The Tolkien Road – Ep. 51 – The Silmarillion – Ch. 19 – Of Beren and Lúthien – Pt 2

Continuing with “Of Beren and Lúthien”, Chapter 19 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. It’s our 50th episode! This week, we continue our discussion of The Silmarillion Chapter 19, the story of Beren and Lúthien. 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!

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©2013-2016 rfcunha

Get Tolkien’s Requiem – Concerning Beren and Lúthien

Topics of discussion…

  • Beren and Finrod in the Dungeon – 4:30
  • Lúthien and Huan to the rescue – 7:00
  • Lúthien the Dreamweaver – 24:00
  • Celegorm & Curufin – 28:00
  • The invasion of Angband – 34:30
  • Carcharoth’s Rampage – 39:30
  • A Silmaril Obtained – 43:00
  • The Return to Doriath – 52:00
  • The Hunt – 1:00:00
  • Lúthien’s Plea – 1:05:00

By the way, here’s a link to the three-part summary of this chapter I did for Beginner’s Guide: (Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3).

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

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Concerning Melkor, Fëanor, and Ungoliant

From Tolkien’s Requiem:

Melkor

Melkor wants to possess the jewels in such a way that prevents others from possessing them. This is Melkor’s chief flaw from before the foundations of Arda: for him, love means possession and domination, the need to hoard and to guard a treasure as one’s own. In fact, in “Ainulindalë”, we learn that Melkor seeks to increase his own power and glory when he is already the most powerful and glorious of created beings. It seems that his own greatness leaves him jealous of the potential of others, with a need to see others always as a threat to his own glory. Thus, he must possess the Silmarils lest someone else do the same instead of him.

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Fëanor

In truth, however, Melkor is not the only one to have such a possessive reaction to the Silmarils. Of Fëanor, Tolkien says that he “began to love the Silmarils with a greedy love, and grudged the sight of them to all save to his father and his seven sons; he seldom remembered now that the light within them was not his own” (69). Thus Fëanor is slowly corrupted by an illicit desire of possession. The light of the Silmarils, taken as it is from the Two Trees, is a light belonging to no individual or group of individuals but common to all. It is quite literally a light that fills the world. When Fëanor creates the Silmarils, he captures and contains something previously free to all. Though Melkor is the first to explicitly desire the Silmarils for his own, Fëanor and others soon follow suit. Thus, Fëanor’s love for the light of the Two Trees poisons the light by containing it, by making it scarce, when all along it is something that should not be contained. His desire and action to possess the blessed light sets into the hearts of the story’s free agents the will to possess it singularly and selfishly.

Ungoliant

Ungoliant is an enigma and no easy read. Whereas from the beginning of the mythology Melkor is a vainglorious figure obsessed with domination, Ungoliant, on the other hand, is a mysterious figure of unknown origin, once corrupted to darkness by the seductions of Melkor, but having since repudiated his service for her independence. Yet despite her independence from Melkor, she hates the peoples of Valinor all the same. As Tolkien puts it, she is a figure “desiring to be mistress of her own lust, taking all things to herself to feed her emptiness” (73). Still, Melkor knows her deepest need, a desire to be filled by all things. He finds her in the dark caves to the south of Valinor, desperately hungry for the light of the Two Trees but hating it all the same, fearful of it and of the Valar who tend it (73). When he promises her fullness of the Light, she sets forth to do his bidding. Melkor wounds the trees, “and their sap poured forth as it were their blood, and was spilled upon the ground,” presenting Ungoliant with her feast (76). She sucks up every last drop of the Trees’ light-blood, bloating to a prodigious size, yet famished evermore. Ungoliant’s love is turned inward, seeking always fullness, but unable to find it. Acting alone, she is a poison to herself only; under the influence of another, she is a poison to many.


Click here to get Tolkien’s Requiem – Concerning Beren and Lúthien.

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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Talking Tolkien Podcast – Ep. 9 – The Silmarillion – Ch. 4 – Of Thingol and Melian


But he came at last to a glade open to the stars, and there Melian stood; and out of the darkness he looked at her, and the light of Aman was in her face. (55)


©2013-2015 rfcunha
©2013-2015 rfcunha

Who are Thingol and Melian and why is their marriage so important? What’s with the very Tolkienian idea of “enchantment?” Plus, more Topical Tolkien haikus! Join us as we explore Chapter 4 of The Silmarillion, “Of Thingol and Melian,” on the 9th episode of Talking Tolkien.

Continue reading “Talking Tolkien Podcast – Ep. 9 – The Silmarillion – Ch. 4 – Of Thingol and Melian”

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)”

Tolkien’s Requiem – Available for Pre-Order!


[In 1909] I met the Lúthien Tinúviel of my own personal ‘romance’ with her long dark hair, fair face and starry eyes, and beautiful voice . . . Now she has gone before Beren, leaving him indeed one-handed…

– Tolkien 1972


Sure, you’ve read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, but have you ever read the story that Tolkien himself called “the kernel” of the Middle-earth mythology?

“Of Beren and Lúthien” sits smack dab in the middle of Tolkien’s notoriously difficult The Silmarillion, yet it is perhaps the most immediately accessible of all of the book’s stories. It’s also packs a powerful punch, hitting with the same sort of emotional mix that makes The Lord of the Rings unforgettable.

In Tolkien’s Requiem, I give “Of Beren and Lúthien” a closer look, exploring how it opens up the whole Silmarillion saga and serves as a key turning point in the history of Middle-earth. I also consider how the story can serve as wisdom literature, yielding insight for our own lives. Finally, I seek to provide a “back door” entryway into The Silmarillion itself, for those (like me!) who have always wanted to read it but have had trouble getting a start on it.

You can read more about Tolkien’s Requiem here, or you can pre-order today from Amazon!

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