#157- Tolkien’s The Silmarillion Part 1
This week, Scott and Karl begin their discussion of J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Silmarillion, a collection of mythopoeic stories that form a complete history of Middle Earth. Until 1977, these manuscripts were unpublished until his son, Christopher Tolkien, edited them posthumously.
Producer Brett warns, “If you don’t know what The Silmarillion is, you might be stepping into a rabbit hole… but you’ll be better for it.”
The Silmarillion is actually Tolkien’s first book and also his last. It shows us the ancient history to which characters in The Lord of the Rings look back, talk, rhyme, and sing about. Tolkien worked on it, changed it, and enlarged it throughout his entire life. Tune in for Part One of the duo’s conversation, brought to you by onlinegreatbooks.com.
Scott Hambrick 0:09
Welcome to the Online Great Books podcast brought to you by onlinegreatbooks.com, where we talk about the good life, the great books, a great conversation, and great ideas.
Brett Veinotte 0:30
Hello, dear listener, welcome back to the online great books podcast. This is Brett, I am the producer. And let me tell you a little something about being the producer of the online great books podcast. At the very beginning of the show, you know, Scott will say, Brett’s already told us about what we’re going to be discussing today. And if I’ve done my job I have. So this time, five minutes before I heard him say that in the show that you’re about to hear. I’m looking at the file CCENT. And I said, huh, The Silmarillion I wonder what that is? Well, now I know. And I think I’m telling you this as a kind of a warning. Like, if you don’t know what the Silmarillion is, you might be stepping into a bit of a rabbit hole. And that’s okay. I’m in it. I’m deep in it. And I’m enjoying myself. All I’m saying is beware of your next step. I’m telling you that fresh out of watching a video called the complete timeline of Middle Earth. It’s about 30 minutes long. Certainly the nerds are outraged. How could he not have known what the Silmarillion is? Well, now I know. And I’m better for it. I know about the valor I know about the children of the loop guitar. I know who Sj is, I know who Elmo is. I know who Melkor is, wait till I tell you about Melkor. Actually, I’m not gonna I’m gonna let Scott and Karl do that in the show that you’re about to hear. So anyway, the similar relion is JRR Tolkien’s mythos thesis behind the entire Lord of the Rings story, it is his complete history of Middle Earth. The Silmarillion is actually composed of five books. The first two books cover mythology and creation narratives. The third is the story of the simmering, you’re going to learn about that. And the fourth and fifth books talk about the emergence of man in this middle earth universe until 1977. These were unpublished manuscripts by JRR Tolkien, they were edited and published by his son Christopher and fantasy writer guy. Okay. So that’s what you’re getting into. It is an adventure. I enjoyed it very much. This week’s show is a bit shorter than next week’s. And that’s just because I wanted to find a stopping point for today. That made sense. And I didn’t want to abruptly end in the middle of a story. So here we go with Scott And Carl’s discussion of the Silmarillion. The backstory the history of The Hobbit in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Thank you for listening.
Scott Hambrick 2:55
I’m Scott Hambrick.
Karl Schudt 2:57
I’m Karl Schudt.
Scott Hambrick 2:59
And Brett has already told them what we’re going to do.
Karl Schudt 3:02
So why did we do this?
Scott Hambrick 3:04
I don’t know. Alright, that’s the show. Thank you guys so much for listening.
Karl Schudt 3:11
I actually, I don’t listen to the show, because I don’t like listening to myself. But I have been listening to the first five to 10 minutes of the show. Well, first five minutes of the shows because it has a wonderful Brett Kavanaugh giving commentary on what we’re going to talk about. He’s good at this stuff. He should have his own show. Yeah, he should. He should. Well, it’s up to him. But if he did, I would certainly listen to it.
Scott Hambrick 3:38
Maybe someday. Yeah, you do the opposite of what everybody else does. Everybody else skips the first 15 minutes because they don’t want to hear the fencing and tater talk
Karl Schudt 3:50
that’s the best stuff yeah tighter
Scott Hambrick 3:51
talk with Carlin Scott.
Karl Schudt 3:55
That will not be the title of our of our homesteading podcast.
Scott Hambrick 3:59
Hmm. rethink that. Tater talk is pretty awesome. Actually. I just threw that. I mean, that just came to mind while improv there. It’s pretty good.
Karl Schudt 4:11
Yes, it would be welcome. You know, it would open up with Beethoven, of course. Sixth symphony. The past orals, we would say, Welcome to works in days. And you would be in the background the
Scott Hambrick 4:27
data doc. Yes. Right. Yeah, learn about it. Yeah, it’s Theater Talk. There’s your alliteration.
Karl Schudt 4:36
Yeah, it does have alliteration, but Potito.
Scott Hambrick 4:40
Karl Schudt 4:44
So one of the authors that I really like not so secretly is Dean Koontz and he he cranks out a whole bunch of potboilers thrillers. He’s got a generally Catholic sensibility his Good guys are good guys. His bad guys are delightfully bad. And he had this series, I’m just looking at his bibliography that, oh gosh, it goes on and on and on and on and on. But he had this series called Odd Thomas, the first book of which is really, really good and the rest of which are pretty good. And in it, like one of the characters, I think it’s odd, his name is odd. He knows the names of all of the trees. And so he doesn’t say oak tree. I mean, he might call it an oak tree, but there was a fine example of a Quaker, Quakers all this.
Scott Hambrick 5:35
He just says a stain cross the street. Oh, that kind of name.
Karl Schudt 5:40
Yeah, it gives them the whole name of the tree. Well, why do you do this one character asked him somewhere in the books, as well. It is respect for creation, to know the names of things. And not just a tree. And I’m not very good at that. But I liked that thought a lot. I remember I went on a, we’re still in the tatertot section. So I remember I went on one date with a girl back in 1997. And we went to the zoo. I went through the Primate House, and I knew she wasn’t the one and then you know, it became a bad date after that. Because I want to stop and see the capuchin monkeys. I want to look at them and actually find out what they are. And she’s just walking through saying Monkey, monkey monkey, another monkey. Another monkey. It was over I wish her well, but not with me.
Scott Hambrick 6:39
With with some other monkey.
Karl Schudt 6:42
Right. Right. So potato not going to win this. Anyway, so today, we’re talking about speaking of names, and we’re talking about the Silmarillion by JRR Tolkien
Scott Hambrick 7:05
but before we do that, can I read a review or two for you? Yes. Five stars from enjoyer of the show. He says def definitely check it out. I’ve been a regular listener for about a year Carlos great Scott’s a giant douche but they’re both sharp and their conversations are engaging worth a listen
Karl Schudt 7:29
do you think that you know enjoyer in real life oh,
Scott Hambrick 7:31
I don’t know. I only know like eight people. Here’s one from B v 2447. Great podcast five stars by the way. I just found the show and I wish I’d have discovered it sooner. I love the banter in the commentary even about homesteading which I have no interest in all the backhanded compliments. Really, I think I would be Thank you. It’s it’s really I think I would enjoy listening to any conversation these two have, but the fact that they talk about philosophy is even better. It’s just great. And so thought provoking. It makes me want to run out and buy Thomas Aquinas. Hey, listen one does it just run out and buy Thomas Come on. But you should. Yeah,
Karl Schudt 8:18
yeah. Well, thank ya. Thank
Scott Hambrick 8:19
you guys. Yeah, a lot of very contrary views here reviewers, Brock says the very best of rabbit holes. The two hosts are smart, witty, and not experts in literary theory, which means that their discussions about books and essays are understandable and entertaining. Their you know, and so on.
Karl Schudt 8:35
Gosh, I hate experts. Don’t you hate experts.
Scott Hambrick 8:39
More than you know, the more I do things, the more I find out that the experts really, really legitimately don’t know, the things they claim to know. You know, go to the county agricultural extension office to talk to the experts. And they just they just want you to put chemicals in the ground. They don’t have any idea how to do anything else. And on and on and on and on. And on and on and on. Oh, here’s a three star review mostly wheat some chaff page of text. Second paragraph The reason I give the podcasts only three stars is Scott and Karl repeatedly downplay racism and slavery by young fan nine Hey, rewrite that give us one star and then fuck off because you’re not actually listening. We talking about so stupid. People are so stupid. It’s so tiresome. So tiresome.
Karl Schudt 9:45
Yeah, I’m not aware that I did that.
Scott Hambrick 9:47
Does he won an apology?
Karl Schudt 9:51
Probably if you’re listening. What was his name?
Scott Hambrick 9:55
Let me see. I thought I clicked away from it. Was it young fan young fan nice to see one Then apology i will not apologize or disavow or anything else. So there
Karl Schudt 10:09
Yeah, young fan. Slavery is a constant. It’s everywhere. How about that?
Scott Hambrick 10:16
Yeah. Like I was listening to our last show because I listened to them. Girl, you should do that. And, and we were just we were talking about I think you called them debt slaves, I think is the term you use, you know when somebody makes a wage, but by time they discharged all of their debts and obligations. They they just really don’t have anything. You know, saying the money exchanged hands and now it’s all okay is clearly not right. You know, but young fan, he’s figured it out. You know, he’s got a bead on us. If you want to know about my views. Ask that retard.
Karl Schudt 10:53
Yep, subjugation is a constant. It’s not always with whips. But it’s constant. Yeah. And I don’t like it. So they so that’s not me minimizing it. I think it’s me maximizing it, on the other hand,
Scott Hambrick 11:09
right. Do you then believe in the natural slave from page two of Aristotle’s Politics, book one?
Karl Schudt 11:18
What does it mean to believe in it?
Scott Hambrick 11:19
I mean, do you believe do you hold his view? That there are
Karl Schudt 11:23
natural slaves? Yes. On some days, not on others. Yeah. But that’s a statement about anthropology. It’s not a statement necessarily about politics. Right? It’s except insofar as politics grow out of anthropology. There are people who rule and there are people who are ruled.
Scott Hambrick 11:42
Yes. And his distinction though, is there are people who are naturally rulers and there are people who are naturally to be ruled, you know?
Karl Schudt 11:49
Oh, sure. Yeah. I saw the I saw a video of some rich guys on a private plane. Who were saying laws are for poor people. Right? Because you just have to pay the fine. And that at the end, they look in the cameras. Are you mad about this? Get Rich.
Scott Hambrick 12:09
I have. Yeah, I have a friend that was always called speeding tickets. The price for being Hurley one of the things that’s most frustrating about the world that we live in, is that the suppose it rulers anything like a state of nature would not be like like Bill Gates. He’s not good at what he got rich at. He has no carrot charisma. There’s nothing that makes him a natural ruler or leader in any way. That’s very frustrating. Same thing with musk. I listened Musk isn’t gonna sitter, just like he didn’t save a Bitcoin. He’s gonna turn you all out. It’s gonna be great. Hold your ankles. But yeah, our rulers aren’t. It’s very refreshed. I frustrating. What are we going to read next, Karl? little housekeeping. Did you pick out some Gibbon Boris?
Karl Schudt 13:10
Yeah, but it’s just probably it’s going to be the introduction in however long I can stand. mean, the book is enormous, but influential. We’ll pick something out of that. Given the decline and fall of the Roman Empire in 11, D sounds good volumes
Scott Hambrick 13:26
I was looking at. I don’t own that one. And I think I should in fact, it is on my Apocalypse book list. As Scott hamburg.com There are some books you should have when the internet fails in the stuff hits the fan.
Karl Schudt 13:39
I found a copy of it on eBay for I believe $5,000.
Scott Hambrick 13:44
Free Shipping, free shipping. Hey, way to go.
Karl Schudt 13:48
But you could also get it. If you if you can read your digital stuff. You can get it on Gutenberg.
Scott Hambrick 13:54
But I want to I want a hard copy when the Harvard has a nice hard copy is that we’re going to do next. Is that it?
Karl Schudt 14:01
Sure let’s do that. Yeah, we’ve
Scott Hambrick 14:03
had a long list it’ll be good Yeah, so this this thing that you had just read what was it
Karl Schudt 14:12
the Silmarillion by JRR Tolkien, not sure how to pronounce the second R in his name. The man that is been completely shaped and by George RR Martin. I know when I Yeah, I bet George went and bought an AR just to be a double are
Scott Hambrick 14:40
like a wheel of fortune.
Karl Schudt 14:43
Yeah, I saw a thing where George Martin was complaining about the resurrection of Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings as not being good drama not being good. From a literary standpoint, it’s missing the point. Like, Martin, you need to read The Silmarillion.
Scott Hambrick 15:03
Like he knows the point of anything anyway, and know what of what sort of
Karl Schudt 15:07
a being Gandalf is. And then you’ll find out that the resurrection has to happen, that it is a sign of the mercy of the vowel R and perhaps of ILUV. Otter, and that you’re just not getting it. But if you read The Silmarillion, you’ll get it. You called it the begats.
Scott Hambrick 15:28
Yeah, good lord.
Karl Schudt 15:31
What kind of a book is it?
Scott Hambrick 15:33
That he did not intend for this to be published? Right. It says right in the beginning, his son writes the foreword for it, it says that he didn’t, that it was not meant to be published. I’m glad it was published. But you can see or I think that it was not ready for primetime. Tolkien is famous for his world building in this is the work that had to be done for that to be good when we get to those four books, The Hobbit and in the other three, but I called it the begats. It’s like reading the begats. In the Old Testament. It’s like reading the genealogy of the house of David and so on. And just, you know, it’s like the inventory of ships in the Iliad,
Karl Schudt 16:17
which I love. I think you need to read the inventory of ships because what it does, so what is that book three of the alien?
Scott Hambrick 16:27
It lets you know, everybody’s got skin in the game.
Karl Schudt 16:30
Yeah, but it also you read the Iliad, rage sin goddess arranged with Peleus son Achilles. Alright, so there’s this guy, Achilles, and there’s a person Agamemnon, and they’re fighting, but you have no idea who they are. You have no idea In what world they’re situated in, it could just be like an isolated, like a spotlight on a stage where the spotlight turns on and there’s a table and and a wineglass and, you know, the bottom half of the character sitting in a chair. And that’s it. And we had like the one woman show. That could be the way you experience the alien, is this this really isolated thing? No, you go read the, the catalog of ships, and you start to see what else is on the stage. And the lights come up a bit, and you see what this world is like and who these seafaring people were, and where all their cities were and what their names were, and maybe you don’t even know the names or follow them up. You know, people will make lists of every name in the alien. I don’t think you need to do that.
Scott Hambrick 17:34
I have done that. Yeah. Have you seen that?
Karl Schudt 17:38
I have not seen it. But there’s a lot of them. But what I think it does is it makes it it situates the story in a reality.
Scott Hambrick 17:50
Yeah, I don’t I don’t deny that. But how riveting of a read is it as you’re getting on down through that?
Karl Schudt 18:00
Well, I don’t go and reread it. Like I reread other parts, but I’m happy that I read it.
Scott Hambrick 18:07
Yeah. Here I’m going to share with you my catalogue of the Iliad.
Karl Schudt 18:13
See it? It is a mind map. Dear listener,
Scott Hambrick 18:16
here are the names of gods Akins horses and Trojans horses. Yeah, that’s what those I mean, it’s everything that’s named all the horizontal lines or who killed who? So you can go over here and see what your key and killed who? And which ship he came on. And all that stuff? Yep, it’s all here. Oh, that’s pretty cool. Yep, Hambrick, did it. You know, I send this out to everybody online. Great Books. Well, I never got it. Well, you’re, you know, here, I’ll send you a link. I haven’t even had anybody make an addition or a correction? I’m sure there are. I mean, this thing is huge. Guys. I’ve spent a lot of time on it. It’s huge. I’m sure there are some errors and omissions in there. But you said it’s not necessary to do your right but I did it.
Karl Schudt 19:15
Now let me compare this fantasy before Tolkien this genre called a fantasy. Whatever it means. Fantasy is like a word for imagination. Whatever it is, Tolkien invented it. There were some things before him. But the stories wouldn’t necessarily hold together. For a modern example, compare this to the Star Wars. Okay, you may have heard there were these movies, Star Wars. That happened in a galaxy far, far away. A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. A bunch of stuff happened. This year he had this intriguing figured out Vader. I remember I was 1977 I was in the theater is pretty scary. When he force choke that guy saw so cool. I wanted to do it. I tried, I couldn’t. My brother would have, you know, had a bad time, I actually did have the force that you want to know more about this universe, you want to know like, what is a lightsaber? How does the force work? Where does the Emperor come from? What is a sith lord? You know, this stuff is just mentioned in the story. And you come to realize that George Lucas had no idea who these people were, that he had put no thought into it, that it was just the barest shell of the universe. And that none of it makes any sense at all, as you can see with the nerds will perk up here with the ridiculous introduction of midichlorians in Phantom Menace. And then their abandonment after that.
Scott Hambrick 21:01
Well, yes. And that’s also probably a problem of that thing, ending up being written by committee.
Karl Schudt 21:09
Yeah. It was a story that he came up with entirely on his own without much forethought without much after thought. And it’s okay, I guess he sit in a theater and each popcorn, it’s alright. Flashing lights and explosions. This is not what Tolkien did. Tolkien grew with this thing. He says, on page X v. I, in my hardcopy, I always had the sense of recording what was already there, somewhere, not of inventing. He says, These stories arose in my mind as given things. And as they came separately, so to the link screw and absorbing the continually interrupted labor, especially since even apart from the necessities of life, the mind would ring to the other pole and spend itself on the linguistics yet always I had the sense of recording what was always there somewhere not of inventing. So for him, this is not a story. That, oh, I guess I’ll concerning hobbits in, he’s not just going to come up with hobbits out of nowhere. He had them already from when he was a very young person, as far as he can remember, he’s had the stories.
Scott Hambrick 22:21
The completeness and complexity of that world. You and I were talking about it on the telephone a couple of days ago or a week ago, and, and I said, I don’t know how any one man would have the time to manufacture all of this, just the time to sit and come up with it. And then document it is seems like more than a lifetime’s worth of work. And, and you said, Oh, well, he didn’t write it. Or he didn’t come up with it. I think so what you said or something like that? I believe this. This thing was flung on him and it wasn’t his. I don’t I don’t know how he could have done it.
Karl Schudt 23:08
Well, his experience of it is that he was discovering it not that he was inventing it. Yeah. Let me figure out, you know, a whole bunch of families of elves. No, it’s let me tell the story of the families of ELS is a difference there.
Scott Hambrick 23:25
Is this then a revelation?
Karl Schudt 23:29
Well, when Homer says Sing to me, Goddess, the rage of Peleus, son, Achilles, the modern skeptic will say, Well, of course, they’re not muses. He’s just making it all up. Right? Well, I don’t think so even if it’s fictional in scare quotes. I think the experience of it is at times discovery. It feels like there’s a goddess telling you all of this stuff, right? There’s a way that things should fit together. And you can say, Well, what did they are until do with the Silmarillion? Let me sit and remember. It’s not let me let me figure out what he did. It’s, let me remember what he did. It’s like, when Socrates talks about recollection. You come to know stuff, but you’re not sure how you ever came to know it. So he was doing it his whole life.
Scott Hambrick 24:34
I’m wanting to be crazier. I wanted to be crazier than that. Okay, go ahead. I told charity. She said, what do you what do you what do you clowns reading, you know? And I told her, we’re reading The Silmarillion. And she says, Well, okay, that’s some of that elf stuff, you know, whatever. And we talked about a little bit and she said, Did you like it? And I’m like, No, not at all. But I was like, it’s a big deal though. So I think in 567 800 years, people are going to be confused as to how real that was just like we’re confused as to how real the elite it is. And then you give it another 1500 years or whatever, then it’s absolutely true history.
Karl Schudt 25:18
Yeah, well, my point of view on that is, it’s it’s as true as any other history. Right? Maybe more true, given the, the things that he gets right about evil. And, and the corruption of the good and pride and all of that stuff. I mean, that’s all true. That’s all absolutely true, whether fee and or actually made the Silmarils and then took a horrible oath, and ended up Oh, who killed him? Morgoth. Yeah, whether that actually happened, he should have
Scott Hambrick 25:52
don’t take oaths. Don’t take outs. Yeah, don’t do that stupid.
Karl Schudt 25:59
Well, love your own creations lightly. Yeah. We’ll talk about fee and or I
Scott Hambrick 26:05
guess, well, I said, it’s like the begats. It’s, it’s, it’s the old testament of Tolkien’s world, right. And a lot of it reads like the big dad’s, you know, the big ads need to be in there. That doesn’t mean that I have to love that. The world building is so complete that he describes the world as flat that until a cataclysm happens, that world is flat, and that it unfolds and it becomes round the earth. And it’s a charity and I were talking about it. And I said, Hey, that’s probably what happened. And she’s like, What do you mean, I was like, until 1492? Like, what if it was flat? You know? And it’s not that I’m a flat earther. But why can’t people’s understanding of course, before Columbus did this? People knew this. Yes, arguably, people knew, okay. But if your understanding of it is as it’s theirs as though it were flat, and it allows you from go to go to from point A to point B, then it might as well be flat.
Karl Schudt 27:21
Well, and when it’s flat. So I love I love the way he did it. He said something about when it becomes rounded after the fall of new manure. When the world becomes round, the world becomes confined within circularity, so that if you sail west, you end up going east. You can’t go as far west as you want. Because the Earth is round West becomes east. So it’s a confining and so if you have even this myth of the flat earth, you could go sail west, you know, what are you going to do? I mean, whenever I think of Tolkien, I always think of his friend, I often think of his friend CS Lewis, he’s got this scene where the the Dawn Treader, sales to the end of the world, there’s actually an end of the world. And this one character, Reepicheep gets out and goes beyond. And it’s like, he says, See that I’m going and he’s heading beyond the world. Well, there’s no beyond the world because now it’s been rounded because our Farzana of new menor dared to go west when he shouldn’t have. And so we’ve been confined. I think that’s a very suggestive poetic point about the roundness of the world.
Scott Hambrick 28:37
I remember being a little kid and being confessed about that. They’re like, Oh, well, this is the east, and this is the West, like, it’s the west until you keep going, like, what do you, you know, is this very problem, you know? Yeah, our conception of it’s kind of stupid. It works, you know?
Karl Schudt 28:55
Yeah. I mean, like, there’s this line in one of the Eucharistic prayers that the Roman Catholics use, from the rising of the sun to its setting a perfect offering be made from the rising of the sun to the setting and you’re thinking of you thinking of it like a flat earther you’re thinking the whole earth is there, and then when the sun rises and tour it sets, it’s covering everything and, and sitting at church saying, well, actually, actually, it’s just the rotation of the planet. Yeah, but poetically, that stinks. You know, that doesn’t work. Actually, we’re on a little blue marble. Get out with that stuff, man. No, expand your your, your heart. believe at least poetically in the flat earth. Yeah, I
Scott Hambrick 29:39
think so. It’s poetically flat.
Karl Schudt 29:41
It’s not you know, actually flat okay,
Scott Hambrick 29:44
maybe Oh, no, walk 12 miles. Let’s get close enough.
Karl Schudt 29:53
On the other hand, I can see the towers, the gleaming towers of Chicago from not very far from my house. Ask but I can’t see the bottoms of them
Scott Hambrick 30:04
because you’re too short
Karl Schudt 30:08
or because they’re being bent under the curvature of the earth. I want to read a bit of Tolkien from the introduction from the letter. It’s not allegory. This is where his friend, Luis Oh, apparently liked allegory. Since I dislike allegory, a conscious unintentional allegory at any attempt to explain the purport of myth, a fairy tale must use allegorical language. And of course, the more life a story has, the more readily will it be susceptible of allegorical interpretations? Well, I like that bit. The more life a story has, the better the story, you can make all sorts of allegory so you get to Lord of the Rings, the ring can be all sorts of things. Because it’s a rich story that stands on its own as a story situated in a world. Anyway, all this stuff is mainly concerned with capitalized fall mortality and the machine with fall inevitably, with mortality, especially as it affects art and the creative desire, which seems to have no biological function. I’m just skipping on this paragraph, since got the fall immortality, and then both of these alone or together will lead to the desire for power for making the will more quickly effective, and so to the machine, or magic. Which is interesting. This is not Harry Potter, there’s no magic in The Lord of the Rings world. Sure, there’s no crusius curses, there’s, I mean, there are curses, but they’re not people calling up some reservoir of a magic world, what they are people who are really, really good at working with the stuff in the world,
Scott Hambrick 31:48
let’s say you think that the rain, the final cause of the ring is a function of its material cause and it’s efficient cause
Karl Schudt 31:58
what’s final causes the dominion over others. It’s a bit of technology to enable that to happen. Sovereign is really skilled in Smith craft. That’s how he makes the rain. It’s it’s a machine it’s technology. So talking says by the last I intend all the use of external plans or devices instead of developments of the inherent inner powers or talents. So this is what I mean, you read a sentence like that you sit and you chew on it. This token guy is the real deal. He’s not just spinning fables. Just think about that, when he means magic, he means all external plans or devices instead of developments of the inherent inner powers or talents, or even the use of these talents with the corrupted motive of dominating bulldozing the real world or coercing other wills. So the bad guys might use magic, but it’s actually will to power domination. And the good characters could be just as expert. Well, no, they’re more concerned with inner powers with talents with beauty with. I mean, you get the sense these elves just at their best, they just kind of sit around having beautiful days. seems right. What else you’re going to do. And then the bad ones like No, no, I need I need more. Or they have their beautiful days and they want it to be forever. I guess we should talk about what’s an elf.
Scott Hambrick 33:31
Yeah, okay. What is an elf Carl?
Karl Schudt 33:36
It’s like a a nature spirit thing. They’re tied to the world. They don’t die like humans do. What would be their purpose? Right? Their purpose would be the tending of the garden. But they’re tied to it. Yeah, they
Scott Hambrick 33:53
can never die. They can never get away from it.
Karl Schudt 33:56
Yeah, they live for a really, really long time. I was talking to my wife yesterday. So everybody who’s seen the movies knows collateral collaterals what? 50,000 years old. So when Gimli has a crush on her, it’s gross. She says she really old. She’s, she’s l Ron’s mother in law. I found out I was poring over the family trees in the back. She’s his cousin and his mother in law. But they live forever. And I was saying to you, I think a week ago I said, Imagine because you always complain about your welding that you can’t stack times well enough. Imagine how good your welding could be if you had 50,000 years to work on
Scott Hambrick 34:36
it. Yeah, Gladwell would have to change from 10,000 hours to 11 million hours for mastery. We don’t even know what mastery is. Maybe.
Karl Schudt 34:48
Maybe you just weld an entire house. Yeah, no, it’d be the house of many welds. Deep in the forest. Yeah, my buildings of northeast Oklahoma is rough. So they can’t leave what they can do. They’re immortal, but the world they’re living in isn’t. And so they can have regret. And they can see things fading. And that bothers that
Scott Hambrick 35:15
Karl Schudt 35:18
Yeah, it’s one long defeat for them.
Scott Hambrick 35:20
What literary function do they serve? You know, it’s not clear to me like it makes for an interesting story. They tend the garden, they can express regret, they have a perspective that if you write men with their threescore and 10 years, they let you tell a story in a different way than you could if only you wrote men. But as I was reading them, I thought, aren’t they just like extra man, like better men or perfected meat man?
Karl Schudt 35:57
Well, I think for the human characters there, they become more of a temptation of an immortality that the humans can’t have. But the wrong kind of immortality. So there are rational creatures in this world, it’s called arta. There’s ELLs, there’s doors, doors are kind of funny, because they’re a mistake. One of the gods of the world wants to imitate the Creator, and so he makes his own sub creations. And elevada, who is the chief god says, What are you doing? Oh, I just couldn’t wait. I’ll, I’ll destroy them if you want. But then the chief god gives them you know, spirits, a bit of the what does he call it, the, the fire, the hidden fire, so that they become actually alive. And not just little clay things. And so now you have to worse. So they they weren’t planned, they weren’t in the plan, they were in the second plan. And you have elves, and dwarves and humans. And apparently, you also have ants and hobbits and all that sort of stuff, but they don’t come into the Silmarillion. Humans can die. And it’s called the gift of man. It’s not the curse. So for humans is really interesting. If you read this and think about mortality, the humans can die, they can leave the circle of the world, it’s eventually a circle. The elves can’t. And the humans don’t get it, that it’s actually a good thing, that their home isn’t here. Because this is harder, you know, because it’s all true history. For the ELS, it’s here. And so the humans say, Well, I see. You know, I see collateral there, and I want to be like her, I want to live for 50,000 years and 10, an ever shrinking garden of a fader glories. But they can’t do it. But they can do other things. So they can thought you’re gonna say something? And then you coughed.
Scott Hambrick 37:59
No, I don’t have I don’t have a lot to say about this thing. It was like reading his notes. I’m not saying it’s not necessary or wonderful. Because I think I think it is but good. I mean, the guy can write in this, ain’t it? You know?
Karl Schudt 38:17
Am I wrong? Oh, gosh, there’s some sparkly bits. So
Scott Hambrick 38:20
yeah, there are. There’s a great love story in there are some interesting things. But gosh, curl, I just had to just hold my nose and take it like medicine man.
Karl Schudt 38:34
You’ll come back to it someday.
Scott Hambrick 38:35
I doubt it. I really do. I would read Lord of The Lord of the Rings know
Karl Schudt 38:41
you’re going to be out which is going to happen is you’re going to be out tending your sheep, or whatever. And you’re going to think of the the song of the of the WLR before creation. And you’re going to say, you get you’re gonna have a trigger. And you’re gonna say, how did the chiggers get in the song? How does this make the song better? You’re gonna be out there, you’re gonna be angry, and you’re going to shake your fist at the heavens, maybe, I don’t know, say, How does this make it better? And then you’re gonna think Well, it does. Somehow it does.
Scott Hambrick 39:14
I will trust that it do. I would read Lord of the Rings six more times the trilogy before I would read this thing.
Karl Schudt 39:23
That’s about the ratio that I’ve read. You know, so if I’ve read the Lord of the Rings, 38 times I’ve read The Silmarillion three times, so
Scott Hambrick 39:31
I don’t want to sound like completely negative about it. But I mean, that’s my view of it. There are nerds out there like Ganti who just geek out on it and draw pictures of it all and I mean, just oh my god. It’s just get completely completely immersed in it. And I understand that but not I.
Karl Schudt 39:54
Well, I want to, I want to dig into it to bits of it. So this is a Do you have a hard copy? Been doing digital. This would be the first one. And I don’t know how to pronounce these elvish name.
Scott Hambrick 40:08
Oh, there’s a pronunciation.
Karl Schudt 40:09
I knew Lin Dolly, there’s a guide in the back. If you want to work on your elvish, which is another thing, which is cool and nerd like, and in Tolkien’s case, actually kind of compelling. I have a kid who has his own world that he’s been stuck in since he ever started talking. That he’s got histories and everything, and I have not yet been captivated by it. Because he just works out the chronologies. And you got to tell me a story. And it can’t be about constitutions and wars. In the abstract. It’s got to be like somebody in the war. Get to it. But a cool thing about Tolkien is that by profession, he’s a philologist. He is a professor of language. He actually was working out these languages, just as a hobby. I guess it’s more than a hobby, obviously, because he thinks and feels like he had to do it. So I’m looking at this, I knew Lynne Dali, well, I could. I could look up the roots of that it’s actually in an actual language that nobody spoke but him.
Scott Hambrick 41:26
Yeah, he got to invent a language that suited him that didn’t have all these stupid inconsistencies in it like English did. And you know, he got to do it his way. This time?
Karl Schudt 41:41
Yeah, yeah. And good for him, you know. So we have the music of the einer. In is the first bit of the Silmarillion. So you say it’s like the big ads, this is like, and the Spirit of God hovered over the waters.
Scott Hambrick 41:55
That’s some of the good part of this or not, you know, that’s the compelling part, the readable part, the yummy part. They literally have begats in this thing, and it has a huge geographical inventory stuff, you know.
Karl Schudt 42:13
It’s got a map, mine has a map. I love the maps. You just have to kind of share in mind, Joanna,
Scott Hambrick 42:22
I am just I’m so excited for you that I, I just can’t hardly stand it.
Karl Schudt 42:31
But the way it’s described, I remember, our friend John passed gorilla read this recently. And he was just floored by this description of the creation as singing. You know, it’s before creation, I guess. And there is the one who makes these other ones that sing before him. And they all think I could tell you the name so the nerds will like it, the non nerds will look like the channel. There was error, the one who an artist called his otter, and he made first the iron or the holy ones that were the offspring of his thought and they were with him before aught else was made. And he spoke to them propounding to them themes of music, and they sang before him and he was glad. So it’s like God and angels, but angels are singing,
Scott Hambrick 43:16
and it’s harmonious.
Karl Schudt 43:20
Well, it becomes harmonious. But none of them knows the whole story. And so they’re all doing little bits. It’s like if you’re in an orchestra, if you had the pleasure of being in an orchestra, you don’t actually know what it sounds like, from where you’re sitting.
Scott Hambrick 43:37
Especially if you’re the French horn player.
Karl Schudt 43:41
Yeah, you’re a French horn player. And you’ve got to play off beats for 90 instrument, nothing
Scott Hambrick 43:46
worse than being a French horn player in a Susa concert.
Karl Schudt 43:55
Right, but on and on and on, but it’s
Scott Hambrick 44:01
needed, it’s needed. So back to this creation thing. The read that little chunk again, Carl, because I don’t have in front of me my stupid Kindle.
Karl Schudt 44:13
There was ever the one who an artist called elevada. And he made first the honor the holy ones that were the offspring of his thought and they were with him before all else was made. And he spoke to them propounding to them themes of music and they sang before him and he was glad
Scott Hambrick 44:26
they were offspring of his thought. So if you so if you go read your Thomas everything that I saw in his creation narrative here jives with Thomas’s conception which is true of the unmoved mover, and how that motion would come about, etcetera. Creation is an act of the divine intellect which is pure act with no potentiality and so on, and so on and so on. It’s the same creator in this Tolkien book.
Karl Schudt 45:00
Yeah, well, it’s a sub creation. Now there’s this French horn player
Scott Hambrick 45:04
Wait a minute sub creation?
Karl Schudt 45:09
Yes. Well, because you have the Flame Imperishable within you, that means that you can do creation yourself. Well, but only sort of. Okay, so this is a token idea you can’t create from nothing. All you could do is sub create from something
Scott Hambrick 45:31
unless he’s documenting true history and it’s not his creation.
Karl Schudt 45:37
All right, even the Sumerian is a sub creation, or a Yeah.
Scott Hambrick 45:42
Now wait a minute.
Karl Schudt 45:46
Yes. Is it? Yes. Well, new menores Atlantis. And that was real. So there you go. And the elves are all gone because they’ve all sailed west over the straight road where we have to take the curve. So
Scott Hambrick 46:02
you’ve already shown me how this is. This completely jives with the world of Kuhnian.
Karl Schudt 46:10
Yeah, there was an interesting thread on the Twitter by Twitter poster, Conan underscore II S Q. When did Atlantis fall Tolkien Howard in the chronology of deep time wherein we attempt to understand the articulation of to true accounts of the heroic agents of ancient Earth. And it’s a wonderful thread explaining how it’s all true. That code and fitting Conan’s world in with Tolkien’s world, and which flood are they actually talking about? And where was new manure and where was Hyperborea? Or Hyperborea? And this is the best of Twitter is when Anons do threads like? Yes, it’s not blue checks, you know, giving their propaganda it’s it’s it’s describing how Conan the description of the Dane of the house of hate or matches Cohn and perfectly. They look the same. It’s delightful.
Scott Hambrick 47:07
I buy it in for you clowns that think that that’s crazy that I buy it. Go read Herodotus. And tell me how it differs from this. Not in statement of fact but in manner and style, and weight and completeness. And heft like import. How does it differ? None. It’s just not old enough. Like his his son just died. Were too close. It’s still too hot to warm.
Karl Schudt 47:43
Somebody described Christopher Tolkien as a good son of a great father,
Scott Hambrick 47:47
a great son to a great father. I mean, what a guy he was. Yeah, can you imagine? Let’s talk about that for a little while. Can you imagine your dad does this monumental work in Christopher had a impressive intellect to but because that was his dad. And because of how he was twisted, he elected to you know, pick up that work and carry it for his father instead of being his
Karl Schudt 48:18
own Christopher’s selling it all at the garage sale?
Scott Hambrick 48:21
Or trying to do his own thing or, you know, yeah, you know, we’ve read the mcmurtrey book Lonesome Dove. And his son James has is a singer songwriter and records country music, and he’s good at it. Well, you know, of course, I think both. I think he’s a murderer. He’s alive and he’s no Tolkien or anything like that, but make his son if rather than doing that, actually,
Karl Schudt 48:43
he just died recently. That’s probably good.
Scott Hambrick 48:47
But you know, what if his son is ahead elected to you know, flesh, like go through all of his dad’s estate, all of his notes flesh out the world of Lonesome Dove, all those characters, their pre Ed, you know, whatever. And that made that his life’s work. That’s a that’s an interesting choice. That’s a special kind of person that would do that. You know, now imagine being Christopher Tolkien’s wife. It’s like, well, I’m gonna go back to the office and work on dead shit again today. Like, you know, that’s not an easy life. When the new age of surfed with a feudal politics emerges here, in 2026, we will have new Lords arise what these people amassed in terms of power or territory or whatever, will be handed to the firstborn, right? Or would have been, man, that’s a terrible job. Be in the air?
Karl Schudt 49:52
Yeah, Christopher. He was born in 1924. So he would sit and listen to the stories he lived 97 years You know, these are like bedtime stories to him almost as real to him as they were to the author, maybe more so, right. But I want to talk about the French horn player. So you have this orchestra of the, the eyeliner. And then there’s this dude. Melkor doesn’t like the part that he’s been assigned, he starts making his own stuff. So this would be on page four of my text addition to Melkor among the owner have been given the greatest gifts of power and knowledge and he had a share in all the guests of his brethren. He’d gone off and alone into the void places seeking the imperishable flame. Not sure what that means, I mean, the gift of life the ability to make new things, I guess, for desire grew hot within him to bring into being things of his own and it seemed to him that elevada took no thought for the void and he was impatient of its emptiness that he found not the fire for it is it is with levada, but being alone. He began to conceive thoughts of his own unlike those of his brethren, some of these thoughts he now wove into his music and straightway discord arose about him and many that saying, nah him grew despondent. Their thought was disturbed and their music faltered, but some began to attune their music to his rather than to the thought, which they had at first, then the discord of Melkor spread ever wider in the melodies which had been heard before foundered in a sea of turbulent song. So he’s the French horn is playing Sousa marches, who says, hell with this, I’m not playing off beats anymore. I want to play that trombone melody, from Stars and Stripes Forever. Or even something new, and he does. And he’s trying to do something new. The problem is, he can’t. Or rather he does something new. But how to describe it. I love the way this is set up. This is like the fall of the angels in Christian mythology. Okay, this is the rebellion of the angels. I want to read a bit more than elevada rose, the owner perceive that he smiled, and he lifted up his left hand and a new theme began amid the storm. Like and yet unlike to the former theme, and it gathered power and had new beauty, but the discord of Melkor rose and upper are contented with and again, there was a war of sound more violent than before, until many of the iron or dismayed and saying no longer and Melkor had the mastery. Then again elevada rose and the owner perceived his countenance Western he lifted up his right hand to behold a third theme grew amid the confusion it was unlike the others. First, it seemed soft and sweet Amir rippling of gentle sounds and delicate melodies, but it could not be quenched. And it took to itself power and profundity. The music gets better, but it’s all still the same music. So Melkor, tries to do his discordant jazz licks, and thinks he’s doing new things. And all he’s doing this is, I want to say the tragedy of Melkor is He’s not God, and he wants to be God. But he can’t be.
Scott Hambrick 53:10
That’s the problem, right? The problem that’s all of them, you can boil them down to that maybe I wish Tolkien was here or Christopher. And we could I could ask how much time did Tolkien spend on Chris, Christian cosmology and metaphysics? Well, wait a minute, not Christian, because people because Protestants don’t have those things. Catholic metaphysics and cosmology, because all of the stuff you’re talking about about the Melkor is fall essentially, the harmonious nature of the of the creation, and how the creation is complete. And a product of the divine intellect means that it can’t be made more complete or perfected. Your attempt to do that can only be destructive. I wonder if he intuited all of these things. And this is how he saw it. Or if he studied it, and it came about it, you know, through through read and Aristotle and reading Aquinas and Boethius and John DUNS and all that.
Karl Schudt 54:24
I don’t know exactly what he read some details of the biography. He’s He’s South African, in origin. He was orphaned his mother had become a Catholic before she died. They were Baptists, I guess. And she died. She was a diabetic before insulin. You type one, not type two. And so he was entrusted to the care of a priest Father Francis Xavier Morgan at the berming him, oratory. Who brought him
Scott Hambrick 55:03
up? A lot of this stuff is in the Catechism.
Karl Schudt 55:06
Say he’s sub creating a world. That makes sense. Probably because he was raised in a world that makes sense. You know, and whatever you think of it that at least 100 years ago, Catholic theology made sense. Yep, an integral whole, you know, you’re not going to be the guy in the class saying, but But Wait, have you thought about the problem of evil? Right? Oh, my gosh, I tell you, I’ve discovered the problem of evil. No, no, that we’ve got that. Let me tell you how we’ve worked it out. And maybe you don’t like the way they worked it out. But, you know, you’re not going to surprise them.
Scott Hambrick 55:39
Fix that 1600 years ago, that
Karl Schudt 55:43
he then writes a very compelling literary creation. And but it’s not an allegory. It’s just this is a, as far as I can tell a good man with good metaphysics. Who writes and therefore writes good stories. And it doesn’t make him into a good writer could have been a lousy writer, but he’s a good writer.
Scott Hambrick 56:03
Yeah, I would say that your son that’s worldbuilding probably has good metaphysics and all that stuff. But he’s, he’s not a good writer yet. He’s what is he? 1312 1213 12? Yeah, he’s not supposed to be a good writer yet. It’s fine. Let me ask you this. Let me ask you a question. If the metaphysics is right, and it’s all organized properly, taxonomies. All right. The whole of the thing is all right. Is it really a sub creation?
Karl Schudt 56:36
What do you mean by really?
Scott Hambrick 56:38
I mean, you keep saying this as a sub creation. And I don’t know that that’s true. I mean, is it? It’s just more of the same. It’s a retelling of the same story, I think. Yeah. This is Genesis, man. It’s
Karl Schudt 56:51
variations on a theme. Yeah. Which, you know, if the key story is correct, that there is a creation, what, what can you do, but do variations on the theme? And you get mad and say, Well, I don’t like the theme.
Scott Hambrick 57:10
Okay, okay. Melkor, whatever.
Karl Schudt 57:14
It’s like, this is why I really like I don’t know how much of a musician he was, I’d be interested to find that out. There are laws of music there are shoulda could have done this on the music and ideas show which you should also listen to the listener. Because we’re doing good stuff there. I did listen to the apocalypse music show. And I thought it was good. But we’ve we’ve done shows about temperament and about the structure of sound itself and why instruments do certain things to us. Music is a thing. You end up discovering it, you cannot make it from scratch. And if you try to make it from scratch, it’s a dead end. I’m thinking of you Miles Davis,
Scott Hambrick 57:58
Indian, classical music.
Karl Schudt 58:03
If you try to make it from scratch, all you could what can you do? Can you add more harmony than a perfectly tuned fifth? No. So what do you end up doing? So well, I’m going to do tone clusters, I’m going to make it a tonal I’m going to lose the sonata form and I’m just gonna, you know, do minimalist and you what you do is you take what’s there, and you deviate from it and think that you’re doing something new.
Scott Hambrick 58:33
It ultimately ends up being an art defined by what it isn’t. Right? And all of that you skip to the end. It’s nihilism,
Karl Schudt 58:45
if all there is is being and not being so if you’re not going to hang out in the garden of being you gotta go to the void.
Scott Hambrick 58:54
In the case of you know, light miles like you’re talking about, I mean, it’s essentially a denial of how strings vibrate. Yeah. I mean, it is it’s a rejection of physics.
Karl Schudt 59:08
Gosh, I love to I love Miles Davis. I tried to like that Bitches Brew album. I cannot and cannot like it now. I’ve tried. I still have it if he
Scott Hambrick 59:19
had named if he hadn’t named it that and there hadn’t been a Rolling Stone magazine, it would have been nothing would have been nothing who’s
Karl Schudt 59:27
listened to it more than twice? Who says Gosh, I really want to listen to Bitches Brew.
Scott Hambrick 59:33
I’ve tried it many times I’ve listened to it. Six or eight times probably and it’s it’s terrible. Pre 63 miles. Hard to beat. Pre 60 Miles even harder to beat but now that stuff’s not good. But you know if you reject these, these things, you’re headed for nihilism.
Karl Schudt 59:59
Yeah, we Are nihilists the passkey we believe in nothing. That’s all that you can do. You know, so Melkor in the end is going to, he becomes the first big bad guy. He’s the devil in the story. And he’s always fighting what the other Val ours what they’re called when they’re sent into the world what they want to do, but it’s destructive. So he’s like, he’s like a god of fire. The valor sent to the world and bound to it and he Kindles great flames. And so this, the pre history of the world is, you know, fire and volcanoes and stuff. And that’s, that’s Melkor. In the dollar fighting, they’re trying to make beauty. He’s trying to destroy beauty. What other options do you have? If beauty is actually an objective thing, which I think it is. That was one of my kids said it’s objective but indefinable. Which I think, is a nice way to put it. If beauty is a real thing, then you can either work for it or against it. You’re not going to create a new beauty. You may create something that partakes of beauty that nobody’s ever seen before. But it’s got to play on the field of beauty. It can’t. Like if tone clusters I have the piano here is this when you play a bunch of notes right next to each other. On the keyboard, it’s like you just pound your fist on the keyboard. So tone cluster,
Scott Hambrick 1:01:27
calling it a tone cluster doesn’t make it ordered.
Karl Schudt 1:01:31
It can it can be useful, you know, if Eric Whitacre does it all the time and his choral music and it can sound kind of neat. But only when it’s on the way to something else. So you could have the not being the discord. as preparation for the chord, what’s the opposite of discord of harmony? Yeah, preparation to return back to the harmony. So that’s like an Amen. You know, when you go from the, the dominant seventh, back to the tonic, there’s a discord in there, and then you resolve it, but you don’t stay if you stay there. It’s it’s not its own thing. It’s something. Let it resolve let it go back. I don’t know if that makes any sense. For me, as a young man, I read this when I was a wee child. And I loved the music thing. It had about the same effect to me that that it did on Pasteurella a way of understanding what a creation would be. The biblical story of creation is told in terms of words, and God said, Let there be light and the Genesis story. It’s the snake. And, you know, you read it, like, why is the snake doing this? What’s the point of the temptation and it’s a little obscure, and you read a retelling or reshaping of the story here. And you can get it especially you know, if you’re a young musician like I was, and you can think Well, yeah, he wants to do his own thing.
Scott Hambrick 1:03:06
Is Melkor, the snake? Or is he already been tempted by this? Is it too late
Karl Schudt 1:03:12
in this story in The Silmarillion? He is not unredeemable yet. Angels in to Mystic theology, angels have already made their choice and there’s no reforming them. Melkor you know, he gets chained and for three ages, and then they let them out. The hope is that he’d reformed so I guess there was some possibility that he might, but he doesn’t. So I really like if you don’t read anything, you just read that bit. I think it’s a really cool telling of what creation might be like, and how it might go wrong. It’s the darn French horn player always is. If he’d only been content to play off beats. That would have been cool. So you have a bunch of Val are there, I guess they would be the gods of this world. And if you’d like that sort of thing to drink charts, you could do that. There’s manway and Melcor and Olmo and Varda and you Ivana and Nina, the one who she’s interesting, all she does is cry. She’s the Lady of Mercy, you know, she just mercy and pity. And, and, and and I’m talking to you McGinty. This is so cool. So there are not just Val our valor of or like the angels, there’s my er, which are a little bit lower, maybe. I don’t know how you map and there are levels of angels. So there Seraphim and Cherubim. And, you know, Thrones dominations, powers, all that sort of stuff. These would be like down the ladder. Some Maya are not valid. If you read Lord of the Rings, and you’re wondering what the heck is a ball rock and where did Gandalf come from? Well fall rugs or Maya So as Gandalf and he was there at the beginning, and he used to hang out with me, Anna, the one that that weeps all the time.
Scott Hambrick 1:05:09
What a bummer. Can imagine hanging out with that broad.
Karl Schudt 1:05:14
Yeah, I could bless it or the sorrowful
Scott Hambrick 1:05:18
yeah, that’s, that’s more of them or I’d have to be moving on.
Karl Schudt 1:05:27
And so when eventually he gets sent and this is what George RR Martin got wrong. The Istari the wizards and Lord of the Rings, if you read The Silmarillion, you can see some of where they came from. They were there at the beginning in Valinor, which is where the valor live off in the West. They were sent back into the East to save it. Yep. In other words, Gandalf is an ame. He’s like angelic, he’s been sent with a task, which is to fight sorrow. So that middle earth not be abandoned. Actually, there were five of them and Solomon went bad and rat aghast only shows up a little bit and the other two who knows wherever they went. But there’s Gandalf and so when he is killed by the Balrog not done. He gets sent back by the powers that be because there are powers that be at least in the stories. And so what if it doesn’t fit your dramatic conception, Martin that that was not the point of it. It fits the theological conception of the whole work that there is helped to be found. I know this all nerd stuff. I love it.