Episode 29
July 30, 2021

Always Around to Do the Bare Minimum

Hosted by Jared Pechaček, Ned Raggett, and Oriana Schwindt

Jared, Oriana and Ned talk about Oriana’s choice of topic: the Eagles. Most familiar to Tolkien readers via the lordly and imposing figure of Gwaihir, identified as the Lord of the Eagles in both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, the Eagles have a recurring role in many of the stories of Middle-earth, acting as emissaries, guardians, intercessors and figures of warning or doom. They serve the Valar, their leader Manwë in particular, but often seem to be following their own particular code of living. However, a recent tweet based off a Polygon article about them in their Lord of the Rings series this year revived an old—and rather tiresome—controversy about whether the Eagles act as a deus ex machina in the plots of the stories—or even more tiresomely, are somehow supposed to be a plot hole. What are the roots of eagles in mythology in general, and how has that impact on the human imagination played out in Tolkien’s legendarium? Do the Eagles even particularly care about what is happening in realms beyond their own, and regard nearly everyone and everything as being of a piece? What do the sudden appearances of Gwaihir’s ancestor Thorondor at various points in the published Silmarillion say about how they function in terms of both being Manwë’s servants and in noting the working out of the Doom of Mandos? And how is it that such lofty, indeed arrogant figures like the Eagles have incredibly sharp senses of humor?

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Show Notes.

Jared’s doodle. Would you like to fly, on my beautiful ea-gle…

Uh yeah get your shots, the end.

That TheOneRing.net spy report. Questions, questions, we have them!

Our episode about Orcs.

Blue Harvest! Horror beyond imagination!

Blue Origin! Also horror beyond imagination!

The HarperCollins UK tweet about Andy Serkis’s further audiobook work, with further links.

That Foreign Policy piece “Comrades of the Ring” — worth a read!

The Eagles! They fly around.

That misleading Polygon tweet. They could do better.

The Tolkien Gateway summary of Letter 210, Tolkien’s response to the screenwriting treatment created in the late 1950s.

“Someone is WRONG on the Internet.”

CinemaSins? We hate it.

Edmund Wilson’s “Oo, Those Awful Orcs” does not appear to contain any Eagles complaints.

Bored of the Rings. It’s very, very of its time.

Deus ex machina! It’s a thing.

The Peter Jackson Beorn bear bomb. Well, yes, there we go.

Eagles in world mythology? You’re darn right it’s a thing.

We only know so much about the Sky Father.

Superstore! Probably a defining US comedy of the second half of the 2010s.

Metro Micro, should you so desire.

Ted Naismith’s painting of the cloud eagle in the West as Númenor approaches its doom.

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