III. Trials of the Valar Episode 140: John D. Rateliff, Doctor of Fantasy

Episode 140: John D. Rateliff, Doctor of Fantasy

In what will likely be the last interview with a Tolkien scholar on the podcast, we discuss John’s path to Marquette University, where he studied the Tolkien manuscripts. The resulting book is called the History of the Hobbit. John has worked for TSR and Wizards of the Coast, working on Dungeons and Dragons. Listen and …

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III. Trials of the Valar Episode 139: Escaping Thangorodrim

Episode 139: Escaping Thangorodrim

As the group destroys the balrog looking creature in the altar room, they attempt to fight off the Virtues of Morgoth, and rescue Alatar, Ilfrin, and Imin. They discover the Mallet of Tombo and Angrî and Morgoth’s Crown of Iron before coming face to face with Gothmog, the Lord of the Balrogs.

III. Trials of the Valar Episode 138: Strengths Become Your Weaknesses

Episode 138: Strengths Become Your Weaknesses

The party discovers that Thangorodrim brings out the worst in a hero. They encounter some long lasting sentries in the once ruined fortress of Melkor. Burin proceeds through the “Anger” threshold and Feredir goes through the “Obedience” threshold. At the end of this episode, the group sees an altar and something that looks like a …

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III. Trials of the Valar Episode 137: The Virtues of the Dark Lord

Episode 137: The Virtues of the Dark Lord

The group enters Thangorodrim and immediately feels “miserable.” Exploring the passageways of this accused ancient stronghold, they find remnants of evil and must choose who will enter the thresholds labeled for each virtue of Morgoth.

III. Trials of the Valar Episode 136: The Great Gates of Angband

Episode 136: The Great Gates of Angband

The heroes learn that Littleheart, Imin, and Alatar the Blue have been kidnapped and taken to Thangorodrim. Varda informs the group that Angband, the home of Thangorodrim, is the most evil part of Arda, and that traveling there will likely change each character permanently. Once at the Great Gate, they are told by the sentry …

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III. Trials of the Valar Episode 135: The Roots of Douglas A. Anderson

Episode 135: The Roots of Douglas A. Anderson

Join Douglas A. Anderson and I as we discuss how he originally got to know Humphrey Carpenter, Wayne Hammond, and Christopher Tolkien. Learn how his Annotated Hobbit came to be, and hear some truly interesting stories and anecdotes about independent scholarship and fantasy publishing going back 35 years. Doug and I also discuss our D&D …

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III. Trials of the Valar Episode 134: Thus Spake Mandos

Episode 134: Thus Spake Mandos

The group licks their wounds after the fight against Ungoliant. They decide to head back to Ilmarin and take council. Ingwë has gone to Tirion and collected the Silmarils and used them to set Telperion ablaze. While there, the group rests. Varda and Yavanna make the Miruvórë. Then, a brave Tesoro removes the magical cloak …

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III. Trials of the Valar Episode 133: Ungoliant in Ezellohar, Part 2

Episode 133: Ungoliant in Ezellohar, Part 2

This fight marks the hardest the group has ever had, across all parts of the trilogy. Ungoliant is a force that seems to only get stronger as they fight her. Ezellendur is unconscious at the bottom of a Well of Varda and when the water begins to pour forth from the damaged body of Ungoliant, …

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II. Rise of the Mormegil Episode 132: Ungoliant in Ezellohar, Part 1

Episode 132: Ungoliant in Ezellohar, Part 1

The heroes make their way to Ezellohar, knowing that Ungoliant is enroute. The battle begins in the darkest part of the night, and it grows ever darker when the ancient Avathari and her minions show up. Quickly the group becomes poisoned and paralyzed from the sting of arguably the most frightening creature in the legendarium.

III. Trials of the Valar Episode 131: Intrōspiciō

Episode 131: Intrōspiciō

In this episode, Jared looks back at the previous 130 episodes, talks about what he has learned, and what he would do differently. He talks about how important the Tolkien community has been for him over the last three years. He talks what’s left to come in the podcast: Cuiviénen, Angband, and Gundabad. There are …

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