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The Prancing Pony Podcast

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The Prancing Pony Podcast is a weekly show about the Middle-earth legendarium of J.R.R. Tolkien, hosted - for six seasons - by Alan Sisto and Shawn E. Marchese. As the show returns for its seventh season, Alan welcomes an all-star cast of co-hosts to join him as he explores the first part of The Return of the King! Alan and all his co-hosts are passionate Tolkien enthusiasts, and they invite listeners to enjoy their detailed exploration of Tolkien’s work, with smart but straightforward discussion and a healthy dose of self-effacing humor, pop-culture references, and bad puns. These are the folks you'd want to hang out with at a pub and talk Tolkien with.

Location:

United States

Description:

The Prancing Pony Podcast is a weekly show about the Middle-earth legendarium of J.R.R. Tolkien, hosted - for six seasons - by Alan Sisto and Shawn E. Marchese. As the show returns for its seventh season, Alan welcomes an all-star cast of co-hosts to join him as he explores the first part of The Return of the King! Alan and all his co-hosts are passionate Tolkien enthusiasts, and they invite listeners to enjoy their detailed exploration of Tolkien’s work, with smart but straightforward discussion and a healthy dose of self-effacing humor, pop-culture references, and bad puns. These are the folks you'd want to hang out with at a pub and talk Tolkien with.

Language:

English


Episodes
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330 – And Here’s To You, Master Barliman

5/19/2024
Dark shapes and dreadful things are terrifying Barliman; James and Alan will try not to make it any worse. Join The Man of the West and The Sage of the South as the hobbits conclude their visit to Bree in the final episode on Homeward Bound. Barliman is deeply confused about this whole king thing, the hobbits wonder exactly what Barliman means by “funny goings on”, and Gandalf makes it clear the Shire isn’t his circus and the hobbits aren’t his monkeys. We discuss land-use plans near Bree, and wonder if we should invest in real estate nearby. Also, The Lord of the Mark joins for a Philology Faire — Italy called and wants to talk to him.

Duration:01:50:00

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329 – Hello Pony, My Old Friend

5/12/2024
Not all wounds can be healed, and not all episode descriptions can be clever. Join The Man of the West and The Sage of the South as we accompany Gandalf and the hobbits on their journey home from Rivendell in the first of our two episodes on Homeward Bound. Frodo provides an accounting of his wounds, Nob’s grammar skills nearly cause a tragedy, and Barliman puts on a brave (albeit talkative) face. We wonder if Erestor gets migraines, discover James is descended from Bill Ferny, and decide to write Barliman and Ioreth fanfic. Also, never ask a valet to park your Bugatti.

Duration:01:30:53

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328 – Alive and Kicking

5/5/2024
Wormtongue wishes he could leave Saruman; James is stuck with Alan for a few more episodes: make of that what you will. Join The Man of the West and The Sage of the South as we get to Rivendell in time for a party in the last of our three episodes on Many Partings. Saruman offers some parting words to the hobbits; the Keepers of the Rings offer total silence; Bilbo offers gifts he’s already given. We note that Gríma and Zathras have something in common, discuss the items for sale on Middle-earth eBay, and agree wholeheartedly with Bilbo about packing. Also, James does a pretty good Aussie accent.

Duration:01:38:24

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327 – Promised You a Miracle

4/28/2024
Legolas is at a loss for words after visiting Aglarond with Gimli; Alan is at a loss for words after… well, never, really. Join The Man of the West and The Sage of the South as The Fellowship of the Ring head out on their farewell tour in our second of three episodes on Many Partings. Treebeard speaks his mind about orcs, gives excuses about Saruman, and offers Merry & Pippin just one more drink. Our simple minds speculate about poetry, revisit Gimli’s rizz, and wonder if Thranduil and Treebeard went to the same school for jailers. Also, one man’s treasure is our confusion.

Duration:01:34:26

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326 – Don’t You (Forget About Me)

4/21/2024
Gimli offers to speedily fetch his axe, while James offers to speedily fetch his microphone. Join The Man of the West in welcoming back The Sage of the South as Théoden is laid to rest in our first of three episodes on Many Partings. Arwen offers Frodo a lovely parting gift, Aragorn gifts the Grey Wood to the Drúadan, and two kings struggle with gift ideas. We talk about Éomer & Gimli’s deathmatch, wonder how you can give away what you’ve already lost, and discover two long lost names for Frodo & Sam. Also, we all need to use plenipotentiary a lot more.

Duration:01:45:47

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325 – When Love Comes to Town

4/14/2024
The reign of Aragorn Elessar begins, as the reign of Sara ends - quite possibly with her sailing off on a ship filled with cats. Join The Man of the West and the Shield-maiden of Rohan as Gandalf and the new king go mountain-climbing in our last episode on The Steward and the King. Frodo tries to be patient, Aragorn looks for a sign, and Arwen arrives with an entourage. We reconcile questionable timelines, and do the math to figure out how tall Mindolluin might be. Shawn joins Alan for a Philology Faire on ye utúvienyes — which apparently means, “Did you know I broke my toe when I kicked that helmet?” Also, Sara considers making apple crumble… from the fruit of the White Tree.

Duration:02:11:52

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324 – A Sort of Homecoming

4/7/2024
It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for: The Return of… Ioreth. Join The Man of the West and The Shield-maiden of Rohan as Faramir tenders his resignation in our third episode on The Steward and the King. Ioreth educates her kinswoman, Faramir uses his Ask the Audience lifeline, and Aragorn gives Beregond a fright. We wonder why Dol Amroth harpers are the most skillful, agree that ‘never accept single combat with the Witch-king’ is good advice, and relish some more beautiful Quenya. Also, we observe the difference between the Rod of the Stewards and Rod Stewart.

Duration:01:54:07

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323 – Tolkien Reading Day 2024

3/24/2024
Put your own priorities aside and get ready to do the hard thing as you join us for the PPP’s ninth annual celebration of Tolkien Reading Day, observed every March 25 in honor of the destruction of the Ring and the fall of Barad-dûr. This year’s theme, as chosen by the Tolkien Society, is Service and Sacrifice — and wow, there are lots of great passages to choose from! The Man of the West and The Shield-maiden of Rohan join forces to highlight this powerful theme seen throughout Tolkien’s writing: from Éowyn and her frustration with ‘duty’, to the obvious Húrin moment; from Galadriel’s diminished joy, to a wet bicycle ride. Plus, Amandil’s private island is now head canon.

Duration:02:05:31

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322 – Questions After Nightfall 26

3/17/2024
The Man of the West welcomes people who fanboy… about Sara, the Shield-maiden of Rohan, as we answer listener questions in our 26th Questions After Nightfall! From Dr. Brown’s TED talk to Alan’s improving sarcasm, from creation mythologies to the frat bros of the Valar, our listeners remind us we can always go lower. Alan guesses wrong, we apply the Prime Directive to the Valar, and decide that we don’t talk about Túrin, no no no.

Duration:01:30:05

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321 – Something to Talk About

3/10/2024
Éowyn is afraid that Darkness Unescapable is coming; Sara is afraid that Dad-Jokes Unescapable are coming. Join The Man of the West and the Shield-maiden of Rohan to find out which fear is most justified — as if you didn’t already know. Éowyn wears a pretty cloak, Faramir (i.e., Tolkien) shares his Atlantis dream, and the Eagles sing an encore. We watch as Éowyn finally swipes right on Faramir, agree that Aragorn is too old for her anyway, and decide that all men should be like Faramir. Also, it’s going to be a bright, bright, sunshiny day.

Duration:02:04:36

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320 – Love Sneakin’ Up On You

3/3/2024
The women can tell Éowyn nothing; that’s only because Sara wasn’t there. Join Alan and Sara as Éowyn seeks to avoid yet another cage in our first episode on The Steward and the King. The Warden can’t envision a warrior-healer, Éowyn can’t endure five more minutes in this place, and Faramir can’t imagine another day without her. We talk about restraining orders in Rohan, reject Sara’s suggestion for a new segment (“Meanwhile, in Alan Knows Better”), and speculate about Éowyn and Boromir. Also, if you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.

Duration:01:55:50

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319 – Big Damn Heroes, Sir

2/25/2024
The minstrel’s voice rises like silver and gold, and all men were hushed; except for The Man of the West who just won’t stop talking. Join Alan and Sara as we find a golden ring that can’t be melted in our second episode on The Field of Cormallen. Frodo and Sam have done the impossible, and that makes them mighty; Aragorn is humble; and Pippin is… well, Pippin. We talk about this being the eucatastrophe, peer into Legolas’ future, and listen to the best song you’ll never hear. Also, Alan butchers some Old English.

Duration:01:38:52

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318 – Burn the Land and Boil the Sea

2/18/2024
The Realm of Sauron is ended, and the realm of Sara has begun. Join The Man of the West as he welcomes back Dr. Sara Brown as we visit the vulcanology lab once more in our first episode on The Field of Cormallen. Sam won’t let Frodo quit just yet, The Host of the West prepares for their imminent demise, and the Eagles play one more show at the Morannon. We talk about virtuous pagans, look for our invites to Gandalf’s retirement party, and compare Thorondor to an Airbus. Also, Sara sets herself up for singing disappointment. (CW: discussion of Denethor’s suicide.)

Duration:01:53:22

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317 – Curse Your Sudden But Inevitable Betrayal

2/11/2024
Mount Doom threatens to burn the land and boil the sea; Matt threatens more “where there’s a whip” references. Join us as we’re joined by Tom Hillman to talk about his book Pity, Power, and Tolkien’s Ring just in time for said ring to be destroyed in our final episode on the chapter Mount Doom. Sam finally feels pity for Gollum, the Phial of Galadriel’s batteries die, and Frodo thinks he has a better idea for the Ring after all. We discuss the many alternate endings that Tolkien envisioned here, speculate about how quickly the Nazgûl could arrive, and confirm that Santa Claus is Eärendil. Also, Matt coins a new word which is really just an old word.

Duration:02:21:23

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316 – I Swear By My Pretty Wheel of Fire, I Will End You

2/4/2024
Frodo understands that when you can’t crawl, you find someone to carry you; Matt understands that when you can’t get a reference, you find someone to explain it to you. Join us as we offer a brief lesson on vulcanology in our third episode on the chapter Mount Doom. Frodo crawls towards a road, Sam wonders how it got there, and an old friend drops by to say “Wicked masster”. We talk about talking objects, put skill points in Domination, and debate at length about the height of Barad-dûr. Also, where there’s a whip, knock it off!

Duration:01:48:05

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315 – Sometimes A Thing Gets Broke, Can’t Be Fixed

1/28/2024
Sam naively offers to ‘share the load’ with Frodo, while Matt naively offers to do a few more episodes of the podcast. Join us as Sam goes full Marie Kondo for the last steps of their journey in the chapter Mount Doom. We remember the Host of the West, Sam remembers the oliphaunt, while Frodo is naked in the dark, unable to remember much of anything. We observe that when you can’t run, you crawl; and we speculate about Gollum’s possible post-Ring life. Also, our new favorite hobbit name is Nick Bowman.

Duration:01:39:39

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314 – Everybody Dies Alone

1/21/2024
Sam decides to trust to luck again, while Alan and Matt decide to back the Gríshnakh-Uglúk 2024 ticket. Join us in examining the virtue of cloaks as we begin the chapter Mount Doom. Sam considers the difficulty of the route, evaluates the remaining supplies, and carries on an inner dialogue about Bywater and Rosie Cotton. We learn what Tolkien thought about scientification, look for an excuse to read Éowyn dialogue, and admit we’re going to receive emails from football fans. Also, Matt denies making an old joke, and probably misses another Firefly reference.

Duration:01:27:57

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313 – Breakfast in Mordor

1/14/2024
Sam suggests that Frodo and he should trust to luck, while Alan and Matt suggest they might want to reconsider. Join us as we spot that stinking villain — no, not Fëanor — sniffing around Frodo, as we wrap up the chapter on The Land of Shadow. Sam gives until it hurts, Frodo falls asleep, and they somehow find themselves participating in the 10k Run to Mordor despite their not having paid an entry fee. We observe that even the big orcs like to file reports almost as much as they like to whip small orcs. Also, Matt completely abandons Alan when singing Where There’s a Whip, There’s a Way.

Duration:01:21:40

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312 – Take the Long Way ‘Round

1/7/2024
Two orcs engage in a spirited debate about Gollum, while two other orcs engage in a spirited debate about… oh, who am I kidding? Alan and Matt never debate. Join us as we discover that orcs prefer tattling on their peers rather than just killing them, as we keep moving deeper into The Land of Shadow. A tracker orc fails to track two very nearby hobbits, a soldier orc fails to shoot Gollum, and Sam fails to remember all those dead orcs in the Tower. We speculate about how Sam might tell his own story, and talk about the Eye of Sauron. Also, Matt is too young to recognize a reference to The Who.

Duration:01:32:02

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311 – When All the World’s Asleep

12/17/2023
Sam insists on drinking first to protect Frodo, while Alan and Matt ruin any chance they have at a couple of bottled water sponsors. Join us for our discovery that Mordor is only mostly dead, as we continue our long and unpleasant way north in The Land of Shadow. We take a closer look at the geography of Mount Doom, while Frodo and Sam take a closer look at the extent of Sauron’s branding efforts. We linger on the highlight of Sam being given hope by the appearance of Eärendil, while no appearance of the famous mariner is complete without a brief visit from The Lord of the Mark himself. Also, don’t tell Oromë that Matt thinks he’s a diet Ulmo.

Duration:01:32:27