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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 ...
 
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Overcome by despair at the sight of the Witch-king’s army, Frodo fears that his quest has already failed. But ever-practical Samwise snaps him out of it, and Frodo continues on with determination despite his lack of hope. Gollum leads them up two sets of stairs that are definitely not up to code, and finally to a passage that… uh, might not be watc…
 
When the lights go down near the city of the Ringwraiths, Gollum is anxious to continue east as quickly as possible. Frodo and Sam follow, heedless of the danger — which is all around in this place where even the flowers are twisted and foul, the watchtower inexplicably revolves, and an evil army is about to issue from the gates any minute now. All…
 
A new day begins, but doesn’t quite “dawn”, and Gollum leads the hobbits down to the cross-roads. They clearly aren’t in decent places anymore, with loud noises and orc graffiti keeping them all on edge (not to mention no decent tea house for miles). But a ray of sunshine at the right time and place reminds them that not all hope is lost. We discus…
 
Frodo, Sam, and Gollum leave Henneth Annûn and continue on their quest with Faramir’s blessing and two (not three) shiny new hobbit-sized walking sticks. Gollum is totally over that betrayal business at the pool and surely isn’t planning any kind of revenge, which is nice; and there’s nothing at all creepy about the fact that they have to stay off …
 
Be hasty to tune in as Alan and Shawn welcome Clifford Broadway to The Prancing Pony Podcast! Clifford (also known as Quickbeam) has been on staff at TheOneRing.net since 1999, nearly from the beginning. We catch up with him for a conversation about the history of TORn, his work co-writing and co-producing the documentary film Ringers: Lord of the …
 
Frodo convinces Gollum to leave the Forbidden Pool, not without some feelings of regret at his betrayal of the wretched creature. After a brief interrogation, Faramir is satisfied that Gollum knows nothing and won’t come back to this secret place, and hands him into Frodo’s keeping along with a decree that Frodo himself may walk free in Gondor for …
 
Frodo is awakened by Faramir in the middle of the night to be treated to a sight he did not expect: a familiar-looking creature fishing in the pool below the waterfall. After Faramir pokes more gentle fun at Anborn’s inability to distinguish an emaciated hobbit from a squirrel or kingfisher, Frodo asks for mercy for the creature, whom he reveals to…
 
Alan and Shawn once again welcome listeners to the common room for our latest Q&A episode! This time we answer questions about themes in Tolkien’s legendarium, talk about favorite niches in Tolkien fandom, and even discuss what keeps characters going when hope fails. Also, why did it take so long for the king to return to Gondor? Why do some charac…
 
Bring a friend and come along with us for our seventh annual celebration of Tolkien Reading Day, observed every March 25 in honor of the fall of Barad-dûr. This year’s theme chosen by the Tolkien Society is Love and Friendship. We’ve selected some of our favorite passages from the legendarium to showcase the theme, including friendship that spans g…
 
Faramir continues wowing the hobbits with his knowledge of Gondorian history, prompting Sam to one-up him with a recitation of his new spoken word piece “Fifty Things I Love About Galadriel”. But the talk of Lórien opens the door to a conversation about the lesser qualities of Faramir’s brother, and Sam (disarmed by the freely flowing wine) lets sl…
 
It’s supper time at Henneth Annûn, and Faramir‘s men set out the evening meal. Soon the plates and the goblets are full (then empty, then full again) and Frodo and Faramir are chatting away about ancient history and current events, minus one or two topics that are best avoided at the dinner table. We observe the only real religious ceremony in The …
 
Frodo learns the identity of the wandering wizard Faramir calls the Grey Pilgrim, and it’s exactly who he thinks (which is to say it’s not John Cleese in horned headgear). But that just means there’s more bad news to share, this time the news of Gandalf’s fall in Moria. As Faramir learns more, he gets closer to the dark secret carried by the halfli…
 
Too soon? Probably so, because Frodo’s just learned that Boromir is dead — oh, and the guy interrogating him is the brother of the deceased. He questions Faramir’s vision of the funeral boat, but Faramir has no doubt of what he’s seen… fortunately, over the course of their conversation, he manages to dispel all doubts about Frodo’s honesty as well.…
 
Sam awakens from his nap (honestly, the guy can sleep anywhere) to find Frodo standing before the Rangers of Ithilien, as if on trial. Faramir presses the witness for information about his quest, but the conversation keeps coming back to Boromir as Sam listens in steadily rising anger at the implications being made towards his master. We see what h…
 
In a startling parallel to a moment that took place six years ago, we launch an entirely new Tolkien-related podcast! Enjoy this teaser trailer for The Prancing Pony Podcast Presents: 'The Rings of Power' Wrap-up, and stay tuned for more!The Prancing Pony Podcast による
 
With Gollum missing in action, Frodo and Sam get ready to flee from whoever is making the mysterious bird-calls. Soon they’re trapped by tall men with tall spears and tall bows, and explaining themselves is going to be a tall order. But before the hobbits can give the Rangers of Ithilien a full account of who they are, what they’re doing, and wheth…
 
While Frodo rests, Gollum is away hunting for something to eat besides lembas. He returns with two rabbits, which Sam is happy to make a meal out of — but two cooks in this kitchen is too many, and Gollum objects to Sam’s plan to stew the rabbits instead of eating them raw... not to mention build a fire to do so, and make Gollum do all the grocery …
 
After the sun sets on the Black Gate, Frodo, Sam, and Gollum set out and take the road south towards Minas Morgul. They soon find themselves in the “garden of Gondor”: Ithilien, a land of fragrant herbs and other exotic flora that even Sam does not have names for in the horticultural word-hoard of his mind. We let the sensory imagery wash over us a…
 
There must be some kind of way out of here… and in fact, it’s right down the road to the south, to the side door into Mordor near Minas Ithil (which Gollum doesn’t seem to realize has been renamed under the new management). But it is guarded, of course — and not just by Orcs. We investigate an apparent discrepancy in Gollum’s recollection of where …
 
Move over, Saruman! There’s a new contender in the running for Worst Curb Appeal in Middle-earth, and he’s got noise coming out of the place at all hours to boot. But after taking in the awesome unpleasantness of Sauron’s front porch and the utter certainty of capture and death, Frodo realizes with grim determination that he has to continue with hi…
 
Just in time for the holidays, it’s the gift that keeps on giving: a new Q&A episode! We answer timely questions about Frodo, Sam, and Gollum as they make their way to Mordor, and offer up our brutally honest opinions about whether every member of the Fellowship actually did something important (we’re looking at you, Legolas). Plus many more, inclu…
 
The wraith on wings is gone, and our heroes appear not to have been noticed. But as the marshes come to an end and the walls of Mordor loom closer, Sméagol is at odds with himself — literally — on what to do next. Sam watches quietly as the two personalities within Sméagol-Gollum’s mind argue with each other, and intervenes just in time to ensure F…
 
Frodo and Sam follow their travel guide Gollum through the Dead Marshes — it’s not the tour package we would have chosen, but who are we to judge? — and are far more shaken up than Gollum is by the fact that the marshes actually have, y’know, dead in them. But never mind the terrifying things below, because there’s a new terrifying thing above maki…
 
Sméagol proves to be willing and able to show Frodo and Sam the way to Mordor, now that his promise on the Precious keeps him from running away (though Sting is still at hand to police him if necessary). But Gollum proves he’ll always be king of pain when he totally overreacts to the elf-smell coming off the lembas his companions are eating. Once h…
 
Alan and Shawn welcome John Howe to the Prancing Pony Podcast! Over the past several decades John has established himself as one of the most enduringly popular Middle-earth artists, and his work has appeared in numerous books and calendars (including the Tolkien Calendar 2021), and earned him a role as a conceptual artist for Peter Jackson’s The Ho…
 
Gollum is disinclined to acquiesce to Frodo’s request to lead them to Mordor, and he tries to escape when he thinks the hobbits aren’t looking. Sam has thirty ells’ worth of good reasons for Gollum to stay put, but the Elvish rope burns his skin (as of publication, Lothlórien Ropeworks has not issued a recall, and neither Haldir nor “One of Those F…
 
Three episodes into the chapter, we finally meet Sméagol… and the other fellow sharing his brain. Sam jumps the creeping, crawling creature at the bottom of the cliff, which goes about as well for Master Gamgee as one might expect. Fortunately, Frodo’s got his back, and the sight of Sting convinces Gollum that if he loves some precious, he should s…
 
The shrieking cry of what might sound like a Ringwraith if they weren’t destroyed forever at the Ford of Bruinen (They were, right? Right!?) makes Frodo lose his grip and his sight while climbing down a cliff. He manages to land on his feet on a ledge not far below, but he can’t get back up or down without a rope, which Sam just so happens to have,…
 
We finally begin our readthrough of Book IV of The Lord of the Rings with “The Taming of Sméagol”! All alone after fleeing Parth Galen, Frodo and Sam are lost among the barren slopes of the Emyn Muil, seeking a way down to the stinking bog below (zero stars for this hiking tour). But how alone are they, really? Are the two eyes following them attac…
 
One does not simply walk into Mordor without a recap, so before we start our readthrough of Book IV of The Lord of the Rings, we’re reviewing previous chapters to reacquaint ourselves with a couple of characters we haven’t seen for a while (no one special; just Frodo and Sam, the guys whose mission really matters here). After a look back at the sto…
 
It’s our first live Q&A episode of the season, which means Alan and Shawn have got our speculating caps on for another round of questions from our guests! We field questions on the married life of the Valar (but not in the way you’re thinking), the size of Hobbit feet, and an almost forgotten fight between Galadriel and Dol Guldur. Plus, opinions o…
 
For the second time in history, Alan and Shawn throw a party of special magnificence to celebrate a milestone: 222 episodes of the PPP! Once again, we look back at some of our best moments from the past eleventy-one episodes, as chosen by our listeners. From foolish digressions to inappropriate pop culture references, smart observations to great re…
 
We start our sixth season in style by welcoming Carl F. Hostetter to the podcast! In addition to his role as chief editor of Vinyar Tengwar, Carl has authored articles on Tolkien’s languages for decades. We catch up with him about his lifetime of scholarship and his highly anticipated new edition of unpublished manuscripts by Tolkien himself: The N…
 
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…
 
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 investiga…
 
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 pl…
 
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 Sar…
 
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 Middl…
 
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 instructo…
 
The reunited members of the Fellowship of the Ring (minus Gandalf, who’s off hobnobbing with kings and trees) get some valuable bro time amid the flotsam and jetsam of Isengard. Merry and Pippin have a lot to account for — and an angry Dwarf to appease — so they ply their friends with salted pork and pipe-weed while catching them up on the story si…
 
The company reaches Isengard and discovers that property values have tanked in recent months, and it’s no wonder why when they see how poorly Saruman’s been maintaining his yard. Holes in the ground fume and glow with unnatural light, the place is flooded, and piles of stone and broken masonry hint at some recent battle. But strangest of all to the…
 
As the company exits the mysterious forest, Legolas looks back and is enchanted by the trees and their eyes — a perfectly ordinary thing for trees to have, obviously. Before Gimli makes a run for it out of pure self-preservation, Legolas is snapped out of it by Gandalf, who offers no real explanation (again) and urges them to press on along the roa…
 
After a long night, the heroes of Helm’s Deep reunite on the grass by a stream near a forest that, uh, wasn’t there yesterday… but we’ll get to that later. Legolas and Gimli check the final score of Uruk Slayfest 3019, showing the Dwarf ahead by a head, but less interested in bragging rights than in the Glittering Caves he found in the Deep. Gandal…
 
If you missed out on the PPP’s first-ever digital moot, here’s a chance to hear what you missed — or relive it, if you were there — in this episode recorded live during the second day of the moot! Alan and Shawn invited all attendees to join and ask any question, and they did… from fate and free will in Tolkien’s works (again), to underwater SPBMI,…
 
An explosion rocks the Deeping Wall, and soon there are more as Saruman’s blasting fires make what little hope the heroes had go up in smoke. But as dawn approaches, Aragorn still believes that victory may come with the new day, and Théoden realizes it’s better to burn out than fade away. We see Gimli’s martial prowess on display, investigate what …
 
The Rohirrim, led by Théoden and Éomer (with lots of help from Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli), man the Deeping Wall and the Hornburg as Saruman’s assault on Helm’s Deep begins. A quick flash of lightning in the darkness reveals overwhelming odds, but Aragorn and Éomer draw swords together and keep morale high, even while rammers nearly break through …
 
Théoden and Gandalf lead the host of the Rohirrim towards the fords of the Isen to strengthen the forces holding back Saruman’s army. But when they meet a rider coming back from the front line with news of defeat, Théoden takes Gandalf’s counsel and changes course for Helm’s Deep and the mighty fortress of the Hornburg. We look at Unfinished Tales …
 
Théoden offers Wormtongue one last chance to redeem himself, but the counsellor is disinclined to acquiesce to his lord’s request. As Gríma’s stain is (literally) washed away, Gandalf and the king catch up on the history of Saruman’s treachery and the damage already done in Rohan before riding out to do something about it, leaving the fearless and …
 
Upon entering the Golden Hall, Gandalf is challenged once again; this time by Wormtongue, the king’s counsellor who may not exactly have Rohan’s best interests in mind. Gandalf puts the worm in its place (before Gimli can dissect it for smack-talking Galadriel) and then leads Théoden out into the light, to healing and hope for victory against Iseng…
 
Our heroes ride up the long and winding road that leads to Théoden’s door, but first they have to get through two sets of guards. Fortunately, Gandalf’s polyglottal talents get them through the first gate into Edoras, and they’ll be allowed into Meduseld itself just as long as they check their weapons at the door… their ancient, irreplaceable, pric…
 
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