Welcome to our Lord of the Rings podcast series! This was The Legendarium Podcast’s first series, so it’s a bit rough around the edges, but it’s also a ton of fun. Ryan Bruckman and Craig Hanks take on Tolkien’s masterpiece a few chapters at a time, giving Ryan (a first time reader) a chance to dive deep into all the great characters, worthless trivia, and life-changing philosophy. Enjoy!

The Fellowship of the Ring

Episode 1- Birthday Parties and Birthday Presents

Book 1, Chapters 1-2
We discuss the ways of hobbits, Bilbo Baggins as one of the 1% (doggone rich people!), and the setting of the massive story to follow.

Episode 2 – The Shire Goes Ever On…and On…and On…

Book 1, Chapters 3-5
Hitting the road, getting our first glimpse of Black Riders, and lots of first glimpses of what’s to come: poetry, themes, and elves. A salute to the worst accidental innuendo in all of fantasy literature. We also try to answer the question: Why on Eru’s green Middle-earth do we care about the origins of Brandy Hall?

Episode 3 – The Happiest Weirdo in all of Middle-earth

Book 1, Chapters 6-8
O Tom, Jolly Tom, Tom Bombadillo! Discussion includes the singing weirdo, barrow wights, and “mastery” vs. “domination”. We’ve left the Shire, and we’re now in the wide world, just like leaving real life and entering wild world of Fairy Tales. This is not Ryan’s best week as a contestant in CRAIG’S LORD OF THE RINGS TRIVIA.

Episode 4 – Striders and Riders

Book 1, Chapters 9-12
Picking up the pace, we go from Bree to the Ford of Bruinen, meet Strider, and run away from Black Riders–a lot.

Episode 5 – The Council of Elrond and other Elvish Nonsense

Book 2, Chapters 1-2
Welcome to Rivendell! We don’t go anywhere, but we hear a lot about many far away places, from many new and old characters. Elves count by twelves, and anyone who has been to Salt Lake City in the winter has seen Isengard in the flesh.

Episode 6 – Hello Balrog, Goodbye Gandalf

Book 2, Chapters 3-5
Finally, we get resolution on the biggest cliffhanger from The Hobbit: What in the world happened to Balin, son of Fundin? We’ll also say a tearful farewell to our trusty guide, Gandalf the Grey.

Episode 7 – Craig. Loves. Cate Blanchett.

Book 2, Chapter 6-10
Wrapping up the Fellowship, we delve into a timid discussion on religion, and Craig makes a controversial claim: Tolkien saw the future and imagined Cate.


The Two Towers

Episode 8 – Frightfully Treeish

Book 3, Chapters 1-4
An insanely difficult edition of Craig’s LotR Trivia, much to the chagrin of Ryan and special(ish) guest Brian. Discussion includes the origin of the Ents (they were created because of some cosmic marital strife) and the unfailing cheerfulness of Hobbits. Ryan can’t figure out why people like Treebeard and don’t like Tom Bombadil.

Episode 9 – Wormtongue: Finally, a name worse than Fatty Bolger

Book 3, Chapters 5-7
Ryan apparently has some serious problems with the names Tolkien is choosing. Craig can’t really blame him. Peter Jackson may have taken some liberties at Helm’s Deep, but that’s not so bad, considering how amazeballs it turned out. Craig basically reads a Middle- and Old-English dictionary on the air. Good times are had by all.

Episode 10 – Does your palantir get HD?

Book 3, Chapters 8-11
With special guest Rebecca (aka Geeklady). Maps! Craig encourages their liberal use as we make our way through the Two Towers. Ryan wonders if the LotR would be popular if it had been published today. The special guest rolls up “Craig’s LotR Trivia” and smokes it.

Episode 11 – The Return of the Hobbits

Book 4, Chapters 1-3
Special guest: Jeff Hewitt, a fantasy author from Georgia. Craig and Ryan celebrate their birthdays hobbit-style. Ryan finally identifies with a Middle-earth activity: rock climbing. Craig thinks Sam is getting a bit orcish in his behavior. Ryan identifies Tolkien’s greatest life lesson so far: get out and serve someone else, you selfish jackass.

Episode 12 – Faramir you big stud muffin you

Book 4, Chapters 4-6
Craig and Ryan man-crush hard over Faramir, the ultimate warrior poet.

Episode 13 – Someone has to write a Shelob spinoff

Book 4, Chapters 7-10
If there’s any good Shelob fan fiction out there, we need to know about it. Sam doesn’t need a conscience; he’s his own damn conscience.


The Return of the King

Episode 14 – Four Ways to Call a Hobbit to Dinner

Book 5, Chapters 1-5

Episode 15 – Numenorean History 101, with Professor Hanks

Book 5, Chapters 6-10
Special guest: Nick Jeter. Ryan and Nick have to endure Craig’s lessons on the history and family trees of the Numenoreans, their ancestors, and their descendents. Denethor’s despair is deemed decidedly damaging. How does Witch-king die? Well, we’re not quite sure, but then Ryan gets it with the help of the All-Powerful Internets.

Episode 16 – Ding Dong, the Ring is Gone

Book 6, Chapters 1-3
Ryan and Craig explore the…excellent?…disappointing?…something…death of the Ring of Power. This episode features Ryan at his most referential and bizarre. And maybe his most awesome.

Episode 17 – The Looooong Road Home

Book 6, Chapters 4-9.
This is it! Our final episode in our Lord of the Rings podcast series is a doozy, with Larry D Curtis from theonering.net joining us as we discuss the good, the great, and the tear-jerking in the last few chapters. Ryan loves the Scouring of the Shire, Craig thinks that rock he just passed might be an old elf-lord, and Larry thinks the Ring looks decidedly cross-shaped toward the end of the story.