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 Episode 1-12: Episode 10: If you have a Balrog, you don't need a cat, aka Fall of the House of Ainur (Part the Second)

January 18th, 2016

Episode 302 of 322 episodes

Introduction/Review "Obi-Wan makes sarcastic comments" - Corey's 7 year-old This section of episodes links everything together and is our first multi-episode story arc Comments from last time: 1) We want Sauron's fall to be gradual. We won't change his name till at least the Final Battle. (Season 2) There's a question of self-identity with both Melkor and Mairon. Melkor isn't even convinced he's the bad guy right now. Melkor might not even become Morgoth until next season. 2) Darkening of Valinor...Melkor is maimed by the Silmarils (and in pain forever after...and forever angry about forever in pain). Ungoliant then undermines him (and defeats him) and he requires rescue from the Balrogs. He's been doubly "overthrown." This would be the time for Melkor's name change 3) We need to think about the Awakening of the Elves bc of the Orc thing. Corey's answer is a flashback from the Elves' POV 4) Further defining Melkor and Mairon's relationship...Sauron's in it for himself but there's an admiration for Melkor's courage. (Hero worship) Sauron may begin to see Melkor's side as he goes along. We could see Sauron distance himself as Melkor as Melkor's power diminishes, and Sauron may "betray" Melkor bc Melkor has now betrayed the cause (and has become a cruel, ugly tyrant/cackling villain) and Sauron would despise that. Melkor's obsessed with just Beleriand that Sauron may be the one to send out agents to men...perhaps under the guise of recruiting for Melkor, but ends up being for his own ends. The apprentice tries to do better than the master by "killing them with kindness" and being beautiful and friendly But the way they devolve should look similar. 5) Mairon would visit a few times (solo)...not hidden, but not "sanctioned" to the point that he has to report to Manwë afterwards. Today's episode 1) We don't want to make the Valar look like they don't care about Middle-earth. 2) Do we have Sauron involved in Ossë's rebellion? Or in parallel? How do we get it started? Do we have Melkor go to Ossë in the ocean? It's hard to not make Melkor not to look like a football coach or a used car salesman. Maybe more like a talent scout CEO...he may tell Ossë that Ulmo is rebelling against Manwë's trying to establish peace. 3) Ossë may stop respecting the boundaries of where his dominion ends and disrespects the hierarchy. Even after repentance, he tests those boundaries. "He rejoices in the storm." He may encroach upon Aulë's territory, which would cause Aulë to be involved, and Uinen bringing him back...but in a way that doesn't make her look simple or Ossë look dumb. Remember that Uinen has "boundary issues" after the Kinslaying...her grief causing the storm to destroy ships at Alqualondë. (this was a simple transgression however, not a complete fall, and perhaps unintentional) She is more similar to him, rather than direct opposite. 4) Uinen's message - "unrestrained chaos is not more fun - it pushes everyone away and is more lonely. We can enjoy our natures within boundaries, and see how our part fits into the bigger picture. The boundaries allow for collaboration and interaction with others) 5) Uinen and Ossë might have a fight - Ossë might be being chaotic and raging, and she comes in and interrupts him, showing that she's like him, she's his equal, and "if you go away, who will I break stuff with?" Uinen can be destructive, but she's more dependable (no Numenorean shipwrecks...they hold her in high regard) 6) Uinen would put Ossë in a chokehold (perhaps with her hair) 7) Ulmo v. Melkor would look like a grudge match to Manwë...Ulmo is just bad mouthing Melkor bc he tampered with Ossë 8) Is Ossë's love of violence a corruption left behind after Melkor, or was it always in him? Is violence intrinsically evil? 9) We have Tulkas and Oromë who are good yet violent, and had Melkor not rebelled, these 2 would still be violent. Tulkas would have sparring matches even if there was no war. Oromë would still be hunting. 10) Does Melkor instigate Ossë? Or does Ossë go to Melkor whilst upset with Ulmo? 11) Melkor may be looking at the sea, thinking about how Ulmo is a "neckpain" and how he has no influence over the sea, and Ossë is troubling as well, but knows that Ossë is unhappy with Ulmo, so dissension maybe? We could involve the frame explaining Melkor's rationale 12) Maybe Mairon and Melkor talk about it. Ossë might breaking something, and Mairon would be sent to fix it and grumbling about why it always has to be him? Maybe Mairon would be looking at the sea at the same time, wishing Ossë was under control, and Melkor would be sympathetic to Mairon. 13) Melkor would then go to Ossë (dialogue please...writer's homework) 14) How does Melkor approach Ossë? Maybe this SHOULD be a temptation, not for ambition but for breaking inhibitions. Melkor hopes that Ossë overthrows Ulmo in some way or Ossë gets squashed...and Uinen disrupts his plan. He doesn't get either of his desired outcomes 15) Ossë is riding a tsunami, and Melkor puts himself in the way and just blasts him with a volcano, an unrestrained violence. Melkor basically says "you and I enjoy destruction. Why limit yourself and sell yourself short?" (encourage him to surpass his boundaries via demonstration) 16) It's ok for Melkor to look suspicious now - we're 10 episodes in now. 17) House of Ulmo...Aulë complaining to Ulmo... 18) Love story...showing earlier interactions with Ossë and Uinen when they were in harmony...would make their reconciliation more powerful. The rebellion would be when he was no longer in sync with her. 19) #6 "do you want to lose what we have?" "I thought you would come with me." "no, I don't want unrestrained chaos." 20) Valinor scenes (need to see the reactions of the other Valar) and Manwë being uncomfortable having to choose between Melkor and Ulmo 21) We had Aulë visiting with Melkor, so we can have Aulë going to Ulmo, and then Uinen comes in to fight/subdue. This gives us a launch pad for Aulë's decision. Ulmo would talk about how Melkor is bad news and Aulë could be convinced to create the Dwarves with that conversation in mind. 22) At the "to be continued" point, we would have build up to the rebellion and the actual fall. We'd have the conversations in Utumno, the 3 way dialogues, Valinor (Manwë and varda talking about his fears that chaos is increasing, then cutting to Melkor and Ossë being destructive 23) Episode 10 - Aulë comes to Ulmo, Uinen says "I got this" is Mairon happy with this? Mairon goes to Melkor to report Ossë being worse than before. Then Melkor goes into his strategy (the 2 positive outcomes) (it's Mairon's first act of spying and Melkor's teaching him strategy) (thinking in a Machiavellian way)would be a natural step. Cutting from Uinen/Ossë reconciliation scene to Melkor on the cliff side 24) "If you have a Balrog, you don't need a cat" 25) Could return to Valinor, Utumno, or Rivendell 3 episodes left...Aulë and Dwarves/Yavanna and Ents/Manwë and Eagles/Varda and Stars/Oromë and the Elves *Kudos to Marie Prosser for Ossë/Uinen material* Complete Outline (Summary/Decisions made) Episode 9 Manwë brings Aulë (Mairon, Curumo and Olorin) with him when he goes to see Melkor, but not an "official state visit/embassy to discuss negotiations" thing. While Manwë and Aulë expect an informal casual visit, Melkor is formal and imposing. The posse might take affront (especially Mairon) to Melkor's arrogance, and then when Manwë doesn't react, Mairon might initially be upset and be against Melkor. But seeing Manwë's humility, he thinks Manwë is being weak and is disgusted by it, would start to rethink. Curumo can be the foil to this, and we see the distance between the two grow. Curumo/Saruman would have a proud, arrogant support of the establishment (Manwë) but Olorin/Gandalf (allied with Manwë) would be the only one to see accurately. Manwë isn't offended by Melkor's making him look like a supplicant, but rather confused. "um...can't we just talk?" Manwë/Melkor have their talk We reveal what's going on in Mairon's mind by his dialogue with Curumo and Olorin. Mairon might express admiration, which may anger Curumo Follow this with a solo meeting with Mairon and Melkor cliff side Melkor looks at the sea, thinking about how Ulmo is a "neckpain" and how he has no influence, and Ossë is troubling as well, but knows that Ossë is unhappy with Ulmo... Mairon is there fixing something Ossë broke, so he and Melkor talk about it. Maybe Mairon would be looking at the sea at the same time, wishing Ossë was under control, and Melkor would be sympathetic to Mairon. Return to Valinor with Manwë talking to Varda about his visit with Melkor and how he fears that everything is trending away from harmony and towards chaos. Cut to Melkor showing Ossë how much more fun he could be having if he really cut loose and disregarded all sense of hierarchy and boundaries, and then Ossë joining in. (Melkor blasting Ossë's tsunami with a volcanic eruption Episode 10 Everything is breaking bc of Ossë's destruction. Aulë goes to Ulmo and tells him to get his "people" in check. Uinen is there and there is a dialogue between the 3 of them. Uinen leaves, saying she has it in hand. Meanwhile, more things are breaking, so Mairon has even more to do than before. Unhappy, he reports to Melkor of Ossë's behavior being even worse than before. Mairon's first step towards becoming Melkor's spy Melkor responds with his "Machiavellian" strategy - dissension amongst foes often leads to the elimination of one or the other. Or both! Melkor becomes a mentor for Mairon, teaching him how to think about achieving the best outcome. Uinen finds Ossë, and she fights him, and subdues him by putting him into a chokehold with her hair. She talks to him about how things were (we may see them causing storms together but in balance and harmony with their environment...something that reflects their similar but harmonious natures), Her message about how chaos without restraint is lonely and...