Ponderings in Elfland

Where Master Storyteller and Tolkien Artist Jef Murray shares his insights on God’s Grace.

Jef Murray (1960-2015) — Nai Eru lye mánata

It is with deep sadness that I share with you the news of Jef’s passing. To say that we are stunned by Jef’s sudden and unexpected death on August 3, 2015 is an understatement. The last article he sent to us was scheduled and published on Tuesday, August 4, 2015. Jef Murray had shared his art and original stories with readers […]


"Lightning on Feathertop" (detail) - Artwork © by Jef Murray

“And that is how the people of Orbaratus destroyed themselves.” Charles sat looking at the old man across the table. Thunder rumbled outside the diamond-paned windows of Charles’ Oxford flat, and the deep purple light of the approaching storm contrasted eerily with the flickers of gold and red from the fireplace and the lighted candles on the mantel. Upon the […]

The Sparrow

Artwork © by Jef Murray.

Lorraine had noticed the bird before, but this last week the sparrow was back. It was attacking the side view mirror of our car. It would perch on the mirror, and then fly forward to hover in front of its own image. Tap! Tap! Tap! went its beak against the glass. It wasn’t clear whether the bird was attempting combat […]

On Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories

Artwork © by Jef Murray

We are, it would seem, living in a golden age of science fiction and fantasy stories. Films exploring other worlds and other times regularly explode onto the big screen, with each offering seemingly more spectacular and frenetic than the last. Even when the original source material for such films is modest, as with J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, the final products […]

The Healing Stone

Artwork Copyright © by Jef Murray

The stone was slick to the touch. The old woman noticed it peeking out from the rubble of the scorched and ruined house. The smell of burnt wood and flint still filled the air, and Elizabeth knew that, beneath the ashes, hot embers could still scorch her if she was not careful. This had been Elizabeth’s home for nearly as […]

The Portal

Artwork © by Jef Murray

The land surrounding Shaker Village in Kentucky might have been pulled fresh from the pages of one of J.R.R. Tolkien’s tales. It encompasses rolling hills, small farm buildings, pleasant forests and streams, and ’round about its many pastures are dry stone fences that have stood for centuries. In a few spots along these fences, those who built them creatively worked […]

On Dragons

Artwork © by Jef Murray

[From a letter penned by Brother Azarias to his godson, Luke Lester. The letter is dated September 2, 2014, the Feast of the Guardian Angels]   My Dear Godson, You have asked me in the past how I came to be acquainted with your father and with his father before him. Now that you and your brother, Charles, are older […]

An Interview with Jef Murray by Tolkien Brazil

Artwork © by Jef Murray

Nearly a year ago, I was contacted by Eduardo Stark of Tolkien Brazil, a large and active group of Tolkien and fantasy fans in South America. Eduardo has followed my work as a fantasy artist, and wanted to interview me for their website. The resulting text was, I fear, a bit daunting to translate into Portuguese, or, as is more likely, the Tolkien Brazil […]


“Lucy and the Spellbook” (detail) © by Jef Murray

“No, that’s not the way it works.” The old man looked pointedly over his spectacles at Jill. “But why not?! I mean, if magic really exists, why doesn’t everyone know about it? How come it’s so ‘Hush hush!’?” Father Hildebrandt took off his spectacles and polished the lenses for a few moments. “I can offer you many reasons, but they […]

On Longing for Home

Treasure Bearer Artwork © by Jef Murray

It’s humid, and in the 90s (the mid-30s for folks who favour Celsius over Fahrenheit). There’s no breeze. It’s too early for cicadas, but otherwise I’d guess we were in August rather than June. Hills are hazy in the heat, and nothing twitches at high noon save flitting flies. These are summer days in Georgia; when air is thick and breathing burdensome. My old […]