The Prancing Pony Podcast – Tolkien and Middle-earth-logo

The Prancing Pony Podcast – Tolkien and Middle-earth

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

169 – The Grand Illusion

5/31/2020
Galadriel welcomes Frodo and Sam to come on in and see what’s happening with her Mirror. Sam receives a vision of some devilry at work in the Shire; but the Mirror is dangerous as a guide of deeds, and Sam is forced to choose between going on and going home. Frodo catches a glimpse of someone who fortunately can’t see him just yet, and Galadriel faces a temptation of epic proportions. Eärendil shows up to shine a little light on the situation, and we speculate about everything from ring...

Duration:01:43:01

168 - Too Much Time on Their Hands

5/24/2020
The Fellowship pass “some days” in Lórien as guests of Galadriel and Celeborn (though not the kind of guests who actually get to see or speak to their hosts), and get plenty of recovery, escape, and consolation from their travels and their grief. With nothing to do but eat, drink, rest, and walk, they are content — but life in a time bubble can’t last forever, and even Sam knows they’ll have to be leaving soon. Frodo remembers Gandalf in song, Pippin gets awfully protective about his...

Duration:01:48:39

167 - You're My Lady

5/17/2020
The Fellowship comes to Caras Galadhon — the city of Lothlórien — where lights twinkle like stars in trees as tall as skyscrapers. After climbing to a high a and enormous flet they are greeted by Middle-earth’s #1 power couple: Lord Celeborn and Lady Galadriel. Celeborn’s welcome is warm at first, but cools when he learns the Company awoke something very warm (and wingless) in Moria. But when the Lady comes to their defense, even Gimli starts to feel all gooey inside. All this, and a sidebar...

Duration:01:52:39

166 – Inspiration in Unlikely (and Likely) Places: An Interview with John Garth

5/10/2020
Alan and Shawn are pleased to welcome John Garth back to the podcast to talk about his upcoming book, The Worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien. It gives us an unprecedented look at the places that inspired Tolkien, from locations close to home in England to cultural traditions around the world. Listen in as Garth explains the origins of the book and his approach to the topic, shares surprising connections between the legendarium and the real world, and even debunks a few myths. We close with a look back...

Duration:00:58:51

165 - Just a Little Bit of Peril

5/3/2020
The Fellowship are led through Lothlórien blindfolded, and yes, Legolas is still complaining. Deprived of his sight, Frodo’s heightened senses take in the sounds, the smells, and the feel of the world around him; and we bask in the beauty of Tolkien’s prose all the way to Cerin Amroth — the heart of elvendom on earth — where the blindfolds are finally removed. We ease up on our criticism of Haldir (once he finally does the right thing), contemplate Galadriel’s punk phase, and offer up...

Duration:01:41:08

164 - Nobody Expected the Elvish Insinuation

4/26/2020
Haldir of Lórien greets the Fellowship (the less beardy fellows, at least) as friends and invites them to spend the night in his magic treehouse. Poor Gimli is deemed a spy just for being a Dwarf in an Elvish forest, but nobody tells him. And while the others sleep, Frodo awakens in the middle of the night to the sound of Orcs… and something else. We expose the casual racism of the Galadhrim, discuss surprising connections to a recently unearthed Tolkien Christmas poem, and go back to the...

Duration:01:40:19

163 - Strange Women Singing in Streams

4/19/2020
No basis for a system of government, maybe, but it’s a perfectly good reason for an Elf to wax poetic about the good old days (or the bad ones… but it’s not the Dwarves’ fault). After Legolas tells the story of Nimrodel and Amroth, the Fellowship continue through the Golden Wood until they are halted by mysterious voices from above. We get word-nerdy on the language of the Silvan Elves, contemplate Wizard staffs (staves?), and run off after Thorin’s dad in This Week in Tolkien History. Plus,...

Duration:01:46:00

162 - 'Tis but a Scratch

4/5/2020
The Fellowship mourns Gandalf quickly before moving on to put as much distance as possible between themselves and Moria. Gimli makes a quick stop at a legendary Dwarvish tourist attraction, but Aragorn leaves the car running, hoping to make it to Lothlórien before dark (he’s got rewards points, and all the rooms are Orc-free). Legolas suddenly remembers that, oh yeah, Frodo almost died… so Aragorn pulls over to tend to the wounded, and to deliver an alarming joke about Hobbit-poaching which...

Duration:01:41:18

161 - Questions After Nightfall 10

3/29/2020
Pull up a seat near the log-fire as we welcome a few guest listeners to our tenth quarterly unscripted Q&A episode! It’s a small gathering in the common-room tonight, and we take our time answering some deep and nuanced questions about Tolkien’s legendarium. Let’s get metaphysical as we speculate about the Ainur, the limits of their power, and their lasting impression on the physical world. We geek out on Old English (no surprise there) and eucatastrophe (ditto), and more... including a...

Duration:01:34:30

160 - Tolkien Reading Day Special 2020

3/22/2020
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 2020 the theme is: Nature v. Industry. Join Alan and Shawn for more reading and less talking than usual as we read some of the best-known passages on the topic, and hopefully a few curve balls too. All that, plus a Barliman’s Bag question that may not be appropriate for young...

Duration:02:09:20

159 - A Farewell to Wings

3/15/2020
On a very special episode of the Prancing Pony Podcast, we come to the most divisive question in Tolkien fandom: are Balrogs left-handed? No, wait, it’s the other one about Balrog physiology, and we finally, definitively* answer it here. The answer we land on may surprise you... but only if you’ve never listened to us before. But first, there’s a chapter to finish! Join us for a free-for-all of fear, foes, and fellowship for Frodo and his friends, before a fiery face-off with a (flightless)...

Duration:01:58:25

158 - Troll the Bones

3/8/2020
Gandalf discovers a damaged book documenting the Dwarves’ doomed attempt to retake Moria. They read with growing horror about the fates of Balin, Ori, and others; but at least they now know where they are and how to get out. Before they can leave, though, a killer drum solo begins in the depths far below, and soon they are attacked by Orcs, bigger Orcs, and even (say it with us) a cave-troll. Also: bad-luck names for library buildings, Tolkien’s commitment to realistic illustrations, and...

Duration:01:46:28

157 - Don't Stop Believin'

3/1/2020
Following an insensitive remark about the “darksome” halls of Khazad-dûm by Samwise at bedtime, Gimli delivers an impassioned defense of his people’s lifestyle choices — in verse — and Gandalf gives a history lesson about Moria and mithril. Safe in his (really valuable) mail-shirt, Frodo takes the first watch… and starts to believe he may not be the only one doing the watching. We revisit the ill will of Caradhras, spoil Gimli’s family reunion plans, and terrify our vegetarian listeners (and...

Duration:01:27:29

156 - Any Way You Want It (Just Not the Middle Way)

2/23/2020
Frodo feels a sense of growing dread — and hears faint footsteps behind them — as the Fellowship marches across the long dark of Moria, navigating the twists and turns with only Gandalf’s memory as their guide. But when they reach a fork in the road that the wizard can’t remember, what then? Maybe throwing a rock down this well will help. A passing reference to Middle-earth’s most notorious cat lady gets us chasing our tails in a screeching good sidebar, but before any of that, an interview...

Duration:01:44:13

155 - Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'

2/16/2020
The Fellowship has found the Hollin Gate! But before they can enter Moria, they need to figure out the password. Merry stumbles upon a clue quickly, but no one notices, and Gandalf proceeds to shout spells at the door while something in the water waits for a chance to get handsy (tentaclesy?) with Frodo. Impulse control, Lovecraftian horrors, and an unusually high number of Monty Python references lie within (recorded prior to the passing of the great Terry Jones). Plus, word-nerdery about...

Duration:01:16:13

154 - Separate Ways

2/9/2020
After the warg attack the weather changes again, becoming sunny and clear. That’s terrible news, of course, since now the Fellowship is visible to any unfriendly eyes that may be watching. They must get under the mountains quickly, but first they have to find the Elven Door into Moria; and someone still needs to tell Sam that he can’t take his little pony underground. We examine the implications of separate doors for guests, talk about Tolkien’s flexibility with moon phases, and call a...

Duration:01:30:18

153 - When the Lights Go Down

2/2/2020
Defeated by Caradhras, the Fellowship regroups and discusses what to do next. Going back — though supported by the second-breakfast faction — is not a viable option. Boromir, who was apparently napping through that part of the Council, continues to push for the Gap of Rohan. Finally, Gandalf makes a motion to go through Moria, and is seconded by a pack of hungry wargs. Amazingly, we do not revisit the whole warg/wolf/werewolf thing again (just kidding; we totally do). Plus, a heartwarming...

Duration:01:40:31

152 - Trampled Under Snow

1/26/2020
The crossing of cruel Caradhras is hindered by snow, wind, and falling stones that seem to be sent by some supernatural force. Who or what is against them is unclear, but it is clear that continuing on is not an option… and going back is not going to be easy. Fortunately, a few members of the company aren’t quite as short as the rest, and Gandalf has something in his flask that will keep their spirits up. Also: the 1911 hiking trip that inspired Tolkien’s perilous mountain crossings,...

Duration:01:17:55

151 - Misty Mountain Hop

1/19/2020
The Fellowship is forced to leave Hollin early when “no sign of life nearby” turns into “giant evil crows filling the sky”. Certain they are being watched, they get moving as soon as possible and make for the Misty Mountains, but Gandalf and Aragorn bicker like an old married couple about the best way to get across — if you’re more familiar with the movies, Gandalf’s choice may surprise you. Barliman brings us a welcome follow-up on a listener’s question about the friend who dismissed...

Duration:01:23:14

150 - Time to Ramble On

1/12/2020
On a cold grey winter evening, Frodo sets out on the Quest of Mount Doom with eight companions. Boromir blows his horn to make sure everyone for miles around knows about their “secret” departure, and Gimli debates the value of oaths with Elrond before the Fellowship of the Ring says goodbye to the Last Homely House. We get knee-deep in Dwarvish word-nerdery, investigate Tolkien’s (unintentional?) symbolism in choosing Christmas Day as the start of the quest, and pass ourselves off as a...

Duration:01:28:11