From The Blog

Riddles in the Dark 2.01: Ursa Major or Ursa Minor?

Season 2 of Riddles in the Dark Starts Big with Beorn!

Professor Corey Olsen, Dave Kale, and Trish Lambert kick off the countdown to The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug by considering Beorn, his role in the book, and possible role in the movie.

Many thanks to the Lonely Mountain Band for allowing our use of their wonderful music to accompany the episodes. Season 2 sees excerpts from their new album “Songs of the Dwarves.” Intro: Battle of Azanulbizar; Outro: The Sevenfold Meeting.

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

RIDDLE 2.01: How will the film treat Beorn’s relationship with the goblins?

A.  He resents them for displacing him from his mountain territory (Book answer).
B.  He has a more personal grudge against them from his own or family history (“They killed my parents,” or similar).
C.  His hatred against the goblins is in some way explicitly linked to Thorin and his family history.
D.  He has no particular grudge against goblins at all.



  1. Mr. Underhill January 17, 2013 at 10:28 am #

    I think {C.} Beorn’s hatred against the goblins will, in some way, be explicitly linked to Thorin and his family history — b/c the first movie seems to have taken pains to give more Thorin back-story than strictly necessary, thus making me predisposed to think other aspects of future films may do the same.

  2. DarthSkeptical January 17, 2013 at 2:29 pm #

    Hey guys: date on this one was 17 January 2012 — not 2013 — which buries it in the iTunes list when ordered by release date (iTunes default). Also, the fact that you’ve changed the numbering scheme means that you can’t alphabetise by title of show anymore. Any chance you could just return to sequential numbering and we can all just know that we’re in season 2?

  3. DarthSkeptical January 17, 2013 at 2:34 pm #

    Alternately, if you’re really stuck on the “season” thing, you could go back and retroactively retitle season 1 as “1.01, 1.02, 1.03, etc.”, and that would be even better for alphabetisation. We could just delete our Riddles in the Dark library, redownload, and everything would be neatly and quite perfectly alphabetised.

  4. DarthSkeptical January 17, 2013 at 2:36 pm #

    (Gotta remember to put the 0 in, though. 1.01 is better than 1.1.)

  5. Trish January 17, 2013 at 2:39 pm #

    Thanks for catching the date. I’ve remembered to do it right on my checks, but it got right by me on the iTunes feed. Numbering change will stay in order to make it as easy as possible for the all-volunteer team working the RITD franchise to keep track of everything. Perhaps we will retroactively number the other episodes, but don’t hold your breath!

  6. DarthSkeptical January 17, 2013 at 6:26 pm #

    Hey Trish,

    What did Dave mean by his introductory remark, “After taking a really, really short break, which was barely even a break, since we recorded a couple of episodes during our break.” This is the first episode of RITD since 9 December 2012, according to my iTunes feed. Have you released another episode in another feed somewhere? Or are you releasing episodes out of the order in which they were recorded?

  7. Trish January 17, 2013 at 6:36 pm #

    Besides Corey’s Tolkien Chat (which he did solo), we did episode #24, a post-movie review of riddles along with commentary. Dave also taped a number of episodes of Secrets of the Hobbit with Father Roderick, so I’m sure he felt like he hadn’t taken any break at all!

    Dave has RITD 24 one on his list to handle post-production, and so far it has not been forthcoming. I am plunging ahead with Season 2 and hoping that the missing episode makes an appearance soon. So, no, we normally don’t record out of order and right now there is only one episode missing on the published list.

  8. Ben January 18, 2013 at 3:19 am #

    Deus ex mothina?

  9. Tuor son of Huor January 18, 2013 at 7:28 am #


  10. Michael Lucero January 18, 2013 at 8:42 am #

    I actually think there are a number of possibilities y’all didn’t consider. Beorn could hate the goblins not because of anything that happened to him in the past, but because they invaded his home due to him giving the dwarves shelter — have it happen after or during their stay there, and then having him go to Erebor as revenge on them for destroying his home, not in the mountains, but the home the dwarves stay at. Or, more likely, he could just hate the goblins simply because he thinks they’re vile scum and have to be stamped out. I don’t think either one of those possibilities fits any of the choices y’all have given us. If I had to choose just one of your answers, though, I’d stick with A.

    One thing I think they have to be careful with is making Beorn too much of a vengeful character. In the book his vengeance upon the goblins is gruesome, sure, but it’s never cast in a morally doubtful light, but rather just another piece of evidence of his wildness. But Jackson & Co. have already gone out of their way to establish the idea that hatred of the goblins, and even moreso vengeful hatred of the goblins, is a bad thing and a sign that a person is slipping toward corruption. (Eg., Nazgul music when Thorin chooses to fight Azog rather than help save his people, etc.) Though this is different from the book, Jackson is just telescoping and expanding on things that happen in The Hobbit (Thorin does actually become morally compromised, just not this early and not for this exact reason), while establishing Beorn as a parallel to Thorin would not just be a change of timing or degree, but a change in character as well.

  11. Tony Meade January 18, 2013 at 11:43 am #

    With regard to Beorn’s serving animals, I always interpreted them as just animals, but extraordinarily well-trained animals. Kind of like the dogs, for instance), are performing an extremely elaborate trick for which they were trained by Beorn for the purpose of amusing himself and his infrequent guests.

    It’s almost like a very extreme version of the kind of trick that a man might train his dog to go bring him his paper or slippers, or something they might train a dog to do in a beer commercial. :)

  12. Adam January 22, 2013 at 9:27 am #

    I had thoughts similar to Tony, that the animals were just elorately trained… to the extent of being magic.. beyond the animals capacity alone, Beorns prescence or influence is enabling, or creating this.

    As regards size, he looks like he’ll be big, even if this set is built for Bilbo, though more likely its for the Dwarves and Bilbo, then he could well be a little too large, though judging from the top image and Bilbo height vs the chair, then Bilbo will probably come to his mid thigh, so perhaps it is about right?

  13. Trish February 10, 2013 at 7:17 pm #

    I love this. It needs to be on a t-shirt.

  14. Hamfast March 4, 2013 at 4:06 pm #

    I think probably C, and the film will open with scenes of Thrain being tortured in Dol Guldur for the ring and possibly encountering Beorn there.

  15. Halstein October 12, 2013 at 12:22 pm #

    I will go with A. I really see no reason to change from the book. Beorn will have reason to dislike the goblins, without hating them so much, as to be involved in what amounts to a war with the goblins.



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