Turning Point

In my previous essay for the Prancing Pony Ponderings series, I wrote of Frodo’s meeting with the Elves of Gildor Inglorion’s company in the Woody End in Book I of The Lord of the Rings as an initiation into the mythic world, and found in that topic an excuse to count pages and words. This time around, I turn to another transition point later in the story; and not to be outdone by myself, I am not only counting pages, but I have also prepared a line graph. (In my next Prancing Pony Pondering, I intend to use integral calculus to prove that Tom Bombadil is Eru Ilúvatar.¹)

There are approximately 1145 pages in the standard paperback edition of The Lord of the Rings – including appendices, indices and forewords – making the midpoint of the text the chapter encompassing pp. 562-573: Book III, Chapter X, “The Voice of Saruman.” Continue reading

Tolkien’s 125th Birthday Giveaway!

We are pleased to share a special announcement! On January 3, The Prancing Pony Podcast will be releasing a special episode in honor of Professor Tolkien’s 125th birthday – and just like a good hobbit, we are giving away gifts to celebrate! We’ll be drawing the names of two lucky winners.

The first drawing is really straightforward: anyone who has submitted a question to Barliman’s Bag since the beginning of the podcast – up until the deadline of November 27 – will be eligible. So, if you haven’t sent us a question, get one in to us by November 27 and you’ll be eligible for this drawing. The prize? A copy of The Art of the Lord of the Rings: a beautifully-curated collection of Tolkien’s own artwork edited by Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull.

The second drawing is even more fun. In our birthday special, we’ll be raising our glasses to toast the Professor, and we invite you to join us by sending us your thoughts on what Tolkien means to you! You can submit this to us in writing or – here’s where it gets fun – send an audio file for us to play on the show. We’ll try to read or play all submissions, unless we get too many and have to choose. But whether we share yours on the show or not, you’ll be eligible for the drawing: a copy of the newly-released Facsimile First Edition of The Hobbit, your first chance in decades to read the story as it was originally published before Tolkien changed it in 1951.

Whether sending written comments or audio, we ask that you keep your submissions to 125 words or less, in keeping with the theme of 125 years of Tolkien and so we can hear from as many of you as possible. Please make sure to include your name and location at the beginning – for example, “Alan S from California … hoom, hm, hrum”. We may not be able to convert or cut audio files, so please keep them to 45 seconds or less (that’s about how long it takes to read 125 words) and submit them in 96kbps or higher .mp3 format as an email attachment to theprancingponypodcast (at) gmail (dot) com.

Although it pains us to say this, we are but humble podcast hosts, and cannot cover shipping costs of hardcover books to Tol Eressëa or Far Harad. Though anyone can win, we can only ship the books to US addresses. Our apologies.

Please remember that the deadline for both drawings is November 27 at 11:59 p.m. PST – that’s 7:59 a.m. on Nov. 28 UTC – so get your questions to Barliman and your thoughts in honor of the Professor to us before then at theprancingponypodcast (at) gmail (dot) com.

The Courage of an Ordinary Hobbit

As you may know, I rather enjoyed The Lord of the Rings films despite my occasional (albeit entirely reasonable) criticism of certain aspects. However, one of the things I especially didn’t enjoy was the way the they effectively made Frodo appear… well, weak might be one way to put it. From the removal of his heroically-defiant moment at The Flight to the Ford to the time he was duped by Gollum into sending Sam home on The Stairs of Cirith Ungol, the film version of Frodo is often soft and victim-like. Continue reading

004 – The Great War

This time, Alan flies solo over the battlefields of World War I and discusses both the explicit and the implied influences that the Great War had on Tolkien’s writings, while Shawn is safely away in the officers’ club in Edoras with a refreshing drink.

Listen to the episode here or on YouTube

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher or our RSS Feed

Comments or questions for Barliman’s Bag?

  • Visit us at Facebook or Twitter
  • Comment on this blog post
  • Or email theprancingponypodcast (at) gmail (dot) com.  Don’t forget to replace the words in parentheses with the usual symbols!

Recommended Reading:

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

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)

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

003 – The Origins of Quenya and Sindarin

Shawn takes a solo look at the real-world linguistic inspirations that shaped Tolkien’s invented Elvish languages, Quenya and Sindarin, while Alan is away doing whatever a Man of the West does on his day off.

Listen to the episode here or on YouTube

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher or our RSS Feed

Comments or questions for Barliman’s Bag?

  • Visit us at Facebook or Twitter
  • Comment on this blog post
  • Or email theprancingponypodcast (at) gmail (dot) com.  Don’t forget to replace the words in parentheses with the usual symbols!

Recommended Reading:

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

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

 

002 – The Myth-lover

We continue our introduction to J. R. R. Tolkien’s ideas on fantasy and myth with a look at his short poem dedicated to C. S. Lewis, “Mythopoeia” – a thematic companion piece to “On Fairy-Stories”. Also, polar bears.

Listen to the episode here or on YouTube

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher or our RSS Feed

Comments or questions for Barliman’s Bag?

  • Visit us at Facebook or Twitter
  • Comment on this blog post
  • Or email theprancingponypodcast (at) gmail (dot) com.  Don’t forget to replace the words in parentheses with the usual symbols!

Recommended Reading:

Tolkien, J. R. R. Tree and Leaf: Including “Mythopoeia” (Harper Collins, paperback)

Adams, Doug. The Music of The Lord of the Rings Films: A Comprehensive Account of Howard Shore’s Scores (Book and Rarities CD) (Alfred Music, hardcover)

001 – In Defense of Fantasy

In the first episode, get to know your hosts, Alan and Shawn, and learn about why we started the Prancing Pony Podcast.  We also discuss favorite moments from the life of J. R. R. Tolkien as told in Humphrey Carpenter’s biography, and introduce Tolkien’s ideas about the nature and purpose of fantasy as described in his famous essay “On Fairy-Stories”.

Listen to the episode! Click here or listen on YouTube.

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher or our RSS Feed

Comments or questions for Barliman’s Bag?

  • Visit us at Facebook or Twitter
  • Comment on this blog post
  • Or email theprancingponypodcast (at) gmail (dot) com.  Don’t forget to replace the words in parentheses with the usual symbols!

Recommended Reading:

Tolkien, J. R. R. Tree and Leaf: Including “Mythopoeia” (Harper Collins, paperback)

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

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

Debut Promo / Teaser

Good evening, little masters, and westu hál!

The Prancing Pony Podcast will be launching soon!  Our first episode will be released on February 21, 2016.

Follow the links below to hear an introduction from Alan and Shawn, the hosts of the Prancing Pony Podcast, and to subscribe so you won’t miss it … and for the latest news, please visit us at Facebook and Twitter!

If you have any Tolkien questions or comments you’d like to have read in our premiere episode, email us at theprancingponypodcast (at) gmail (dot) com.

Farewell for now, but like Mr. Bilbo Baggins of Bag End, we’ll be back again …

Listen to the teaser! click here or listen on YouTube.

RSS Feed – Subscribe to the Prancing Pony Podcast: click here

UPDATE: We are now available on iTunes and Stitcher! Be hasty, little hobbits, and subscribe today so you don’t miss our first episode!