049 – The First Age Strikes Back: The Silmarillion Retrospective

A long time ago, in a galaxy not so far away, Alan and Shawn started discussing The Silmarillion. Now, witness the power of this fully armed and operational retrospective episode! First, we open Barliman’s Bag and stay on target to answer as many questions about the First and Second Ages as we can. Then we search our feelings for our favorite recurring themes in The Silmarillion and discuss Morgoth’s playbook for evil, the greatness of Finrod, the enduring importance of hope in Tolkien’s works, and more. And we make use of our Star Wars referencing skills for the first time in a long time… a long time.

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Recommended Reading:

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

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

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

The Sins of Melkor… and that one guy

When Shawn and I recorded our fifth episode of the podcast on the Ainulindalë, we couldn’t have predicted that we’d still be around over a year later — let alone that we’d have so many listeners enjoying our efforts.1 But there was something else we couldn’t predict then, either — that “The Sins of Melkor” that I talked about in that episode would end up being so universally applicable to other characters in the legendarium. It was only as we were preparing to put The Silmarillion on a boat in the Grey Havens and wave goodbye to it for our upcoming retrospective episode that I realized just how pervasive those errors are — not only for the genuinely evil characters, but also for the mostly-evil, the sometimes-a-jerk, and even the occasionally-foolish. Continue reading

016 – Hit the Road, Jack…

In the first half of Chapter 9 of The Silmarillion, “Of the Flight of the Noldor”, Melkor and Ungoliant leave the dead Trees behind them and continue their crime spree in Formenos. Fëanor goes full-emo and rallies the Noldor to pursue his Black Foe back to Middle-earth, swearing a terrible oath in the process. We revisit Míriel in Mandos, and also discuss how a Silmaril is like a bite of ribeye.

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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. 78-85, “Of the Flight of the Noldor”

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

015 – Along Came a Spider

Doom falls on Valinor in Chapter 8 of The Silmarillion. Manwë hosts a feast to reconcile the estranged sons of Finwë, but Melkor chooses that moment to get his revenge with a little help from the mother of all evil spiders (literally), Ungoliant. We bring back Tolkien Fun Facts with a young Professor’s trek through the Swiss Alps, and wonder about Valarin bug spray.

For an image of Der Berggeist by Josef Madlener, the painting that Tolkien deemed the “Origin of Gandalf,” visit this page for the artist’s hometown of Memmingen (German language site): https://www.memmingen.de/76.html

For an image of The Killing of the Trees by John Howe, visit the artist’s home page here: http://www.john-howe.com/portfolio/gallery/details.php?image_id=977

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. The Silmarillion (Mariner Books, paperback) pp. 73-77, “Of the Darkening of Valinor”

Carpenter, Humphrey. J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography (Houghton Mifflin, paperback) Book II, Chapter 4, “‘T.C., B.S., etc.'”)

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

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. 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)