044 – The Threshold of Middle-earth: An Interview with John Garth

Alan and Shawn are honored to welcome John Garth, the award-winning author of Tolkien and the Great War and Tolkien at Exeter College, to The Prancing Pony Podcast! John’s work as a biographer and researcher offers a rare glimpse into the early life of J.R.R. Tolkien, and the experiences and ideas that helped shape the Middle-earth legendarium. We discuss war, friendship, sorrow, and tales of college tomfoolery that may surprise you.

For a list of John Garth’s writings about Tolkien, including the Telegraph online article “When J.R.R. Tolkien bet C.S. Lewis: the wager that gave birth to The Lord of the Rings,” see his website at http://www.johngarth.co.uk/php/tolkien_publications.php

You can also follow John Garth online at his website, http://www.johngarth.co.uk/, on Facebook (facebook.com/JohnGarthWriter) or on Twitter @JohnGarthWriter)

For speaking engagement inquiries, please see http://www.johngarth.co.uk/php/talks_and_presentations.php.

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Recommended Reading:

Garth, John. Tolkien and the Great War: The Threshold of Middle-earth (Mariner Books, hardcover)

Garth, John. Tolkien at Exeter College (Exeter College, paperback)

043 – The Final Frontier

Join Alan and Shawn as they don red shirts for the final chapter of the Quenta Silmarillion, the voyages of the star-ship Vingilot. Its continuing mission: to bring Eärendil and Elwing into the West, to seek the pardon and aid of the Valar, and to become a beacon of hope for Elves and Men forever after. The ensuing War of Wrath leaves behind a strange new world, and each of the Silmarils boldly goes where no one has gone before… or ever will again.

For an image of Maglor Casts a Silmaril into the Sea by Ted Nasmith, visit the artist’s home page here: http://www.tednasmith.com/tolkien/maglor-casts-a-silmaril-into-the-sea/

For the article “Dragon scale” by John Garth, on the size of Ancalagon the Black, visit his blog here: https://johngarth.wordpress.com/2015/01/18/dragon-scale-why-its-impossible-to-size-up-tolkiens-middle-earth/

For the essay “From Terrible Beauty to Beacon of Hope — The Silmarils from Fëanor to Eärendil” by listener Tom Hillman, visit his blog here: http://alasnotme.blogspot.com/2017/04/from-terrible-beauty-to-beacon-of-hope.html

Listen to the episode here or on YouTube

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Comments or questions for Barliman’s Bag:

  • Visit us at Facebook or Twitter
  • Comment on this blog post
  • Email theprancingponypodcast (at) gmail (dot) com.

Recommended Reading:

Tolkien, J. R. R. The Silmarillion (Mariner Books, paperback) pp. 246-255, “Of the Voyage of Eärendil and the War of Wrath”

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

Rateliff, John D. The History of the Hobbit (HarperCollins, one-volume hardcover)

Gilliver, Peter, Jeremy Marshall, Edmund Weiner. The Ring of Words: Tolkien and the Oxford English Dictionary (Oxford University Press, hardcover)

Garth, John. Tolkien and the Great War: The Threshold of Middle-earth (Mariner Books, hardcover)

Garth, John. Tolkien at Exeter College (Exeter College, paperback)

042 – Resistance is Futile

We return to Chapter 23 of The Silmarillion with our second episode on Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin. Tuor’s star rises in the realm of Turgon, and soon he finds himself wedded to Idril Celebrindal, becoming the second Man ever to marry one of the Firstborn. But Maeglin is bitter at his cousin’s rejection, and soon Morgoth seizes on his discontent to fulfill some long-laid plans of his own. We trek with you through the flames, the fights, and the frights of the fall of the last Elven stronghold in Beleriand, and hint at the hope to come. Plus, don’t miss Alan’s impression of a beloved Hollywood icon.

For an image of Glorfindel and the Balrog by John Howe, visit the artist’s home page here: http://www.john-howe.com/portfolio/gallery/details.php?image_id=284

Listen to the episode here or on YouTube

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Comments or questions for Barliman’s Bag:

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  • Comment on this blog post
  • Email theprancingponypodcast (at) gmail (dot) com.

Recommended Reading:

Tolkien, J. R. R. The Silmarillion (Mariner Books, paperback) pp. 238-239, “Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin”

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

 

The Summer of the Prancing Pony

Alan and Shawn went live on Facebook Friday to talk about all the exciting things we have coming up this summer! Watch the video below, and subscribe now to catch all the good stuff as soon as it comes out!

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to get the latest news, and send us your questions or comments to theprancingponypodcast (at) gmail (dot) com!

041 – Make It So

In the first of two episodes on Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin, we go beyond The Silmarillion into Tolkien’s Unfinished Tales to tell the story the way it was meant to be told. The son of Huor and Rían survives capture, thraldom, and life as an outlaw to follow the footstep of doom, and soon finds himself face-to-face with Ulmo, the Lord of Waters. Tuor is offered a quest to find Gondolin and bring a message of warning from Ulmo, in fulfillment of a plan laid centuries ago. Also, answers to a listener question about Elven sleeping habits reveal gaps in both Shawn’s research… and his knowledge of Star Trek.

Below is an image of the painting Taur-na-Fuin by J.R.R. Tolkien, depicting Beleg’s finding of Gwindor:taur-na-fuin

Gwindor can be seen lying prone near the roots of the large tree at center, with a red hat and a Fëanorian lamp on the ground beside him: taur-na-fuin_zoom

Artwork above is copyright of The Tolkien Estate Limited or The Tolkien Trust.

For an image of Tuor, Gelmir, and Arminas by Ted Nasmith depicting Gelmir’s Fëanorian lamp, visit the artist’s home page here: http://www.tednasmith.com/tolkien/tuor-gelmir-and-arminas/

Listen to the episode here or on YouTube

Subscribe to the podcast via:

Comments or questions for Barliman’s Bag:

  • Visit us at Facebook or Twitter
  • Comment on this blog post
  • Email theprancingponypodcast (at) gmail (dot) com.

Recommended Reading:

Tolkien, J. R. R. (Christopher Tolkien, ed.) Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth (Mariner Books, paperback) pp. 17-56, “Of Tuor and His Coming to Gondolin”

Tolkien, J. R. R. The Silmarillion (Mariner Books, paperback) pp. 238-239, “Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin”

 

Pity and Fear: the Tragic Tale of Túrin

It’s been three weeks since Alan and I finished our trilogy of episodes on the story of Túrin Turambar in The Silmarillion, and no one is looking forward to Tuor showing up on the podcast more than I am. But before we say farewell to the son of Húrin, I still wish to explore the idea of Túrin as a tragic hero, as I promised to do at the end of our epic-length episode 039 – Exit the Warrior.

I have to say that Alan did such an excellent job with his last Prancing Pony Pondering examining Túrin’s free will and fate as defined in the philosophy of Boethius, that I think we have enough to close the book on Túrin’s case: his responsibility for his own misdeeds, and the verdict that Morgoth’s Curse — though real and powerful — does not overcome Túrin’s free will, has been well established by my co-host. But I’d like to add some additional insight to that discussion that satisfies my desire for a literary explanation of Túrin’s responsibility, in addition to the philosophical one; and I’d still like to investigate the question of just why Professor Tolkien saw fit to present such a tale of grief in the first place. Continue reading