You have may seen this announced already on the Tolkien Professor Facebook Page, but tomorrow morning at our regular time (10am ET) the Riddles in the Dark crew is hosting a special edition of Prof. Olsen’s Tolkien Chat podcast in celebration of my (Dave’s) wedding this coming Saturday. Here’s the Netmoot link. Consider this my Second Bachelor Party — much like second breakfast, I’ve had one but I’m already looking forward to another!
We will be talking about romantic love and couples in Tolkien, with a special emphasis on the central myth of Tolkien’s legendarium, the story of Beren and Luthien. We are using a selection from the “Of Beren and Luthien” chapter of The Silmarillion as a reading on Saturday. As a special treat, I’d like to share a portion of the reading below. After the wedding, I’ll also share a link to our modestly Tolkien-themed wedding website, as well.
The Silmarillion scholars among you will recognize not only which passages are original (and which are added or modified by me) but also that I’ve combined passages from different parts of the chapter, including from the very beginning and end. You may be surprised by the focus of the reading; many of my friends encouraged me to use the first time they met in the woods of Doriath. That is certainly a beautiful and poetic moment, but I don’t think it embodies marriage. Instead, I think the spirit of marriage is best represented by Beren’s many failed attempts to leave Luthien behind, only to have her show up and rescue him. This is one of the many wonderful ways in which Tolkien turns the classic “quest to win the maiden’s hand” fairytale on its head. Beren, a seemingly typical masculine hero, initiates the quest, but it is not his alone. Ultimately, it is only together that they can challenge the might of Morgoth and win a Silmaril. What is revealed is a shared destiny, one in which they will not and cannot be parted, even beyond the circles of Arda; and the beginning of a grand story that continues right down to Frodo and Sam on the stairs of Cirith Ungol.
Thank you for helping me celebrate!
But coming through the woods unlooked for, Lúthien sang in answer, and thus Beren and Lúthien met again between the desert and the wood. For a while he was glad, but after a space he strove once more to dissuade her from the journey.
But Luthien was not willing to be parted from him again, saying: “You must choose, Beren, between these two: to relinquish the quest and your oath and seek a life of wandering upon the face of the earth; or to hold to your word and challenge the power of darkness upon its throne. But on either road I shall go with you, and our doom shall be alike.”
Then Beren perceived that Lúthien could not be divided from the fate that lay upon them both, and he sought no longer to dissuade her. Thus, whatever joy or grief might lie in wait, the fates of Beren and Lúthien are joined, and their paths lead together beyond the confines of the world.
I have posted the above text under the Fair Use Doctrine for educational purpose only. The text is significantly modified from the original. The copyright to the original material belongs to the Tolkien Estate.