Tolkien Gateway

User:Amroth/Screenplays/The Lay of Leithian

The Lay of Leithian screenplay is an attempt which hopes to turn J.R.R. Tolkien's Lay of Leithian/Of Beren and Lúthien into a film script. To aid in this project, see the Talk page.


[edit] Prologue

[Shows shots of a beautiful land, of trees and grass and etc. Rúmil enters. Comes up to COTTAGE OF LOST PLAY. Goes through door. Passes into LOG-ROOM, which has elves, young and old, sitting or standing about. Rúmil sits. He reaches over and opens book.)

Rúmil:Now, dear friends, I have come to tell you another story. [Opens book] This is one of the greatest of the tales of Middle-earth. [Camera zooms in on book picture-title page in Sarati runes] The tale of Beren and Lúthien. [Rúmil turns page to picture of Two Trees. Camera zooms in on picture until the picture comes to life, with Rúmil's voice in the background; music full volume in the background] Once in Aman there were two trees that lit the world [Camera circles around them]. The Lords of the West [Shows ring of doom with twelve figures raising their hands], called the Valar by some, and the gods by others, made these trees, gold and silver, and ruled in Valinor over the elves that dwelt there in the name of Ilúvatar. [Screen goes dark] But there was one elf, the son of the High King of the Elves, who was not like his kindred. [Fire in an underground forge blazes up to show Fëanor at the anvil] He built weapons, and formed jewels of immense beauty. He was fiery-spirited, and none could sway him from his task, nor suppress the fire in his eyes [shows close up of his face and eyes reflecting the firelight]. He was called Fëanor, Spirit of Fire. And he created the greatest works of his hands, the Silmarils, which had in them the light of the Two Trees [Shows the Silmarils, two before Fëanor, one raised above his head]. But he hated his half-brothers, Fingolfin and Finarfin, and even threatened them in the hall of his father. Therefor was banished [Fëanor marches from Tirion in the night, his face dark with rage. Lightning flashes, and the screen goes black]. Now one of the Valar named Melkor had rebelled from the wishes of Ilúvatar [Shows a dark lord sillouhetted against a starry sky], but in the ensuing battle was captured. He was forgiven of his wrongs, but still he had dark designs in his heart. One time in Valinor during a festival Melkor came with the spider Ungoliant, and devoured the trees [Melkor's lance entering the tree, Ungoliant drinking up the blood]. Then, during their escape, Melkor took the Silmarils and fled across the sea to Middle-earth [lightning flashes to reveal two figures running along a ridge]. Then Fëanor and his sons swore an oath [torches flash to show Fëanor and his sons with drawn swords swearing the oath] to regain the Silmarils, the light of their eyes, naming Melkor by the name of Morgoth. And Fëanor in his wrath rebelled even against the Valar, and left Valinor with many of the elves behind him, pursuaded by his words [shows host marching across the hills of Valinor]. Their way was marred by dark and evil deeds [shows alternately during this part the Kinslaying, Burning at Losgar, and the Helcaraxë]. And Fëanor betrayed his half-brothers, and so Melkor's work was done, even when the deeds were wrought to destroy him. Many battles they fought [shows close-up of battle and deaths], many kingdoms they wrought [shows alternately Gondolin and Nargothrond]. But never were the Silmarils regained from where Morgoth had placed them in his Iron Crown [shows Iron Crown with the Silmarils]. The elves who already dwelt there, the Sindar, were under the rule of Thingol, a great king [shows Thingol in Menegroth], who distrusted those who had come from Aman. And so there was turmoil among the elves, even as the sun and moon first rose, and Men first came into Middle-earth [shows scenes just described]. And Morgoth reigned in Angband [shows Thangorodrim], and his heavy hand was over all the north, and all there bowed to his will. But in Dorthonion twelve outlaws were [shows Barahir and other outlaws], men, who alone still resisted in the north. Their leader was Barahir, and his son was Beren. And it was at this time of darkness, that great marvels were begun.

[edit] Chapter One

[While camera passes over Tarn Aeluin, title words appear. Slowly comes to the huts along the lake, where Beren and Barahir stand together looking across it.]

Barahir: See that great black cloud up there?

Beren: Yes, father. It is blacker than the hand of the Enemy. What can it mean? It comes from the north, from Thangorodrim.

Barahir: It seems to me an evil omen. The birds have stopped singing, save only the black crows. The last of even the scrawniest black deer have left this side of the woods. I fear something, but I cannot tell what it is.

Beren: We are safe in this valley, father. Morgoth has never found us, nor the way in. And none of our men would ever betray us.

Barahir: [looks and Beren and ruffles his hair] You are a great hunter, Beren, but you are headstrong. You must pay attention to what is sung by the birds, and called by the animals. I hear only danger. [changing tone of voice] I have heard that Morgoth may be raising up an assault. So I am sending you to go find out. It should be a four day journey, two days there and back. Gorlim has gone already, as has Urthel.

Beren: I will go, father. When do you want me to start?

Barahir: Tonight, if possible.

[Camera rises up to the sky, which turns into a star-filled night. Camera pans down to reveal Gorlim creeping through the woods. Gorlim walks through the brush. Night sounds all around. Suddenly he sees far off a light in a cabin. He cocks his head, then sneaks near. He crawls up through the grass to the cabin, and lifting his head peers through the window. Camera shows inside with Eilinel inside. Gorlim gasps]

Gorlim: [whispered] Eilinel, O my wife! I had thought you dead years ago. I am coming.

[Gorlim crawls around to the door. As he touches the knob tense music plays. He whirls as orcs grab him by the arms and throw him to the ground. Amid laughter they tie his hands. Gorlim does not resist. They pick him up and take him off at spear point]

[They approach Sauron carrying Gorlim]

Sauron: What is this? Gorlim, mightiest of the outlaws of Barahir, in fetters [orcs laugh].

Gorlim: Please. Tell me of Eilinel my wife. Surely I have seen her.

Sauron: [paces about] Mayhap I have your Eilinel. Come, tell me, what could you give me that would make me want to give you your wife.

Gorlim: You are a tyrant and a murdurer, the right hand of Morgoth Bauglir himself, O Sauron. But if in truth you have my wife in your foul black hands, I will give anything, even my life.

Sauron: Your life means little to me, O Gorlim. But. . . there is one thing that I desire that you have in your possession.

Gorlim: And what is that?

Sauron: Your master, the one called Barahir the Bold, he lurks like a naughty little thief in Dorthonion. But the mighty lord Morgoth, God of All Things, would greatly desire to know of his hole. The wayward fox can be put to right with that bit of information. If you will tell me this, than I shall give thee thine Eilinel, and both of you may go free.

Gorlim: You ask much, wolf-lord. You ask for treachery.

Sauron: I would not call it treachery, Gorlim, slave of an unwashed mortal who has dared to insult the great Lord Morgoth. But we can soon set him to right. And you shall be richly rewarded. You may go free, and laugh to your heart's content in the fields and the woods; and beside you shall be Eilinel the fair.

Gorlim: Rather would I languish in a wet cavern with Barahir the Bold than laugh in fields and woods under Morgoth's ghastly hand. But if my Eilinel is still alive, I would do anything. But not betray my lord and master.

Sauron: Gorlim, O Gorlim the Mighty! You have slain two of Morgoth's captains, and done brave and daring feats of renown! Why linger under the chain of Barahir? But your decision is made, and Eilinel shall die in agony, and you shall regret bitterly your choice.

Gorlim: Your voice is that of a snake, Sauron, who has taken the voice of a lamb. Just let me see my wife, and let me decide.

Sauron: I'm afraid we must work on my terms or not at all. Take him away!

Gorlim: Wait! For the sake of my Eilinel I shall tell all you wish to know. But spare Barahir and his son!

Sauron: This thing is little. You have done justly, Gorlim. Where is the lair of this fox, who has taken you away from your wife never to see her again?

Gorlim: By a hidden lake near the mountains. It is hidden by a secret passage through the rock.

Sauron: And what is this lake called?

Gorlim: Tarn Aeluin. The entrance is marked my a pinnacle of stone shaped like the bow of a ship, just southeast of Rivil's well.

Sauron: [laughs a loud evil laugh that fills the air] I see in your eyes you speak the truth! A small price it was to pay for so great a treachery! What you saw was a phantom, a trap devised by me. Eilinel the fair was killed as you thought. Now, you shall go to Eilinel! [raises up sword and plunges it into Gorlim's chest. Close-up of Gorlim's face of disbelief, then he falls backward in a heap]

Sauron: [to an orc by his side] Othgod, dispatch three hundred of our soldiers to the lair of Barahir the Bold under the command of Urgodef. We shall have the fox's skin this very night.

[Camera shifts to where Beren lies resting under a tree at night, sleeping softly. Suddenly there is a "swishing" sound, and a light. Beren stirs and opens his eyes, then sits up in amazement. Camera turns to his angle, revealing Gorlim in ghost-form]

Gorlim: Alas, O Beren son of Barahir! I am Gorlim the Unhappy, for I have betrayed Barahir the Bold your father. Be swift! Even now Sauron marches on Tarn Aeluin. [Gorlim disappears]

[Camera shifts to show Beren running through the woods, stumbling and bumping in his hurry. It alternately shows great black werewolves and orcs running through the forest. The camera switches back and forth. Beren at last reaches the rock, and enters the stone passage. Running through he comes out to see Tarn Aeluin, and below him where the burned huts are smoking. He gasps and runs down the path to where the huts were. Camera follows and zooms in on him as he reaches the huts. Dead bodies are here and there about the huts, which still have a little bit of fire around the edges, but are mostly charred rubble. He runs among the bodies, until at last he reaches the body of Barahir. He kneels down]

Beren: O Father! Father! [begins to weep. Camera shifts to show him throwing a last stone on a cairn over the bodies. His face is dark as he throws it down and kneels before the cairn] Curse you, Morgoth! I curse you a thousandfold for this! I shall have my revenge on you, if I die in doing so. My father will be avenged.

[edit] Chapter Two

Rúmil (narrator): And Beren dwelt long in the land, and he grew to be a strong young man. [Following shows quick and alternate shots of him running with deer and speaking with birds, as well as ambushing orcs] The birds and beasts he made his friends. He ambushed forces of Morgoth, but still they pushed ever in to the land of his father, Dorthonion. In the last he was forced to flee. [Shots of Beren running and sneaking through the woods, until he comes to the top of a mountain ridge and looks down upon the great wood.]

Beren: Farewell, Dorthonion, and the grave of my father! No longer are you wholesome to me. [Beren fingers the Ring of Barahir] By the badge of Finrod Felagund, I shall go out into the world, and seek to avenge your death, father. Farewell! [Beren turns and walks into the mountains]

[Scene begins to shift as Beren passes through the mountains. It shows him at last coming to the edge of a dark forest, beyond which is more mountain peaks]

Beren: I shall have to pass through this forest. It looks so. . . dark. [Looks back. There is suddenly the howl of a wolf far away] I must go forward. [His hand goes to the hilt of his sword]

[Camera shows Beren walking quietly through the woods. Occasionally there is heard strange hisses and squeals. Suddenly there is a noise. Beren's hand moves to his sword-hilt as the previously quite music begins a barely noticeable rise. Suddenly the music flashes loud, and a great spider leaps out of the trees toward Beren, who draws his sword with a flash and cuts it down. The music dies to a single low note, and Beren stands there, panting]

Beren: A great spider, one of the children of Ungoliant. [His gaze goes nervously about] I must get out of here.

[Beren begins to run through the woods, and suddenly is confronted by another hissing spider. He draws back his sword, when another lands near him. Others begin to crawl down tree trunks, and Beren gradually moves backward, until he is encircled by the beasts.]

Beren: You haven't got me yet. [Beren leaps up and catches a branch, pulling himself up. He slays a spider on the branch, but others pour up the trunk and surrounding trunks. Beren is forced out onto the limb, where he kills several spiders attempting to drop webs on him. Suddenly a thread wraps around his sword-wrist, and he cannot pull it out. He draws out a dirk and cuts the thread, and falls down to the ground. Anxiously he runs through the woods, with the spiders in pursuit. Suddenly a great black bear rears up in front of him, almost twice his height. He pulls out a large knife and throws it, stabbing him in the throat. He turns and run, constantly dodging spiders, etc. A large spider is runing at him from ahead and he dodges aside, tumbling down a hillside. He is now in a more desolate plain, still running, looking over his shoulders at Ered Gorgoroth. He trips again and comes eye- to eye with a golden brown leaf. Looking up he sees the forest of Doriath. Beren stands and walks in. A sucking sound meets him and the outside noises dissapear and all is still, but for the babble of a creek. He looks around, smiles, and steps out again. A sucking sound occurs and he again is in the outside world. Beren chuckles, steps in again, then out. He laughs heartily, but something roars and beren quickly enters Doriath and continues. He is shown walking through the woods.]

[edit] Chapter Three

[edit] Chapter Four

[edit] Chapter Five

[edit] Chapter Six

[edit] Chapter Seven