Magic Words

The Forge of Tolkien Episode 16, MAGIC WORDS, is now live on #UATV

Enter Faerie, and you expect enchantment—the power of words, spoken or sung, to transform the world. But how can (or should) a Christian author invoke such spells without falling into the very temptations that the Ring or other magical devices like mirrors and palantiri would warn us about? In this episode, Professor Rachel Fulton Brown questions the role of magic words in fantasy literature generally and Tolkien specifically. Tolkien’s understanding of the power of the adjective is contrasted with the power of naming (Ursula LeGuin) and “root hunting” (Robert Graves), both of which are read in the context of one famous medieval book of word spells, The Sworn Book of Honorius (“Liber Iuratus Honorii”). Is there such a thing as “good” magic? How do spells differ from prayer? What role ought naming play in the Christian response to creation? 

In memoriam JOY, the best dog ever (November 8, 2019-October 28, 2020) Recorded as she lay at my feet. Her name was her truth, my joy. RIP.