Tolkien Professor Podcast Updates

Hello Everybody, and welcome!

Recently, I made some changes to the Tolkien Professor podcast with the help of my Digital Media team over at Signum University. I wanted to make sure you were all aware in case you had any questions or wondered why some things had moved around a bit.

First of all, we’ve moved to a new podcast service called Fireside. In addition to cozy feeling of the name – who wouldn’t want to listen to a podcast while sitting next to a nice, warm fire? – this new service offers a lot of great options for helping people find The Tolkien Professor on their favorite podcasting app. The podcast has long been available on iTunes, and some other apps and aggregation services have picked it up from there over the years. Fireside makes it easier to integrate with many more services, and already we’ve been able to add the podcast to some places that hadn’t picked it up yet, including Spotify and Google Play. To view all of available options, visit the Tolkien Professor subscription page. (Note that you can still add the RSS feed directly to your favorite app, if it’s not listed there.)

The second major change is that I have now moved my Exploring The Lord of the Rings program, sponsored by the Mythgard Institute, to its own dedicated podcast feed. There are a couple of reasons for doing this. Foremost, in recent months, we had been receiving a lot of inquiries from listeners about the podcast not updating properly or having a hard time finding older episodes. As it turns out, iTunes seems to be the main culprit, as Apple appears to limit the number of episodes that can appear in a podcast – other podcast apps, like Overcast, do not seem to have such a limit. Furthermore, Exploring The Lord of the Rings has become quite popular in its own right, and it seemed like it was time to give it an outlet of its own. All of my other Tolkien-related content will remain on the Tolkien Professor podcast for now, but if you want to keep listening to Exploring The Lord of the Rings, you will need to add it. You can find the subscription page here.

Let me take a moment to also mention another great new podcast you may be interested in: The Flower of the Cedar, by one of my students, Kay ben-Avraham. This is an audiobook podcast of Kay’s debut fantasy novel, performed by Kay herself. Some of you may have met Kay at Mythmoot or one of our other Signum gatherings, where she has read extracts from her novel – and therefore you already know how lovely a voice she has. For those who have not heard her read yet, you are in for a real treat. On top of that, the story is really engaging as well! The Flower of the Cedar is Signum University’s first foray into helping others publish their work, and I’m really excited for this to be the first thing that we help release into the world.

You can find the updated and new podcasts at the links above. You can also find other podcasts featuring myself and staff, faculty, and students of Signum over on the Signum University follow page and the Mythgard Listen page.

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Reactions to the Desolation of Smaug

The Tolkien Professor reacts to “The Desolation of Smaug”, the second movie in Peter Jackson’s increasingly epic adaptation of “The Hobbit”. Parts one and two can be found here, or on iTunes.

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Office Hours 5

After a long absence,  Office Hours with The Tolkien Professor is back! Professor Olsen discusses such diverse topics as the relationship between the Rohirrim and the Anglo-Saxons and the practicality of getting a graduate degree in Tolkien Studies.  You can download Office Hours #6 here, or listen on iTunes.

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Tolkien Chat 14: Bernd Greisinger of the Greisinger Musuem

Bernd Greisinger has opened up his private collection of Tolkien-related literature, art, and collectibles to the public in an immersive, multi-media experience at the Greisinger Museum of Jenins, Switzerland. Mr. Greisinger talks to Professor Olsen about his collection, and his vision for the museum. You can find the files here, or subscribe to The Tolkien Professor on iTunes.

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Tolkien Chat 13:Mythcon 44

Tolkien Chat 13: Mythgard at Mythcon 44

July 12 through 15 saw a swarm of fantasy scholars and fans descend on the Kellogg Conference Center of Michigan State University to participate in the Mythopoeic Society’s Mythcon 44. This year’s theme, “The Green and Growing Land,” spark the imagination of a number of Mythgard Institute students. As a result, seven presentations across the weekend were made by Mythgardians:

  • Laura Lee Smith – “First Contact: Man in the Landscape of Tormance and Perelandra”
  • Ryan Joy – “Mary Shelley’s Creature and Picard’s Humanity”
  • Kris Swank – “Good Plain Food: Diet and Virtue in the Fantasies of Tolkien and Lewis”
  • Trish Lambert – “How the Respective Cosmogonies of Narnia and Middle-earth Affect Grief and Hope in the Environment”
  • Dan Kinney – “The Musical Heart of the Lands of Narnia and Middle-earth”
  • Andrew Higgins – “A Linguistic Exploration through Tolkien’s Earliest Landscapes”

In addition, Professor Verlyn Flieger made a presentation entitled “How Forests Behave-Or Do They” and visiting lecturer Douglas Anderson, who was Scholar Guest of Honor at the event, gave a presentation about fairies in fantasy works of the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Mythgard students were limited to the podium. Deborah Sabo and Laura Berkholtz were in the audience, contributing their own thoughts and observations during question and answer sessions.

And there is more! Professor Flieger also won the Inklings Studies prize and accepted it to a standing ovation. Our own Professor Olsen was also a nominee in this category, and though it was a disappointment not to hear his name announced, it was a eucatastrophic consolation to hear Dr. Flieger’s name boom through the speakers. Here’s hoping Dr. Olsen is nominated again next year!

There were so many interesting papers presented that there is no way to write about them all. Instead, a group of Mythgard students got together in the bar of the Kellogg Center and shared thoughts about the presentations they had attended. Captured in a short recording in this Tolkien Chat, it offers some bits and bobs about this year’s Mythcon.

The 2014 Mythcon conference will take place next August at Wheaton College, Norton Massachusetts. Here’s hoping we see even more Mythgardians in attendance…including Dr. Olsen!

Download .mp3 (right click and choose “Save As…” to download)

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Silmarillion Seminar 34

The penultimate session of the Silmarillion Seminar is now available. Silmarillion Seminar 34, “Finders Keepers, Losers Weepers” (aka “The One in Which Lara Speaks”) covers Part 1 of The Rings of Power and the Third Age. Find it here or check out this and all the other Tolkien Professor podcasts on iTunes.

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A Cookbook for Middle-earth!

Food takes center stage in The Hobbit from the outset, with Thorin’s dwarves cleaning out  Bilbo’s larders at the Unexpected Party, and soon, you too will be able to cook like Bilbo, Beorn, and Bombadil!  Chef Heath Dill’s upcoming cookbook, Medium Rare and Back Again:  Food from the World of Middle-earthis now available for pre-order!

A chef and food blogger, as well as good friend of Prof. Olsen, Heath has been catering the Washington College Lord of the Rings movie marathons for several years now, with delectable Tolkien-themed fare.  Want to know what Bilbo’s pork-pies taste like?  Or Lembas bread?  Perhaps you’d like to treat yourself to the honey-cakes of the Beornings, or sample Ent-draught?

Due out this summer, Medium Rare and Back Again will feature over 40 recipes of dishes (plus many variations!) found in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, as well as some whimsical fare (Fiery Balrog Wings, anyone?).  It will also contain a rich history of the food Tolkien loved, and the traditions and techniques used both in pre-war England.  For Tolkien fans and foodies alike, this book is a must!

You can follow Chef Heath Dill at his website, Facebook page, and Twitter feedMedium Rare and Back Again will be published by Oloris Publishing.

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Free on iTunes U: The Lord of the Rings I

Screen Shot 2013-03-28 at 10.05.26 PMMany of you may remember Mythgard Academy’s Summer 2012 short course on The Fellowship of the RingThe Lord of the Rings I: The Road Goes Ever On.  Well, if you missed out on taking it, we’ve got good news!

Starting today, The Lord of the Rings I is available as a free, enhanced course pack through iTunes U.  You can now download this course to your iPad, iPod touch or iPhone and follow along with each lecture while also reading the passages in Tolkien’s first book of the trilogy and taking notes in the virtual margins.  Even if you don’t have an iOS device, you can download all six lectures in both audio and video format to your PC or Mac through iTunes.

Visit Signum University’s iTunes U site to check out The Road Goes Ever On, our other two courses on The Silmarillion and The Hobbit and catch up with great content from Mythgard, Signum and The Tolkien Professor!

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Silmarillion Seminar 33

This session of the Silmarillion Seminar concludes the Allkalabeth. It’s called “The Castle of Arrrggghhhh”. You’ll have to listen to find out why! Get the download here or on The Tolkien Professor iTunes feed.

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Silmarillion Seminar 32

The decline and fall of Numenor as detailed in the Allkalabeth is discussed at length in Silmarillion Seminar 31:  “Somewhere Beyond the Sea”. Listen here or on iTunes.

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