The second of three episodes on Chapter 8 of The Hobbit. As Mirkwood continues with no apparent end, our heroes get desperate and stray from the path when they see Elves feasting in a clearing nearby. They try three times to crash the party, but each time chaos ensues, and soon Bilbo finds himself alone in the dark with several Spiders of Unusual Size. We witness Bilbo’s most Tookish moment yet, learn about several games of the aiming and throwing sort, and rack up a number of reasons to apologize to Mr. Gordon Sumner.
Links to most of the works of art discussed at the end of the episode below.
In the first episode of our trilogy on Chapter 8 of The Hobbit, Bilbo and the Dwarves enter Mirkwood and quickly learn the true meaning of the term “pitch-dark.” As the days drag on, their hunger and desperation grow, and there seems to be no end to the forest… but at least the spiders here are just small ones of Ordinary Size. We discuss Tolkien’s folklore inspirations for the dark wood on the edge of the world, the enchanted stream, and more, then lighten the mood with an imaginary photographic tour of Middle-earth.
We resume Chapter 7 of The Hobbit. Bilbo and the Dwarves spend a few days as the guests of Beorn, comfortable despite the occasional late-night sounds of a hungry bear on the other side of the door. After verifying their story personally, Beorn agrees to help the party with food, advice, and more… but he still doesn’t trust the Dwarves completely. We go further into the nature of Beorn and his place in the overall legendarium, and a Tolkien Fun Fact gives us a much-needed reason to revisit our favorite ursine from the Father Christmas letters.
Chapter 7 of The Hobbit begins with a rude awakening in an Eagle’s eyrie. But our heroes are soon off on their way again, and find themselves at the home of Beorn the skin-changer. Is he a man that changes into a bear, or a bear that changes into a man? Find out as we explore the linguistic and mythical inspirations for one of Middle-earth’s most enigmatic characters. We also remember a poignant letter J.R.R. once received from a friend on This Week in Tolkien History, and ask you to bear with us as we discuss our favorite music inspired by the legendarium.
We are thrilled to announce that The Prancing Pony Podcast has been invited to take part in Mythmoot V as guests! We will be broadcasting a LIVE episode from the conference on Saturday, June 23 — but we won’t just be two guys with a mic walking around and trying to find people to talk to during a fan convention. Instead, as guests, we will be on stage in the plenary room as the only event in our time slot — and, during the 90 minutes we’ll be broadcasting, we’ll be joined by both Corey Olsen and John Garth!
This is a truly exciting opportunity — not just for The Prancing Pony Podcast, but for our listeners! Those of you interested in going to Mythmoot were just given yet another reason to attend — to meet us and appear on the show! And those of you who aren’t able to go this year are now able to live vicariously through us as we will not only be bringing you a live episode, but also will do spontaneous live broadcasts throughout the weekend.
But we’re going to need your help to make this work. When we started our Patreon campaign during the summer, we’d hoped that we would eventually get to the $1,000/month level — it would take several months at that point for us to have the revenue for the two of us to travel to, and attend, one of these events. Well, we’re still only about 2/3 of the way to that level — and we need you to help make this happen, since MMV is in just five months. If you’re already supporting us on Patreon, thank you — but if you’ve yet to sign on to The Fellowship of the Podcast, we’d ask you to please consider helping us reach that goal. Even though we no longer have to pay to attend the event, we still have round-trip airfare and lodging expenses to consider and those are not insignificant.
Alan and Shawn are delighted to welcome Michael Drout to The Prancing Pony Podcast! As co-founder and co-editor of the journal Tolkien Studies and multiple books on the Professor, Drout is one of the most prolific Tolkien scholars in the field today. We talk to him about his personal discovery of Tolkien, the future of Tolkien studies and fandom, and Beowulf. Plus, we discuss the very highest quality of The Lord of the Rings Online players, and how to write a new Old English poem more well-known than some of the originals.
We pick up Chapter 6 of The Hobbit with our heroes literally up a tree. Gandalf keeps the wolves at bay by playing with fire, but when the goblins arrive, things quickly heat up for Bilbo and his friends. Just as the situation begins to go up in smoke, unexpected help comes from above. We talk about the Eagles, their role in the legendarium, and the dangers Tolkien saw in using them too much in his stories. We also do a quick background check on Gandalf and recite some more goblin poetry bad enough to make a Vogon (and your hosts) cringe.
As Chapter 6 of The Hobbit opens, Bilbo emerges from the mountains and soon hears the familiar voices of Gandalf and the Dwarves. He sneaks up on them with the help of his new ring, and finally wins some respect with his stealth and the tale of his escape. But the happy reunion proves short-lived; the company move on, coming to a clearing in the woods… and find themselves surrounded by howling wolves. We revisit the nature of wargs, showcase our limited botanical knowledge, and enjoy yet another philological joke from Professor Tolkien.
It’s been a long time since we’ve given you a chance to laugh at our misfortune, but Alan and I are happy to announce that we have some new outtakes posted to keep you entertained while you wait for our next episode on January 7!
The latest outtakes start on page 5 of the Outtakes section. Or view all of them starting here, and check back regularly for more silly mistakes and self-mockery from your hosts!