Session 7-07 and 7-08: Other Season 7 Stories

It is important to remember that in a television show, only those characters with speaking roles have names. These family trees are trimmed down on purpose, not by accident. Should we wish for more characters with speaking roles, we can add them to the family tree in later seasons. But it is important to keep in mind that teaching the audience every name on the family tree is not a goal of Silm Film. Rather, the goal is to develop stories for a representative number of characters, and focus on telling the audience those stories. Other stories may exist in the background, but we aren't going to tell them all.

We have not yet determined how much of, say the Wanderings of Húrin or Concerning the Hoard will end up in Silm Film. That is a question for a later season. If we need a speaking role, we will likely take the name for the character from a family tree or from one of those sources, but we are by no means committed to including all of Tolkien's named characters in this portion of the story.


As for why it is undesirable to portray Beldis as 20-30 years older than her husband? Corey Olsen is already of the opinion that Tolkien has his characters marry later than we would expect for their cultures. Theodred, Eomer, Eowyn, Boromir, and Faramir all being unmarried at the time of the War of the Ring seems unusual and even irresponsible. Indeed, two of them die in the war, leaving no heirs, and two are wounded grievously, at risk of dying. The future of Gondor and Rohan's rulers is in question....but if they had simply married younger and had some kids, the future of their house would be less uncertain. Knowing that Corey Olsen feels this way about these stories, it seems very unlikely that he would support inventing a story to insert into Silm Film where a human character who is the heir to leadership of a house would deliberately marry a woman a generation older than himself who could be considered past childbearing age. I am not suggesting that we can't come up with a story as to why that might happen - I am saying we don't want to!


I agree that Tolkien often tried to retcon any discrepency in what he had written - IF it had been prepared for publication and the anomoly slipped through in that process. He considered himself committed to the published versions of his story (in most cases - there is the case of the 1st and 2nd editions of the Hobbit, in which he retconned the change). But Tolkien was quite comfortable striking material out of his drafts and correcting it as he made changes to stories and names, etc. And simple errors have also been changed in the published version of The Lord of the Rings. Had this age discrepency been brought to his attention, chances are he would have added a generation to the family tree to correct it. He was very careful to make ages and years work out in his geneologies, so that no one is having children at improbable ages in all other cases - this seems an error, not a deliberate choice to make a 50+ year old woman become a mother! Certainly, others may interpret the text otherwise, but I think it must be a mistake.


Our step back in time in Season 7 is for the express purpose of telling the story of Húrin, Huor, and Handir in Gondolin. We are not telling other stories in Beleriand during this 'overlap' timeline, as they have already been told in Season 6. We will let our audience know that this is a step back in time by showing the tower at Tol Sirion still standing and inhabited by Sauron's forces. The audience knows Lúthien brought that tower down, so that will help them orient to when in the story we are. Also, while our characters are in Gondolin, we will have them look up and see the eagles carrying Beren and Lúthien overhead. We showed the view from Lúthien's perspective last season, looking down on Gondolin. So that will be a touchstone as well. Both of these (the tower, the Eagles) should appear in Episode 1, so that in Episode 2 we can move into the current timeline. The ruined tower will let the audience know that time has passed and we are 'caught up' in our timeline.
 
I like the idea of building to Handir as the slayer of Baldog in the Nirnaeth. I‘m thinking that Baldog could kill Haldir, and Handir kill Baldog in return. This parallels the Stockade situation where Baldog ended up as the winner. I’m neutral as to whether I think Handir should also die of wounds received. It depends if we need him for season 8. Brandir will be already alive in Brethil by the battle.

I’m wondering how the folk of Brethil think of the departure of the people of Bëor. The relationship between Handir and his wife could be a way of exploring this over the season, especially in relation to alliance with Dor-Lómin folk over the season.

It is true that Boldog has history with the House of Haleth, not the House of Hador. We could create an interaction this season if we needed to (ie, by having Boldog in the skirmish where Galdor is killed). But the history is already there with the stockade battle for Haleth's people. We cannot expect the audience to recall events from Season 5 during Season 7, but if we set up a parallel with the interaction in this battle and the opening scene from the stockade battle, the audience will be invited to recall the connection themselves.

Here's the scene from the S0504 Script:

Haldad’s Sortie charges forward. Now we see what the Men are facing - a siege line of ORCS led by BOLDOG awaits them in the deep shade at the treeline less than 100 yards away. Black smoke rises from the trees. The Orcs scramble into position to meet them. Haldad’s strategy is clear - take down Boldog, in the hopes that the line will break.

The Men crash into the line of Orcs...and are halted. They fight fiercely, but do not gain ground. Haldad is cut down by Boldog; we see Haleth watching helplessly. Haldar rushes to his fallen father’s side, and is overwhelmed by Orcs. The surviving Men are routed, and flee back towards the Gate.

Haldad is 63 years old at the time of his death. Haldir will likewise be 63 years old at the time of the Nirnaeth Arnoediad. Their similar ages and similar deaths at the hand of Boldog could be very poignant, and it would make it seem that Handir is avenging not only his father's death, but the wrongs that were done to his people by Boldog almost a century earlier. That would help to add gravitas to Boldog's death in battle. I think it is important that Gwindor not be successful in killing him, but I do not have a strong feeling either way if it is Húrin, Huor, or Handir who kills Boldog.
 
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We have not yet determined how much of, say the Wanderings of Húrin or Concerning the Hoard will end up in Silm Film. That is a question for a later season. If we need a speaking role, we will likely take the name for the character from a family tree or from one of those sources, but we are by no means committed to including all of Tolkien's named characters in this portion of the story.

O.k. So the fact that Hunthor, Hardang and Manthor are excluded from the family tree for now does not preclude them being "added in" when they come into the story. That is good to know.

But Hunthor e.g. is already part of the Turin story and will for sure appear - he is the only one who accompanies Turin towards the dragon. He willingly stands in for Brandir his 2nd cousing and follows his other 2nd cousin Turin which cases his own death. Turin is of course aware that both Brandir and Hunthor are his 2nd cousins. Brandir knows it too, how far Hunthor suspects it, I do not remember.

(Neither Turin nor after him Hurin show any scruples in ruining all of their extended family (well, Hurin seems a little more restrained in this regards, and his later suicide might be a means to try to protect those who might be still left of his kin from himself - like e.g. Tuor. But Turin seems to follow a pattern: "you happen to be related to me = it is taken for granted that you will die a horrible death").

Corey Olsen is already of the opinion that Tolkien has his characters marry later than we would expect for their cultures. Theodred, Eomer, Eowyn, Boromir, and Faramir all being unmarried at the time of the War of the Ring seems unusual and even irresponsible.

All of those have some Gondorian (specifically Dol Amrothian - and with it elvish) blood and with it their emotional development might be a little "delayed". This is not the case for most of FA humans, I agree.

But Handir does not marry late. He marries in his 20s. He just marries an older woman. Happened historically, mostly for reasons of political legitimation. Well, prehistorically in such a case the leader would simply take a 2nd subordinate younger wife (or several of those), but we could not use that in Tolkien. And Beldis' descent - while noble - is not so high to make political reasons a believable motivation. Still, as there was another succession line in his family via his paternal cousin, Handir doing so would not be that outrageous. It would be a very strange and bewildering (= interesting and character-building) choice, but not really politically irresponsible.

Theodred had no brother nor a paternal line cousin. His conduct was politically irresponsible. As was Aragorn's, btw.

Éomer was a sister's son he was under no obligation to marry for the succession. Éowyn even less so. The line of Éofor son of Brego to which Éomund belonged could have had plenty of other potential heirs as far we know, as it was 16 generations since it had become a mere royal side-line until is was not more than a noble-line.

It was the line of Aldor son of Brego, the ruling line for ages, that was the one that was endangered and Theodred did nothing about it. I suspect it was probably Wormtongue's work, probably some poisoning which made it obvious that a prospective marriage would have stayed fruitless anyway and would only end in his humiliation.

Baramir and Faramir - they were two. And that causes responsibility diffusion, with either expecting the other to do the right thing. But most of all it was Denethor' negligence, he should have married them off already. Possibly no Gondorian noblelady seemed good enough for them for him...
But he knew that they are Numenorean and that they do have time...

I am not suggesting that we can't come up with a story as to why that might happen - I am saying we don't want to!

Instead we invent something more of what we already have plenty of - suggesting that the only way a young man in our story can be "interesting" is by having him kill some monster... again. A bit limiting view of young men - is it not?

And simple errors have also been changed in the published version of The Lord of the Rings. Had this age discrepancy been brought to his attention, chances are he would have added a generation to the family tree to correct it. He was very careful to make ages and years work out in his geneologies, so that no one is having children at improbable ages in all other cases - this seems an error, not a deliberate choice to make a 50+ year old woman become a mother! Certainly, others may interpret the text otherwise, but I think it must be a mistake.

I am not sure about it not being deliberate, as Tolkien checked the ages of Beldis parent correctly and he took care to give the background connected to Beldis' elder brother's name. As he added Bregil as Bregor's eldest child- he could well have made her the youngest. This all seems deliberately and planned.

I seems to me those were means to make Brandir the Lame a more important character by making the circumstances of his birth extraordinary. All to make Turin's voluntary part of his crimes more grave. Turin could do little to prevent the marriage to his sister (he could have done more than he did, for sure) and it was not wholly his fault. Nor was her overreaction which resulted in her suicide (and her unborn baby's death) his own fault - those were her fault alone. But senselessly killing Brandir, an impaired person and his near kin and somebody who took Turin in, in a fit of rage - this was on Turin and Turin alone. Making Brandir the Lame a figure of hope stresses Turin's own guilt. As such it serves the story.

Our step back in time in Season 7 is for the express purpose of telling the story of Húrin, Huor, and Handir in Gondolin. We are not telling other stories in Beleriand during this 'overlap' timeline, as they have already been told in Season 6. We will let our audience know that this is a step back in time by showing the tower at Tol Sirion still standing and inhabited by Sauron's forces. The audience knows Lúthien brought that tower down, so that will help them orient to when in the story we are. Also, while our characters are in Gondolin, we will have them look up and see the eagles carrying Beren and Lúthien overhead. We showed the view from Lúthien's perspective last season, looking down on Gondolin. So that will be a touchstone as well. Both of these (the tower, the Eagles) should appear in Episode 1, so that in Episode 2 we can move into the current timeline. The ruined tower will let the audience know that time has passed and we are 'caught up' in our timeline.

Why I find the choice of what scenes can show the time overlap and which not a bit arbitrary and do not get why those are deemed fine while other are tabu - it is good to know that the time overlap will be signaled to the audience at all.

But still one of the questions remains:
"Where is the magical, where is the whimsical, the mythical, the fairy-tale-like this season?"
 
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But still one questions remains: "Where is the magical, where is the whimsical, the mythical, the fairy-tale-like this season?"
It's a good question. But I'm thinking that we are moving out of Faerie for the time being, and being more centered in the concerns of the mortal world. The stories in this season and the next have a human focus. My feeling is that we won't really return to a more focused Elf perspective until we get to the Fall of Gondolin. This season is going to be mixed. The chapters being adapted are not fairy tales, but rather war narratives. Beren and Lúthien is a bit of an outlier story in this respect as a fairy tale within the story of the Wars of Beleriand.
 
It's a good question. But I'm thinking that we are moving out of Faerie for the time being, and being more centered in the concerns of the mortal world. The stories in this season and the next have a human focus. My feeling is that we won't really return to a more focused Elf perspective until we get to the Fall of Gondolin. This season is going to be mixed. The chapters being adapted are not fairy tales, but rather war narratives. Beren and Lúthien is a bit of an outlier story in this respect as a fairy tale within the story of the Wars of Beleriand.
How so? What "mortal world"? We are yet far from it, the mortals are still auxiliary at most, and havw not even yet started to understand themselves. Both Morgoth and his monsters and the Elves his opponents are deeply magical creatures. "Mortal world" will emerge in the Fourth Age, it is yet nascent in the First. How can we move into something which has not even really emerged as yet?
 
The story of entering into Faerie will be told in Gondolin, specifically through the character of Huor. He experiences wonder.
 
The story of entering into Faerie will be told in Gondolin, specifically through the character of Huor. He experiences wonder.
o.k. how will this manifest? Will we see an "Gates of Summer" Feast as it should be?
 
When Galadriel goes to Bree there could also be a sense of wonder from the Breelanders at the Fairy Queen among them.

I just meant that the preparation for war has ‘story of the mundane world’ about it. Plus Hurin is used to being around Elves and he is our POV character. I think of the way that Labadal talks about the Elves in the Childern of Hurin. They are Other, for sure but it doesn’t feel like fairyland. Agree that Huor in Gondolin is our best opportunity to show that kind of wonder
 
Something to consider for Sauron: regarding the Emperor of Bree, I suggest that the Easterlings answer to Sauron and to Sauron alone, which sets up how they think of him as King and God in later ages of Middle-Earth where they always flock to Sauron's banner when a war is brewing.
 
We might be able to work towards that, but we're not there yet. Sauron is only just meeting these Easterlings, and his interaction with them won't be revealed until the final scenes of the season.
 
which sets up how they think of him as King and God in later ages of Middle-Earth where they always flock to Sauron's banner when a war is brewing.
It will depend a bit on how quickly Sauron rises again after the War of Wrath, doesn't it? Even 1000 years later, humans will need to be re-convinced to follow him/ worship him. I'm sure he won't mind starting again from the ground up - I reckon he enjoys the process.
 
It will depend a bit on how quickly Sauron rises again after the War of Wrath, doesn't it? Even 1000 years later, humans will need to be re-convinced to follow him/ worship him. I'm sure he won't mind starting again from the ground up - I reckon he enjoys the process.
at the beginning he does, in the 3rd age he has lost patience with it. Humans can turn on him at any time. This is why the Nazgul are preferable - because they no longer can.

Regarding Huor's wedding - he has to know Rian is pregnant before he dies, because he leaves a name for his child.
 
Wait a minute: so @MithLuin says the current plan is for Rían to be pregnant during the Plague. But I thought that she was pregnant with Tuor at the Nirnaeth, unless Rían is being aged up along with her marriage to Huor is pushed forward.
 
Wait a minute: so @MithLuin says the current plan is for Rían to be pregnant during the Plague. But I thought that she was pregnant with Tuor at the Nirnaeth, unless Rían is being aged up along with her marriage to Huor is pushed forward.
well, she was known to have been pregnant before Tuor left for his last campaign, so she had to have been pregnant before - a pregnancy last 9 month from which in older times 6-7 were conscious by the woman - it does take some time before a woman notices herself to be pregnant without a pregnancy test and with malnourishment and much stress the women without a fixed calendar nor regular circles needed time to notice - but it is still half a year Rian would have known herself to be pregnant
 
well, she was known to have been pregnant before Tuor left for his last campaign, so she had to have been pregnant before - a pregnancy last 9 month from which in older times 6-7 were conscious by the woman - it does take some time before a woman notices herself to be pregnant without a pregnancy test and with malnourishment and much stress the women without a fixed calendar nor regular circles needed time to notice - but it is still half a year Rian would have known herself to be pregnant
But Mithluin said that Rian was pregnant during the Plague, which is where I'm getting confused.
 
Yes, the Silm Film timeline does not exactly match Tolkien's timeline. We made some shifts last night, and I have not yet sat down and worked out what that means for the timeline of our season, but the basic shape of it is there.

The Plague (and the death of Lalaith) will happen shortly before the start of the Nirnaeth (ie, in 471). So, Rían will be pregnant and Huor will be worried for her health during the plague.

While I recognize that a 16 year old girl marrying an older man has certainly been considered a normal enough occurance in many cultures throughout history, it is not acceptable in our culture nor is it something that Tolkien wrote in his stories. His humans (even his non-Numenorean humans) are often in their twenties when they become parents. So, I am fine with Rían being younger than Huor, and them marrying when she is still a teen...but I would prefer we be closer to 19 than 13 with that! (Which she will be in our story.)
 
Here's what we have so far:

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Few to no notes on the early part of the season. Overall, everyone seemed pretty pleased with that.

The first episode is an anomoly, a 'rewind' taking place as an overlap with the events of Season 6. It starts around the time of 462, while Sauron's tower stands and Tol-in-gaurhoth is a threat to the people of Brethil. The story plays out over a year or so, depending on when we end it.

The next three episodes all take place in 464. So, some time passes, but not a lot.

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Episode 5 will take place in the years of 465-468, showing lead up and preparations for the important meeting. Túrin will be born during this time.

Episodes 6 and 7, the Summit meeting at Tol Sirion and the aftermath, will take place in 468. Túrin will be a three year old terror. Morwen will be pregnant with Lalaith.

Episode 8 will show the birth and early childhood of Lalaith. She's born in 468, some time after the Summit meeting. So she will turn three in 471. Huor and Rían get married sometime during this timeframe, but we likely won't show it on screen.

Episode 9 will take place in the year leading up to the Nirnaeth Arnoediad (so, 471). We'll have the murder of Ulfang by Uldor and his taking over the army in his father's absence. And we will also have the Plague in the west, where Lalaith dies. Huor will be worried about a pregnant Rían during the plague.

Episodes 10-13 will take place in 472. We'll plan them in more detail next session.


Here's the updated family tree to account for these choices:

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Hope this helps!
 
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