Episode 36
March 1, 2022

Divine Background Radiation

Hosted by Jared Pechaček, Ned Raggett, and Oriana Schwindt

Jared, Oriana and Ned talk about Jared’s choice of topic: the Valar. For a legendarium that is clearly monotheistic at base, down to the opening lines of The Silmarillion essentially being a variant of the Book of Genesis, Tolkien’s creation – and account of creation – has a class of similarly immortal beings present from the beginning as well, and while you can call them a version of angels, in many ways they are absolutely not like such beings as theologically understood. Indeed, for all that they are termed as ‘the Powers’ in Arda, much of what we know about them seems to derive from the limits of their power or their inability to comprehend deeper truths – a question that Tolkien himself felt needed explaining at a certain point. What does it say that Varda aka Elbereth is regarded by the Elves with more reverence and love than her partner Manwë? Why is it that beings with an essentially plastic form of existence, not bound by physical form, take on certain specific forms and identities even before the Children of Ilúvatar first awoke in Middle-earth? Is there something to be said for the fact that so much of what the Valar do over time turns more and more into outsourcing of a kind? What’s with the moment of bemusing domestic snark between Aüle and Yavanna like it’s a sitcom? And – separate from all this, but it took up half the episode – what do the three of us think about all the news and trailer and more about a certain Amazon series that finally dropped? Oh, we have thoughts…

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Show Notes.

Jared’s doodle. Nienna really does have a lot to feel sad about the more time goes on…

Thanks, Princess Quill!

The teaser trailer for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, if for some odd reason you haven’t seen it yet. (The initial Jackson Fellowship of the Ring teaser trailer if you’d like to compare, plus the overall three movie teaser.)

The various character posters are kinda scattered over the LOTR on Prime Twitter account.

Not one, not two, but three Vanity Fair stories! They say…a lot. And yet.

The Origo Gentis Langobardorum, with the women-with-beards story.

The new news about the anime The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim film.

TheOneRing.net’s case for the mûmakil hanging around in Rohan.

The initial Variety report and follow-up regarding the rumored plan of Saul Zaentz’s company selling their adaptation rights.

Our episode on the Rankin-Bass Hobbit, if you missed it last year!

The Valar, in sum.

Our The Nature of Middle-earth episode. The book really does give us a lot more to think about the Valar. (Separately, regarding Manwë’s emissaries, our eagles episode.)

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