In theory... there could well be a coastal mountainchain in harad... there is one labeled as "grey mountains" on the shaping of middle-earth map. So afro-alpine and coastal is quite possible.
Perhaps associated with harvest time? Passover?Naturally, the celebration of a mostly secular holiday that has religious roots is not one we are unfamiliar with in our culture. Christmas is a national holiday in the US, so having time off work/school to celebrate is common, even if one is not Christian. And the celebration with Santa, decorating with lights and Christmas trees, eating candy and exchanging gifts - all of these aspects of the celebration can be done in a very secular way. Similarly, the celebration of Mardi Gras/Carnival is largely secular. It's a festive party with floats and parades and costumes, and sure, it's pre-Lent, but...one doesn't need to observe Lent to celebrate Mardi Gras. Contrast this with processions for Holy Week or Las Posadas - the religious component of those observances is much more intrinsic than a Mardi Gras parade!
So, what we are picturing for our frame story is a similar situation to someone planning a Christmas celebration, and the zealots being very insistent about Sauron being the reason for the season. They are right - the holiday is meant to celebrate Sauron! But...they are also dangerous, because, well...Sauron.
So, we need to come up with a theme for the holiday - what is it they are celebrating each year? Some victory or accomplishment of Sauron? Not his 'birthday' - he's a Maia and that's not very meaningful. And naturally you wouldn't celebrate his defeat or loss. So...what, then? And when in the year is it? (The location is Northern Hemisphere, so the seasons are the same as in our other Middle-earth locations (but more tropical)).
First thing, welcome!Hi, I wanted to make a note of the parallels between this frame and Stephen King's 'Wizard and Glass' (The Dark Tower IV). I'll elaborate on this, but if you don't want to read it all, the point is: I love the "Harad Christmas" idea and think it should be the climactic moment of the frame where everything falls apart for Incanus. Naturally, **major spoiler warnings** for Wizard and Glass if you read further.
In 'Wizard and Glass', the Dark Tower series protagonist Roland Deschain describes part of his backstory. In it, the young Roland [Incanus] leaves his home on secret assignment from his father to check out the distant land of Mejis [Harad], because there are concerns about the growing power of a mysterious, never-seen bad guy John Farson [Sauron]. Once in Mejis, Roland and his two companions mingle around and try to make friends with the locals while spying on and working against the bad guy's ambassadors, the Big Coffin Hunters [street preacher], and an evil witch, Rhea of the Coos [Mouth of Sauron]. Roland also meets and falls in love with Susan Delgado. While partially successful, things eventually go really bad. Rhea has manipulated the populace into hating the outsiders. At the end, the annual celebration of the harvest Reap, which is usually celebrated by quaintly burning "stuffy guys" (scarecrows), culminates in the capture and burning of Susan Delgado in a very creepy, ritualistic scene ("Come, Reap! Charyou Tree! Death for thee, life for my crops! Charyou Tree!").
While I know we're not looking to turn the entire town into bloodthirsty Sauron worshippers by the final episode, I think that the "Harad Christmas" preparations and festive air should shift from quaint to unsettling and the final episode should have some kind of direct "reclamation" of the Sauron temple by the Mouth and her followers. Thoughts?
Btw, this is my first post, although I've been listening to SilmFilm for 3+ years, lol.