The Wicked-Short Silmarillion
INT. ANGBAND - NIGHT
You know, I haven’t done anything nasty on this side of the pond in a while. Hey, Sauron. Send an army to go and attack that King Thingol dude.
You mean Elwe? Also known as Singollo, also known as Grey-cloak?
Yeah, that’s the one. Mister Can’t-Make-Up-His-Mind.
AN ARMY OF ORCS
(Pour out of Angband and go to attack Menegroth.)
EXT. MENEGROTH - NIGHT
WTF? Orcs everywhere! Yuck! Send word to Denethor in Ossiriand for help. You know, the one who has nothing to do with the wingnut from Gondor.
EXT. ALL OVER BELERIAND - NIGHT
(Brings in his army.)
(Gets mortally wounded.)
(Join in slaughtering Orcs.)
ELWE/THINGOL/ETC. AND HIS ARMY
(Come riding out of Menegroth to help Denethor, but don’t arrive in time.)
(Go back to Ossiriand, never have a king again, change their name to the Laiquendi, or “Green-elves”, and stay hidden in the forests.)
(Still occupy western Beleriand, between Menegroth and the coastline.)
(Gets all his people in a defensive position in the forest of Doriath, surrounding Menegroth, in central Beleriand.)
(Uses her super-awesome Maia powers to cast a magical boundary around Doriath, so nobody can enter unless Elwe/Thingol approves it.)
ALL THE SINDAR
(Start calling the magical boundary “The Girdle of Melian”.)
(Is not amused.)
So, we’re basically under siege. This really sucks. We need help.
EXT. NORTHERN BELERIAND - NIGHT
Hey, what’s all that light over there? Looks like someone’s burning something. Let’s go check it out.
(Orcs discover Feanor’s encampment.)
FEANOR AND HIS CREW
Yuck! Icky monsters! Slaughter them!
(Lay smackdown on Orcs.)
(Retreat back toward Thangorodrim.)
ORCS FROM ALL OVER
(Come to try to aid their brethren who are getting massacred by the Noldor.)
Dude, we were surrounded and cut off from Thingol and Menegroth just a couple of minutes ago. Where’d all the Orcs go? Not that I’m complaining, mind you.
ORCS FROM ALL OVER
(Charges ahead of the rest of his army, chasing Orcs back to Angband.)
AN ARMY OF BALROGS
(Swarms out of Angband.)
Holy crap, what are those things?
GOTHMOG, LORD OF BALROGS
Whyn’t you come on over and get a better look?
(Lays smackdown on Feanor, mortally wounding him.)
(Charge Gothmog en masse.)
GOTHMOG and BALROGS
(Retreat back to Angband.)
Sons, remember our oath. Under those mountains is Morgoth’s fortress. Avenge me, and recover the Silmarils!
(Dies. Then his body bursts into flames, from the heat of his passionate spirit.)
Wow, Dad was pretty damn cool. Even up to his death. I bet other people’s dads can’t do that.
(Trudge back to their encampment, in the land called Hithlum in north-west Beleriand.)
EXT. HITHLUM - NIGHT
Dude, did you see those guys slaughter all those Orcs?
No kidding! They just arrived, out of the West, right when we really needed them!
Were they sent by the Valar?
(Enter an ambassador from Morgoth, to visit with the Sons of Feanor.)
Morgoth wishes to parley with you. He even offers the surrender of one Silmaril. Will you meet with him?
Sure. How ’bout we meet at noon tomorrow? We can do lunch.
WTF?!? How can you have a peaceful meeting with him, when we’re sworn to get back the Silmarils and avenge Dad?
Simple. I’m actually gonna bring along our army, ambush Morgoth’s ass, double-cross him, kill him, and take back all the Silmarils.
EXT. SOMEWHERE BETWEEN HITHLUM AND ANGBAND - NIGHT
(Arrives with army.)
(Arrives with bigger army. Including Balrogs.)
(Captures Maedhros and hangs him from the top of a cliff on Thangorodrim, with his right hand shackled to the rock by a huge iron manacle.)
That may not have been my best plan ever.
Hey, maybe these guys aren’t such total heroes, after all.
Meanwhile, back in Valinor... I mentioned at the beginning of the Quenta Silmarillion that we’re not going in strict chapter-by-chapter order here. This is one of those places. In the book, Tolkien does Chapter 11, “Of the Sun and Moon and the Hiding of Valinor”, then Chapter 12 “Of Men”, and finally, Chapter 13, “Of the Return of the Noldor”. Which means he’s skipping around in time in some kind of weird ways. Apparently he hadn’t heard of intercutting, like in the movies. (Because, let’s face it, skipping all around in space instead of time may not actually make any more sense, but it sure seems easier to understand.)
EXT. VALINOR - NIGHT
(Chants over the withered remains of the Two Trees.)
(Cries, and lets her tears fall on the Two Trees.)
(Puts forth a final silver blossom.)
(Puts forth one last golden fruit.)
YAVANNA and NIENNA
(Pluck the flower and fruit, hand them over to Aule.)
(Die forever and completely.)
Well, hey, these things glow, just like the rest of the Trees used to. Let me see if I can do something with this.
(Builds stuff around the silver flower and the golden fruit, to protect them and amplify their light.)
Okay, Varda, your turn.
I can put these things up into the sky. This silver one will be called the Moon; I can have that launched first. Then I'll follow up with the... let’s call that the Sun. They’ll both rise in the West their first time out, since we’re launching them from here in Valinor, but I can make them go east-to-west later.
Good. Those jerks in Beleriand had better appreciate this. In the meantime, I’ve made it completely impossible for anyone to find this place any more. Out past Tol Eressea, now there’s a bunch of Enchanted Isles, and mist, and storms, and fog, and some damn powerful confusion spells.
(Refers to that last bit as the Hiding of Valinor. And if you think that’s pretty hidden, remote, and inaccessible, just wait ’til you see how inaccessible it gets later on.)
Always with the foreshadowing! The Narrator does it, now even History gets to do it... how come we don’t?
EXT. BELERIAND, AT EDGE OF HELCARAXE - NIGHT
How many have we still got with us?
Let’s see, there’s 5,284 frozen to death, and another 2,957 currently incapacitated by frostbite and pneumonia. That leaves about 15,000 of us still ready to rock’n’roll.
(Hops from one ice floe to the next.)
Outstanding. Look, that’s definitely land ahead! We’re gonna make it.
And how are we fixed for weaponry?
(Glares at Noldo #89.)
Well, we lost a bunch of shields when butter-fingers here, nearly fell off the iceberg...
Hey, it was slippery.
...But we’ve still got more swords than people. I still can’t decide who I want to smack more, Feanor or Morgoth.
We’ll find ’em both. Beleriand, here we come.
(Silently rises behind Fingolfin’s army as they march into Beleriand.)
EXT. CAMPFIRE IN BELERIAND - NIGHT
Yeah, and then the Boss grabbed that guy, and strung him up by his arm. You can still see him, hanging off Thangorodrim, crying and wailing for his Daddy.
Yeah, these “Noldor” ain’t so tough.
(Arrive. Draw swords, unfurl banners, blow trumpets.)
(Rises behind Fingolfin’s army, in the West.)
ORCS AROUND CAMPFIRE
Holy shit!!! Run!!!!
EVERY EVIL CREATURE IN BELERIAND
Aaaaaaiiiiggghhhh!!! What the hell is that light?!?
(Run screaming for Angband.)
EXT. HILDÓRIEN - DAY
Okay, where the hell is Hildórien?
All we know is, it’s “somewhere off in the far east”. It’s the first waking-up place of Humans, and nobody knows anymore just exactly where it was. Just like Cuiviénen for the Elves.
(Awake. See Sun.)
Oooooo! That’s pretty damn cool. And it’s over in the West. Whatever’s over there, it must be pretty cool, too. Let’s go check it out.
(Start heading West. They’ll get to Beleriand in a few centuries.)
I think we’re seeing a pattern here. The Elves were all ga-ga for the stars, now the Humans really dig the Sun. Isn’t there anyone that’s all hot for the Moon?
Oddly, no. Incidentally, this marks the beginning of the First Age: The first rising of the Sun, and the first awakening of Humans. All that stuff that’s gone before was called the Era of Valinor, or sometimes the Years of the Trees. Now there are only about 7,000 years to go until the War of the Ring (the events told in The Lord of the Rings). The war that’s currently heating up, by the way, is called the War of the Jewels.
You missed something.
One other important change that marks the end of the Era of Valinor and the beginning of the First Age.
Huh? What are you talking about? The Sun rises, the Humans awake, and plus there’s the Hiding of Valinor. That’s it.
Plus, we don’t lay smackdowns on things any more.
No more laying the smackdown. We all took a vote on it while you were talking about Hildórien, and we’re tired of laying the smackdown on things. It’s getting over-used. Now, we bring the pain instead.
It’s really very simple.
Okay, got it. In the First Age, no more laying the smackdown. Now we bring the pain. I’ll keep that in mind.
Having reached the end of the Era of Valinor, we’ve essentially gotten to the beginning of Chapter 13 of the Quenta Silmarillion, “Of the Return of the Noldor”. If you pick up The Silmarillion and start reading from there, you’ll have a fair idea of what’s going on. That chapter will begin with Feanor and his crew exploring northwestern Beleriand after having burned the Teleri’s swan-boats. It’ll mention a bunch of geography that I haven’t burdened you with, but they’re all easy places to find on the map in the back, if you look at the top-left corner. And the Index in the back of The Silmarillion doesn’t just tell you what pages a given thing is on, but also gives a brief definition of it, which will make things a lot easier.
If you still can’t handle the book version, try checking back here in a few months, when part 2 of this screenplay adaptation will be ready. But first, give the book a try. We’ve gotten past some of the slowest bits. “Of the Return of the Noldor” has lots of thrilling stuff: battles, dragons, armies, eagles, treachery. (Sorry, no giants or twue wuv.) After that, “Of Beleriand and Its Realms” will probably bore you silly; feel free to skip it. There’s a map in the middle of that chapter that you might want to look at, but otherwise? Skip the thing! Blow on ahead to “Of the Noldor in Beleriand”, and see the founding of Gondolin. Yes, that’s where Orcrist and Glamdring will eventually be forged. You don’t want to miss that.
Kai MacTane spent his teens and twenties pooh-poohing the Lord of the Rings trilogy, because he got bored by Fellowship of the Ring at age 14. Then he tried reading it again around age 30, and was hooked and became a total Tolkien junkie. Learned some Quenya, read the whole Silmarillion cover to cover, and all that jazz. Oh, and he’s also the Freak Nation webmaster.