Smells Like Elf Spirit

In an early Prancing Pony Ponderings essay, I made brief mention of the following passage in The Hobbit …

‘Hmmm! it smells like elves!’ thought Bilbo, and he looked up at the stars. They were burning bright and blue.
     (The Hobbit, p. 45)

… and quickly skipped past the questionable implications of “elf-smell.” And they are indeed questionable, in a way I felt completely unprepared to address back in October, when the Prancing Pony Ponderings segment of our website was still so new. It seemed too absurd, too indulgent, to tackle the question all those months ago when I was a younger, less wise man.

Oh, how times have changed. Continue reading

014 – Trouble in Paradise

In Chapter 7 of The Silmarillion, Fëanor crafts the most renowned jewels in the history of Middle-earth – the Silmarils – and conflict is immediately kindled between the sons of Finwë while Melkor stokes the fire. Meanwhile, a listener question about the crafting of weapons leads Alan and Shawn down a nerdy pop culture reference path from which there is no turning back.

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Recommended Reading:

Tolkien, J. R. R. The Silmarillion (Mariner Books, paperback) pp. 67-72, “Of the Silmarils and the Unrest of the Noldor”

013 – The Blame Game

In Chapter 6 of The Silmarillion, Míriel chooses death over the labor of living, so Finwë remarries to the displeasure of his eldest son Fëanor (and half the Valar). Amid the strife in Finwë’s house, Melkor is granted parole and begins to gain influence in Valinor. But Fëanor is a spirit so fiery, not even Melkor can sway him. Cue the foreboding music.

For more information on the Sarati script developed by Rúmil, please visit the excellent Amanye Tenceli site by Måns Björkman at: http://at.mansbjorkman.net/sarati.htm

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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. 63-66, “Of Fëanor and the Unchaining of Melkor”

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)

012 – All in the Family

In Chapters 4 and 5 of The Silmarillion, one Telerin lord settles down with a lady way out of his league while the rest of the Eldar migrate across the Great Sea to Aman. We see the founding of the great cities of Eldamar – Tirion upon Túna and Alqualondë – and meet the family of Finwë, King of the Noldor. And Ulmo actually does what the Valar tell him to, until he doesn’t.

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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. 55-62, “Of Thingol and Melian” and “Of Eldamar and the Princes of the Eldalië”

011 – Elves and All! Hooray!

In Chapter 3 of The Silmarillion, we take a trip to Cuiviénen for the awakening of the Firstborn Children of Ilúvatar – the Quendi or Elves. Along the way we discuss the kindling of the stars, the origin of the Orcs, and the capture of Melkor. We also raise the bar on nerdy pop culture references from The Princess Bride all the way up to Get Smart.

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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. 47-54, “Of the Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor”

Fonstad, Karen Wynn. The Atlas of Middle-earth (Revised Edition) (Houghton Mifflin, Paperback)

Tolkien, J. R. R. The Silmarillion (Random House audiobook, unabridged) read by Martin Shaw

 

008 – And So It Begins

Finally reaching Chapter 1 of the Quenta Silmarillion, we behold an Arda too perfect to last, offer a brief geography lesson, and shamelessly poke fun at as many Valar as possible before stopping to admire the beauty of the Two Trees of Valinor. Also, we almost answer a question about death.

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. 35-42, “Of the Beginning of Days”