Friday, October 23, 2020

Ichor and Potatoes


Episode 13 of The Forge of Tolkien, ICHOR AND POTATOES, is now live on #UATV.

After chanting his verses about EƤrendel the Mariner in the Hall of Elrond at Rivendell, Bilbo challenged the Elves to determine which bits he had written and which were written by Aragorn. The question was a trick, as Aragorn only added a bit about a “green stone”, but it was also serious: why should the Elves be able to tell the difference in poetic style between a Hobbit and a Man? 

In this episode, Professor Rachel Fulton Brown explores Tolkien’s use of poetic style as a way into the problem of writing fantasy. Drawing on Ursula K. LeGuin’s advice to aspiring fantasists, she considers the importance of speech in the act of imaginative creation and how style is critical to the composition of Christian literature. Which is better when writing fantasy: ichor or potatoes? A style reaching for the sublime, or a style willing to humble itself even unto Hobbits? 


  1. May just be me, I first read LotR in 1977, but all of this 'scholarship' (especially by M. Martinez) of JRRs work is sucking the joy and grand adventure out of his stories.
    It doesn't diminish a beautiful sunrise not knowing astrophysics.
    Sometimes it's ok for a good book to just be a good book...

    1. @SL don't read / watch it then. It's not the inspired Word of God its just interesting to people who are interested in that sort of thing.

  2. Comment spammers are the vile creation of ring wraiths.

  3. The humble style that includes hobbits works to make Gollum/Smeagol an even more tragic creature: carefree and happy, twisted and degraded to a shadow of Evil, a shadow that eventually acts to undo the evil wrought on him.

    That was a lot to cover in her podcast. I'll need to listen again to get the full import.


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