065 – Lobbest Thou Thy Holy Pine Grenade

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.

And now, the firs — the illustration The Misty Mountains looking West from the Eyrie towards Goblin Gate by J.R.R. Tolkien: (artwork below copyright of The Tolkien Estate Limited or The Tolkien Trust)

And the version that was colored — not by Tolkien, but by H.E. Riddett — for The J.R.R. Tolkien Calendar 1976:

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Recommended Reading:

Tolkien, J. R. R. The Hobbit (Mariner Books, paperback) pp. 94-104, “Out of the Frying-Pan into the Fire”

Tolkien, J. R. R. and Douglas A. Anderson, ed. The Annotated Hobbit (HarperCollins, hardcover)

Rateliff, John D. The History of the Hobbit (HarperCollins, one-volume hardcover)

Tolkien, J. R. R. (Christopher Tolkien, ed.) Morgoth’s Ring (The History of Middle-earth, Vol. 10) (HarperCollins, paperback)

Judd, Walter S., and Graham A. Judd. Flora of Middle-Earth: Plants of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Legendarium (Oxford University Press, hardcover)

Scull, Christina, and Wayne G. Hammond. The Art of The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, hardcover)

064 – And Now, the Larch

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.

To learn how to recognize a larch from quite a long way away, watch the classic Monty Python’s Flying Circus sketch here: https://www.youtube.com/Tzmp8T2xX2A

The long-anticipated return of our Venn diagram on wolves, wargs and werewolves: (see also Episode 032 – Lady and the Tramp)

The original painting Taur-na-Fuin by J.R.R. Tolkien, which was later redrawn in ink as Mirkwood for The Hobbit: (see also Episode 041 – Make It So, artwork below copyright of The Tolkien Estate Limited or The Tolkien Trust)taur-na-fuin

Looking for the firs from the illustration The Misty Mountains looking West from the Eyrie towards Goblin Gate by J.R.R. Tolkien? See Episode 065 – Lobbest Thou Thy Holy Pine Grenade.

Listen to the episode here, on YouTube, or in the player below:

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Comments or questions for Barliman’s Bag:

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Recommended Reading:

Tolkien, J. R. R. The Hobbit (Mariner Books, paperback) pp. 85-94, “Out of the Frying-Pan into the Fire”

Tolkien, J. R. R. and Douglas A. Anderson, ed. The Annotated Hobbit (HarperCollins, hardcover)

Rateliff, John D. The History of the Hobbit (HarperCollins, one-volume hardcover)

Olsen, Corey. Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit (Mariner Books, paperback)

Scull, Christina, and Wayne G. Hammond. J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide (Two Volume Box Set) (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, hardcover)

Judd, Walter S., and Graham A. Judd. Flora of Middle-Earth: Plants of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Legendarium (Oxford University Press, hardcover)

063 – How Not to Be Seen

Concluding our trilogy of episodes on Chapter 5 of The Hobbit. Gollum begins to realize that Bilbo has his ring, and Bilbo begins to realize what it does. He uses its power of invisibility to escape from Gollum, but stops short of killing the wretched creature: an act of pity that will have great implications for Bilbo and for Middle-earth. We turn again to the first edition to see how Tolkien’s minor edits changed the ring from a magical trinket into an artifact of power with a will of its own, and your hosts thankfully retire their Gollum voices until The Lord of the Rings.

For the online article “Bag End – A Very English Place” referenced in our Tolkien Fun Fact about Jane Neave, please see the Tolkien Library website: http://www.tolkienlibrary.com/press/1065-Bag-End-A-Very-English-Place.php (hat tip to listener Trotter)

Listen to the episode here, on YouTube, or in the player below:

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Recommended Reading:

Tolkien, J. R. R. The Hobbit (Mariner Books, paperback) pp. 78-84, “Riddles in the Dark”

Tolkien, J. R. R. The Hobbit Facsimile First Edition (HarperCollins, hardcover)

Tolkien, J. R. R. The Fellowship of the Ring: Being the First Part of The Lord of the Rings (Mariner Books, paperback)

Tolkien, J. R. R. and Douglas A. Anderson, ed. The Annotated Hobbit (HarperCollins, hardcover)

Rateliff, John D. The History of the Hobbit (HarperCollins, one-volume hardcover)

Carpenter, Humphrey, ed. The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien (Mariner Books, paperback)

Olsen, Corey. Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit (Mariner Books, paperback)

062 – …Ere the Other Side He See

Our second episode on Chapter 5 of The Hobbit. Tension mounts as the riddle contest between Bilbo and Gollum continues, with Bilbo’s life at stake. His luck saves him in the final round, but when Gollum accuses him of not playing fair, he’s still very much in danger. We compare the current text to the first edition to see how Tolkien transformed Gollum from a hungry, but honest, monster into a “miserable wicked creature” corrupted by the One Ring. And we welcome a listener to the North Wing of the Prancing Pony in a new segment!

Listen to the episode here, on YouTube, or in the player below:

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Recommended Reading:

Tolkien, J. R. R. The Hobbit (Mariner Books, paperback) pp. 71-78, “Riddles in the Dark”

Tolkien, J. R. R. The Hobbit Facsimile First Edition (HarperCollins, hardcover)

Tolkien, J. R. R. and Douglas A. Anderson, ed. The Annotated Hobbit (HarperCollins, hardcover)

Rateliff, John D. The History of the Hobbit (HarperCollins, one-volume hardcover)

061 – Answer Me These Questions Five…

The first of three episodes on Chapter 5 of The Hobbit. Bilbo wakes up in the darkness below the mountains, and soon finds himself in a life-or-death riddle-game with one of Tolkien’s most infamous creations: Gollum. We begin to discuss the changes made to this chapter during the composition of The Lord of the Rings, as Tolkien’s understanding of Gollum and the ring changed. Also, we look to the Professor’s own words for context about the newly announced Amazon series in a new segment: The Tolkien Quote of the Day.

(EDIT: In this episode, we mentioned an illustration in a 1947 Swedish edition of The Hobbit depicting Gollum as four times the size of Bilbo. Our listener Trotter located an image of the illustration by artist Torbjön Zetterholm, which we’ve included below:

As well as this other unsettling depiction of Gollum by illustrator Tove Jansson from a 1950s edition of The Hobbit:

Our thanks to Trotter for these spectacular finds!)

Listen to the episode here, on YouTube, or in the player below:

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  • Visit us at Facebook or Twitter
  • Comment on this blog post
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Recommended Reading:

Tolkien, J. R. R. The Hobbit (Mariner Books, paperback) pp. 65-71, “Riddles in the Dark”

Tolkien, J. R. R. The Hobbit Facsimile First Edition (HarperCollins, hardcover)

Tolkien, J. R. R. and Douglas A. Anderson, ed. The Annotated Hobbit (HarperCollins, hardcover)

Rateliff, John D. The History of the Hobbit (HarperCollins, one-volume hardcover)

Carpenter, Humphrey, ed. The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien (Mariner Books, paperback)

Drout, Michael D. C., ed. J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: Scholarship and Critical Assessment (Routledge, paperback)

Hammond, Wayne G. and Christina Scull. The Lord of the Rings: A Reader’s Companion (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, hardcover)

060 – Questions After Nightfall I

It’s our first ever Prancing Pony Podcast Q&A episode! Alan and Shawn answer live questions from our very special guests, ranging from the fun to the philosophical. Topics include our favorite villains, the surprising similarities between goblins and dwarves, and the importance of reading Tolkien’s poetry aloud. Also Entwives, and the uncanny ability of goblins to recognize millennia-old Elvish swords.

Listen to the episode here, on YouTube, or in the player below:

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Comments or questions for Barliman’s Bag:

  • Visit us at Facebook or Twitter
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  • Click the green button at right
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Recommended Reading:

Tolkien, J. R. R. (Christopher Tolkien, ed.) The Silmarillion (Mariner Books, paperback)

Tolkien, J. R. R. The Hobbit (Mariner Books, paperback)

Tolkien, J. R. R. The Fellowship of the Ring: Being the First Part of The Lord of the Rings (Mariner Books, paperback)

Tolkien, J. R. R. The Two Towers: Being the Second Part of The Lord of the Rings (Mariner Books, paperback)

Tolkien, J. R. R. The Return of the King: Being the Third Part of the Lord of the Rings (Mariner Books, paperback)

Tolkien, J. R. R. (Christopher Tolkien, ed.) Beren and Lúthien (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, hardcover)

Tolkien, J.R.R. and Douglas A. Anderson, ed. The Annotated Hobbit (HarperCollins, hardcover)

Flieger, Verlyn. Splintered Light: Logos and Language in Tolkien’s World (Kent State University Press, paperback)

Olsen, Corey. Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit (Mariner Books, paperback)

Rateliff, John D. The History of the Hobbit (HarperCollins, one-volume hardcover)

059 – Run Away!

As we resume Chapter 4 of The Hobbit, Bilbo and friends are captured by goblins. Thorin Oakenshield’s name and reputation are known in these parts, and the Great Goblin does not take kindly to his arrival. Gandalf comes to the rescue with his shining Elven-sword, allowing our heroes a chance to escape… maybe. We get word-nerdy to explain Tolkien’s use of the terms ‘goblin’ and ‘orc’, have fun with goblin voices, and a Tolkien Fun Fact reminds us how different the Professor’s school days were from ours.

For the Mythmoot paper on pronunciation of Dwarvish names (“So How Do You Pronounce “Thrain” Anyway?” by Dr. Edward T. Powell) referenced by our listener Sharat, please see the Mythmoot III archives at the Signum University website:
https://signumuniversity.org/library/signum-digital-collections/mythmoot-2015/#epowell

Listen to the episode here, on YouTube, or in the player below:

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Comments or questions for Barliman’s Bag:

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Recommended Reading:

Tolkien, J. R. R. The Hobbit (Mariner Books, paperback) pp. 57-64, “Over Hill and Under Hill”

Tolkien, J.R.R. and Douglas A. Anderson, ed. The Annotated Hobbit (HarperCollins, hardcover)

Rateliff, John D. The History of the Hobbit (HarperCollins, one-volume hardcover)

Gilliver, Peter, Jeremy Marshall, Edmund Weiner. The Ring of Words: Tolkien and the Oxford English Dictionary (Oxford University Press, hardcover)

Carpenter, Humphrey. J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography (Houghton Mifflin, paperback)

Garth, John. Tolkien and the Great War: The Threshold of Middle-earth (Mariner Books, hardcover)

Garth, John. Tolkien at Exeter College (Exeter College, paperback)

058 – There Lies a Cave

In Chapter 4 of The Hobbit, our heroes begin the crossing of the mountains under threat of stormy weather and rock-hurling stone-giants. They seek shelter in a cave, but caves up in the mountains are seldom unoccupied, and this one is no exception. We investigate the nature of the mysterious stone-giants, a new Philology Faire segment unveils surprises in Tolkien’s original conception of Treebeard, and we get a little spooky for a listener question about the Dead Marshes.

Listen to the episode here, on YouTube, or in the player below:

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Comments or questions for Barliman’s Bag:

  • Visit us at Facebook or Twitter
  • Comment on this blog post
  • Click the green button at right
  • Email barliman (at) theprancingponypodcast (dot) com

Recommended Reading:

Tolkien, J. R. R. The Hobbit (Mariner Books, paperback) pp. 52-57, “Over Hill and Under Hill”

Tolkien, J.R.R. and Douglas A. Anderson, ed. The Annotated Hobbit (HarperCollins, hardcover)

Rateliff, John D. The History of the Hobbit (HarperCollins, one-volume hardcover)

Gilliver, Peter, Jeremy Marshall, Edmund Weiner. The Ring of Words: Tolkien and the Oxford English Dictionary (Oxford University Press, hardcover)

056 – He’s a Burglar and He’s OK

In Chapter 2 of The Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins wakes up to the pleasant lack of Dwarves. He’s beginning to think that he’s escaped adventure after all when Gandalf pushes him out the door. Immediately, little Bilbo misses the comforts of home, but the trouble is just beginning… and before they even reach the dangerous part of the road, he must test his burglarious skills on a trio of hungry, if illiterate, trolls. Plus, we let the Professor make the bad puns for once in a new Tolkien Fun Fact.

Listen to the episode here, on YouTube, or in the player below:

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Comments or questions for Barliman’s Bag:

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Recommended Reading:

Tolkien, J. R. R. The Hobbit (Mariner Books, paperback) pp. 27-42, “Roast Mutton”

Tolkien, J.R.R. and Douglas A. Anderson, ed. The Annotated Hobbit (HarperCollins, hardcover)

055 – Pining for the Hoards

We wrap up Chapter 1 of The Hobbit, “An Unexpected Party”, where Bilbo’s Tookish side is awakened by the mysterious dwarf-song filling his home, but his Baggins side is less enthusiastic once Thorin and Gandalf lay out the details of the dwarves’ quest. Will Bilbo stay safely in his comfortable hole, or will he rise to the challenge like his great golfing ancestor Bullroarer Took? Also: more word-nerdery as we talk about Tolkien’s use of the plural form ‘dwarves’ in the first installment of another new show segment: Philology Faire.

Listen to the episode here, on YouTube, or in the player below:

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Comments or questions for Barliman’s Bag:

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  • Email barliman (at) theprancingponypodcast (dot) com

Recommended Reading:

Tolkien, J. R. R. The Hobbit (Mariner Books, paperback) pp. 14-26, “An Unexpected Party”

Tolkien, J.R.R. and Douglas A. Anderson, ed. The Annotated Hobbit (HarperCollins, hardcover)

Carpenter, Humphrey, ed. The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien (Mariner Books, paperback)