The Tolkien Professor podcast is a series of lectures, discussions, and seminars on the works of J.R.R. Tolkien by Corey Olsen, Assistant Professor of English at Washington College in Maryland. Find me on Facebook at "The Tolkien Professor," on Twitter at @tolkienprof, or at my website at www.tolkienprofessor.com. I have also begun a grand new venture: the Mythgard Institute, offering courses on Tolkien studies for credit at the MA level, or just for fun! Join us at www.mythgard.org.
February 18th, 2016
Episode 305 of 364 episodes
1) Bilbo would be a better character for young Estel to meet instead of Thorin or any of the Dwarves. Kinda referencing Pippin and Bergil in Minas Tirith The Dwarves are secretive so they wouldn't be talking to a young boy about their culture, they'd remain amongst each other. Thorin would be too important to meet an adolescent boy We could have some time in the Aulë episode (Estel might peer out and see the Elf guards spying the Dwarves' arrival, Estel might ask about them and Elrond would respond "those are Dwarves") Estel could ask Bilbo if he's a Dwarf, and if so, what happened to his beard? Bilbo (mistaking Estel for an Elf) may indignantly complain about being eaten out of house and home and how they're starving. He could tell Estel about what happened, thinking that bc Estel is an Elf, he would know of the troublesomeness of Dwarves, and Estel's confusion about Bilbo's story may lead into Aulë and the Dwarves. 2) Awakening of the Elves sequence: The orcs - made of stone, slime and hatred. Goblins in the hobbit are just fairy tale monsters. They're just there (no origin story) Shaping of Middle Earth class - this class is awesome and eye opening When he invented the orcs, he didn't have the world built. It's the 1930s when Tolkien focuses on world building - maps, timelines, etc. The more Tolkien thinks about it, the more he has a problem with it. If the orcs aren't automata, and Melkor can't make them. This leads to the paradigm shift, leading to the ”corrupted elves" but that would mean they have souls and free will...but do they? How could Melkor destroy the sovereignty of choice? The will of the orcs is consistently overridden by Morgoth and Sauron An Orc could theoretically choose to be good, but their will is enslaved Conundrum: Wouldn't the good guys want to rescue them if they have the potential for redemption? We need to decide on this bc we need to decide when to time the Awakening of the Elves. Book of Lost Tales sequence has the Elves awakening after Melkor had been chained for 3 ages. Silmarillion sequence Elves awaken Morgoth takes some to turn into orcs Oromë finds them and tells the other Valar The Valar decide to fight Morgoth, Oromë goes back to the Elves "we'll be right back" and chain Melkor, then invite them to Valinor Kinda wanting to save the Elves for Season 2. Oromë could find them off camera and then bound into the Valar council and proclaim that he's found the Elves. Season 2 would open in Cuiviénen, as we'd make Season 2 from the Elves perspective, while Season 1 is from the Valar's perspective. So we could rewind the clock a little when starting Season 2. Discussion of Orcs and souls - there has to be a source for souls. Melkor can't make a soul. Only Eru has the Flame Imperishable Possibility 1) Take a living creature (like an animal) and a Maia spirit and fuse them this is Morgoth's method of creating dragons and werewolves Melkor actually uses his own power to do this, and thus is how he diminishes. He uses up his own power/essence Huan and the rest of the pack OTOH may be Maiar choosing to be animals. It's not like a demon/angelic possession. The only problem with this is the sheer numbers. Orcs breed like flies...(will not be shown on screen) Melian reproduced with an Elf, and her child is an Elf but with divine blood. Melkor will make a prototype Orc. (Boldog) so he'd make a prototype female Orc and they breed. So their children are___? The name Boldog was used by several Orc chieftains during the First Age. In a note ca.1960 Tolkien suggested that it is possible that Boldog was actually a title, given to lesser Maiar, servants of Morgoth, who had taken an Orkish hröa. (The History of the Hobbit by John Rateliff, 2007) Book of Lost Tales genealogy Nienna is sister to Manwë and Melkor Oromë is Yavanna's son and his wife is his aunt (?!) Eonwë was son to Manwë and Varda... Necromantically fusing Elf souls/bodies? Putting an Elf feä into an Elf hroä would still yield some kind of Elf Reanimate dead? Melkor would see the Orcs as a mixed result experiment - the "technology" of creation works, but the orcs were easily slain by the Noldor, so Morgoth decides to go bigger with the dragons. Possibility 2) How about giving orcs free will? They're slaves, they're being twisted, and they're being held to their will. There would be pockets of refugee Orc cultures and they wouldn't be evil We wouldn't show this, though. It would deviate from the main story too much We couldn't be pro-Orc annihilation anymore bc there's a possibility that they could be redeemed. (the extermination of the orcs is an explicit goal) Most orcs would still be really bad people simply based on how they've been raised, so shooting them on sight by the good guys wouldn't be questioned. In war, you kill your enemy on sight. Making war on the Orcs may remind us of the Valar going to war against Morgoth. Mandos could have halls for orcs if they were originally elves Plot line that won't work but... 1) Melkor capture Elves but not Orcify them yet. He wants worshippers so that what he thinks they should be doing. 2) So he comes back after having been burned by the Silmarils, and he's consumed with wrath as well as pride. His orcification of his captured "worshippers" would be retribution. This won't work bc the orcs are already there and have a hand in other events leading up to his return. We don't need to solve this completely right now as Orcs take no part in the next 2 episodes, we just need to have the Elves awaken before The Valar go to war. If we give the Orcs free will, most of the problems go away. Maybe episode 12 can end with Oromë finding The Elves. Yavanna and Aulë - don't want to do the conversation as its written. Want to have more psychological substance than what's there. Her concerns for living things is an anxiety (her trees being chopped down, animals being hunted) Dialogue is also stilted We can show the fruit of Valinor as peace and light and Utumno's is violence and darkness. When the episode begins, we could see Varda and Manwë on Taniquetal amidst the beauty of Valinor (classical music piece Trish suggested) but then the camera shifts to what they're looking at, which is the twistedness caused by Melkor (blind guardian) We can transition to Yavanna in Middle-earth and she meets one of the huge twisted, horned beasts that Tulkas and Oromë had hunted. Yavanna would be planting seeds and lamenting the dead foliage, when this beast comes charging at her. Her look of horror may be mistaken for fear When it comes upon her, she merely lifts a hand and the beast stops in its tracks, and it passes out. She sits beside the beast and contemplates with anger and pity...this was her beast that Melkor twisted. Yavanna goes to Aulë and tells him about it and they share concern over Melkor's doings. Aulë goes off (makes the Dwarves) Yavanna's initial reaction to the Dwarves is that she likes them She is upset and wants guardians/shepherds to protect her creatures' "rights." However, the secrecy gives foreboding doom about disharmony between the Dwarves and nature Valar Council This Ossë drama wasn't a one off thing. What about The Children? We cannot ignore Melkor has polluted the world. At the end of this discussion, Oromë bursts in having found the Elves and he's worried bc he's seen the twisted beasts already. Manwë doesn't want to go to war - that's like fighting evil with evil. This is against his nature bc he is the one who establishes harmony. Participating in discord is an abomination and feels like Manwë himself has fallen. The vision that Manwë has (of the Ents and Eagles during Manwë's re-experiencing of the Music) Manwë may even get during that vision that in the Music, fighting Melkor is part of the music. We need to agree on plot sequence. What if the next move for Mairon in terms of serving Melkor is that he reports finding the Children, which leads to his being put in charge of Orcification. Questions for next time: February 26 From last time, that we didn't really conclude (need to wrap up) Ents and Eagles? How are they connected to the story (growing elements of chaos) What's happening in Middle-earth? Melkor's comments on The Children? Set up for the war Timing of the Awakening of the Elves - Silmarillion time frame or Book of Lost Tales timeline? Yavanna, Ents and Eagles "Episode outlines" thread on the discussion boards (called "Scripts") First question from today for next time: Timelines. Discovery of Elves Yavanna's crisis Council of Valar the Vision of Iluvatar Manwë's anti war stance what Melkor and Mairon are doing (finding Elves first?) Varda making the stars Second question: The Frame. We haven't seen Gilraen in a while. Where do we end the frame for the season? Frame for next season? Eonwë may be sent to Melkor with a message and not only does refuse, but Eonwë is taken captive and tortured Outlines complete by tax day, then a session reviewing the outlines to conclude season 1. Reading for next episode: Ch. 2-3 Quenta