TEP #39 — Elizabeth King

For this episode, Sarah talked with a researcher who looks at Tolkien’s works through a lens of trauma studies: Elizabeth King!

Elizabeth is a PhD student and Graduate Research assistant at the College of Family and Consumer Sciences at the University of Georgia. Her information page on the university site says that she is currently working “on projects related to developing ecologically responsive multi-component systemic interventions for populations exposed to mass traumas.” This approach informs her reading. We were so glad she could talk with us!

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TEP #38 — Anna Smol

For this episode, Sara was able to sit down with her good friend and veteran Tolkien academic: Anna Smol!

Anna is currently a professor in the Department of English at Mount Saint Vincent University. She has also served as an adjunct faculty member in the graduate English program at Dalhousie University and in the Joint M.A. in Women and Gender Studies (Saint Mary’s University and Mount Saint Vincent). Her research interests include Tolkien studies, medievalism, and Old English, and she has published her work in many refereed journals.

Video of this interview is available exclusively to our patrons on Patreon! Subscribing at $5/month gets you access to video interviews, behind-the-scenes information, early releases, an exclusive patron-only series, and other bonus content!

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TEP #37 — Mariana Rios Maldonado

For this episode, I had the opportunity to speak with my good friend and brilliant Tolkien scholar: Mariana Rios Maldonado!

Mariana is a PhD student at the University of Glasgow where she is interested in ethics, feminist theory, and encountering the Other in Tolkien’s works. She received a grant from Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (National Council for Science and Technology, CONACyT) and Fundación INBA (National Foundation for Fine Arts and Literature) in Mexico for her studies. She also serves as the Equality and Diversity Officer for the University of Glasgow’s Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic. In addition to all of her engagement with the University of Glasgow, she also holds a position on the Editorial Review Board of Mallorn: The Journal of the Tolkien Society.

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TEP #36 — Joel Merriner

This week’s episode is with a scholar whose interest is art history makes for some fascinating insights about illustrations of Tolkien’s works: Joel Merriner.

Joel is an Associate Lecturer in Art History at the University of Plymouth. He is finishing his PhD which examines the illustrations of Tolkien’s work in central and eastern Europe. He presented some of his research at the 2021 Tolkien Society Seminar on diversity (video available on YouTube) and he recently published on the same topic in Foreign Policy We are delighted to have him as our guest!

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TEP #35 — Erik Mueller-Harder

For this episode, I had the chance to talk to one of the nicest people in Tolkien scholarship: Erik Mueller-Harder!

Erik’s scholarly focus is on cartography and map-making. This interest has led him to closely investigate the first maps that Tolkien ever created for The Lord of the Rings, and his conference presentations on the subject are mesmerizing! In addition to this personal focus, Erik has also created a website (tolkienists.org) that has helpful resources for any Tolkien fan or researcher! This is where you will find the Tolkien Society Award nominated Tolkien Art Index, as well as his LRCitations, and a forum that is a hub for researchers and scholars!

Links to audio of this interview are below!

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TEP #34 – Kristine Larsen

For this episode, Sara sat down with our good friend and ‘Tolkienian Astronomer’: Dr. Kristine Larsen!

Kristine is a professor of astronomy at Central Connecticut State University. Her research and teaching focus in the sometimes uncomfortable points of intersection between science and society, including: women in science,; misconceptions, conspiracy theories, and pseudoscience; the popularization of science for general audiences; and the uses/misuses of science in popular culture (including zombie films, science fiction TV series, and the fiction of Tolkien, Lewis, Gaiman and more). She has been writing on Tolkien since the early 2000s, and her paper Deconstructing Durin’s Day: Science, Scientific Fan Fiction, and the Fan-Scholar won the 2020 Tolkien Society Award for best article! We hope you enjoy this interview as much as we did!

Links to audio of this interview are below!

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TEP #33 — Putri Prihatini

For this episode, Sarah had the opportunity to talk with a blogger and fan who is new to the scene compared to our other guests, but she is already having an impact: Putri Prihatini!

Putri writes the blog ‘The Loremaster: Blog Tolkien Indonesia’ where she writes posts in Indonesian and in English.

Her article “Greed and Blood: Powerful Objects in The Silmarillion and Javanese Book of Monarchs” was nominated for the Tolkien Society Award for Best Article in 2021. Find more from Putri on her blog!

Links to audio of this interview are below!

Video of this interview is available exclusively to our patrons on Patreon! Subscribing at $5/month gets you access to video interviews, behind-the-scenes information, early releases, an exclusive patron-only series, and other bonus content!

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TEP #32 – Ralph Bakshi

I cannot believe I get to write the following sentence: For this episode of the podcast, I was able to talk to the legendary animator who brought The Lord of the Rings to life in the 1970: Ralph Bakshi!

Ralph Bakshi is most well known to our listeners as the director of the 1978 The Lord of the Rings animated movie. Ralph’s work in animation is revolutionary and includes influential films like Fritz the Cat, which has been rated among the top 100 animated films multiple times and has even been added to The Museum of Modern Art’s collection for preservation.

In addition to his animation, Ralph has produced influential pieces in advertising, comic strips, and cartooning. Now his focus is on sculptural painting, in which he produces stunning work!

You can find more from Ralph Bakshi on his website!

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TEP #31 – Verlyn Flieger

This episode, we are so excited to share out interview with renowned Tolkien scholar Dr. Verlyn Flieger!

Verlyn is a Professor Emerita from the University of Maryland, where she taught graduate and undergraduate courses in Celtic, Arthurian, Native American, and Norse Myth. She now teaches online at Signum University.

Her scholarly publications include: A Question of Time: J.R.R. Tolkien’s Road to Faerie, winner of the 1998 Mythopoeic Award for Inklings Studies; Splintered Light: Logos and Language in Tolkien’s World; Tolkien’s Legendarium: Essays on the History of Middle-earth, co-edited with Carl Hostetter, winner of the 2002 Mythopoeic Award for Inklings Studies. She is also published a number of fiction works, and is a co-editor of the journal Tolkien Studies.

You can find more from Verlyn on her website!

Links to audio of this interview are below!

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TEP #30 – Jenny Dolfen

Our guest for this episode is a very well-respected artist in Tolkien circles: Jenny Dolfen!

Jenny has been a freelance illustrator since 2003, and has gained notoriety for her work inspired by Tolkien’s texts. She has won the Tolkien Society Award for Best Art three times, in 2014, 2018, and 2020!

In this interview, Sarah talks to Jenny about her experiences with Tolkien, painting or drawing inspired by his work, and how she interacts with fandom. We hope you enjoy it!

You can find more from Jenny at her website or on Instagram!

Links to audio of this interview are below!

Video of this interview is available exclusively to our patrons on Patreon! Subscribing at $5/month gets you access to video interviews, behind-the-scenes information, early releases, and other bonus content!

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