People of the Stars

When considering the place of the stars in the Middle-earth legendarium, two things likely come to mind: the figure of Varda/Elbereth, the Queen of the Stars who looms large in the pantheon of the Valar; and the name by which the Elves refer to themselves: Eldar, literally the “People of the Stars,” a name related to the Quenya word for star (elen) and whose roots lie in the exclamation ele, the first word spoken by the Elves when they awoke at Cuiviénen (The Silmarillion, p. 358).

But the Elves are not the only people associated with the stars; in fact, the legendarium began with a completely different “person of the stars.” Tolkien’s first mythic sub-creation that would become part of the later legendarium was the poem “The Voyage of Earendel the Evening Star” in 1914. Though it later served to connect the myths of the Elder Days with those of the Second and Third Ages through the character of Eärendil the Mariner, the concept of the traveler to Faërie with a star on his brow would bookend Tolkien’s literary career, repeated in the last work Tolkien would see published in his lifetime, Smith of Wootton Major, in 1967. Continue reading

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

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

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Comments or questions for Barliman’s Bag?

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  • 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!