This is a long-overdue update of my passion project, “The Fall of Gondolin”. The title of this post has two meanings. First , I decided that the entirety of the story concerning Tuor and Gondolin would need to be divided in three parts, of which “The Road to Gondolin” is the first. Second, for me as a writer, it is a long road merely to get to that halfway point, to Gondolin.
Now, however, I am happy to you show you the script I wrote for the prologue of that first part of the triptych. It runs to 12 pages in MS Word, and it excludes the Tutorial sequence, which would likely last at least another 10 minutes. I have tried to incorporate as much of the source material as I could, but there was no helping it: the language had to be modernized and Ulmo’s long speech had to be condensed. Be sure to let me know your thoughts on the matter!
Edit (02/2021): This prologue is no longer the latest version. My thanks go out to Kim Belair of Sweet Baby Inc for her suggestions and commentary. With her help I found a way to integrate the tutorial earlier than I had first envisioned, as well as adding stronger character development and story development to the tutorial. Tuor (and the player) now has a stronger and personal motivation for getting to Gondolin. Previously this was quite abstract, as you can still see in this version.
"THE ROAD TO GONDOLIN" This document contains the scripting for cinematic cutscenes of the game “The Road to Gondolin”. The names used for these cinematic sequences will appear in other documents (flowcharts, storyboards, story outlines etc.) for easy reference. This document concerns itself mainly with the dialogue of the characters, and the circumstances thereof. NOTE: All instances of English dialogue are actually Falathrin (a precursor to Sindarin). Whenever particular Sindarin, Noldorin or Quenyan words are used in writing for emphasis, the translation will figure in brackets. On screen the translation will appear as subtitles. CONTENTS: 1. Game introduction cinematic (GIC) 2. Main screen background cinematic (MSBC) 3. New game starting cinematic (NGSC) 4. Ulmo cinematic (UC) 5. Voronwë meeting cinematic (VMC) 1. GAME INTRODUCTION CINEMATIC SERIES OF SHOTS – TUOR SINGS OF THE PAST TUOR (o.s.) SINGS in Sindarin (Falathrin). A) Angband is under siege by the Noldor. Angband is an enormous structure fused into or with mount Thangorodrim. A ceiling of dark fumes erupts from the mountain’s peak, casting a shadow on the glittering armaments of the Noldor. B) The Dagor Bragollach: Glaurung and Gothmog lead the armies of Morgoth, decimating the Noldor and their Edain allies. A single, bright light is extinguished at the frontline, seen from afar. The armies retreat with the shrill blaring of TRUMPETS. C) Ard-galen (Anfauglith) is changed from an arid grassy plain to a burning wasteland with fumaroles and steaming mudpits where orcs roam in gangs. Thangorodrim can be seen erupting in the distance. D) The Nirnaeth Arnoeiad: a last stand against the orcs by the Noldor and the Edain is thwarted at the shallow river Sirion. One section of the companies of men can be seen turning their spears towards their fellows and surprising the flank, leading to a rout. E) A burning mountain of corpses is left to smoke and sputter amidst the bog of the trodden riverbank; the raucous CRIES of orcs can be heard off screen. F) Long lines of prisoners – men and elves – are escorted to Angband by orcs. Thangorodrim is still spewing ejecta in the distance. G) A human settlement in a forested glade is overrun by orcs and Easterlings. H) Grey-cloaked elves – with humans among them, women and children – are seen fleeing their settlement which is indistinguishable from the mountainside at a distance. I) Tuor, 16, is cutting down a tree in the rain alongside other humans. He is dirty and has a grave look. A sneering man in the background cracks a whip. J) Tuor, 19, now taller and stronger, flees through the forest at night. In a stray moonbeam we see blood on his axe. K) Tuor arrives at the caves of Androth where we can see all manner of elvish household items around a central hearth. The cave leads deeper in with benches and a waving tapestry fading into the gloom. A Gallic lyre stands against one of the benches. 2. MAIN SCREEN BACKGROUND CINEMATIC INT. CAVES OF ANDROTH – DAY (DUSK) SUPERIMPOSE: the main menu of the game interface. Tuor, a weather-hardened young man with long blonde hair, is sitting with his back to us besides a CRACKLING fire. He is STRUMMING his lyre and softly HUMMING snippets of the intro song. We are looking out through the cave entrance onto a dark green forest with the sun falling to a distant horizon of snowy peaks. If the player lingers on this screen, he can faintly hear WAVES CRASHING on a distant shore. CUT TO GAME: 3. NEW GAME STARTING CINEMATIC INT/EXT. CAVES OF ANDROTH – DAY (DUSK) Tuor is still STRUMMING his lyre. A trickle of water bubbles up next to Tuor’s feet, pooling in front of him. The water runs down and out of the cave. Tuor stops playing and puts down his lyre. We see him grabbing items and gathering a pack. The camera pans through the opening of the cave, giving us a brief panoramic vision of the landscape: a wild and mountainous region with evergreen woods. Patches of snow linger on the forest floor and decorate the flanks of the mountains. ULMO (V.O.) In this, the First Age of Arda under the light of the sun and moon, after the time of the Lamps and the time of the Trees, the Valar sundered Middle-earth from Valinor and chose not to take part in the strife between the Noldor and Morgoth. The camera tracks the little stream as it skitters down the mountainside, joined by other streams. We hear the sounds of Tuor BREATHING heavily and SCRAMBLING down a mountain. Images appear before us as if projected on smoke: IMAGE: two large lamps on high towers far from each other fall to the ground and their silver and golden light dims and gutters. IMAGE: Before the light is gone, each hue is sucked into a seed and both are planted on a grassy knoll in the grove of Yavanna. A time-lapse shows the two Trees growing side by side: Telperion with dark green leaves, shining silver beneath and boughs decked with brilliant flowers that shed a rain of silver dew; Laurelin with a yellow-brown trunk and gold-trimmed leaves. ULMO (V.O.) (cont’d) He who was once counted among the most noble, who was once called Melkor, had brought envy and strife to the hearts of the Eldar, the children of Ilúvatar. Morgoth stole from Fëanor, king of the Noldor, the Silmarils, his most prized possessions: Faster and faster we are drawn alongside the stream as it courses through a pine forest. In the air, more images appear. IMAGE: Fëanor, an elven man of regal bearing, draws some of the light of the Trees into three jewels, the Silmarils. Crowds of elves look on astonished as the gems start to shine. IMAGE: on the same knoll, now deserted, a shadow falls over the base of the trees and a large, dark spider can be seen sucking them dry, one by one, growing as it does so. A dark, shadowy figure stands beside it with a long sword in its hand. A shroud of darkness seeps out of the growing spider, obscuring the image. IMAGE: the Silmarils are lying on a pile of velvet cloth amidst other gems, the light that they emit refracting only a little until it is swallowed by darkness. A hand reaches out for them. There is a SHOUT off-screen. The hand retracts. A short scuffle of RINGING SWORDS and CRIES of the dying is heard before the hand hastily grabs the cloth and covers up the Silmarils. ULMO (V.O.) (cont’d) Three jewels of breathtaking craftsmanship that contained the light of silver-hued Telperion and golden- leafed Laurelin; Morgoth took them away and proudly set them on his brow as he ruled in the darkness that had fallen over Middle-earth. At last, the forest thins out and we are following the water – going uphill and downhill – along the terrain until it delves into a cleft with a pristine lake beside a waterfall. The camera swoops down into the cleft, hovering over the lake before it heads straight for the waterfall and the sheer mountainside behind it. To the right of the waterfall, a door magically opens in the mountainside to reveal a tunnel. We dive into the tunnel’s darkness. We hear the SOUND of the wind whipping past. More images: IMAGE: by the light of the stars only, we see a great fleet set sail. A close-up of the lead ship shows an armor-clad and determined-looking Fëanor accompanied by his kin. IMAGE: inserts of scene 1, shot A: the siege of Angband. IMAGE: inserts of scene 1, shot B: Glaurung and Gothmog breaking the forces of the Noldor and the Edain. ULMO (V.O.) (cont’d) For long ages, the Noldor made war on Morgoth, holding him at bay in his fortress of Angband, far to the north of Beleriand. That long siege was broken at the Dagor Bragollach. There, shadow and flame fell upon Elves and Men alike. We hear the sound of the WIND WHIPPING past as we race through the dark tunnel. In the distance, a light appears. ULMO (V.O.) (cont’d) I stand as watcher astride the ocean’s churning depths and weep for the plight of those cast out of Valinor. You are part of this story, Man of the West. Follow my waters and streams and meet your Doom. FADE TO BLACK: SUPERIMPOSE: <TITLE: “The Road to Gondolin”> SUPERIMPOSE: <short credit scene> FADE IN: We come out into a narrow ravine where a small stream seeps down and away to the west, with the sun now lying on top of the horizon. Tuor steps into the frame from behind, dressed for travel with his axe by his side and his lyre in a case on his back. CUT TO GAMEPLAY: 4. ULMO CINEMATIC INT. HALL OF TURGON (VINYAMAR) – DAY (DUSK) A high-pillared hall, vast and airy. On the further end stands a regal seat upon a dais. Behind the seat hang armor and arms on the wall, framed in red sunlight that pours in from high window slits. Tuor steps up to the armor. He pauses before taking down the shield, which is long and tapering, carrying the emblem of a white swan’s wing. He observes it in the sunlight. TUOR (intoning solemnly) By this token I will take these arms unto myself, and upon myself whatsoever doom they bear. He takes down Turgon's breastplate – a hauberk that shines like gold in the waning sunlight –, a helmet and a sheathed sword. He arms himself. Tuor steps out of the hall into the fading light of the sun. He walks taller and more proudly than before. EXT. TERRACES OF TARAS (VINYAMAR) – DAY (DUSK) As Tuor steps out into the waning sunlight and makes for the steps down to the shore, seven swans alight before him. Each plucks a feather from its wing with its beak and lays it before him. They incline their long necks to him. He takes the seven feathers and sets them in the crest of his helm. The swans take wing and fly out to the sea, and then to the north. (beat) Tuor continues on to the shore. EXT. SHORE OF BELEGAER – DAY (DUSK) Tuor moves to the edge of the surf, waves CRASHING before him. In the distance the sun, low in the sky, seems to be overtaken by great, dark clouds. A stormy wind BLOWS into his face. Out from under the shadow of the clouds, a large, dark wave rises and heads for the shore at tremendous speed. Tuor stands his ground, awed but determined. When the great wave breaks, a towering figure appears, wreathed in foam and dressed in misty garb, with a shining crown upon his head: ULMO, the Vala of the sea. Then, when Ulmo speaks, Tuor falls to his knees, with head held high. ULMO The Doom of Mandos is soon to fall upon the Noldor, and all their works shall be undone. Melkor’s rule of Middle-earth shall be undisputed and woe betide the younger races. Yet, in the walls of Doom there is ever a breach, until the full-making which you call the End. So shall it be while I endure, a hidden voice that gainsays; a light where darkness was decreed. In Middle-earth, I have become no more than a secret whisper on the water. So hearken to me, Tuor son of Huor, when I say only the last hope is left: the hope that Elves and Men have not looked for and did not prepare. And that hope lies in you; for so I have chosen. Wing across the plain! Already a great evil creeps upon the Valley of the river Sirion, and a host of foes has come between you and your goal. TUOR (calling out, beseeching) What is my goal, Ulmo, you Lord of the Waters? ULMO No more than your heart’s desire: to find Turgon son of Fingolfin, and look upon the hidden city of Gondolin, the Blessed Realm, for you are arrayed to be my messenger, in the arms which I decreed for you long ago. When you stand before him, my words shall arise in your mind and your mouth shall speak as I would. In one fluid motion, Ulmo tears off a part of his own grey mantle and casts it like a net to settle around Tuor's shoulders. ULMO (cont’d) Wrap yourself in this cloak and never cast it aside, until you have reached your journey’s end. Now go! TUOR But, what can I do, Lord, a single Man, of little note? ULMO If I choose to send you, Tuor son of Huor, then believe that your sword is worth the sending. Long shall the Elves remember the valor of the Edain as the ages lengthen, and marvel that Men give life so freely of which on earth they have so little. Deliver my message to King Turgon and fear not! Thereafter, let your heart and your valor lead you. In the far distance where the waves are choppy, where lightning strikes the crests, and where the storm rages violently, a fireworks display of lightning bolts suddenly coalesces on a single cresting wave and it looks like a star has been set in the sky in the shape of a swan, until the flash passes. ULMO (cont’d) Out of the wrath of Ossë shall I pluck a guide for you. Look for him in the morning, this last mariner of the last ship to seek into the West until the rising of the Star. Go now, lest the sea devour you! Ulmo recedes from view, like a wave sinking into the sand. TUOR I go, Lord! (to himself) Yet now my heart is filled with yearning for the sea. But first, I will meet my doom. EXT. EMBANKMENT (VINYAMAR) – DAY (SUNSET) Standing on the first embankment, Tuor turns back to the sea. We see him in mid-close-up, his hair streaming out and his new cloak billowing, as the hauberk shines in the incandescence of lightning. He gazes out over the water, longingly, for a few moments, before the wind tears at him. SERIES OF SHOTS – VINYAMAR – DAY (SUNSET) A) The clouds overtake the land. Rain comes pouring down. B) Tuor flees up the lanes, inclines and stairs of Vinyamar, back to the hall. He is buffeted by the wind, pushed in many directions. C) We see his boots slipping through the wash of rain. D) Behind Tuor, great waves crash against the embankment, slamming into the houses closest to the shore. E) Tuor turns a corner into the open square before the hall of Turgon. F) A bolt of lightning comes down in the city, shattering a barren tree. The branches fly off and the remaining stump flares up before being doused by rain. G) Tuor enters into the hall, drenched. INT. – HALL OF TURGON - NIGHT With the coming of the storm, night has fallen and deep shadows obscure the hall. Tuor flees to the farthest corner. The wind HOWLS and rain PATTERS wildly against the walls outside. We hear the CRACK of thunder and the flash of lightning through the hall’s entrance. Tuor rests his head against the wall with the cloak of Ulmo cast over his body and we can see him falling asleep, fitfully at first, and then fully. FADE TO BLACK: EXT. VISION OF VALINOR – NIGHT The WAILING of the wind morphs or melds into a clear clarion note. FADE IN: From a point of view high over the hall of Turgon, we see the storm raging. We are launched forward, plunging into the ocean, seeing all manner of shadowy denizens of the deep flash by, before coming out in front of a wall of water, crashing down. As the swell goes down, we see a nimble and elegant ship set adrift, pummeled by waves, spray and rain. With one last wave it is sundered. Our vision moves on past the thunderheads, across the ocean, rising above a large island and gazing upon a distant mountain range. The vision is centered on the highest peak. A cloud shines brightly around the top. FADE TO BLACK: FADE IN: INT. HALL OF TURGON – DAY (MORNING) A grey light seeps in through the high windows. Tuor wakes up and sees that a multitude of sea birds has taken shelter in the hall just as he has. They CLUCK and CHIRP and CROW and CAW softly. CUT TO GAMEPLAY: 5. VORONWË MEETING CINEMATIC EXT. THE EMBANKMENT – DAY (MORNING) As the player comes out onto the lowest embankment, we go to a cut scene. Around the corner, coming into view, VORONWË, a young elf with sea-gray eyes, is up against the wall among the stones and the wreckage of the sea’s turbulence. He sits there in sodden leathers and a grey cloak. His eyes are open and he stares dully at the sky. We hear the SURF in the background and the CAWING of sea gulls. TUOR Hail, friend! I have been awaiting you. (beat) Voronwë stands up and bows to Tuor. VORONWË Who are you, lord? Long have I labored in the unrelenting sea. Tell me: have great tidings befallen since I walked the land? Is the Shadow overthrown? Have the Hidden People come forth? TUOR Nay. The Shadow lengthens and the Hidden remain hid. VORONWË But who are you? For many years ago my people left this land, and none have dwelt here since. And now I perceive that despite your raiment, you are not one of them, as I thought, but are of the kindred of Men. TUOR That I am. Tuor, son of Huor, is my name, of the house of Hador. And are you not the last mariner of the last ship that sought into the West? VORONWË Aye. Voronwë, son of Aranwë, am I. But how come you to be here, and how know you of my fate? CUT TO DIALOGUE MENU:
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