Episode 7
October 22, 2019

Crypto-magical in Their Own Way

Hosted by Jared Pechaček, Ned Raggett, and Oriana Schwindt

Jared, Oriana and Ned discuss Ned’s choice of topic: Ghân-buri-Ghân. Briefly featuring in The Return of the King as a leader of ‘Wild Men’ who offers to help the Rohirrim on their ride to Minas Tirith, Ghân-buri-Ghân is on the surface seemingly little more than a caricature on several levels: a stoic ‘tribesman,’ perhaps even a noble savage with all that implies. But in both his sharp, sometimes very darkly sardonic responses to the Rohirrim and in the further backstory that Tolkien then created for Ghân-buri-Ghân’s culture as a whole, Tolkien explores some very deep waters indeed. What might be the connections between Tolkien’s depiction of small powers in the shadow of an empire and the realities of the British Empire he grew up in? What do Tolkien’s writings on the Drúedain show in terms of how he viewed them in the grand scheme of Middle-earth’s design? And on a final note, what does the little known story “Tal-Elmar” show in terms of imperialism, colonialism and conquest during the era of Númenorean dominance?

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Show Notes.

Jared’s doodle of Ghân-buri-Ghân and the Púkel-men.

Luke Shelton’s tweet response that led us to Perilous and Fair: Women in the Works and Life of J.R.R. Tolkien.

John Rateliff absolutely knows his Tolkien.

Here’s the news on the wider casting call for the Amazon series.

Taika Waititi! He’s a guy.

Ghân-buri-Ghân—only there for a couple of pages, but it’s a hell of an appearance.

Separately, more on the Púkel-men and the Drúedain. (One of the Púkel-men statues does make a very brief appearance in Peter Jackson’s Return of the King.)

Louise Liebherr’s “Reimagining Tolkien: A Post-colonial Perspective on The Lord of the Rings.”

The Neanderthals remain a vividly strong presence in how society considers prehistory—and how that consideration can change over time.

Orientalism retains a strong—and pernicious—influence to the present day.

Irish Home Rule was absolutely a dominant political question in Victorian and Edwardian days.

Tolkien’s Letter 61 is one of his most vivid and revealing.

Christina Fawcett’s “Play and Pacifist Space: Language in the Writing of J.R.R. Tolkien.”

Tal-Elmar” may in the end be the most mysterious Middle-earth story Tolkien ever wrote.

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