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Best Alan Sisto podcasts we could find (updated December 2019)
Best Alan Sisto podcasts we could find
Updated December 2019
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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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Alan and Shawn are thrilled to welcome back Brian Sibley for his first full-episode interview! A writer and broadcaster, Brian has been responsible for beloved adaptations of Tolkien’s work such as the BBC radio dramatizations of The Lord of the Rings and Tales from the Perilous Realm. He’s also written several books on Peter Jackson’s films, f ...…
 
The Council of Elrond draws to a close, and options are finally debated about what to do with the One Ring. But the easy way is obviously the wrong way, the hard way seems impossible; and frankly, you know the committee is running out of ideas when “give the doomsday weapon to the guy in the yellow boots who sings all the time” is a proposal un ...…
 
Frodo finally learns why Gandalf never came as promised: Saruman the (Until Recently) White has turned to the dark side! The betrayal sinks in as the wizard tells the tale of his imprisonment at Orthanc and his rescue by Gwaihir, swiftest of the Great Eagles. With the Council finally caught up, they turn to the real question: what to do with th ...…
 
Gandalf and Elrond come to terms with their own past mistakes while Aragorn reveals the lengths to which he’s gone to repair the faults of Isildur. As the story continues to unfold, the truth becomes clear to all at the Council of Elrond: Frodo’s ring is the One Ring cut from the hand of Sauron, and Gandalf isn’t afraid to use strong words — in ...…
 
The Council of Elrond continues with a brief history of Arnor and Gondor since Isildur’s time, and Boromir begins to learn the meaning of the riddle that brought him to Rivendell. He takes the revelation of Aragorn’s identity surprisingly well; but he still has questions, prompting another tale from Bilbo about the finding of the Ring. We hear ...…
 
The Council of Elrond begins, and to help us bring the meeting to order, we welcome Corey Olsen — the Tolkien Professor himself — to the Prancing Pony Podcast! We start with a conversation about the nature of Rivendell itself, then dive into the text to untangle the various accounts at a pace none of us are quite used to. Along the way, we revi ...…
 
With his friends all gone, Frodo stays in the Hall of Fire listening to the minstrels of Rivendell. The Elvish singing speaks to him in sweet accustomed ways, and he wanders enchanted for longer than time can remember... returning only when he hears a familiar voice chanting. We give Bilbo’s Song of Eärendil the full Prancing Pony Podcast treat ...…
 
Now taking a straight and stronger course to recovery, Frodo feels it’s time for food, drink, and merrymaking. He has a brief reunion with Sam, then with Merry and Pippin before they’re all moved on to the hall for a feast. Each way he turns his head, Frodo is surrounded by fair and powerful folk; but he has a pleasant (if cautious) dinner conv ...…
 
We return to the text of The Lord of the Rings with the first chapter of Book II! Frodo awakens in Rivendell after the incident down by the river to find Gandalf beside him. Now that it’s all over and done, Frodo is relieved to find that he and his friends are alive and whole, but as he learns more about events since Weathertop, he realizes how ...…
 
Alan and Shawn welcome a cozy group of listeners to the common-room for another round of live, unscripted questions about Tolkien, the podcast, and more! We return to the Ford of Bruinen to figure out exactly what happened, and even look back on the early adventures of the Hobbits in Book I of The Lord of the Rings. We court controversy with qu ...…
 
That’s what Vizzini told us to do, so we have. As we shake off the jet lag and learn to live again without full English breakfasts and a steady supply of fish and chips, we look back at Book I of The Lord of the Rings, revisiting the recurring themes in the story so far. Then we look ahead to Book II, and the new themes and tone that will emerg ...…
 
Alan and Shawn reunite in person for a live recording from Tolkien 2019 in Birmingham, England! We interviewed several special guests at the conference, including returning guests (Marquette University archivist Bill Fliss, authors Dimitra Fimi and John Garth) and some first-timers: legendary artist Ted Nasmith, Richard Medrington — the man beh ...…
 
We end Season 3 by welcoming Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull to the podcast! This renowned husband-wife team have co-authored some of the most essential books in Tolkien studies. In addition to several volumes on Tolkien’s art (such as J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator) they’ve given the world The Lord of the Rings: A Reader’s Compani ...…
 
Strider is remarkably not disappointed that the Elf who’s overtaken them on the road is not his girlfriend. It’s Glorfindel of Rivendell; and for listeners who remember our episodes on the fall of Gondolin, we’ll not only answer the question of whether this Glorfindel is really that Glorfindel, we’ll also delve into Tolkien’s essays to understa ...…
 
Strider’s path to Rivendell leads the hobbits through rough terrain; all the while, the days get colder and Frodo gradually succumbs to the evil effects of the Witch-king’s blade. A bad situation starts to look even worse when Pippin and Merry catch a glimpse of three trolls ahead — and if that sounds familiar to you, then you scored higher tha ...…
 
Frodo awakens, wounded and bewildered, after the attack on Weathertop. Believing they’ve been led into a trap, Sam is certain (again) that Strider is not to be trusted, but the Ranger proves himself useful (again) by treating the wound with athelas, a healing herb of the Dúnedain. The wonder drug doesn’t work wonders, but it eases Frodo’s pain ...…
 
Alan and Shawn are pleased to welcome Greg Hildebrandt to the Prancing Pony Podcast! An iconic artist and illustrator, Greg (together with his twin brother Tim as the Brothers Hildebrandt) helped a generation of readers visualize Middle-earth in the Ballantine Books J.R.R. Tolkien Calendars from 1976 to 1978, and continues to create fantasy and ...…
 
It’s our most Bombadilicious episode yet! Once again, Alan and Shawn open the common-room to listeners for live, unscripted questions that we answer on the spot as best we can. This time around we tackle several questions about Rings of Power (and the people who wear them), the optics of invisibility, and how not to purloin poultry. Also, some ...…
 
Evening falls on Weathertop, and our heroes make camp beneath the stars with the Black Riders not far away. Strider tells stories to chase away their fears, covering most of The Silmarillion in a lot less time than we did. But in the darkest night, the Black Riders sneak up on the camp, and Frodo is suddenly overcome by a desire to disappear. W ...…
 
Strider leads the hobbits through the mysterious (and not entirely comforting) ruins of ancient kingdoms of Men along the road to Weathertop, with the hope of meeting Gandalf there. The Ranger’s knowledge of ancient lore surprises the hobbits nearly as much as Sam’s does; and as they roll up to the hill, they discover they’re not the only ones ...…
 
Black Riders attack the inn during the night, so Strider opts for an early check-out to get out of Bree quickly. They soon discover that Merry’s ponies are missing, delaying their departure; but Barliman, uh, ponies up the money to compensate their losses and buys them one underfed beast of burden for the road. Bill Ferny (now twelve silver pen ...…
 
Frodo reads Gandalf’s letter, more concerned than ever at the wizard’s absence and the delay caused by Barliman. But at least the letter confirms Strider’s identity, and Frodo is wise enough to choose to trust him. Sam’s continued protests give the Ranger a chance to be tempted by the Ring, but he keeps his self-control; and before long Merry r ...…
 
We begin with a review of the new biographical film Tolkien (spoilers: see below) before moving on to the first half of Book I, Chapter 10. Frodo, Sam, and Pippin retire to their parlor after the “accident” in the common-room, only to find the mysterious Ranger called Strider there with them. Strider seems to know a lot about their errand, but ...…
 
Cast in his unlikely role as “Mr. Underhill”, Frodo tries to keep a low profile at the Prancing Pony. But the attention he’s getting from a shady-looking Ranger approaches the unreal, and someone has to distract the room from the loose-lipped Pippin. Frodo handles the situation with insufficient tact, delivering a speech and a song that offer t ...…
 
Frodo and his friends make their way to Bree, and to an inn with a strangely familiar name, in the first half of “At the Sign of the Prancing Pony”. The Men of Bree are an independent people, cheerful and friendly as a rule… but Sam is nervous with all these Big Folk and bigger buildings about, and Frodo stays on his guard while Pippin makes fr ...…
 
In January, Alan and Shawn were honored to be the keynote speakers at Signum University’s second annual Texas Literature & Language Symposium (“TexMoot”) in Waco, Texas! Our talk, recorded live, explored podcasts as modern-day mead-halls providing a virtual place for communities to come together around a work of literature. We shared our experi ...…
 
In the final pages of “Fog on the Barrow-downs”, the hobbits — now armed with nice, shiny daggers — reluctantly take their leave of Tom Bombadil. Before we say goodbye to Tom, we give the greatest enigma in Middle-earth the full Prancing Pony Podcast treatment! We answer listener questions, respond to popular theories, and assemble a council’s ...…
 
As we resume “Fog on the Barrow-downs”, Frodo comes to and finds himself trapped in a barrow with his friends unconscious beside him, arrayed eerily in the buried treasures of long-dead lords. For a moment, Frodo is tempted to flee with the Ring and leave his friends behind, but there is a seed of courage hidden in the heart of every hobbit, an ...…
 
We begin the chilling chapter “Fog on the Barrow-downs” on the hobbits’ last morning in the house of Tom Bombadil and Goldberry. Soon they must be off again and into the haunted hills beyond; but they should be safe if they just keep to the west side of the barrows and get out of the downs before sunset, so let’s just see how that works out for ...…
 
Happy Tolkien Reading Day! On March 25 every year – the date of the fall of Barad-dûr – Tolkien lovers worldwide celebrate by reading the Professor’s works. A theme is chosen by The Tolkien Society every year, and for 2019 the theme is Tolkien and the Mysterious. Join Alan and Shawn as we read favorite passages from The Lord of the Rings and Un ...…
 
Alan and Shawn once again welcome several of our listeners to the Prancing Pony Podcast for live, unscripted “Ask Me Anything”–style questions. In this episode, we give our best on-the-spot answers to questions about the power of the Elven Rings, Tolkien’s maps of Middle-earth, Gandalf, Sauron, and even the dreaded Watcher in the Water, with no ...…
 
The hobbits experience a rain delay the morning after their first night in the house of Tom Bombadil, and Frodo couldn’t be happier. While Goldberry does her “washing”, Tom regales his guests with stories, but after supper Frodo starts telling his own tale, even the parts about the Black Riders and the Ring. What will happen when the “Eldest” c ...…
 
Frodo and friends get comfortable in the first half of “In the House of Tom Bombadil,” and Alan and Shawn finally begin to unwrap the enigma that is Tom and his wife Goldberry. While the hobbits eat and drink as only famished hobbits can, we dive into Tolkien’s letters, poetry, and more for clues to the nature of our mysterious hosts and their ...…
 
For the first time ever, the Prancing Pony Podcast is proud to release one of our patron-exclusive episodes to our general audience. In this special originally released in October 2018, we take a serious look at a topic that’s not always easy to address. Tolkien’s work has occasionally been labeled as racially insensitive or (in some cases) out ...…
 
It’s nap time in the Old Forest as our heroes gradually succumb to the power of an ancient and angry willow. Sam rolls a natural 20 to resist the spell and manages to save Frodo, but Merry and Pippin are trapped inside the enormous tree. Just when all seems hopeless, a merry old fellow comes hopping along with a unique fashion sense and some ve ...…
 
Frodo and his companions enter into the Old Forest in the first part of Book I, Chapter 6 of The Lord of the Rings. Merry has been beyond the Hedge before and does his best to guide them, but it’s hard to navigate a forest when the trees won’t stop moving. Something or someone is making a path before them, leading them inexorably into the deepe ...…
 
Alan and Shawn are celebrating their eleventy-first episode with a party of special magnificence! But instead of inviting you to a feast and risking a possible appearance by the Sackville-Bagginses, we’re looking back at a few dozen of our best clips from the first three seasons of the PPP, nominated by our listeners. From the silliest jokes to ...…
 
A conspiracy is finally unmasked in the second half of “A Conspiracy Unmasked”! Frodo’s dread turns to relief when he learns his friends already know much more than he gave them credit for. They insist on leaving with him and promise to stick to him through thick and thin — all except for Fredegar, who finds those creepy, sniffing Black Riders ...…
 
In the first half of Book I, Chapter 5 of The Lord of the Rings, the Hobbits cross the Brandywine and come to Frodo’s new digs at Crickhollow, where a hot bath and all the comforts of home await them. Frodo does his best to enjoy a well-earned second supper and good company, but a dark cloud hangs over him as he dreads having to tell his friend ...…
 
The second half of “A Short Cut to Mushrooms” finds Frodo almost as scared of Farmer Maggot as he is of the Black Rider following him. His fears are quickly eased, however, and he finds a good friend in an unexpected place. We discuss the hospitality of hobbits (and their mistrust of outsiders), talk with our North Wing guest about the value of ...…
 
We begin the new year with a Tolkien Fun Fact in honor of the Professor’s birthday before starting on Book I, Chapter 4 of The Lord of the Rings, “A Short Cut to Mushrooms.” Frodo, Sam, and Pippin wake up after the Elf-party refreshed and encouraged, and soon fall into a false sense of security… but a piercing cry on the wind reminds them that ...…
 
In what has officially become an annual event, join Alan and Shawn as they use the wayback machine to revisit episode 028 in this special director's cut re-release of our episode on Letters From Father Christmas. Marvel at how far we've come since our early days, but mostly enjoy the charming adventures of Tolkien's creations at The North Pole!…
 
It’s time once again for Alan and Shawn to welcome several visitors to the Prancing Pony! Hear us stay mostly on topic as we attempt to answer live, unscripted “Ask Me Anything”–style questions about The Lord of the Rings and much more. We revisit recent mailbag questions on Bilbo’s wealth and the Dead Men of Dunharrow, say a few premature word ...…
 
Now with more Elves — for a limited time only! Book I, Chapter 3 of The Lord of the Rings concludes with a meeting between our hobbit heroes and the company of Gildor Inglorion in the Woody End. We reach back into The Silmarillion for a recap of the Elf kindreds, and turn to one of Tolkien’s letters (guess which one!) for a reminder of their de ...…
 
We return to Book I, Chapter 3 of The Lord of the Rings to find Frodo, Sam, and Pippin still in high spirits as they stroll through the Shire. Before long, though, they realize that they’re being followed by a shadowy, sniffing black rider. We talk about the “unpremeditated turn” that transformed Tolkien’s Hobbit sequel into something darker an ...…
 
We begin Book I, Chapter 3 of The Lord of the Rings, “Three is Company”. After months of preparation, Frodo sells Bag End. He leaves home with Sam and Pippin on a pretense of moving back to Buckland, but before they even get to the bottom of the Hill, there are already hints that he is being followed. A new installment of Meanwhile, Elsewhere i ...…
 
Draw the sword from the stone and light the grail-shaped beacon as we welcome Sørina Higgins — editor of the award-winning book The Inklings and King Arthur — to the Prancing Pony Podcast! We discuss the various ways each of the Inklings adapted the Arthurian legend for the twentieth century, including Tolkien’s incomplete poem The Fall of Arth ...…
 
In the final pages of Book I, Chapter 2, “The Shadow of the Past”, Gandalf recounts how he found Gollum and filled in the gaps in the Ring’s history. Frodo begins to understand what he must do; and while he’s not exactly eager to do it, he won’t have to do it alone. We spend some time on Gandalf’s words to Frodo about the importance of pity, an ...…
 
In the second of three episodes on Book I, Chapter 2, “The Shadow of the Past”, Gandalf gives Frodo a brief history of the Rings of Power and the tragic tale of how the One Ring came to Sméagol, better known as Gollum. But Frodo finds some parts of the story hard to swallow, especially the one that wanders around making a gurgling sound in its ...…
 
Years have passed since the farewell party, and as the first part of Book I, Chapter 2, “The Shadow of the Past” unfolds, Frodo has come into his own as the new resident oddball at Bag End. But rumor begins to reach the Shire about a growing shadow in the East, and soon Gandalf returns (after not quite seventeen years) with foreboding news abou ...…
 
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