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The Prancing Pony Podcast

Literature

As they explore the work of J. R. R. Tolkien, hosts Alan Sisto and Shawn E. Marchese welcome readers of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion, and the other works in the Middle-earth legendarium to tune in as they discuss favorite passages from the books and films that started the worldwide fantasy phenomenon. Alan and Shawn engage in plenty of in-depth study of Tolkien's books, but with a healthy dose of self-effacing humor, pop-culture references, and bad puns. These are the two guys you'd want to hang out with at a pub and talk Tolkien with.

As they explore the work of J. R. R. Tolkien, hosts Alan Sisto and Shawn E. Marchese welcome readers of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion, and the other works in the Middle-earth legendarium to tune in as they discuss favorite passages from the books and films that started the worldwide fantasy phenomenon. Alan and Shawn engage in plenty of in-depth study of Tolkien's books, but with a healthy dose of self-effacing humor, pop-culture references, and bad puns. These are the two guys you'd want to hang out with at a pub and talk Tolkien with.

Location:

United States

Description:

As they explore the work of J. R. R. Tolkien, hosts Alan Sisto and Shawn E. Marchese welcome readers of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion, and the other works in the Middle-earth legendarium to tune in as they discuss favorite passages from the books and films that started the worldwide fantasy phenomenon. Alan and Shawn engage in plenty of in-depth study of Tolkien's books, but with a healthy dose of self-effacing humor, pop-culture references, and bad puns. These are the two guys you'd want to hang out with at a pub and talk Tolkien with.

Language:

English


Episodes

209 – Pyromania

5/16/2021
An explosion rocks the Deeping Wall, and soon there are more as Saruman’s blasting fires make what little hope the heroes had go up in smoke. But as dawn approaches, Aragorn still believes that victory may come with the new day, and Théoden realizes it’s better to burn out than fade away. We see Gimli’s martial prowess on display, investigate what makes a parley a parley, and hear the horn of Helm Hammerhand sound in the Deep (and keep sounding and sounding…). Plus, Legolas defies the laws...

Duration:01:36:18

208 – White Lightning

5/9/2021
The Rohirrim, led by Théoden and Éomer (with lots of help from Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli), man the Deeping Wall and the Hornburg as Saruman’s assault on Helm’s Deep begins. A quick flash of lightning in the darkness reveals overwhelming odds, but Aragorn and Éomer draw swords together and keep morale high, even while rammers nearly break through the Hornburg gates. Also, Gimli and Legolas begin a contest to see who can take down the most Orcs. Legolas starts out strong, but our money’s on...

Duration:01:50:29

207 – Rock of Ages

5/2/2021
Théoden and Gandalf lead the host of the Rohirrim towards the fords of the Isen to strengthen the forces holding back Saruman’s army. But when they meet a rider coming back from the front line with news of defeat, Théoden takes Gandalf’s counsel and changes course for Helm’s Deep and the mighty fortress of the Hornburg. We look at Unfinished Tales for an account of the recent battle, learn way too much about military supply chains, and discuss Tolkien’s visits to Cheddar Gorge… which leads...

Duration:01:39:56

206 – I Saw Her Standing There

4/25/2021
Théoden offers Wormtongue one last chance to redeem himself, but the counsellor is disinclined to acquiesce to his lord’s request. As Gríma’s stain is (literally) washed away, Gandalf and the king catch up on the history of Saruman’s treachery and the damage already done in Rohan before riding out to do something about it, leaving the fearless and high-hearted Éowyn in charge. All this, plus we discuss Rohirric lines of succession, close the book on the color of Shadowfax, and investigate...

Duration:01:38:06

205 – Here Comes the Sun

4/18/2021
Upon entering the Golden Hall, Gandalf is challenged once again; this time by Wormtongue, the king’s counsellor who may not exactly have Rohan’s best interests in mind. Gandalf puts the worm in its place (before Gimli can dissect it for smack-talking Galadriel) and then leads Théoden out into the light, to healing and hope for victory against Isengard, without a single exorcism. We watch and learn as Tolkien takes down criticisms of his archaic style, revisit an Old English greeting, and...

Duration:01:56:36

204 – The Long and Winding Road

4/11/2021
Our heroes ride up the long and winding road that leads to Théoden’s door, but first they have to get through two sets of guards. Fortunately, Gandalf’s polyglottal talents get them through the first gate into Edoras, and they’ll be allowed into Meduseld itself just as long as they check their weapons at the door… their ancient, irreplaceable, priceless weapons. Inspired by Tolkien’s skill with Latin and Greek, Shawn takes a stab at speaking Old English; and a sidebar on Helm Hammerhand...

Duration:01:44:50

203 – Questions After Nightfall 14

3/28/2021
Before we return to The Lord of the Rings for the further adventures of The White Rider and Friends in Rohan, we spend some time in the common-room with listeners for another quarterly live Q&A episode! Current events with Saruman at Isengard are clearly on the minds of many, as we field questions about Ol’ Many Colors himself and the Ents who’ve unexpectedly shown up on his doorstep. We take another look at the Secret Fire and Tolkien’s theological inspirations for it, opine on some...

Duration:01:10:18

202 – Tolkien Reading Day 2021

3/21/2021
Happy Tolkien Reading Day! On March 25 every year — the date of the fall of Barad-dûr — Tolkien lovers worldwide celebrate by reading the Professor’s works. A theme is chosen by The Tolkien Society every year, and for 2021 the theme is Hope and Courage. Join us for our sixth annual celebration of this international event, as Alan and Shawn courageously battle their way through readings on the topic from The Children of Húrin, The Lay of Leithian, and The Lord of the Rings... and find hope in...

Duration:02:14:48

201 – A Nice Day for a White Wizard

3/14/2021
The newly-minted Gandalf the White advises the Three Hunters to leave the Hobbits in the strong, twiggy hands of Treebeard and go to Edoras. They agree, but Legolas still wants to know how Gandalf is — y’know, not dead — launching the wizard into a brief account of his fight with Durin’s Bane, and your hosts into an epic series of sidebars about Gandalf’s resurrection, mythology, and religion. All this, plus a Tolkien Quote of the Day about sacrifice, and a couple of mailbag stumpers that...

Duration:01:50:27

200 – A Whiter Shade of Grey

3/7/2021
The old man is revealed to be an old friend: Gandalf the (Formerly) Grey, returned beyond hope from death in battle with the Balrog of Moria. Enhanced in power and in insight, Gandalf gets caught up on the news he missed while he was out; and then offers some wisdom to his companions about Sauron, Saruman, and the power hidden in the forest. Danger is all around, not least in Barliman’s Bag where we pull a hardball question about the inevitably of marring in Tolkien’s world… and also in a...

Duration:01:42:10

199 – Pretty Spry (For a Grey Guy)

2/28/2021
Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli follow the trail of the missing hobbits, gradually drawing closer to the forbidding fringes of Fangorn Forest. They find new signs that give them hope, but the Dwarf can’t forget about the mysterious old man, and the trees don’t seem to be taking too kindly to his axe. Soon the old man appears again, leading to a surprisingly nimble confrontation. We revisit The Silmarillion for a look at Sauron’s phantom-conjuring skills, wonder if the Eagles are Gandalf’s...

Duration:01:30:29

198 – Never Enough Tolkien: An Interview with Ted Nasmith

2/21/2021
We welcome the acclaimed illustrator Ted Nasmith back to The Prancing Pony Podcast for his first full-length interview! We catch up with Ted about life, art, and everything else since we last spoke to him at Tolkien 2019, including the recent publication of the illustrated edition of Unfinished Tales and teasers about the new illustrated edition of The Silmarillion. Ted also shares the encouraging (and entertaining) story of his first big break… and the unfinished Middle-earth tale he’d love...

Duration:01:23:55

197 – Birnam Wood as It Should Have Been

2/14/2021
Waiting for the Ents to make a decision turns out to be an exercise in patience for Merry and Pippin, until Treebeard mercifully excuses them from the proceedings. He leaves them in the company of Quickbeam: a younger, hastier Ent who’s about as hobbitish as they come (admittedly, a low bar). We get to the rocky bottom of the relationship between Ents and Trolls, revisit the marital strife of Aulë and Yavanna, and see the Ents get barking mad about Saruman’s destruction of the forest. Plus,...

Duration:01:41:26

196 – Branch Managers' Meeting

2/7/2021
At Wellinghall, Merry and Pippin learn more about the Ents’ hope for the future (in song form!) and get some sleep — horizontally — before leaving in the morning for Entmoot under the protective bough of Treebeard. Ents soon arrive in a startling variety of shapes, sizes, and likenesses, and begin a meeting to get to the root of the Saruman problem. We call The Council together as we dig deeper into the irreconcilable differences between the Ents and the Entwives, ponder mysterious...

Duration:01:32:53

195 – The Birches and the Beeches

1/31/2021
After hearing Merry and Pippin’s account of their recent adventures, Treebeard starts talking (and doesn’t stop) about wizards, ecopolitics, and “the one that got away”. Unfortunately, spokesplants for Fimbrethil and the Entwives have not responded to requests for comment, and we won’t hold our breath waiting for them to. But at least now Treebeard seems motivated to do something about Saruman, if only he can find enough Ents to form a posse. Plus, a letter to Barliman offers possible...

Duration:01:53:17

194 – Tree’s Company

1/24/2021
Merry and Pippin travel deeper into Fangorn Forest with a guided tour (really more of a picked-up-and-carried tour) provided by Treebeard. Their host may be more wooden than Alan and Shawn, but he’s both informative and entertaining, singing songs and telling stories about the forest and the Ents themselves. Soon they arrive at Wellinghall, where he sets them down and offers them jars of some potent drink that we can only hope he has a license to make and distribute. Hopefully, the...

Duration:01:35:58

193 – Out on a Limb

1/17/2021
Escaping from mortal danger into deadly peril, Merry and Pippin wander into Fangorn Forest. The place seems more strange than scary, but it’s far from welcoming; and an offhand comment by Pippin about almost liking the forest attracts the attention of the local plant life. Is the mysterious Ent all bark and no bite? Or will it tear the hobbits limb from limb, mistaking them for little Orcs? We discuss the importance of real names, offer a sidebar on the late appearance of the Ents into...

Duration:01:44:07

192 - Race, Tolkien, and Middle-earth, Revisited

1/10/2021
Following up on our previous examination of race in Tolkien’s work in Episode 114, today we welcome listeners of different racial and ethnic backgrounds to join us and share their experiences of Tolkien’s works and fandom. By looking beyond the author's own views and intentions, we hope to gain a better understanding of the actual impact of Tolkien’s treatment of race from people who have experienced racism directly. We urge all listeners to tune in for this special, which challenges our...

Duration:01:51:20

191 - A Trick of the Took

12/20/2020
Now ringed in by the Rohirrim, the Orcs wait for reinforcements, all the while continuing their civilized parliamentary deliberations. On the committee agenda: 1. You’re a maggot. 2. That guy’s an ape. 3. Consideration of a motion for a vote of no confidence in Uglúk. Grishnákh seizes an opportunity — and the prisoners — but Pippin thinks quickly and devises a Tookish (and very, very dangerous) ruse to take advantage of the Mordor Orc’s secret plot. Who’s a fool now, Gandalf? All this, plus...

Duration:01:34:25

190 - Follow Uruks, Follow Me

12/13/2020
The Hobbits continue their zero-star walking tour of Rohan, trudging along with the Orcs in an endless tunnel of misery with nary a pub nor a B&B in sight. But the feel of wet grass between his hairy toes gives Pippin an idea, and he breaks away from the beaten path for just long enough to leave a message for any friend who may be following them: a token that may or may not idly fall. We wonder about Orc parents’ baby naming practices, revisit The Fall of Gondolin, and imagine Ulmo talking...

Duration:01:24:22