Episode 62
May 6, 2024

Are We the Baddies?

Hosted by Jared Pechaček, Ned Raggett, and Oriana Schwindt

Jared, Oriana and Ned discuss Oriana’s choice of topic: the Rohirrim. As personified most clearly by three key members of its royal family – the elderly but reenergized king Théoden, his passionate, driven niece Éowyn and his equally loyal and fearless nephew Éomer – the people of Rohan come across in The Lord of the Rings as a noble people, proud but warm-hearted, willing allies to both surviving members of the Fellowship after its breaking and to their long-time geopolitical partner Gondor, whose Stewards long ago gave the land that became their kingdom to them. Yet more than once in the narrative there are signs that this was not a universally welcome situation to other peoples of the area, as well as moments that seem to suggest a casual cruelty – or much worse – at the heart of the Riddermark in its history, something further underlined by the short history of the nation Tolkien created for the book’s appendices. With a key story from that short history soon to be dramatized via the anime production The War of the Rohirrim later this year, a look into these complexities is well worth considering. What are the possible connections to Tolkien’s own understanding of imperialism and colonialism, both as he directly experienced it and in the larger context of his legendarium? How do the jarring moments that suggest something darker in Rohan’s ruling elite and its soldiers play out across the centuries, and is there a wider complicity with attitudes that adaptations like Peter Jackson’s put more to the fore? What kind of possible wish fulfillment was Tolkien looking for in creating the Rohirrim, as he discussed it himself in his letters and other conversations? And just how wound up is Helm anyway if he can kill someone with one punch?

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Show Notes.

Jared’s doodle. It says it all. (If you need a little context…)

Look, we know we keep saying it, but you really can preorder The West Passage, and you should!

Rose City Comic Con! Happening in September! Go see Jared!

The redone revival of the Lord of the Rings musical comes to Chicago, so check it out for more info. (And don’t forget our episode on the original production.)

A report on Paul Corfield Godfrey’s planned Lord of the Rings opera from TheOneRing.net

The Rohirrim! There’s been a lot thought and written about them.

The War of the Rohirrim is due later this year indeed, after having its original March opening date changed due to last year’s strikes.

Our Ghân-buri-Ghân episode, with more on the Druedain.

The Dunlendings kinda really just get the shaft throughout history.

When you’re talking the Roman Empire and then the Anglo-Saxons, the Welsh did go through a lot.

The Tough Guide to Fantasyland is truly, truly wonderful, funny and essential. All hail Diana Wynne Jones!

Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan is the specific chapter in Unfinished Tales. Ted Nasmith’s second painting of the key scene is his favored one, but the first one works too.

TheOneRing.net’s summary of the Annecy panel last year.

Helm Hammerhand. He’s…well, he’s got anger issues.


And yes, Shōgun was pretty goddamn great. Anna Sawai in particular.

The Habsburgs did at least escape the Romanov fate. (Karl is the current head.)

Our Éowyn episode!

The rider who encountered Théoden en route to Helm’s Deep was Ceorl.

Not the exact Anglo-Saxon horse head Ned was thinking of but this one from a Staffordshire find is quite something. And then there’s the Sutton Hoo burial mound and what was found within…

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