Session 6-03: Sauron and Thuringwethil

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
I was probably influenced by lost tales in which the roof of Nienna or Fúi's halls was made of bat-wings.She was much darker in the early versions, definitely a bit proto-goth.
 

Odola

Well-Known Member
I was probably influenced by lost tales in which the roof of Nienna or Fúi's halls was made of bat-wings.She was much darker in the early versions, definitely a bit proto-goth.
Ah, understood. I have found some association of Nienna/Fúi with bats once you hinted on it and I've searched for it explicitly - but there she was herself a death goddess.
As such Thuringwethil's being actually a professional in the "death and mourning business" still does apply.
 
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Mithrim

New Member
Hmmn, could Thuringwethil actually be unaligned at the beginning? She is supposed to be very curious in the show. I could see her going to each Valar in turn. Trying to find out all the information and secrets she can find. And then she tries to join the Halls of Mandos and Mandos just rejects her application. Because he can tell that Thuringwethil isn't actually interested in serving in HoM. She is just trying to satisfy her own inquisitiveness .
Thuringwethil then decides to join Melkor because he says to her. "Hey, I would never set limits on your curiosity."
Just throwing that idea out there.
 
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Odola

Well-Known Member
Hmmn, could Thuringwethil actually be unaligned at the beginning? She is supposed to be very curious in the show. I could see her going to each Valar in turn. Trying to find out all the information and secrets she can find. And then she tries to join the Halls of Mandos and Mandos just rejects her application. Because he can tell that Thuringwethil isn't actually interested in serving in HoM. She is just trying to satisfy her own inquisitiveness .
Thuringwethil then decides to join Melkor because he says to her. "Hey, I would never set limits on your curiosity."
Just throwing that idea out there.
So she would have a vendetta against Mandos and that gives her the idea to make sure the Noldorin spirits do not get there at all by inventing necromancy?
 

Mithrim

New Member
Yeah, more like Thuringwethil hears the spirits tell Sauron that Mandos was trying to summon them to the HoM. Sauron doesn't care, he could be more focused on the power issue side of necromancy. But Thuringwethil starts getting insanely curious . Like, why does he want you?!!! What can you do?!!
Somehow she over extends this whole necromancy business with the spirits and Beren, leading to her death.

Edit: I mean this to be a response to your "104" post, Odola.
 
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Mithrim

New Member
I guess the whole problem with this idea is that all the noldor know the basic idea of the hall of Mandos. Heck Melkor spent prison time in their already. So what's the big mystery?
 

Mithrim

New Member
Men's souls? Thuringwethil could be curious about the Second Children but how would she find out that that Mandos has anything to do with them? And wouldn't she already be curious by this time? This theory may have more problems than solutions.
 

Odola

Well-Known Member
Men's souls? Thuringwethil could be curious about the Second Children but how would she find out that that Mandos has anything to do with them? And wouldn't she already be curious by this time? This theory may have more problems than solutions.
The issue is, Sauron has little to do with souls. He is a Maiar of Aule. If Thuringwethil is a professional with dead souls, she might have the idea that something can be done with them. That's her area of expertise then and something that she has a natural talent in. And then Sauron taking over the project from her as Morgoth took the orcs from him would be an anticipation of however much Sauron is determined not to repeat Morgoth's mistakes he is already doomed to follow his path, those mistakes included.
 

Rob Harding

Active Member
If all this confusion can serve a purpose that’s actually a good thing. If Sauron is spending the whole season trying to raise spirits, rather than accomplishing it at the start, and Tol Sirion is his lab, then he has this very clear short term goal we watch unfold. The audience doesn’t even need to know the specifics of that he’s trying to achieve, just that it’s an evolution of his corruption experiments. But maybe it becomes apparent he needs Thuringwethil’s wisdom but in his pride he’s driven a wedge. So a clear need is that he ought to heal that relationship. But his pride at this point leads him to think he can do it alone. Nice bit of drama as we don’t really want Sauron to succeed, but if played correctly, we may also want to see Thuringwethil break free of and not return to that relationship. When Thuringwethil returns to him for the final conflict, she tells him what he needs to raise a small army in time for the final conflict. A tragic fate for Thuringwethil and the world then.
 

Odola

Well-Known Member
True indeed. I'm good with Thuringwethil being a servant of Mandos.
In the session today there was talk about Thuringwethil being consumed amost by her curiousity and desire of knowledge and the discovery of secrets.
Mandos is a judge, and as such he sees the judged person's passed life and his/her motivations when he passes his judgement.
But this requires a high degree of confidentiality and a high respect of "the client/patient's" privacy - not to probe too far and not to use this gained knowledge outside of thes professional framework - the whole being done totaly and only in the service of the person reviewed.
Mandos must have a very strick "data ad privacy protection laws" - akin to the Catholic "secrecy of confession" idea.
If the necessary self-restrainment of a professional coach/healer is what she despises, and this is what she rebelled against?
 

Rhiannon

Well-Known Member
Sorry, I wasn't able to attend this session live, but I did manage to watch the recording on Twitch. Here are my notes:

Session 6-02: Sauron and Thuringwethil

Finding out how to end Thuringwethil’s story means looking back at the whole thing.

Primary theaters of action are Tol Sirion and Dorthonion.

In SilmFilm, Thuringwethil has been Sauron’s right hand, working with Tevildo, Draugluin, and occasionally Shelob. Thuringwethil has schemed and planned with Sauron as almost his intellectual equal. Her primary goal has been spying, using her cloak to transform into a large bat (“vampire” in Tolkien just means vampire bat without undead connotations). For example, we used her in the “Of Beleriand and its Realms” episode in Season 4. She has been a very good spy, so none of the good guys know she exists. Her biggest moment was deceiving Círdan and confirming his suspicions of the kinslaying.

The Elves know about Sauron. He was at the parley with Maedhros, who has presumably told others about him. The Elves know about Gothmog, though those that survived the encounter saw him from a distance. Sauron is much lower profile figure, but the Elves have probably guessed that he is an important lieutenant of Morgoth. Sauron will be kind of stepping out of the shadows when he takes Tol Sirion. No one knows about Thuringwethil or has any animosity towards her. This means we won’t need to close her arc with anybody else.

Who is Thuringwethil in the beginning? A Maia. Who’s Maia? Possibly Mandos or Nienna. In Tolkien’s original drafts, Nienna was named Fui and was the Queen of the Underworld. Possibly Vairë or Irmo. Irmo may be a good choice because of Thuringwethil’s use of dreams to manipulate Annael. We proposed having Glaurung be a former Maia of Irmo. Melian was also a Maia of Irmo. Perhaps Thuringwethil could be an anti-Melian. We talked about Mandos appearing to the fallen in Dorthonion. Maybe Thuringwethil was once a spirit with that role. Having Thuringwethil associated with Mandos could be part of how Sauron gets into necromancy. Even if we don’t have Thuringwethil be a Maia of Nienna, it would be interesting to have one of her Maia turn evil. Maybe Tevildo could have been a corrupted Maia of Nienna since he delights in causing pain and suffering. Sauron’s posse were already followers of Morgoth when they joined Sauron. Another possibility would be for Thuringwethil to be unaffiliated, like Ungoliant.

Thuringwethil should die at Tol Sirion. She could potentially die before Sauron’s defeat and the fall of Tol Sirion.

Thuringwethil being a Maia of Mandos seems like the coolest idea because it would tie into the necromancy. Would this be good because of the tie-in or bad because it would draw focus away from Sauron? Should there be a rift between Thuringwethil and Sauron? Thuringwethil has been loyal to Sauron since Sauron joined Morgoth. Tolkien mentioned that the one redeeming quality of Sauron was that, for a time, he showed loyalty to Morgoth. It may be a good idea to introduce tension between Sauron and Thuringwethil to show that they are not good. Bad guys in Tolkien usually want to elevate themselves and dominate others. Thuringwethil’s intentions may draw her away from Sauron.

Thuringwethil is most interested in knowledge. Sauron is also interested in knowledge. He has an almost scientific approach to corruption and domination. Before Thuringwethil joined Sauron, she may have been a scout for Gothmog. Thuringwethil supported Sauron’s plan to sew dissention among the Elves rather than merely destroying them. Thuringwethil does not want the Elves destroyed until she has gained all the knowledge she can from them. Thuringwethil has a hunger for knowledge like Ungoliant’s hunger for light. The falling-out between Thuringwethil and Sauron could parallel the falling-out between Melkor and Ungoliant. Maybe Thuringwethil wants something that Sauron refuses to give. Maybe the Cauldron of Evil in the basement. If the necromancy thing was Thuringwethil’s idea, she would want to gain knowledge from them. However, Sauron would want to dominate them. There could be a scene parallel to Melkor withholding the Silmarils where Sauron refuses to give Thuringwethil souls.

Sauron sees Morgoth weakened by putting his spirit out into others. After discovering necromancy, Sauron realizes he can draw other spirits into himself to augment his power. The Cauldron of Evil should evoke the Ring of Power. Sauron may betray Thuringwethil in the same way he later betrays Celebrimbor by stealing the idea. The betrayal would be a good option because it would be relatively quick to show since this season will need a lot of screen time for Beren and Lúthien. By the Third Age, Sauron will be doing exactly what Morgoth did and expending his own power to strengthen others. The forging of the Rings of Power will be Sauron’s turning point, the point at which he starts to decline. Bad characters in Tolkien always are their own undoing at some level. Sauron’s defeat by Lúthien is a setback, but not a turning point.

How do Thuringwethil’s plans backfire? How would she react to the perceived betrayal by Sauron? Maybe she will try to break into the Tub of Evil and steal the dead elves. The Tub of Evil could be what destroys the tower. Maybe Sauron will kill her. If she is working against him, Sauron would get rid of her. He would choose the power of his Tub of Evil over Thuringwethil, despite her many years of loyal service. He would see her as a rival. It shouldn’t just be an execution.

Thuringwethil would not destroy herself at the Tub of Evil. That should either remain intact or destroy Tol Sirion. Does Thuringwethil have a body? No. Only her cloak is physical. She has empowered the cloak in some way. The cloak could potentially be buried under the rubble of the tower. Beren would also be buried under the rubble. We can work out a way for them to be accessible. Beren would not be kept next to the Tub of Evil.

Sauron may make some threat to Thuringwethil that prophesizes her death. He would feel smug about that afterwards.

What would anyone know about what happened at Tol Sirion? Lúthien might sense the souls and know what happened. We can revisit that later when we discuss Lúthien. Huan might also have some insight. They would both have bigger things to talk about when they are around other people again.

The other bad guys would see the wreckage of Tol Sirion. They may think it was smitten by the Valar. They can’t know it was Lúthien because they severely underestimate her the next time they meet her. Maybe they would be intrigued, but they would not feel threatened. Sauron should witness the fall of the tower. Some might suspect Melian is responsible. This could lead to some speculation about Lúthien.

What if Thuringwethil is killed by Sauron after they have both been defeated? There might be some parallel to the final meeting between Húrin and Morwen. This would preserve the cloak. Huan could go after Sauron find the cloak while Beren and Lúthien are having their reunion.

Where does Sauron go? Not back to Angband. He will go off by himself to recover and try to think up a plausible story. He may go stir up the Easterlings and be behind the betrayal by Ulfang. Sauron was trying to set up on his own at Tol Sirion. He will go across the mountains and try to set up on his own again. He will lay low until his new plan helps the villains win the Nirnaeth Arnoediad and restores him to Morgoth’s favor. Maybe he will later be involved in the fall of Gondolin. There can be an Easterlings arc in Season 7 that foreshadows what will happen in Harad and Rhûn. Sauron can go to Taur-nu-Fuin too. Is Sauron involved in the hunting of Beren and Gorlim’s betrayal? We can discuss that next time. There will be a lot happening this season. The fall of Tol Sirion may need to come before the midpoint.

Next session, we will discuss more villain storylines, including the attack on Doriath and what Glaurung is up to.
 

Kathrin

Well-Known Member
Just listened to the recent episodes (finally) and as a local known thuringwethil enthusiast, I really loved it. I do very much agree with the Mandos choice, though i am still wondering about the flavour of her spiritual vampirism, so to speak. How do we depict what she gets of it, the knowledge/consuming their soul/etc? since that is very much an internal process, and not as visually depictable as ungoliant's hunger for light. I need to do some more thought on what is a place between Mandos' approach and also starkly opposed to Sauron's purely power based approach. Is it basically only a lack of sharing resources on Sauron's part and the betrayal of that? Hmm..

Also, does this somehow reconnect back to the necromantic orc project, is there some link to the inprisonment and twisting of souls and in what relationship does it stand to thuringwethils & saurons approaches here? (Since we don't have as much time here it won't be exactly relevant, but it is interesting to me & i don't quite think i *get* it yet.)
 

Ziggy

New Member
How do Thuringwethil’s plans backfire? How would she react to the perceived betrayal by Sauron? Maybe she will try to break into the Tub of Evil and steal the dead elves. The Tub of Evil could be what destroys the tower. Maybe Sauron will kill her. If she is working against him, Sauron would get rid of her. He would choose the power of his Tub of Evil over Thuringwethil, despite her many years of loyal service. He would see her as a rival. It shouldn’t just be an execution.

Thuringwethil would not destroy herself at the Tub of Evil. That should either remain intact or destroy Tol Sirion. Does Thuringwethil have a body? No. Only her cloak is physical. She has empowered the cloak in some way. The cloak could potentially be buried under the rubble of the tower. Beren would also be buried under the rubble. We can work out a way for them to be accessible. Beren would not be kept next to the Tub of Evil.

Sauron may make some threat to Thuringwethil that prophesizes her death. He would feel smug about that afterwards.

What if Thuringwethil is killed by Sauron after they have both been defeated? There might be some parallel to the final meeting between Húrin and Morwen. This would preserve the cloak. Huan could go after Sauron find the cloak while Beren and Lúthien are having their reunion.
Based on Lay of Leithian (lines 533-578) as found in Beren and Luthien (p 162-4), Sauron's final word to Gollum on Mount Doom (ROTK p. 246), and from Part of the Tale of Aragorn and Arwen (ROTK p. 382).

After listening to the Tolkien Professor's first talk about the new Amazon series (Other Hands and Other Minds, starting around minute 93 and on), it is as if someone had not only convinced me I should try eating lutefisk, but I could >savor< it. I take off my hat to your sir. And now I see that you are discussing the script for the Tale of Beren and Luthien? How can I resist listening to the podcast?

And Session 3 of Season 6 was an incredible discussion. Sauron's interest in necromancy now makes a whole lot more sense and gives completely new motives for why Sauron should takes up residence in Amon Lanc after the first fall of Barad-dur. As to the fall of Tol-in-Gaurhoth, I agree with Rhiannon and the Tub of Evil should play a major role in the tower's destruction since the foundations were laid by elven lords rather than the wizard Thu as was originally imagined. Based on the character of Sauron, the power of music and song in Tolkien's cosmology, and the person of Luthien I wonder if the following might be a possible confluence of events.

1) When Thuringwethil first suggests interacting or taking an entity from the 'Tub of Evil/Well of Souls' Sauron gives a thinly masked threat of her own destruction. This turns into a prophecy that also involves his own humiliation. (NOTE: The quote of the Ring speaking on Mount Doom was made during Session 6-3 by a woman whose name I have forgotten, my apologies. In a word, brilliant.) While this would be as much a foreshadowing rather than a fulfillment of lines 550-552 of the section of the Lay of Leithian mentioned above, Sauron's cursing of Thuringwethil could fulfill these lines by setting into motion the events that give Luthien the keys of the tower.
2) Thuringwethil uses to her advantage Sauron's distraction with the challenge of Luthien and runs down to the Well of Souls and to break the seal and take just one soul with particularly juicy secrets. Just one wouldn't be a problem, right? And one of the mightiest of the Maia can take care of one elven princess and her little dog too, right?
3) But what she does not take into account is Luthien's song of deliverance (Leithian) being woven over Sauron and the tower even as she breaks the seal. If elven minstrels can bring the subject of their song to the waking eyes of their audience, how much more potent is the song of a child of a maia giving voice to the subject of her lay? From the force of her will bound in song the imprisoned spirits break free, assault Thuringwethil on their release, and tear down the foundations of the tower which they knew only as the physical walls of their prison.
4) Thuringwethil's final demise could be the result of the vindication of the spirits or she could flutter back the the tree in which Sauron took refuge and he could land the final blow that kills her there. I guess the advantage of the coup-de-grace coming from Sauron would make Thuringwethil's end truly final, and the sound of her hame falling from the tree as Sauron takes wing would be grounds for Huan to take notice and bring the uncanny skin to Luthien.

When I first heard of the 'Tub of Evil' I didn't take it seriously, but looking back now and seeing how it pulls together a number of critical story threads Tolkien spun but did not weave together I think it a stroke of genius. Thanks for making these conversations possible. Looking forward to another helping of lutefisk.
 

Kathrin

Well-Known Member
Yeah, I also really love the Necromancy, the general rivalry/thuringwethil resisting sauron's dominance and also how it broadens the field of the maia and their ways to interact with arda. I think I still have an issue with exactly what is the "zero sum game" between Sauron and Thuringwethil that cannot be resolved "productively", say. It feels that simply from a resource standpoint, Sauron sparing a couple of elven spirits to his right hand woman as payment should be easily done, and not a dealbreaker even for the most banale greedy uncooperative villain. On the other hand if Thuringwethil from the beginning was clear on wanting to have access and possession of all or most of them, why would she cooperate with Sauron like this in the first place? I still think there needs to be a moment of one sided/mutual betrayal or a unresolvable conflict that arises mid-necromancy project, and i'm not sure yet about how either would work.

If we have Thuringwethil as a maia of Namo, does her twisted way of his "therapy" of them sort of consume them, capture them, change and release them again? and why exactly is it so fundamentally incompatible with sauron harvesting them for power basically, so it comes to blows between them? I feel like at the moment, there is this moment where i feel either they should have either both seen the conflict coming much further ahead, or it is so small, that it would've probably not been a big enough deal for them to fuck up their productive collaboration. (like, yeah they are self-interested, but their self-interest applies to a very useful collaborator too, right)
 

Kathrin

Well-Known Member
Oh, I have a little addendum on Thuringwethil (because i love to thing about Thuringwethil, and need to savour it while it's still possible). Since she's a corrupted maia of Mandos as mentioned before, I think it would be really cool for her to use his sort of, "soul therapy", but wrongly, so maybe what she does is instead of relieving them off certain memories after they have been processed or lessening their impact, which seems to happen in Mandos, she kind of entraps the soul within a single memory or moment of regret or grief, not to be released again and trapped in Arda. This might allow her to sap off those souls wandering the earth for ever, desperately wanting to escape their hollow ghost-like prisons, but their only way out is to be consumed, unable to go into the afterlife. Sauron on the other hand wants to concentrate those souls into the pot of evil contraption. So I think Thuringwethil has invented the wraith basically (or the general "trapped by a trauma"-ghost), but at this point this is a contradiction to Sauron's plan, because he just wants to single use-burn them in the pot of evil basically.

After Sauron permanently shelves the pot of evil plan, because for example it is too vulnerable against spiritual attacks like Luthien's, and the fall out in case of it is too great to be worth the trouble, he too then later gets involved with the creation of wraiths, re-using Thuringwethil's "invention", as he in general becomes less "big flashy power grab" and more "in darkness bind them"

I know this discussion is already over, but i needed to dump this somewhere xD
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
For victims of draining knowledge, for some reason this reminds me of the villain of Horror Express starring Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, an adaptation of Who Goes There?, the source material for The Thing. In this case, a team of anthropologists led by Lee finds a hominid in an icy cave in Manchuria and Lee intends to bring it back to England on the Trans-Siberian Express as a missing link between ape and man, unaware that the hominid is possessed by an incorporeal alien creature that is about to thaw out...

For this adaptation, the creature is able to transfer its consciousness from body to body and drain knowledge from whoever comes into eye contact with it, leaving their eyes opaque and with tears of blood (and also leaving their brains completely smooth on the outside when an autopsy is performed on the victims).

This for example is an unfortunate porter who is the second victim of the creature.
p5202_i_h9_ab.jpg
 
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Arnorion

Member
Oh, I have a little addendum on Thuringwethil…since she's a corrupted maia of Mandos as mentioned before,
Is it too late then to posit that Thuringwethil could have been a Maia of Manwe? She has flight, she loves truth in her own twisted way, she hears and sees more than others (like Manwe standing beside Varda).
 
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