a Tolkien Podcast

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Episode 5: The Fallibility of Makers

The craftsmen, blacksmiths, and even celestial makers of Tolkien’s middle-Earth frequently find themselves straying from the straight and narrow path laid out for them by Ilúvatar. In this episode we look at some examples of these makers to see what qualities they share that might account for their vulnerability, and how some are able to avoid it.

Content Warning: In this episode there is a brief discuss of sexual assault from [58:54] to [1:03:16]

Episode 5 Extras: Names


A note about elven names

Elves have a lot of names A LOT OF NAMES. Often these names are significant and/or portentous. They can have three kinds of “Anessi”, given names.

  • The first is the fathername (we dont have an actual word for fathername in quenya), given at birth.

  • The second, amilessë, is the “mother name” and is given later in life. Mothers were thought to have insight, often prophetic, into their childrens character, so mothernames had a great deal of significance.

  • Epessë, “afternames”, were names or titles of honor either granted to the elf or self chosen.

  • There is a fourth kind of name, the Kilmessë, which is chosen by an elf once they are “capable of lámatyáve” which is to say “fluent enough to take joy in individual sounds and words”. This name was a private name, though not secret, and using it without permission was considered presumptuous or an insult.

Fun Fact about Valar Names

While Melkor’s names, as you will see below, are traditionally quenya and sindarin, he is actually the exception to the rule. The other Valar’s names, while often having both quenya and sindarin forms, are based on their names in YET ANOTHER language Tolkien invented, called Valarin. This language is BONKERS WEIRD. It barely counts as a “language” as Tolkien only really sketched out some words and a bit of structure but its cool to see.


Fëanor: sindarin rendering of his amilessë, Fëanáro, meaning “spirit of fire”.

Curufinwë: quenya, his fathername, meaning “skillful son of Finwë”


Melkor – quenya, lit. “mighty rising”, translated in the Silmarillion as “he who arises in Might”

Morgoth – sindarin for “dark foe”


While the translation of Sauron as a quenya word meaning “The Abhored” is pretty consistent, the origin for this word went through a number of iterations over time. the elfdict entry for the word has a great rundown.


pronunciation: gweyeth-ee-mear-deyen

sindarin for “the People of the Jewel-smiths”

Episode 4: Halloween Special: Vampires, Werewolves and Wraiths OH MY

Happy Halloween from middle-Earth! In this episode we’re exploring some of the season’s traditional tropes as they appear in Tolkien’s stories.

Episode 3: LotR Appendix A part 2: The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen

We conclude our discussion of Appendix A of the Lord of the Rings with the Tale of Aragorn and Arwen. We talk about what Aragorn is up to in the 30 years preceding the Hobbit, his tragic lineage, and his complicated relationship with the Lord of the Last Homely House.

Episode 2: LotR Appendix A part 1: The Numenorean Kings

In this, the first of two episodes about Appendix A of the Lord of the Rings, we discuss the first section “The Numenorean Kings”, and how the appendix opens up the Lord of the Rings to the wider legendarium like the Silmarillion.

Episode 1: On Fairy Stories

In this, our first episode, your hosts introduce themselves, and then dive right in as we explore Tolkien’s 1939 lecture “On Fairy Stories”, a fundamental work in Tolkien Studies, but one often overlooked by the wider Tolkien fandom. In it, Tolkien issues a sort of mission statement on why he considers fantasy important. Where can […]

It’s a dangerous business, making a podcast…

“You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

Episode 1 – 9/5/2018


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