Session 5-25: Harad

MithLuin

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Staff member
Session 5-24 will be held on Thursday February 11th at 10 PM EST. We will be discussing Episode 4 (Haleth and the Stockade Battle). The script draft may be found here: https://forums.signumuniversity.org/index.php?threads/script-discussion-s05e04.4253/page-3#post-37620

Session 5-25 will be held on Thursday February 25th at 10 PM EST. The topic for this discussion will be the culture of Harad. We will be discussing the 'look' of our Hobbiton-of-the-South, while also discussing the frame scenes from Episodes 1-5.

Session 5-26 will be held on Thursday March 11th at 10 PM Eastern. We will be discussion Episode 5 (details to follow).
 
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Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
The Haradrim have a strong cavalry contingent, be it on horseback or Oliphant.

From what I recall, the Hosts did not want a particularly Arabic theme to Harad. Unfortunately that puts me at a loss, since the Peter Jackson films had a Middle-Eastern influence for the Haradrim and their armor is described as being red or with a lot of gold, scale armor and bangles.
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
The Haradrim have a strong cavalry contingent, be it on horseback or Oliphant.

From what I recall, the Hosts did not want a particularly Arabic theme to Harad. Unfortunately that puts me at a loss, since the Peter Jackson films had a Middle-Eastern influence for the Haradrim and their armor is described as being red or with a lot of gold, scale armor and bangles.
There are some situations where form follows function. Loose, flowing clothes of light fabric are worn by cultures on the northern shores of Africa because they help mitigate the heat. Buildings with open floor plans help keep heat from building up in interior rooms. But decorative elements, religious iconography, fashions tied to culture rather than climate, those are the things we want to have distinct from real world cultures.
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
I am totally with the hosts on this issue... it is sooo cliché to depict the Haradrim as a total Arabian-rip-off (or persian for the sake).
Even in the Jackson movies they tried to avoid that to a degree by giving them some pacific, oceanic and southamerican elements... but they didn't quite succeed because they still opted to give them alasho or tagelmust/Litham style bedouin face masks and turbans... which ultimately is what the people pay attention to... theres some reasoning to do this if you wish to depict the Haradrim as a desert people, but i doubt all of them are, most likely the more powerful ones are not and are rather coastal cultures -and even if you rationalize bedouin facemasks... there could be other ways to do it.

There are many other cultures coming to my mind when i think of JRRT's description of the Haradrim... the Carthagians/Phoenicians, the Egyptians, the Libyans, the old Aithiopii...

If we think of the Numenoreans or Gondorians as mash-up cultures , having egyptian, old greek/minoan, roman, etruscan, byzanthine , jewish, celtic and arthurian elements.. then i would prefer the Haradrim as another mash-up too, to avoid reproducing historic clichés,,

Egyptian-Carthagian-Libyan i would like.. but i am definitely anti-turban and anti-Tagelmust/Litham.
 
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MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
It is definitely possible to go 'red and gold' without going the route Jackson's films did. For instance, this clothing is from Kenya:
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It is also possible to design flowing, lightweight clothing without the design seeming specifically Arabic.

Arwen's dream dress:

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Manwë from the Valar group in 2019:

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(Photos by Nate Dukes; Costume by Kathleen - Silivren Costuming )

And my friend and I wearing a netella in Ethiopia (traditional gauzy white cotton headscarf worn by women):
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So, I am quite confident that we can come up with something that, while inspired by real elements of clothing from various places, and while seeming appropriate to the environment in which these characters live...it will manage to seem unique and 'fantasy world', not 'oh, they copied ___' So, yes, a blend of elements is almost definitely the route to go in, and keeping in mind that all of our characters live in a 'port city' will allow us to incorporate elements focused on the sea and trade into the designs, not simply the 'desert' component.
 
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MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
Another thing I have been thinking about is what style of organization and government we might expect from this particular city-state in Harad. It has been there for a long time - if the Numenorean heritage is involved, this city has existed for over 3,000 years in the same place! Cádiz, Spain is one of the longest continuously inhabited cities in Europe, being founded by the Phoenicians 3,100 years ago. Annaba, Algeria (perhaps better known by its ancient name, Hippo) has existed for a similar amount of time, also founded by the Phoenicians. I picked these two examples because they are both Mediterranean port cities. There are other ancient cities around the world that are still inhabited today, but this city should feel old and well-established.

Should its government be reminiscent of Gondor? We've given them a hereditary ruler, but should her court look like Minas Tirith, with independent lords and a standing army of guards for the city and lots of established laws? Or more like Rohan, which is similar, but less formal and clearly a 'younger' monarchy? Or the Shire, which is more a pastoral anarchy with a few organized positions such as the postal service, but not much in the way of 'Shirrifs' until Sharkey gets involved? Or something different?
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
Another thing I have been thinking about is what style of organization and government we might expect from this particular city-state in Harad. It has been there for a long time - if the Numenorean heritage is involved, this city has existed for over 3,000 years in the same place! Cádiz, Spain is one of the longest continuously inhabited cities in Europe, being founded by the Phoenicians 3,100 years ago. Annaba, Algeria (perhaps better known by its ancient name, Hippo) has existed for a similar amount of time, also founded by the Phoenicians. I picked these two examples because they are both Mediterranean port cities. There are other ancient cities around the world that are still inhabited today, but this city should feel old and well-established.

Should its government be reminiscent of Gondor? We've given them a hereditary ruler, but should her court look like Minas Tirith, with independent lords and a standing army of guards for the city and lots of established laws? Or more like Rohan, which is similar, but less formal and clearly a 'younger' monarchy? Or the Shire, which is more a pastoral anarchy with a few organized positions such as the postal service, but not much in the way of 'Shirrifs' until Sharkey gets involved? Or something different?
I’m not sure; I’d go for the former two options in light of how long they’ve been around. The former might require a larger supporting cast.
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
The problem is their forefathers probably were part of the black numenorean domains... so their form of government and society probanly was an imitation of late numenor. Then what happened was similar to either Gondor, Rohan or Umbar.

1. The old Numenorean nobility remained in power but the non-numenorean people intermingled with the lower classes and a mixed culture became predominant.Some non-numenoreans eventually rose to lesser nobility and the old traditional families became the minority.

2. The gondorian settlers became fewer and fewer and to prevent the loss of territory to new arrivals the old overlords gave the land to a new people whose ruling class was loyal and allied.These eventually brought in their own tradition and the old gondorianmlegacy eventually faded out or only was adapted to very small degrees.

3. Shifting governments with shifting loyalties rule a people of largely indigenous heritage, after a while the indinegous people or a clan or family from their rows rise to power and replace the old caste which may have either died out or becomes marginal in their own former land.The new lords are neither black numenorean nor gondorian, but haradrim though with somw mixed heritage families, their culture however is not that of the wild inland tribes, their kinsmen, butnthey adapt the culture and mythology of the Castamirian Corsairs.

Other scenarios could be made up, for example the state could be one descedding from the Haradrim puppet-kings who sentbtheir sons to grow up and be educatwd in minas tirith during the times Gondor still controlled umbar and claimed all of Haradwaith its province as far as the great hatad road went south...
 

Halstein

Active Member
I would think a Gondor-like system would be the most likely. Or some sort of oligarchy, with a primus inter pares head of state? Historically city-states often have been ruled by oligarchic governments.
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
Gondor is pretty much falling apart...
The steward is nominally head of state but how much power does he actually have apart from ruling the capital and maybe the surrounding province?

The provincial liege lords pretty much are autonomous or semi-autonomous, if they do not wish to send the steward troops, they don't and there is nothing the steward can do about it.His supposed power comes from him inheriting the juridical roles of the king, but the Dunadan King is more of a priest-king, a symbol who unites the land by his charisma and his virtue.People follow him because they believe in the king, not because he has much actual political power. Yes that is in a way a hereditary "leader-cult"...

Would such a system work for our Haradrim? I doubt it. A substitute ruler like the steward whose authority is somewhat doubtful? Maybe..
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
Thinking about it... i think we'll also have to explore how Sauron's domain works... how does he rule his empire? How much can we draw as conclusions from Sauron's mouths speech before the black gate? Can you think of other examples?
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
Thinking about it... i think we'll also have to explore how Sauron's domain works... how does he rule his empire? How much can we draw as conclusions from Sauron's mouths speech before the black gate? Can you think of other examples?
The Hosts suggested that there is some sort of mind control involved; how else would the Easterlings and Haradrim work with Orcs outside of their hatred for the Elves and Numenor?
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
Hahaha mind-control? Well... there's a little hint towards that in the Battle of the black gate chapter... but it is quite minimal and for all Corey should know how much such a thing would sincerely interfer with Tolkien's concepts of evil and free will which are very catholic and aristotelian influenced. Well.. i almost always disagree with Corey nowadays since he has decided to write his own version of Middle-Earth.Mind control is just cheap.

Here are some short notes, rants and comments i once wrote on subcreation in Middle-Earth:
...

I believe they are still valid and up to date, sadly i never came to write the part on Sauron's dominion.Maybe i will one day, maybe even our discussions here will help me rekindle my interest in Middle-earth again.
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
Hahaha mind-control? Well... there's a little hint towards that in the Battle of the black gate chapter... but it is quite minimal and for all Corey should know how much such a thing would sincerely interfer with Tolkien's concepts of evil and free will which are very catholic and aristotelian influenced. Well.. i almost always disagree with Corey nowadays since he has decided to write his own version of Middle-Earth.Mind control is just cheap.

Here are some short notes, rants and comments i once wrote on subcreation in Middle-Earth:
...

I believe they are still valid and up to date, sadly i never came to write the part on Sauron's dominion.Maybe i will one day, maybe even our discussions here will help me rekindle my interest in Middle-earth again.
You could take it up with him in the Notes for the Hosts thread.
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
I don't fight corey.He knows he is right and i won't argue with him.We disagree on certain things and i stopped watching his podcasts and that's a fine and working truce for me.
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
Hahaha mind-control? Well... there's a little hint towards that in the Battle of the black gate chapter... but it is quite minimal and for all Corey should know how much such a thing would sincerely interfer with Tolkien's concepts of evil and free will which are very catholic and aristotelian influenced. Well.. i almost always disagree with Corey nowadays since he has decided to write his own version of Middle-Earth.Mind control is just cheap.

Here are some short notes, rants and comments i once wrote on subcreation in Middle-Earth:
...

I believe they are still valid and up to date, sadly i never came to write the part on Sauron's dominion.Maybe i will one day, maybe even our discussions here will help me rekindle my interest in Middle-earth again.
If not mind-control, how else?
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
Well back on topic there is the short quote of men who had come under domination of the dark lord or another Strong will or had been exposed to and heavily tainted by the shadow or powerful sorcery and were in a few generations reduced to a savage state, almost of orc-level in mind and habits and who could even be made to mate with Orcs, producing new breeds, often larger and more cunning.

That is nothing like mind control, that is moral corruption focused by a mighty leader, more mighty than an evil mortal leader such as A Hitler or Stalin but still under free will.

That seems to be a different kind of warping than Melkor distributing some of his own might among mankind as alluded to in the Athrabeth, but maybe not completely unrelated... the dark lords do have gifts to give away, Melkor had his radiance and Sauron at last had powerful artifacts ... i guess his Nazgul were able to focus wills too

Then he of course used religion.Sauron and Morgoth both had their cults, their evil mockery of a church which controlled his tyrants and idol-worshiping heathen kings

As why men allied themselves with Orcs and trolls... we may not understand that (just as we never understand other intelligent and civilized men of our times or history either do evil things or sympathize or relate to people who do -because we tend think of ourselves as good .I also might add that a lot of us do not understand other peoples choices of partner in procreation or beauty standards as well...) , but they must have done so out of free will too.Because they were told it was right and they believed it was okay and were brought up with it being the norm.

Quote Amlach: "they have delved in the earth for its secrets and have stirred to wrath the things that dwell beneath it, as they have ever done and ever shall. Let the Orcs have the realm that is theirs"

Quote Turin's remark on Broddas folk "They have learned quicker from the Orcs than we learnt from the Fair Folk."

They thought of Orcs not as creatures of evil but of old forces of nature.

They had been the pupils of the orcs just as the Edain had been pupils of the elves.
 
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MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
We discussed the corruption of the Men of Harad when we talked about the Frame in Session 5-17 last November.

The discussion of the frame starts at 56:00 in this video:

As you may recall, Corey Olsen discussed how corruption would need to happen to bring humans to a place where they would be willing to march side by side in an army of orcs. He based this discussion on Tolkien's writings in Myths Transformed in Morgoth's Ring. He specifically said that Sauron would not be overriding the wills of every individual human to bring them into his army. Rather, he has to bring their culture to a point where they are willing to consider orcs as allies. He references the speech that Saruman makes to Gandalf (about a new power rising, and how its friends would prosper), specifically noting Gandalf's comment that he has heard such speeches before, in the mouths of emissaries from Mordor sent to deceive the ignorant. Those emissaries and those speeches are step one in the process of corrupting the Haradrim. (Later, you get to the human sacrifice part)
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
Shouldn't Incánus be pronounced 'ink-uh-noosh" ? There was a comment on it by Christopher Tolkien if i remember correctly.

Sauron was only undercover in the West.There is little indication he was ever really gone in Rhun or Harad.All the time he was at Dol Guldur and Mordor he could still orchestrate his vast realm.It just means he switches his command bases, not he leaves or ignores his other domains.

Why should he have to recruit people who already served him since three thousand years... his realms in Rhun and Harad do exist.It's certainly hell of a work to keep up these realms...especially with enemy undercover agents who stir up blue springs everywhere, their sheer extend is vast, especially if you are afar from your safe homebase and at your prime enemies frontier and can't do your work everywhere by yourself.But you can still do it, Sauron does have his beaurocrats and clerics and tyrants running things, it's not they are suddenly all totally incompetent just because Sauron isn't there in person.

I personally like the idea of Incanus going to far harad - as a story! , but Gandalf in harad was an idea tolkien ultimately rejected for a reason.And Far Harad is even more unlikely than some undercover work in Harondor or Umbar (Umbar fell back to Haradrim under Sauron's rule as early as 1944! But Umbar was a key-player and the means to control Harad's coast) which possibly could be rationalized.

I am loosing track again from following up coreys extrapolations.I just disagree and i back my disagreements up on JRRT's material just as fine as he does his.actually i am convinced i do a lot better :).
 
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Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
I am loosing track again from following up coreys extrapolations.I just disagree and i back my disagreements up on JRRT's material just as fine as he does his.actually
Pointing out that you think you're on the correct end of a disagreement seems a bit of a truism. Obviously, you think that what you think is correct, otherwise you'd think something else, no?
 
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