#33—“Treebeard” (Part II)

#33—“Treebeard” (Part II)

We discuss the sad history of the Ents and Entwives. But there are also silver linings in this half-chapter, like the notion of having a network of friends in one’s old age. Nathan analyzes the hell out of the name “Quickbeam.”

Courage has been deemed the theme of this chapter. We examine the motives of the Ents in their sudden—hasty?—departure for Isengard.

RANDOM-ASS THEME: Wifi outages

#32—“Treebeard” (Part I)

#32—“Treebeard” (Part I)

What is it like to be an Ent? This episode—or half-episode, since we think “Treebeard” has got enough to work with for two full shows—gives us an anthropological overview of a new species, the Ent, just as we learned about Orcs in the previous chapter.

Of course, Ents are anything but new, and have a rich cultural heritage which we are made privy to in this chapter. We discuss the contemplative lens through which Ents see the world.

RANDOM-ASS THEME: Going viral

#31—“The Uruk-Hai”

#31—“The Uruk-Hai”

Are Orcs inherently evil? This chapter offers a rare insight into Orcish life. With (yet another) Matt as our special guest, we talk in particular about the essentialization of Middle-Earth species.

Much of this week’s discussion is devoted to answering the question: Could an Orc ever be good?

RANDOM-ASS THEME: Plastic bags

#30—“The Riders of Rohan”

#30—“The Riders of Rohan”

In this episode, in the spirit of Éomer’s exchange with Aragorn, we discuss how to make decisions in tough or novel political times. We also examine—carrying on the discussion from last chapter—what may be seen as the absurdity of Aragorn’s hope that Merry and Pippin may yet be alive.

We also see a huge amount of Anglo-Saxon—that is to say, Old English—influence in this chapter, in people- and place-names in the kingdom of Rohan. We will be on the lookout for more such encroachments from Tolkien’s day job as an Old English philologist in future chapters!

RANDOM-ASS THEME: Couches

#29—“The Departure of Boromir”

#29—“The Departure of Boromir”

The Tolkien Heads are back in action after our winter hiatus! In this episode we jump right into The Two Towers.

In a slightly reworked format for the chapter review, Nathan declares this chapter’s theme to be decisions, and indeed the chapter is packed with decisions, choices, and minor crises. We focus in particular on Aragorn’s decision-making process, and a few examples that lend themselves to analysis.

RANDOM-ASS THEME: Summer lounging

#28—Movie Review: The Fellowship of the Ring

#28—Movie Review: The Fellowship of the Ring

It finally happened: the Tolkien Heads sat down and watched the extended edition of Peter Jackson’s The Fellowship of the Ring (2001).

In what we hope to be an exciting and engaging final episode before a brief winter hiatus, the Heads delve into every aspect of this transformation from book to big screen. We make some criticisms about the film adaptation, but also manage to deem some changes from the book as improvements.

Do you agree with our reactions? Let us know in the comments!

#27—Interview: Prof. Walter Judd

#27—Interview: Prof. Walter Judd

In this special episode we interview Dr. Walter Judd, professor emeritus of botany at the University of Florida and co-author of Flora of Middle-Earth: Plants of J. R. R. Tolkien’s Legendarium. While this book serves as centerpiece to our discussion (after we learn what exactly a flora is), we also talk about the phenomenon of plant blindness and work through our guest’s favorite passage from The Lord of the Rings. Finally, Prof. Judd gives some pointers for those interested in learning more about their own local flora.

You can learn more about the Flora of Middle-Earth at its OUP site.