The Tolkien Professor

Corey Olsen

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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.


SilmFilm 1-15 – Episode 13: The War to Begin All Wars

March 7th, 2016

Episode 306 of 366 episodes

Introduction/Review "Incipient marvelousness is afoot" Season 1 cleanup (Ents and Eagles), last episode of Season 1 Comments from last time: 1) Orc discussion Actual orcification process is season 2 We needed to have the discussion to decide if Elves and Orcs are "related" and if so, the Elves need to be available before the orcs. Necromantic Orc project next season - orcs are out and fighting while Melkor is chained. Possible "Awakening" scenario - The Valar are are still discussing what to do when the first Elf soul arrives in Mandos, having been the first Elf to have been captured, torture and now died. This would justify the war but may be too tragic(?) 2) Physical suffering of Valar? Can dissociate from body but should see some kind of suffering and pain No drama if no one dies, so Maiar becoming wounded on the battlefield They are bound to their bodies by choice so they could work on/in Arda They wouldn't be killed but they'd suffer More "minor" spirits would go to Lorien to rest and rehouse. Their spirits might diminish in power by losing their bodies Eonwë torture episode - can foreshadow how Valar suffering works Announcements 1) Shaping of Middle-earth class - just finished All episodes up on YouTube Next book is Bram Stoker's Dracula (2 weeks from this past Wednesday...March 9 or 10) Today's episode We need to decide what happens. Need to map out episode 12 as well as 13 1) Inside the frame Yavanna's distress (beast scene we talked about before) Maybe Oromë is hunting it and he meets Yavanna, who asks him not to kill it, but he's trying to protect the land for the children Yavanna talks to Aulë, who confesses "our children won't get along because of your secrecy, BUT something must be done, and the dwarves are kinda cool" Yavanna goes to Manwë The vision - renewed vision of the music should include the war - this vision would be the turning point for Manwë. Only Iluvatar can convince him that war is part of the design. (this part of the vision might happen later) Yavanna's focus at first how her beasts are being twisted, can we go to war to stop them? Manwë says no, but when she mentions Aulë and the dwarves, Manwë could be like "this is a strange thing, but..." Manwë doesn't want to go to war bc they become part of the problem, not the solution. The best way to protect is to heal the breach. How many will be destroyed by going to war? Mairon getting the Angband tour (not yet given allegiance) Melkor paints the Valar as the aggressors...it's their fault In the book, Melkor finds the Elves before Oromë, so we will follow that. If Sauron is in charge of the necromantic project, it would make sense for him to find the Elves and report to Melkor (instead of the Valar like he's supposed to) To what degree do we reveal Sauron's allegiance? "Sauron" means "the abhorred" but he's not abhorrent yet. (The Elves should rename him) Tolkien-prophetic naming: Gothmog, out of jealousy, and maybe with foresight, calls him "The Abhorred," but Mairon is confused "no one abhors me." "But they will..." Sauron is the subtle one...as Annatar/w/Denethor...double agent He'll be the captain in Angband while Melkor is chained But Mairon is at council and when it's announced that the Valar are going to war, he can furtively slip out After Manwë's talk with Yavanna, there will be a private talk with Varda They could talk about his misgivings and she would be on the side of war, as she makes the symbol of Melkor's doom in the stars We can't have Manwë be bullied into war...that undermines his power Manwë and Varda look at Middle-earth together Musical accompaniment to Varda's making the stars...the theme would be recurrent (Frodo pulling out the phial of Galadriel/when Sam looks at the stars twinkling/etc) The creation of the stars - can be mechanical (the sparks from Aulë's forge while he's making silver - recycling Valinor style) or gathering light from the wells of Telperion We can see her hand in a vat of silver light and she's holding the light and singing A star (Sirius) can form on her brow (echoing The Silmarils) while she sings. She walks through the streets of Valimar and the light increases. She ascends and then places it in the sky (this is a big deal so others need to witness) Need to show Orion and the Big Dipper (the Valar's sickle) Melkor can look at the sky in wonder and uneasiness Eonwë - sent to Utumno to summon Melkor. To talk, not for war. Morgoth imprisons him, Balrogs take him away. Make sure to chain Eonwë to a wall up high somewhere What happens to Eonwë? Either: They kill him via torture (anticipate Hurin's defiance) and returns disembodied (killing him could anticipate Kinslaying) Eonwë escapes but the Balrogs kill him or chooses to disembody sacrificially to return to Valinor Escapes and return to Valinor whole He will become the general of the greatest might in arms later on, so this could be a consequence of being reembodied. Mairon may forge the chain...would look like he's making the One Ring but it would be the ring going around Eonwë's neck or something Eonwë in Lorien being healed, Namo can tell him of his "upgrade" due to his defiance We need 3 Valar councils... Pre-Eonwë/vision - an actual full scene about the for and against regarding going to war Post Vision/Eonwë - Manwë is ready to go...he gives the 'This is the counsel of Ilúvatar in my heart: that we should take up again the mastery of Arda, at whatsoever cost, and deliver the Quendi from the shadow of Melkor' speech (followed with "you have my tree branch!" "you have my ocean!" "and my rocks!!!") Mandos: "seconded" (just a short scene) (Mairon was in the corner and slips out to report to Melkor) Post war - judgment on Melkor. Mandos only one speaking (another short scene) Oromë finds the Elves after Mairon, but when with everything else? He could be riding through the woods and he hears singing - surprised and delighted - rides back to Valinor and tells them. This happens before the war but after the stars. Ents and Eagles Talked about by Yavanna pre-vision, can't come in before the children awake, but can participate in the battle. The Battle - results in the continents being broken, the face of the world rearranged. breaking of land masses with the ocean rushing in as counterattack This is the biggest war Foot soldiers would be irrelevant in an all elemental war The map of the world before the War of Wrath and after changed significantly, and this war is even larger than that (think Beleriand) Both sides know where the Elves are. Wouldn't Melkor try to go nuclear if he sees that he's losing? He has Sauron sends out creatures to destroy the Children Oromë (and Huan) leads defenders of Cuivienen, and the Ents and Eagles come in and save the Elves The Elves don't see the battle but are freaked out by the volcanos and earthquakes and floods and lightning A flash of lightning would break open Utumno, and Tulkas is leading the invasion. The Balrogs scatter from Utumno/Melkor out of self-preservation (or Morgoth might tell them to go to Angband) The next time Melkor sees them is when they save him from Ungoliant Gothmog may name Sauron bc he didn't even show up for the war (abhorred bc of cowardice) Tulkas takes and chains Melkor in the dungeon Back to Angband, Sauron and Balrogs regroup, Sauron named 2) The frame: Bilbo and Gandalf just returned from Battle of Five armies Bilbo has lost his friend Thorin and tried so hard for peaceful resolution and war still happened anyway Bilbo may find out this time that young Estel actually a Numenorean Bilbo can give him the nickname "Dunedan" We don't have to explain the significance of Sauron and Aragorn bc viewers know LOTR 3) Sequence: Episode 12 Yavanna Mairon tours Angband, finds elves First Valar council (full scene arguing pros and cons a la Council of Elrond) Eonwë incident - if he's done this to Eonwë, he'll do it to the Children Death of Eonwë ending episode 12 4) Sequence: Episode 13 (2-hr) Disembodied Eonwë returns to Lorien, Irmo and Namo console/encourage rest. Namo explains Eonwë's "upgrade" as a result of sacrificing his hroä. Private talk with Varda She encourages Manwë to commune with Eru Manwë ascends to the top of Taniquetil to commune with Eru Has vision with the war against Melkor included Manwë is weeping after his vision, makes decision to go to war Whilst Manwë communes with Eru, Varda makes Sirius, Orion and Big Dipper Oromë finds the Elves Second Valar council - Oromë reports finding the Elves, which Manwë sees as confirmation of decision (Eru giving the thumbs up) The War to Begin All Wars Elemental battle rearranging the continents As Utumno is gradually being compromised, Melkor has Mairon "release the hounds" on the Children The "Defenders of Cuivienen" (Oromë, Huan, Ents and Eagles) go up against the creatures of Melkor to protect the Children Utumno breaks, Tulkas captures and chains Melkor with the chain that Aulë made Third Valar council - sentencing of Melkor Back at Angband, Mairon is regrouping with Balrogs, Gothmog accuses him of cowardice for not being heavily involved in the war, names him Sauron. The frame Questions for next time: March12 Review of other production elements - sets, costumes, artistic designs, music Casting (democratic) - review of entire cast...what are the criteria? Personality traits, looks List of roles Listeners nominate actors w/justification (alive now) Polls to vote Reading for next episode:

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