Session 6-02: The Villain Storylines

Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
I like the idea of Sauron hitting rock bottom. I assume he will be more or less in solitude (with the exception of the ghost of Thuringwethil), kind of like that of a monk or hermit, but as you suggest, he’ll grow into a dangerous fanatic terrorist or prophet. He will perhaps develop extreme self-criticism, later on leading to the repentance. (I think he should actually repent, but then he experiences a shocking revelation, as if struck down by an invisible enemy, and realise he has to fulfill his Lord Melkor’s plans for the world. The moment has to be truly shocking, even for the viewers.) He will surely ultimately develop ideas of discipline and organisation, go all in Sun Tzu and Machiavelli, turning Middle-Earth into his own chessboard, but that would come later, in the Second Age. Now, at the bottom, he should dwell in a theoretical and logical ground zero, pondering ideas about purity and death.
 

Rob Harding

Active Member
Yes, absolutely this.

Though I do like the idea of him finding a village and being welcomed. I think the catalyst for transformation should be finding decent people. Yes, he’s met them before. But never when he truly had nothing and still was welcomed. His past doesn’t matter. But I also don’t want to totally nerf him. I think the moment we see he has broken bad again comes when, yes, maybe he realises Morgoth has happily shunted him off the board. Maybe from some far flung Angband party who are surveilling him. Perhaps, almost to protect the town, he interrogated one of them for answers and learns the truth. Maybe Morgoth saw his growing power and somehow it was always re plan to have him dethroned (could we suggest that when Thuringwethil was not on speaking terms with Toll-In-Ghaurouth Sauron that she did some deal with Morgoth to have Sauron curtailed? That’d be a huge betrayal to come to terms with later)? But as he interrogates, a friend he’s made in the town (maybe a blacksmiths child who taught him to make trinkets. Like rings. Get it? Get it?) sees him torturing and is afraid. The town try to cast him our even though he tried to protect them and do the right thing. And his response should be to decimate this town that welcomed him and walk from the ashes as Sauron reborn. Not powerful yet, but set back on that path. Ironically by those that tried to take it from him. Maybe???
 

kanji_d

Member
The big problem is we still need some way to bring Sauron back to Morgoth at the end so he can be taken for judgement before Manwe. Having him hit rock bottom is all well and good but we need some way for him to come back to the darkness. I think it's fine if he tries to run away, but I'm not sure that he should get very far.

Going out on a limb here, what if he has a sort of Spell of Bottomless Dread on himself? I don't know how we'd retcon that in, but what if he just can't leave. I'm thinking of one of Gandalf's comments about Gollum in "The Shadow of the Past": Mordor draws all wicked things. Gollum doesn't want to go to Sauron, he doesn't want to tell him about the Ring, but he can't help himself. What if something similar happens to Sauron here? The servants of Morgoth are drawn to him. Morgoth draws all wicked things.
 

Rob Harding

Active Member
The big problem is we still need some way to bring Sauron back to Morgoth at the end so he can be taken for judgement before Manwe. Having him hit rock bottom is all well and good but we need some way for him to come back to the darkness. I think it's fine if he tries to run away, but I'm not sure that he should get very far.

Going out on a limb here, what if he has a sort of Spell of Bottomless Dread on himself? I don't know how we'd retcon that in, but what if he just can't leave. I'm thinking of one of Gandalf's comments about Gollum in "The Shadow of the Past": Mordor draws all wicked things. Gollum doesn't want to go to Sauron, he doesn't want to tell him about the Ring, but he can't help himself. What if something similar happens to Sauron here? The servants of Morgoth are drawn to him. Morgoth draws all wicked things.
I kind of love that but what if Sauron also draws evil to himself. Particularly if he gets to a point where he does want to start over. But evil things come to him. For anyone who has seen the British Being Human, the character of Mitchell is exactly like this and it is heartbreakingly tragic.

Rock bottom and taken in. Finds humanity. Repents (ish). Attracts evil. Does awful things to keep evil away. Is seen as a monster. Accepts that is who he is.

Sorry, I'm now spitballing the next season and we are only one episode into this one. But for me I find it helpfully to know the trajectory of where he needs to get to so we can set up the fall here.

I do think this season needs to be a lesson in not getting too big for his boots. Or at least, not doing it too fast. And play up his relationship with Thuringwethil against Beren and Luthien.
 
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Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
Yes we have to keep him on Morgoth’s side, I don’t think he can turn to good. He can be on the brink of repentance.
The servants of Morgoth are drawn to him. Morgoth draws all wicked things.
YES, this sounds good.
 

Rob Harding

Active Member
Yes we have to keep him on Morgoth’s side, I don’t think he can turn to good. He can be on the brink of repentance.

YES, this sounds good.
I think you can have a moment where he almost turns, or even does but only for an episode. You want to feel that punch as an audience. You can make it poignant as everyone watching will know he is doomed to fail. Even people who aren't familiar with Sauron know the name. It's in the public consciousness. So you know any good turn won't last. But you can savour the pain of it not working out.
 

Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
I think his final turn to Morgoth should not come from him being good, even for a short while. I think he should be grey, seemingly having lost interest in the wars and struggles of dominance over Middle-earth, detached. First of all, it would be more believable if his ultimate fall comes from this position. Second of all, it better explains his apparent inaction during the rest of the First Age. I mean, sure, he can have his “good” persona, looking “fair”, but he shouldn’t put energy into any fight for good. I guess you could interpret his passivity as peacefulness. In that case, it’s ok I think.
 

Rob Harding

Active Member
I think his final turn to Morgoth should not come from him being good, even for a short while. I think he should be grey, seemingly having lost interest in the wars and struggles of dominance over Middle-earth, detached. First of all, it would be more believable if his ultimate fall comes from this position. Second of all, it better explains his apparent inaction during the rest of the First Age. I mean, sure, he can have his “good” persona, looking “fair”, but he shouldn’t put energy into any fight for good. I guess you could interpret his passivity as peacefulness. In that case, it’s ok I think.
I think I’ve got a bit lost what and when we are discussing. Sorry, I jumped ahead and ending up discussing a hypothetical season 7 which a bit of a regrouping from a Sauron brought low. Which seems to be around the time he is canonically presented as repentant. So want to give him an action small but drama big arc.

But after that point, he’d totally be the Sauron we know of foul presenting as fair. Of course, that’s nothing to do with right now. I don’t know if we need him to turn back to Morgoth? Not genuinely. It feel like his arc is moving ever toward independence. He could calculatingly side with him but I feel like season 6, we are again reinforcing his direction toward being his own dark Lord. I think to lose that later down the line would be shame.

So I was proposing later arc post his Luthien defeat that lets him make that choice for darkness that isn’t dependent on Morgoth but comes from a personal place of self recognition. It obviously doesn’t have to be that per se, but I think we do need to keep him moving forward in interesting ways and not stagnating as simply growing more powerful all the time. I was just trying to think of other motivations.

Admittedly, I conflated some time frames in error, but my thought was that if he rejects genuine repentance next season then we know his post war of wrath conversion is to be feared as we know he left that path. I’ve edited above posts for clarity on this matter
 
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Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
We rushed ahead a bit, didn’t we? It’s not a bad idea to take things further than what’s necessary at the moment. It reveals potential consequences of certain choices. My initial thought though was to map out the ways we could go with Sauron directly after he is defeated by Beren and Luthien, and what kind of character arch that he could have up to that point so that we could find the best choice, or at least narrow it down to a few choices. What happens later is important, it turns out.
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
So about Annael: I think we've decided that he should play some sort of role in Sauron taking Tol Sirion, but what shall it be? I've suggested sending Fingon on a wild-goose chase so that he can't help Orodreth or Annael is mind-controlled into killing guards who could have seen Sauron coming.

Anyone else wish to pitch in?
 

Odola

Well-Known Member
So about Annael: I think we've decided that he should play some sort of role in Sauron taking Tol Sirion, but what shall it be? I've suggested sending Fingon on a wild-goose chase so that he can't help Orodreth or Annael is mind-controlled into killing guards who could have seen Sauron coming.

Anyone else wish to pitch in?
As there are plenty of captured elves, I think if it were possible to get them "mind-controlled into killing" we should see that method used more often than once. But diverting the guards' attention so they do not see what they should(n't) should be possible.
 

Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
Maybe he could distract Orodreth somehow, hindering him from giving orders and thereby obstructing the defense?
 

Odola

Well-Known Member
Maybe he could distract Orodreth somehow, hindering him from giving orders and thereby obstructing the defense?
I do not know the exact situation, but for example a strategically laid fire - not directly threating to lives but to supplies and potentially endangering lives if left unattended - should provide enough distraction under normal circumstaces.
 

Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
I do not know the exact situation, but for example a strategically laid fire - not directly threating to lives but to supplies and potentially endangering lives if left unattended - should provide enough distraction under normal circumstaces.
Starting a fire would be something that should be easily detected so it’s a good choice if we want Annael caught quickly.
 

Odola

Well-Known Member
Starting a fire would be something that should be easily detected so it’s a good choice if we want Annael caught quickly.
Depends, if he delays the outbreak by magic or is stealthy enough if would take them some time to do some crime (vs. accident?) scene investigation - which again could keep them distracted for a time.
 

Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
Depends, if he delays the outbreak by magic or is stealthy enough if would take them some time to do some crime (vs. accident?) scene investigation - which again could keep them distracted for a time.
This could be an interesting way of telling the story, focusing on Annael and the fire, and then, as almost a surprise, the attack (or just suggesting something is going on at the same time as the fire but not showing exactly what it is until it’s too late.
 

Odola

Well-Known Member
This could be an interesting way of telling the story, focusing on Annael and the fire, and then, as almost a surprise, the attack (or just suggesting something is going on at the same time as the fire but not showing exactly what it is until it’s too late.
I do not insist on it having to be a fire, but just some kind of commotion which keeps the attention away from things happening farther away.
 

Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
A fire is a good suggestion, but sure, it could be something else that has a similar effect.
 

Odola

Well-Known Member
A fire is a good suggestion, but sure, it could be something else that has a similar effect.
Whatever it is, we must remember elves are naturally magical cratures, so both the causing and resolution attempts should involve magic and not only "flintstones and water buckets" like it would be with humans - there should be a noted difference in approach. Not saying the approach has to be more adequate or successfull than a human one would have been in such a situation - but just different enough to be credible.
 

Rob Harding

Active Member
Does anyone else feel Gorgol needs more of a presence this season? Or at least, to not be quickly dispatched. I worry about going down the Darth Maul root of setting up a great antagonist that our hero has a personal investment in stopping, only to shuffle them off the board quickly. Could he be present as Luthien battles Thuringwethil down the line? Could Beren even think he’s stopped Gorgol at the point he originally does in the novel, only for him to find clues he’s still alive (ala Azog in the Hobbit films) and provide this very personal vengeance driven purpose in conflict with Luthien’s more ultruistic motives for stopped evil. And in the end, Beren has to make some sort of significant choice between getting vengeance and choosing to aid Luthien, perhaps at the very moment he could slay Gorgol? That way we don’t have to dispatch an interesting personal villain early on and can show Beren’s growth.
 
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