Tolkien and Time Travel


Episode 7 of The Forge of Tolkien, TIME TRAVEL TOSS-UP, is now live on Unauthorized.

Frustrated that no one was writing the kinds of stories they liked to read, Tolkien and his friend C.S. Lewis did a toss-up: Lewis agreed to write a space-travel story, and Tolkien agreed to write a time-travel story. Lewis went on to write—and publish—his Space Trilogy, but Tolkien got lost…wandering along the Lost Road with Bliss-friend and Elf-friend. In this episode, Professor Rachel Fulton Brown reads the first chapter of what was supposed to be Tolkien’s time-travel story for what it tells us about Tolkien’s own autobiography as an author.

If you’re having trouble logging in to Unauthorized, just hold tight. The recent security certificate update may require a minor database migration. The tech guys are working on it.

A Taxonomy of Dragons

The Forge of Tolkien Episode 6: A Taxonomy of Dragons

When is a dragon “dragon enough” and when is it an example of “draconitas”? In this episode, Professor Rachel Fulton Brown explores the “wilderness of dragons” Tolkien invented for his children’s stories and contrasts them with the argument he makes for taking dragons seriously in his essay “Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics.” How is Smaug like and unlike Beowulf’s bane? And how many dragons are there in a “wilderness”?

Word of warning: if you ever visit The Hobbit Museum in Switzerland, do NOT ask about dragons. You will be treated to a long lecture on the taxonomy of dragons, including a detailed explanation on why the so-called “dragons” of A Game of Thrones are not, in fact, dragons at all.

The missing episodes

Joe Rogan took the ticket and cashed in, but the ticket always comes at a price. There is a certain pattern that is readily apparent once you see which episodes somehow didn’t make it to Spotify, despite Mr. Rogan insisting that Spotify would have no control over his content.

The Joe Rogan Experience – #1461 – Owen Smith

The Joe Rogan Experience – #1458 – Chris D’Elia

The Joe Rogan Experience – #1456 – Michael Shermer

The Joe Rogan Experience – #1303 – Tommy Chong

The Joe Rogan Experience – #1296 – Joe List

The Joe Rogan Experience – #1255 – Alex Jones Returns

The Joe Rogan Experience – #1182 – Nick Kroll

The Joe Rogan Experience – #1164 – Mikhaila Peterson

The Joe Rogan Experience – #1093 – Owen Benjamin & Kurt Metzger

The Joe Rogan Experience – #1033 – Owen Benjamin

The Joe Rogan Experience – #998 – Owen Benjamin

The Joe Rogan Experience – #980 – Chris D’Elia

The Joe Rogan Experience – #979 – Sargon of Akkad

The Joe Rogan Experience – #920 – Gavin McInnes

The Joe Rogan Experience – #911 – Alex Jones & Eddie Bravo

The Joe Rogan Experience – #820 – Milo Yiannopoulos

The Joe Rogan Experience – #750 – Kip Andersen & Keegan Kuhn, producers of Conspiracy

The Joe Rogan Experience – #710 – Gavin McInnes

The Joe Rogan Experience – #702 – Milo Yiannopoulos

The Joe Rogan Experience – #640 – Charles C. Johnson

“Episodes with other prominent conservatives, like political commentator Ben Shapiro or Mikhaila’s father Jordan, remain available on the platform.”

That doesn’t prove what they think it proves….

Stories For Children

The Forge of Tolkien Episode 5: Stories For Children

Critics from Edmund Wilson (The Nation, 1956)  to Andrew Rissik (The Guardian, 2000) and Richard Eyre (The Guardian, 2004) have described The Lord of the Rings as “essentially a children’s book,” a monument to kitsch and Tolkien’s inability to face the real issues that concern adults in the modern world. 

In this episode, Professor Rachel Fulton Brown contrasts the critics’ insistence that Tolkien was writing for children—or childlike readers—with Tolkien’s own insistence that he was writing for adults, not children at all. What was at stake for Tolkien in writing fairy stories “for children”—and did it have any effect on his “heartfelt loathing” for Disney?

Who is Tom Bombadil?

The Forge of Tolkien Episode 4: Who is Tom Bombadil?

Enigma or allegory? Unimportant or essential? Tom Bombadil is Master—but what does that mean for the hobbits and their adventure? Professor Rachel Fulton Brown traces Tom Bombadil to his source in story and song.

I have to admit, Tom Bombadil was always my second-least-favorite part of The Lord of the Rings, following only the interminable slog through what I gradually came to thing of as Bordor. In fact, come to think of it, my unexpectedly popular spin on the violent cultures of the Orcs, Trolls, and Goblins is probably an unintended response to how I felt Tolkien left unaddressed what could, and should, have been a tremendously interesting aspect of the novels.

But back to Tom Bombadil. Both he and Beorn are glimpses of a larger world, which in Bombadil’s case are more interesting for the glimpse than for the character himself. Which, of course, is why the character inspires debate even to this day.


Are myths true? In the third episode of The Forge of Tolkien, MYTHOPOEIA, Professor Rachel Fulton Brown reads Tolkien’s poem “Mythopoeia” as a riddle about the relationship between poetry, sub-creation, and the reality of myth. We explore the structure of the poem and its language for clues as to how Tolkien convinced his friend Jack Lewis to read myths not as “lies,” but as invitations to sub-create in the image and likeness in which human beings are made.

If you’re enjoying the Prof. Brown’s new Unauthorized stream and wish to support it, subscribe here.

The Forge of Tolkien

How many of you read Tolkien’s stories and wish you could find yourself in the tale? Professor Rachel Fulton Brown, Associate Professor of History at the University of Chicago, introduces her new Unauthorized series, The Forge of Tolkien, with a meditation on Tolkien’s wordsmithing as an invitation to enter into the Greatest Fairy Story Ever Told.

For Unauthorized subscribers only. This will be a weekly series and we will introduce a subscription to it next month.

Every single time

It’s incredible what you can often correctly ascertain about an individual’s future behavior from his self-selected appellation. From SocialGalactic:

GospelBEARer @gospelbearer
May I please be unsubscribed from Since my muting in March for defending the Bible, I can’t support it.

There are certain names you know are going to be trouble, sooner or later. Anyone who names himself after a famous philosopher. Anyone whose name is a form of virtue-signaling. And, of course, Bruce.

Now, obviously it’s fine to unsubscribe from UATV for any reason. There is no need to provide any reason at all. But to make a public point of doing so in a way that doesn’t even provide us with the necessary information to unsubscribe you four months after the proximate cause, well, that takes a very special boy indeed.

ATTN UATV subscribers

The new site is now at UNAUTHORIZED.TV.

To subscribe, or to manage or change a subscription, go to SUBSCRIBE.UNAUTHORIZED.TV and hit the blue SUBSCRIBE button. Or use the link on the right sidebar.

Also, on the Arkhaven front, Episode 9 of Chuck Dixon’s Avalon, FILTHY CASH, is now live on Webtoons.

An Unauthorized transition


We have removed all videos from the old system and will be shutting down the apps this week. We will keep the site there for the purposes of the subscription system – so until further notice, please keep subscribing there – but all video watching should be done via the new site. We will also move the UNAUTHORIZED.TV URL to the new site this week and change the existing one to something else indicative of its current function.

We will start working with those having invite and login issues tomorrow in a methodical and systematic way. We will also begin work on the new apps this coming week.