Down the Hobbit Hole

“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.”

It’s incredible how much ten short words can do, isn’t it? These were the first ten words I ever read by J.R.R. Tolkien, and they changed my life in several ways: by introducing me to my favorite author, by rekindling a dormant love for linguistics, and by starting me on a road that would eventually lead me (many years down the road) to a makeshift recording booth in my closet, where I have the pleasure of co-hosting a podcast that has brought me in touch with similarly minded Tolkien lovers all over the world.

I suspect many of you reading this had your first entry into Tolkien’s world through these ten words as well.  Continue reading

050 – You Have Kept Your Honor: The Lord of the Rings Film Trilogy

Put aside the books and join us at the movies! In this episode, Alan and Shawn discuss Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. We watch clips of our favorite (and not-so-favorite) changes and go back to Tolkien’s own words about film adaptation to understand why some worked and others didn’t. Blazing beacons, tragic deaths, Elves where Elves have no business being… they’re all here in this action-packed, star-studded, Oscar-winner-watching episode of the Prancing Pony Podcast! Video version available on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

For streaming audio and a transcript of the Tom Shippey lecture “Tolkien Book to Jackson Script: The Medium and the Message”, see the Swarthmore College website at http://www.swarthmore.edu/news-events/tolkien-book-to-jackson-script-medium-and-message. (Audio highly recommended!)

The essay “Another Road to Middle-earth: Jackson’s Movie Trilogy”, is published as Appendix C in the 2005 edition of Shippey’s The Road to Middle-earth, and is also available in other collections.

We’d love it if you would spend 30 seconds filling out this survey for our podcast host, Libsyn. No one will get your personalized data; only Alan and Shawn will get your email addresses, and if we get 250 responses, we will enter all email addresses into a drawing. Click here to complete the survey, and thank you!

Listen to the episode here or on YouTube

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Comments or questions for Barliman’s Bag:

  • Visit us at Facebook or Twitter
  • Comment on this blog post
  • Email theprancingponypodcast (at) gmail (dot) com.

Recommended Reading:

The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy (The Fellowship of the Ring / The Two Towers / The Return of the King Extended Editions) [Blu-ray]

Shippey, Tom. The Road to Middle-Earth: How J.R.R. Tolkien Created a New Mythology (Mariner Books, paperback)

Shippey, Tom. J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century (Mariner Books, paperback)

Doom, doom, doom.

If you’ve listened to the podcast enough, you’ve probably heard Alan and I make the bold claim that J. R. R. Tolkien never, ever made an accidental word choice in his writing.  Every single word was chosen quite deliberately, we like to believe, and so there’s no shame in delving deep into every single word choice to determine exactly what was in the Professor’s head at the moment of writing.  Of course, while we can’t know for sure, this is likely an exaggeration — surely even Tolkien occasionally chose words “just because” — but we’ll never know for sure, and we’ll keep on saying it. One thing that we do know for sure is that Tolkien understood words, and the history of words, well enough to know which one was right for his intended purpose; and that if he wanted to, he could use their histories and multiple shades of meaning to great effect.

One of our favorite words to delve into is doom.  Continue reading

006 – Tolkien Reading Day Special

Happy Tolkien Reading Day!  On March 25 every year – the date of the fall of Barad-dûr – Tolkien lovers worldwide celebrate by reading and promoting the Professor’s life and work. For this special, Alan and Shawn read and discuss favorite passages related to this year’s theme of Life, Death, and Immortality, and indulge in a little inter-fandom rivalry.

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. The Two Towers: Being the Second Part of The Lord of the Rings (Mariner Books, paperback), pp. 495-513, “The King of the Golden Hall”

Tolkien, J. R. R. The Return of the King: Being the Third Part of the Lord of the Rings (Mariner Books, paperback), pp. 812-820, “The Ride of the Rohirrim”; pp. 832-839, “The Pyre of Denethor”; pp. 1032-1038, Appendix A.v. – “The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen”

 

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!