031 – Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

The first of three episodes on The Silmarillion Chapter 19, “Of Beren and Lúthien.” The fugitive son of Barahir comes to Doriath and has a fateful meeting with the daughter of Thingol. Unimpressed with Lúthien’s new boyfriend, Thingol sends Beren on an impossible quest to win her hand. We discuss the personal significance of the story Tolkien called “the kernel of the mythology” and compare excerpts from the epic poem The Lay of Leithian. Plus, what do Thingol and Archie Bunker have in common?

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Recommended Reading:

Tolkien, J. R. R. The Silmarillion (Mariner Books, paperback) pp. 162-170, “Of Beren and Lúthien”

Tolkien, J. R. R. (Christopher Tolkien, ed.) The Book of Lost Tales Part Two (The History of Middle-earth, Vol. 2) (HarperCollins, paperback)

Tolkien, J. R. R. (Christopher Tolkien, ed.) The Lays of Beleriand (The History of Middle-earth, Vol. 3) (Del Rey, paperback)

Tolkien, J. R. R. (Christopher Tolkien, ed.) Beren and Lúthien (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, hardcover)


2 thoughts on “031 – Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

  1. Just got the chance to start listening to this episode today. Tolkien’s use of the nightingale and the lark in this chapter is remarkable, but that’s part of the wonder of Luthien: She brings together the morning and the evening. And your mention of the lark in R&J was spot on. But here’s the thing. The lark is not a bird that lovers want to hear. It’s pretty much the last one they want to hear in fact, since it usually means they must part because the day has come. Yet here it is the song of the lark at morning that brings the lovers together.

    (By the way, I believe Thingol did not call Beren ‘Meat-head’ only because he did not want to confuse him with Celeborn.)

  2. I’m wavering between commenting on the deep insight about the lark and your Celeborn/Meat-head crack. Yeah, I’m leaning towards that one. 🙂

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