Session 6-04: Villains

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
Session 6-04 for Silm Film will be held on Thursday January 27th at 10 PM Eastern Time. We will be focusing on Villain storylines.

At this point, we have decided the following:

Sauron will be focused on learning necromancy, and gaining power from imprisoned elven souls.
  • Sauron will take Tol Sirion at the beginning of the Season, using those souls in the attack.
  • Thuringwethil, formerly a Maia of Mandos, will have knowledge of souls, and wish to ensnare them so that she can suck them dry of their knowledge.
  • Sauron and Thuringwethil will come into conflict when she wants the souls that she has taught him to capture, but he does not wish to share.
  • Their conflict will come to a head during Huan and Lúthien's attack on Tol Sirion. Thuringwethil will use Sauron's involvement in that fight as an opportunity to attempt to steal the souls. Her attempt will fail, leading to an explosion/the escape of the souls. (Note: Lúthien's role in forcing Sauron to give up the key to the tower must not be forgotten.)
  • In the aftermath, a badly damaged Thuringwethil and a bleeding-from-the-neck Sauron encounter one another. Final words, accusing each other of betrayal. Sauron ends Thuringwethil. Huan later discovers the cloak/bat-hame.
  • The destruction of the Tower confuses observers...what happened?! Thoughts that it was done by Melian or her daughter Lúthien begin to circulate amongst the villains.
  • After his defeat, Sauron flees to Dorthonion, converting it to Taur-nu-Fuin. Later, he departs over the mountains eastward for Season 7.

Villain storylines that remain to be discussed:
  • Dorthonion. How does the end of Barahir's band come to be? Who lays the trap for Gorlim, and who attacks the hidden camp once the secret is revealed? And then who puts the price on Beren's head and continues to hunt him when he is a lone outlaw? Is this a villain collaboration, or is there one character focused on this?
  • Attack on Doriath. Should we include this story? If so, who is doing the attacking and why? Why attack *now*, and what is the goal? What actually happens? How does this attack relate to Sauron's story with Tol Sirion?
  • Meanwhile, Glaurung. We left the dragon in Keep Helevorn at the end of the Dagor Bragollach. He has a small hoard there. Now what?
 

Odola

Well-Known Member
  • Meanwhile, Glaurung. We left the dragon in Keep Helevorn at the end of the Dagor Bragollach. He has a small hoard there. Now what?
Is there a reason Glaurung cannot be happily asleep on his hoard as Smaug was for several decades before the Hobbit? It has been suggested in the last session that he needed something to do - but why? Would he not just be happy enjoying his gold?
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
Glaurung will be content to sit on the hoard in Keep Helevorn indefinitely, no doubt. But if we are going to have any more dragons in the future, we're going to need to bring him back to Angband to make that happen. So, how and why he gets 'recalled' should probably be dealt with this season. Punting the question to next season is possible, but we cannot punt indefinitely.
 

Odola

Well-Known Member
Glaurung will be content to sit on the hoard in Keep Helevorn indefinitely, no doubt. But if we are going to have any more dragons in the future, we're going to need to bring him back to Angband to make that happen. So, how and why he gets 'recalled' should probably be dealt with this season. Punting the question to next season is possible, but we cannot punt indefinitely.
Being made the keeper of a greater hoard of booty slowly assembling in Morgoth's treasury?
Or some batch of later-created dragon ladies finally "coming of age" in Angband?
Should not be too difficult to lure him out yet?
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
Glaurung will be content to sit on the hoard in Keep Helevorn indefinitely, no doubt. But if we are going to have any more dragons in the future, we're going to need to bring him back to Angband to make that happen. So, how and why he gets 'recalled' should probably be dealt with this season. Punting the question to next season is possible, but we cannot punt indefinitely.
Glaurung has to be recalled before the Union of Maedhros, it isn't like he gets caught behind enemy lines.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
I honestly don't think the big questions have been asked of what these season is about. We are getting stuck into the wrong characters first and the wrong questions. I'm a bit confused why the sessions didn't start with Beren and Luthien as we know they are the protagonists and ironing out what their journeys will be. I don't mean physically across Beleriand but within themselves and each other. I think if this was the clear anchor, a lot of these other chats wouldn't be able to wander as far as they are. We can't really make decisions about how much screen time we give Thuringwethil until we what portions we have for her that don't distract from the central narrative.
I would like to address this. In Silm Film, the Villains act very independently from the protagonists. Meaning, the 'Villain storyline' is in some ways completely disconnected from what the Elves are doing. In Season 4, Morgoth takes the opportunity to go out East and corrupt Men. We get only a glimpse of this during the eclipse. The Elves...don't even know that Men exist yet. Glaurung's reveal is very much 'and suddenly, a dragon!' This is deliberate and by design. By focusing on what the villains are up to first, we allow them to have their own stories. Morgoth and Fingolfin have not been on screen together since the Season 3 finale when they duel one another in the Season 5 finale. They have not had a conversation since Season 2. The duel is very personal, but the characters cannot be...casual...with one another. They know each other. They have known each other for ages. Morgoth killed Fingolfin's father. But...there is still something distant and remote being overcome in that duel, and that is part of the story.

In other words, in Silm Film, the Villain plot is not in service to the story of the protagonists, but semi-independent of it. That is why we start with the Villains, to help them maintain that independence.

This does not mean that the Villain storyline is unconnected to the 'big question' or 'theme' of the Season. To the contrary, awareness of this question is in part what goes into shaping the direction of the Villain plot. In Season 1, we have the Valar learning to collaborate with one another and work together to construct Middle-earth. And we have Morgoth trying to control everything and have it his way. The destruction of the Lamps, Manwë's emissary to Melkor, the attempted seduction of Ossë, and the successful recruitment of Mairon are all part of Melkor's response to the collaboration theme.

For Season 6, the big question revolves around the reality of death and deathlessness. Lúthien is an immortal being, a child of a Maia and an elf (an elf who has been alive since Cuiviénen and who has visited Valinor...not many of those around!) Beren is a mortal man. Their fates are sundered, and so while the quest for the silmaril is an interesting adventure, the true test of their relationship comes when Beren dies - his soul is destined to leave the circles of the world, to go where Lúthien cannot follow. She is bound to Arda; he is not. Even if she dies, she will not be with him - she would be confined to the Halls of Mandos, or trapped wandering the earth. That is why the conflict with Mandos is the key conflict of the entire season. He's not a villain, but he does have the power to deny Lúthien. He can make it so she never sees Beren again; in fact, it is his job to do so. Overcoming this involves getting him to ask Ilúvatar to intervene and alter Lúthien's fate. Which he does, and she is released from her bondage to Arda - she and Beren may now live their lives together, die together, and depart Arda together. So, she gets her wish to 'die indeed' to remain with her love. She 'solves' the problem that stumped Aegnor and Andreth.

Being well aware that this is our central conflict, we have chosen to craft Sauron's storyline to focus on the fate of elven souls. In the very first episode, we are going to be reminding our audience that elves go to the Halls of Mandos when they die. Not by talking about it, but by actually showing Námo summoning a soul to his Halls. Sauron's necromancy storyarc is thus very much in service to the central question of the season, and this is by design, not by accident. Likewise, Thuringwethil's new backstory is in service to this overarching question - having her be originally a 'reaper' Maia who defected to Morgoth's service puts her where we need the focus to be.

I know people want to talk about Beren and Lúthien. Don't worry, we will! But let's get through the villains first, okay?
 

Mithrim

New Member
Glaurung also has a key piece of information that Sauron needs to learn before the fall of Tol-in-Gaurhoth. The prophecy about Huan being killed by the greatest wolf who ever lived.
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
Dorthonion:
  • My idea would be a collaboration on the ensnarement of Gorlim (outside of Sauron questioning him since we know who does that); Sauron sends Thurwingwethil (taking the form of Eilinel) and Gorgol captures Gorlim, then leads his Orcs to slaughter Barahir's outlaws.
  • Beren kills Gorgol and retakes his father's Ring.
  • Now one of my original thoughts was to have Thurwingwethil be the main antagonist for Beren for his four years in Dorthonion alone; he kills Thurwingwethil and sends her cloak back to Sauron, resulting in the price on his head and forcing him to flee Dorthonion for Doriath.
  • Since we're deciding that Thurwingwethil should live up to the collapse of Tol Sirion, how should the price on Beren's head be enacted?
  • It should not be Sauron who conducts this in person (should send Orcs, bats, wolves), since he doesn't seem to recognize Beren and thinks that Finrod is the better prize for information, hence why he sets the wolf on Beren; Finrod kills the wolf but is mortally wounded.

The assault on Doriath: I have been in favor of putting the Boldog assault on Doriath in, but now in a different context:
  • Say after the loss of Tol-in-Gaurhoth, Morgoth hears of Melian and/or Luthien and decides to take Luthien as something to use and abuse. So he sends Boldog with a force of Orcs to take her to him; this force is defeated by Thingol, who kills Boldog. It would give Thingol something redeeming and heroic to do, since for most of this season he looks like the racist dad who's real picky on who his daughter marries-type (Thingol never really specified who he thought would be right for Luthien).
  • I say no to Balrogs being there; that would break our rule of "important characters die when the Balrogs take the field".
  • Placement: this would likely fall somewhere around the ousting of Celegorm and Curufin from Nargothrond, when word comes of the death of Finrod Felagund.
 

Odola

Well-Known Member
  • Since we're deciding that Thurwingwethil should live up to the collapse of Tol Sirion, how should the price on Beren's head be enacted?
Originally ( Lay of Leithian) the bounty was placed on all of the outlaws by Morgoth due to their prowess in fighting orcs, which made orcs flew before them instead of hunting them, wasn't it? Beren was the last still alive. Could it be that Beren's people found a way to combat orcs the Morgoth didn't want to be taught to others?

What could be so horrifing to orcs? Orcs are night creatures. During the day they have to hide from the sun - they will not turn to stone like trolls but still they do fear the sun to the degree of not being able to stand it.

They will search out spots where the forest is dense enough to provide orcs cover from the sun during the day on their long marches to and from Angband.

The outlaws might have stategically falled trees to limit the few relatively few places dense enough for orcs to be able to hide during the day - maybe at places which were topographically suitable as ambush places? Those might serve as traps where it was easy to attack the orcs during the mid-day using fire to force them out into the open where in bright sunlight where they would be an easy target?
Orcs are not very bright so most of them might not understand how this works, as they themselves usualy use brute force instead of cunning, so they might assume this to be the result of those outlaws' special innate powers?

Even being alone Beren might still user the same tactics to a degree. But by this time his reputation is so established that orcs might fly at the mere sound of his steps in the forest. This is so demoralising to the orcs that Morgoth makes the price on Beren's head equal to that of an elven king.

According to the Simarillion those tracking Beren were not orcs but an army of werewolves - which makes strategical sense, but as far I understand we do not want to overuse them. Wolves are mostly day-hunting-creatures like humans. But this would make Thurwingwethil also less suitable in this case, as she is a night-creature herself. So if we do not use neither wolves nor bats nor orcs nor Sauron himself, and there are no cats left, who can be tracing Beren for Sauron? Could he send some giant spiders after Beren? Sauron has not gained any humans of his own yet? But maybe this is the point he starts to think about recruiting some? Still the problem remains.
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
Sauron kills Thuringwethil??? Noooo...
Well, we'll see how that turns out.

About Barahir's band... well i guess they are true guerillas and mainly use traps, ambush, surprise and terror. Despite the orcs hardened souls a forest decorated with hung, mutilated orc corpses should still give em the Creeps. I feel Gorgol probably is like Beast Rabban in Dune... he has superior military forces but his enemy see s to be everywhere and everything is falling apart...

Wgat Beren does later is pretty much Rambo in first blood.
 

Odola

Well-Known Member
Sauron kills Thuringwethil??? Noooo...
Why not? If his beloved hurdy-gurdy got busted in the explosion she caused he might feel it warranted?

About Barahir's band... well i guess they are true guerillas and mainly use traps, ambush, surprise and terror. Despite the orcs hardened souls a forest decorated with hung, mutilated orc corpses should still give em the Creeps. I feel Gorgol probably is like Beast Rabban in Dune... he has superior military forces but his enemy see s to be everywhere and everything is falling apart...

Wgat Beren does later is pretty much Rambo in first blood.
The problem is orcs are stronger, durable, have more stamina, not really bound by honour rules and stubborn. Difficult for humans to fight them only by strength alone. Humans cannot fight them using magic like elves do. So the only way to do it would be using reason and subtlety - making most of the sapiens in "homo sapiens" - so to speak. The only weaknesses that we do know orcs to have are not being very reasonable and their fear of the sun.
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
Use daylight! Find them in their camps when they are weak...

They can build fortresses but in the end of the night they end up prisoners of their own fortification and darkness. Stuck in their position.That is a terrible weak spot for any army...

They will still have to travel... even if they cover in daylight , burn their huts and tents... cut off their reinforcements and supply lines... but do it in a way which small groups can handle it! In a way it's vampire hunters... John carpenter style.I mean ,probably.
 
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Odola

Well-Known Member
There is another problem in this context, @Haerangil If Beren has the help of animals and birds and as a result goes vegetarian, he is dependent on orcs supplies both to get fed and clothed. As such what kind of vegetarian food have the orcs in their supply? Or does he has some wild buffalo cow nursing him? Still does not resolve the clothing problem.

Side remark: Have atlatls (spear-throwers) been used by humans yet in the series? This is an both archaic, exotic and dynamic weapon that would look quote interesting in outlaw-style orc-hunting. Elves do not need them as they do have strenght enough in their arms to work with their javelins. And atlatl would fit well a wooded area and is more engaging than bow and arrow, and would do more damage to a thick-skinned orc.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
I don't think Beren relies on orc supplies for food. I imagine he forages, which naturally isn't easy. He is in a land that was once inhabited, so it is possible some cultivated farm plants have taken to growing on their own. Not as much as if they were planted, naturally, but perhaps enough for one person who knows where to look. I recognize that someone who lives 'off the land' in this environment would not typically be vegetarian, but he can probably make it work short term.
 

Odola

Well-Known Member
I don't think Beren relies on orc supplies for food. I imagine he forages, which naturally isn't easy. He is in a land that was once inhabited, so it is possible some cultivated farm plants have taken to growing on their own. Not as much as if they were planted, naturally, but perhaps enough for one person who knows where to look. I recognize that someone who lives 'off the land' in this environment would not typically be vegetarian, but he can probably make it work short term.
That is possible but not in a snowy winter. How extrem are the seasons in his latitude?

Edit: he is north of Doriath, and there is winter there already.

So the only solution I do see here would be some old secret graves of the previous inhabitants in some dry rocky caves where surplus grain has been deposited in sealed ceramic jars as grave goods - that Beren happen to know about. Not very typical to have this much of grain deposited in this way but theoretically possible. Dry grain under right conditions can be stored for centuries and we would need just decades here. But still no idea how he would avoid scurvy in winter? Edit 2: wild mare milk could do it - if he is friends with animals some wild or feral forest horses might allow him to milk them and mares' milk has a high vitamin C content that most other milks lack. So: some old secret sealed grain deposits, mares' milk and wild honey. Doable, but what about clothes? Does he dress in orc skins? No mamy other options out there.
 
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Ilana Mushin

Active Member
Sauron kills Thuringwethil??? Noooo...
Well, we'll see how that turns out.

About Barahir's band... well i guess they are true guerillas and mainly use traps, ambush, surprise and terror. Despite the orcs hardened souls a forest decorated with hung, mutilated orc corpses should still give em the Creeps. I feel Gorgol probably is like Beast Rabban in Dune... he has superior military forces but his enemy see s to be everywhere and everything is falling apart...

Wgat Beren does later is pretty much Rambo in first blood.
I think Sauron killing Thungwethil is a brilliant way of getting around the fact that none of the good guys knows about Thuringwethil. As Mithluin says, it also enhances the necromancy plot which is essential to the death/immortality theme of the season. I don’t think we’ve had a villain killing another villain yet, and it is good to show this somewhat extreme disharmony that is inevitable in ‘evil’ relationships. I remember when I first saw Star Wars (as an 8 yo at its original release), one of the things that stuck most with me was Darth Vader killing his minions.
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
Well... i think dorthonion is probably similar to northern bitain or northern scotland or danmerk maybe? So it CAN get harsh but not necessarily lifethreatening - for a skilled outdoorsman at last, which Beren certainly is i mean... he in a way is the very first Ranger
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
Right - Beren knows where the grain stores are in Ladros. He could go back and find things there. It's only been about 5 years since they hastily retreated. Same with elven stores in other parts of Dorthonion.

Dorthonion, the land of pines, is at a higher elevation, and certainly gets cold in the winters. We've already set snowy scenes there. How harsh it is may be up for debate.

one of the things that stuck most with me was Darth Vader killing his minions.
Yeah, villains turning on one another is certainly something memorable. We've had more elves turn on one another than villains at this point, so...we are overdue. Sure, we've seen the thieves' quarrel between Ungoliant and Morgoth, and we've seen the ongoing feud between Sauron and Gothmog. And Boldog kills minions at about the rate of Vader. But, yes, Thuringwethil will be the first named villain killed by another villain. And she's killed by someone who clearly trusted her for a very long time.

We do have some leeway with crafting that scene. Having Thuringwethil being mortally wounded, and Sauron merely finishing the job/putting her out of her misery is one possible way of reading what happens at this point. It doesn't have to be a case of him killing her in rage/revenge. Sauron is the 'why destroy what you can cultivate?' guy, so he wouldn't waste resources. And Thuringwethil has been a very valuable resource. But...not if she's going to betray him. They should both feel very wronged and mistreated over this. And he's just been painfully defeated. So, if there were ever a time for him to lash out...it's now.

Sauron has resisted falling into evil practices in entirety. He's been much more 'ends justify the means' about things, and he's not very empathetic. He doesn't hesitate to carry out painful experiments on others. If others are too dumb not to fall for his traps, well that's their problem, isn't it? But he considers himself different from Morgoth, and that difference isn't just in his mind. Killing his own minion is new, and a step further down the path towards 'pure evil.'
 

Odola

Well-Known Member
Well... i think dorthonion is probably similar to northern bitain or northern scotland or danmerk maybe? So it CAN get harsh but not necessarily lifethreatening - for a skilled outdoorsman at last, which Beren certainly is i mean... he in a way is the very first Ranger
That is not possible as it is too far from the sea. The British Isles have their mild climate thanks being islands in the sea and Dorthonion is due to have more continental, harsher climate.

Glaurung also has a key piece of information that Sauron needs to learn before the fall of Tol-in-Gaurhoth. The prophecy about Huan being killed by the greatest wolf who ever lived.
Could not Thuringwethil be checking on him and pays him a visit asking him plenty of questions while he lies on his hoard semi-annoyed opening just one eye and he gives her the prophecy to just give her any information and be rid of her?
 
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