Craig takes Ryan back to Middle-earth in this Silmarillion podcast series.

Ainulindalë, with Kip Rasmussen

The Silmarillion is not a novel. It’s barely even a story, at least as you’re used to. This may be one reason that many struggle with Tolkien’s lifelong passion project. Craig, with the help of Tolkien illustrator Kip Rasmussen, tries once again to throw Ryan headlong into Middle-earth. Mellon, goheno nin!

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Beren & Luthien

We continue our Silmarillion Podcast series. Craig drags Ryan back in Middle-earth for a discussion about the tale of Beren and Luthien. Todd joins us in studio, and Craig also cuts from time to time to a chat he had with friend of the podcast Nic Jeter.

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Craig, Ryan, and Nic discuss Akallabêth, the story of the downfall of Númenor. Bit by bit, Craig is forcing Ryan to read the entire book. They dispense with the regular opening insults, and instead opt for bringing back the long-lost “Craig’s LotR (Silmarillion) Trivia.”

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  • Behrouz Salehipour

    Tuned in for the first time. You guys have great insight on what you’re talking about and that’s very refreshing. I’m excited to start your lotr series.

    • The Legendarium Podcast

      Thanks! Hope you enjoy the lotr series. It was the first series we ever did, and it’s … long.

  • Jon B.

    I enjoyed the podcast very much — it’s gratifying, and unusual, to hear a group of people talking about the Silmarillion with so much knowledge and obvious love of the material. I just wish I’d heard more about Feanor, my favorite character in the book, and the Flight of the Noldor. It might also be interesting to delve into the literary and philosophical background of the book, and of Tolkien’s mythopoesis in general — the work as a whole is an unlikely amalgam of Augustinian/Neoplatonist theology, Biblical history, and Norse, Finnish, and Greek mythology, and given this yoking together of unlike elements it’s kind of amazing that it works at all, let alone as well as it does.
    I do think in general that too much is made of the alleged “unreadability” of this wonderful book — there’s probably a big overlap between people who find the Silmarillion unbearable and those who don’t have the patience for the Icelandic sagas, the Elder Edda, the Bible, and close reading in general. And who cares about them? 😉

    • We do! =)

      Thank you for such kind words, they’re much appreciated. We plan to get to many more parts of the Silmarillion in the not-too-distant future, and no discussion of the book would be complete without a good long talk about Feanor. So fear not!

      But back to what you were saying, that’s one of our points of emphasis on the podcast: We want to help those who may not have patience for such things discover that books like this are more approachable than they thought. They’re deep and wide, sure, but also lots of fun. A mirror goal is to take books that may be more mainstream (like our series on Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy) and getting the surface reader to see that there’s more to books like that than just the fun.

      • Jon B.

        Yes, your point of emphasis came through very clearly, and it’s laudable that you want to broaden the book’s audience. I suppose I just see the Silmarillion as something that requires no apologies. Or maybe I’m just a misanthrope. In any case, thanks for the podcast, which I’ll certainly continue to listen to.

  • Neal Morton

    Just found this podcast on iTunes, searching for something else, when I came across The Silmarillion. THANKS! The original edition of The Silmarillion was the first hardback book that I ever purchased. I remember going into my local B.Dalton’s, and finding it there prominently displayed back in 1977. I love this book, and have read the entire “History of Middle Earth.” The writing is beautiful, with so much information packed into every passage, especially when the Valar interact with each other. As an example, “Of Aule and Yavanna” is a revelation; where we learn that the Dwarves will love the works of their hands most…like their father, and that when Yavanna went to Manwe with her concerns, Manwe was somewhat surprised, since Yavanna had no need of the teaching of Aule. (Come to think of it, we learn a lot about the other gods from Yavanna). “Of Beren and Luthien” still makes me cry whenever I re-read this chapter.

    By the way, “Morgoth’s Ring” is also a must-read, IMHO. Tolkien writes in his notes that Melkor must be made far more powerful; more powerful in fact than all the other Valar combined.

    I look forward to your future podcasts.

    • I’m impressed! Few are those who have seen, let alone opened, let alone read, Morgoth’s Ring! It’s always gratifying to know that someone else has enjoyed the Silmarillion as much as I have.

      Thanks so much for dropping a note! By the way, if you’re up for some new fantasy this year, and want to follow along with future podcasts, check out our 2016 reading challenge on the front page. We’d love your input!

  • Haki Cook

    Hey guys, first time poster but long time listener.
    I was super excited to hear you were going to do the Silmarillion. I read it a few years ago and absolutely loved it (much to the confusion of my friends and family). The book is so enchanting.

    I also love that you guys are members of the church. I didn’t figure it out until ‘the women of the Lord of the Rings’ podcast where Craig’s wife was on the show (btw my wife has also found a happy balance between the Church and feminism).

    Keep it up guys, I’m seriously considering re-reading Mistborn (I gave up on it in the 2nd book as I lost interest). It’s great reading through books with you guys.

    • Wow, thanks for the note Haki! I hope you do give Mistborn another chance. I haven’t met anyone yet who has read all three books and not enjoyed them. And I recommend those books to A LOT of people.

      Enchanting is the perfect word for the Silmarillion! I feel a bit like Elwë when he meets Melian, falls under a spell, and can’t shake it for years. Let’s hope I never do!

      • Haki Cook

        I’ll finish the Hobbit first, my list of books I want to read is long but depending on how I feel after The Hobbit I might go straight in to Mistborn.

        Hey, another series that failed to hold me down was the Malazan Series (also tapped out at book 2 there as well), any chance you guys will do that series?
        I feel like I could try that again at a slower pace with you guys (that sounds a little bit creepy and 1-side-relationshippy or stalkerish but meh).