Look Who Is Coming to the Real Myth and Mithril Symposium!

D E Towry photo

About D.E. Towry: 

D. E. Towry is a Grey Havener and writer from Berthoud, Colorado. She graduated from Colorado State University, Fort Collins, in 2013 with a Master’s (MA) in English Literature. She is intensely interested in mythology and language, and blames J.R.R. Tolkien for her continued fascination with both subjects. In her spare time, she enjoys playing video games, playing dress-up, and constructing worlds and languages. She is currently working on her first novel.

D.E. Towry’s paper for Real Myth is titled “Magical Lordship: Loki and Odin, Sauron and Gandalf.” She will also be a guest speaker for Grey Havens YA on March 21. 

The Norse god Loki is a complicated figure: He is the father/mother of monsters and Odin’s steed Sleipnir. He is Odin’s blood-brother and sometimes companion; he is a companion of Thor. He is fiercely intelligent, a shape-shifter, a creative force and a figure of destruction. Loki survives by his cunning and wit, an outsider amongst the Æsir. As a Trickster figure, he is a kind of “super-shaman”; his magic is the shamanistic, shape-shifting, spirit-journeying sort.

Odin also practices magic, but his magic is bounded by his position as lord of the Æsir. His “knowledge (skaldic poetry, runic letters)” and his “capacity as a sorcerer” are linked with his place and power as an “earthly king” and “hall-owner with his hird”. Odin’s knowledge of verse and runes is an ordered facet of magic, and his place as the hall-lord, king of the gods, puts him in a place he can easily practice sorcery if he chooses.

These gods are intimately entwined and co-dependent on one another, as blood brothers and with respect to sorcerous sovereignty. Ragnarök — the final eruption of the magical rivalry between Odin and Loki — is not so much tragic as it is the realization of the end of a cycle and death of an age. Fate and magic are bound together, locked in with the primacy of magical sovereigns.

Fate and magic are bound together in Tolkien’s mythos, as well, and there are reflections of the rivalry of magical sovereigns. Gandalf is a reflection of Odin, with ordered magic based on knowledge and runic learning. Sauron is the reflection of Loki, a Trickster in destructive form. In this paper, I will discuss Loki and Odin and their place in the Norse mythic world, and how Sauron and Gandalf fit in the mythic complex formed by Loki and Odin, individually and in sorcerous rivalry.

Real Myth and Mithril: Delving into Fantasy Literature takes place on April 25-26 in Niwot, Colorado. Click here to register. If you register before April 1, both days are just $15!

A Star Shines

A Note from Cirdan’s Apprentice: Dan Hollingshead is a Grey Havens Group artist whose work will be on display at our Real Myth and Mithril Symposium on April 25-26. Prints and cards of his work will be on sale at the symposium. If you are an artist interested in displaying your work, please register here

I considered giving this post a subtitle of ‘Shelter from the Storm’ since the Elves gave Frodo and his traveling companions much needed protection, simply by allowing the hobbits to travel with them and stay with them at Woody End that night.

This theme carries on through the entire journey of Frodo and company, and to me is an important element in the story. Several times others provided much needed protection without doing much more than any friend (or kind person) would do for another. I think of it as important in Tolkien’s thought, that significant changes can be accomplished in peoples lives, simply by reaching out and helping in whatever way is available at the time, even if it’s only a kind word and company on the road.

A Star Shines

Frodo and his companions had started their great journey. They were still in the Shire, in the woods under starlight, when they encountered a company of Elves, Gildor and several companions traveling at night.

Earlier that day the hobbits had seen and avoided Black Riders twice and were frightened by the experience. While they were still approaching, Frodo heard the Elves speak the name of Elbereth and by that knew that they were Noldor, the High Elves who had returned to Middle Earth from Valinor.

Frodo had learned some of the language of the Elves from Bilbo and greeted Gildor ‘Elen sila lumenn omentielvo’ – the high Elven speech meaning ‘A Star shines on the Hour of our Meeting’.  Gildor responded, ‘Be careful friends, speak no secrets, for here is a scholar in the Ancient Tongue! Bilbo was a good Master, Hail Elf Friend!’

It is one of my favorite chapters in the entire book! Frodo and his companions were fortunate they met Gildor and his company on the road.  Gildor led them to a safe place for that night at Woody End, and Frodo learned much from Gildor who, in addition to giving him what advise he could, sent out word among the Elves for their protection while they were traveling.