The Tolkien Professor podcast is a series of lectures, discussions, and seminars on the works of J.R.R. Tolkien by Corey Olsen, Assistant Professor of English at Washington College in Maryland. Find me on Facebook at "The Tolkien Professor," on Twitter at @tolkienprof, or at my website at www.tolkienprofessor.com. I have also begun a grand new venture: the Mythgard Institute, offering courses on Tolkien studies for credit at the MA level, or just for fun! Join us at www.mythgard.org.
February 4th, 2016
Episode 304 of 366 episodes
[button type="inverse" size="large" link="http://s3.amazonaws.com/media.podcast/TolkienProf/TolkienProf303.mp3"]Download Audio[/button] Introduction/Review Comments from last time: 1) Sauron's fall: could be related to Mairon being upset at Aulë for abandoning Almaren and Middle-earth and sides with Melkor bc he loves Middle-earth There is a discussion about leaving Middle-earth after the Lamps are destroyed, perhaps a facial reaction about his reluctance to leave. Could also be handled in a discussion with Melkor The words that Melkor plants in the minds of the Noldor (why the Valar want to "keep [the Elves] captive here") We can show Mairon's sympathy with Melkor, depict non-verbally Melkor to Mairon "I will make Middle-earth great again" 2) What do Valar Councils look like? The House of Lords? A town hall? We have an upcoming episode on visuals/design 3) Melkor talking to Ossë - trying to set up their meeting without looking hokey How to make the meeting seem natural...theres plenty of reasons why Melkor would want to Ossë wouldn't be the type to "entertain a salesman's pitch" It doesn't need to be a recruitment speech, but rather an encouragement of him letting loose "you don't need to follow any rules...cut loose and have fun!" 4) Do we see Melkor build Angband? We should see Melkor preparing for war when he sees that no one is recognizing his natural right to rule, but it would be a secret Utumno is where Melkor shows off his splendor to the other Valar to persuade them that he is amazing and deserves to be in charge Perhaps the next step with Melkor is for him to show Mairon Angband and confides in him Angband doesn't have to look evil in the beginning...it should look STRONG but it can degrade into evil Melkor confides in Mairon that he's concerned that he has to take Middle-earth by force. Mairon may be like "no one is going to war against you" Melkor would reply "Manwë built a fortress in Valinor, he's the aggressor" Mairon would be uncomfortable when he's with Aulë and the other Valar when they talk about going to war against Melkor, and he'd be thinking back to Melkor's words By the time we get to Beren and Luthien, Angband can look totally different than it does initially (we can save the pools of blood and other evil ooky stuff for further down the line) Eventually Sauron is associated with werewolves and vampires Balrogs would be in Angband, but they're not "pretty" anymore. We may or may not have Orcs yet...Melkor does discover them before Oromë. Orcs may open next season Melkor's army (if he has one) would have to be all Maiar at this point, maybe some other monsters (squids and dinosaurs perhaps?) We need a "Creature Workshop" Book of Lost Tales - Manwë pretends to submit to Melkor and Tulkas binds him, no army involved So he doesn't need full armies 5) Bringing up the Children...we've done a poor job leading up to that up to this point. Do we need to retrofit some of this into prior episodes? Estel or Elrond could bring it up so that it wouldn't be jarring. We could introduce the topic at the beginning of this episode Wouldn't The Children have come up after the destruction of The Lamps? The Children are the reason why "who's in charge" is important This is why Manwë wants harmony They are the only things that the Valar have no hand in creating. The Valar created everything else. They are something Other than Them. It's like making your own toys and then being gifted a baby sibling They are a new element of the Mind of Iluvatar - they want to experience this "Otherness" but without ruling them Melkor will want to dominate them, and will likely despise them (envious of them) like the jealous older sibling If we retrofit the Children, we may lose the focus of the relationships between the other Valar Elrond can say that the Valar have been thinking about The Children the entire time Aulë's impatience won't make any sense with out establishing why they're working so hard in Middle-earth in one form or another, but the frame might be a good way to talk about it Stray references aren't going to work either. The Children could be brought up in the Ainulindalë as they were referenced in The Music 6) Ents and Eagles We could have a 2 hour episode season finale, so we can have the buildup to war in Episode 13, leaving room for Ents and Eagles in Episode 12 The Aulë and Yavanna story was a late add-on in his creation mythology (1930 Quenta "No one knows where the Dwarves came from" Announcements 1) Shaping of Middle-earth class - the Silmarillion was "born" here. (Can still join for remaining classes) All the Tolkien class episodes are online here, click on the Academy tab. 2) On LOTRO,Corey will be a chicken running to Minas Tirith Funds raised will go towards clean water 3) Tolkien Professor acknowledgment moment: Scandinavian armor somewhat reminiscent of Turin created as a result of student, Jez Hunt listening to Corey's talks. See photo here. Today's episode 1) Why Aulë does this? He does this alone (no Mairon involvement) He looks forward to the children bc he wants to teach He loves to make things He's impatient. Maybe reflective of the impatience they have as a group Aulë is the only one who can fall in this way...it's not like Nienna can cry the Children into existence, or Tulkas can't punch them into existence Aulë thinks he's doing something right, but at the same time, he knows it's not entirely "right" bc he does this in secret. He might even think that Iluvatar's plan was to have Aulë make them (to rationalize this) Show the parallel here with Melkor: the similarities between Melkor's fall and Aulë's almost-fall. He might even sound like Melkor at times Aulë going off into a dark place to create parallels Melkor going off into the Void to search for the Flame Imperishable Plant the seeds of this impatience by having a scene with him talking to the other Valar. The impatience for The Coming of The Children is shared. Who else should be included in this conversation? Tulkas, Oromë, Lorien, Melian (She could be against it and then after Thingol's death she could be like "I knew this was a bad idea" or she could be for it and then regret it later) Mandos could be there but silent Aulë goes to the Gardens of Lorien, as that's what Valar do when they're of turmoil of mind, where he meets Lorien, Melian, Oromë, Nessa (instead of Tulkas, or Nessa is the excuse for Tulkas being there as its not exactly his "natural" setting) Melian could have a moment of foresight (The Coming of the Children is bound to her fate) and being uncomfortable with Aulë's conclusion that The Valar are supposed to create the Children Nessa would say "You should go talk to Yavanna about this" and he'll say "yeah," but then goes off on his own and creates 2) What his actions are (do we focus on him making the dwarves, or do we emphasize his father figure/teacher quality - he's teaching the dwarves the language when Iluvatar finds him) It'll be a Moria-like environment (dark and shadowy) They will be carved out of stone (will he discuss what material from which to make them?) or is he mumbling to himself? Perhaps he makes Durin first, and then talks to Durin while he makes the others This emphasizes his desire to be a teacher. Durin could be his assistant as he makes the rest Durin can be like a robot. He'll do something when commanded but is frozen until spoken to. He made them "hard to endure" to stand against Melkor, and that's why they're proportioned the way they are. When Melkor sees that Aulë makes the Dwarves, Melkor copies him and makes Orcs Aulë might be hypothetical "we're not understanding the music properly" and then we see him putting on the finishing touches, or maybe he brings out The Dwarves to show the other Valar? 3) Interaction with Iluvatar (how do we handle that), Yavanna or Manwë could serve as Iluvatar's proxy. Either of them could rebuke Aulë The voice of Iluvatar comes from the flames of Aulë's furnace...referencing the Flame Imperishable. This can parallel the creative powers of Aulë and Iluvatar. "My desire to create is from your mind" (Aulë) Visual parallel (in a way, Aulë too is seeking the Flame Imperishable like Melkor) "Burning bush" meets "sacrifice of Isaac" (very old testament) "Do you want them to be as slaves?" and when Aulë recognizes that Durin is basically a robot, it's a crushing moment, and that's when he decides to take the hammer and smash them (and the Dwarves shrink back) 4) The frame: this would be the time that Thorin and Bilbo and company come to Rivendell What if one of Thorin's company is the narrator for this episode? The Silmarillion is the Elves' story What's the likelihood that a young boy in Rivendell could get one of the Dwarves to spill this info in a short period of time, given how secretive they are? Bilbo's experience in war after Battle of Five Armies may parallel Estel learning about the Valar's experience with war. "Naive Bilbo" probably will not work. Questions for next time: February 12 Ents and Eagles? How are they connected to the story (growing elements of chaos) What's happening in Middle-earth? Melkor's comments on The Children? Set up for the war Timing of the Awakening of the Elves - Silmarillion time frame or Book of Lost Tales timeline? Yavanna, Ents and Eagles "Episode outlines" thread on the discussion boards (called "Scripts") Reading for next episode: Ch. 2 Quenta closely (Yavanna's conversation with Manwë)