From The Blog

Riddles in the Dark: Special Comic-Con Edition

It’s the “What happened at Comic-con?” episode on Riddles in the Dark! Tolkien Professor Corey Olsen and co-host Dave Kale are...

It’s the “What happened at Comic-con?” episode on Riddles in the Dark!

Tolkien Professor Corey Olsen and co-host Dave Kale are joined by Dave’s Riddles Digest co-host Trish Lambert for a triangular assessment of some of the information and possible misinformation swirling aroud The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey before and during Comic-Con. Among other tidbits, they cover:

One of the swirliest pieces of information and and a big source of conjecture was Peter Jackson’s comment that he had far more footage than needed for two movies and that he wants to do some additional filming next year. This sparked a rumor/prediction that a third movie is in the offing. In spite of denials from Warner Brothers, speculation continues to abound. And why shouldn’t we participate?  The question for this episode, therefore, is:

Conundrum #5:  Will they eventually make a sequel/bridge film (e.g., Aragorn’s back story)?

What do you think? Share your comments here and give Dave and Trish lots of material for their Digest discussion!

Note: Riddle #13 (listed below) was answered definitively by Peter Jackson almost immediately after we recorded our episode and well before our analysts could make predictions.  Thus, we have retired it and removed it from the game (and grid).  However, Conundrum #5 is alive and well (although we’ll warrant Corey, Dave, and Trish would like to reconsider their answers!).

Riddle #13: PJ says he wants to do some additional filming next year; what will it be for?

A.  They will split the second film in two, turning The Hobbit into a trilogy.
B.  They will squeeze the extra stuff into a very extended edition of the two films on DVD and Blu-Ray.
C.  They will put the extra stuff into a bonus short film (separate from the two main films) included only on the DVD and Blu-Ray editions.
D.  They will save it for a later sequel/bridge film, covering material from the chronological period between The Hobbit and The LOTR.

Download: .mp3 (right click and choose “Save As…” to download)



  1. Tony Meade July 24, 2012 at 11:35 am #

    Hey guys,

    I normally love the show, but this time I got about 15 minutes into it and finally said, “Guys, can we stop with the snark already?”

    Look, I’m as big a Tolkien literature nerd as anybody, but I also love the Peter Jackson movies, and I wouldn’t have become a Tolkien fan without them. I’m sure this is true of many people. I’m really excited about these films and I want to enjoy them, and from what I’ve seen, Jackson and company have done a pretty good job so far.

    It almost seems as though you guys have reached a point of wanting them to suck so that you can prove how much more you know about Tolkien than the filmmakers. Can we at least wait until the films come out before we go into how they got everything wrong?

    Thanks for letting me vent.


  2. The_Least_of_Rings July 24, 2012 at 7:29 pm #

    Just a minor comment – the link you have provided to Christopher Tolkien’s interview actually points to the scrolling image. :)

  3. Trish July 24, 2012 at 8:36 pm #

    Thanks for catching that! The link is now fixed!

  4. Jeff Chapman July 25, 2012 at 4:16 pm #

    Thanks for all your hard work on the Riddles in the Dark Series. I look forward to each new episode. The discussions are entertaining and insightful as they provide a new perspective on the text as we consider how the filmmakers might interpret/retell the story. Concerning other films, who owns the film rights to The Children of Hurin? I assume Christopher Tolkien has these locked up but I’ve never heard anyone say.

    Also, hearing so much about The Hobbit inspired me to rewrite “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” using Bilbo’s story. I found it amusing. You can check out “A Hard Dragon’s A-Gonna Fall” at

  5. Rachel July 25, 2012 at 4:55 pm #

    In the scoll image, the way Gandalf, Galadriel and Elrond are set up and framed in that photo create a ‘holy trinity’ image–they are the three most powerful good people in the film.

  6. Dr_Bombay July 26, 2012 at 1:34 pm #

    i have to say, i agree with Tony Meade — i have never yelled at one of your podcasts more than i did at this most recent one. it really does seem like you three are all descending into cynicism and petty snark, and are looking for things to complain about just for the sake of complaining. i mean… the lettuce on the table, bilbo’s perfectly hobbitish attire, and the size of the carrock, in an artist’s painted representation of scenes from a cinematic interpretation that isn’t even out yet? really?? please step back from the edge of madness!

    also, i almost fell out of my chair to hear professor olsen complain about the symbol that gandalf carved on bilbo’s door (my own personal favorite part of the entire piece) — i have long envisioned that it was indeed his “G” initial that was put on the door, and my totally unscientific survey of everyone i know who are also tolkien readers for 30+ years *also* said the same thing, without even blinking. my consultation of the book shows that yes, corey is technically correct that it does not say exactly what the symbol is, but how is it that so many people — including peter jackson and the artist(s), apparently — all agree that it was gandalf’s “G”? it makes perfect sense, really, since he used it in other places in the books, like on weathertop, to leave a quick sign for aragorn. it says, “hey, gandalf was here, this is the right spot.” thorin would understand that. either way, it doesn’t seem worth such a teardown as was given. i mean… accusing gandalf of “tagging bilbo’s door” is just outrageous.

    anyway, i don’t want my first post here to be all negative, so let me also say that i’ve been listening to prof. olsen’s podcasts for a very long time, and i tell everyone i know who is a tolkien fan about them. i love them, and i also really enjoy all the other podcasts i’ve found through it — RITD, Secrets of the Hobbit… all great fun. so thank you, and please keep them coming!

  7. Brent Sprinkle July 26, 2012 at 6:04 pm #

    I would like to comment on the Christopher Tolkien bit then give my response to the riddle. First off, I loved how all of you responded to the interview with Christopher. When I first read the interview myself, one of my first thoughts was “I wonder what Corey would say to this?” It kinda put me in a tough position and it made me feel that by participating in LOTR fan-based things and watching the movies I was somehow doing a disservice to Tolkien’s family. I don’t want that. I have the utmost respect for Tolkien’s love of the simple life and “good plain food” and want to give his family respect because without them there would be no LOTR. But, on the other hand, I was introduced to Tolkien by PJ’s movies and my life hasn’t been the same since. My response to the movies were of course first purely “this is an awesome action movie!” but it lead me to the books, languages, cultures and Tolkien’s life where I found something deeper and more enriching. The movies allowed me to find a hobby that I can indulge in with the security of knowing I won’t be dumber for it. I can enjoy myself, while learning and that is a rare find. I echo Trish when she said that it is a sad thing indeed that Christopher may not realize the impact his father’s work will have on people because of the movies and connected merchandise.

    As for the question, the possibility of more Hobbit material seems to be overdoing it. I mean, I would be okay with a third movie as long as the reason for it would be to do the story more justice on screen and not for a money making motivation. I can’t ignore when I first heard this news my first reaction was that of excitement. At the end of the day I am a Tolkien fan and the more Tolkien, the better. So my hopeful spirit is predicting A. As for the second question…sure…I’ll go for a big fat YES.

  8. Nathan R. July 30, 2012 at 2:13 am #

    I must wholeheartedly disagree with the folks who have condemned the snark…I am in full agreement with Corey and crew. I indeed be disappointed with PJ and Co. If all they threw on the door was a “G” rune. Every clue i have seen has pointed to something more, such as a universal symbol for a burglar. Gandalf used his rune on Weathertop in haste while fending off the attack of several Nazgül. Corey and crew were merely taking the point of view of purists who love the lore of these stories and having things oversimplified to ease the general movie going public’s attention span, while understandable, detracts from the story and removes a very important element of the story. Why would Gandalf laugh if all he was writing was his initial? To me it makes much more sense to have him laugh at the joke Bilbo’s expense.
    They even made it a point to say that they do not look down on PJ and Co. For what they do, but from the perspective of someone who started from the books and then saw the movies, there were very drastic changes that were and will be made that will not be readily accepted or understood by the”purists”. Just my two cents. Love the RITD, keep them coming and stay true to yourselves Corey and crew!

  9. Chris Stevens July 30, 2012 at 10:38 am #

    I liked Corey’s take on Christopher’s position. I respect him completely and sympathize with his position but I agree, he underestimates the impact the movies have made on the sales of the books we all love. Brent, I am very please to hear you say how you came to the books from the movies. I’ve always hoped that would be the case since the movies first came out.

    As to the comic-con ritd discussion being very negative, i didn’t really get that. I’m going to listen to it again today to refresh my memory. To me its easy to be cynical about an event that is purely marketing oriented. That is not really a criticism because that marketing is necessary but one has to filter through the hype.

    I agree that the symbol on the door and the lettuce are not really important but i forgive Corey and company their enthusiasm over the little things like that. They wouldn’t really be important to the general movie audience,but seeing that kind of detail paid attention to by the movie makers is kind of fun to think about.

    Cheers to all!
    Chris Stevens (Felagundian)

  10. Chris Stevens July 30, 2012 at 10:42 am #

    Hi Jeff,
    I believe JRRT only sold the film rights to the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings. Any other material, including the Children of Hurin would still be controlled by the Tolkien Estate since it is part of the Silmarillion material

  11. Shay Horan July 30, 2012 at 1:43 pm #

    Hi guys I am 15 an an avid listener but a first time commentor. I just HAD to comment as I am bouncing off the walls with excitement. PJ has send on his face book that their is going to be three movies ! He must agree with yous in that their is too much awesomeness for just two movies. So now where do you think the spit will be and how long do you think each film will be.
    Keep up the brilliant podcasts

  12. Harry J July 30, 2012 at 2:24 pm #

    I’m gonna go with ‘A.’ Call it a hunch. 😉

  13. Don July 31, 2012 at 12:48 am #

    The good news is that we now have three movies to look forward to. The other good news is that we can now go back and redo many of the questions that have already been covered. More podcasts on The Hobbit (now) Trilogy. No downside there. More battles, more back story, more riddles!!!

  14. Kurt August 3, 2012 at 12:46 pm #

    I’m just getting to this episode, and I’ll echo Tony’s comments. I don’t think that the three of you are hoping for poor movies (of course not). I love Tolkien’s work unreservedly. And I’m listening to this podcast because I am anxiously awaiting the movies just as you are. But anticipated discontent with the movie based on a look on Martin Freeman’s face in a composite promotional image is more than a bit ludicrous.

    For that matter, expecting the movie to match the books beat by beat, line by line is ludicrous. It’s a nice bonus when they get minute details right, but I could care less if they omit the pickles from Bilbo’s table.

    The movies are the movies, the books are the books, and Peter Jackson earned a massive reserve of trust based on his handling of the first three movies. While the particulars might vary slightly from the book, I don’t see any reason to doubt that he’ll hit the spirit of the thing dead on yet again. Even if he’s adding in dwarven/elven romances and ringwraith tombs (which you’re unnecessarily dismissive of just on principal), I’d be surprised if it’s not handled with a deft touch.

  15. Januarrey August 3, 2012 at 2:33 pm #

    I’d just like to comment on a few possibilities that have crossed my mind that I don’t think were covered in the podcast, mostly concerning the scroll as I am listening to the rest of the episode as I type. First, in regard to Gandalf and the rune on the door of Bag End, I agree that if all there is there is a “G” rune I’d be a little dissapointed although I understand why that would work from a cinematic perspective. However, it also occurred to me that it would be cool if the “other” rune, the one advertising for a burgler, was one of Gandalf’s smoke rings (since we know he can manipulate them) set in the sky over Bag End so as to be easily visible to traveling dwarves as well as easy to make disappear once you wanted to destroy the evidence. After that the “G” rune would simply be confirmation.

    Secondly, in regard to the scene with Elrond, Gandalf, and Galadriel, it seems to me that instead of this scene being concerned with Thorin’s quest this is a meeting or prelude to the meeting of the White Council discussing the issue of the Nazgul and the rise of the Necromancer. With that in mind it’s possible that the knife in the frame relates to Thrain and/or the Nazgul tombs and forms part of the expanded storyline.

  16. Chris Stevens (Felagundian) August 3, 2012 at 4:15 pm #

    Don, I hope you are right that it is good news. Frankly. I’m nervous. Quantity is not necessarily quality. But, I remain (mostly) hopeful.

  17. Cindy Smith August 6, 2012 at 3:27 pm #

    I too think Cory is right about Christopher Tolkien. CT can’t be blamed, but it is sad that he doesn’t understand the fandom.

    Well, we now know the answer is officially A – The Hobbit gets three movies. If I did not know this, I would have guessed B as that is what they did with LOR. As for sequels, I think that yes that still is a possibility, especially if they go with the Aragorn story.

  18. Chris August 10, 2012 at 9:57 am #

    Three movies seem to me to fit the structure of the book pretty well, with the Misty Mountains and the Lonely Mountain being the two dividing points. Is it satisfying to anyone else that the Hobbit and Beowulf can both be conceivably divided into two or into three?

  19. Jerry Grzeskiewicz August 14, 2012 at 1:50 am #

    I just happened upon this site… rather neat.

    As much as I crave the idea of an Aragorn backstory…. my desire is checked by what happened to the Dune “Backstory” Prequels.

    Dune & Tolkien (and the comparatively recent addition of A Song of Ice & Fire series) are without a doubt my favorite fiction novels of all time… if there exists a taller order than the Dune prequels, it is surely a Post-Hobbit LoTR-prequel. Of late I’ve been working my way through C. Tolkien’s “History of Middle Earth” volumes … and I’m concerned that any Aragorn @ Rivendell/MinasTirith/Edoras backstory would have to come almost ENTIRELY from the mind of someone other than Tolkien himself. He left only a handful of sentences on those years of Aragorn’s life. So as much as I crave it in theory, unless Chris Tolkien happens upon some heretofore unseen manuscripts from the 1950’s detailing the final 50 years of the Third Age… I must vote against this project.

    On the Hobbit filming….I can only assume that they needed to film some specific scenes from different angles… that’s not terribly uncommon for films of such magnitude. They certainly did so with LoTR. I forget the technical term for such final filming for editting/tweaking purposes… it shall come to me no doubt.

    I hope they’re not splitting it in to 3 films…. the Hobbit is of course considerably smaller than LoTR….one artificial break will be bad enough… two would just be torture.

    For the record, I absolutely love the extended editions of Fellowship/Towers/Return. They add so much more.

    PS. I always wanted to see what happened during Gandalf’s trips to Dol Guldur… I wonder if we’ll get an intro scene about his first visit where he found Thrain.

  20. Adam August 14, 2012 at 11:48 am #

    I was thinking a lot about Christopher Tolkiens point of view, and whilst like most others I agree with Coreys summary. The thing that I most identify with is not just the fact that it brought more readers to the trilogy, with a deep appreciation for the source material, but that it actually it achieved Tolkiens dream and idea of creating a living breathing story, a mythology of sorts. PJ and co has taken it and retold it, and some bits have changed for the negative, some bits for the good, and that is how it is. Bitter sweet for the original author/s (Like CT), but perhaps the original author of Egils Saga, or Beowulf, or Sigurd would have felt the same.


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