This week, I delved deeper into Middle-earth history and lore, and read The Silmarillion. I have had this book since Easter, and had read a few chapters of it, but was distracted by other books, and a little intimidated by all the characters and places in it. And there are A LOT of characters. But I realized that even if I couldn’t name all of Fëanor’s sons, I could still enjoy the book, and learning the history that came before the tales of Bilbo and Frodo. In this post, I’m going to give some of my thoughts on it and give some introductions to the main characters.
Last summer, my mom began reading through The Hobbit with my sisters and I. The plan was to read it together as a family over the summer and do fun activities to go along with the story, such as learning to write our names in Dwarvish runes, printing and weathering a copy of the map to Erebor, and trying our hands (and taste buds!) at some of the different foods that are mentioned throughout the book.
One of my favorite scenes in both the book and the film adaption is when Bilbo is just sitting down for a nice, relaxing meal, and is suddenly burst in upon by no less than thirteen very intrusive Dwarves and one very tall grey wizard. As my sisters and I have already seen all three films based on the book (extended editions, in fact), we easily remembered the stacks and stacks of mouth-watering dishes that the little hobbit brought out for his unexpected guests. Now I’ve always loved the idea of the food of Middle-earth, and hope to eventually get around to trying out as many as I can. But there is one item that is explicitly mentioned several times in the book and shows up pretty distinctly in the film, as well: buttered scones.
Two characters I am constantly having to defend from being spoken against are Frodo Baggins and Edmund Pevensie. People will say they don’t like Frodo because Sam had to get him out of some tight spots, or because he wouldn’t throw the Ring into Mt. Doom when he finally arrived. Or they won’t look past Edmund’s attitude and actions at the beginning of his journey. They tend to look at their weak points and decide that these characters aren’t as heroic as their friends, like Peter or Sam. But I believe that ALL of these characters are examples we should follow and that Frodo and Edmund show us something about being a hero the others do not.
A new documentary series, focusing on the lives, careers, and war experiences of two men considered to be the fathers of modern fantasy, C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien, is in the works!
Middle-earth News and the German Tolkien Society have both reported on the announcement of this new series, which is to be titled, A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War. According to Middle-earth News, the documentary will span a set of five 50-minute long episodes.
The project’s official website had this to say about the project:
The documentary film series, “A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War,” explores how the experience of two world wars shaped the lives and literary imagination of two internationally famous authors and friends, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. Based on Joseph Loconte’s New York Times bestseller, the film examines how Tolkien’s combat experience during the First World War—at the Battle of the Somme—launched him on his literary quest. The film reveals how the conflict reinforced Lewis’s youthful atheism—he was injured in combat—but also stirred his spiritual longings. The film traces the careers of both men at Oxford University, and their deepening friendship as they discover a mutual love of medieval, romantic literature. Facing the threat of another world war, Tolkien and Lewis reach back into their earlier experience of war as they compose their epic works of fantasy, The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia.
The documentary will be produced by Eastgate Creative, and the Executive Producer is Ralph Winter (known for his work as producer on “The X-Men,” “Fantastic Four,” “I Robot,” and “Planet of the Apes”). Jock Petersen and Ralph Linhardt will also direct and produce, and Joseph Loconte will serve as screenwriter and on-camera narrator.
According the the report by the German Tolkien Society, “
To find out more about this documentary, or to contact creators or help contribute to the project, please see the project’s official webpage here, where you can watch a promising trailer for the series: HobbitWardrobe.com.
You can also check out the official social media pages for the project:
I, for one, am very excited to see this new series when it releases, as Tolkien and Lewis are two of my literary heroes, and as an “imagine-er” and hopefully someday-author myself, I love to dig through their works and read about their individual stories. For me, it was Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia that first introduced me to the world of epic fantasy. It also caused me to develop an early love deep literature, filled with rich imagery and metaphors, and causing me to always dig deeper than the surface value of any story. I’m convinced that these lessons I learned from Narnia are the reason why I’m such a huge Star Wars, and really all-around, geek today.
As Narnia was the first stepping-stone into the world of epic fantasy, it led to a stage of interest in ancient mythologies, many of the tales of which I still remember to this day. This, in turn, caused me to take an deep interest in theology and philosophy in more recent times, and has also contributed to my habit of over-thinking pretty much every fantastical world I encounter.
But inevitably, Narnia also led me to Middle-earth, starting with my first viewing of The Lord of the Rings movies a few year ago and continuing with a love of the many deeper aspects of the world, such as the oft-ignored portions on its creation and early years, as explored in The Silmarillion. And as you have hopefully already gathered by just being on this website, it also led to the creation of The Elven Padawan.
Anyway, all that to once again say: I am excited to see this new series on the background of Tolkien and Lewis, and find out even more about their histories, friendship, and the other conditions that led to their amazing stories.
Are you interested to watch this new documentary of the lives of Tolkien and Lewis? Do you have a favorite book or story from any of their works? I’d love to hear about it!! Let me know below in the comments; I always love to chat with you guy!
Attention, everyone!! It’s time for some announcements!!
Things are getting ready to change up a bit here at The Elven Padawan. Nothing super major, but I’m very excited for what I’m bringing on next. 😉
First of all, in the coming months you’ll probably see some new additions to the TEP site. I’m always looking to expand and grow TEP, and as I continue to do that, you’ll see some matching changes in the look of this place, too. Since the news of this new Lord of the Rings show from Amazon broke, I finally decided it was time to add a separate section for Tolkien-related things, and although there’s not much out there for it yet, that will most likely be changing very soon.
I HAVE NEW ART!!!
Alright, now you may be thinking I’m a tad over-excited about this. But honestly, I’ve been wanting to update that art for so long, and never could figure out what to do with it. And please, don’t anyone take this as a problem with my original artist! My good friend Audrey drew the original art for the podcast, and I still totally love what she did, but I could never figure out how to arrange it and make a logo for The Elven Padawan that I really liked.
But now, the problem has been solved! And therefor I present to you, my readers, my lovely new podcast album art, created through the combined efforts of Audrey, myself, and Kitten!!
You may remember that Kitten originally drew that awesome logo that is at the top of this site, and is also included in the new podcast art above. She also helped me out by fixing up that cool new word-logo in the lower right of the art (check out the details! My costume “elvensaber”, green vines and leaves, and Ahsoka-style padawan beads!) And that lovely “Erebor to Echo Base” part you’ll recognize as the original art by Audrey, though showcased in a much better fashion than previously!!
You’ll probably be seeing this art some other places, as well, and in other styles, but I’m not totally sure about that aspect yet, so we’ll just have to wait and see where it goes. 😉
And finally, my biggest announcement, and one I’ve been very excitedly waiting to tell you all!!
First, an explanation: as some of you may know, I started high school this year, and I spent the good part of last semester just trying to stay caught up and get used to the new way of things. I had to step back a bit from The Elven Padawan for a while, especially the blogging aspect. In fact, my recent blog post on Kanan’s choices in the mid-season finale of Star Wars: Rebels was the first I’d done in a while. On top of all that, I’ve also recently joined the team over at The Future of the Force, and though I’ve only had one article with them so far, I’m hoping to really get on top of that soon and continue my series on the symbolism in Rebels. And I’ve really been trying to keep things rolling with the podcast, too.
Anyway, all of this has been piling up on me lately, and I thought it was time to bring in some help. Besides, part of the whole point in TEP was to feature fellow fans of my age group, and I’ve not been able to do that a whole lot with the blog. And that brings me to my biggest announcement:
Introducing The Elven Padawan’s newest blogger, my good friend and fellow Star Wars and Middle-earth geek, Audrey!
Many of you have already seen some of Audrey’s writing from our weekly reviews of the fourth and final season of Star Wars Rebels, as well as the guest post she did for me a while back (and we’ve already talked about her artwork for TEP!), but I figured it was time to go ahead and make her a full-on writer for this blog. You’ll be seeing articles from her regularly, and in preparation, I did a quick little interview with her to help you all get to know her better.
1. What first made you into a fangirl?
Audrey: I think Star Wars is the first thing that really turned me into a fangirl. Yes, I had movies I liked before seeing Star Wars, but I didn’t have a “favorite”. When I first heard that my brothers were watching it, I declined, thinking that it was a boy’s movie and would be boring. I was wrong. Really really wrong. I popped into the room while they were in the middle of A New Hope and decided that the story was pretty interesting after all. I tried to hide how much I liked it for a few weeks, but gave up quickly. And I’ve never looked back from there. That was a little more than two years ago, but I didn’t understand what a fangirl was until about a year ago while talking with some friends online. But once I did, I knew I definitely was one.
2. When did you first get into Star Wars? Same for Tolkien?
Audrey: Without my brothers, I don’t know how long it would have been until I wanted to watch Star Wars. I think the first thing that captivated me so much about it was how different it was from any movie I’d ever seen. Star Wars was really only the third or fourth live action movie I had watched, and because of that it immediately felt more real. I loved the characters from the start, especially Leia because she was finally a princess who got to fight. I don’t like admitting this, but I was also curious as to how she was going to marry the guy she’d been yelling at since she’d met him (my mom spoiled some things for us). As the story went on though, I started caring less about that and more about the story as a whole.
As for how I got into Lord of the Rings, you (Shay), and one of my other friends were the first people to talk to me about them. I thought they sounded interesting, so I asked my parents if we had the movies. Yes, I watched the movies first. I know sometimes people don’t like that, but I feel like it made reading the books easier because I could already picture the characters. I liked them right away since they had all the things that make my favorite movies my favorite. Good against evil, strong lessons, adventure and some fighting, with just a bit of romance. I’m not sure I completely count as a fangirl for them, since my knowledge of Middle-earth is very slim, but I’m working on changing that.
3. What characters are your favorites in each series (Star Wars and Lord of the Rings)? Can you give a few reasons why you love them?
Audrey: For Star Wars, Leia, because she goes through so much and is still fighting. Her defiance of evil and courage are inspiring. She was part of what changed my mind about Star Wars.
Second is Han, and I’m not entirely sure why he’s my second favorite. I like how he changes through the story from a selfish smuggler, to someone who takes risks for others and plays a huge part in defeating the Empire. Some of his lines are the ones that have made me laugh the most.
Rey is third, because she’s strong, but soft at the same time, and you don’t see that often. As much as I like Leia, she can be pretty harsh. Rey, even after spending most of her life surrounded by tough, heartless people and aliens as she struggles to survive, doesn’t give up on being kind or on hoping for something better. I think it’s cool that she’s a main girl who will be training in the Force. Her name being half of mine has nothing to do with why I like her. 😉
This list could go on forever though, so I decided on top three.
For Lord of the Rings, my favorite character is Sam. Sam is the best. He’s loyal, brave, enduring, and generous. He doesn’t let anything stop him from continuing on with Frodo, no matter how dark or difficult things get.
Éowyn is really tied with Sam for first. Like Leia and Rey, I like her because she’s a strong girl character and gets to play an important part. It fascinates me how she’s able to balance her duties and her desires so well.
Aragorn is my third favorite because he patiently waits for the time when he would be crowned king, unlike most people who would probably try to take the kingdom that should be theirs and would hate the people related to the current king of it. When everything is going wrong, he doesn’t get discouraged or worry, he just makes up a new crazy plan.
4. Top favorite OTP, and a brief reason why you love them.
Audrey: Kanera (Kanan Jarrus and Hera Syndulla), is my favorite ship, because they don’t have a super dramatic or overly done relationship. They respect and believe in each other, while still teasing each other sometimes.
5. Which would you be: Rebel, Imp, Jedi, Sith, Resistance-woman, or First Order?
Audrey: As cool as it would be to be a Jedi, I don’t have that kind of discipline and don’t think I’d enjoy it very long. So I think I would like the most to be part of the Rebel Alliance, working as either a Fulcrum agent or as a strategist, like planning out the best options for battles and missions. I’d still want to be human.
6. Which would you be: Hobbit, Elf, Dwarf, race of Man, or another (like a Vala, Istari/wizard, Ent, skin-changer, etc.)?
Audrey: Definitely a Hobbit. They live nearly exactly how I would want to, in cozy houses, with lots of books (Bilbo at least had lots of books), growing food in their backyards, and living in a cheery place with grass and trees. And my mom wouldn’t have to keep telling me to put shoes on because no one would wear shoes!
7. Anything else interesting you’d like to say in connection to all this?
Audrey: Sometimes I worry that when I get older I’ll stop being a fangirl. (I doubt that, but it could happen.) But I know that even if I stop counting down the minutes until the next movie or book comes out, or don’t enjoy having long discussions about them, I know that the stories and the lessons will stay with me forever.
You can catch Audrey’s first blog article with The Elven Padawan next week, when she’ll be giving her insights into what to do while Star Wars Rebels is on break.
And that wraps it up for the announcements this time! I hope you all are looking forward to the things I’ll be doing with The Elven Padawan in the near future as much as I am!
What do you think of the new podcast art? Are you excited to see more coming from Middle-earth? Do you have any suggestions for things you’d like to see added to The Elven Padawan? Please let me know in the comments below!!
In this episode recorded during Tolkien Week 2017, Shay and guest Max talk about – try to guess – that’s right, Tolkien! Finally getting to the “Erebor” part of “From Erebor to Echo Base”, Shay gives the history on Tolkien Week and Hobbit Day, then jumps into a discussion of Middle-earth, including The Silmarillion, books vs. movies, connections between Tolkien’s world and Christian theology, and more! (She even manages to sneak a Star Wars Rebels connection in there.)
Also, Shay has some updates for listeners on what’s going on with The Elven Padawan, as well as a brand-new intro for the podcast!
Quick note: please excuse the audio quality in Shay’s portions of this episode. Once again, ‘that glitch’ returned to plague her, but this should be the very last occurrence of that evil nasty.
New – follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ElvenPadawan. Please subscribe to the show on iTunes, GooglePlay, or SoundCloud and leave me a review! You can also follow this site, and get updates on every new post. If you have a question or comment to be read and answered on the show, send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Creative Type: the blog of Kitten, artist who created my awesome new logo art!!
Star Wars: The Color of Hope: Shay’s very first article with Future of the Force!
Female Viking warrior gravesite – National Geographic (there’s a link in this article to the Norse saga that has a character who reminds me of Eowyn)
Sound effects were from the Free Sound Project.
Complete list of effects used for this episode:
- Fire-breathing dragon.flac by CGEffex