Session 6-04: Villains

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
In my opinion it makes little sense for Gorgol to go south after slaying Barahir, unless he leads a company that is going to join with Boldog's attack on Doriath but i assume that is going to happen much later?

It still does make sense for him to move around, from camp to camp and watchtower to watchtower to inspect his mens work... i mean roman consuls did these things too.Beren could catch him on one such exploit , when he and his men feel safe and do not pay much attention any longer...
 
Last edited:

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
In my opinion it makes little sense for Gorgol to go south after slaying Barahir, unless he leads a company that is going to join with Boldog's attack on Doriath but i assume that is going to happen much later?

It still does make sense for him to move arpund, from camp to camp and watxhtower to watchtower to expect his mens work... i mean roman consuls did these things too.Beren could catch him on one such exploit , when he and his men feel safe and do not pay much attention any longer...
Judging from a map of Beleriand, Gorgol would go northwest or southwest if he was heading back to Sauron, wouldn't want to go through the Encircling Mountains.
 

Odola

Well-Known Member
In my opinion it makes little sense for Gorgol to go south after slaying Barahir, unless he leads a company that is going to join with Boldog's attack on Doriath but i assume that is going to happen much later?

It still does make sense for him to move arpund, from camp to camp and watxhtower to watchtower to expect his mens work... i mean roman consuls did these things too.Beren could catch him on one such exploit , when he and his men feel safe and do not pay much attention any longer...
I am of the exact opinion. But then Gorgol is slain in Dorthonion still and Beren needs another reason to cross the Ered Gorgoroth and Nan Dungortheb - that would be the price on his head and him being pursued by something even more terrifying than both those locations.
But @Rob Harding needs Gorgol to be Beren's motivation to go to Doriath to give Beren the desire of revenge to overcome. Still it makes little sense for Gorgol to go south if he has not been given the mission to kidnapp some Doriathian border guards for intel. And if he were, he would not start by masacring people but keep a low profile not to attract attention.
 
Last edited:

Rob Harding

Active Member
I am of the exact opinion. But then Gorgol is slain in Dorthonion still and Beren needs another reason to cross the Ered Gorgoroth and Nan Dungortheb - that would be the price on his head and him being pursued by something even more terrifying than both those locations.
But @Rob Harding needs Gorgol to be Beren's motivation to go to Doriath to give Beren the desire of revenge to overcome. Still it makes little sense for Gorgol to go south if he has not been given the mission to kidnapp some Doriathian border guards for intel. And if he were, he would not start by masacring people but keep a low profile not to attract attention.
I don’t need anything per se, I just think if Beren is wandering aimlessly then we have little reason to follow him. He is looking for revenge, it’s there in the text. And we know he ends south of his original position. That’s all I’m working from here. He needs to get to Doriath and we know his mission is to find and kill Gorgol and reclaim the hand
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
I don’t need anything per se, I just think if Beren is wandering aimlessly then we have little reason to follow him. He is looking for revenge, it’s there in the text. And we know he ends south of his original position. That’s all I’m working from here. He needs to get to Doriath and we know his mission is to find and kill Gorgol and reclaim the hand
So what should be the timing of Beren killing Gorgol?
 

Rob Harding

Active Member
So what should be the timing of Beren killing Gorgol?
I think you can have a montage of him wandering aimlessly after he’s done so looking lost in both senses before stumbling upon the borders of Doriath. We know he wanders for an extended period and have discussed ways of quickly showing the passing of seasons as he looks for Gorgol and after. I’m not sure we need to explicitly state an exact period of time, but several seasons pass during the whole journey. One half, motivated and determined and then, the second leg, having got what he thought he wanted, as a broken man whose hopes were not fulfilled. Revenge didn’t heal him. Cue Doriath and Luthien. But either end of that meeting with Gorgol need only to exist to show it’s been a long journey. You can imply eventfulness by showing struggling to survive and maybe even fighting a ‘lesser’ (as in, not his target), maybe even a giant spider, within a montage. Cos we know the real action will be Gorgol. That first montage shows the time passing but with the ultimate goal of Gorgol. Teeth gritted, face hard. After Gorgol a second montage shows, he keeps wandering but it’s less focused. He has nowhere to go now. No purpose. He slips more. Gets hurt more. That montage shows he is now wandering without a cause. It all tells the story but in a simple condensed way. Because that journey isn’t really his journey. It’s the precursor to his real journey of finding what will heal him. As he struggles with grief and loss and the bitter taste of unsatisfactory revenge.
 

Odola

Well-Known Member
So what should be the timing of Beren killing Gorgol?
I think you can have a montage of him wandering aimlessly after he’s done so looking lost in both senses before stumbling upon the borders of Doriath. We know he wanders for an extended period and have discussed ways of quickly showing the passing of seasons as he looks for Gorgol and after.
This was all in Dothonion. He should be there alone for 3-5 years according to what I remeber MithLuin stating at one point in a previous thread.

I’m not sure we need to explicitly state an exact period of time, but several seasons pass during the whole journey. One half, motivated and determined and then, the second leg, having got what he thought he wanted, as a broken man whose hopes were not fulfilled. Revenge didn’t heal him.
Cue Doriath and Luthien. But either end of that meeting with Gorgol need only to exist to show it’s been a long journey. You can imply eventfulness by showing struggling to survive and maybe even fighting a ‘lesser’ (as in, not his target), maybe even a giant spider, within a montage. Cos we know the real action will be Gorgol. That first montage shows the time passing but with the ultimate goal of Gorgol. Teeth gritted, face hard. After Gorgol a second montage shows, he keeps wandering but it’s less focused. He has nowhere to go now. No purpose. He slips more. Gets hurt more. That montage shows he is now wandering without a cause. It all tells the story but in a simple condensed way. Because that journey isn’t really his journey. It’s the precursor to his real journey of finding what will heal him. As he struggles with grief and loss and the bitter taste of unsatisfactory revenge.
The problem is there is not simple border between Dothonion and Doriath you could just stumble over. There are two of the most terrifying and extremly difficult to cross locations in the whole of Beleriand in between. You do not cross them by just being absent-minded. You run for your live all the time. You need a very serious reason to even attempt it at all. Beren is the only one ever to manage to do it.
 
Last edited:

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
What if Beren kills Gorgol and them goes... well, fey? He is starved and has wolves and possibly worse on his track... he gets lost and Dungortheb catches him,.like a sorcerous spell but... because it is not his fate, he is not killed but survives.I could even see that Doriath's magic and Dungortheb's magic are actually battling one another and for that reason Beren escapes and also slips through the magic girdle. Question would be: how dos one show this?
 

Rob Harding

Active Member
This was all in Dothonion. He should be there słone for 3-5 years according to what I remeber @MithLuin stating at one point in a previos thread.

I’m not sure we need to explicitly state an exact period of time, but several seasons pass during the whole journey. One half, motivated and determined and then, the second leg, having got what he thought he wanted, as a broken man whose hopes were not fulfilled. Revenge didn’t heal him.
Cue Doriath and Luthien. But either end of that meeting with Gorgol need only to exist to show it’s been a long journey. You can imply eventfulness by showing struggling to survive and maybe even fighting a ‘lesser’ (as in, not his target), maybe even a giant spider, within a montage. Cos we know the real action will be Gorgol. That first montage shows the time passing but with the ultimate goal of Gorgol. Teeth gritted, face hard. After Gorgol a second montage shows, he keeps wandering but it’s less focused. He has nowhere to go now. No purpose. He slips more. Gets hurt more. That montage shows he is now wandering without a cause. It all tells the story but in a simple condensed way. Because that journey isn’t really his journey. It’s the precursor to his real journey of finding what will heal him. As he struggles with grief and loss and the bitter taste of unsatisfactory revenge.
The problem is there is not simple border between Dothonion and Doriath you could just stumble over. There are two of the most terrifying and extremly difficult to cross locations in the whole of Beleriand in between. You do not cross them by just being absent-minded. You run for your live all the time. You need a very serious reason to even attempt it at all. Beren is the only over ever to manage to do it.
[/QUOTE]

Im not saying absent minded ambling. You can be aggressively surviving and still goalless. You can express someone scrabbling and fighting and running but still obviously in pain emotionally, shouting into the sky or quietly sharpening a knife by firelight but cutting his hand and grimacing and staring at the ring of his father snd obviously feeling very little. He can be wild but broken without a course. And then come to the forest’s edge
 

Odola

Well-Known Member
I don’t need anything per se,
That is clear, just story wise.

I just think if Beren is wandering aimlessly then we have little reason to follow him.
He is still killing orcs very effectively even when alone, becomes vegetarian, defends his country against encroaching corruption which he knows to be fighting a lost battle but he is not yet ready to give up on what was once his home, (propably) tends to his camrades graves, becomes more and more one with nature and a friend of animals which warn and protect him. Quite a poetic picture to show and a bit of calm before the great storm that is to come.
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
As a kid i watched a movie called "whitewater sam", about an northamerican trapper.The man is basically a drifter, not totally goalless or aimless as he is pouching, but most of it he is very alone in nature, just with his loyal dog.He has some weird and dangerous encounters with native americans, whose language he does not speak.all in all most he does is monolugue or talk to his beloved dog, he is not actively searching for civilization he just... goes along.

It is on YT btw
 

Odola

Well-Known Member
As a kid i watched a movie called "whitewater sam", about an northamerican trapper.The man is basically a drifter, not totally goalless or aimless as he is pouching, but most of it he is very alone in nature, just with his loyal dog.He has some weird and dangerous encounters with native americans, whose language he does not speak.all in all most he does is monolugue or talk to his beloved dog, he is not actively searching for civilization he just... goes along.

It is on YT btw
While I can see why some might find such "delayed" storytelling uneconomical, it is a tactic used by Tolkien quite a lot. We as an audience want a moment to just enjoy being in ME. Beren needs to catch a breath before moving to a new chapter in his live and to aquire some characteristics that he shares with Luthien. They need to have something in common to bridge all their many differences. But while ready to sacrifice this element of Beren's own story if it really needs to be, I myself would miss it.

But, this being the villains' thread I hope we can all agree that Gorgol "dies" (real or fake) still in Dorthonion.
 
Last edited:

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
Could be that Sauron is not very concerned with Beren himself because he does not see the need to waste so much effort to be invested in Dorthonion at the given time? As long Morgoth does not have enough slaves to work the fields or tend to the herds during daytime it has too little value in itself to be kept permanently - only to serce as hunting grouds to grant some amusement and game to bored orcs.. So Sauron just "goes through the motions" to keep appearances for Morgoth while focussing his own attention on the spirits' project.
I think this might be the case; consider that Sauron doesn't appear to recognize Beren when taking his disguise after besting Finrod in the song-battle and is dismissive enough of Beren that he doesn't consider him worthy of keeping alive for information, which is how Finrod dies killing the werewolf.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
Well, I am only caught up on the first 80 messages at this point, but figured I should chime in with a couple of observations.

One, the strategic value of Dorthonion. It is true that Minas Tirith (and both the Pass of Aglon and Maglor's Gap in the East) have the strategic value of being the 'gateway' to points south. If the Elves control those locations, it would be difficult for Morgoth to send armies south into Beleriand. The Passes in East Beleriand fell in the Dagor Bragollach....but Morgoth was unable to hold them. The Sons of Fëanor win back the territory rapidly. Minas Tirith has withstood the Dagor Aglareb and the Dagor Bragollach (where the fiercer fighting has been in the Fens of Serech to the north). But now, Sauron takes it after the battle has ended, and he means to hold it. Suddenly, passage between north and south is more possible for the forces of Angband. If an attack were to be mounted, the Elves would not be able to halt the movement of armies through the pass as easily as they could before.

And so...Dorthonion. What value does it have? It is a foothold, much further south than Angband. If Morgoth can hold it, and prevent the Elves from retaking it, it serves as a point from which to launch armies into Beleriand, as well as a passage into Beleriand. It would be easy to think of the passages in and out of Dorthonion as being very daunting or impossible to move a large number of people through. They're not. The Pass of Anach connects the highlands of Dorthonion to Dimbar. When Túrin is made captive on Amon Rûdh, the orcs take him to Taur-nu-Fuin...aka, Dorthonion. They're likely on their way to Angband, and this is after the fall of the tower at Tol Sirion, of course....but the point is - that becomes a route marauding orcs follow. Any reason to think they aren't starting that now?

Morgoth's goal is the destruction of the Elves in Beleriand. He's not in a terrible hurry, but he's not going to wait around forever, either. He was not idle during the Siege...he was building up a massive army. He still has some of that army, and there's no need to keep it in Angband now that the Siege has been broken. Keeping Dorthonion overrun with orcs is something he can do, and he'd want to leave an occupying force there to maintain the gains he made during the battle.

The other point I wanted to touch on is the distinction between Morgoth's goals and Sauron's goals. Morgoth would be very content with the destruction of all the elves - he's fine if they die in battle or whatever. Sauron prefers slaves. He doesn't want to 'waste' perfectly good resources - why destroy what you can cultivate? So, fear works for both perspectives, but Sauron is going to be more focused on turning his enemies against one another to weaken them. Thus, when he finally does capture Finrod, his goal is to weaken the elf by killing off all of his companions...but he was 'saving' Finrod for some other purpose...a purpose that is then thwarted when Finrod gets into a mortal combat with a werewolf.

And, finally, Barahir's band. They are not simply 'hiding out' in Dorthonion. They are engaged in guerilla warfare, so they are definitely fighting the orcs that have invaded their land. Not in open warfare of course - their numbers are too small - but in the hit-and-run tactics associated with rebels who know the land very well striking out against an occupying force. The reason they are problematic to the villains is because attempts to take back Dorthonion have to be thwarted, and so long as there is a band of rebel fighters living in Dorthonion, Angband cannot consider the territory to be 'cleared'. And they are very likely sabotaging attempts being made by the orcs to entrench and establish a presence. This isn't the 'blowing up bridges' stage of warfare, and there's no such thing as IED's in Middle-earth, but no doubt Barahir's band has set fire to some things, raided stockpiles of supplies, etc. They're making a nuisance of themselves, and so there is a standing order to hunt them down and kill them. The price on Beren's head reflects the frustration of his enemies with this ongoing situation. I don't know how much of that background we'll be showing, but we will likely want to do something to establish the outlaw band in Episode 1, so the audience understands the status quo that is then interrupted by Gorlim's betrayal.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
Reminder of what the map looks like:

1642569664153.png

A few more comments, now that I've caught up. Gorlim is made captive while visiting his old homestead in Ladros. The location of the slaughter of Barahir's band is going to be Tarn Aeluin. In the published Silmarillion, Beren catches up with the orcs who slew his father at Rivil's Well. The location of the death of Gorgol the Butcher is not mentioned, though Ladros and Drûn are mentioned in the same list of Beren's deeds in the Lay. (Drûn is north of Tarn Aeluin, according to the Index of HoME III)

We could, of course, invent a storyline where the orcs are mining in Ered Gorgoroth, and Beren has to hunt them down there, leading to his immediately travelling south when fleeing the scene. But that is not the starting point - that changes several key details of the story. Rather, we are most likely to keep the details of Beren immediately tracking down the orcs that attacked the camp, and shooting with an arrow the orc who killed his father, to get the ring back....but probably will make that unnamed orc be Gorgol the Butcher.

As we have seen the refugees of Ladros traverse the Pass of Anach to leave Dorthonion at the end of last season, we likely do need to 'explain' why Beren does not go that way. For some reason, it needs to be impassable, and an orc camp (placed there to build a road in preparation for invading Beleriand, perhaps) would be enough to explain why he needed to go another way. If there is an attack on Doriath this season, any mobilization we see in Doriath could be the preparation for it.

Pacing will no doubt determine how some of this plays out. For instance, if Episode 1 sees Barahir's band doing their thing, the story of Gorlim, and ends with Beren discovering the camp where everyone is dead...then Episode 2 would focus on Beren hunting down the orcs, as well as the orcs hunting down the lone outlaw Beren. He would eventually be forced out of Dorthonion (perhaps at the midpoint), and then traverse Ered Gorgoroth and Nan Dungortheb, passing out after crossing into Doriath. The episode might end with Lúthien coming upon a sleeping Beren. So, if it were our goal to have Beren reach Doriath by the end of Episode 2 (with his actual meeting with Lúthien happening in Episode 3), then his time as a lone outlaw isn't going to take up much time on screen. I know that in the text, this lasts for years. We'll have to show his decision to leave, but we probably won't be conveying that quite that much time has passed. It may be a different season when he leaves, but there wouldn't be context clues to say that he was at this for multiple years, most likely. He has no one to talk to, and it's only going to occupy, say, one scene on screen.

More important than the length of Beren's time as lone outlaw is the effect - he gains a bit of a reputation, and this is enough to give other Men hope. He is continuing to strike blows against the orcs in Dorthonion, and thus he is 'winning' the war that was lost, and he's doing it single-handedly (heh). His legend, as much as his thorn-in-the-side ongoing nuisance, is cause for the price on his head. We won't spend much time with him by himself in the empty woods, most likely. But we might have the opportunity to show others speaking of him. Not sure, exactly, how his legend spreads if no one else lives there, but, well, we can work that out if we have to.

But why does he leave? He's forced out. Eventually, the efforts of the orcs are too much for a lone outlaw. He can live in the woods and do quick ambush attacks, but eventually, they'll be able to flush him out and he won't be able to find a place to safely retreat to. He goes south because...he has to. Where else can he go? And yes, it's dangerous, but, well, staying would be dangerous, too.
 

Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
If this is going to happen quickly (Beren’s lone resistance guerilla time that gives him a reputation) I have a few questions. Where are the people he gives hope and what state are they in? Are we talking slaves building roads and such? Also, how do we show his planning and if it goes wrong? Does he have a sidekick at some point, who tragically dies when they are forced to escape?
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
And one more thing - items that are discussed here but have not yet been discussed on the podcast are not to be ruled out. If someone has an idea and others disagree, that's fine. We are allowed to suggest more than one idea prior to the podcast. So, when specifying what definitely 'has' to happen, please limit that to items that have already been decided on the podcast, to prevent confusion.

So, in that vein....

The death of Barahir happens 5 years after the Dagor Bragollach. This is part of Tolkien's chronology, and we are keeping it, so that people are the 'correct' ages we need them to be. We want the audience to know that time has passed since the battle when we open this season. This is not 'a moment later.' We aren't altering the number of years between the Dagor Bragollach and the Nirnaeth Arnoediad. But when things happen in that interval may shift around a bit. How long Beren spends as an outlaw in Dorthonion is a bit more fluid, for instance.

Here's Tolkien's chronology:

FA 455 - Dagor Bragollach
FA 456 - Emeldir leads refugees out of Dorthonion; death of Fingolfin
FA 457 - Sauron takes Tol Sirion
FA 460 - Death of Barahir
FA 464 - Beren leaves Dorthonion and meets Lúthien
FA 465 - Death of Finrod
FA 466 - Death of Beren
FA 467 - Death of Lúthien
FA 469 - Beren and Lúthien return to Middle-earth
FA 470 - Birth of Dior
FA 472 - Nirnaeth Arnoediad

So, if we show Sauron taking Tol Sirion in Episode 1, and we also show the death of Barahir in Episode 1, then we are more-or-less conflating those events to take place in the same year. Sure, sure, Sauron could attack first, and only later do the outlaws die, so maybe multiple years passed over the course of the episode. But most likely, the events will be intertwined enough to feel 'contemporary' with one another. And, at the end of the day, having there be a three year gap between those events is not the important part of the story. No harm done if the audience thinks they are happening 'at the same time.'

So, similarly, there's a 4 year time frame blocked off for 'solo outlaw Beren' - but that will likely last for maybe one act of an episode? I doubt we're going to elaborate it that much. Brief enough that it will seem like less than 4 years to the audience. How much of that story we are telling, and which details from that time we are including, is still very much 'TBD'. We can convey time passing, sure, but more importantly, what does Beren actually do during that part of the story? And what do we plan to show? (Which from the point of view of this thread, is very much, 'what are the orcs up to?')
 

Odola

Well-Known Member
The location of the slaughter of Barahir's band is going to be Tarn Aeluin. In the published Silmarillion, Beren catches up with the orcs who slew his father at Rivil's Well.
So North-West, as several of us were saying, but not South. That still does make sense in our story like it did in the texts imho.

As we have seen the refugees of Ladros traverse the Pass of Anach to leave Dorthonion at the end of last season, we likely do need to 'explain' why Beren does not go that way. For some reason, it needs to be impassable, and an orc camp (placed there to build a road in preparation for invading Beleriand, perhaps) would be enough to explain why he needed to go another way. If there is an attack on Doriath this season, any mobilization we see in Doriath could be the preparation for it.
According to the below statement of Haerangil :
The Orcs' Road of Haste led into the Pass of Anach, which cut down the mountains of Ered Gorgoroth and across the shadowed valley of Nan Dungortheb. So there is at last one of them very relevant for Dorthonion.I'd like to see if theres more on it, otherwise, yes we could ourselves try to rationalize possible orc routes and roads, could be interesting...
the Pass of Anach if where the "Orcs' Road of Haste" is being build. That would be orc activity enough to make it unpassable for Beren. And this would be also activity enough to make Thingol aware - if he is not not yet by the spiritual contestation he experiences - that he is the next on Morgoth's hit list.

And this road will figure in this and later seasons as far I know.
I tried to draw it into the map with green.

roads.png

So we would see most of the orcs' activity at the beginning in the West of Dorthonion. As such it make sense for the base of Barahir's men to be near Tarn Aeluin farther in the East. Less opportunity of a random orc to just stumble upon them yet - near enough to Ladros (where probably most of the stored hidden supplies are) but far enough from it for it not to be too obvious. Both the expeditions - the one to get Gorlim and the one to ambush Barahir's camp - would have been specific targeted missions. It makes then sense for the orcs to return to their own camps in the West of the country after accomplishing their goal.

I would also interpret the later Boldog's Doriath attack's official goal of "taking Melian and Luthien captive" as "(anti-)heroic offensive pre-combat rhetoric" in the sense of: "We do not care much about you yourself, Thingol, we are just here to take your women". (This reading is actually supported by the fact the Luthien is not there anymore. If the statement is meant just to be a "ritual insult", her factual absence really does not matter.) I would interpret this attack a test attack to check the Sindarin defensive battle readiness - which proves itself to be not bad at all. Thingol was doing his job. The Orcs' Road of Haste is explicitly used by Boldog's unit, so it has to be ready by the time of his attack.
 
Last edited:
Top