I’m usually not a big rereader, but I recently decided to revisit one of my long-time favorites, The Lord of the Rings. And naturally, being the podcast fiend that I am, I also went on a hunt for all the Lord of the Rings podcasts I could find to accompany me through my reread. I discovered there’s so much Tolkien-related goodness out there and had to share my best finds, so here’s a list of nine fantastic podcasts about The Lord of the Rings and beyond. Though a good number of these are similar in format as chapter by chapter analyses, there is a good range in approaches and focuses, making for a nice variety of shows that will appeal to passionate Tolkien scholars and casual fans alike.
Ezra and Lane, two old friends and long-time Tolkien enthusiasts, embark on a journey to reread The Lord of the Rings together (with plans to tackle the rest of Tolkien’s works afterward). With extremely long episodes (I’m talking upwards of three, even four hours) this podcast is best for listeners committed to lengthy, in-depth discussions or for long plane/train/car rides.
This podcast is not focused on reading through the books, but is instead a more general conversation about all things Tolkien. Each month, Ned, Oriana, and Jared take a look at the latest Tolkien-related news (recently, this mainly consists of updates about the upcoming Amazon series) and take turns choosing a different topic to explore in their main discussion. These monthly topics can range from the broad (like overarching themes in Tolkien’s works) to the more specific (like lesser-known stories from the legendarium). With less frequent episodes, this podcast would be a great pick for those who’ve already got a lot of listening material on their plate and can’t commit to yet another weekly discussion podcast.
Instead of a close reading of The Lord of the Rings, Lord of the Rings Minute presents a close watching of Peter Jackson’s film adaptations. Hosts Cassandra and Norman dissect the epic film trilogy (extended editions, of course) minute by minute. The two also watch through the film commentaries, making for a fun discussion not just about Tolkien’s story, but also about the process of producing the movies.
This podcast started in 2016 and is still going strong as Alan and Shawn gradually make their way through the entirety of Tolkien’s legendarium. They’ve taken a more chronological approach to their reading order and started with The Silmarillion, before getting to the more well-known stories of Middle-earth in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.
Caitlin, Rachel, and Emily are three Tolkien fans who, having grown tired of the rampant gatekeeping that can come with the Lord of the Rings fandom, decided to start this podcast to have a discussion of Tolkien’s works that is open to all. The three read through the books with a feminist perspective, and balance their love of the stories with critiques of the problematic aspects.
Mary Clay Watt, a complete Lord of the Rings newbie, reads through the books chapter by chapter for the very first time. Each episode features a guest (sometimes a big-time Tolkien fan, sometimes a fellow newcomer) who comes to join Mary Clay in her discussion of the read-through. If you’re a fan of the podcast Potterless (which Mary Clay was partly inspired by), this is definitely one worth checking out!
This is another chapter by chapter discussion of The Lord of the Rings, this time between four academics who study various areas of literature and language. They go through the text with particular emphasis on their own areas of expertise, as well as connections to their own lives. Each episode also includes a segment in which they try to look at Tolkien’s work through the lens of a different “random-ass theme” (their words), which are truly arbitrary topics ranging from Star Wars to colonialism to toilet paper.
If you’re like me and always wished you’d had the opportunity to take a class devoted to Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings in college, look no further than The Tolkien Professor. This podcast is a series of lectures and discussions that examine Tolkien’s works from an academic point of view, presented by Professor Corey Olsen of Washington University in Maryland. The podcast started back in 2009, so there’s over ten years’ worth of juicy material to really sink your teeth into.
Here’s another long-running podcast (it started in 2015!) that continues to work its way through Tolkien’s works chapter by chapter. John, who studies and writes about Tolkien, and Greta, who is more of a casual reader, take “a long walk through Middle-earth” in hopes of making all parts of the legendarium—especially the denser texts like The Silmarillion—as approachable as possible for all.
For more awesome podcast recs about another beloved fantasy series, check out this list of the best Harry Potter podcasts! And of course make sure to check out the other Lord of the Rings themed content in our archives as well!