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Irregular Podcast! #5

2007-02-22: Irregular Podcast! #5 - "They said it couldn't be done." (10:29, 2.41 MB)

Transcript

WARNING: This podcast has been recorded by complete nerds.

[intro theme, whistling]

Gandalf
Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,     Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone, Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,     One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.     One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,     One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

Voiceover
They said it couldn't be done.

The Gaffer (Sam's dad)
A very nice well-spoken gentlehobbit is Mr. Bilbo, as I've always said.

Old Noakes of Bywater
But what about this Frodo that lives with him? Baggins is his name, but he's more than half a Brandybuck, they say. It beats me why any Baggins of Hobbiton should go looking for a wife away there in Buckland, where folks are so queer.

Daddy Twofoot (the Gaffer's next-door neighbour)
And no wonder they're queer, if they live on the wrong side of the Brandywine River, and right agin the Old Forest. That's a dark bad place, if half the tales be true.

The Gaffer
You're right, Dad! Not that the Brandybucks of Buck-land live in the Old Forest; but they're a queer breed, seemingly. They fool about with boats on that big river - and that isn't natural. Small wonder that trouble came of it, I say. But be that as it may, Mr. Frodo is as nice a young hobbit as you could wish to meet. Very much like Mr. Bilbo, and in more than looks. After all his father was a Baggins. A decent respectable hobbit was Mr. Drogo Baggins; there was never much to tell of him, till he was drownded.

Voiceover
The Ultimate True Fan Edition of The Lord of the Rings.

Bilbo
My dear Bagginses and Boffins, and my dear Tooks and Brandybucks, and Grubbs, and Chubbs, and Burrowses, and Hornblowers, and Bolgers, Bracegirdles, Goodbodies, Brockhouses and Proudfoots.

Elderly hobbit
ProudFEET!

Bilbo
Proudfoots. Also my good Sackville-Bagginses that I welcome back at last to Bag End. Today is my one hundred and eleventh birthday: I am eleventy-one today!

Many voices
Hurray! Hurray! Many Happy Returns!

Voiceover
Unlike the travesty perpetrated by Peter Jackson.

Bilbo
Good-bye, Gandalf!

Gandalf
Good-bye, for the present, Bilbo. Take care of yourself! You are old enough, and perhaps wise enough.

Bilbo
Take care! I don't care. Don't you worry about me! I am as happy now as I have ever been, and that is saying a great deal. But the time has come. I am being swept off my feet at last.

The Road goes ever on and on
    Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
    And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
    Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
    And whither then? I cannot say.

Voiceover
Every line of dialogue Tolkien wrote.

Frodo
This ring! How, how on earth did it come to me?

Gandalf
Ah! That is a very long story.

Voiceover
Not a single cut.

Frodo
I wish I had never seen the Ring! Why did it come to me? Why was I chosen?

Gandalf
Such questions cannot be answered. You may be sure that it was not for any merit that others do not possess: not for power or wisdom, at any rate. But you have been chosen, and you must therefore use such strength and heart and wits as you have.

Frodo
But I have so little of any of these things! You are wise and powerful. Will you not take the Ring?

Gandalf
No! With that power I should have power too great and terrible. And over me the Ring would gain a power still greater and more deadly. Do not tempt me! For I do not wish to become like the Dark Lord himself.

Voiceover
The long-awaited appearance of Tom Bombadil!

Tom Bombadil
Whoa! Whoa! steady there! Now, my little fellows, where be you a-going to, puffing like a bellows? What's the matter here then? Do you know who I am? I'm Tom Bombadil. Tell me what's your trouble! Tom's in a hurry now. Don't you crush my lilies!

Voiceover
Every song Tolkien wrote.

Hobbits
Ho! Tom Bombadil, Tom Bombadillo!
    By water, wood and hill, by the reed and willow,
By fire, sun and moon, harken now and hear us!
    Come, Tom Bombadil, for our need is near us!

Tom Bombadil
Old Tom Bombadil is a merry fellow,
    Bright blue his jacket is, and his boots are yellow.
None has ever caught him yet, for Tom, he is the master:
    His songs are stronger songs, and his feet are faster.

Get out, you old Wight! Vanish in the sunlight!
    Shrivel like the cold mist, like the winds go wailing,
Out into the barren lands far beyond the mountains!
    Come never here again! Leave your barrow empty!
Lost and forgotten be, darker than the darkness,
    Where gates stand for ever shut, till the world is mended.

Wake now my merry lads! Wake and hear me calling!
    Warm now be heart and limb! The cold stone is fallen;
Dark door is standing wide; dead hand is broken.
    Night under Night is flown, and the Gate is open!

Voiceover
See the complete Council of Elrond.

Elrond
Eärendil was my sire, who was born in Gondolin before its fall; and my mother was Elwing, daughter of Dior, son of Lúthien of Doriath. I have seen three ages in the West of the world, and many defeats, and many fruitless victories.

I was the herald of Gil-galad and marched with his host. I was at the Battle of Dagorlad before the Black Gate of Mordor, where we had the mastery: for the Spear of Gil-galad and the Sword of Elendil, Aiglos and Narsil, none could withstand. I beheld the last combat on the slopes of Orodruin, where Gil-galad died, and Elendil fell, and Narsil broke beneath him; but Sauron himself was overthrown, and Isildur cut the Ring from his hand with the hilt-shard of his father's sword, and took it for his own.

Voiceover
Hear the full tales of Elrond...

Elrond
Fruitless did I call the victory of the Last Alliance? Not wholly so, yet it did not achieve its end. Sauron was diminished, but not destroyed. His Ring was lost but not unmade. The Dark Tower was broken, but its foundations were not removed; for they were made with the power of the Ring, and while it remains they will endure. Many Elves and many mighty Men, and many of their friends. had perished in the war. Anárion was slain, and Isildur was slain; and Gil-galad and Elendil were no more. Never again shall there be any such league of Elves and Men; for Men multiply and the Firstborn decrease, and the two kindreds are estranged. And ever since that day the race of Númenor has decayed, and the span of their years has lessened.

In the North after the war and the slaughter of the Gladden Fields the Men of Westernesse were diminished, and their city of Annúminas beside Lake Evendim fell into ruin; and the heirs of Valandil removed and dwelt at Fornost on the high North Downs, and that now too is desolate. Men call it Deadmen's Dike, and they fear to tread there. For the folk of Arnor dwindled, and their foes devoured them, and their lordship passed, leaving only green mounds in the grassy hills.

Voiceover
... of Boromir...

Boromir
Believe not that in the land of Gondor the blood of Númenor is spent, nor all its pride and dignity forgotten. By our valour the wild folk of the East are still restrained, and the terror of Morgul kept at bay; and thus alone are peace and freedom maintained in the lands behind us, bulwark of the West. But if the passages of the River should be won, what then?

Yet that hour, maybe, is not now far away. The Nameless Enemy has arisen again. Smoke rises once more from Orodruin that we call Mount Doom. The power of the Black Land grows and we are hard beset. When the Enemy returned our folk were driven from Ithilien, our fair domain east of the River, though we kept a foothold there and strength of arms. But this very year, in the days of June, sudden war came upon us out of Mordor, and we were swept away. We were outnumbered, for Mordor has allied itself with the Easterlings and the cruel Haradrim; but it was not by numbers that we were defeated. A power was there that we have not felt before.

Voiceover
... of Aragorn...

Aragorn
If Gondor, Boromir, has been a stalwart tower, we have played another part. Many evil things there are that your strong walls and bright swords do not stay. You know little of the lands beyond your bounds. Peace and freedom, do you say? The North would have known them little but for us. Fear would have destroyed them. But when dark things come from the houseless hills, or creep from sunless woods, they fly from us. What roads would any dare to tread, what safety would there be in quiet lands, or in the homes of simple men at night, if the Dúnedain were asleep, or were all gone into the grave?

Voiceover
... of Bilbo...

Bilbo
But I will now tell the true story, and if some here have heard me tell it otherwise, I ask them to forget it and forgive me. I only wished to claim the treasure as my very own in those days, and to be rid of the name of thief that was put on me. But perhaps I understand things a little better now. Anyway, this is what happened.

Voiceover
... of Legolas...

Legolas
It was that very night of summer, yet moonless and starless, that Orcs came on us at unawares. We drove them off after some time; they were many and fierce, but they came from over the mountains, and were unused to the woods. When the battle was over, we found that Gollum was gone, and his guards were slain or taken. It then seemed plain to us that the attack had been made for his rescue, and that he knew of it beforehand. How that was contrived we cannot guess; but Gollum is cunning, and the spies of the Enemy are many. The dark things that were driven out in the year of the Dragon's fall have returned in greater numbers, and Mirkwood is again an evil place, save where our realm is maintained.

Voiceover
... of Gandalf...

Gandalf
And now I will answer Galdor's other questions. What of Saruman? What are his counsels to us in this need? This tale I must tell in full, for only Elrond has heard it yet, and that in brief, but it will bear on all that we must resolve. It is the last chapter in the Tale of the Ring, so far as it has yet gone.

Voiceover
Then later hear Gandalf re-summarise the entire plot.

Gandalf
What then shall I say? This in brief is how I see things at the moment, if you wish to have a piece of my mind as plain as possible. The Enemy, of course, has long known that the Ring is abroad, and that it is borne by a hobbit. He knows now the number of our Company that set out from Rivendell, and the kind of each of us. He supposes that we were all going to Minas Tirith; for that is what he would himself have done in our place. And according to his wisdom it would have been a heavy stroke against his power. Indeed he is in great fear, not knowing what mighty one may suddenly appear, wielding the Ring, and assailing him with war, seeking to cast him down and take his place. That we should wish to cast him down and have no one in his place is not a thought that occurs to his mind. That we should try to destroy the Ring itself has not yet entered into his darkest dream. In which no doubt you will see our good fortune and our hope. For imagining war he has let loose war, believing that he has no time to waste; for he that strikes the first blow, if he strikes it hard enough, may need to strike no more. So the forces that he has long been preparing he is now setting in motion, sooner than he intended. Wise fool. For if he had used all his power to guard Mordor, so that none could enter, and bent all his guile to the hunting of the Ring, then indeed hope would have faded: neither Ring nor Bearer could long have eluded him. But now his eye gazes abroad rather than near at home; and mostly he looks towards Minas Tirith. Very soon now his strength will fall upon it like a storm.

For already he knows that the messengers that he sent to waylay the Company have failed again. They have not found the Ring. Neither have they brought away any hobbits as hostages. Had they done even so much as that, it would have been a heavy blow to us, and it might have been fatal. But let us not darken our hearts by imagining the trial of their gentle loyalty in the Dark Tower. For the Enemy has failed - so far. Thanks to Saruman.

Gimli
Then is not Saruman a traitor?

Voiceover
See the Entmoot as it should have been portrayed.

Ents
[talking really reeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaalllly sloooooooooowwwwly]

Voiceover
Hear characters describe events that just happened somewhere else.

Aragorn
It was a bitter struggle, and the weariness is slow to pass. I spoke no word to him, and in the end I wrenched the Stone to my own will. That alone he will find hard to endure. And he beheld me. Yes, Master Gimli, he saw me, but in other guise than you see me here. If that will aid him, then I have done ill. But I do not think so. To know that I lived and walked the earth was a blow to his heart, I deem; for he knew it not till now. The eyes in Orthanc did not see through the armour of Théoden; but Sauron has not forgotten Isildur and the sword of Elendil. Now in the very hour of his great designs the heir of Isildur and the Sword are revealed; for I showed the blade re-forged to him. He is not so mighty yet that he is above fear; nay, doubt ever gnaws him.

Voiceover
Experience Frodo's uncertainty at the way ahead.

Sam
Begging your pardon, Mr. Frodo, but have you any notion how far there is still to go?

Frodo
No, not any clear notion, Sam. In Rivendell before I set out I was shown a map of Mordor that was made before the Enemy came back here; but I only remember it vaguely. I remember clearest that there was a place in the north where the western range and the northern range send out spurs that nearly meet. That must be twenty leagues at least from the bridge back by the Tower. It might be a good point at which to cross. But of course, if we get there, we shall be further than we were from the Mountain, sixty miles from it, I should think. I guess that we have gone about twelve leagues north from the bridge now. Even if all goes well, I could hardly reach the Mountain in a week. I am afraid, Sam, that the burden will get very heavy, and I shall go still slower as we get nearer.

Sam
That's just as I feared.

Voiceover
See the entire scouring of the Shire, and the reintroduction of important characters, like Young Tom.

Young Tom
Why, they even took Pimple's old ma, that Lobelia, and he was fond of her, if no one else was. Some of the Hobbiton folk, they saw it. She comes down the lane with her old umbrella. Some of the ruffians were going up with a big cart.

"Where be you a-going?" says she.

"To Bag End," says they.

"What for?" says she.

"To put up some sheds for Sharkey," says they.

"Who said you could?" says she.

"Sharkey," says they. "So get out o' the road, old hagling!"

"I'll give you Sharkey, you dirty thieving ruffians!" says she, and ups with her umbrella and goes for the leader. near twice her size. So they took her. Dragged her off to the Lockholes, at her age too. They've took others we miss more, but there's no denying she showed more spirit than most.

Voiceover
And finally, the end.

Sam
Well, I'm home.

[music]

Voiceover
Appendix A
ANNALS OF THE KINGS AND RULERS

These are the names of the Kings and Queens of Númenor: Elros Tar-Minyatur, Vardamir, Tar-Amandil, Tar-Elendil, Tar-Meneldur, Tar-Aldarion, Tar-Ancalimë (the first Ruling Queen). Tar-Anárion, Tar-Súrion, Tar-Telperiën (the second Queen), Tar-Minastir, Tar-Ciryatan, Tar-Atanamir the Great, Tar-Ancalimon, Tar-Telemmaitë, Tar-Vanimeldë (the third Queen), Tar-Alcarin, Tar-Calmacil.

[fade to end theme, whistling]

Cast

Voiceover, Gandalf - David MM.
The Gaffer, Boromir - Loki P.
Old Noakes of Bywater, Elrond - David Mc.
Daddy Twofoot, Elderly Hobbit - Jason R.
Bilbo, Gimli - David K.
Frodo, Aragorn - Andrew S.
Tom Bombadil, Legolas - Zuzanna J.
Sam - Ian B.
Young Tom - Steven I.
Ents - All

Programme Notes

Yes, this podcast breaks my rule of each podcast being under 10 minutes long. But that's actually part of the point. Even the trailer for the Ultimate Fan Edition of The Lord of the Rings is longer than it really should be!

This was the most complex podcast so far, with two separate recording sessions and actual multiple takes of some parts*. Some bits are digitally sped up, but not by as much as you might expect. We recorded most of the dialogue with us speaking very fast. The entire podcast cut together before any digital speed-up was a shade under 13 minutes long, so the average speed-up is only around 20%.

The Entmoot is not altered in any way from the original recording. I was planning on slowing it down more and having it go for longer, but I didn't want to balloon the running time too much.

All of the text is taken directly from the book. There is one sentence missing from the middle of Gandalf's "re-summarise the entire plot" speech:

He knows now the number of our Company that set out from Rivendell, and the kind of each of us. [But he does not yet perceive our purpose clearly.] He supposes that we were all going to Minas Tirith; for that is what he would himself have done in our place.
That sentence was intended to be there, but there was a glitch in the recording at that point, and I wanted to get the podcast released rather than go back for a third recording session. The simplest thing was to cut the sentence out entirely. Thankfully, Tolkien's dialogue is so dense and redundant that it makes virtually no difference to the flow of the narrative.

The original idea for this podcast came from Andrew S.

* Boromir pronounced Ithilien as Ilithien for about the first 7 takes...


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