As they explore the work of J. R. R. Tolkien, hosts Alan Sisto and Shawn E. Marchese welcome readers of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion, and the other works in the Middle-earth legendarium to tune in as they discuss favorite passages from the books and films that started the worldwide fantasy phenomenon.
Alan and Shawn engage in plenty of in-depth study of Tolkien's books, but with a healthy dose of self-effacing humor, pop-culture references, and bad puns. These are the two guys you'd want to hang out with at a pub and talk Tolkien with.
220 – The Worst of Times
While Gandalf and Aragorn ponder the evening’s events and finally identify the object of Pippin’s affections as the palantír of Orthanc, a Nazgûl flies overhead — which means it’s time for Gandalf and the sticky-fingered Took to exit, stage east. And as Shadowfax carries them over the plains at breakneck speed (not that any necks will be broken, we hope) we bring Book III of The Lord of the Rings to a close. But before we wrap the fifth season, a mailbag question about the podcast and listener expectations gets Alan and Shawn into introspective mode.
219 – Crystal Ball
With the Saruman situation handled, Gandalf settles in for a leisurely journey back to Helm’s Deep with Merry dangling behind him. Pippin, however, is obsessing over the shiny, round and apparently indestructible object Wormtongue threw out the window… and when nightfall comes, his Fool-of-a-Tookishness gets the better of him. We begin to investigate the palantír, word-nerd out on its (not yet used) name, and discuss its powers and limitations. Plus, what is the airspeed velocity of a winged Nazgûl… and why would a Dark Lord use the word ‘dainty’?
218 – Renegade
Unable to persuade Théoden, Saruman now tries to sway Gandalf, not realizing his former underling has gotten a promotion and executive sponsorship for his project since the last time they touched base. As before, Saruman totters between slick sweet-talking and explosive rage until finally Gandalf — amused/not amused — strips him of his staff and place on the White Council. We read Treebeard dialogue for almost the last time; unpack, hang, and whack the Fëanor piñata; and ponder what good Saruman might still have done for the war effort… if only.
217 – Fooling Yourself (The Angry Old Man)
Fully fed, fully caught up, and fully reeking of pipe-weed, our heroes enter Isengard, where Gandalf demands to speak with Saruman at the foot of Orthanc. The Until-recently-white Wizard refuses to come down or let visitors in, but the White-now-and-check-out-my-new-skills Wizard manages to get his attention, and the parley begins. But although Saruman has lost his armies and devices, he still has some weapons left: his voice, bitter anger, and possibly some kind of Vorlon powers (because it’s been too long since we got in a Babylon 5 reference).
216 – Questions After Nightfall 15
It’s time for another live Q&A episode, this time with more questions than ever before heard on a single episode of the Prancing Pony Podcast! Join Alan and Shawn as we field questions on Entish names, thralldom in Valinor, the unbearable vagueness of Gandalf, and the powers of the Elven Rings. A conversation about the importance of refuge in Middle-earth stirs our hearts, and a thought-provoking question about Rivendell in the Fourth Age gets us into speculation mode. Plus, another chance to look back on PPP Moot 2021… and much, much more!
215 – (Flash)Back in Black
The epic flashback continues as Pippin and Merry continue their story with a play-by-play account of the destruction of Isengard, expertly managed by their new partners at Fangorn, Bregalad and Associates. We catch up on Wormtongue’s whereabouts since being forcibly relocated, and see why Treebeard’s not giving up his day job to be a swim instructor for exiled traitors anytime soon. All this, plus a famous lecture, a celebrated biography of the Professor, and the Battle of the Somme in This Week in Tolkien History.
Tolkien: The Good Stuff
Found this podcast back in early August and it’s what helps me get through the work day. Thank you so much for doing this, just finished episode 50. Keep it up guys!
Tolkien with the Cool Kids
Shawn and Alan are great hosts. I feel like they’ve invited me to a party with all the cool kids. The special episodes with leading Tolkien scholars and artists are fantastic too. I came for the content, but I’m staying for the fun! I love hanging out with the community they have gathered online.
Informative and interesting!
Shawn and Alan do a great job of delving into the depths of Tolkien and his history, as well as the universe he created. They are very informative, and far from boring. They keep things interesting and “jive” well together. By far my favorite podcast!