Episode 53
August 7, 2023

Working on the Group Art Project

Hosted by Jared Pechaček, Ned Raggett, and Oriana Schwindt

Jared, Oriana and Ned discuss Oriana’s choice of topic: land. By default the Middle-earth legendarium is about a place that never was, however rooted in the actual planet we live on, and the range of details from sweeping mountains and vast continents to small roads and fields evident throughout the cycle of stories is a key part of what has made Tolkien’s work so vivid and loved. Both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are specifically about journeys as the key plotline, where characters move into spaces that they’d only heard about dimly or not at all as they seek to fulfill their aims. That said, there’s certainly more than this to how Tolkien considers and situates the geography of his creation, including the in-universe explanations of that creation to start with and Melkor’s marring of it. How has Tolkien’s grounding of Middle-earth in the feeling of Northern Europe in general shaped perceptions of fantasy worlds since, and what authors and traditions have worked against it? What are the senses of how layers of history have both informed and shaped the land and the peoples who were and are there in the legendarium, and how does that emerge along the way as the stories progress? Have the expectations and experiences of quick and easy travel shaped our reaction to understanding how slow journeys are, especially on foot, as was the case for most of human history? And did the stones of Eregion indeed actually speak?

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Show Notes.

Jared’s doodle. And who wouldn’t enjoy that view, we ask?

The WGA strike is of course still happening. And you should still support it! And the actors too!

And indeed, Andy Serkis’s The Silmarillion reading is out!

So yes, not only did a fan purchase the Magic: The Gathering The One Ring card by lucky chance, following the episode recording he sold it to hardcore MTG fan Post Malone. Truly this is a world we are in.

The promo performance of “Now And For Always” from the revival of the LOTR musical is pretty nice! Performances did start soon after the episode recording and an initial Guardian review was quite complimentary. More promo photos are available, and again there’s always our episode on the original production

The Rings of Power Emmy nominations. Of course, when the Emmys themselves will happen is another matter.

The Society of American Archivists’ announcement of William Fliss’s award for his continuing work with the Marquette University Tolkien archive.

We meant to mention that fellow Megaphonic podcast The Spouter-Inn discussed The Fellowship of the Ring as part of a cluster of books about land, and then had Oriana on as a guest.

Much of the Christopher Tolkien-edited History of Middle-earth series is essentially about Tolkien’s decades-long process of setting down what Middle-earth actually was. Among the key books in the series in this regard are The Shaping of Middle-earth and Morgoth’s Ring.

I suspect most of us had our own Oregon Trail experiences.

No, we are not going to relitigate the Eagles. Just listen to our episode.

The article on Tolkien and Aldo Leopold is Lucas Niiler’s 1999 piece “Green Reading: Tolkien, Leopold and the Land Ethic.”

Who wouldn’t love the Glittering Caves? (And indeed, check out our dwarves episode as well as our Ghân-Buri-Ghân episode.)

Colonialism/imperialism and environmental destruction? Who could guess there’d be a connection. (Enjoy this book for some other light reading.)

Very light, but this piece on Roman ruins in the present day helps underscore this sense of persistence into the present Tolkien captures well. (In contrast, the Duwamish have had to fight erasure.)

If you want to go to Three Rivers, learn a little more about it.

A 2015 Vox piece on the invention and criminalization of jaywalking.

Peter Jackson’s vision of Isengard as industrial hellhole. (The tree being flung down is at 1:20.)

Earthsea is always a vibe but as Jared notes, check out Annals of the Western Shore.

A Thousand Thousand Islands is indeed no longer going, sadly, but you can get a taste of it here.

Guy Gavriel Kay’s had quite the career!

And indeed some younger authors to check out who aren’t doing Europe all over again include R. F. Kuang and Tasha Suri.

Fonda Lee has the Green Bone Saga to check out, aka the ‘Jade’ series.

And indeed the fan film Born of Hope about Arathorn is on YouTube!

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