they have met long before. And we could change that anyway ^^
 

Rhiannon

Well-Known Member
Sounds pretty good! Just a question: doesn’t it seem like the Mouth of Sauron haven’t met Gandalf before? This is from TROTK:

'So!' said the Messenger. 'Then thou art the spokesman, old greybeard? Have we not heard of thee at whiles, and of thy wanderings, ever hatching plots and mischief at a safe distance? But this time thou hast stuck out thy nose too far, Master Gandalf; and thou shalt see what comes to him who sets his foolish webs before the feet of Sauron the Great. I have tokens that I was bidden to show to thee - to thee in especial, if thou shouldst dare to come.' .
Perhaps the Mouth of Sauron doesn't remember his meeting with Gandalf when he was young: "The Lieutenant of the Tower of Barad-dûr he was, and his name is remembered in no tale; for he himself had forgotten it."

As for the Mouth being someone from Harad but of Númenórean descent, there is a line in The Silmarillion, "Therefore many of those [Númenóreans] who sailed east in that time and made fortresses and dwellings upon the coasts were already bent to his will, and they served him still gladly in Middle-earth. But because of the power of Gil-galad these renegades, lords both mighty and evil, for the most part took up their abodes in the southlands far away; yet two there were, Herumor and Fuinur, who rose to power among the Haradrim, a great and cruel people that dwelt in the wide lands south of Mordor beyond the mouths of Anduin. "

Perhaps we could mention that the people Gandalf interacts with are descendants of Herumor and/or Fuinur. Maybe we could even reuse those names.
 

Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
Well about Gandalf and the Mouth, I remain unconvinced that the proposed story matches the lines in ROTK. I guess JRR could retcon it but... us doing it?
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
Well about Gandalf and the Mouth, I remain unconvinced that the proposed story matches the lines in ROTK. I guess JRR could retcon it but... us doing it?
Perhaps Gandalf and the Mouth do not directly confront each other in this Frame?

So, as a recap, what do we have as the proposed story? I'm getting confused.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
The proposed idea is that Gandalf has chosen a community in Harad to interact with as 'Incanus', the same way he is 'Gandalf' in the Shire - he comes and goes, but his visits are memorable, and their purpose stems from pity for the plight of these people - he does not wish to see them enslaved, any more than he would wish to see the Hobbits ruled by Mordor. So, our setting in Harad becomes a sort of 'Harad-ton' version of Hobbiton, with a family of Numenorean heritage standing in for the Tooks - they have different blood from their neighbors, true, but also a bold and adventurous spirit, and Gandalf feels there is hope for these people. By making parallels of the visits of Gandalf to the Shire in this Frame, we will invite the audience to be sympathetic to the Haradrim as a people. Different from Gondor, certainly, but not necessarily only described as "cruel".

Within this community, there will be a 'Bilbo' character - a person with childhood memories of Gandalf's last visit, but with no personal knowledge of Incanus. But rather than a single character, it's actually siblings. Gandalf's return at this time is meant to counter the arguments being spread by Sauron's spokesman, about a 'new power that is rising' and whatever else from Saruman's speech we want to crib. While Incanus is well-respected in this community and some listen to him, the high priest(ess) of Sauron is also gathering traction, tempting people into joining the cult of Sauron because refusing to do so would be...unwise.

Over the course of the Season, the 'Bilbo' character is going to eventually decide to betray Gandalf and side with the high priest(ess). Gandalf will have some success with some of the group, but our central character will betray him. This character will go on to become the Mouth of Sauron in the Return of the King 70 years later. With Black Numenorean blood, they wouldn't be overly old (Denethor himself is 20 years old at this time). After the betrayal, Gandalf and future-Mouth-of-Sauron have no contact, so the question of whether or not that speech could be delivered by someone who knew Incanus 70 years ago and hasn't seen him since (and isn't even sure it's the same person) is still possible, I think.

The sibling of the Bilbo-character flees Harad with Gandalf to Minas Tirith, where they will join the court of Ecthelion and return to the story for our 'Thorongil' frame season. We see their escape at the end of the Season, with the arrival in Minas Tirith being the last we see of them (no court of Turgon scenes).
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
A few things:

  • If the Mouth does know Gandalf personally, why does he not use his name in the South instead of Greybeard?
  • Does it need to be the “Bilbo” character who betrays Gandalf?
  • Why do we need two Mouths of Sauron?
  • What are the practices of the Cult of Sauron outside of sacrificing their political opponents? Ritualistic heart removal ala the Thugees in Indiana Jones? Cannibalism like Thulsa Doom’s cult in Conan the Barbarian?
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
First off, this show has no budget, so we do not decide things based on 'cheaper.' It would be a lot cheaper to use unknown actors from casting books, not big budget well-known actors on imdb, and yet...go ahead and look at our casting lists! Nor will it be cheaper to re-use one of the actors rather than another of the actors from the Season 5 frame in season *mumble teen*. So let's put that aside.

The current 'Mouth of Sauron' in our Frame could be the same person as the Mouth of Sauron in RotK, in the sense that if he's a Black Numenorean or has his lifespan altered by Sauron, the same person could be alive and kicking in scenes that are 70 years apart. He's a minor character with little backstory, but being alive at this time frame is probably part of that backstory. However, Corey Olsen did express quite the interest in having a Mouth of Sauron 'origin story' in our frame, which would mean that, no, in fact, they are *not* the same person.

So, the high priest/high priestess of Sauron is the villain in the Frame. This person can have the title 'the Mouth of Sauron.' The preference seemed to be for a high priestess with bat motif imagery to recall Thuringwethil, but we were told that this character could be male or female. Likewise, the Mouth of Sauron in LotR could be male or female - we were not explicitly told to make sure he is male.

As for why the 'Bilbo character' must become the Mouth of Sauron - it's important that the character Incanus has the closest relationship with choose to betray him, not some random villager we're not spending time with. Ergo...it's the 'Bilbo' character. Now, we wanted it both ways, so this (eventual) traitor has a sibling who remains true to Incanus' teaching - and that sibling goes to Gondor for future adventures. If you want to think of that character as 'Bilbo', that's fine, too.

As for whether or not the Mouth would call Gandalf 'Greybeard' or 'Incanus' or 'Gandalf' - that is a question for a *much* later season, and we could deal with it then. While we will certainly use the dialogue Tolkien wrote, this is an adaptation. We add things all the time. We can add an 'Incanus' reference if we want/need to. After all, if he introduces himself as 'the Mouth of Sauron' and Gandalf replies (to the effect), 'Have you forgotten your own name, <name>?' we would be incorporating that detail from the text which would otherwise be lost in a film version.
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
Well, I had been thinking along the lines that the Mouth was a Black Numenorean, which I think is mentioned in Return of the King, and that this is a separate person from Gandalf’s acquaintance. A typical Haradrim wouldn’t be living that long without Sauron giving him a Ring.
 

Alcarlótë

Active Member
I think the main point is that if we want the acquaintance to be the same person that comes out of the Black Gate, we could have it that way because there can be Black Numenoreans with long lifespans in the South.

I agree with Corey's approach to this season where we figure out the story first and then deal with any obstacles that come up. Of course you can't make force anything to work, but we should give the best story we can come up with an honest chance =) The circumstances of the World shouldn't be broken, but they should be bent to fit the story, not the other way around.
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
I think the main point is that if we want the acquaintance to be the same person that comes out of the Black Gate, we could have it that way because there can be Black Numenoreans with long lifespans in the South.

I agree with Corey's approach to this season where we figure out the story first and then deal with any obstacles that come up. Of course you can't make force anything to work, but we should give the best story we can come up with an honest chance =) The circumstances of the World shouldn't be broken, but they should be bent to fit the story, not the other way around.
So... you're in favor of Game of Thrones storyline changes that don't make sense with what's been established, like Jaime going back to King's Landing to die with Cersei and saying he never cared about the people?
 

Alcarlótë

Active Member
So... you're in favor of Game of Thrones storyline changes that don't make sense with what's been established, like Jaime going back to King's Landing to die with Cersei and saying he never cared about the people?
No, that's about the opposite of what I'm in favour of. In our creation, characters' actions making sense are central to the story working and shouldn't be messed up like that. It's just that where Black Numenoreans live in the South and how long a Black Numenorean in Sauron's service lives for hasn't been established, and therefore is something that we can fit to our story. As long as it doesn't break suspension of disbelief, it doesn't matter that what we go for is unlikely, not mentioned in the text or even just unexpected for some.
 

Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
I still think that there are some things that I need to understand about this Black Numenorean Bilbo becoming The Mouth of Sauron idea before I feel I can like it. First of all, I accept that this is an adaption. That does not mean however that I have to like every change from the original JRR text, or the change of a concept that he has conceived. I oppose to the idea that the argument "this is an adaption" is a strong one in these circumstances. That being said, I do agree with the idea of trying to tell the best version of the story, rather than just retelling the story as it already has been told (by JRRT).
Now, let's assume that The Mouth of Sauron in ROTK has met Gandalf before. Why does he say that he has heard of him? Does he suffer from amnesia? That could be the case. He doesn't have a name anymore, or no one knows it, perhaps he doesn't himself. In that case, he'd just be an instrument. I guess that's plausible, but it's not obvious from what the text says. The alternative would be that he does remember. That's actually much less plausible. If he did remember, he would taunt Gandalf, calling him a failed spy, brining up Gandalf's schemes in the south and how he, The Mouth thwarted them. That would work, but that's not what he says, so it's not Tolkien's concept.
Back to the first idea, he suffers from memory loss. He's turned into some kind of robotic version of a man (not with cyborg machinery, just without a free mind). If we want to go this way, I suggest that the antagonist of this season's frame, the female Mouth of Sauron, displays similar flaws. She should be a puppet, her strings pulled by Sauron, someone who doesn't know her own identity. Perhaps someone in the story knows her real identity but it's clear that she has left it behind years ago. If we do this, I think it could work. Ok so I've talked myself into supporting the idea.

Another issue though: I'm a little bit concerned that the frame story is too complex. I prefer simpler stories for the frames, to avoid confusion and them taking focus from the main stories.
 

Alcarlótë

Active Member
I still think that there are some things that I need to understand about this Black Numenorean Bilbo becoming The Mouth of Sauron idea before I feel I can like it. First of all, I accept that this is an adaption. That does not mean however that I have to like every change from the original JRR text, or the change of a concept that he has conceived. I oppose to the idea that the argument "this is an adaption" is a strong one in these circumstances. That being said, I do agree with the idea of trying to tell the best version of the story, rather than just retelling the story as it already has been told (by JRRT).
Now, let's assume that The Mouth of Sauron in ROTK has met Gandalf before. Why does he say that he has heard of him? Does he suffer from amnesia? That could be the case. He doesn't have a name anymore, or no one knows it, perhaps he doesn't himself. In that case, he'd just be an instrument. I guess that's plausible, but it's not obvious from what the text says. The alternative would be that he does remember. That's actually much less plausible. If he did remember, he would taunt Gandalf, calling him a failed spy, brining up Gandalf's schemes in the south and how he, The Mouth thwarted them. That would work, but that's not what he says, so it's not Tolkien's concept.
Back to the first idea, he suffers from memory loss. He's turned into some kind of robotic version of a man (not with cyborg machinery, just without a free mind). If we want to go this way, I suggest that the antagonist of this season's frame, the female Mouth of Sauron, displays similar flaws. She should be a puppet, her strings pulled by Sauron, someone who doesn't know her own identity. Perhaps someone in the story knows her real identity but it's clear that she has left it behind years ago. If we do this, I think it could work. Ok so I've talked myself into supporting the idea.

Another issue though: I'm a little bit concerned that the frame story is too complex. I prefer simpler stories for the frames, to avoid confusion and them taking focus from the main stories.
I'm in agreement with you insofar that we don't need to change anything about the original in this instance =) The Mouth of Sauron might not remember as you said. But I disagree on the plausibility of him remembering and just saying what he says anyway (even he's deliberately not mentioning it to taunt Gandalf) - the Mouth of Sauron isn't there to talk with Gandalf on his behalf, he is a priestly figure speaking on behalf of his lord (more so than even a regular emissary would be in this situation). His words to Gandalf come from the perspective of Sauron and his court; the Mouth's personal history with Gandalf isn't of any concern at the time of the parley. The Mouth is sent out to treat with the main enemy, Aragorn (who Sauron believes has the Ring) and to try and bait the less steadfast members of the Fellowship into revealing information to him as he presents Frodo's belongings to them. Gandalf is the last person that you can taunt for your own gain, so telling a personal story that the others wouldn't know about (and would probably perceive as lies) seems like a waste of time and prioritizing the Mouth's personal enjoyment over Sauron's objectives. So I don't believe there's an inherent contradiction between the text and our planned story we need to get rid of here.

About the complexity: Since everyone's main concern seems to be about simplicity, I'm not really worried about it ^^ The last frame story about Bilbo visiting Erebor was a lot more complicated than the one we have here looks. The whole "the bad guy is the Mouth of Sauron" won't be a major point in the frame anyway, it'll pay off in Season 25 or whenever we get to the later Third Age :D
 

Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
Ok so you’re basically saying that the Mouth of S in ROTK is just saying things his master has told him to say? It doesn’t look like that to me. It seems like he’s reacting to things he notices in the situation. Sure, it could be that he has intel about the important people in the Host (that’s a given actually) and that Sauron has instructed him about what to say. And I do agree that it could be out of place for him to address Gandalf in a way that would show that they have had a closer relationship/friendship. But the whole idea of his anonymity and loss of identity implies the other concept, I think.
 

Alcarlótë

Active Member
Sauron certainly didn't give him a firm script to recite at the parley :D But the Mouth knows Sauron pretty well and speaks on his behalf as well as he can, so even if he has to react to new information he would do his best to stay "in-character"; to be the best possible replacement for Sauron being there (it's obviously below Sauron to go himself). How far he is in sync with or even controlled by Sauron I'm not sure, but I think he shouldn't be like a 10th Nazgul, seduced and slowly enslaved by Sauron. He doesn't have a Ring, and I'm sure Tolkien had good reasons why he didn't put one of the eight remaining Nazgul there, but introduced a new character instead. I prefer that the Mouth forgot his own name deliberately - even if he still remembers his past, he has given up his previous identity out of religious devotion to his deity. He has done his best to disregard his own will, desires and so on to better serve Sauron.
 

Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
Ok. In that case, I mean if that’s what we’re going to do, the story we’re going to tell, I’m back to disliking the frame story idea.... :) Sorry
 
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