Episode 26
May 4, 2021

The Work of Repair After the Storm

Hosted by Jared Pechaček, Ned Raggett, and Oriana Schwindt

Jared, Oriana and Ned talk about Oriana’s choice of topic: the Scouring of the Shire. Both the title of the penultimate chapter of The Lord of the Rings and the event it refers to, the Scouring depicts what happens when Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin return home after all their adventures, only to discover familiar places changed beyond recognition, not to mention the spirit of the Shire in general. Ranging from family reunions and stirring moments of bravery to guerrilla warfare and final scenes of at times surprising horror, it’s a remarkable elaboration on the idea that—unlike in some fairy tales or their descendants—you can’t entirely go home again. How do the individual hobbits both collectively and individually react to their situations, and in doing so, what does that mean for what is the ‘right’ way to respond? What implicit comments could Tolkien be making not only about his own experiences in war but his wider thoughts on imperialism and destruction in general? What does it mean in terms of how the Scouring seems to be ultimately less vengeful than similar situations in our own world, and could it be a form of wish fulfillment? How do adaptations of the story handle the Scouring—or do they do so at all? And why did Jared’s mom need to plant more peonies anyway?

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Show Notes.

Jared’s doodle. For spring has sprung, you see.

As was said in the insert segment, check out our fellow Megaphonic podcast The Spouter-Inn on The Fellowship of the Ring! (And the bonus episode with Oriana is out!)

So yeah, looks like Amazon is kicking down a LOT of money there for their TV show. Rob Bricken has a point.

Meantime, so much for Amazon’s separate Tolkien MMORPG. For now at least.

John Waters has been wanting to film Fruitcake for over a decade now.

Don’t Call It a Cult by Sarah Berman on NXIVM is a good read indeed.

Morfydd Clark is still dropping breadcrumbs...

Yeah, Scott Rudin. Piece of work, this guy.

The Glomar Explorer deal is classic 1970s shenanigans.

The Scouring has been represented in Tolkien artwork various ways. Alan Lee’s is one of the most famous and melancholy representations, Inger Edelfeldt’s among the most dramatic.

There’s no exact equivalent in Peter Jackson’s version, of course—the brief visions in the Mirror of Galadriel aside—but the scene itself has some striking elements: the older hobbit woman wondering what’s up, and especially the wordless toast at the Green Dragon.

Restorative justice is gaining in popularity and interest.

In re Indiana Jones—never choose poorly.

Letter 100 from the published Tolkien letters is a very interesting state-of-mind read at the end of World War II.

Here’s our episode on imperialism.

More on umbrellas in Seattle. And if you’re wondering about ACAB

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