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Yeah, it’s too bad the author hasn’t responded to this thread.
Yes, Tolkien’s orcs are one-dimensional and unredeemable. I’ve always thought of it, though, more as a convention that allows the reader to passionately root for good and wish to conquer evil, because they are portrayed more clearly. Discerning which things are good is much more difficult in real life, and other literature is adept at helping us explore that. But I think Tolkien’s story is meant to serve other purposes—not so much exploring the defining contours of evil, so much as encouraging us to be willing to fight it. I think it’s the same reason behind the appeal of video games where you fight aliens, such as Halo.
I’ve been listening to them on the iPhone app, and it has them numbered in the same order as the course main webpage. I’m on #06 Cicero and the Natural Law, and so far the order has made good sense:
00 Why Mythology Matters
01 Logos and Mythos
02 Heraclitus and Stoicism
03 Zeno and Stoicism
04 Virgil and George Washington
05 Virgil and Livy
06 Cicero and the Natural Law
07 Cicero and the Natural Law, Part II
08 Sanctifying the Pagan
09 The City of God and the Divine Comedy
10 Why Tolkien Despised Democracy
11 Tolkien and Imagination
12 Tolkien and World War I
13 Tolkien and Mythology I
14 Tolkien and Mythology II
15 Tolkien and Free Will
16 Tolkien and Heroism
I was hoping for the same thing. In fact, it would be nice to have a “show notes page” for each lecture, with links to every work mentioned. In lecture 7, “Cicero and the Natural Law,” I wanted a link to the history book he mentioned, in which the author said that every single Founding Father believed by the time of his (or her, in the case of Mercy Otis Warren) death that the Republic had already died. That was an amazing fact, and I wanted to find out more about his sources.
Any chance we’ll get notes pages for individual lectures? Shoot, if I had access to the HTML, I’d compile the links myself as I listen.