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  1. Croaker

    A heart full of dead darkness in sunlit valleys

    You're in France. It's July 16, 1916. You're in a sunlit valley near the River Somme, thinking about the poem you just read from another member of the TCBS, a poem in your breast pocket. After two weeks in battle, half your unit is dead, and now is being pulled off the front line trench. You...
  2. Croaker

    The Valar & The biblical Divine Council. Thoughts inspired by "Tolkien and the Great War"

    I've been thinking about why the Valar are as disengaged as they seem to be in the travails of Middle Earth, going back to the First Age, as discussed in the episode about why they won't take the Ring and how they are corruptible. I just finished Tolkien and the Great War, which had me...
  3. Croaker

    Funny story about last summer's Signum Path Announcement

    I've suddenly found myself several months behind in the Exploring The Lord of the Rings (2020 being a year time flowed oddly) and just came across Corey's announcement for Signum path. How he initially introduced the concept (and I mean, in the opening SECONDS), my mind instantly leapt to using...
  4. Croaker

    Gandalf's quoting Denethor

    I'm way behind in the series, having been derailed last year. I'm just to the episode discussing why Gandalf quotes Denethor as he does in the Council of Elrond. Why that quote? Why include it at all? The topic came up a few times over a couple episodes. Most of the discussion revolved around...
  5. Croaker

    Boulders - Tom Bombadil; Horses - Frodo's Dream

    I'm a few episodes behind, so sorry for the delay. In reference to why horses and boulders, let's think about the times horses and boulders are referenced in the text with respect to being saved from a spiritual attack. In the house of Tom Bombadil, Frodo dreams of the Black Riders, and then...
  6. Croaker

    Medieval ideas about the spiritual realm

    Years ago, when I first came across your lectures, you said something like you introduced your Medieval literature students to LotR because Tolkien wrote from a medieval mindset and it was helpful for your students to read Tolkien before jumping into medieval texts. Do you still think this? When...
  7. Croaker

    Impact of the Ring on the Wraith world

    "Not all his servants and chattels are wraiths!" It's finally dawned on me that Sauron has other spirits under his sway than the Ringwraiths. I haven't realized just how terrifying the power of Sauron in general and the Ringwraiths in particular truly were until this class. While listening to...
  8. Croaker

    Horses on the Waves

    Why did Gandalf lace the Bruinen's waves with horses? Perhaps he knew of Frodo's dreams, and thought to fulfill them.
  9. Croaker

    Spiritual Warfare

    I found the discussion of the battle on Weathertop and the attack at Crickhollow very fascinating - and also in the Adventures of Tom Bombadil. I had never considered the first two as spiritual assaults before, and was always rather puzzled by them. Over the years in my personal life, I've...
  10. Croaker

    The Nazgul and Crossing Water

    I'm a couple weeks behind so I don't know if this has come up yet, but it was mentioned in passing a few episodes ago: Why can't the Nazgul cross water? The concept that spirits - or at least ghosts - can't cross water isn't just a medieval one, but goes back to ancient Greece. I read a paper...
  11. Croaker

    The Piercing (Evil) Eye

    I'm a few weeks behind, so apologies for this not being timely. In episode 76, you discuss the eyes of the Nazgul piercing Frodo, meaning the experience of receiving their gaze. You mention in the pre-modern era, the conception of eyes as windows revealing or casting something internally, rather...
  12. Croaker

    Merry & the Function of Will (and Oaths!)

    In Tolkien's world, the "will" of certain powerful figures functions something like the oaths (or curses) of certain powerful figures. The oath of Feanor or the curse against Turin worked irrespective of Feanor or Morgoth knowing the different characters it would work on or how. The will of...
  13. Croaker

    Bombadil's failed hope

    Pippin asks, "Do you think we'll be pursued tonight?" Tom says, "No, I hope not tonight, nor perhaps the next day", but don't trust his judgement because "out east" his knowledge fails. His thought is rooted in hope. Indeed, don't trust his judgment because they were in fact pursued that night...
  14. Croaker

    Merry's memory

    I like Corey's idea of Merry dreaming of an event that is ultimately subverted on the Pelennor Fields. However, let's consider what Merry's dream actually produces in Merry: horror. This horror "faded out of their hearts as they looked at him (Tom), and saw the merry glint in his eyes." It's a...
  15. Croaker

    Amazon is ready for your script...

    Get ready to roll! https://www.reuters.com/article/us-amazon-com-lord-of-the-rings/amazon-to-produce-lord-of-the-rings-television-series-idUSKBN1DD293
  16. Croaker

    The Power of the Necromancer...

    I started listening to these over the summer, and am finally up to Episode 34... In the middle of this episode, when Corey was talking about the Necromancer or potentially the Witch-KIng animating the corpses with spirits in the Barrow-Downs. To me, the topic and subsequent creepy scenes carry...
  17. Croaker

    Did Old Man Willow desire the Ring?

    I've only completed Episode 27, so maybe this is covered in Episode 28. I wonder why the Ring didn't enter the discussion about what Old Man Willow was attempting to accomplish. It seems clear why Old Man Willow wanted the Hobbits: he wanted the Ring. As soon at the hobbits enter the Forest...
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