Ep. #8: The Influence of Tolkien (Ft. Dr. Brad Eden)

Podcast 8

Nobody can deny that J.R.R. Tolkien is, by far, one of the most important authors in the English language.

His works, published over half a century ago, have been read by people from all over world, regardless of their political backgrounds, religious beliefs or ethnicity. His stories, particularly those told in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, have resonated with hundreds of millions of people, and they have become part of a common cultural tradition in the west.

Most impressive of all is the depth of his stories, for which he created whole languages, and which revolutionized what we have come to understand as the fantasy genre. As a matter of fact, most elements of modern fantasy can trace their origin right back to the desk of this nerdy English linguist.

The power of Tolkien‘s works is also demonstrated by the way in which he has influenced people, in all possible fields, to create. Inspired by his works, painters, musicians, writers, even video game designers, have paid homage to J.R.R. in their works. While music has always lend itself for people to pay homage to Tolkien (sometimes in downright bizarre fashion), rock and metal, of all places, seem to have been one of the most fertile grounds for this endeavor.

Bands like Blind Guardian, Nightwish, Rush, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppein, Gorgoroth, Burzum, Sabaton and many, many more, are all proofs of the power that Tolkien‘s prose had in their creative development.

But how is it possible that a fantasy tale, among all others, managed to leave such an everlasting mark in our creative landscape?

Well, to answer this question, as well as to find out more about Tolkien’s work and its importance, we met with Doctor Bradford Lee Eden. He is the Dean of the library services of Valparaiso University, in Indiana, as well as the editor of the Journal of Tolkien Research, a new open-access journal devoted to the study of Tolkien’s life and works; he is also the editor of the book Middle Earth Minstrel, Essays on Music in Tolkien, to which he also contributed an essay, and the author of several other publications.

Also, since we know that there is a lot of demand for information about J.R.R. Tolkien, at the bottom of this page you can also find a suggested bibliography, together with links, for some excellent books, both written by Tolkien, as well as about him and his work.

We really hope that this Podcast will awaken in you the desire to find out more about this great author, and to go down that road and take your own wonderful journey into the lands of Middle Earth.

“The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say”

J.R.R. Tolkien

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Credits:

Song segments (used under Fair Use)
Lord of the Rings by Blind Guardian
Ea, Lord of the Depths by Burzum
The Necromancer by Rush

Music:
Battle of Kings by Per Kiilstofte is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
“Erik Satie: Gymnopedie” (No. 1, 2, & 3) by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 International
Aural Shoehorning: I. Plainsong is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 International
Healing by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under CC Attribution 3.0.
Music for Manatees by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under CC Attribution 3.0.
Winter Reflections by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under CC Attribution 3.0.
Our intro music is the aptly titled “Metal Intro” by Niklas Drude.

 

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Considered by his mother as the brightest and prettiest boy, J's interest in metal started in his early teens, listening to bands like Iron Maiden and Metallica (coupled with an embarrassing period in which Marilyn Manson "totally represents me, man") eventually moving into the realm of power, black, and death metal. He holds a PhD in law, trains martial arts, practices law, and enjoys coming up with excuses as to why he has to miss work after going to a concert. He also dabbles as a concert photographer, you can see his sub-par work on his instagram.