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/

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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”

 

036 – Fly By Night, Away From Here

Alan and Shawn begin yet another trilogy of episodes — this time on The Silmarillion Chapter 21, “Of Túrin Turambar.” The son of Húrin of Dor-lómin is fostered by the King of Doriath, but an awkward dinner party drives him to a life among outlaws. Fleeing from his own fate, he manages to bring disaster wherever he goes, and he’s headed to Nargothrond next. We give an overview of the history of the story Tolkien called the “germ” of his mythology and — surprise! — we quote Monty Python.

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Comments or questions for Barliman’s Bag:

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Recommended Reading:

Tolkien, J. R. R. The Silmarillion (Mariner Books, paperback) pp. 198-209, “Of Túrin Turambar”

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.) The Children of Húrin (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, paperback)

Tolkien, J. R. R. (Verlyn Flieger, ed.) The Story of Kullervo (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, hardcover)

Tolkien, J. R. R. (translator) Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl, and Sir Orfeo (HarperCollins, paperback)

Tolkien, J. R. R. The Monsters and the Critics and Other Essays (HarperCollins, paperback)

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

 

033 – The Princess Bride

The last of three episodes on The Silmarillion Chapter 19, “Of Beren and Lúthien.” After putting the Dark Lord down for a nap, the lovers succeed in prying a Silmaril from Morgoth’s iron crown. Beren needs a helping hand to escape from Carcharoth, and Thingol figures out entirely on his own something everyone around him already knew. Our favorite hound meets his doom, and Lúthien is offered a profound choice about the future. We wrap up by discussing the way this romance impacts the rest of Tolkien’s legendarium, and shamelessly crack left-handed jokes.

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Comments or questions for Barliman’s Bag:

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Recommended Reading:

Tolkien, J. R. R. The Silmarillion (Mariner Books, paperback) pp. 179-187, “Of Beren and Lúthien”

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)

032 – Lady and the Tramp

The second of three episodes on The Silmarillion Chapter 19, “Of Beren and Lúthien.” Man’s best friend has a soft spot for Elf-maidens too, as Huan the hound of Valinor befriends Lúthien and assists in her quest to fetch Beren from the dungeons of Sauron. We find two sons of Fëanor off their leash, bury the bones of a beloved Elf-king, and dig up some of Tolkien’s essays and letters to determine the difference between wolves, wargs, and werewolves. As it turns out, not all dogs come from heaven.

Also, the long-anticipated explanation:

wolves

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Recommended Reading:

Tolkien, J. R. R. The Silmarillion (Mariner Books, paperback) pp. 170-179, “Of Beren and Lúthien”

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)

Tolkien, J. R. R. (Christopher Tolkien, ed.) The Treason of Isengard (The History of Middle-earth, Vol. 7) (Houghton Mifflin, paperback)

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)

 

024 – Territories

It’s a small world, after all. Take a trip around the map with Alan and Shawn in Chapter 14 of The Silmarillion, Tolkien’s extensive description of the geography and realms of the Elves in Beleriand. Also, we receive a lesson in Dwarvish pronunciation from a listener and get up close and personal with a personal pronoun. And what’s that voice in the distance? Sounds like a very deep woodwind instrument.

For more information on the Khuzdul language and insights on all things Dwarvish, visit The Dwarrow Scholar (dwarrowscholar.com) by listener Roy.

For more insights on Tolkien’s work and his medieval literary and linguistic influences, visit the blog Alas, not me (alasnotme.blogspot.com) by listener Tom H.

Also in this episode, Shawn brings up a poem by Tolkien that cycles through the seasons, but whose title he can’t quite remember. The poem is “The Trees of Kortirion” (a.k.a.”Kortirion among the Trees”) from “The Cottage of Lost Play” in The Book of Lost Tales Part One.

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Recommended Reading:

Tolkien, J. R. R. The Silmarillion (Mariner Books, paperback) pp. 118-124, “Of Beleriand and its Realms”

Tolkien, J. R. R. (Christopher Tolkien, ed.) The Book of Lost Tales Part One (The History of Middle-earth, Vol. 1) (Del Rey, paperback)

Carpenter, Humphrey. J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography (Houghton Mifflin, paperback)

022 – Subdivisions

In Chapter 13 of The Silmarillion, Fëanor’s host arrives in Middle-earth shortly before Fingolfin’s, leading to an awkward family reunion that just gets more awkward when somebody calls Uncle Thingol. Fëanor’s dream of revenge goes up in flames, and we tally up his good-or-evil score including Tolkien’s own thoughts from his letters. We also read the inspiring story of Fingon and Maedhros, and have way too much fun with the new toy in Alan’s studio.

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Comments or questions for Barliman’s Bag:

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Recommended Reading:

Tolkien, J. R. R. The Silmarillion (Mariner Books, paperback) pp. 106-113, “Of the Return of the Noldor”

Tolkien, J. R. R. (Christopher Tolkien, ed.) The Lost Road and Other Writings (The History of Middle-earth, Vol. 5) (HarperCollins, paperback)

 

018 – Menegroth: Love It or List It

Returning to Middle-earth from Aman, we cover thousands of years in a few pages with Chapter 10 of The Silmarillion, “Of the Sindar.” The remnant of the Teleri in Beleriand ruled by Thingol and Melian befriend the Dwarves and delve underground to build the fairest dwelling this side of the Sea. But soon Morgoth’s beasts and Orcs move in next door, and the neighborhood goes downhill quickly. Plus, Elvish beauty secrets and a surprise visit from an old friend.

For an excellent interactive map of Beleriand, along with a map of Third Age Middle-earth and a variety of other legendarium timelines, statistics and infographics, visit the LotrProject website (lotrproject.com), and please consider donating to help keep it available and ad-free.

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Comments or questions for Barliman’s Bag:

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Recommended Reading:

Tolkien, J. R. R. The Silmarillion (Mariner Books, paperback) pp. 91-97, “Of the Sindar”

Fimi, Dimitra, and Andrew Higgins, eds. A Secret Vice: Tolkien on Invented Languages (HarperCollins, hardcover)