010 – It Is A Gift


In this special spoiler-filled episode, we delve into Tolkien’s letters and The History of Middle-earth to examine Tolkien’s concept of mortality as “the gift of the One to Men.” We discuss the fates of Elves and Men and how they illustrate a central theme in the legendarium, and demonstrate that anything in life can be improved with a reference to The Princess Bride.

Listen to the episode here or on YouTube

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Recommended Reading:

Tolkien, J. R. R. The Silmarillion (Mariner Books, paperback)

Tolkien, J. R. R. (Christopher Tolkien, ed.) Morgoth’s Ring (The History of Middle-earth, Vol. 10) (HarperCollins, paperback)

Tolkien, J. R. R. (Christopher Tolkien, ed.) The Peoples of Middle-earth (The History of Middle-earth, Vol. 12) (HarperCollins, paperback)

Carpenter, Humphrey, ed. The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien (Mariner Books, paperback)

Scull, Christina, and Wayne G. Hammond. J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide (Two Volume Box Set) (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, hardcover)

2 thoughts on “010 – It Is A Gift

  1. Thank you, Alan and Shawn, for patiently and carefully answering my question about Death as an Enemy vs. Death as a Gift. I see now that the first refers to life as it is and has been, but the second to life as God/Eru means it to be for His willing created beings with Him beyond His created world. Thank you for introducing me to the Athrabeth/Debate between Finrod and Andreth about immortality in Morgoth’s Ring, the next book I’m coming to in my HoME reading. It and your discussion here shed light on the famous Resurrection Chapter in the Bible, 1 Corinthians 15, especially these pinnacle verses near the end: “This perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality…. Then will come about the saying that is written, ‘DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory. O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?'”

    • Thank you, Allacin! Your question made for an excellent discussion, and a great excuse to read some of the deeper works in the HoME. I think you’ll enjoy and appreciate every page of Morgoth’s Ring … and we welcome any further questions you’d like us to discuss as you work your way through.

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