The Tolkien Road Podcast

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The Tolkien Road (formerly known as Talking Tolkien) is to Tolkien podcasts what Wayne’s World was to late-night public access broadcasting. WAY!

Co-hosts John and Greta Carswell explore Tolkien’s works chapter-by-chapter. Come take a leisurely stroll through Middle-earth and get lost along the way! Home of the (soon-to-be) world famous Tolkien Haiku Extravaganza…


Podcast Episodes

29 thoughts on “The Tolkien Road Podcast

  1. Mr. Carswell,
    I think that preface that says “only a part of the poem, as a rule, is remembered” means that as a guide, only part of the poem is remembered because it is so long. The term “as a rule” can mean as a guideline, or how something is done. What do you think?
    Respectfully, Mary Grace


  2. I really dig your podcast. I started listening about two weeks ago and I’m all caught up and itching for more. I hope you get a chance to read The Children of Hurin someday because you would really appreciate more fully developed version of this tale. The words of Hurin and Morgoth are truly bone chilling (Morgoth’s curse, “And to those who you love my thought shall hang upon them as a cloud of doom and drag them into darkness and despair.”) as is the level of malice and cruelty of Glaurung.


  3. This one is for Greta. In the “Farewell to Lothlorien episode she asked if we had heard of Lembas before and you didn’t come up with the correct answer(s). When the company left Rivendell they were given a flask of eleven liquor called Mirovour (spelling). As for Lembas itself (you’re gonna love it) Melian gifted Lembas to Beren when he set out on the quest to retrieve the jewels, for the right to give the bread was held by the queen alone.


  4. Hello Mr. Carswell,
    So I am writing an article on three reasons to read Tolkien (which will be published as a guest post on a blog called The Red Book), and in it I discuss Tom Bombadil. As I was writing, a thought came to me: no one is exactly sure what Tom Bombadil is. He says that he was there before the roads were made and before the Elves came from across the Sea. Is it possible that he is a Maia? That seems (to me) a most logical theory of his race. What are your thoughts? Thanks so much!


    1. I will say I don’t think he is a Maia, but I think the best answer is that no one is exactly sure who Tom Bombadil is (not even Tolkien!). He is, according to Tolkien’s own word, an intentional enigma. He is “Eldest” according to Fellowship, though NOT Ilúvatar. I’d recommend checking the index of Tolkien’s Letters for references and seeing what Tolkien himself has to say about it. There’s no simple answer!


  5. Hey John and Greta,
    I was wondering if you guys have heard any music from the Lord of the Rings musical.
    If not, I highly recommend checking some YouTube videos. There is a lot of information surrounding the musical that I won’t get into but listen to The Road Goes On ( ). For some context; this song in the musical is about the Hobbits leaving The Shire. One of my favorite parts of the song is when the Hobbits come across the Elves. You can hear the elves singing about how their time has come to leave Middle Earth.

    The musical was in production at the same time as the movies and had no influence on each other. It’s really cool to see the similarities between the Shire themes.

    It would be cool if you guys played the song on the podcast for all your listeners to hear. I’m not sure if there are any copyright issues or if you’d even want to play it. It was a treasure that one of my theater friends introduced me to and I have been sharing it the song to Tolkien fans in my life.

    Thank you guys for your conversation and creating a fun and informative environment for Tolkien fans.
    Caleb Santana

    I have emailed you guys before, regarding the 25th of march and it’s importance in the Hobbit story. My name is Aaron Caleb Santana, but I go by Caleb usually (I must have forgotten to change that when I submitted the post). Anyways, You have another Aaron who is active with the podcast so I decided to clarify a difference if I have any more involvement in the podcast.


  6. Hey John & Greta,
    Just started to listen to your podcast and now up to episode 4. I’ve been a huge fan of Tolkien since I first saw the movies. I started to collect as many books as I could on Tolkien to understand what his vision was. I’ve even been involved in the LOTR online game since 2010.
    I found your podcast totally refreshing and so informative that explained things that I was struggling to wrap my head around. Thanks to you both for making it a lot easier for me to understand the back stories.
    Personally, I found the Beleriand days and particular “The Children of Hurin” an absolutely awesome tale that I’d found so compelling that I found it hard to put down when I first red it.
    I hope to stay in contact if I need any information in the future.

    Corey Butler – Your Aussie Mate.


  7. Hey John and Greta,

    Your podcast is awesome! Thanks for it! I have started re-reading Lord of the Rings recently and discovered your podcast last week. I have downloaded all the episodes pertaining to the trilogy and I’m working through them as I read. It’s super awesome, thanks guys!


  8. Some comments on episode 64, Languages. I’m surprised that your guest didn’t mention the Elvish Linguistic Fellowship (ELF). They are publishing, with the permission of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien’s more technical language material. The latest issue of the journal, Parma Eldalamberon, has Qenya Spelling, Quendian & Common Eldarin Verb Structure, and Common Eldarin: Verb Structure. There is also a magazine publishing commentary and shorter pieces by Tolkien, Vinyar Tengwar. The latest issue features a presentation and analysis of the “Túrin Wrapper”, comprising a set of three untranslated Sindarin texts from the (probably early) 1950s pertaining to the “Túrins Saga”.

    The Markirya Poem is published in the essay A Secret Vice in the book The Monsters and the Critics. There it is given the English title The Last Ark.

    Thanks for consistently putting out the podcast. It takes effort. There is plenty of work both before and after the recording. I’ll keep listening, I’ve subscribed on my phone’s podcatcher.


  9. Still catching up on older shows. 0014 – Mythopoeia – Tolkien’s Poem for C.S. Lewis discusses that a star is not just a ball of gas.

    Lewis comes back to that in the Voyage of the Dawn Treader. The children meet a retired star and remark that a star is a ball of gases. The star replies, that isn’t true even in your world, that is just what a star is made of, not what it is.


  10. Hi John, I recently left you a review on itunes saying how I’d enjoyed having you both guide me through The Lord Of The Rings and was thinking about getting the Silmarillion and going all the way back to the start. I have now done this, stopping during the Fellowship and going all the way back to episode one so I can enjoy the full journey along with you guys. In doing so I came to the episode in which you respond to a negative comment that was left and I felt I had to respond to this further. I know how it feels to have people put down your creative efforts and how it can give voice to all the negative doubts. I realise this is also now ancient history for you as this happened back around episode 5 or 6 and you’re now closing in on 100, but no matter. I thought you dealt with this very impressively and your defence (as if defence were needed) of your efforts was very powerful, especially your quoting of CS Lewis. For my part, I am new to Tolkien and do not as yet have anyone to share my enthusiasm with to make it complete (my other half is unimpressed!), but your podcast helps fulfill that need for me. Yes, there are others doing similar things, and I have downloaded those also, but I feel that I’ve begun my journey with you and will end it with you also before listening to others. Your enthusiasm and creative efforts have led to someone in rural Scotland picking up and become engrossed in The Silmarillion who otherwise probably wouldn’t have, and I’m pleased that some unkind and unhelpful words have obviously not put you off. Long may you continue, and hopefully cover the entire works of Tolkien in the long run!


    1. Wow, thanks for the kind words Andrew! It’s funny, there really hasn’t been any negative feedback since early on, at least that I can remember. I think you just have to stay focused on the thing you feel called to make. That’s the lesson I take from Tolkien at least, for a number of reasons.

      I’m thrilled you’ve become engrossed in The Silmarillion. It’s a treasure!


  11. Hey John & Greta,
    I first sent a message to you both on Nov 29th, 2016. At that stage I had just listened to Episode 4. I have now just finished Episode 88 where you did mention my name and read my letter. Awesome. I have deleted all my other Podcasts and only listen to The Tolkien Road flat out and at every chance I get, to catch up to where you are now. I listen to the podcast when I’m driving to work in the morning, when I’m driving home at the end of the day, and even when I’m just working around the house.
    I like listening to all the correspondence that you have with your usual fans, ( Josh, Mary Grace, ect) and once I’ve caught up, to contribute my own thoughts and notes.
    I’m still loving the banter between you both, and it seems to me that you both have got a lot more comfortable behind the mic now. I used to have a hard time hearing Greta in the early episodes but that now seems to be rectified. Love G’s voice, very angelic.
    On a side note, I tried to get my eldest son to read LOTR ( he’s just turned 18), but was only interested in the movies (too much effort needed maybe, lol)), but now he wants to do marathon nights and watch all six Hobbit & LOTR movies in one go. If this is what is needed to keep him interested in Tolkien, so be it. I like your earlier idea John of turning The Silmarillion into a TV series. And as you said so it could capture everything in the book and not just the good bits.
    I must go now as I need to start on Episode 89 and catch up. Please keep up the awesome work and look forward to the next lot of podcasts.
    Corey Butler


    1. Corey – Wow! Thanks so much for the kind words. We truly appreciate your taking the time to say all of this about the podcast. It is a labor of love, and it’s always a huge boost to our resolve whenever someone offers up such a heartfelt appreciation. I’m thrilled that you’re just about caught up, and hope we’ll be receiving regular correspondence from you down the road…


  12. Hey J & G,
    I’m listening to the start of Episode 91, and you were both discussing the relevance between Heavy Metal music and LOTR. You mentioned Led Zeppelin, which I didn’t know about, but thanks for that. As a Headbanger myself, I thought I would bring to your attention, German Progressive Metal Band “Blind Guardian”, that in 1998, released an album titled “Nightfall in Middle-Earth”. As noted in Wikipedia, it states,
    Quote -;
    “It is a concept album based upon J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Silmarillion, a book of tales from the First Age of Middle-earth, recounting the War of the Jewels.[1] The album contains not only songs but also spoken parts narrating parts of the story. The cover represents Lúthien dancing in front of Morgoth. It is widely regarded as one of Blind Guardian’s most well-known and well-received albums in their discography.”
    There is also a bonus track titled “Harvest of Sorrow” on the remastered version of the album, which is about Túrin mourning the loss of his sister Niënor.
    There are other songs throughout their discography on Middle Earth, due to lead singer Hansi Kürsch being a huge Tolkien fan. I’ve followed this band for many years, and like The Tolkien Road, will continue to do so. It’s back to the podcasts. I need to catch up.
    Rock In Peace my friends
    Corey Butler


  13. G’day J & G,
    #youraussiemate here. I finally did it. I’ve now caught up on all the episodes, which in a way makes me sad, as I now have to wait a week for the next one to drop. Anticipation is a killer though, and patience isn’t one of my strong suits. I must remember not to be Hasty. Gotta love Treebeard.
    John, how did you go with the “Blind Guardian” that I mentioned in my message on March 2nd? Also, I need to mention that the band also did a song titled “Lord Of The Rings” on their album “Tales from the Twilight World” from 1990. It is a good folksie type of song that I’d think you’d like.
    Rock In Peace my friends.
    Corey Butler


    1. That song is pretty epic! Beautiful musicianship. Haven’t gotten to “Nightfall in Middle-earth” yet but it is on my listening list now, so I should be getting to it soon! Love the cover of that one (Lúthien in Morgoth’s throne room).


  14. Hello John and Greta. I’m a new listener and love listening to your podcast. I make spiral pipe for a HVAC business and so I have hours to myself in which I can listen to your podcast. I am currently reading the Simerillion for the first time and using the podcast as a companion as I move from one chapter to the next. It is extremely helpful and insightful as I journey through the book. My purpose in leaving a comment isn’t necessarily to contribute anything new or perhaps anything of any substance but to encourage you both and let you know how much I enjoy listening to the both of you. I have just reached the point in the podcasts where you have introduced theme music to Haiku Time. (I may or may not have danced like I was in a Tokyo club when it came on haha) I have really come to enjoy Haiku Time look forward to hearing what you both and others have come up with. Perhaps I will contribute my own when I am caught up on the episodes. Anyway, I digress, you guys are fun to listen to and seem to have a great chemistry together and I think that it comes through on the podcast. Thank you guys for what you do and inspiring me to explore the depths of Tolkien’s work.


    1. Hey Will – Thanks for the note. So glad to know you are enjoying the podcast! And it’s great to hear that you appreciate Haiku Time. That music was a lot of fun to create. Probably is more appropriate for a Tokyo night club than a podcast about Tolkien, but that’s the way we roll I guess! 😉

      Look forward to hearing from you again a little further down the Road!


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