The Grim, the Dark, and the Light of Middle-earth — Traveling in Books

Once upon a time, in a 2014 interview with Rolling Stone, George R.R. Martin made a few comments about The Lord of the Rings and the flaws he saw therein. While he stated that he is a fan of Tolkien and of The Lord of the Rings, Martin declared that Tolkien had a “medieval philosophy” […]Continue reading “The Grim, the Dark, and the Light of Middle-earth — Traveling in Books”

5 Ways to Find Open Source Academic Research on C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the Inklings — A Pilgrim in Narnia

“Why don’t you monetize your blog?” I am asked this question with some frequency by caring folks who see me slogging it out here, week after week, producing well-researched imaginative and literary resources for some of the great storytellers of the last century. Why not cash in? It is true that I should be smarter […]Continue reading “5 Ways to Find Open Source Academic Research on C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the Inklings — A Pilgrim in Narnia”

Tolkien’s Tale of Brittany — Bonjour From Brittany

The popular memory of JRR Tolkien’s literary output will forever be overshadowed by his novels of Middle-earth, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings but other gems are to be found amidst his rich body of work. One of these is a long poem written in rhyming verse in the style of a medievalContinue reading “Tolkien’s Tale of Brittany — Bonjour From Brittany”

Medieval Bills of Exchange — A Writer’s Perspective

Last week there was a question in the comments from Ellen Hawley who wanted to know how the innkeepers who stored and organised the transport of goods on behalf of merchants were paid by those merchants. I touched on this subject a bit when we were looking at how ransoms for prisoners of war were […]Continue reading “Medieval Bills of Exchange — A Writer’s Perspective”

“Just Enough Light: Some Thoughts on Fantasy and Literature,” the 2021 Tolkien Lecture by Guy Gavriel Kay — A Pilgrim in Narnia

I was pleased last week to watch the 8th annual J.R.R Tolkien Lecture on Fantasy Literature, an annual lecture on fantasy literature held at Pembroke College, Oxford, this year broadcast online. The Tolkien Lecture on Fantasy Literature was established in 2013 at Pembroke College, Oxford, where J.R.R. Tolkien worked for twenty years as a professor […]Continue reading ““Just Enough Light: Some Thoughts on Fantasy and Literature,” the 2021 Tolkien Lecture by Guy Gavriel Kay — A Pilgrim in Narnia”

Worldbuilding for Fantasy Writers and Gamemasters, Part XI

“DARK AGE” BRITAIN After an unsuccessful attempt by Julius Caesar to conquer “Britannia”, later to be known as Britain or the British Isles, it was the Roman Emperor Claudius who finished what his ambitious predecessor started. By 87 A.D., well after the death of Claudius himself, Britain was fully part of the Roman Empire. ButContinue reading “Worldbuilding for Fantasy Writers and Gamemasters, Part XI”

Worldbuilding for Fantasy Writers and Gamemasters, Part X

THE RISE AND FALL OF EMPIRES At the mention of the word “empire” no one would fault you if the first thing that sprang to mind was the Roman one. After all, that’s arguably the most famous empire of all, at least in the Western world. But it wasn’t the first, and it certainly wasn’tContinue reading “Worldbuilding for Fantasy Writers and Gamemasters, Part X”

Narrative Telephone: Tales of a Quarantined Nein Ring Circus

If you haven’t watched all of Critical Role‘s pandemic-defying tour de force of ridiculous entertainment known as Narrative Telephone then you are missing out, sweet summer crash panda of the 2020 apocalypse. There are two whole seasons of these shenanigans, appropriately dubbed “Round One” and “Round Two”, and they get more and more extra asContinue reading “Narrative Telephone: Tales of a Quarantined Nein Ring Circus”