Women Fighters

Faelivrin

Well-Known Member
This is all very unclear to me.

So we are allowed to have female healers or Besain... only as nameless background faces? Or will we be allowed to ever give any of them lines or make them minor characters? Are we allowed to give Curufin’s wife any lines at all, or a name? Are we allowed to include her in any episode before the one where she’s captured? Is Curufin’s wife the only female healer/Besan ever allowed? Is any female healer/Besan allowed to live for a whole season or more than one season?

Is there still an absolute rule that if a captive loses their free will or is never seen again, they are always required to be female? Still no male captives like that are ever allowed?
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
Well, I think we have to take care how we delegate roles and how much we want to deviate from a character’s course.

I have an idea for a minor character that plays a big role for an episode or two, and his role is ended after that: Gorgol, the Orc captain who leads the massacre of Barahir’s band and takes his ring. Beren then kills him in his attack on the Orcs camp as they make their way back to Sauron. Long story short, he would be a really minor character, a miniboss (my concept is that Beren kills him in a one-on-one) but he has a large impact on the story because Beren is eventually forced to flee to Doriath and meets Luthien there. I even have an actor who I’d like to see in the role (Ray Park, see here https://forums.signumuniversity.org/index.php?threads/men-as-in-humans.612/page-11#post-24936), but that’s neither here nor there.

Or am I completely off the mark?
 
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MithLuin

Well-Known Member
This is all very unclear to me.
Yes, that discussion didn't go quite how I had planned/hoped, but such is life. They did give us good stuff to work with, though, so I think the overall outcome is positive.

Among other things, they confirmed the inclusion of the role of besan in this project, and they gave their approval to the suggestion that the role of herald typically be given to a non-fighter. They want to show that elven society is not divided into an elite fighter class and a more lowly non-fighter class, but values both in their command structure.


So we are allowed to have female healers or Besain... only as nameless background faces?
We are allowed to have female healers and besain, and in fact are requested to have these in our elven societies. The majority of them would be nameless background faces, appearing as 'person who fills a role' rather than a fully developed character. But not all of them would be background characters. Case-by-case basis, most likely. Aredhel will be besan of Gondolin; that was explicitly agreed to in today's podcast.

Or will we be allowed to ever give any of them lines or make them minor characters?
Lines, yes. Whether or not they get upgraded to minor character will depend on what scenes we want to use them for. Random healer going about healing duties in the wake of a battle....just a background character. Someone who interacts regularly with a main character? That's a minor character. The Hosts explicitly agreed that Fingolfin would need someone to talk to, and having a woman in his following fill that role was fine with them (either as his herald or his besan).

Are we allowed to give Curufin’s wife any lines at all, or a name? Are we allowed to include her in any episode before the one where she’s captured?
The request to make her the captive was a request to make her into a minor character. So, yes, she would have a name and lines and some sort of introduction prior to her capture. Recall that the entire reason to select named characters for each of the four 'types' of captives was so that we would use someone the audience knew, not an extra. The suggestion to make her a healer is, of course, aimed at introducing her in Episode 2, well before her capture.

Is Curufin’s wife the only female healer/Besan ever allowed?
No, certainly not! No restriction like that came out of today's session. Each kingdom should have a Besan, with Melian and Aredhel being the two main characters who hold that role. The other Besain will be either minor characters or repeat background faces, depending on the situation. The Hosts were also fairly eager to add scholars (including female scholars) to the story.

Is any female healer/Besan allowed to live for a whole season or more than one season?

As for how long the characters live, that will depend largely on where they live. Most minor characters will be killed off when their kingdoms fall. So, the ones in Nargothrond, Gondolin, and Doriath will last a bit longer. Obviously the point of your question is to name names as to who will live past the end of Season 5, and that I don't have for you (yet), but we are by no means obligated to kill all female healers off in the episode (or season) where we introduce them. What we were asked to do was to curb any tendency to create a plethora of minor characters, but instead prudently and cautiously add minor characters with a plan for how they will be used.

Is there still an absolute rule that if a captive loses their free will or is never seen again, they are always required to be female? Still no male captives like that are ever allowed?
This was never a rule. The four 'types' of captives mean that there will be multiple characters in each category. The distinction is that the rest of the captives will be extras - people the audience *didn't* know when they were made captive, and thus we need the named character as an example.

So, Eldalótë/Edhellos/Angrod's wife is merely the first elf Morgoth puts under the Spell of Bottomless Dread. I would expect that when we show other 'escaped' captives, there will be male elves under that same spell. But when the audience sees another elf roaming the wilderness and raving in fear, they will be like, oh we've seen that before - that's one of Morgoth's puppets. We are going to show the Noldor shutting such escaped captives out of their society in fear that they are traitors. So, a scene where an elf comes to the gate and is turned away in a future season is quite likely.

I cannot, at this point in time, make any promises about what scenes we will have or what treacheries we will plan for elves under the Spell of Bottomless Dread. But we are going to a lot of trouble to introduce the concept of Morgoth doing this to captive elves, so he should most certainly do it again later. But, yes, if we feel it is sending an unintended message about female elves, we can take pains to make sure the next victim is a male elf.
 

MithLuin

Well-Known Member
I have an idea for a minor character that plays a big role for an episode or two, and his role is ended after that: Gorgol, the Orc captain who leads the massacre of Barahir’s band and takes his ring. Beren then kills him in his attack on the Orcs camp as they make their way back to Sauron.
Yes, this is exactly the kind of minor character who appears in one or two episodes. He does certain things in the story (memorable, significant things), and then is killed. We likely wouldn't invest a lot of time in developing Gorgol as a character prior to the attack on Barahir's camp; he would just be the 'orc leader', and whatever characterization he's going to get would happen then.

We might replace him with Boldog instead, though. I am not sure when/how we plan to kill Boldog off, but that has to happen around the time of the Beren story..... A question for Season 6. Who knows, maybe Angrod will kill him in the Dagor Bragollach.

Minor characters can be included when we need them. If we can tell the story without them...we're more likely to choose that route. But that is something that usually comes out in crafting the individual episodes. You hit a point where you need someone to do something, and no one in the current cast will do. Enter a minor character to fill the gap.

Background characters, on the other hand, are not a problem to add whenever we want. Because, if done well, they should enhance a scene without distracting from the main characters in any way.
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
Yes, this is exactly the kind of minor character who appears in one or two episodes. He does certain things in the story (memorable, significant things), and then is killed. We likely wouldn't invest a lot of time in developing Gorgol as a character prior to the attack on Barahir's camp; he would just be the 'orc leader', and whatever characterization he's going to get would happen then.

We might replace him with Boldog instead, though. I am not sure when/how we plan to kill Boldog off, but that has to happen around the time of the Beren story..... A question for Season 6. Who knows, maybe Angrod will kill him in the Dagor Bragollach.

Minor characters can be included when we need them. If we can tell the story without them...we're more likely to choose that route. But that is something that usually comes out in crafting the individual episodes. You hit a point where you need someone to do something, and no one in the current cast will do. Enter a minor character to fill the gap.

Background characters, on the other hand, are not a problem to add whenever we want. Because, if done well, they should enhance a scene without distracting from the main characters in any way.
In the Lays of Beleriand, where I found a mention of Gorgol, Boldog apparently leads an assault on Doriath, where he’s killed by Thingol.
 

MithLuin

Well-Known Member
Right, but....what will be the Silm Film ending to Boldog's life? That's...less clear to me right now. We've developed him a lot further than just an orc on the edges of Beren's story, so, we might not want to kill him off in a relatively meaningless skirmish.

Or, we might want to show Thingol still willing to fight and not just hide behind the Girdle indefinitely.

I am fairly confident that Boldog will survive at least until the penultimate episode of Season 5. After that...his days are numbered!

But yes, if Boldog is already dead (or has a planned death pending), then I could see us choosing to use Gorgol.

We've been very willing to re-introduce villain minor characters who were cut from the published Silmarillion. That is because, naturally, we're expanding the villain storylines quite a bit. The same is true with the dwarves; we'll need to invent characters as the ones we have die off and we need new roles. We'll likely show Belegost sometime this Season - that will be more than the texts did.

The story is Noldor-centric, though. Most of what is written...is written about the Noldor. We have less justification to add minor characters into their stories, because much of it is already told in plenty of detail. That was why Corey Olsen gave us the option of transferring canonical 'tasks' to a non-canonical character (and then killing off the canon character early). We would then not be adding to the story, but just shifting it in a different direction.
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
Right, but....what will be the Silm Film ending to Boldog's life? That's...less clear to me right now. We've developed him a lot further than just an orc on the edges of Beren's story, so, we might not want to kill him off in a relatively meaningless skirmish.

Or, we might want to show Thingol still willing to fight and not just hide behind the Girdle indefinitely.

I am fairly confident that Boldog will survive at least until the penultimate episode of Season 5. After that...his days are numbered!

But yes, if Boldog is already dead (or has a planned death pending), then I could see us choosing to use Gorgol.

We've been very willing to re-introduce villain minor characters who were cut from the published Silmarillion. That is because, naturally, we're expanding the villain storylines quite a bit. The same is true with the dwarves; we'll need to invent characters as the ones we have die off and we need new roles. We'll likely show Belegost sometime this Season - that will be more than the texts did.

The story is Noldor-centric, though. Most of what is written...is written about the Noldor. We have less justification to add minor characters into their stories, because much of it is already told in plenty of detail. That was why Corey Olsen gave us the option of transferring canonical 'tasks' to a non-canonical character (and then killing off the canon character early). We would then not be adding to the story, but just shifting it in a different direction.
True. Perhaps for Boldog’s death, it’s concurrent with Beren’s arrival in Doriath, with each occurring at separate points along the northern border of Doriath? And I was hoping for a chance to squeeze in Ray Park and a good fight scene, with Gorgol being a good opportunity. He’s my attempt at stunt casting.
 
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Faelivrin

Well-Known Member
Thank you so much for trying to make sense of something that felt so... self-contradictory, to say the least.

Curufin's wife:
The request to make her the captive was a request to make her into a minor character. So, yes, she would have a name and lines and some sort of introduction prior to her capture. Recall that the entire reason to select named characters for each of the four 'types' of captives was so that we would use someone the audience knew, not an extra. The suggestion to make her a healer is, of course, aimed at introducing her in Episode 2, well before her capture.

So we have prior approval, for this one, to give her a genuine story role (as a healer), meaning she can say and do more than just be captured. IIRC.

Or will we be allowed to ever give any of them lines or make them minor characters?
Lines, yes. Whether or not they get upgraded to minor character will depend on what scenes we want to use them for. Random healer going about healing duties in the wake of a battle....just a background character. Someone who interacts regularly with a main character? That's a minor character. The Hosts explicitly agreed that Fingolfin would need someone to talk to, and having a woman in his following fill that role was fine with them (either as his herald or his besan).

Is Curufin’s wife the only female healer/Besan ever allowed?
No, certainly not! No restriction like that came out of today's session. Each kingdom should have a Besan, with Melian and Aredhel being the two main characters who hold that role. The other Besain will be either minor characters or repeat background faces, depending on the situation. The Hosts were also fairly eager to add scholars (including female scholars) to the story.
So we can propose/attempt to include a few as minor characters, but we will need to justify each one to get individual approval. IIRC. Like... Maglor's wife/Besan, Fingolfin's Besan/Irime's daughter, a healer in Fingolfin's faction. I don't think we asked for permission to include Meril/Orodreth's wife either, yet.


Most minor characters will be killed off when their kingdoms fall.
Well sure, but I don't think anyone ever objected to that. That's a major reason I proposed giving Celeborn a family at all.


In other words, I think we have carte-blanche to think up as many repeat background faces as we like, to tell the audience more about how elven society works. But if we want to introduce more minor characters into the show....we'll have to consider the repercussions.
Minor characters can be included when we need them. If we can tell the story without them...we're more likely to choose that route. But that is something that usually comes out in crafting the individual episodes. You hit a point where you need someone to do something, and no one in the current cast will do. Enter a minor character to fill the gap.
Background characters, on the other hand, are not a problem to add whenever we want. Because, if done well, they should enhance a scene without distracting from the main characters in any way.


I finally understand that there is a reason not to have many minor characters. I am trying to think of ways to somehow justify (in a script outline) why we are trying to introduce a necessary minor character, say how and if they would ever appear again, and how we would eventually get rid of them -- to try to persuade the Hosts that a minor character is actually needed. Approval is the part where I'm just... not entirely confident this will result in elven characters, when the time comes.

It still isn't clear to me how we make use of extras or background characters. If we filmed this then we'd cast them, write them into scripts, and have the equivalent of Figwit, Mr. Proudfoot, etc. But... practically speaking, how do we actually include them in this project? We surely won't cast them. I don't anticipate the artists will make concept art of extras. Is it even practically-possible to mention them in script outlines? In Season 3 when I would suggest a repeat background face, a person whose name we know who might potentially be more than an extra in a later season (Galadhon, Glorfindel), you and Nick explained that we can't even mention them because we should/can only introduce characters who are important in that scene. So what do we do to accomplish this:

They want to show that elven society is not divided into an elite fighter class and a more lowly non-fighter class, but values both in their command structure.
If for example we wanted to give Fingolfin a herald, but she's seen and not heard, then it's apparent her society doesn't value her. If we can't even mention her in the script outline, she doesn't even exist.

Or how would we actually do this:
But, yes, if we feel it is sending an unintended message about female elves, we can take pains to make sure the next victim is a male elf.
Do you mean this:
So, a scene where an elf comes to the gate and is turned away in a future season is quite likely.

Basically, I don't understand the practical difference within this project between extras, repeat background faces, and a hypothetical mass of nothing that is never mentioned anywhere.


but we are by no means obligated to kill all female healers off in the episode (or season) where we introduce them. What we were asked to do was to curb any tendency to create a plethora of minor characters, but instead prudently and cautiously add minor characters with a plan for how they will be used.
I hope you're right.
So... if there is a way to mention/depict repeat background characters, do you think we can propose characters who are background in some seasons and minor in other seasons, if needed? It usually wouldn't matter if readers remember them personally from one season to the next.


This was never a rule. The four 'types' of captives mean that there will be multiple characters in each category. The distinction is that the rest of the captives will be extras - people the audience *didn't* know when they were made captive, and thus we need the named character as an example.
So... male captives/dead can "exist", but as extras. So... do you think it's possible we can include (and name) Gwindor's brother Gelmir in this project?

You suggested the idea that a named male character could someday be captured and not return. I'm entirely uncertain whether Corey completely ignored the suggestions, or if this was a sort of implied response the Angrod suggestion:

One suggestion that was offered to us was that if we wanted to steal a role from a canon character and give it to someone else, that canon character could then be killed off instead.



And I have a separate question about Luthien. She'll go to the Mereth Aderthad, apparently. So will Sauron and Thuringwethil. We know that in Season 6, Luthien will pwn them and crush their magic. Thuringwethil could be weakened by then through the crappy wasteful hatefulness of evil, but Sauron won't be weaker. So we need some reason why she doesn't see through their disguises at the Feast. An internal reason, so we know how to depict the scene.

(I really don't want Caranthir there. Most of the Sons of Feanor make a political statement about "reconciliation" and Dark Elf "savages" by not attending the Feast at all.)
 
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amysrevenge

Well-Known Member
And I have a separate question about Luthien. She'll go to the Mereth Aderthad, apparently. So will Sauron and Thuringwethil. We know that in Season 6, Luthien will pwn them and crush their magic. Thuringwethil could be weakened by then through the crappy wasteful hatefulness of evil, but Sauron won't be weaker. So we need some reason why she doesn't see through their disguises at the Feast. An internal reason, so we know how to depict the scene.
Can be a simple explanation with a deep reason behind it. There's Fate involved between Sauron and Luthien. It is not time for them to meet yet. Even though they are at the same event (a LARGE event, with multiple gathering places at once and Elves all over the place), through chance, if chance you call it, they are never in the same room at the same time. Maybe Sauron even at one point hears she is there, tries to seek her out, and finds himself constantly thwarted by random chance, if chance you call it. (I have this compulsion to add "if chance you call it" any time I talk about chance and Tolkien.)

It would take a bit of a fine touch, as the line between "Fate taking a hand" and "Fate taking a ham-hand" would be thin. A sequence of plausible events, and maybe just one overtly implausible event, keeping them separated.
 

amysrevenge

Well-Known Member
Actually the more I think about this, the more I like it. It's like a spiritual battle between two foes who don't even know each other are there. Sauron lighting fires, Luthien putting them out, and neither of them understanding why they have to keep at it when surely their efforts should have been sufficient by now. By the end of the Mereth Aderthad, each of them should have deduced that there was an active foe working against them at the event, but perhaps not exactly who or what it was.
 

MithLuin

Well-Known Member
The way to include background characters in a Script Outline is to use their role, not their names. A name (especially in an Outline) identifies a character the audience should know. So, some examples might be:

A group of children laughing and playing run through the square. They interrupt a lesson where a teacher is showing children different leaves.

The onlookers react in shock.

A healer moves from body to body checking for survivors while others weep over the dead. Elves move the wounded to a healing tent.

The sailors cry out in dismay when they see the vampire bats in the sky. One of them is grabbed and tossed into the sea.

Thingol commands his banner-bearer to have the troops wait for the signal.

Turgon gives Aredhel's bodyguards final orders on where to take her, though Aredhel does not look thrilled. Idril, the new besan, offers each of them lembas as they depart.
 

MithLuin

Well-Known Member
Fingolfin's herald would likely become a minor character. But, for argument's sake, let's say the herald appears only in one or two scenes and remains a background face. How do we handle that?

"Fingolfin asks his herald if the riders have returned. She reports to him that they came in very early, but found nothing but burnt forests - no creatures of Morgoth were there. He tells her to send another patrol."

How do we advocate for inclusion of a minor character? Norn from last season was an example of a minor character created to fill a role. He was not the Execs' idea or suggestion. So...like that.

Gelmir would be a minor character; we would likely only establish his fate in battle and that he's Gwindor's brother. He is also...not in this Season. We needed to establish outcomes of the catch-and-release program now.
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
Thank you so much for trying to make sense of something that felt so... self-contradictory, to say the least.

Curufin's wife:
The request to make her the captive was a request to make her into a minor character. So, yes, she would have a name and lines and some sort of introduction prior to her capture. Recall that the entire reason to select named characters for each of the four 'types' of captives was so that we would use someone the audience knew, not an extra. The suggestion to make her a healer is, of course, aimed at introducing her in Episode 2, well before her capture.

So we have prior approval, for this one, to give her a genuine story role (as a healer), meaning she can say and do more than just be captured. IIRC.

So we can propose/attempt to include a few as minor characters, but we will need to justify each one to get individual approval. IIRC. Like... Maglor's wife/Besan, Fingolfin's Besan/Irime's daughter, a healer in Fingolfin's faction. I don't think we asked for permission to include Meril/Orodreth's wife either, yet.


Most minor characters will be killed off when their kingdoms fall.
Well sure, but I don't think anyone ever objected to that. That's a major reason I proposed giving Celeborn a family at all.


In other words, I think we have carte-blanche to think up as many repeat background faces as we like, to tell the audience more about how elven society works. But if we want to introduce more minor characters into the show....we'll have to consider the repercussions.
Minor characters can be included when we need them. If we can tell the story without them...we're more likely to choose that route. But that is something that usually comes out in crafting the individual episodes. You hit a point where you need someone to do something, and no one in the current cast will do. Enter a minor character to fill the gap.
Background characters, on the other hand, are not a problem to add whenever we want. Because, if done well, they should enhance a scene without distracting from the main characters in any way.


I finally understand that there is a reason not to have many minor characters. I am trying to think of ways to somehow justify (in a script outline) why we are trying to introduce a necessary minor character, say how and if they would ever appear again, and how we would eventually get rid of them -- to try to persuade the Hosts that a minor character is actually needed. Approval is the part where I'm just... not entirely confident this will result in elven characters, when the time comes.

It still isn't clear to me how we make use of extras or background characters. If we filmed this then we'd cast them, write them into scripts, and have the equivalent of Figwit, Mr. Proudfoot, etc. But... practically speaking, how do we actually include them in this project? We surely won't cast them. I don't anticipate the artists will make concept art of extras. Is it even practically-possible to mention them in script outlines? In Season 3 when I would suggest a repeat background face, a person whose name we know who might potentially be more than an extra in a later season (Galadhon, Glorfindel), you and Nick explained that we can't even mention them because we should/can only introduce characters who are important in that scene. So what do we do to accomplish this:

They want to show that elven society is not divided into an elite fighter class and a more lowly non-fighter class, but values both in their command structure.
If for example we wanted to give Fingolfin a herald, but she's seen and not heard, then it's apparent her society doesn't value her. If we can't even mention her in the script outline, she doesn't even exist.

Or how would we actually do this:
But, yes, if we feel it is sending an unintended message about female elves, we can take pains to make sure the next victim is a male elf.
Do you mean this:
So, a scene where an elf comes to the gate and is turned away in a future season is quite likely.

Basically, I don't understand the practical difference within this project between extras, repeat background faces, and a hypothetical mass of nothing that is never mentioned anywhere.


but we are by no means obligated to kill all female healers off in the episode (or season) where we introduce them. What we were asked to do was to curb any tendency to create a plethora of minor characters, but instead prudently and cautiously add minor characters with a plan for how they will be used.
I hope you're right.
So... if there is a way to mention/depict repeat background characters, do you think we can propose characters who are background in some seasons and minor in other seasons, if needed? It usually wouldn't matter if readers remember them personally from one season to the next.


This was never a rule. The four 'types' of captives mean that there will be multiple characters in each category. The distinction is that the rest of the captives will be extras - people the audience *didn't* know when they were made captive, and thus we need the named character as an example.
So... male captives/dead can "exist", but as extras. So... do you think it's possible we can include (and name) Gwindor's brother Gelmir in this project?

You suggested the idea that a named male character could someday be captured and not return. I'm entirely uncertain whether Corey completely ignored the suggestions, or if this was a sort of implied response the Angrod suggestion:

One suggestion that was offered to us was that if we wanted to steal a role from a canon character and give it to someone else, that canon character could then be killed off instead.



And I have a separate question about Luthien. She'll go to the Mereth Aderthad, apparently. So will Sauron and Thuringwethil. We know that in Season 6, Luthien will pwn them and crush their magic. Thuringwethil could be weakened by then through the crappy wasteful hatefulness of evil, but Sauron won't be weaker. So we need some reason why she doesn't see through their disguises at the Feast. An internal reason, so we know how to depict the scene.

(I really don't want Caranthir there. Most of the Sons of Feanor make a political statement about "reconciliation" and Dark Elf "savages" by not attending the Feast at all.)
When did we decide on Luthien at the Mereth Adethad?
 

amysrevenge

Well-Known Member
Corey suggested it on the latest session. Seems like the sort of thing where the gain could be worth the change from the text.
 

Faelivrin

Well-Known Member
Basically, Corey liked amysrevenge's suggestions for Luthien to counteract strife and arguments between Elves a lot, and wanted her to do it at the Mereth Aderthad in opposition to Sauron and Thuringwethil trying to start arguments and fights. I suggested that Thingol would order her to stay home (as a reason for her not attending the Feast in the book) but Corey didn't want Thingol to be so overprotective yet. He felt that Thingol should be still be somebody wise, who more gradually starts making bad decisions and ignoring his wife's advice.

So the current plan is Luthien asks to go, Thingol doesn't want her to, but Melian convinces him that Luthien should be there. Which goes perfectly with amysrevenge's idea that providence keeps her from meeting Sauron. She was meant to be there to thwart him... but not yet to face him directly.


Edit: If we can introduce (as minor characters) some female roles, trying to be parsimonious with new characters, this is who I would suggest:

Celeborn's sister (name) among the Green Elves
Meril (Orodreth's feancé/wife), one day to be Besan of Dorthonion > Minas Tirith
Edhellos, scholar?, very briefly the Besan of Dorthonion (I don't think she can resume her office once she's insane)
Caranthir's or Curufin's wife (Nethril? Pennor = Quennar?) chief healer, scholar, and artisan
Maglor's wife (Faniel?) Fëanorian Besan and scholar, maybe a healer too (to replace Curufin's wife in Feanorian chief healer role)
Fingolfin's Besan and chief healer (Lalwen daughter of Irimë, mother or sister of Glorfindel)
Fingolfin's herald (Erien?)

Lalwen merges 2 roles in one character. It may work to make Maglor and Fingolfin's Besain only background characters this season (few lines, only in a few episodes, not cast yet) and develop them into minor characters later, if we have to keep the # of new characters lower. Fingolfin's herald could wait until next season if the office of herald develops gradually, or could start as a background character this season and become a minor character next season. I'd propose that all of the above Noldor, except maybe the herald, attend the Noldorin council meetings in Mithrim along with Glorfindel.

I hope that is minimal enough new characters - I'm ignoring Caranthir's wife at least for now, except as a repeat background face among the Feanorians. (There are of course other new minor characters we need this season).
 
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Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
I have an idea later on for Glorfindel teaching Idril how to fight, and with the idea about societal roles, how that would impact Idril.
 

MithLuin

Well-Known Member
Faelivrin, using your list, I've bolded the names that we are already including in Season 4, and italicizing the names that we have not yet gained any indication from the Hosts that they want to approve.

Celeborn's sister (name) among the Green Elves
Meril (Orodreth's feancé/wife), one day to be Besan of Dorthonion > Minas Tirith
Edhellos, scholar?, very briefly the Besan of Dorthonion (I don't think she can resume her office once she's insane)
Caranthir's or Curufin's wife (Nethril? Pennor = Quennar?) chief healer, scholar, and artisan
Maglor's wife (Faniel?) Fëanorian Besan and scholar, maybe a healer too (to replace Curufin's wife in Feanorian chief healer role)
Fingolfin's Besan and chief healer (Lalwen daughter of Irimë, mother or sister of Glorfindel)
Fingolfin's herald (Erien?) - but as a repeat background character for now


In other words, the bolded names are in (so far, unless we change something later), and the italicized names may be something that we have to discuss if we want to upgrade them from repeat background faces to minor characters; nothing indicates the Hosts intend to include these characters at this time.



There are really two main reasons to be conservative with the incorporation of minor characters in the project. The primary concern, about there being too many characters and the audience getting confused, would be more of an issue in a 'real' show - the intended audience of this project is really....us. And we're...not likely to forget who everyone is. The Hosts would like their listeners to know who they're talking about, of course, but...we could probably manage ;)

But there's another issue, and that reflects on the quality of the show. If you have too many characters, too many storylines, and try to introduce too much...you wind up with more than you can handle. You go to all the effort to introduce this minor character, but then don't have the time to do anything with them. Or, you write yourself into corners and start butchering characterizations to make characters 'fit' scenes. The audience (in this case, us!) starts feeling frustrated that we've barely touched on this really cool character and haven't given them a chance to really do anything. With a large cast, it's difficult to juggle well. It's difficult to keep everyone afloat. Most TV shows have a short list of main characters who appear in nearly every episode, and a few minor characters who appear in only one episode per season. The audience knows who these characters are and doesn't forget about them, but...consider how few other characters there are around to distract!

Our show...is not a sitcom. We don't have a consistent cast of 5-6 main characters in every episode. We have over 20 'main characters' whom we want to give screen time to and let the audience follow around. THAT's why we can't work in a bunch of minor characters - doing so takes away from the characters we're actually trying to tell a story with. It's true that there are lots of TV shows with memorable minor characters who appear no more than once per season (or maybe only in a single episode). But what those shows ALL have that we lack...is a relatively small cast of main characters in every episode. This gives them the flexibility to let the spotlight shine on someone else for a moment, as the audience is unlikely to 'forget' about the main character they've watched through 100 previous episodes. That's what we're working against.

Some random examples of memorable minor characters:

Seinfeld's 'Soup Nazi'
Note that three of the main characters from this show introduce the existence of the minor character, and then interact with him in multiple scenes. Also, humor. This show had 4 main characters and 2 supporting characters, and other minor characters appearing in fewer than 30 of the 173 episodes.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine's 'Pontiac Bandit' (Doug Judy)
This recurring minor character is the one who got away. He and the main character on the show would probably be best friends...if he weren't a car thief, and the main character weren't a cop. He has appeared in 7 episodes. Note that his ongoing interaction is with the show's central character. The show has seven main characters (based on opening credits), with two additional supporting roles. No other character appears in more than 10 episodes (out of 130). The show is a comedy, not a procedural cop show; it's more like Parks and Rec.

I know we've brought up Firefly before. The middleman Badger is certainly a minor character on the show. It would be perfectly easy for someone to watch the show and forget about his character, but still remember the overall storyline. In this particular episode, his role is to keep the crew on lockdown so they can't go rescue the Captain. A necessary role, to be sure, but more of a role than a character. The most memorable scene he's in is really River's scene:
A more memorable/important recurring minor character would be Saffron. She's the title character of 'Our Mrs. Reynolds', and as such has a rather important role in that episode!
Firefly has nine main characters. Saffron and Badger each appear in 2 of the 14 episodes; no minor character appears in more than 2 episodes of the first season (though who knows what would have happened had it been renewed).

Supernatural's Charlie Bradbury
In this scene, a minor recurring character (Charlie) and a supporting character (Rowena) have a discussion focused on whether or not they can work together or respect each other, while a main character (Castiel) brings them snacks. This show has 2 main characters who appear in every episode (the Winchester brothers), and three other characters who count as main characters (Castiel, Crowley, and Bobby). After that, no character appears in more than 36 of the 300+ episodes (Mary, Lucifer, and Jody would count as supporting characters, along with Rowena). But as most of the characters on the show appear only in one episode, any character who recurs at all is a minor character. Background characters are most of the people associated with their cases (victims, monsters, law enforcement, coroners, witnesses, etc).


So, looking at Season 4, what are we up against? (Ignoring the Villains.) Our theme for the Season is 'reconciliation', and so we are focusing most of the subplots that tell that story (intra-Noldor, Noldor/Sindar, elf/dwarf, and Dwarf/Petty-dwarf relationships)

Main Characters
Fingolfin
Fingon
Galadriel
Turgon
Finrod
Thingol
Maedhros
Celeborn
Angrod
Caranthir
Círdan

Minor Characters
Aredhel
Melian
Lúthien

Orodreth
Meril
Aegnor
Edhellos
Eöl
Norn
Telchar
Petty-dwarf
Curufin
Maglor
Celeborn's sister the Green Elf
Curufin's wife

Rog
Annael
Thorondor

Background Characters
Idril (adult)
Celebrimbor
Amras
Celegorm (+ Huan)
Beleg
Mablung
Daeron
Saeros
Galdor of the Havens
Glorfindel
Ecthelion
Various Besain, Healers, and Heralds

These lists are just based on who we seem to be talking about as we talk about the Season. Obviously, we don't even have our episode breakdowns yet, so things can very much change. Basically, if we seem to have a season-long arc featuring that character prominently....main character. If a character appears in one or two episodes to do something important, but other than that sorta fades into the background...minor character. If we literally have not given the character any role during this Season so far, other than to 'be there'....I've assigned them as a background character. Female characters in italics (considering what thread this is....) Ensemble episodes like the Mereth Aderthad should allow for a lot of characters to appear, but not everyone who attends will be a main character. We'll likely focus on Celeborn/Galadriel, Lúthien vs Sauron, and Círdan's sleuthing.


A final comment on our source material. Galadriel's role at this point in the history of Middle-earth is a minor one. We are choosing to make her a central character and focus on her experience. Our minor female characters are either invented by us, named or implied in supplemental materials (but not given any stories), or....are Aredhel, Lúthien, and Melian. If any characters on this list are going to be bumped from 'background' to 'minor' characters...I would suspect we're talking about Glorfindel and Echthelion, our 'new' characters. It is not the goal to bump all of the characters up to 'main character' status. The goal is to manage the storytelling so that we don't lose track of the main characters' storylines.
 
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MithLuin

Well-Known Member
You suggested the idea that a named male character could someday be captured and not return. I'm entirely uncertain whether Corey completely ignored the suggestions, or if this was a sort of implied response the Angrod suggestion:

One suggestion that was offered to us was that if we wanted to steal a role from a canon character and give it to someone else, that canon character could then be killed off instead.
I do not think that that was in direct response to the suggestion that Angrod's death become more of a permanent imprisonment, no. What Corey Olsen was doing was beginning with how we got ourselves into this situation in the first place, and offering an alternative method of moving forward, if we'd prefer.

So, why did we kill off Irimë at the Kinslaying?

The Execs were very explicit that they wanted a named character to die in the Kinslaying, and they warned us of this well in advance. They did not want it to be a bunch of nameless elves dying on screen. Because, yes, that might be horrifying...but the audience won't find it nearly so terrible as we intend it to be. Naturally, we wound up killing off our only two named Teleri characters - Olwë and Earwen. No other Teleri was ever introduced to the audience in a meaningful way. Galadriel had a conversation with her cousins (Olwë's sons' kids) at one point, but Galadriel was the only character in that scene who the audience really knew. Showing one of them dying at Alqualondë wouldn't really increase the impact of that scene dramatically. So....that leaves our main cast, who are all Noldor. Surely there were some casualties on the Noldor side of the fighting, right?

So...who could we kill off? Who could participate in the Kinslaying, but then be eliminated from the story? The only character we were sending to Middle-earth who had no planned 'role' in the story once we got there who also had a role fighting at Alqualondë was...Irimë. And, as Fingolfin's sister, she'd serve the purpose of really upping the ante of the fighting's emotional impact, for both the audience and the characters.

It wasn't that we set out to kill off Irimë. We set out to kill a named character, and not surprisingly, almost all of the named characters had future 'roles' we needed them for. So, we selected her because she was considered expendable, plot-wise. Which of the named male Noldor characters could we have afforded to kill off during the Kinslaying instead of Irimë? Could we have killed Amras? Or Caranthir? You see the problem! The Noldor fighting forces at Alqualondë (in Silm Film) included: Fëanor, all 7 of his sons, Fingolfin, Irimë, Fingon, Turgon, and Galadriel. There were other people there, of course, filling out the armies, but...those were the only named characters who took part. Of those, Irimë was the one who could be killed with the least impact to the later story.

Naturally, the characters Tolkien didn't bother integrating into the plot were mostly the wives and daughters. There's a few, but for the most part, he named many fewer than you might expect, and of those, only some of them play any role in the story at all. So, that is why characters like Irimë and Eldalotë are seen as 'expendable' - they have no canonical role in the story, and removing them changes nothing.

But...what if we wanted to keep them? How could we do that?

The suggestion was...give these important story roles that we 'need' someone to do to one of the wives/daughters instead, and write the canonical (male) Noldo character out of the story early when we 'need' a death/capture/etc. We still have to preserve the role so as not to change the story, but there's no rule that says our adaptation can't alter who plays that role (if we are willing to do that).

Now, there are very few roles where a wife could be swapped out for her husband in the story without changing it. We need Fëanor's sons, not Fëanor's daughters-in-law. Finrod is going to leave his younger brother/nephew Orodreth in charge in his stead, not Orodreth's wife Meril.

The 'swappable' roles are things that (almost) anyone could do. Caranthir's deal with the dwarves and meeting with Haleth, for instance, is not 'Caranthir-specific' but rather geographically determined. Angrod's role of ambassador to Thingol is helped by his being kin to Thingol, but it could just as easily have been Aegnor, Orodreth, or Galadriel in that role. Changing who plays these roles does change the story (sometimes only in a minor way), but it is something we have avoided to this point. If we want to re-evaluate our avoidance...we can do that.

So...to circle the question back around. Who can we have kidnapped in Season 4 and never return? Not invent a new male character; of the existing cast. Honestly, Angrod is the only one, I think, and only if we wait until after the Kinslaying reveal. That would change his canonical death, of course, but if we're willing to change canon, we could use him here rather than Curufin's wife. [I am not suggesting we do that; I'm trying to show how this approach would work.]

That was the question - would it be optional to preserve who plays some of the roles in this story? If so, we don't have to limit ourselves to canon character deaths happening when/how Tolkien wrote them. If that's a way to work some of the obscure female characters into the story by giving them these roles, fine, the Execs are willing to discuss it.


So....*if* we're willing to wait until Season 6 for our 'character who never escapes but remains a prisoner,' then we could make that post-Bragollach Angrod with almost no alteration to canon (he is MIA in battle, but recorded as KIA in the histories, and no one outside of Angband ever learns 'the truth'). If we can't wait that long, we could have him captured in Season 4 post-Kinslaying reveal, and have that alter canon minimally (Aegnor would hold Dorthonion without his brother there; he might need a minor character herald to talk to in Angrod's absence).

Considering Eldalotë is meant to be an agent of Morgoth after her return, it would not be difficult to make her responsible for her husband's capture. If anything, it would be more surprising if she didn't get him or others around her killed.

This would save Curufin's wife from the fate of being a permanent captive. However...it would also downgrade Curufin's wife back to 'background character' unless we find another role for her to play in the story.

Is that an alteration we should pursue? I'm not sure it's an improvement over what we have.
 

Faelivrin

Well-Known Member
Faelivrin, using your list, I've bolded the names that we are already including in Season 4, and italicizing the names that we have not yet gained any indication from the Hosts that they want to approve.
I hope that isn't an indication of disapproval for them.

Out of those, Fingolfin's herald is much less important than the two main Besain, and neither Besan needs a huge role either.

My suggestion was never to add any main characters (until most of our current ones die), nor to put a spotlight on minor characters to the exclusion of main characters. I haven't suggested making any episode center on a minor character, to the degree that "Our Mrs. Reynolds" centers on Saffron. I've suggested, having a few people at the level of Galdor of the Havens. He has done very little of note and has never been a main character. I wouldn't say that he has ever had the spotlight, much less stolen it from Cirdan or Celeborn.

Having somebody who is a significant participant in only 1-3 episodes, but not a main character for any episode, just doesn't seem like a big deal to me. Especially for example, my suggestion for Celeborn to have a living parent or brother, who would only be present at one or two parties (which are full of background and minor characters anyway) and one other episode with a meaningful conversation about Noldor-Sindar reconciliation.

Or, you write yourself into corners and start butchering characterizations to make characters 'fit' scenes.
This is one of the main things I'm trying to avoid doing to our main characters: forcing one of them into every single role, even when they clearly don't fit. We shouldn't force round pegs into square holes and mess up our main characters. And most minor characters don't need any storyline of their own -- they're mostly only needed to participate in and round out the main storylines we already have, and to round out Elven culture. Several of them can become background faces for a season or several before they're needed again.

Our show has a large ensemble cast, but we need that because we're telling stories that span centuries and an entire sub-continent. We aren't telling the tale of the small crew of one small, insignificant spaceship, doing unimportant things in unimportant places or empty vacuum. We aren't even telling the tale of a small group of travellers secretly trying to get into Mordor while hiding from other people as much as possible. Our main characters must routinely interact with huge numbers of soldiers, councilors, healers, enemies, and other people who exist outside of the Noldorin royal family. Most of those won't have names, but their existence is unavoidable.

I don't think that including minor characters will automatically "take away" from the main characters, not if they're used correctly. The main point of minor characters is to fill roles that the main characters can't fill without wrecking their personalities and/or storylines. The other point, with Curufin/Caranthir's wife, is that I think she should be a person before she's written out of the show. And since we have so few women my suggestion was that when we have room or need for a role (death/capture/corpse does not count as a real role) that doesn't have to be male, we can use a female instead. And there isn't really a difference between introducing a minor character Tolkien said almost nothing about, vs. inventing a character from scratch.

I'm not suggesting that we kill off Angrod this season, or make other drastic plot changes. Having Caranthir's wife (or Curfin's wife) involved a little in the Dwarf-dealings or with Haleth would be interesting, if there's room for it.


I think maybe you're imagining that I envision every minor character needs some grand and spotlight-stealing personal storyline. I don't. I respectfully ask all those who don't want any new minor characters to wait and actually see how little I suggest in an episode outline, before arguing that we can't possibly include them at all.
 
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