Our lead article, by Doug Kane, is an excerpt from his longer work in progress on Tolkien's Silmarillion and how it was constructed from the materials later published in the twelve-volume History of Middle-earth. In this particular article he compares the version of "Of Feanor and the Unchaining of Melkor" in the published Silmarillion with the source material given in Morgoth's Ring, finding intriguing patterns in what Christopher Tolkien used and did not use from the original material.
Frank P. Riga's contribution concerns the roots of the wizard Gandalf's character in Merlin, surprisingly uncharted territory for such a fertile topic. This article continues his insightful research on Merlin as an influence on the characters of both Gandalf and Saruman which was published in Tolkien and Shakespeare: Essays on Shared Themes and Language (McFarland, 2006).
Two essays on dealing with dragons, more or less, follow. First Lauren Berman investigates the role and symbolism of dragons and serpents in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series, with side excursions into Lewis and Tolkien for their takes on the topic. Marie Nelson, returning again to our pages with another article on how language does its work, takes us through a close reading of the two riddle games in Tolkien's Hobbit--the first between Bilbo and Gollum, and the second a three-sided game where both Smaug and the reader try to decode Bilbo's riddling self-references.
Ginna Wilkerson's paper on Frodo's psychological isolation in The Lord of the Rings offers a different perspective on some recent work on Frodo and post-traumatic stress syndrome, looking more closely at what was happening to him during his quest rather than after and providing a possible new framework for understanding his experiences and reactions.
In Michael J. Brisbois's article, we are invited to consider the deeper social implications of carrying and using a sword in the medieval world of Middle-earth--how bearing a sword not only indicates leadership and service, but provides an opportunity for social mobility, in addition to its more obvious military meanings.
Jeffrey J. MacLeod and Anna Smol next provide us with a look into Tolkien's thoughts on creativity, not just through "On Fairy-Stories" and "Leaf by Niggle," as one might expect, but also through Tolkien's visual art. They go a step further by discussing and demonstrating how MacLeod's own art was influenced by Tolkien's philosophy of sub-creation.
Joe R. Christopher continues his work on mythopoeic themes in the work of mystery writers with his article on John Dickson Carr's The Burning Court, an atypical novel for this author, who in nearly all other cases provides a purely mundane explanation for seemingly supernatural events in his detective fiction.
We close with two articles on a much-neglected Tolkien character, Tom Bombadil's partner, Goldberry. Ann McCauley Basso examines Goldberry as an intermediary figure between noble or ethereal female characters like Galadriel and Eowyn, and everyday women like Rosie Cotton, and shows how her relationship with Tom provides Sam with a paradigm for the ideal marriage. Taryne Jade Taylor leads us to Goldberry through possible sources in classical and Celtic legend, and emphasizes her role in awakening the hobbits to the sustaining beauty of the world. Both authors compare Goldberry to Eve, but approach this comparison quite differently.
This issue we feature reviews of Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C.S. Lewis by Michael Ward; Owen Barfield: Romanticism Comes of Age: A Biography by Simon Blaxland-de Lange; Arthurian Writers: A Biographical Encyclopedia, edited by Laura Cooner Lambdin and Robert Thomas Lambdin; Hunting the Unicorn: A Critical Biography of Ruth Pitter by Don W. King; Inside Language: Linguistic and Aesthetic Theory in Tolkien by Ross Smith; The Voice of the Heart: The Working of Mervyn Peakes's Imagination by G. Peter Winnington; and Tolkien On Fairy-Stories by J.R.R. Tolkien with commentary and notes by Verlyn Flieger and Douglas A. Anderson. If you would like to be a reviewer or suggest a book to review, or if you want to submit a letter for the Letters column, please contact the editor.
The first edition of the Mythlore Index having sold out, a second edition updated to include issue 101/102 was published this summer. Look for the advertisement in this issue for ordering information. A cumulative supplement indexing all issues after 99/100 is available on the Society's website.
In addition to the referees on the Mythlore Editorial Advisory Board, I would also like to thank Ann Petty and Douglas G. Greene for their assistance with this issue.
--Janet Brennan Croft