Motherfoclóir is a delightful podcast about language and linguistics as they relate to Ireland ("foclóir" being the Irish word for "dictionary," and thus completely unrelated to that homophonic English-language word you're surely thinking of, c'mon). While that might seem like a niche topic outside of the Emerald Isle herself, a recent episode tackled something that's surely on everyone's mind: those fantastical pointy-eared aristocrats known only as elves.
Specifically, it's a conversation with Irish writer Orla Ní Dhúill, whose blog about elves, Irishness, and colonialism gained a lot of traction among fantasy fans across the globe.
Growing up as a nerdy Irish-American kid, I always understood there to be something vaguely Gael-ish about elves. Even though I didn't know why. Even though I knew it didn't make sense. Even though I knew that Tolkien himself was not particularly fond of the Irish (the language, at least, if not the people). Was it because they used an cló gaelach, the insular font so often associated with Irish Gaelic? Even in my later adolescence, as I wasted my measly weekend job wages on Warhammer 40K, I couldn't help but notice the inherent Irishness in the names and terms of the mystical Eldar alien race who are basically space elves anyway (spoiler: it turns out the Eldar language is, in fact, mostly just bastardized lines from Irish Gaelic proverbs).
The podcast episode is full of insightful exchanges on language and colonialism between Ní Dhúill and host Peader Kavanagh. You can listen below, or on your preferred podcasting platform. Although I should perhaps give a content warning for fans of armor bikinis, paganism, and the elf IRA from the Shadowrun tabletop RPG—they are spared no barbs here.
I read and greatly enjoyed Jack Vance’s 4-book series, Tales of the Dying Earth last year. Today I wanted to tell my daughter about one of the spells in the book (the Spell of Forlorn Encystment), so I looked it up online. One of the top results Alison Flood’s 2011 review of the series in […]
While looking up something else on YouTube, I came across Santa Claus, the world’s first Christmas movie! This British silent film, a little over a minute long, was made in 1898 and was directed by George Albert Smith, a “stage hypnotist, psychic, magic lantern lecturer, Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, inventor” and noted film […]
John M Ford -- AKA Mike Ford -- (previously) was a spectacular and varied science fiction writer who performed brilliantly across a wide range of genres and formats, from RPGs (GURPS, Paranoia) to licensed Star Trek fiction (his "How Much for Just the Planet" effectively created Klingon fandom) to fantasy novels like The Dragon Waiting, […]
When it comes to top-quality kitchen gadgets that won’t break the bank, nothing beats Gourmia. These eight best-selling Gourmia tools will help you take your culinary prowesses to the next level, and each one is available for an additional 15% off when you enter the coupon code COOKSAVE15 at checkout. 1. Gourmia GTF7350 6-in-1 Multi-Function […]
Traditional headphones are overrated, especially now that this HumBird Bone-Conducting Speaker allows you to enjoy a rich and completely unique listening experience depending on where you place it. A must-have item for true audiophiles looking to switch up their usual listening routine, this compact speaker uses cutting-edge bone conduction technology in order to deliver a […]
You don’t need to be a professional chef in order to enjoy a great set of knives in your kitchen, yet far too many would-be culinary pros settle for subpar blades that lose their edge after a few months. This Schmidt Brothers® Cutlery Carbon 6 7-Pc Knife Block Set will bring a new level of […]