The Forge of Tolkien episode 19, THE OLDE SPEECH, is now available on #UATV.
In December 1954, Hugh Brogan wrote to Tolkien to complain about the “archaizing” style of parts of The Lord of the Rings, particularly the chapter “The King of the Golden Hall.” Tolkien drafted his response but never sent it, deferring a proper discussion to a time when they could meet in person. When is archaizing “tushery,” and when is it necessary? What is the difference between a bogus and a genuinely “antique” turn of phrase?
In this episode Professor Rachel Fulton Brown reads the “linking” passage in The Book of Lost Tales taking Eriol from the hall of the Tale-fire to Rumil’s garden to illustrate Tolkien’s process in discovering his proper style. What did Tolkien mean when he told Brogan he found it easier to think in an archaic mode, and why did he chide Brogan for his “parochialism of time”? Hint: The distance is as great as that between Globe Earth and Flat Earth!
The Forge of Tolkien Episode 18, AROUND THE TALE-FIRE, is now available to subscribers on #UATV.
“Now it happened on a certain time that a traveller…” What do we find when we set out on the journey to Faërie?
In this episode, Professor Rachel Fulton Brown opens the door to the Cottage of Lost Play and welcomes the folk and the children to gather round the “Tale-file blazing in the Room of Logs” to hear stories of the Elder Days when England was known as Tol Eressëa and the towers of Kortirion could be glimpsed in Warwick. What do we make of Tolkien’s archaic pseudo-Biblical language and his Tennysonian verse in his earliest attempts at writing his legendarium? Why is it so hard to craft a convincing tale? And which song do we find ourselves in?
Title: “Episode 19: The Olde Speech” [with the -e in Olde!]
Blurb: In December 1954, Hugh Brogan (then age 18) wrote to Tolkien to complain about the “archaizing” style of parts of The Lord of the Rings, particularly the chapter “The King of the Golden Hall.” Tolkien drafted his response but never sent it, deferring a proper discussion to a time when they could meet in person. When is archaizing “tushery,” and when is it necessary? What is the difference between a bogus and a genuinely “antique” turn of phrase? In this episode Professor Rachel Fulton Brown reads the “linking” passage in The Book of Lost Tales taking Eriol from the hall of the Tale-fire to Rumil’s garden to illustrate Tolkien’s process in discovering his proper style. What did Tolkien mean when he told Brogan he found it easier to think in an archaic mode, and why did he chide Brogan for his “parochialism of time”? Hint: The distance is as great as that between Globe Earth and Flat Earth!
Episode 17 of The Forge of Tolkien, ON FAIRY STORIES is now live on Unauthorized, featuring the newest Presidential appointee to the Federal Cultural Property Advisory Committee, Professor Rachel Fulton Brown.
In 1938, Tolkien gave a lecture at St. Andrew’s University on the topic of “fairy stories,” ostensibly meaning to explain what “fairy stories” were. In the course of the lecture, however, Tolkien spent more time explaining what they weren’t—travelers’ tales, beast fables, dreams, children’s stories—than, it would seem, explaining what they were. Why did Tolkien find it so hard to define fairy stories other than in the negative? What was he thinking of when he defined them not as stories about fairies, but as stories about “Faërie,” aka the Perilous Realm?
In this episode, Prof. Rachel Fulton Brown reads the published version of Tolkien’s lecture for clues about what Tolkien intended his own fairy stories to achieve. We pull back the veil of Fantasy to learn why real fairy stories have happy endings—and why our reading of Tolkien’s own stories has only just begun.
We’ve launched a new channel on UATV. It features dramatic readings of classic tales from the Junior Classics by the Junior Classic Podcast. Two episodes are already available on the Junior Classics channel and a new episode will be added every week.
And don’t forget the Pinkerton’s Ghosts channel, which presently features three episodes and also appears on a weekly basis. As Unauthorized grows, we will be adding original video documentaries beginning next year, and we hope to eventually begin producing video dramas once we have the necessary resources.
If you want to help build it, you know what to do. And if you already are, thank you very much.
The Forge of Tolkien Episode 16, MAGIC WORDS, is now live on #UATV
Enter Faerie, and you expect enchantment—the power of words, spoken or sung, to transform the world. But how can (or should) a Christian author invoke such spells without falling into the very temptations that the Ring or other magical devices like mirrors and palantiri would warn us about? In this episode, Professor Rachel Fulton Brown questions the role of magic words in fantasy literature generally and Tolkien specifically. Tolkien’s understanding of the power of the adjective is contrasted with the power of naming (Ursula LeGuin) and “root hunting” (Robert Graves), both of which are read in the context of one famous medieval book of word spells, The Sworn Book of Honorius (“Liber Iuratus Honorii”). Is there such a thing as “good” magic? How do spells differ from prayer? What role ought naming play in the Christian response to creation?
In memoriam JOY, the best dog ever (November 8, 2019-October 28, 2020) Recorded as she lay at my feet. Her name was her truth, my joy. RIP.
You’ve seen what’s happening at YouTube. You’ve seen BitChute get taken down. As of this morning, UATV now features 1,600 videos and 1,653 hours of original audio/video entertainment and education on its own entirely independent platform. We’re also in the process of adding a new set of servers and increasing our maximum bandwidth by 400 percent. If you haven’t subscribed yet, what is stopping you? We’re only 500 subscribers away from an important milestone, so perhaps consider giving a subscription to someone for Christmas and help us hit our goal by the new year.
In other development news, the first three volumes of the Junior Classics will be shipping before Christmas, most likely this month. We’d hoped to get them out in October, but that didn’t work out. We will send out the digital versions of those three volumes at the same time the hardcovers ship, but not the leather versions. The leather will ship as a 10-volume set when all ten volumes are ready next year. At the same time they are shipped to the campaign backers, the first three volumes will be made available for sale through our usual book-selling channels.
I also would be remiss if I failed to mention that Razorfist’s new book, The Long Moonlight, is now available in paperback and hardcover at Amazon, and in audiobook+ at Arkhaven. Ignore the out-of-print message on the paperback, as that merely indicates that the title was in revision at the printers. And for Castalia subscribers, the November book will be Corrosion by Johan Kalsi.
On the comics front, we are holding off on sending out new publications until our new platform is ready for release, at which point we plan to drop a near-tsunami of content on everyone. The reason we are doing so will become obvious in retrospect, but rest assured that production continues apace. In not-unrelated news, we recently acquired the arkhaven.com domain. And finally, Rebel’s Run is going well, the script is complete, the core production team is in place, and we even have a possible candidate for Rebel.
Episode 15 of The Forge of Tolkien, THROUGH A GLASS DARKLY, is now live on #UATV.
Tolkien insisted in his letter to Milton Waldman that there was no “Magic” as such in The Lord of the Rings, at least not “magic” associated with the Elves. Elvish “magic” was rather “Art” “delivered from many of its human limitations,” while the devices of the Enemy were better labeled “Machines,” especially in their use for dominating others’ wills. And yet, of the “magical” devices that appear in The Lord of the Rings, the most powerful—with the exception of the One Ring—were made by Elves, most particularly the Palantiri or Seeing Stones through which Sauron projected his Eye.
In this episode, Professor Rachel Fulton Brown explores the tension between “Magic” and “Machines” as a problem for Christians in their use of similar devices from the Renaissance to the present day. Why did Galadriel invite Frodo and Sam to look into her Mirror if she knew what it showed could be dangerous if acted upon? What did Pippin see when he looked into the Palantir of Orthanc—and why did he scream?
New videos from Wranglerstar, The Legend Chuck Dixon, and RAZÖRFIST are also live.
The Forge of Tolkien Episode 14, THE ENT IN THE MOON, is now live on #UATV.
Tolkien insisted that he did not consciously invent many of the details in his stories, including most famously the Ents. These characters, he insisted, were compounded of “philology, literature, and life,” drawing on particular words from Old English, stories like Shakespeare, and the actual differences between “male” and “female” attitudes towards gardening. In this episode, Professor Rachel Fulton Brown explores the roots of the Ents in the Old English poem “The Ruin,” Tolkien’s work for the Oxford English Dictionary on words beginning with “w,” the Green Knight in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and the song Frodo sang at the Prancing Pony—and its “Mannish” predecessor about the Man in the Moon. What do giants have to do with towers and the “stain” on the Moon? It is all part of the mystery of “asterisk reality” and the love of Logos.
Episode 13 of The Forge of Tolkien, ICHOR AND POTATOES, is now live on #UATV.
After chanting his verses about Eärendel 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?