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The Two Towers

The second volume of J.R.R. Tolkien's epic 3-part fantasy novel, first published in 1954.

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The Inspiration for the Final Fantasy Games (Part 2)

  • Jan 18, 2002
Rating:
+5
Pros: Will whisk you off to a wonderful fantasy world and never bring you back

Cons: Don't start reading it during finals weak

The Bottom Line: Middle-earth is a nice place. I suggest you vacation there sometime.

When we last left Frodo and company at the end of The Fellowship of the Ring, the first part of J.R.R. Tolkien's beloved Lord of the Rings trilogy, the fellowship had been attacked by an army of orcs, Boromir had succumbed to the temptation of the One Ring, and Frodo, together with his friend Sam, had gone off to Mordor alone, as to not put the others in danger while completing his quest to destroy the One Ring by throwing it into the cracks of Mount Doom.

The second part of Tolkien's trilogy, The Two Towers, picks up right where The Fellowship of the Ring left off. In the beginning, we find what remains of the fellowship surviving the orc onslaught. If you've seen the movie by now, you know that Boromir lies dying after making a spectacular bid at redemption by trying to save Merry and Pippin from being taken (if you haven't seen the movie, go see it NOW). Although Merry and Pippin are taken anyway, Boromir confesses to Aragorn, and Aragorn forgives him. Boromir dies and is promptly sent to a watery grave.

After this, The Two Towers takes us on three fantastic journeys undertaken by the three groups of survivors. First, we see Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli take up the pursuit of Merry and Pippin, encountering the Riders of Rohan, who provide them with horses. In the meantime, Merry and Pippin managed to escape their captors, fleeing into the woods and meeting Treebeard, who is an ent. Anyway, while still searching for the hobbits, Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli come upon-guess who!-Gandalf, back from the abyss and more powerful than ever. Gandalf takes them to Rohan, and the king of Rohan takes his forces to Isenguard, where Gandalf tries to force Saruman to repent. Saruman's assistant throws one of the Seeing Stones of Numenor. At the end, we see the coming of a Nazgul, a Ringwraith on a flying steed, an omen of the coming war.

Meanwhile, Frodo and Sam stand on the outskirts of Mordor, where Frodo has enlisted the help of none other than Gollum to lead them into Mordor.As they go, they are found by Boromir's brother Faramir, who gives them a bit of hospitality and advice. Then they follow Gollum into the secret entrance that he knows of and are attacked by Shelob, the guardian of the entrance. Shelob stings Frodo, knocking him out, and he is taken by the enemy.

(My apologies for the spoilers. But in order for me to tell you about the stories, they couldn't be avoided. Rest assured that I was as cryptic as I could be, and I didn't spoil everything. I wasn't even close.)

That being said, let me now say that the second part of
the Lord of the Rings trilogy is even more amazing than the first. With two different scenarios, The Two Towers keeps things interesting because it takes two different sets of characters in two different directions, and with the attachment that you're sure to find with the characters is what compels you to read on through this book and into the next one. You are also introduced to several new characters, like Treebeard, King Theoden of Rohan, and Gollum. Treebeard is the introduction to a new kind of creature, an ent, a giant creature that is nearly unstoppable in battle. The most interesting new character is Gollum. He has two sides to him ("slinker and stinker", as Sam refers to them), one of which wants to help the hobbits, the other wants to takes the One Ring and run. The different stories also let you see more of the fantastic land that is Middle-earth.

Tolkien's writing style hasn't changed-The Two Towers is filled with the same detailed descriptions and clever poetry that were so prevelant in The Hobbit and The Fellowship of the Ring, but the tone in The Two Towers is significantly darker. There are several battles, and the descriptions are a bit more graphic. None of this matters, though, because the detail only adds to the beauty of the writing. Tolkien pulled out all the stops to make sure that we feel exactly what his characters feel, and see what they see. Isenguard and Mordor are the dark, evil places that we expected them to be, with Isenguard in heavy fog and Mordor in permanant darkness. The "two towers" referred to in the title, I'm sure, refer to the two giant towers that stand at the border of Mordor.

Well, we have a whole other year to wait for the movie version of The Two Towers to come out. So while you wait, why not go out and buy the book? It's an amazing book and worthy of what Lord of the Rings is shaping up to be in my literary experiences-quite possibly the best book I've ever read. Once I'm through reading the third part, I'll have the review posted. Until then... In the land of Mordor where the shadows lie...

Recommended:
Yes

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More The Two Towers reviews
Quick Tip by . July 17, 2010
This is my favorite part of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but sometimes Tolkien get carried away with descriptions making it drag at points.
Quick Tip by . July 15, 2010
What can we say about Lord of the Rings, complexly the best. Maybe Tolkien was an autist and lived in another world.
Quick Tip by . July 02, 2010
If things weren't dire enough, they start getting pretty bad now.
Quick Tip by . June 25, 2010
Truly wonderful story-- I completely agree with dogarta's quick tip.
Quick Tip by . June 24, 2010
Amazing! A detailed and intriguing world with a meaningful plot. Definitely worth the read.
Quick Tip by . June 23, 2010
The Lord of the Rings is my favorite book.
Quick Tip by . June 22, 2010
Gotta love those Ents, but the second part of the book is more interesting than the first.
Quick Tip by . June 21, 2010
extreemly well written
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Wiki

Wikipedia page for The Two Towers
The Lord of the Rings is composed of 6 "books", aside from an introduction, a prologue and 6 appendices. The novel was originally published as 3 separate volumes due to post-World War II paper shortages and size and price considerations. The Two Towers covers Books III and IV.
Tolkien wrote, "The Two Towers gets as near as possible to finding a title to cover the widely divergent Books 3 & 4; and can be left ambiguous." At this stage he planned to title the individual books. The proposed title for Book III was The Treason of Isengard. Book IV was titled The Journey of the Ringbearers or The Ring Goes East. The titles The Treason of Isengard and The Ring Goes East were used in the Millenium edition.
A note at the end of The Fellowship of the Ring and Tolkien's final illustration of the towers gives the pair as Minas Morgul and Orthanc. However, in a letter to Rayner Unwin, Tolkien instead gives Orthanc and the Tower of Cirith Ungol, but felt such an identification was misleading due to the opposition between Barad-dûr and Minas Tirith. Loosely, any pair from the set of five towers in the story could fit the title: the tower of Cirith Ungol (Cirith Ungol being a pass), Orthanc, Minas Tirith, Barad-dûr and Minas Morgul.
However ambiguous the title may be in the book, director Peter Jackson's film adaptation of The Two Towers designates the title as referring to the towers of Barad-dûr ...
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Details

Author: John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (J.R.R. Tolkien)
Genre: Fantasy, Epic Adventure, Classic Literature
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Date Published: November 11, 1954
Format: Novel
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