Talking Tolkien Podcast – Ep. 8 – Interview with Illustrator Evan Palmer


The cycles should be linked to a majestic whole, and yet leave scope for other minds and hands, wielding paint and music and drama.

– Silmarillion xii


©2013-2015 rfcunha
©2013-2015rfcunha

We had a chance to sit down with illustrator and Artist-of-the-Month Evan Palmer of EvanPalmerComics.com and discuss his amazingly cool graphic novel interpretation of Ainulindalë. It was a blast talking to Evan and we learned a ton about his methods and inspirations, so you don’t want to miss it. Enjoy!
Continue reading “Talking Tolkien Podcast – Ep. 8 – Interview with Illustrator Evan Palmer”

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Tolkien’s Letters – 113: An Apology to C.S. Lewis


Do me the great generosity of making me a present of the pains I have caused, so that I may share in the good you have put them to. (127)


I love Tolkien’s letters almost as much as his Middle-earth works. In fact, it is probably his letters more than anything that have inspired the creation of this site, for in them I find a dragon’s hoard of wisdom and insight. This is the first post in a series on Tolkien’s letters, in which I will explore the best of the bunch, and gleam whatever insights and quotable snippets I can find.

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My daily devotional.

If there is anyone who has influenced and inspired me as much as Tolkien, it would be C.S. Lewis. In fact, I had been into Lewis’ works for years before I ever really discovered his buddy Tolkien. It’s a pleasure then to read correspondence between the two, and so the first of Tolkien’s letters that I’ll be exploring is a letter he wrote to C.S. Lewis in 1948. It is Letter #113 in the book. Continue reading “Tolkien’s Letters – 113: An Apology to C.S. Lewis”

The Silmarillion – A Beginner’s Guide – Pt 24 (Of Beren and Lúthien 1/3)


Among the tales of sorrow and of ruin that come down to us from the darkness of those days there are yet some in which amid weeping there is joy and under the shadow of death light that endures. And of these histories most fair still in the ears of the Elves is the tale of Beren and Lúthien. Of their lives was made the Lay of Leithian, Release from Bondage, which is the longest save one of the songs concerning the world of old; but here the tale is told in fewer words and without song. (162)


This post continues my chapter-by-chapter walkthrough of The Silmarillion. This time, I will examine the 1st part of the 19th chapter of The Silmarillion proper, “Of Beren and Lúthien.” You can see a list of all of the posts in this series by clicking here.

©2013-2015 breathing2004

In my view, “Of Beren and Lúthien” is the crown jewel of The Silmarillion. I love it so much I wrote a book about it.  It was one of Tolkien’s favorites too, and it’s one of the longest chapters in The Silmarillion, so we are going to spend at least a few posts on it. It picks up where the last chapter left off, in the aftermath of the Battle of Sudden Flame. Continue reading “The Silmarillion – A Beginner’s Guide – Pt 24 (Of Beren and Lúthien 1/3)”

Talking Tolkien Podcast – Ep. 6 – On Enjoying Tolkien (or Reasons Why)


I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation. It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they are; the delight is incomplete till it is expressed. It is frustrating to have discovered a new author and not to be able to tell anyone how good he is; to come suddenly, at the turn of the road, upon some mountain valley of unexpected grandeur and then to have to keep silent because the people with you care for it no more than for a tin can in the ditch; to hear a good joke and find no one to share it with. . . . 

– C.S. Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms


©2013-2015 rfcunha
©2013-2015 rfcunha

Why spend so much time talking and writing about Tolkien? What does it mean to fully enjoy something? We discuss these matters, with a little help from C.S. Lewis, on our first non-Silmarillion episode. Come get lost in Middle-earth and explore the history of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings! Continue reading “Talking Tolkien Podcast – Ep. 6 – On Enjoying Tolkien (or Reasons Why)”

Talking Tolkien Podcast – Ep. 5 – The Silmarillion – Ch. 2 – Of Aulë and Yavanna


It is told that in their beginning the Dwarves were made by Aulë in the darkness of Middle-earth; for so greatly did Aulë desire the coming of the Children, to have learners to whom he could teach his lore and his crafts, that he was unwilling to await the fulfilment of the designs of Ilúvatar. (43)


©2013-2015 rfcunha
©2013-2015 rfcunha

Why do we humans make things? Why are we driven to fashion objects of beauty and create stories? Aulë and Yavanna are two figures that yield some Tolkienian insights into these foundational questions. Continue reading “Talking Tolkien Podcast – Ep. 5 – The Silmarillion – Ch. 2 – Of Aulë and Yavanna”

The Silmarillion – A Beginner’s Guide – Pt 23 (Of the Ruin of Beleriand 2/2)


Then Sauron made it into a watch-tower for Morgoth, a stronghold of evil, and a menace; and the fair isle of Tol Sirion became accursed, and it was called Tol-in-Gaurhoth, the Isle of Werewolves. (156)


This post continues my chapter-by-chapter walkthrough of The Silmarillion. This time, I will examine the 2nd part of the 18th chapter of The Silmarillion proper, “Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin.” You can see a list of all of the posts in this series by clicking here.

In the last post in this series, we looked at the 1st part of Chapter 18, wherein Morgoth unleashes vast armies of dragons, Balrogs, and orcs upon Beleriand in The Battle of Sudden Flame. With King Fingolfin dead and the armies of Elves and Men scattered, Morgoth presses the attack.

Continue reading “The Silmarillion – A Beginner’s Guide – Pt 23 (Of the Ruin of Beleriand 2/2)”

Talking Tolkien Podcast – Ep. 4 – The Silmarillion – Ch. 1 – Of the Beginning of Days


And as they watched, upon the mound there came forth two slender shoots . . . and thus there awoke in the world the Two Trees of Valinor. . . about their fate all the tales of the Elder Days are woven. (38)


©2013-2015 rfcunha
©2013-2015 rfcunha

Episode 4 of Talking Tolkien is live! In this episode, Greta and I discuss Chapter 1 of The Silmarillion“Of the Beginning of Days.” If you are looking for a very short written synopsis of this chapter, you can find that over at my Beginner’s Guide to The Silmarillion. Continue reading “Talking Tolkien Podcast – Ep. 4 – The Silmarillion – Ch. 1 – Of the Beginning of Days”

The Silmarillion – A Beginner’s Guide – Pt 22 (Of the Ruin of Beleriand 1/2)


Morgoth had long prepared his force in secret , while ever the malice of his heart grew greater, and his hatred of the Noldor more bitter; and he desired not only to end his foes but to destroy also and defile the lands that they had taken and made fair. (150)


This post continues my chapter-by-chapter walkthrough of The Silmarillion. This time, I will examine the 1st part of the 18th chapter of The Silmarillion proper, “Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin.” You can see a list of all of the posts in this series by clicking here.

©2010-2015 Mentosik8

Continue reading “The Silmarillion – A Beginner’s Guide – Pt 22 (Of the Ruin of Beleriand 1/2)”

Concerning Tolkien’s “Farmer Giles of Ham”


‘A bargain’s a bargain,’ said Giles. ‘Can’t I keep just a ring or two, and a mite of gold, in consideration of cash payment?’ said [the dragon]. (149)


Just what is “Farmer Giles of Ham“? Is it a comedic recasting of The Hobbit? Is it a send-up of academic attitudes toward Beowulf?  Is it a satirical jab at money hungry politicians? Was it Tolkien’s first attempt to cash in on the success of The Hobbit?

Continue reading “Concerning Tolkien’s “Farmer Giles of Ham””

Talking Tolkien Podcast – Ep. 3 – The Silmarillion – Valaquenta


She goes rather to the halls of Mandos, which are near to her own; and all those who wait in Mandos cry to her, for she brings strength to the spirit and turns sorrow to wisdom. The windows of her house look outward from the walls of the world.

– Valaquenta


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©2013-2015 rfcunha

Continue reading “Talking Tolkien Podcast – Ep. 3 – The Silmarillion – Valaquenta”