Season 2, Session 11: Episode 7 – Spirit of Fire (aka The Silmarillion needs more Rap Battles)

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Introduction

  • Princes of the Eldalië
  • Fëanor’s childhood

Announcements

1) Just under $20,000 raised, almost halfway through annual fundraising for the year

  • Monday’s discussion with Ted Nasmith (Tolkien artist) available on YouTube
    • Official illustrator of the Silmarillion

2) Special events

  • SilmFilm writer’s session with producers/script elves in the Webathon on 10/30
    • Afternoonish
    • Focused on the frame story
  • The Secret Vice series – the new Tolkien book (language creation)
    • What do we learn about Tolkien and his development of languages
    • Starting October 9 (series), with the last session during the Webathon

From last time/Today’s discussion

Discussion of script outline episodes 1-4

  • Does Ingwë need to be a first generation elf? The writers want to abduct his parents instead of his wife (bc Finwë loses his wife later)
    • If he is the first elf to awaken, it would make more sense for him to be the high King
      • The “Adam” of the elves – “I was there from the beginning” – the venerability of antiquity
    • Ingwë’s wife eventually returns, so they wouldn’t want to go back to the unsafe place that is Middle-earth.
      • He is grateful to be reunited with her here and is happy to be among the Valar
    • Ingwë being second generation helps with the passage of time but it reduces his status.
      • We really don’t have enough time to add in more characters and have him grow up.
    • Death of Miriel
      • Her death is from grief and weakness, which is so different from death by violence
        • This is doubly shocking because there is no villain, no violence, no danger
        • She dies in “paradise” (how ironic)
      • Indis – Niecehood not important… She could be his daughter instead, and thus would have more to say on her marriage to Finwë
        • Should be Finwë’s “generation”, not Fëanor’s
        • If he is an original elf, he can’t have siblings, unless all of the unbegotten could be considered as siblings
        • Their exact relationship need not be stated; she could simply be of the house of Ingwë
        • She could be a child or adolescent at Cuivienen
        • Age gap less important with immortals
      • Cool things to do in Valinor
        • Sightseeing for the ambassadors?
        • We see Oromë in a new context this season
          • We didn’t know how big he was in season one – the elves provide a new sense of scale
        • Be among the Valar themselves – we’re not going to see them much this season
          • Show their concerns; prime the audience for the rest of season two
          • Increased reverence
        • The Trees
        • Emphasize sub creation/learning
          • Finwë / Aulë
          • Vanyar crafting poetry
            • Rap battles… Because we all know, the Silmarillion needs more rap battles
          • Training montage
          • Elwë can jam out some tunes with Ossë and Ulmo
        • Engagement of Finwë and Miriel
          • Miriel became a Brontë heroine
          • Finwë became the Dagwood of Valinor (came across as weak henpecked husband even before marriage)
          • There needn’t be conflict amongst the ambassadors – they can all be pleased.
            • The conflict is among the Valar – Ulmo is face palming at the ambassadors loving everything and the other Valar being happy about it
          • Finwë can’t be weak from the beginning – why would anyone want to follow a limp noodle?
            • Maybe he has doubts and is uncertain, but he gets fiery and enthusiastic about it once he sees Aulë
            • Finwë needs to be passionate rather than weak
              • Fëanor is his blind spot. He’s strong otherwise, but won’t see Fëanor’s faults (or maybe thinks he can save him)
              • He would be effusive when telling Miriel about it “it’s amazing, you’ll love it”
                • Makes her death more tragic – she dies in paradise, really
              • They should be transformed upon their return – still carrying the glamour or Valinor upon them
            • Vairë showing Finwë a tapestry with him sitting his child?
              • What is her motivation for doing so?
                • Usually the mortal has to seek out that information (so they’re accountable for the consequences of having at knowledge)
                • A god just showing up and doing that might look malicious
                  • Especially since Vairë doesn’t talk.
                • Maybe he’s seeking knowledge
                  • Would be cool to incorporate a tapestry…
                  • He can see the image and recognize it, and get excited (misinterpreting), and ask Vairë about it (who would be somber, but he totally misses it)
                  • Perhaps her tapestries are on the outside like a courtyard
                  • The Valar themselves come there and contemplate them…rather than any kind of Mandos Lobby
                  • Then we’ll see the live version of the tapestry later in context (mourning)
                • What rating are we going for? (Orc project)
                  • We can depict violence without showing a lot.
                  • Sometimes the unseen is more horrid
                  • The Hobbit movies took decapitation to a comical level
                  • Tolkien doesn’t shy away from gruesome things, but he also doesn’t revel in them
                    • Vs GRM lingering on and relishing those horrible things
                    • Tolkien doesn’t delight in bloodshed
                  • Image of Tevildo as sadistic (Sauron has to reign him in to keep the elves alive)
                    • We can evoke it without depicting it
                    • How did Saruman create the Urukhai?
                      • Treebeard is accusing Saruman of kidnapping (human) women and having Orcs rape them to create the Uruks. (the reverse could also be possible)
                        • This is not explicitly stated but deduced from the statement of “breeding orcs and Men”
                        • Something forcibly done to them rather than being forced to do something makes more sense
                      • How explicit does this content need to be? This is among the most terrible things we will depict. (a black evil)
                    • Island ferry take the Vanyar first then Noldor. Why?
                      • We lose the connection between the 2 – they’re joined at the hip till they get to Valinor.
                      • It’s in Valinor that their hearts “no longer grow in the same way”
                        • The closeness and then the separation would be more tragic
                        • Why would the Vanyar have any less story than the Noldor (right now) They’re doing the same thing (C plot of this episode – not needing much screen time)
                        • This is a Teleri-centered episode anyway, focus should be on Lenwë and the Ents
                        • Ingwë and Finwë should interact more on the way to Valinor so that their drifting apart is more pronounced

 

Today’s episode

Covering 1 of 2 of the least plot driven chapters in this episode

  • First question: What do we need to cover?
    • Noontide of Valinor – this isn’t a moment in time but a span of time.
      • Fëanor growing up
        • Elven wunderkind
        • Relationship with Fingolfin and Finarfin
          • Contrast Fëanor being resentful whilst the others simply have love and pity for him
        • (we don’t need the next generation)
        • We also need Nerdanel and Mahtan
          • Fëanor meets and falls in love
            • Marvelous sculptor (stone and metal)
              • women too are subcreators
              • “Proto-Galadriels”
              • Not considered very pretty among elves so his interest is in her strong personality
                • He would respect her talent and judgment
                • She can change his mind, no one else has that ability
              • Nerdanel the Wise
                • Means “skill” (as opposed to just “conventional” wisdom)
                • Tolkien uses this word with Noldor a lot
                • The biggest thing she does is reject/resist him – need to decide if they’re estranged when the Noldor leave (or earlier…or later?)
                • She’s the moral compass to show Fëanor is going wrong
                  • Gives him cautions that he increasingly doesn’t listen to
                  • Establishing the motif of men marrying wise women and not listening to them, and the consequences
                • Fëanor and Galadriel – not this episode
                  • His possessiveness of his niece’s hair (which is like akin to the Silmarils) is creepy
                    • His interest isn’t sexual – his obsession is the Silmarils/light
                  • Becomes apprentice
                    • Fëanor’s awesome smithcraft
                    • He surpasses Mahtan
                    • Want to steer from Hollywood’s tendency to focus on the romantic relationship – the smithcraft is what the 3 of them have in common
                      • The smithcraft should be central
                      • Fëanor could make the Palantiri as a pre Silmaril warm up
                      • Fëanorian lamps – knockoff of Silmarils (post Silmarils)
                        • “no the Silmarils are just for me, but I made you this”
                        • He may despise/look down on them and the ppl who think they’re awesome
                        • Swords
                          • Part of the decline of the Noldor
                          • Mahtan then regrets having taught Fëanor metal smithy (blades of some kind…knife or farm implement)
                          • Eonwë has a sword, doesn’t he?
                            • His weapons are more an extension of himself rather than a metal sword
                          • Fëanor beating plow shares into swords (the reverse of the biblical prophecies)
                          • The only use for a sword is for fighting
                          • They don’t need to have invented them
                          • But it’s a terrible thing that they’re stockpiling them.
                        • Gems…lots of gems
                          • The Teleri strew them on the beach
                        • Finwë and Indis have to marry in this episode
                          • Consequent emotional complexity
                        • Rùmil (scholar who invented writing)
                          • He is Salieri to Fëanor’s Mozart (Fëanor pissing off
                          • Make him funny like Book of Lost Tales?
                          • Crotchety yet trolololy
                            • Grouchy yet snarky
                          • Be fond of colored wiskets and smoking a pipe hookah, looking and sounding like Tolkien
                        • So what’s the actual story? Plot arc?
                          • We basically have Fëanor growing up and some red flags
                          • We need more foreshadowing
                            • Either a tapestry or a Valar conversation?
                            • Fëanor at the forge…and we see the red glow of the forge on the face…then we see his face glowing in the red flames of the ships (but not be recognizable as the actual ships) in a tapestry, then in “reality” but not know what it is
                              • Fëanor means “spirit of fire”
                              • Nerdanel can be sculpting a swan in the background
                                • Next season begins easily enough “previously on the Silmarillion…”
                              • We don’t want Fëanor to go too far wrong too quickly – we want to show he could be the greatest of the Children of Iluvatar
                                • “That guy is awesome but he could totally go bad”

 

 

Questions for next time:

 

  1. The frame
  2. What’s going to happen?
  • Trial of Melkor
  • How much of the episode is the trial? Do want to spend a lot of time with it? Law and Order Special Villains Unit?
    • Frame could play a part
    • What else do we do besides the trial? Do we want to have Melkor beginning to cozy up to the Melkor? Other major events?
  • To what extent are the elves involved? Do they participate in the trial? How ignorant are the elves of what happened and why? Are they there?
  • Do we introduce the 3rd generation elves now or wait till episode 9?

 

Next session is 10/21