on May 6, 2015
Frodo's group have gotten separated following the premature passing of Boromir who succumbed to fatal injuries when fending off goblin troops. Aragorn, Gimli (Gloin's son), and Legolas Greenleaf put his body to rest on a boat to cast it off into the mournful stream. Where the currents will soon carry him away to his dearest brother, Faramir. Elsewhere, the two Hobbits Pippin and Merry eluded their captivity of the Orcs. They unite with the Ent trees backed by jolly Treebeard so they can confront the traitor warlock Saruman at Dark Tower Orthanc for mercilessly chopping down and killing numberous Ents. Gandalf fans need not despair anymore; the wizard had triumphantly come back from death and had been revived as Gandalf the White! We're introduced to the infamous Grima Wormtongue: Theoden's faithful servant and Saruman's underhand spy with a manipulative streak! Meanwhile, Gollum remains on the loose, having somehow escaped imprisonment by the Wood-elves. Attaboy! He again tracks down Sam and Frodo by nightfall, despite detesting moonlight. But Bilbo Baggins' nephew manages to subdue the imp. Frodo brings out the nicer Smeagol personality in Gollum, and he agrees to help him and Sam out on their venture in destroying the One Ring as a guide. Samwise Gamgee continues to be wary of ''Stinker'' and suspects he's hatching some sort of scheme.
I had been pleased J.R.R. Tolkien finally decided to place focus on Gollum by his long-awaited reappearance in Book Four of The Two Towers. The imp played too small a role back in The Hobbit, and I really have a thing for that Middle-earth character. He cracked me up in certain parts of the second Lord of the Rings novel! Had no idea the little rascal's a finicky eater! Whether Smeagol will stay good or regress back to his devious Gollum self, I will not say. Read on and find out what happens!!
The second volume of Tolkien's epic trilogy never even wavers. If anything, it seems steadier and more controlled than "Fellowship of the Ring," as several characters become more central and the plot focus widens to envelop all of Middle Earth. It suffers from a bit of sequelitis in places, but the overall book is just as enthralling as the first.
Aragorn finds that Merry and Pippin have been abducted rather than killed -- for what reason, no one knows. Frodo and Sam have left on their own. So Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli race to find the orcs and retrieve the hobbits, but are stopped by the fierce Riders of Rohan, and then by an old and dear friend: Gandalf, who has been resurrected in the new form of a White wizard. Elsewhere, Merry and Pippin must use all of their wits to escape the orcs, and then find a strange band of allies that no one could have hoped for.
Meanwhile, Frodo and Sam head into Mordor -- with an eerily familiar figure, Gollum, following them. Frodo subjugates Gollum, forcing him to swear on "the precious" that he won't harm him. In return, Gollum promises to guide the two hobbits through Mordor, straight to Mount Doom. But the Ring is weighing more heavily than ever on Frodo, and is starting to reassert its old sway on Gollum...
One of the most noticeable changes in this book is the shift of focus. "Fellowship" was Frodo-centric, since the narration revolved around him, as did all the events and thoughts. But with the breaking of the Fellowship, the narration falls into three categories: Frodo and Sam; Merry and Pippin; Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli. This triple style allows individuals to shine more brightly, when they are called on to do more than hike with Frodo.
Tolkien also presented a wider view of Middle-Earth in general. While the slow slog through Mordor doesn't really tell or show readers much -- aside from what a hellhole Sauron is the middle of -- it's shocking to see the the effects of the orcs, Saruman and Sauron on places such as Gondor and Rohan.
Changes can be seen in Frodo even in this book, and which become more pronounced in the third book of the trilogy, "Return of the King." He becomes sadder and more introspective, and the Ring's growing hold on him can be glimpsed at times. Aragorn is also changing. He is no longer merely the rugged outcast Ranger, but displays the hints of a future great king, if he can only get to his throne.
Merry and Pippin also change: these two innocent young hobbits have to suddenly Sam is more promiment in this book, as Frodo's friend and personal pillar of strength.
But where Tolkien really outdid himself is Gollum. Gollum returns, in a substantially different state. Oh, he's still addled and addicted to the Ring, but he displays a dual love/loathing for the Ring, a weird affection for Frodo (who, from his point of view, is probably the only person who has been kind to him), and displays a Ring-induced multiple-personality syndrome. Very rarely can bad guys elicit the sort of loathing and pity from the reader that Gollum does.
One noticeable aspect of this book is friendship. When the Fellowship sets out from Rivendell, virtually everyone is a stranger, with the exception of the hobbits. However, in this book we get our view of how much Sam loves Frodo and wants to help him. Sam is fully aware of how much Frodo needs emotional support, and he's quite willing to be a pillar of strength for his friend. We see Gimli and Legolas's affection for Merry and Pippin; and Legolas's willingness to kill Eomer if Eomer hurts Gimli shows how far this Elf and Dwarf have come.
This book is substantially darker than "Fellowship." Frodo is starting to stumble under the weight of the Ring, and other characters die or are seriously hurt. The scene where Pippin's mind is trapped by Sauron is a very disturbing one, as is a violent and saddening scene late in the book. But there is also some wry humor: Gandalf's joke as he hears Saruman throttling Grima Wormtongue, Legolas's snippy comments about pipeweed as Gimli and the hobbits smoke up a storm, and Sam's debate with Gollum about whether they should cook the rabbits.
Tolkien's second Lord of the Rings novel is a thrilling fantasy adventure, exploring more of his invented world than "Fellowship of the Ring" did. A truly enthralling experience.
on December 11, 2013
Review: The Two Towers was a fantastic continuation of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The book broke off into different story lines, so the reader could get a full view of everything that was happening. This novel built onto the first book by having more action, and the ability to keep the reader intrigued throughout. Being the second book in the trilogy, The Two Towers succeeded in setting up the storyline for the finale, while also keeping the tale upbeat and interesting on it’s own. This impressed me, for most of the time the middle book in a trilogy is disappointing. In conclusion, I suggest this novel to those who have read the first book in the trilogy, enjoyed it, and are looking for more. I am hoping for great things in the final instalment of this series.
on December 12, 2011
I always enjoy reading this as part two of "the Lord of the Rings". To approach it any other way is to rob it of the proper context, and therefore its true potential to entertain and transport the reader to another world. If approached properly, this author's works should be enjoyable for many.
To anyone considering this 3 part story, try reading "the Hobbit" first. It is a valuable introduction to this world of characters and an easy way to find out if you have a taste for J.R.R.Tolken's works. It also gives you information on events and characters that are often referred to throughout "the lord of the rings" and a sense of this story's background. This adds valuable context.
Bottom line: If a person is familiar with "the Hobbit" then they will simply find it easier and more enjoyable to read "the lord of the rings" for the first time.
The two towers is the most detailed section of this story, and the easiest in which to get lost, (or bored)so it should be read in the proper order; after "the fellowship of the Ring" and (preferably) after "the hobbit"