Session 6-02: The Villain Storylines

Odola

Well-Known Member
I just think it’ll come across as a bizarre choice and involve more legwork. You can literally have just set up Gorlim being captured and tortured, cut to Beren coming home and seeing the destruction
Easier, simpler, quicker, more standard, understandable, does work - but significatly less "Sauronian". So what is the priority here for us?
 

Rob Harding

Active Member
Easier, simpler, quicker, more standard, understandable, does work - but significatly less "Sauronian". So what is the priority here for us?
Good storytelling that doesn’t confuse the audience or use up screen time unnecessarily. I’m not saying it can’t be done, it’d just be quicker to cut to our main characters and their motivations. You need that in the first ten pages. I also think Sauron leaving people alive while trying to plan a calculated massacre to showboat is less believable. I get the desire to show the full story from the book but I just don't think it is entirely helpful.
 
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MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
Several times now we have brought up the issue of Morgoth's lust when it comes to the dancing Lúthien. This is primarily based on the description of Morgoth in the text of the published Silmarillion during that scene. Naturally, this means nothing good, but is not overly specific.
”Then Morgoth looking upon her beauty conceived in his thought an evil lust, and a design more dark than any that had yet come into his heart since he fled from Valinor.”​


His words to her in the Lay (1930) make it very clear what he intends to do with her...and that's not very ambiguous, though still more circumspect than you might expect such a clear threat to come across.

"Yet I will give a respite brief, a while to live,​
a little while, though purchased dear,​
to Lúthien the fair and clear,​
a pretty toy for idle hour.​
In slothful gardens many a flower​
like thee the amorous gods are used​
honey-sweet to kiss, and cast then bruised,​
their fragrance loosing, under feet.​
But here we seldom find such sweet​
among our labors long and hard,​
from godlike idleness debarred.​
And who would not taste the honey-sweet​
lying to lips, or crush with feet,​
the soft cool tissue of pale flowers,​
easing like gods the dragging hours?​
A! Curse the gods! O hunger dire,​
O blinding thirst's unending fire!​
One moment shall ye cease, and slake​
your sting with morsel I here take!"​
In his eyes the fire to flame was fanned,​
and forth he stretched his brazen hand.​

It is worth pointing out that lust is being used in this story as the opposite to love, and so the focus and emphasis is on using someone as an object for one's own purposes and desires, with little concern for their own desires, their good, or even acknowledging them as a person. Lúthien is being compared to flower petals, an object for use, and one that can be taken against her own will.

Rape involves sex, but it is about power, about controlling someone else. And, while it is clear that whatever Morgoth intends to do to Lúthien will have a sexual component to it, what he is actually going to do is completely wreck and destroy her. She's not going to survive whatever he's going to do to her. Not sure why I feel the need to point out that the threat of murder is less veiled than the threat of rape, but whatever, they are both very clearly intended. First torture, then death.

So, how do we prepare the audience for this scene? Morgoth isn't exactly sitting around Angband watching snuff porn, which...doesn't exist in Middle-earth, not even in Angband. Tolkien focuses Morgoth's attention on what the Valar have in Valinor that is denied to Morgoth at this time - they have an easy life, full of sweetness, whereas his is dominated by work and drudgery. Life in Angband is ugly compared to life in Valinor, and the repentant Melkor lived in Valinor for years. We can have him express some bitterness for what he has lost, some jealousy of his brother Manwë.
Silm Film did include the love triangle between Melkor, Varda, and Manwë. So we can make use of that, reminding the audience that Morgoth had wanted to possess the light of the stars for himself.

Silm Film did not include the story where Morgoth has the history with Arien detailed in the 'Myths Transformed' section of History of Middle-earth. So, in Silm Film, Arien is a proto-balrog, an angelic follower of Melkor in the beginning, who defects to the other side when the balrogs decide to tear down the Lamps. The destruction of the Lamps is the action that locks the balrogs into their monstrous forms, and so Arien escapes that and chooses to join Varda instead.

I am not sure what details we want to include to point at the direction of Morgoth's thoughts, but I agree that it should not be a sudden realization that, hey, this elf girl is really hot, I wanna watch her dance a bit....
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
As for Gorlim's wraith...I never thought it was a case of Sauron *sending* that messenger to Beren. Rather, Gorlim's dead, and his spirit feels *really* guilty about the whole thing, so warning Beren is normal ghost business, not something conjured by Sauron. Now, whether or not Sauron would be aware or allow it is something else, but Gorlim's motivation seems clear and makes sense.
 

Rob Harding

Active Member
As for Gorlim's wraith...I never thought it was a case of Sauron *sending* that messenger to Beren. Rather, Gorlim's dead, and his spirit feels *really* guilty about the whole thing, so warning Beren is normal ghost business, not something conjured by Sauron. Now, whether or not Sauron would be aware or allow it is something else, but Gorlim's motivation seems clear and makes sense.
Yeah, I never it took as a wraith sent by Sauron myself either. I do think though that the inclusion reduces the drama if it explicitly states the threat. It could appear ominously and say nothing if we want to include it. In which case I don’t think it should be clear Sauron has got the location. We should see him torture Gorlim for unknown information and Gorlim is willing to speak, Sauron smiles and we cut away. I think showing that he has the location, then Gorlim comes as a warning just queues the audience up too much to the fact that a massacre has likely happened which just shatters the tension. You want to be wondering what awful thing Sauron is planning, only to have your dreams shattered in real time with Beren. Even if you’re hoping he didn’t learn the location, that’s more edge of your seat watching than already knowing what he’s done. Dramatic irony works if you don’t know how a character will react, but if you can guess Beren will be devastated and then is…not very interesting
 
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Haerangil

Well-Known Member
How much i hate that cringy metal band...

I hope when we do our version of Luthien's dance it will be NOTHING like the above album cover.
 

Odola

Well-Known Member
How much i hate that cringy metal band...

I hope when we do our version of Luthien's dance it will be NOTHING like the above album cover.
I hate this cover too - even if the "Noldor - blood is on your hands..." line impresses even me, an avid metal hater.
 

Mithrim

New Member
I checked HoMe L of B and there is a early version, which states men believed Morgoth sent wraith!Gorlim.
But that plot point is gone by the time of the Gest version

Yeah, I wouldn't be too fussed if wraith!Gorlim was left out. If we still do that plot point, we should structure it very carefully.

Random thoughts about the villains.
Sauron at Tol-in-Gaurhoth
By the time Sauron faces down Huan he could be almost drunk with the power that he gets this season.Maybe we could show Sauron start to make increasingly ill thought out plans? Because he now has the power to set in motion any idea that pops into his head. He could start blaming other people when his plans fail or don't go the way he thought they should go.
Thuringwethil
Is it possible we could show her professional relationship with Sauron deteriorating? Maybe she starts resenting how Sauron is ordering everybody about at Tol-in-Gaurhoth. We could add this so she has some characterization and story before she dies.
Glaurung
What if the reason he leaves Keep Helevorn for Angband, is the whole Luthien debacle. Glaurung(show version) and Melian are connected, both of them coming from Lorien. Morgoth could order Glaurung back after he shakes off Luthien's magical song. Morgoth could interrogate the dragon for these reasons. Firstly, to show him how to defend himself against the Lorien magic. So that situation never happens again. Secondly, so Glaurung can give him ideas for using Lorien magic against his enemies.


Just some ideas!

Edited for clarity and better sentence structure. My grammar is horrible.
 
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Octoburn

Active Member
I was always under the impression that wraith!Gorlim's appearance to Beren was a dream or vision he received while sleeping. We could leave it ambiguous, up to the viewer as to whether it was sent by Sauron or Ulmo. Or neither.
 

Rob Harding

Active Member
I checked HoMe L of B and there is a early version, which states men believed Morgoth sent wraith!Gorlim.
But that plot point is gone by the time of the Gest version

Yeah, I wouldn't be too fussed if wraith!Gorlim was left out. If we still do that plot point, we should structure it very carefully.

Random thoughts about the villains.
Sauron at Tol-in-Gaurhoth
By the time Sauron faces down Huan he could be almost drunk with the power that he gets this season.Maybe we could show Sauron start to make increasingly ill thought out plans? Because he now has the power to set in motion any idea that pops into his head. He could start blaming other people when his plans fail or don't go the way he thought they should go.
Thuringwethil
Is it possible we could show her professional relationship with Sauron deteriorating? Maybe she starts resenting how Sauron is ordering everybody about at Tol-in-Gaurhoth. We could add this so she has some characterization before she dies.
Glaurung
What if the reason he leaves Keep Helevorn for Angband, is the whole Luthien debacle. Glaurung(show version) and Melian are connected, both of them coming from Lorien. Morgoth could order Glaurung back after he shakes off Luthien's magical song. Morgoth could interrogate the dragon for these reasons. Firstly, to show him how to defend himself against the Lorien magic. So that situation never happens again. Secondly, so Glaurung can give him ideas for using Lorien magic against his enemies.


Just some ideas!

Edited for clarity and better sentence structure. My grammar is horrible.
Obviously it all comes down to the hosts' plans for the series but I can totally see that all tying together. Sauron taking Tol-In-Sirion in an opening montage and Thuringwethil gleefully helping him. After the victory she sees this as his time to rule in power, build his strength and do what he does best, plan. But no, Sauron has other enemies out there. He has a job for her. And she can then be this shadow following Gorlim through the forest. She can be the one who brings him in, but as Sauron is torturing him it's Thuringwethil that cautions him against haste. He's making too many moves too quickly. It's not just Morgoth's ire she fears, if he does this, he will start drawing attention. Powers will move against him. Sauron doesn't care. Let them come. But Thuringwethil won't blindly follow, and she flies off. Sauron leans firstly on Gorgol and werewolves but none of them quite live up to Thuringwethil. You can then have her pop up through the series as this voice arguing for temperance and to be the slow, cunning Sauron again. But he is causing a rift. Maybe Sauron even questions her loyalty and threatens her, but she knows him, she isn't scared of him like one of his little orcs. But in the end, she comes to his side and fights for him, only for Sauron to watch her be killed by Luthien. Maybe.

You get an arc for the both of them and a lesson Sauron learns in these early days of seeing himself as a rising Dark Lord in his own right. Makes sense why later he might lay low in future seasons if he has learnt that lesson here.

In some ways, seeing that dynamic, it makes sense then that Morgoth brings Glaurung to his side to counsel him. He does what Sauron should have done, showing why he is the ultimate enemy. He can bide his time. He can learn.

I think it's also nice to have that dynamic of Sauron and Thuringwethil's fraying relationship as a counterpoint to Beren and Luthien's growing one. As Beren and Luthien allow the other to be who they ought to be, Sauron and Thuringwethil are hindering or ignoring the other. Just this interesting dichotomy to reinforce what our heroes are going through.
 
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Odola

Well-Known Member
Elves can go fey. That's very much canonical. And, as you point out, they can give in to despair, giving up the will to live, and just laying down to die. So, I would say that madness is an ailment that elves can experience. As for wandering indefinitely due to grief or madness, I do present the other famous First Age elven bard - Maglor is going to forsake society and wander alone for the rest of his days after he fulfilled the Oath and cast aside the silmaril.
Maglor went on his self-chosen exile after the War of Wrath - as such in a far, far safer geopolitical situation.
That aside, if the relationship between Daeron and Luthien as described in this version of the story is already a more friendship-based than a passionate one, then Daeron "going fey" would seem rather excessive and confusing in this context.


He could recluse himself for a time-out to think things through, but be back again to help Dior picking up the pieces in Doriath?

Wandering aimlessly around simply not very safe given the general situation, and he is due to run into someone, friend or foe, finally.
 
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Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
About Sauron: I like the idea that his success in taking Too Sirion makes him a bit reckless, and that he falls out of Morgoth's favour when he loses it again. But what does this mean exactly?
It seems there's a popular idea that he flees the wrath of Morgoth in some unknown location. Where would that be? Let's consider the options.
  • He does not actually run away from Morgoth but returns after the loss of the Silmaril and gets punished somehow, becoming a background character in Angband. Perhaps a boring alternative, the easy way out.
  • As above, but he's sent into exile. He goes to one of the locations below, perhaps with special orders, perhaps as a free agent.
  • He flees humiliated to a place in Beleriand, watching things from a safe place. He'd take a perspective not unlike Hurin, except Sauron isn't doomed. This situation would mean we must give him someone to talk to if we want to give him scenes. I don't know who that could be. I'm not sure where he'd go, Tar-im-Duinath? I'm also not sure this would work at all. We would either want to use him somehow, forcing us to come up with problematic subplots, or give him potentially dull monologues.
  • He flees Beleriand altogehter. He could go to Mordor, perhaps? The problem would be, why does he show up after The War of Wrath and almost repents, and then hides? It seems more likely that he's still around in Beleriand.
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
About Sauron: I like the idea that his success in taking Tol Sirion makes him a bit reckless, and that he falls out of Morgoth's favour when he loses it again. But what does this mean exactly?
It seems there's a popular idea that he flees the wrath of Morgoth in some unknown location. Where would that be? Let's consider the options.
  • He does not actually run away from Morgoth but returns after the loss of the Silmaril and gets punished somehow, becoming a background character in Angband. Perhaps a boring alternative, the easy way out.
  • As above, but he's sent into exile. He goes to one of the locations below, perhaps with special orders, perhaps as a free agent.
  • He flees humiliated to a place in Beleriand, watching things from a safe place. He'd take a perspective not unlike Hurin, except Sauron isn't doomed. This situation would mean we must give him someone to talk to if we want to give him scenes. I don't know who that could be. I'm not sure where he'd go, Tar-im-Duinath? I'm also not sure this would work at all. We would either want to use him somehow, forcing us to come up with problematic subplots, or give him potentially dull monologues.
  • He flees Beleriand altogehter. He could go to Mordor, perhaps? The problem would be, why does he show up after The War of Wrath and almost repents, and then hides? It seems more likely that he's still around in Beleriand.
I wouldn't say that taking Tol Sirion is completely reckless since it provides some strategic value: Beleriand winds up getting cut in two or three and Sauron can block Fingon from helping anyone east of the River Sirion, Finrod can't pass it going northward, and nobody can help the Feanoreans out in the east, north from that point. Sauron is described as fleeing to what was Dorthonion, he could provide an obstacle for Beleg and Gwindor as they search for Túrin, or for Túrin and Gwindor as they leave Taur-nu-Fuin after Beleg dies and make their way back to Nargothrond.

Speaking of Tol Sirion, what role should Annael play in its fall? I've thrown a few ideas around but nothing definite has been established.
 

Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
I didn’t mean taking Tol Sirion is reckless, I mean he’d become reckless after taking it, the success making him overconfident.
 

Rob Harding

Active Member
I wonder if his fleeing could be seen as strategic defeat. Yes, he is beaten BUT there's no merit in staying. He isn't directly just fleeing Morgoth's ire. You make it clear he underestimated the forces in the surrounding lands. Luthien is able to take him out. His plans for Tol Sirion weren't that thought through. Even a man DARED confront him. A MAN. And he has lost his lieutenants. It's a strategic regroup in shameful defeat. He flees, maybe literally flies off and crashes in a strange land he doesn't really know.

There we could see him muttering to himself that this isn't defeat, this is calculated. Considered. He is bidding his time...like 'you' said I should. REVEAL he is talking to Thuringwethil. Sorry, I just really like the idea of her being around. But, Rob, she is dead? Yes, but is it possible she has an incorporeal form only Sauron can see (due to being a Maiar maybe). The next season is him trying to regroup, guided by the voice of his dead friend. With the hint maybe he has really lost it. Sauron at his lowest ebb trying to scrabble back authority. Morgoth is scary sure, but one thing that can make your villain really scary is if they HAVE NOTHING LEFT TO LOSE. A Sauron who is able to wait and be patient but also who could do anything as they have nothing left to fear. And may be unstable? I'd be up for that for a future season. His eventually climb would be like a dark Daenerys Targaryen. And I also think, it builds some sympathy for the character. Or at least, a reason to watch where he goes next.

People want to watch someone rise from nothing, even if they are a monster. And eventually, he does his next truly awful thing and we are reminded 'oh yeah, this is who he always was.' And we see the monster return. I just think, have him flee in tatters, but in a position to scheme. Perhaps he finds a small village and inserts himself as a sort of kindly sage figure, but over time becomes more of a Rasputin. And ultimately is able to turn the people against its leader and make it his stronghold. A smaller stakes story but one the audience can see as him ruining his chance to start over and be Mairon again. Because, end of the day, that ship has sailed. He doesn't get that chance. Even if the audience might hope for it.

You could even play that the 'Thuringwethil' he talks with is urging him more toward a path of peace. To just be the kindly guide. And he maybe even toys with doing good. Until someone slights him or he is wronged and the voice tries to stay his hand. He would realise it isn't Thuringwethil. And then you have the figure change into him - when he was Mairon! It's the last vestige of good. And he kills it.

And then from that point, we can build him up in distant lands as this rising force. That's what he's doing over future seasons. Littlefinger-ing his way into power. Learning from Thuringwethil?

Very head cannony yes, but I also think this is such a great gap in the narrative and post this crushing defeat seems like the right time for that stripping away of power and taking stock. You can do some delicious character work with him and really make future seasons about him finalising the legacy we know he will have.
 
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Odola

Well-Known Member
I wonder if his fleeing could be seen as strategic defeat. Yes, he is beaten BUT there's no merit in staying. He isn't directly just fleeing Morgoth's ire. You make it clear he underestimated the forces in the surrounding lands. Luthien is able to take him out. His plans for Tol Sirion weren't that thought through. Even a man DARED confront him. A MAN. And he has lost his lieutenants. It's a strategic regroup in shameful defeat. He flees, maybe literally flies off and crashes in a strange land he doesn't really know.

There we could see him muttering to himself that this isn't defeat, this is calculated. Considered. He is bidding his time...like 'you' said I should. REVEAL he is talking to Thuringwethil. Sorry, I just really like the idea of her being around. But, Rob, she is dead? Yes, but is it possible she has an incorporeal form only Sauron can see (due to being a Maiar maybe). The next season is him trying to regroup, guided by the voice of his dead friend. With the hint maybe he has really lost it. Sauron at his lowest ebb trying to scrabble back authority. Morgoth is scary sure, but one thing that can make your villain really scary is if they HAVE NOTHING LEFT TO LOSE. A Sauron who is able to wait and be patient but also who could do anything as they have nothing left to fear. And may be unstable? I'd be up for that for a future season. His eventually climb would be like a dark Daenerys Targaryen. And I also think, it builds some sympathy for the character. Or at least, a reason to watch where he goes next.

People want to watch someone rise from nothing, even if they are a monster. And eventually, he does his next truly awful thing and we are reminded 'oh yeah, this is who he always was.' And we see the monster return. I just think, have him flee in tatters, but in a position to scheme. Perhaps he finds a small village and inserts himself as a sort of kindly sage figure, but over time becomes more of a Rasputin. And ultimately is able to turn the people against its leader and make it his stronghold. A smaller stakes story but one the audience can see as him ruining his chance to start over and be Mairon again. Because, end of the day, that ship has sailed. He doesn't get that chance. Even if the audience might hope for it. You could even play that the 'Thuringwethil' he talks with is urging him more toward a path of peace. To just be the kindly guide. And he maybe even toys with doing good. Until someone slights him or he is wronged and the voice tries to stay his hand. He would realise it isn't Thuringwethil. And then you have the figure change into him - when he was Mairon. It's the last vestige of good. And he kills it.

And then from that point, we can build him up in distant lands as this rising force. That's what he's doing over future seasons. Littlefinger-ing his way into power. Learning from Thuringwethil?

Very head cannony yes, but I also think this is such a great gap in the narrative and post this crushing defeat seems like the right time for that stripping away of power and taking stock. You can do some delicious character work with him and really make future seasons about him finalising the legacy we know he will have.
How far incarnated is she? Can she return after a while assuming a different body like he does?
 

Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
Maybe he’s caught her spirit somehow, and bound it, keeping it. Or she just hangs around, drawn to him as a former leader/friend and as Necromancer.
 

Rob Harding

Active Member
I don't think it matters too much as my implication is maybe she is real or maybe he is mad. Explaining it too much ruins that question the audience may have

But it gives him someone we know for him to talk to and somehow he can be honest with as he grows into this person who has to put on a kind front for others.

Plus, let's keep Carey Mulligan as long as we can cos she is great. At least one more season please
 

Rob Harding

Active Member
To add, I especially think that if we want to show this season that Sauron gets power hungry and a bit reckless or whathaveyou, particularly if people like my suggestion of him ignoring Thuringwethil counselling for patience, then you really need to maximise the cost of that mistake. You need show him losing IT ALL. To show what a bad error it was. And to truly have him start over. Also, losing everything explains why it takes him such a long time to build back i.e. why it takes us so long before we see him in power again. And if we do have him do Thuringwethil wrong, it kinda makes sense it's her voice he hears/her he sees as this guiding voice later. Hi Jimminy Cricket. It's his biggest mistake and it ended in her death. You don't have to play it as love. Hey, you can let the audience think that's what you're doing. Make it so even this voice thinks he is connecting with some softer side. Maybe for a moment he does. Maybe he does what appears to be one good thing. But really, for him, it's because she is a reminder of what failure looks like. He won't let personal connections weigh him down. She is what he needs to shed. Mairon is what he needs to completely destroy. He undoes the one good thing he did in a brutal fashion. He will never be weak or underestimate his foes again (nice dramatic irony for those who know of one Frodo Baggins).
 
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