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Monty Python’s Fifteen-Minute Silmarillion
by Kyriel

Act I

Ornate Terry Gilliam title card, decorated with half-naked Valar cavorting with fruit and feathers:



Scene opens with black-and-white stock footage of knights fighting — lots of grunts and yells. Abrupt shift to close-up color footage of Michael Palin, in "Knights of Nih" garb, being attacked by the other five Pythons. Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam, both in drag, are biting his ankles. John Cleese and Eric Idle, in flowing fake beard and robes, arm hanging onto his arms. Graham Chapman, in King Arthur gear, has him in a headlock. Zoom in on Chapman. Caption reads, "Manwe: the good one." Zoom in on Palin. Caption reads, "Melkor, the bad one." Melkor breaks free, and the scene shifts to the same B&W footage as before. Finally we see Melkor tied to a spit and being slowly turned over a fire.

Melkor: It’s a fair cop.

Fade to black


Act II

Fade in on a cartoon stage. The curtains open, revealing a cartoon chorus line of high-kicking gods, goddesses, elves, orcs, humans and balrogs, pulling behind them a banner that reads:



Once the chorus line is gone, the curtain draws back out of sight, leading into…

Scene 1:

A group of gods and elves are sitting around underneath two trees, one decorated with white Christmas lights, the other with gold lights.

Manwe: Well, my friends, how do you like Valinor so far?

As the elves are about to answer, Melkor sneaks up behind the group and throws a convenient switch. The trees — and the screen — go dark.

Feanor: Er, just lovely, Lord. So….when can we leave?

Fade to black, then fade in again on…

Scene 2:

Zoom in on Feanor(Eric Idle in a black wig), standing proudly at the head of an elven ship, wig streaming out behind him and threatening to blow away. He crams it down with one hand.

Narrator: And so bold Feanor set out from Valinor in search of freedom — and those most precious of Christmas tree ornaments, the Silmarils, which had been stolen by Melkor in the confusion of the Great Party Crashing. With Feanor came his seven sons: Maedros (close-up of Idle again, but this time he’s wearing a false mustache), Maglor (Idle again, with a false beard), Celegorm (Idle with glasses), Caranthir (Idle, quickly slipping on a set of false teeth), Curufin (Idle, slightly desperate now, adjusting a Groucho Marx nose & glasses), Amrod (Idle, even more desperate, cramming on a cowboy hat), and Amras (Idle, franticly shaving his head), the lady Galadriel (Terry Jones in drag, simpering prettily) — and a bunch of other people whose names you won’t remember anyway. Feanor died shortly after his arrival in Middle-earth —

Amras, interrupting: Can I have his wig?

Narrator (continuing, somewhat testily): —leaving his sons to continue the quest for the Silmarils.

Fade out

Scene 2:

Fade in once again on the B&W stock footage of knights fighting

Narrator: And so it went, for years untold (in this fifteen-minute version, at least): battle and death, death and doom, doomed romance and death, and the occasional romantic doomed battle to the death…. Thus we come to the tragic tale of Beren and Luthien.

Beren (Chapman) stands arm-in-arm with Luthien (Jones) before the throne of King Thingol (Idle)

Beren: Even now, a silmaril is in my hand! (He pulls him arm out of his cloak, showing that his hand is missing.)

Thingol: Oh, right, very impressive. And you lost that stealing a silmaril from the Dark Lord, did you? Well, I call that convenient!

Beren (less confidently): Truly, lord: even now a silmaril is in my hand!

Thingol: Yes, yes, you said that a moment ago. I suppose you were just standing there holding the stone when some big bad wolf just came along and bit your hand off!

Beren: Er, actually….

Thingol: Honestly, just how stupid do you think I am? You expect to just waltz into my throne room one-handed and carry off my daughter like you’ve done me some kind of favor? You’re a loony! I mean, really: what good’s a silmaril in the hand, if the hand isn’t in this room?! You’d better go and find it, that’s all I’ve got to say!

Thingol continues to rant as Beren slinks offscreen.

Scene 3:

Narrator: Then there was the even more tragic story of Turin and Nienor.

Fade in on Turin (Cleese) climbing a low hill. Suddenly he catches sight of a nude Carole Cleveland lying above him.

Turin (falling to his knees in ecstasy): Thank you, Eru! (He rushes to the top of the hill and kneels beside her.) Here, my lady, take this cloak to warm you!

Nienor grabs the cloak – a little too quickly for Turin’s liking.

Turin: Ah, but not so fast, my dear! You mustn’t — mustn’t — mustn’t overexert yourself! Yes, that’s it! You mustn’t overexert yourself, not when you’ve been lying naked on a hilltop all night! (Aside, as she finishes wrapping up): Damn, that cloak looked so much smaller on me.

The two look each other up and down, obviously liking what they see.

Nienor: Strange, but you look just like my long-lost brother.

Turin: And you’re be a dead ringer for my long-lost sister….(The cloak conveniently slips off her shoulders, and his eyes bug out.) But you can’t be her, so let’s forget we ever said that, shall we?

Nienor: It’s already forgotten.

Scene 4:

Narrator: Finally, we come to the slightly less tragic but definitely much shorter story of Tuor and the fall of Gondolin.

Tuor (Chapman), standing before the gates of Gondolin: And so I tell you, King Turgon, that almost any day now, Gondolin will perish in a doomed battle to the death of romance.

Turgon (Palin): Yeah, yeah, right, of course. So…come inside, have a drink, stick for a decade or two.

Tuor: Thank you, sir, don’t mind if I do.

Scene 5:

More B&W stock footage, with narrator’s voice overlaying it

Narrator: And so it continued until at last the silmarils were recovered, and found their final resting places in earth and air and sea.

Earendil (Palin) holds up a silmaril, admiring it. Suddenly a cartoon hand reaches out of the clouds and yanks both the stone and him up into the stratosphere.

Earendil: Aieeeeeee!

Shift to Maedros (Idle with mustache) holds up a silmaril, admiring it. Suddenly a cartoon chasm opens before him, and he topples in.

Maedros: Aieeeeeee!

Shift to Maglor (Idle with beard) holds up a silmaril, admiring it, as he walks along a seashore. Suddenly he trips over a rock, and the silmaril goes flying — far out into the water.

Maglor: Aieeeeeee!

Narrator: Here ends the SILMARILLION.

Fade out



Ornate Terry Gilliam title card, decorated with half-naked gods, goddesses, and elves lounging in a hot tub littered with the debris of broken buildings:



Scene 1:

Fade in on Sauron (Jones, at his most unctuous) and Ar-Pharazon (Palin) walking along the shoreline of Numenor. The outlines of Valinor are just visible on the horizon.

Sauron: I dare you.

Ar-Pharazon: No, no, really, I shouldn’t.

Sauron: I double-dare you!

Ar-Pharazon: You know I shouldn’t. It’d be calling down the wrath of the Valar on Numenor.

Sauron (craftily): All right, if you insist: I (ominous blare of horns) triple-dare you!

Ar-Pharazon (gasping): You wouldn’t!

Sauron: Oho, but I would!

Ar-Pharazon: Well, then, Sauron, you leave me no choice. (He turns around and yells to a throng of Numenorians assembled behind him) Everybody into the boats!

Scene 2:

A cartoon ship strikes ground in a cartoon Valinor. Instantly a giant Manwe springs up from behind the horizon, holding a giant pail of water. He dashes the water against Ar-Pharazon’s ship, which tumbles backwards through the ocean until it strikes Numenor once more. The island flips upside-down and sinks to the bottom of the ocean. A tiny Ar-Pharazon is just visible, sitting on the bottom.

Ar-Pharazon (his words coming out in bubbles): I knew I shouldn’t have done that.



Act IV

Fade in on Gilliam-drawn map of Middle-earth. Dramatic fanfare introduces the title card, superimposed over the map:



The title card fades, leaving the map onscreen. After a moment, cartoon smoke begins to billow from a cartoon Orodruin, and a dark figure rises up from the volcano’s mouth. It and all other characters in this story look and move jerkily, like paper dolls.

Sauron, holding aloft the One Ring: Hah!

An army springs up out of a trap door at the mountain’s feet. One anonymous fighter reaches out and snatches the Ring from Sauron’s grasp.

Isildur: Hah!

Isildur runs northwest across the map until he reaches Anduin, where a band of orcs springs out of another trap door and shoots him full of arrows. Isildur tumbles into the river and disappears.

Orcs: Hah!

Gollum pops up out of a trap door in the river, holding the Ring aloft.

Gollum: Hah!

Gollum runs up into the Misty Mountains, where Bilbo pops up and snatches the Ring.

Bilbo: Hah!

Bilbo runs back to the Shire, where he hands the Ring off to Frodo.

Frodo: Hah!

Gandalf pops up next to Frodo, loads him into a catapult, and sends him pinwheeling back across the map until he lands Ring-first in Orodruin.

Gandalf: HaHA!

Fade to black



The credits begin roll, underlined with mock-elvish subtitles: "Whai not trai a hólídë in Lorien thisse yír? Sí the lovelí trís, the wonderfúl teileiphón sístím, and maní ínterestíng furrí anímals..." Suddenly the music grinds to a halt and a new title card appears: "We apologise for the fault in the subtitles. Those responsible have been sacked, and the credits have been completed in an entirely different style at great expense at the last minute." The credits continue, this time with the epilogue running in the background:

More stock B&W footage of fighting, broken in succession by…


<LI>Melkor tied to a spit, spinning faster and faster until he spins off into the air. As he falls, he knocks over the Two Trees, and the combined crash sends the Noldor flying into the air

<LI>The Noldor land in Middle-earth and immediately begin fighting with one another

<LI>Beren holds up his bloody stump for Luthien to see. "It’s only a flesh wound," he says, and promptly falls down dead. She falls dead on top of him.

<LI>Nienor: "You mean, he really is my brother? Ewww!" She jumps in the river.

<LI>Turin: "You mean, she really is my sister? Ewww!" He falls on his sword.

<LI>Turgon: "You mean, you were telling the truth? Aieeeeee!" A giant dragon foot stomps him flat.

<LI>A ring of seven Elves (all of whom look suspiciously like Eric Idle) play "Hot Potato" with the silmarils

<LI>Sauron whistles cheerfully as he paddles toward Middle-earth

<LI>Gandalf waltzes gracefully with his staff. As he disappears into the sunset, the screen fades to black for the last time.


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