3 Ways True Myths Will Be Changing in 2017

Contrary to what it may appear, I do not spend every waking moment of my life thinking about Tolkien. In fact, late last year, I tried to launch another blog that would cover every interest of mine *NOT* having to do with Tolkien. Though that blog never really gained traction, over the last few months, I’ve had the epiphany that there really is no good reason I couldn’t be blogging about all those other things over here.

This is not the end.
Don’t worry. This is not the end.

Now before I tell you about what will be changing, let me assure you that one very important thing won’t be changing: I’ll still be writing a lot about Tolkien. In fact, I’m working on another book about one of Tolkien’s most important works right now, and I can’t wait until it’s at a point where I’m ready to tell you more about it. Like Tolkien’s Requiem, I think it’s going to stand out as a truly unique work. And with the release of Beren and Lúthien coming next year, there’s so much more to say about that story.

Now, without further ado, here are the 3 things I will be writing more about next year:

Music

I am an inveterate music lover. Several years ago, I had a music blog where I would write about my favorite records. I gave it up for some reason, but for the last year I have been hungry to undertake writing about music again. I will be writing about the music I love from a very personal perspective, because I really can’t stand “3rd party omniscient/God’s eye view” music criticism. For a hint at my musical taste, here’s a list of some albums I particularly love. That list could be much longer.

I’ve also mentioned my music project (pale horse sailor) here before, and there’s a lot to come from PHS (that’s what all the tastemakers are calling it – Kanye’s idea) in 2017. I’m very excited about sharing my own music with you. Please do check out my songs “Vingilot” and “Bad Ghost”.

Christianity/Mysticism

I have always been a Christian, and my faith remains the center of my life. A few years back, I joined the Catholic Church, and that has exposed me to an incredible depth and richness in Christianity that I had no idea existed. Still, one of the reasons I’ve struggled with writing about Christian things here on TrueMyths is because I didn’t want my writing on these matters to be for Catholics (or Christians) only. While I do consider myself an orthodox Catholic, I very much believe that the truths of Christianity and the person of Jesus Christ are for every human being. I hope to explore Christianity in such a way as to help fellow Christians on their respective journeys, but I also hope to open it up to anyone who stumbles across this blog, no matter what their religious affiliation is. In addition to my continuing exploration of Tolkien’s faith, you’ll probably find me writing about the thought of Christian greats such as St. John the Apostle, C.S. Lewis and Thomas Merton (among many others).

Everything Else

Though my focus will mainly concern Tolkien, Music and Christianity, I often feel a need to write about things that don’t fit into one of these categories. Therefore, from time to time, I’ll be writing about my perspective on matters ranging from movies (Star Wars! Raising Arizona!) to TV shows (Star Trek! Breaking Bad! Fargo!) to classic video games (Zelda! Star Control 2!) to being a dad (Awesome! Lots of work!) to sports (Let’s Go O’s!) to great (non-Tolkienian) literature to astronomy to quantum physics to cute pictures of kittens to whatever else the spirit moves me to write about. One thing my Christian faith inspires in me is the idea that everything is imbued with a deep sense of meaning and is a means for discovering and deepening our knowledge of the eternal. Even cute pictures of kittens (maybe especially cute pictures of kittens).

Obviously this is profound and worthy of contemplation.
Obviously this is profound and worthy of contemplation.

The tagline I’ve been using in my own head for all this? “Mystical mutterings on Tolkien, Music, Christianity, and Everything Else.” It’s wordy, but it fits. I’m quite excited about what the next year will hold, and I invite you to bookmark or feedburn this site and to tell others about it.

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The Tolkien Road – Ep71 – The Lord of the Rings – B2C8 – Farewell to Lórien

Concerning “Farewell to Lórien”, Book 2, Chapter 8 of The Lord of the Rings…

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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 through The Lord of the Rings with Book 2, Chapter 8, “Farewell to Lórien.” 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!

the-tolkien-road
©2013-2016 rfcunha

Topics of discussion…

  • Where we left off – 2:45
  • How to proceed? – 10:00
  • Boromir Eyes the Ring – 17:00
  • Lembas – 23:00
  • Rope! – 30:00
  • Galadriel’s Song – 33:00
  • Concerning Fangorn and Rohan – 42:00
  • Gifts for the Fellowship – 44:45
  • Galadriel’s Second Song – 53:45
  • Gimli Wept – 55:45
  • Haiku – 1:01:00

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Tolkien, Mystic

Just a quick thought for today…

It is in no way easy to make sense of the way Tolkien related his religion to his creative endeavors. In part, that’s why I created this site, and one of the key things that so draws me to Tolkien. On one hand, Tolkien would seem to deny in no uncertain terms the symbolic correlation between an aspect of his work and some Christian doctrine. On the other hand, he would tell a Jesuit friend that The Lord of the Rings was “of course a fundamentally religious and Catholic work” (Letter 142). Examples for both cases abound. For many, this means Tolkien was either crazy, confused, or simply willing to tell people what he thought they wanted to hear. However, the other option is that Tolkien held a deeper view that was far too difficult to explain in a few words (perhaps even one that he had trouble putting into words himself).

Therefore, I think that I am trying to explore Tolkien as a mystic. I nabbed this idea from something I recently read by Gabriel Blanchard (Tolkien language aficionado), a post entitled “Utopia vs. Hope“:

The mark of prophetic mysticism is that, rather than just forsaking or ignoring this world for the sake of the transcendent one that meaning resides in, it locates this world within that one. What we do in this world is not ultimate, and there is more to life and existence than what we see. But that invisible world, that ultimate world, sustains and animates and exalts this visible one. Because the there-and-forever matters more, therefore the here-and-now matters in its own way, for the latter participates in the former, like an apple blossom participates in the tree.

This sort of idea seems to be all over “On Fairy-stories” (Primary and Secondary Worlds, seeing things as they are meant to be seen, etc) and other works as well (“Mythopoeia”, “Leaf By Niggle”, all of Middle-earth). Furthermore, it would seem that for the mystics I am aware of, spirituality and creativity go hand-in-hand. That’s why I can seem so insistent sometimes that it’s not entirely appropriate simply to draw a convenient diving line between Tolkien’s religious beliefs and his creative works.
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Image: “The making of the Silmarils” by rysowAnia ©2010-2016

Concerning Ungoliant’s Fate

“Ungoliant is a nightmare, a hellish vision of self-absorption worthy of Dante. For all that she devours, for all that she poisons, for all that she ruins, she is absorbed by her own hunger and need, at once desiring light but hating it all the same. Tolkien gives us little to go off of with regard to Ungoliant. We do not really know how she took this form, from what estate she fell, only that she was likely corrupted at some time past by Melkor. The same is true of her fate; all we know is that she forsakes Melkor again, and that “some have said that she ended . . . when in her uttermost famine she devoured herself at last” (81). In Dante’s terms, if Melkor belongs among the wrathful, then Ungoliant has been fixed into the permanent state of the gluttonous, who love sensual pleasure yet hate it all the same.”

from Tolkien’s Requiem – Concerning Beren and Lúthien

Tolkiens-Requiem

The Tolkien Road – Ep. 66 – The Lord of the Rings – B2C5 – The Bridge of Khaza-dûm

Concerning “The Bridge of Khaza-dûm”, Book 2, Chapter 5 of The Lord of the Rings…

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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 through The Lord of the Rings with Book 2, Chapter 5, “The Bridge of Khaza-dûm.” 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!

the-tolkien-road
©2013-2016 rfcunha

Topics of discussion…

  • The Chamber of Records – 1:30
  • Trapped! – 10:00
  • Hobbit Warriors (“The Shire!”) – 14:30
  • Gandalf Meets His Match – 21:30
  • The Great Hall – 30:00
  • The Balrog – 34:30
  • The Secret Fire – 41:30
  • Haiku – 47:20

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The Tolkien Road – Ep. 65 – The Lord of the Rings – B2C4 – A Journey in the Dark

Concerning “A Journey in the Dark”, Book 2, Chapter 4 of The Lord of the Rings…

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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 through The Lord of the Rings with Book 2, Chapter 4, “A Journey in the Dark.” 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!

the-tolkien-road
©2013-2016 rfcunha

Topics of discussion…

  • Shout-Outs (Kira, Greg UK, James L, Chris M-S) – 5:00
  • Which Path? – 14:30
  • The Wolves – 20:00
  • Bill – 24:30
  • The Door – 28:00
  • The Watcher in the Water – 36:30
  • A Long Walk in the Dark – 41:30
  • The Drums – 45:30
  • Gimli’s song – 55:45
  • Mithril – 59:00
  • The Follower – 1:02:30
  • Balin’s tomb – 1:05:15
  • Haiku Time – 1:08:20

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The Tolkien Road – Ep. 64 – Tolkien’s Languages

Ever wanted to learn more about Tolkien’s languages? Episode 64 is a great place to start. We’re joined by Gabriel Blanchard of Mudblood Catholic (“A Conscientious Objector in the Culture War”), and he leads us on a thorough exploration of the various languages that Tolkien devised.

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Also, as promised on the episode, here are some the resources and other items mentioned:

  • Nandorin Elvish: Speculative Possibilities by Gabriel Blanchard (an in-depth article that is both an introduction to Elvish languages and a philological discussion of the problem of Nandorin)
  • Ardalambion by Helge K. Fauskanger (website dedicated to Tolkien’s languages, mentioned by Gabriel)
  • Mudblood Catholic by Gabriel Blanchard (Gabriel’s blog: “A Conscientious Objector in the Culture War”)
  • Death’s Dream Kingdom by Gabriel Blanchard (Gabriel’s “Victorian Catholic vampire novel”)
  • The Markirya Poem (this is the Quenya poem that Gabriel read on the podcast)

Finally, we hope you love it! Let us know what you think by leaving The Tolkien Road a rating and feedback at iTunes.

Episode contents:

  • introducing Gabriel – 2:00
  • What Tolkien means to Gabriel – 9:45
  • How Gabriel got into Tolkien’s languages – 15:00
  • Overview of the Elvish languages – 18:00
  • Concerning Quendian (Primitive Elvish) – 27:30
  • Non-Elvish Languages – 40:00
  • Tricky Tolkien Words – 50:00
  • Which languages are the most worked out? – 57:00
  • Tolkien’s languages and continuity with ancient European languages – 1:00:00
  • Gabriel reads the Markirya poem – 1:09:30

the-tolkien-road

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The Tolkien Road – Ep. 60 – The Lord of the Rings – B2C1 – Many Meetings

Concerning “Many Meetings”, Book 2, Chapter 1 of The Lord of the Rings…

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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 return to The Lord of the Rings with Book 2, Chapter 1, “Many Meetings.” Although it’s not the most action-packed chapter, there’s plenty to discuss, from Gandalf’s whereabouts to the ways of Rivendell to the song of Eärendil. 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!

the-tolkien-road
©2013-2016 rfcunha

Topics of discussion…

  • Favorite Passages – 14:00
  • Frodo Wakes Up – 19:00
  • A Conversation with Gandalf – 22:00
  • Rivendell & the Feast – 33:30
  • Frodo & Bilbo – 44:30
  • The Song of Eärendil – 57:00
  • A Hymn to Elbereth – 1:04:30

Thanks for listening to The Tolkien Road! To see a list of our previous episodes, go here.

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The Tolkien Road – Ep. 56 – The Silmarillion – Ch. 23 – Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin

Concerning “Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin”, Chapter 23 of The Silmarillion…

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 Silmarillion with Chapter 23, “Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin”, wherein Tuor the son of Huor comes to Gondolin with a dire warning from Ulmo. There’s a whole lot to discuss!  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!

the-tolkien-road
©2013-2016 rfcunha

Topics of discussion…

  • Haiku – 4:00
  • Tuor’s Background – 15:30
  • Ulmo & Tuor – 21:00
  • Turgon Won’t Heed Ulmo’s Warning – 30:00
  • Tuor, Idril & Maeglin’s Plot – 39:00
  • Tuor, Idril, and Eärendil – 42:00
  • Morgoth Attacks; Glorfindel’s Heroics – 52:00
  • Tuor & Idril Flee to Arvernien – 1:00:00
  • Ulmo & the Valar – 1:02:30
  • Tuor & Idril Into the West? – 1:06:30

By the way, check out the summary of this chapter I did for the Beginner’s Guide.

Thanks for listening to The Tolkien Road! To see a list of our previous episodes, go here.

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