The Lamps

MithLuin

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The Hosts seemed rather adverse to visible metal in the pillars of the Lamps, so I imagine the Eiffel Tower would serve as a decent 'skeleton' for what we are trying to build.....but mostly I was focused on the economy of the curved design of the base.
 

MithLuin

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I do understand that concern, which was my biggest issue with the 'small Lamps' idea the Hosts have come up with. And, in a world untrammeled by the laws of the universe, why not just make them impossibly big?

I do think we have some 'ratio' issues to deal with, though. The Eiffel Tower is a good way to show 'wide base supporting a pillar' in a seamless arrangement that we seem to prefer.




If we make the Lamps 325 miles tall (not the tallest suggestion in this thread), the mountain base will need to be 125 miles in diameter. That...is a freaking big mountain, and it's for all intents and purposes unmovable. Sure, you can break the pillar and knock down the Lamp, and you can have molten light/stone burning up the forests for miles around....but that base isn't going anywhere. So....what happens to these two giant mountain bases after the destruction of the Lamps? They...should still be there, and continue to dominate the geography of Arda throughout all the coming ages. But....they will not. How long do you think it's going to take to wear the Himalayas down to look like the Appalachians? And then keep in mind that these are 65x taller than the tallest of the Himalayan mountains - we're talking about a really, really, really, REALLY big pile of rock. That's like taking the northwest corner of Mordor, from the Black Gate down to Minas Morgul, and making the entire Plateau of Gorgoroth one impossibly big mountain.


If we want to keep the height but lose the massive mountain base, we change the outline, and that is where we wind up with something a bit unbelievable - a soaring spike jutting out of a mountain too small to anchor it in place. We likely have some wiggle room (we don't want the pillars to actually look like the Eiffel Tower!), but keeping some proportionality is important for keeping this 'realistic' (even if it is impossibly big).

I remember that when we discussed the episode where the Lamps were constructed, Ouzaru brought up the point that Olympus Mons is so massive it is breaking the crust of Mars. It's 16 miles high; can we really get away with a mountain that's more than 60 miles high?
 
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Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
If Aulë were to build it, I do think we can get away with it! But I do see your point about the mountains themselves. What if the thing that the Balrogs do to break the lamps breaks whatever Aulë set up to keep the mountains from sinking down into the mantle. The outpouring of lava mixed with the liquid fire from the lamps flows down the pre-existing channel to Almaren.
 

MithLuin

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Ah, if we melt/destroy the mountains so that they sink into a sea of lava, then that takes care of the clean up for later Ages. So that's good. Of course, that would be enough lava to probably drown all of Arda, so.....

Also keep in mind that with a flat world, the light from the Lamps is going to reach a lot further and not get 'cut off' by the horizon. So, while setting up two Lamps at 15° a 'mere' 125 miles in either direction from Almaren might seem like light hoarding, the rest of Arda is going to see them, too, just a bit lower on the horizon or cut off by other mountain ranges.

The Lamps were never going to light the Sea, so reaching *all* of Arda isn't realistic.

Also, I want the Lamps 'nearby' enough to destroy Almaren. If Almaren is in New York City, 330 miles away is Montreal. 1500 miles away is Port-au-Prince, Haiti. It's going to be very difficult for me to think that a massive destructive *whatever* could happen in Haiti and still affect NYC. Whereas of course an event in Albany (135 miles away) will impact NYC.
 

MithLuin

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One issue with making the Lamps impossibly tall is that they won't look any bigger, they'll just make Middle Earth look smaller. So, the entire world will seem like a little island with these two spikes on it. That is one reason for me to prefer 15° to 30°....by making them smaller, the relative distance on the ground looks bigger, and we want the world to be a big place.

Honestly, I have no very strong opinion about the distances involved. I want the Lamps to be within the atmosphere - it's difficult to rain down fire with no oxygen. And I want the mountains supporting them to be realistic, not so impossibly sized that they look like flat land when you're standing on them (though they can certainly pierce the clouds).

The idea of Lamps sinking into the crust is quite intriguing. Instead of the Balrogs knocking over the tower like a giant tree ('timberrrrrr!'), they could detonate the land around the base so the support for the mountain turns into quicksand and everything breaks/falls/collapses/sinks. The Lamps would tumble from their pedestal and break open as they crash down. I imagine that would be visually impressive and interesting, though I'm not sure what the impact on Almaren would be, or how you would achieve this without a seismic event.
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
It's going to have to be a seismic event of some short. Nothing short of that would be something the Valar couldn't stop. Especially with them all together.
 

Haakon

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I like the idea of the mountains and pillars sinking down into the earth's crust. Actually, I had the idea that the bases of the pillars could be stuck down into deep sockets (is that the right term?) in the mountains as a way of anchoring them - rather than having them standing on top of mountains. This would make the need for broad bases like the one the Eiffel Tower has smaller.

For the destruction, options:

Channels or valleys are sadly placed in such a way that they lead magma and liquid fire to Almaren.

One Lamp crashes into the sea, causing a tsunami which drowns Almaren.

The explosions of the globes and higher parts of the Lamps result in huge clouds of glowing ash and super hot tiny pieces of glass, and the winds take this cloud of destruction to Almaren. There, they fall, causing massive fires.

A combination of a couple of these options or all of the above. There could be a tsunami which the Valar hold off and then the fiery rain falls.
 
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MithLuin

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Actually, I had the idea that the bases of the pillars could be stuck down into deep sockets (is that the right term?) in the mountains as a way of anchoring them - rather than having them standing on top of mountains. This would make the need for broad bases like the one the Eiffel Tower has smaller.
Ah - I have been picturing the mountain AS the base, so, yes, the pillar would be deeply rooted and anchored in the mountain, not just perched on top of it. Broad bases add to stability; the whole thing is much more likely to fall over without that.
 

Haakon

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So - we had to focus on other things for a bit. What do we have? Do we have a consensus on the height? Do we have a general idea of the construction? Are we agreed on the process and consequences of the destruction?
 

Haakon

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Alright I'm going to make some suggestions based on where we were in our discussion.

Height:
60 miles (96 km). This places the Lamp globes at the lowest level of the thermosphere. If you look at this link http://www.theozonehole.com/atmosphere.htm and scroll down to the picture of the layers and their height, you will find that this is where things are beginning to look like outer space, and we don't want to go higher than that. The bases are 15 miles broad (25 km). The Lamps are placed 225 miles (360 km) from Almaren.
Construction: The pillars are stuck deep into the ground and there are broad bases as on the Eiffel Tower for support. From afar the Lamps look pretty small but during construction and when they are attacked we can see that they are Huge. At the top each Lamp has a great globe containing liquid light. The structure of the globe might be seen during construction but later on it looks like a small sun.
Destruction: The balrogs attack the globes and break them, causing explosions. They smash into the pillars at a number of places, but primarily assault the bases, making the mountains unstable and fall. One Lamp crashes into the sea, causing a tsunami which drowns Almaren. Minor earthquakes shake the lands surrounding the other Lamp - but not in such a way that it causes a major change to the geography. It is a distraction for the Valar, though. The pillars partially sink into the earth, since the balrogs attacks cause the mountain bases to turn into volcanic cones. At the same time, the explosions of the globes and higher parts of the Lamps have resulted in huge clouds of glowing ash and super hot tiny pieces of glass, and the winds also take this cloud of destruction to Almaren. There, they fall, causing massive fires. The explosions also should cause the light of the Lamps to disperse wich should result in darkness.
Problems: The Lamps will not give light to all of Arda. The Lamps are amazingly tall but still seem small from some perspectives. The distances to Almaren are still shorter than indicated on the maps drawn by JRR - 225 miles is shorter than the river Ascar will be later on. How close is the northern Lamp to Utumno? Will Utumno be damaged in any way?
 
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Haakon

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Actually, here's an interesting map:

As I understand it, the seas Helcar and Ringil on this map are the results of the destruction of the Lamps. Note that they are not very close to the "polar regions" of Arda, but more to the middle or equator (if that is at all applicable). Alright, it's very hard to use this map as an argument for anything, but still, it's interesting to see that JRR at some point had the idea that the Lamps were rather close. (Though by the look of this they were as far apart as Brazil and USA)
 

Haakon

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Oh and the Lamps should be of different colours! Illuin, to the north, should be sky-blue (interesting since the sky is not blue at this time) and Ormal, to the south, should be golden. Perhaps the colour indications refer to the lights themselves - or do they refer to the pillars? The light of the Illuin could be bluish, more like the moon (but brighter) and the light of Ormal could be warmer, more like the sun. What do you think?
 

MithLuin

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Putting the Lamps at the poles never would have made sense. If you want to light as much of the land as possible, you would put them at the foci of an ellipse (as the land is vaguely elliptical at this time).

Like so:


I am fine with having them be 'close' to Almaren, with the distant poles getting only pale light from one of the Lamps. Since the world is flat and the Lamps are so tall, it is rather unlikely that a mountain range is going to 'block' the Lamps, but they will be very low on the horizon (permanent sunset) as you get further away.
 

Haakon

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So, what do you think about the different colours? Of the pillars or of the lights?
 

Haakon

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I worked on the outlines for all of the Lamp episodes except for the decision and planning in episode 4, but I wasn't able (ok I had to decide I didn't have the time) to describe them in much detail. I guess it wasn't necessary to do so, but it brings me to the question: what happens to all this thinking and designing that we've done? It's here, of course.... :)
 

MithLuin

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Set design does not go into script, really, so it's more a matter of the script reflecting what we've designed here.
 
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