The Tolkien Road – Ep. 34 – Tolkien’s Requiem – Concerning Beren and Lúthien – Chapter 2

Hey there fellow travelers! On this episode of The Tolkien Road, we once again take a break from our discussion of The Lord of the Rings so that I can continue the reading of my book, Tolkien’s Requiem. This time, I read Chapter 2, which is entitled “Fëanor, Melkor, and the Tragedy of the Two Trees.” I hope that by it you are brought to a greater appreciation of the story of Beren and Lúthien, as well as The Silmarillion as a whole.


The Tolkien Road – Episode 0034 – Tolkien’s Requiem – Concerning Beren and Lúthien – Chapter 2

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By the way, would you please leave us a rating and feedback on iTunes? That’s the best way to show your appreciation, as it will help spread the word about The Tolkien Road. As always, thanks for listening!!!

FYI, for those of you waiting anxiously for our next Lord of the Rings discussion, the next episode is coming on September 14th. Thanks for your patience!

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©2013-2015 rfcunha

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Concerning Tolkien’s Faith Pt 4: Incarnation as Eucatastrophe


The Birth of Christ is the eucatastrophe of Man’s history. – Tolkien


For me, the last section of Tolkien’s On Fairy-Stories makes the slog that is the first half quite worth it. Tolkien’s exposition of eucatastrophe, “the happy turn” in a story, is unforgettable, an idea that has been expounded in countless places by numerous writers. Eucatastrophe is Tolkienian through-and-through. Not only is it a beautiful idea, but it’s a beautiful word as well.

Man’s Destiny

Things get really wonderful when Tolkien speaks of the Birth of Christ – the Incarnation – as “the eucatastrophe of Man’s history.” Why does he say this? Tolkien was obsessed with the hopelessness and darkness of mankind’s case in the ancient world, something he probably picked up from his deep interest in mythology. In the Incarnation, man is re-directed towards his ultimate destiny as the benevolent viceroy of the cosmos, the blessed bridge between the heaven and earth.

incarnation-eucatastrophe-tolkien-faith
Incarnation of Jesus, Piero di Cosimo

The Incarnation is eucatastrophe because it is a surprise; like the appearance of the Eagles in various eucatastrophic moments of the Third Age, Christ first comes amid a desperate situation. Yes, the Jews hoped for a Messiah, but every indication is that they were looking for a great prophet and a warrior-king, one who would restore the kingdom of Israel to its Davidic pinnacle. Who would have thought that God would choose to draw so near to us as to become like us “in every way except sin,” indeed to renounce all of His rights as God in order to show us the beauty and triumph of the way of humility?

Eucatastrophe in Action

It seems that Tolkien was so intent on this idea that he worked it into The Lord of the Rings, for it is on March 25th, the traditional date of the Annunciation [1], that the One Ring is destroyed. And this is important: the One Ring is not finally destroyed by any Man, nor indeed by any hobbit, but by the invisible hand of the storyteller at work behind the scenes. Tolkien sets things up so that none of the three figures present [2] can claim credit for its destruction in the final analysis. No, the creature cannot save himself, not without divine aid, and though the great soul of the lowly hobbit is a sign of the greatness of humility itself, we see here that the hobbit is not even capable of finally putting the greatest of evils to death, of plunging the knife into its very heart.

Thus, we can see how fitting it is that Eagles are frequent instruments of eucatastrophe, for they represent the power and will of Manwë, the greatest of the angelic Valar. Their coming from the clouds is as the descent of a supernatural power.

Ask any Christian you know that has spent time dwelling upon it: the Incarnation is magical as a fairy-tale, and all the more so because we believe it to be as true as the fall of Rome. It is the wondrous event at the heart of everything, and yes, we mean everything. It is a thing wonderful to behold and to ponder. I get all misty-eyed when I think about it, and for good reason, for in it, we glimpse the mysterious ways of God Himself, saving and surprising us despite ourselves, drawing us ever closer to the deepness of a love vast as the cosmos.


FOOTNOTES

1 – Subtract 9 months from December 25th and what do you get? More here.

2 – Frodo, Sam, and Gollum. While Gollum is ultimately responsible on an operative level of destroying the One Ring, he certainly does not will its destruction.

 

The Tolkien Road – Ep. 33 – The Lord of the Rings – B1Ch10 – Strider

Concerning “Strider”, Book 1, Chapter 10 of The Lord of the Rings, wherein we learn more about the mysterious Ranger…
©2013-2015 rfcunha

Hey there fellow travelers! Welcome to The Tolkien Road, a long walk through the works and philosophy of J.R.R. Tolkien.  On this episode, we continue our discussion of The Lord of the Rings with Book 1, Chapter 10 of Fellowship, “Strider”, wherein we learn more about the mysterious Ranger, receive Gandalf’s letter, and find out about Merry’s run in with the Black Riders. We also discuss the wonderful “All that glitters is not gold” poem. By the way, if you haven’t already, please leave The Tolkien Road a rating and feedback on iTunes. We’d love to know what you think of the podcast. Enjoy the show!

Topics of discussion include (with approximate start time in):

  • Tolkien Haiku for Book 1, Chapter 10 (~3:00)
  • “Behind the Haiku” by Greta (~9:45)
  • Guest Haiku (~13:45)
  • Greta’s favorite passage (~16:45)
  • John’s favorite passage (~30:20)
  • Gandalf’s Letter (~32:30)
  • Gandalf’s whereabouts (~36:15)
  • Merry’s return (~39:15)
  • The good will of Butterbur and Nob (~44:30)

And much more!

By the way, to see the Tolkien haiku(s) that didn’t make it onto the podcast, scroll down.

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Haiku submitted but not read on air…

Josh Sosa

Barlinman the fool
yet an honest fool mind you
fears the Pilgrim’s wrath

 

Feel free to add your own haiku for this chapter in the comments below. Keep ’em coming everyone!

Thoughts on a Silmarillion Film Pt 5: The TV Option’s Novel Effect

Having explained why I think 9 movies is the right number for a Silmarillion films series (Quenta only) as well as just what those 9 movies would be, I’ll now explain why I think a TV series would be the BEST way to bring the Silmarillion to life in a visual format.

In the last decade or so, the potential for high quality, multi-season storytelling on TV has emerged with a vengeance. At this point, I see fewer than a handful of movies (in the cinema or otherwise) every year, because most of my viewing is spent digesting the highly engrossing long form storytelling that I consistently see in shows like Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and House of Cards. I find this sort of visual storytelling to be far more enjoyable because of its immersive nature. With a typical movie, I have about 2 hours to get lost in a world, and as soon as I am, I have to pull myself back out again, usually at about the point that I am just beginning to truly enjoy it. With a show like Breaking Bad, I can come back to the same alternate reality on multiple occasions, and even choose to continue my watching adventure when the credits roll at the simple click of a button.

silmarillion-cover-cr2

A Matter of Escape

Thus, I see one overriding reason why The Silmarillion would be best served by a high-quality TV series: the peculiar ability of that format to allow the viewer to escape into the First Age of Middle-earth. After all, Tolkien named the phenomenon of escape as one of the key attributes of good literary fantasy, explaining how important it is that the reader (or in this case viewer) forget themselves and enter in to the reality of the secondary world. Only the very best movies can help a viewer get past the “willful suspension of disbelief” and into the mindset of “enchantment” in the space of two hours. A TV series, as anyone who has binge-watched Battlestar Galactica can tell you, will leave you captivated and hungry for more and more. [1]

Decompressed Storytelling

I could see The Silmarillion being told well in at least 6 seasons of 10 1-hour episodes. This would amount to 60 hours of visual storytelling. If one compares this to 9 3-hour films (what I suggested here), that’s 33 hours more in which to tell the story of Middle-earth’s First Age. Given that 9 films probably sounds like a whole heck of a lot, and one could theoretically pump out 9 seasons in the same amount of time it would take to rush 9 films, the TV option has the advantage of allowing for protracted instead of compressed  storytelling. In my next post, I will explain exactly how I would break it down by season.

Now, if one simply thinks of this as an opportunity for more swordfights and carnage, then one misses the point. What is needed is character development and the ability to flesh out the glory and bliss of the Blessed Realm (as well as the realities of Doriath, Gondolin, and Nargothrond) in a convincing way. [3] Breaking Bad was the series it was because we were able to witness Walter White’s descent into drug-lord depravity on a step-by-step basis, as the result of many little decisions beginning with the  sort of intentions with which most of us could sympathize. What if we had the time to see Fëanor developed in this way, to see the lack within the motherless child morph into a pride to rival Melkor’s? Indeed, what if we saw more of Sauron’s seduction, or were able to see firsthand the limitations and imperfect decisions of the Valar?

As I’ve said before, The Silmarillion, though unified overall, is not really a normal, straight-ahead story like The Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit. It’s a compendium of unified legends, and to truly do it justice, one needs to give it the time it takes to develop it properly.

NEXT: How I’d do The Silmarillion as TV series.

What do you think of my assessment? Do you agree that a TV series would be the better way of doing The Silmarillion? I encourage you to share your thoughts in the comments below.


FOOTNOTES
1 – Binge-watching is similar to the phenomenon of binge-reading after all. How many people read The Deathly Hallows in a day or two because they just had to know how it all ended?
2 – Quenta Silmarillion only. Should the series be a success, I could of course see a similar TV series being developed for the Second Age. And yes, I would love to see a stab taken at some of the peripheries of the Third Age as well.
3 – Remember, Quenta Silmarillion takes place over the course of uncountable years PLUS an extra four hundred years in the First Age proper. For those who felt Jackson’s Fellowship did the book a disservice by compressing the 17 years into 17 minutes, the re-telling of Valinor’s tales in the space of one movie would be unthinkable.

The Tolkien Road – Ep. 32 – Tolkien’s Requiem – Concerning Beren and Lúthien – Chapter 1

Hey there fellow travelers! On this episode of The Tolkien Road, we take a break from our discussion of The Lord of the Rings so that I can provide our faithful listeners with a token of my appreciation: a FREE audio version of the preface & first chapter of my book, Tolkien’s Requiem.

Over the next few months, I intend to release the whole book as a limited time audio recording. I hope that by it you are brought to a greater appreciation of the story of Beren and Lúthien, as well as The Silmarillion as a whole.


The Tolkien Road – Episode 0032 – Tolkien’s Requiem – Concerning Beren and Lúthien – Chapter 1

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By the way, would you please leave us a rating and feedback on iTunes? That’s the best way to show your appreciation, as it will help spread the word about The Tolkien Road. As always, thanks for listening!!!

©2013-2015 rfcunha

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Concerning Tolkien’s Faith Pt 3: The Principle of the Eucharist


Out of the darkness of my life, so much frustrated, I put before you the one great thing to love on earth: the Blessed Sacrament. – Tolkien, Letters


Well before I was Catholic, I felt an allure to Catholicism via Tolkien. To this day, I attribute a substantial part of my conversion to his influence. I can’t quite put my finger on exactly what it was, but I believe it to have been something like the strange attraction of the Eucharist, an intuition of great profundities, of a never-ending realm of latent joy beyond all sorrow.

Like Catholicism itself, the heart of Tolkien’s faith was the Eucharist, what he calls here the Blessed Sacrament. The quote above, taken from a letter to his son Michael, serves as a final word on fatherly romantic wisdom. Simply put, Michael had asked his father for advice on women. What is particularly surprising about this quote then is how Tolkien does not make the Eucharist simply a matter of “happiness fulfilled,” a fairy-tale ending (as it were), but instead a way of seeing all realities finally fulfilled, even the harsh ones. After all, as soon as he claims that one will find noble and virtuous things such as “romance, glory, honour, and fidelity” in the Eucharist, he makes a great deal of the fact that in the Eucharist one will find “Death” as well. How can this be, and furthermore, how can this lead to happiness?

tolkien-eucharist
Última Cena – Joan de Joanes [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

A Hidden Cosmos

The Catechism of the Catholic Church calls the Eucharist “the source and summit of the Christian life.” Indeed, in most cases, to walk into a Catholic sanctuary is to walk into the presence of the Eucharist. [1] Furthermore, to live as a Catholic is to center one’s life around the ritual way founded in it. The Catholic faith as a way of being begins and ends in the perpetual presence of Jesus Christ, the one who is “with us always.” The Church exists to serve the Eucharist, and she exists to receive it all the same. The Eucharist is a whole universe, a hidden new reality, in and of itself, drawing all things to itself.

What is the Eucharist? The simplest way to describe it is as the Real Presence of Jesus Christ. To the naked eye, it appears as simple bread and wine. To the eye of faith, it is beloved as the glorified body, blood, soul, and divinity of the Second Person of the Godhead, Jesus Christ himself. And this point is important, for though the Catholic admits the Eucharist to be a sacrifice, it is an unbloody sacrifice, a sacrifice made freely and out of love. It is the sacrifice that transcends and conquers death, yet passes through it all the same. It is divine food, that which is capable of elevating the human soul to the greatest heights of heaven. It is the humble food capable of transforming sinner to saint from the inside out.

A Happy Death

Thus, when Tolkien admits that “Death” is to be found in the Blessed Sacrament, he is not being morbid, but expounding upon the deep hope to be found therein: death leading to abundant life. Like the grain which must be ground down and the grape which must be trodden upon, so Christ must die in order to show forth His life-giving potential in the Resurrection. Like the bread and wine on a natural level, the Blessed Sacrament, the very presence of Christ, is the supernatural food that rises from destruction in order to give divine life to humanity.

It is also, as Tolkien identifies, the willing “surrender of all” that nonetheless leads to total fulfillment “of every man’s heart’s desires.” Why is this? Because though we must lose everything in order to gain Christ, in gaining Christ we gain the eternal, and the source of all things. To possess Christ is to possess the entirety of every good, even if now that possession seems hidden from our eyes, as Christ himself seems hidden in the Eucharist. 

Middle-earth’s Modus Operandi

It should come as no surprise then that Tolkien could speak of The Lord of the Rings as a “fundamentally religious and Catholic work,” for in it we see time and again the same law in operation, that to die to oneself for the greater good is not really to lose one’s life but to gain it more fully (though perhaps not exactly as we would have imagined it). We find the ancient tale of Lúthien on the lips of Aragorn, the She-elf who gave her own immortality for the sake of her beloved, gaining for them both a greater glory yet unknown. We see the resurrection of Gandalf after his fall into the depths of Moria, no longer the Gray Pilgrim, but now the true White Wizard replacing the treacherous Saruman. And we see, of course, Frodo himself, the little hobbit with the weight of the world placed on his shoulders, losing the Shire but gaining the Blessed Realm.

For Tolkien, the Eucharist is the principle always in operation, the very “secret life in creation” drawing all things to their end. Indeed, throughout Tolkien, we find that wonderful, alluring, and strangely comforting paradox, that in order to gain and possess our life in full, we must be willing to lose it.

Where else do you see the “eucharistic principle” in Tolkien’s works? Please feel free to comment below.


FOOTNOTES

1  – Just look for the soft glow of a little red candle. Christ is somewhere close by.

The Tolkien Road – Ep. 31 – The Lord of the Rings – B1C9 – At the Sign of the Prancing Pony

Concerning “At the Sign of the Prancing Pony”, Book 1, Chapter 9 of The Lord of the Ringsin which the hobbits visit Bree…
©2013-2015 rfcunha
Hey there fellow travelers! Welcome to The Tolkien Road, a long walk through the works and philosophy of J.R.R. Tolkien.  On this episode, we continue our discussion of The Lord of the Rings with Book 1, Chapter 9 of Fellowship, “At the Sign of the Prancing Pony”, wherein we experience the town of Bree, meet the mysterious Ranger Strider, see the Ring play a trick, and are entertained by Frodo’s rendition of the Man in the Moon. By the way, if you haven’t already, please leave The Tolkien Road a rating and feedback on iTunes. We’d love to know what you think of the podcast. Enjoy the show!
Topics of discussion include (with approximate start time in):
  • Tolkien Haiku for Book 1, Chapter 9 (~6:45)
  • Favorite passages from Book 1, Chapter 9 (~19:00)
  • Barrows & Barrow-wights: Corrections & Clarifications (~26:40)
  • Bree (~31:20)
  • Strider (~39:35)
  • The Ring Incident (~52:14)
  • And much more!

By the way, to see the Tolkien haiku(s) that didn’t make it onto the podcast, scroll down.

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Haiku submitted but not read on air…

Roman:

Dark man in corner,
Frodo wants to slip ring on
Ranger pulls him down

Mary Grace:

The Prancing Pony

Tavern where hobbits are bound
“Strange as news from Bree”
Strider the Ranger
Isildur’s Heir in disguise
Awaits the Halfling

John:

Take care Frodo. Pip
may tell of Bilbo’s birthday
But you re-live it.
Feel free to add your own haiku for this chapter in the comments below. Keep ’em coming everyone!

Thoughts on a Silmarillion Film Pt 4: The Tolkien Cinematic Universe

To truly do The Silmarillion  justice would require 9 films. That may seem like too many, but The Silmarillion is as dense as a scone made of neutron stars. Making 9 films of The Silmarillion would NOT be like expanding The Hobbit to 3; on the contrary, I think Tolkien might argue that 9 would be too few.

Now even a few years ago, the prospect of a 9-film series would have seemed like madness, but anyone paying attention to Hollywood trends in the last few years knows that this thing called the Marvel Cinematic Universe has happened, and right now we are 12 successful films and a gazillion dollars into that bad boy with no end in sight. And oh, by the way, Star Wars Episode VII hasn’t even been released yet and already there are 5 films in the “happening” category, with who knows how many more planned. [1]

Still, while I really do want to see stories of The Silmarillion come alive on a screen of some size, I’m also a hardcore Tolkien fan, and want to see justice done to the stories. I think 9 is the right way to do it, and in this article, I will outline just what I think those 9 films should be.

silmarillion-films

In my previous post in this series, I broke The Silmarillion into 3 trilogies and spoke about the prologue trope that Jackson established with Galadriel’s opening narration in The Lord of the Rings. With that one device (and as I understand it late addition), Jackson set himself up for success. With Tolkien’s works, we must be drawn out of our world and into his. Solid intros are necessary for this reason, and also because there is so much that just wouldn’t fit into the normal flow of a film but that still deserves to be told.

In this post, I am going to outline the 9 films as I see them. I will do so according to these attributes:

  • PLOT-IN-BRIEF: A one sentence summary of the plot.
  • INTRO: What backstory should introduce this film.
  • MAIN CHARACTERS: There is no single protagonist in The Silmarillion nor even a mere handful. However, different tales within The Silmarillion focus on a single protagonist or group of protagonists, and so I will identify these for each film.
  • 3 ACTS: Most films follow a 3-act structure. I will identify those 3 acts for each film.
  • KEY SUBPLOTS: There are dozens of subplots throughout The Silmarillion. I will mention the major ones that would go well in each film.

Previous posts in this series:

  1. The Long Defeat: Why Christopher Tolkien must act to secure the best visual treatment for The Silmarillion.
  2. A Majestic Whole: Is cinema the best visual medium for The Silmarillion?
  3. A Trilogy of Trilogies: Why 9 is the right number of films for The Silmarillion and what the core of the story is.

Trilogy 1: The Dawn of Middle-earth

Film 1: Journey to the Blessed Realm

  • PLOT-IN-BRIEF: The Valar must bring the Elves to Valinor and protect them from the destructive Melkor.
  • INTRO: The Music of the Ainur & the Ancient Battles with Melkor.
  • 3 ACTS: (1) Oromë discovers the Elves. (2) The Defeat and Chaining of Melkor. (3) The Departure of the Elves for Valinor.
  • MAIN CHARACTERS: Fëanor, Finwë, Thingol, Oromë, Melian, Melkor, Manwë.
  • SUBPLOTS: Melkor’s threat to the Elves; the 3 Tribes and the sundering of the Elves; Thingol & Melian.

Film 2: The Darkening of Valinor

  • PLOT-IN-BRIEF: Melkor is freed from bondage and works secretly to gain revenge against the Valar and the Elves.
  • INTRO: Intro to the Valar, the long ages past since film 1, & the creation of the Silmarils.
  • 3 ACTS: (1) The Unchaining & Treachery of Melkor. (2) Melkor & Ungoliant Strike. (3) The Cleansing of Valinor.
  • MAIN CHARACTERS: Fëanor, Finwë, Fingolfin, Galadriel, Yavanna, Olwë, Manwë, Melkor.
  • SUBPLOTS: Fëanor vs. Fingolfin; Sauron; Galadriel’s early story.

Film 3: The Fall of the Eldar

  • PLOT-IN-BRIEF: Fëanor and the Elves pursue Morgoth in the hope of regaining the Silmarils.
  • INTRO: Melkor Throwing Down the Lamps (flashback through the eyes of Manwë).
  • 3 ACTS: (1) The Pursuit of Melkor. (2) The Oath of Fëanor & the Kinslaying. (3) The Flight to Beleriand.
  • MAIN CHARACTERS: Fëanor, Manwë, Fingolfin, Galadriel, Yavanna, Olwë
  • SUBPLOTS: The peaceful nature of the Teleri; Melkor’s treachery to Ungoliant; Nienna’s Tears; the descendants of the Two Trees; the friendship of Thingol, Olwë, and Finwë.

Trilogy 2: The War of the Jewels

Film 4: The Siege of Angband

  • PLOT-IN-BRIEF: The Elves of Beleriand must join forces to defeat Morgoth and recapture the Silmarils.
  • INTRO: The Hiding of Valinor and the Creation of the Sun and the Moon.
  • 3 ACTS: (1) Fëanor battles Morgoth. (2) The Noldor and Sindar clash. (3) The Glorious Battle.
  • MAIN CHARACTERS: Fëanor, Morgoth, Fingolfin, Thingol, Melian, Maedhros.
  • SUBPLOTS: The Coming of the Dwarves; Thingol vs. the Noldor.

Film 5: The Battle of Sudden Flame

  • PLOT-IN-BRIEF: Morgoth secretly plots the destruction of the Elvish forces besieging his stronghold.
  • INTRO: The Founding of Nargothrond & Gondolin; the Coming of Men.
  • 3 ACTS: (1) The long siege and the looming threat. (2) The Battle of Sudden Flame. (3) The Death of Fingolfin.
  • MAIN CHARACTERS: Fingolfin, Barahir, Finrod, Beren, Morgoth.
  • SUBPLOTS: Ulmo’s influence; Elves & Men clash; Finrod & Barahir’s friendship; Thingol’s isolationism.

Film 6: The Tale of Beren and Lúthien

  • PLOT-IN-BRIEF: A mortal warrior and immortal princess must obtain a Silmaril from the Iron Crown of Morgoth.
  • INTRO: Melkor seduces Sauron; Thingol and Melian’s courtship. (flashbacks)
  • 3 ACTS: (1) B&L meet. (2) Beren’s mission. (3) The Silmaril obtained & Lúthien’s choice.
  • MAIN CHARACTERS: Beren, Lúthien, Finrod, Huan, Thingol, Melian, Sauron, Morgoth.
  • SUBPLOTS: Sauron’s treachery to Gorlim; Thingol’s pride; Finrod’s death; Celegorm & Curufin.

Trilogy 3: The Fall of Beleriand

Film 7: The Ruin of Beleriand

  • PLOT-IN-BRIEF: As the forces of Morgoth overrun Beleriand, the Elvish kingdoms must come together or fall.
  • INTRO: Aulë makes the dwarves. (flashback)
  • 3 ACTS: (1) The Battle of Unnumbered Tears. (2) The Fall of Nargothrond. (3) The death of Thingol.
  • MAIN CHARACTERS: Thingol, Melian, Turgon, Maedhros, Húrin, Huor, Fingon, Morgoth.
  • SUBPLOTS: The Feud of the Nauglamir; Dwarvish ways; the treachery of the Easterlings.

Film 8: The Fall of Gondolin

  • PLOT-IN-BRIEF: Though hidden for years, Gondolin is threatened after the fall of the other Elvish kingdoms.
  • INTRO: The History of the Hidden City (incl. Maeglin’s story).
  • 3 ACTS: (1) Fleeing from Doriath. (2) Tuor’s Happiness in Gondolin. (3) The Fall of Gondolin.
  • MAIN CHARACTERS: Turgon, Túrin, Tuor, Maeglin, Ulmo, Idril, Morgoth.
  • SUBPLOTS: Túrin stuff [2]; Turgon’s pride; Ulmo’s influence.

Film 9: The War of Wrath

  • PLOT-IN-BRIEF: Eärendil undertakes a desperate and perilous journey to Valinor to obtain the aid of the Valar against Morgoth.
  • INTRO: Beren & Lúthien epilogue.
  • 3 ACTS: (1) Eärendil & the havens of Sirion. (2)The Voyage to Valinor. (3) The War of Wrath.
  • MAIN CHARACTERS: Eärendil, Elwing, Eönwë, Maedhros, Maglor, Morgoth.
  • SUBPLOTS: Maedhros, Maglor, and the end of the Silmarils; the birth of Elrond & Elros; the destruction of Beleriand.

So that’s my outline for 9 Silmarillion films. I have to be honest, even at 9 films, I feel like a lot of important stuff has been excluded. But if I had the opportunity to see these 9 films over the course of a decade or two, I would be absolutely ecstatic.

As for the stories of the Second Age, I’ll have to cover those another time.

NEXT UP: Part 5 – A Silmarillion TV Series

Do you agree with my assessment of The Silmarillion‘s core? Do you think a film series could work? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.


Footnotes

1 – What’s beautiful about this is that it portrays Tolkien as something of a prophet. After all, it was Tolkien that showed a writer could successfully concoct a “secondary reality” (as he called it) and be incredibly successful in doing so. The Star Wars and Marvel “secondary realities” are just two examples of this phenomenon in contemporary culture. Star Trek has been going down this road for some time, and the number seems to be growing every day.

2 – The story of Túrin is one of Tolkien’s proudest achievements, but in terms of the overriding plot of The Silmarillion, it’s a detour. I think it would be great as a standalone film or two, sort of like what the Star Wars folks are looking to do with the Anthology films, but in terms of these films, I think Túrin needs to be relegated to the place of a subplot. Having said that, you may now threaten me with bodily harm in the comments below.

The Tolkien Road – Ep. 30 – The Lord of the Rings – B1C8 – Fog on the Barrow-Downs

Concerning “Fog on the Barrow-Downs”, Book 1, Chapter 8 of The Lord of the Ringsin which the Barrow-wight attacks…
©2013-2015 rfcunha

What is a Barrow-wight? Who are the men of Carn-Dûm? Is there any connection between them and the Black Riders? What’s up with Frodo’s latest mysterious dream? On this episode of The Tolkien Road, we discuss all this and more as we continue our discussion of The Lord of the Rings with Book 1, Chapter 8 of Fellowship, “Fog on the Barrow Downs.” By the way, if you haven’t already, please leave The Tolkien Road a rating and feedback on iTunes. We’d love to know what you think of the podcast. Enjoy the show!

Topics of discussion include:

  • What is a barrow?
  • What is a barrow-wight?
  • Who are the men of Carn-dûm?
  • Saying goodbye to Goldberry.
  • How this chapter shows the vast ancient history of Middle-earth.
  • Frodo’s dream.
  • And much more!

By the way, to see the Tolkien haiku(s) that didn’t make it onto the podcast, scroll down.

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Haiku submitted but not read on air…

Josh Sosa:

Númenórean
Steel of the West reclaimed
to combat Shadow.

Mary Grace:

A Barrow-wight strikes
The hobbits who became lost
Evil gold has found
Carn Dûm in Angmar
Felled Men of Westernesse
They forged blades Tom found

John:

Bombadil haven
Behind. Cold barrow downs can’t
Swallow Frodo’s heart.
Arcane and ancient
Evil has only to drag
All under with it.
Feel free to add your own haiku for this chapter in the comments below. Keep ’em coming everyone!