Mythmakers

Mythmakers

Welcome to Mythmakers Podcast Season 2! Mythmakers is the podcast for fantasy fans and creatives brought to you by the Oxford Centre for Fantasy. We will be exploring fantasy old and new, look at what went into writing your favourite series, learn tips from the experts, and discuss new books, TV shows and films. Mythmakers is brought to you from the city of Oxford - home to many of the world's greatest fantasy writers, from J.R.R. Tolkien and Middle-earth, to C.S. Lewis, creator of Narnia, and the grandfather of them all, Lewis Carroll with his Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. The Oxford story continues with outstanding contemporary writers finding inspiration among the ancient buildings, labyrinthine libraries, and gentle river meadows.

Ready to jump down the rabbit hole with us to find your next mythmaker? Visit https://oxfordcentreforfantasy.org/

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Most Recent Episode

Mythmakers
From Dragon-ridden To Firebird Chronicles: The Wonderful Worlds Of TA White

It's not often you get to interview one of your heroes but Julia Golding today is in conversation with one of hers. Meet T A White, American writer of some wonderful series that cross the fantasy genres. Listen to her journey into writing, including an unusual background that gives her insight into authority and combat. Tobey explains her writing process, gives tips on creating strong characters and how to handle a slow-burn romance. In conclusion, Tobey and Julia pick the best fantasy world for maps. It's a must listen to aspiring writers and listeners wanting to find their next favourite series. http://www.tawhiteauthor.com/home.html

Visit http://oxfordcentreforfantasy.org for great gift items, event information, and sign up for our newsletter for super surprises!

00:38:23
May 16, 2022 5:05 AM
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Mythmakers
Lord of Stariel: An Independent Route To Publishing

Julia Golding talks to New Zealand independent fantasy writer, AJ Lancaster, whose four-book Stariel series is cutting through the competition with her unique vision of a half-fay half-human land. They discuss New Zealand as Middle-earth and AJ's relationship with Tolkien's fantasy, before coming to Oxford to where Stariel began. Other topics covered include using historical settings, research, non-binary characters and social mores. AJ then gives a fascinating account of her path to making a success of independent publishing and the importance of professionalism. There's another story to how she got an audio version that is also of interest to writers wanting to branch into audiobooks! To find out more about AJ please visit https://ajlancaster.com

Visit http://oxfordcentreforfantasy.org for great gift items, event information, and sign up for our newsletter for super surprises!

00:46:04
May 9, 2022 6:05 AM
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Mythmakers
Fantastic Beast: Secrets of Dumbledore Film Review

We've not yet talked about the biggest fantasy series of the last twenty years and now Mythmakers takes a look at Harry Potter and the Wizarding World through a review of the latest film in the Fantastic Beasts franchise - the Secrets of Dumbledore. Have a listen to find out what Julia Golding thinks is right (and wrong) about this series, then join her as we go back to look at the Harry Potter phenomenon in the early 2000s and hear her verdict on the strengths of the first eight films. Do you agree? Let us know your thoughts and also if you agree with her pick for the best fantasy world in which to be a fantastic beast!

Visit http://oxfordcentreforfantasy.org for great gift items, event information, and sign up for our newsletter for super surprises!

00:23:57
May 3, 2022 3:05 AM
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Mythmakers
Did Peter Jackson Get It Right? - The Return of the King Movie Reconsidered

Where would you rate The Return of the King in the trilogy? Join Julia Golding and Jacob Rennaker as they take a deep dive into the script and movie-making choices of the adaptation of the concluding part of The Lord of the Rings. What are your perfect moments - and your fails? Julia and Jacob disagree over one big scene - whose side are you on? Where are the opportunities for future filmmakers if they want to put their own stamp on the material? To conclude we pick our best fantasy world to be a king. For more information and a chance to get a limited-edition Mythmakers Podcast mug, visit https://oxfordcentreforfantasy.org

01:02:06
Mar 24, 2022 6:03 AM
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Mythmakers
The Dog Episode - with SQuire and Louise DuArt Rushnell

Mythmakers is devoting this episode to humanity's best friend: dogs! Julia Golding is joined by filmmakers SQuire and Louise DuArt Rushnell to talk about their latest project, Rescued by Ruby, due to be released on Netflix on March 17th. Ruby has the distinction of being a real dog with a real-life story to tell but before we get to her, we do a survey of fantasy dogs in film and TV. SQuire reveals his big part in the best of all cartoon dogs (Scooby-Doo!). We talk about how dogs are used in fiction to comment on or reflect upon human society. We hear the story of the real Ruby and her amazing canine actor, who has his own story to tell. What are the problems and responsibilities of working with trained animals on screen? And are there any training tips for dog owners? (Julia's asking for a friend, you understand - a four-footed one.) And of course, we end with deciding where is the best place to be a dog. Watch Rescued By Ruby today on Netflix by visiting https://Netflix.com/RescuedByRuby

00:35:03
Mar 17, 2022 3:03 AM
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Mythmakers
Did Peter Jackson get it right? - The Two Towers movie reconsidered - with Jacob Rennaker

Middle films are always the most difficult. In this episode Julia Golding and Jacob Rennaker continue their reconsideration of the Peter Jackson trilogy, turning their attention to The Two Towers. They consider the perfect moments and the fails, with one serious criticism which could definitely to revisited if a filmmaker takes it on again. Remember with them the wonder of Rohan, the storming of Isengard, and the introduction of Gollum. What was the big fail? It jarred at the time but now seems even more inappropriate. Listen and find out! Let us know if you agree.

For more information and a chance to get a limited edition Mythmakers mug, visit https://oxfordcentreforfantasy.org

00:47:38
Mar 10, 2022 6:03 AM
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Mythmakers
Did Peter Jackson Get It Right? - The Fellowship of the Ring Movie Reconsidered

20 years on someone somewhere will surely be considering having another go at The Lord of the Rings on film. In this episode Julia Golding is joined by academic and Tolkien fan Jacob Rennaker to look back at the Peter Jackson adaptation of The Fellowship of the Ring, considering the script choices and casting, the cuts and the visual realisation. What were the moments that could not be bettered, and where is the room for a new creative to have another go? Have a listen and see if you agree!

Visit https://oxfordcentreforfantasy.org for more information!

00:54:07
Mar 3, 2022 6:03 AM
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Mythmakers
The Oddest Inkling - Charles William... with Sørina Higgins

The oddest Inkling - that's Charles Williams, poet, playwright, novelist, editor, theologian, and occult practitioner. If you think the Inklings are summed up by Oxford dons, Lewis and Tolkien, think again, because Williams added an extraordinary influence to the group. Today Julia Golding is joined by a world expert on Charles William, Dr. Sørina Higgins, who has edited a modern edition of Williams Arthurian cycle of poems and is working on his connections to other writers of the period. This episode is everything you needed to know about Williams and was too afraid to ask! Did he influence Tolkien and Lewis and in what way? What's it like to read his poetry? We gallop through his many genres so you get a sense of what there is to read - there's a lot! And to conclude we take a bow towards Arthur and decide where in all the fantasy worlds is the best place to be a knight.

Visit https://oxfordcentreforfantasy.org for more information!

00:41:53
Feb 24, 2022 7:02 AM
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Mythmakers
A Magical Blend: Writing Historical Fantasies...with Lucy Strange

The past is another country, but what happens when you make it a magical one? In today's episode, Julia Golding is in conversation with British children's author, Lucy Strange, author of The Secret of Nightingale Wood, and other titles that blend historical fiction with fantasy. Lucy talks about her journey to being a writer, through acting and then teaching. She discusses how what might start as an escape into fiction can also be used to think about contemporary issues in unexpected ways. Lucy and Julia recommend and touch on some of the best historical fantasy novels they have read, particularly the ones which established their own subgenres in the field. As a special treat, Lucy reads a story within her bigger story of Sisters of the Lost Marsh before they go on to discuss where in all fantasy is the best place to be a merperson. https://www.lucystrange.org. You can find Lucy's books sold by independent bookstores on https://uk.bookshop.org/lists/lucy-strange-children-s-books.

00:44:33
Feb 17, 2022 7:02 AM
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Mythmakers
The problem With Witches...With James Nicol

In today's podcast Julia Golding is in conversation with James Nicol, author of The Apprentice Witch series (Chickenhouse) and one of our tutors on the creative writing courses. What are your favourite witches in fairy tales and in novels? See if you agree with James' and Julia's picks. They go on to discuss the problem of the history of witches in our world, how women labelled as witches were marginalised, persecuted and sometimes killed. What should you do with that real-world inheritance when writing in your own fantasy world? Find out James' solution. They discuss the issue of black magic and evil. Some readers won't touch books with witches in, seeing them in this bracket. However, fantasy witches come from many more backgrounds. James and Julia discuss the rare occasions of getting banned from some shelves for tackling this subject. To conclude, they decide in which fantasy world it is best to be a witch.

Visit https://oxfordcentreforfantasy.org for more information on today's podcast. For a full transcript, visit https://podcast.oxfordcentreforfantasy.org

00:41:29
Feb 10, 2022 6:02 AM
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Mythmakers
Bingo, Odo and Frodo: Tolkien, Lewis And The Discovery Writer

Who are Bingo, Odod and Frodo? We'll give you a clue when we say that when Tolkien first started work on The Lord of the Rings he had a very different idea about his story and where it might be going! In this episode, Julia Golding considers how the writing process happens. Did Tolkien have a carefully tended allotment, or was he slashing a path through the wild? Was Lewis driven only by pictures that became stories, or did he have a greater plan? Julia also draws on her own experience as a fantasy writer to consider how planning and spontaneity combine when writing. And at the end, we choose where in all the fantasy worlds is the best place to be a shapeshifter. Watch out for the werewolves!

For more information please visit https://oxfordcentreforfantasy.org

00:20:48
Feb 3, 2022 5:02 AM
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Mythmakers
The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power Title Reveal

Following the trailer reveal for the Amazon Prime TV series title - Rings of Power - Julia Golding and Paula Kalamaras discuss what we've learned about the direction in which they are taking the series. We now also have a date for the first season and release dates for subsequent episodes. Which well-known characters are likely to return? Who is Celebrimbor? Did you know elves had secret societies? Was it a good idea to give the young Galadriel the voice-over (if it is her)? How does the story of the forging of the ring intersect with the story of Numenor? What are the challenges faced by the scriptwriters? These and many other questions are discussed. Let us know your theories in the comments.

00:34:52
Jan 27, 2022 7:01 AM
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Mythmakers
Review of The Nature of Middle-earth by JRR Tolkien ed. Carl F. Hostetter

In 2021 Harper Collins published The Nature of Middle-earth by JRR Tolkien, edited by Carl F Hostetter - a fascinating collection of Tolkien's working materials. In this episode Julia Golding reviews the book, looking under the bonnet/hood of Tolkien's creativity. Is this worth reading if you are a Tolkien fan? Listen to find out. Particular highlights are the connection between free will and creativity, what to do with flaws of imperfections in your work, and Hostetter's appendix on Tolkien philosophical and religious themes. And finally, Julia picks the fantasy world with the best rivers. Where would yours be located?

00:25:41
Jan 12, 2022 7:01 AM
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Mythmakers
Spiderman No Way Home - a review of all things Spidey!

Spiderman No Way home ended the year with over $1 billion at the box office and has joined the top ten highest-grossing films. In this episode (contains spoilers), Julia Golding is joined by Ed, our resident Marvel fan at the centre, to discuss all things Spidey. Where did Spiderman the film come from? We go back in time to look at the Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield films, discussing what went wrong with the Amazing Spiderman series. They then look at the Tom Holland trilogy and discuss the themes, role of women characters, and debate the success (or not) of the multiple villains. Which is the best Spiderman film of them all? Find out if you agree with Julia and Ed. And in conclusion, they decide where is the best fantasy world for Spiderman to go if not New York.

00:34:03
Jan 6, 2022 9:01 AM
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Mythmakers
From Sir Gawain to COVID: A Composer's view of storytelling and fantasy

In today's podcast, Julia Golding is joined by internationally renown composer, Richard Blackford. Starting with his early community opera of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, to working with Maya Angelou on a piece for the inauguration of President Clinton, and more recently writing a piece based on a survivor's COVID diary, Richard is a man of incredible creativity. Join Julia and Richard as they discuss how composers use music to tell stories and how he collaborates with directors to provide the soul of a film in the score. In what way is fantasy defined in musical composition? Listen to find out! And stay tuned for the end when Richard and Julia pick the best place to be a composer.

00:35:40
Dec 31, 2021 7:12 AM
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Mythmakers
William Morris - the incredible life of the man who influenced the Inklings

'This is the Great story of the North, which should be to all our race what the Tale of Troy was to the Greeks.' This isn't a quote from Tolkien about what he hopes to do with his legendarium but his fantasy writing predecessor William Morris, writing about the Saga of the Volsungs. The Mythmakers podcast is delighted to welcome special guest, Dr. Ingrid Hanson, lecturer in English Literature at the University of Manchester. Learn about this towering genius who revolutionised the world of design, literature, politics, and much more! He also pioneered interest in the legends of the north with his translations and travel writing on two trips to Iceland. If you want to understand what made the Inklings possible, William Morris is a very good place to start. To conclude Ingrid and Julia where is the best place in fantasy to be a craftsperson.

00:40:48
Dec 24, 2021 6:12 AM
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Mythmakers
Tolkien And The Nature Of Good And Evil

Tolkien is a rich inspiration for so many of us so when Julia Golding found that one of the online fantasy course students, Stanley Hanna, had taught a seminar series on him for the Ottawa School of Theology and Spirituality, she thought he would make a great guest for the podcast. Join Stanley, a semi-retired Presbyterian minister from Quebec, and Julia as they discuss the nature of good and evil in Tolkien's Middle-earth, the role of temptation in his works and that of C.S. Lewis, stopping by with a final thought about where in all the fantasy worlds it is good (and bad) to be a religious leader.

For more information visit https://oxfordcentreforfantasy.org

00:31:12
Dec 15, 2021 7:12 AM
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Mythmakers
LIVE STREAM Replay: Always Winter and Never Christmas?

Join the Oxford Centre for Fantasy's holiday season livestream on December 1st at 1pm ET | 6pm GMT with special guests, poet and Tolkien expert, Malcolm Guite, and Kath Langrish (From Spare Oom to Wardrobe: Travels in Narnia with my 9-year-old self). We'll be starting Advent with C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, diving into their books to join in the Christmas spirit. We'll gallop like Rudolph across many topics, including: 'What is Father Christmas doing in Narnia?' 'Why does Middle-earth not appear to celebrate a midwinter festival?' 'Which is the most Christmasy of the other Narnia stories? 'Where do we go to celebrate Christmas with Tolkien?' From The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe to The Father Christmas Letters, we will be celebrating the season in the best company and talking about how these writers have inspired our own writing.

For more information on Malcolm's books and the recordings of his reading: https://malcolmguite.wordpress.com

Interested in From Spare Oom to Wardrobe or Dark Angels? See: https://www.katherinelangrish.co.uk

For an Oxford-based Christmas murder mystery, look at Red House, Julia Golding writing as Joss Stirling on https://goldinggateway.com.

Other key books mentioned: John Masefield The Box of Delights Lucy M Boston The Children of Green Knowe

01:15:08
Dec 1, 2021 2:12 PM
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Mythmakers
The Oxford Story Museum

Oxford is a story hotspot so it is wonderful that there is a Story Museum in the city. Julia Golding is joined in this week's episode by the director of the museum, Caroline Jones, to hear the tale of how the museum came to be. From medieval monks in the basement to telephonists in the halls, the space has had an eventful history. Caroline takes you on an imaginary tour and we call in on Narnia and His Dark Materials in the exhibition space, ending up in the cafe. Caroline also talks about making the story museum reflect the diverse populations of the city through oral storytelling, as well as featuring new writers as they come along. To conclude, Caroline and Julia pick their favorite fantasy museum. If you'd like to find out more visit https://www.storymuseum.org.uk

00:29:05
Dec 1, 2021 5:12 AM
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Mythmakers
Where Can You Find A Real Warg? Elfdalian and Tolkien's Languages

Today Julia is joined by Nariel, a representative of the minority language community of Elfdalian. Nariel, who recently completed our Online Fantasy Course, has put all of us right about some misconceptions about Nordic culture so we invited her to share her story on the podcast. In early 2021 the European Council declared Elfdalian a minority language that should be protected and urged Sweden to do the same, but Sweden has so far been silent on the topic. It is older than English! Have a listen and find out about the origin of wargs and Gandalf. And just who really is a Viking? What fake symbols have seeped into Western culture to represent Vikings? Don't pass up this chance to listen to a lady who writes her shopping list in runes because it is quicker! We love Nariel's insight into the worlds that inspired Tolkien and hope you do too. If you want to find out more, you can visit http://www.ulumdalska.se/

00:28:17
Nov 24, 2021 5:11 AM
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Mythmakers
Beyond Andy Serkis - Other Audiobook Versions of Tolkien's Works

What else is there to listen to beyond Andy Serkis' reading of The Lord of the Rings? Julia Golding takes us on a tour of the main audiobooks of Tolkien's works, first of all calling in on The Hobbit and then going to the Unfinished Tales and other works. Where can you find Saruman (aka Christopher Lee) as your reader? Or Sir Derek Jacobi? Did you know Brian Blessed, your favourite 'shouty' actor (Gordon's alive!), also took a role. The BBC Radiophonic Workshop, famous for the Doctor Who theme, also gets involved. Hats off to the father and son duo, Timothy and Sam West, for their reading of the works edited by Christopher Tolkien, making a really enjoyable listening experience. And who comes away with the prize for the best audiobook? Well, Julia admits to a childhood crush on the actor so listen to find out! You will also find out where in all the fantasy worlds is the best place to be a singer.

00:18:40
Nov 17, 2021 6:11 AM
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Mythmakers
On Re-reading The Lord of the Rings

Are you a re-reader of your favourite fantasy books? Join Julia Golding as she recalls the first time through the wardrobe and into Middle-earth. This leads to thoughts on the power of fantasy and why some dislike it. She goes on to look at Margaret Atwood, Terry Pratchett, and others as they defend the genre. Next is a deep-dive into why LotR in particular works as a book to return to again and again, then take a little side journey with the Equal Opportunities Commission... She ends by deciding where is the best place in fantasy to be a woman.

00:49:54
Nov 10, 2021 6:11 AM
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Mythmakers
Tolkien and Transcendent Beauty - A Theologian’s Perspective

In today’s episode, Julia Golding is joined by Lisa Coutras, author of Tolkien’s Theology of Beauty: Majesty, Splendor, and Transcendence in Middle-earth. Lisa is a theologian with an interest in beauty as it appears in the works of Tolkien. We discuss how this quality underpins his world, a reflection of the values of his Catholic faith but written so as to be accessible to all as it is not narrowly allegorical or theological. For Tolkien, true beauty was the radiance of God’s glory so we discuss where this is seen in The Silmarillion, and in the Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Lisa explains how the first is from the elven perspective where the gods are much more present, whereas the last two are from the Hobbit’s eye view and Providence is less obvious but still infused in the world. At the end, in Lisa’s honour, we ask, where in what fantasy world is the best place for transcendent beauty?

00:43:12
Nov 3, 2021 12:11 PM
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Mythmakers
Fantasy Subcultures - from Dungeons & Dragons to LARPing - find out more from an expert

Ever wondered about the link between fantasy writers like Tolkien and the multitude of subcultures they inspired, from Dungeons and Dragons to LARPing, and video gaming. In this episode, we discuss these worlds with special guest Ethan Gilsdorf, author of Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks. We discuss Ethan’s quest to rediscover the world that enchanted his teenage self before such things became ‘cool’. He explains exactly what D&D is and how the game sits alongside fantasy fiction both influenced and influencing. We discuss his visits to LARP (Live Action Role Play) camps and conventions, and the limitations and possibilities of video games. We dig into some of the possible negatives and positives of a role-playing habit and what it might have to teach people IRL (in real life). And finally, we pick where is the best fantasy world to be a geek. There’s a surprise revelation as to who is the Shire’s geek so stick around for that!

01:01:58
Oct 27, 2021 7:10 AM
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Mythmakers
A Life In Film Making - The Star Wars Episode!

What was it like to be behind the scenes as the very first Star Wars films were made? What was it like to be in the room to hear John Williams' soundtrack for the first time? What were the differences working with George Lucas and James Cameron (Avatar)? And what Starwars memorabilia has our special guest got saved up for his retirement - and on which planet will that be? In this special edition of Mythmakers with a friend of the Oxford Centre for Fantasy, Joe Gallagher, we discuss the last half-century of filmmaking, with a focus on fantasy films. Joe, who held senior positions at ILM (George Lucas' special effects workshop), Fox studios and also worked for Universal, was there for many of the major films from Starwars to Avatar via Alien. We discuss the role of creatives in the industry, the evolution of special effects, and whether anything is now unfilmable. Watch out for his tips as to what studios are looking for in a script and his advice for those wishing to break into the industry.

Starwars #Wookie #Alien #Avatar

00:31:02
Oct 20, 2021 7:10 AM
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