Episode 16: Extremely Specific Middle-earth Q&A with The Tolkien Professor—Corey Olsen
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In part two of my interview with Corey “The Tolkien Professor” Olsen, we discuss several extremely specific questions about Middle-earth, including: What is “magic” in The Lord of the Rings? Who and what is Tom Bombadil exactly? Do the good consequences of Eowyn’s disobedience to Theoden justify her actions? Are orcs—possessing free will but seemingly evil by nature—metaphysically coherent?
Signum University https://signumuniversity.org/
Mythgard Institute (Signum’s free programs for the public) https://mythgard.org/
The Tolkien Professor Podcast https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-tolkien-professor/id320513707?mt=2
Corey Olsen’s website https://tolkienprofessor.com/
2:06 The ambiguity of “magic” as used by different beings and races in The Lord of the Rings
12:13 Is Tom Bombadil God or a Christ-figure? What does it mean that “he is,” and that he is “the Master”? Is Tom a Maia? West vs. east and resurrection in the barrow-wight episode
35:04 Does Eowyn’s fulfillment of prophecy in slaying the Witch-King justify her abandonment of her duties to stay behind and rule/protect her people in the King’s absence? Simplistic feminist misinterpretations of Eowyn; Rohan’s vs. Gondor’s cultural values
44:26 Eowyn’s despair vs. Sam’s; different kinds of hope; Sam’s attitude towards his duty and the sense in which he lacks hope
59:38 More on Eowyn, Rohan’s debased cultural values
1:07:02 How Tolkien developed in his concept of flat vs. round Middle-earth
1:09:17 Are orcs evil by nature? How can that be if they have free will?
1:15:22 What is the basis of the differences/superiorities/inferiorities among the races of Middle-earth, and how is it different from real-world racist theories?
1:26:16 This week’s reading: J.R.R. Tolkien, “On Fairy-Stories” https://amzn.to/2Cgo9Pm
Theme music: “Franciscan Eyes”, written and performed by Thomas Mirus. Download the Catholic Culture Podcast soundtrack.
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