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The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers v.2: Two…

The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers v.2: Two Towers Vol 2 (original 1954; edition 2001)

by J.R.R. Tolkien

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30,76618326 (4.38)396
Title:The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers v.2: Two Towers Vol 2
Authors:J.R.R. Tolkien
Info:HarperCollins Publishers Ltd (2001), Edition: New edition, Paperback, 464 pages
Collections:Read but unowned, Stewart's Read
Tags:Y02, fiction

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The Two Towers by J. R. R. Tolkien (1954)


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I'm not sure why it took me so long to finally pick up Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings; I love fantasy and this is such a godfather read in that genre, as with its sub-genres. Every time a movie would come out a distant clonk would crash about in my head as a reminder that I should dive into the books at some point but our paths just never crossed at the right time. Either I was reading something else or I took a moment to stand in front of the books at the library, quietly intimidated with where to start - which came first, The Hobbit or The Silmarillion? just sounded like a bad joke even after confused contemplation and a foray into internet geekdom where everyone had a different opinion on where to start, even what parts of books were worth reading. Not to mention which editions to read and which ones included worthwhile information. Sheesh.

Recently one of my GoodReads groups posted a third quarter challenge concerning series reads. The goal being to draw up a list of books you'd like to read selected from any series/trilogy/et. al. that you've been meaning to get through/start on or that you've been working through already. I figured this was as good a time as any to pack some provisions and start walking my way through The Lord of the Rings, that I could always double back and read/reread books should I want to so I didn't need to be overly concerned with the order of any book besides the trilogy itself.

It's been a good journey so far. I enjoyed traveling along with The Fellowship and that initial enjoyment hasn't ceased even though The Two Towers had a different feel to it. For one, it's less focused on the lyrical and the heroic odes that establish The Fellowship are largely absent. As mentioned in my review of book one, the odes tended to follow the tune of Greensleeves in my head thanks to a past music teacher's obsession, but that's not to say I didn't like Tolkien's songs. I think that their absence in book two makes sense; it's a darker read and the inclusion of these establishment odes would have interrupted the build of Towers' intensity whereas they serve to highlight the era and tone of book one.

Another obvious shift between the two books was equally important in my opinion: for the larger part of the book, Sam Gamgee and Frodo are absent. I believe it speaks to Tolkien's talent and desire to establish both Middle Earth and its brewing, broiling conflict that he was able to perform such a smooth slight of hand with his characters as The Fellowship is broken. I found each plot line immensely interesting as they separated, converged, and reestablished along the way.

I wasn't as enraptured with the battle at Helm's Deep as Gimli was with its depths. I ended up setting the book aside for a bit around this time because the battle began to seem long in the tooth. However, it was easy to jump back into things after a short break and it swiftly picked up. The appearance of Treebeard and the Ents is awesome. I liked Tolkien's take on Wood Spirit/Dryad lore and the added layer of the Ents 'long sorrow,' as well as the ecological perspective of the damage and chaos bred by war and ignorance. How such ignorance can blunt our perception of the intensity and worth of the world right around us until we're simply a dumb axe chopping away, manipulated by the hands of another. Plus, we get more Pippin and Merry!

When Sam Gamgee and Frodo reappear, the intensity of the book seems to escalate as harrowingly as the erratic and crumbling stairs to Cirith Ungol. There are a couple moments of levity and light such as Sam's poem on oliphaunts and the grace and nobility of Faramir. Faramir's talk of war is currently my favorite Tolkien quote from The Two Towers:

"War must be, while we defend our lives against a destroyer who would devour all; but I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend: the city of the men of Númenor; and I would have her loved for her memory, her ancientry, her beauty, and her present wisdom."

I was also impressed with the introduction of Shelob, for different reasons. Tolkien's shifting POV is very consuming as he provides us a glimpse through her many eyes. Everyone has a villain they love to hate, sometimes a villain that has a backstory they can identify with or just find incredibly interesting, but I haven't come across a portrayal of a villain that stirred me quite as much as Shelob does. Probably because I enjoyably eat up atmosphere in fantasy books and the building grotesquery and claustrophobia of Sam and Frodo's ascent to Shelob was easy to sink into and Tolkien's shift of POV made it even more so.

I know Tolkien never meant for The Lord of the Rings to be a trilogy. It would be very easy to pick up book after book, in my opinion, because it's easy to get caught up in the action and the characters. I am glad for how the trilogy is broken up however - both books have left off in the midst of an intense journey and can readily be defined as cliffhangers. I'm not a fan of cliffhanger endings in series; I have an insatiable urge to raze my way through to the next book when left with one, whether I enjoyed the previous book or not to be perfectly honest. Which can be quite annoying as cliffhangers have become akin to part and parcel of modern fantasy books; anywhere you look it's 'trilogies, trilogies everywhere and not a standalone to read.' The difference being that, often, these cliffhangers come off as pure plot manipulation; you have a ho-hum, even formulaic plot for 300 pages and then you're smacked cattywompus by a massive dun dun dunnn that is formulated for the sole purpose of launching you onto that new release with fangirl hunger. Often not because the author seems passionate about the world they've led you into but about a multi-release book contract. With The Lord of the Rings on the other hand, I'm interested in continuing but I'm also satisfied with the quality and intensity throughout, the stopping points have felt natural - a well placed intermission with an easy to get into continuation waiting in the wings.

Okay, so maybe I'm a little bit fangirl over Sam's character. Give a girl a break. And maybe I'm going to skip my way to the library for book three as soon as possible which makes the above point rather moot. I can live with that. ( )
  lamotamant | Sep 22, 2016 |
I am so glad I don't have to wait for the next book in the series to come out! ( )
  Luke_Brown | Sep 10, 2016 |
I really liked this book. I had watched the movies, and then became interested in reading the books.

I loved how this one flowed, unwrapping slowly like a morning glory in the early dawn. Beautiful and full of magic. It builds for an epic climax, showing beloved characters new and old.

It continues to tell the tell of Frodo and the Fellowship as well as showing more of Middle-Earth and all her hidden secrets, both good and evil.

( )
  Shadow494 | Jun 20, 2016 |
Wonderful ( )
  ShelleyAlberta | Jun 4, 2016 |
This book took me soo long to read. I dunno what it is about this series but it is so hard for me to get into it. Overall it was alright. I will read the final book but only to round out the series. ( )
  LenaR0307 | May 30, 2016 |
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That 'The Lord of the Rings' should appeal to readers of the most austere tastes suggests that they too now long for the old, forthright, virile kind of narrative... the author has had intimate access to an epic tradition stretching back and back and disappearing in the mists of Germanic history, so that his story has a kind of echoing depth behind it...

» Add other authors (29 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tolkien, J. R. R.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Andersson, ErikTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Beagle, Peter S.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Blok, CorCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Domènech, LuisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gaughan, JackCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hildebrandt, GregCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hildebrandt, TimCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Horne, MatildeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Howe, JohnCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Inglis, RobNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Juva, KerstiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lee, AlanIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ohlmarks, ÅkeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Olsson, LottaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Palencar, John JudeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pennanen, EilaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schuchart, MaxTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sweet, DarrellCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
First words
Aragorn sped on up the hill. Every now and then he bent to the ground. Hobbits go light, and their footprints are not easy even for a Ranger to read, but not far from the top a spring crossed the path, and in the wet earth he saw what he was seeking.
"Not asleep, dead".
Last words
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Disambiguation notice
J.R.R. Tolkien's complete work The Lord of the Rings consists of six Books, frequently bound in three Volumes, as follow:

Volume I: The Fellowship of the Ring, consisting of Book 1, "The Ring Sets Out" and Book 2, "The Ring Goes South";
Volume II: The Two Towers, consisting of Book 3, "The Treason of Isengard," and Book 4, "The Ring Goes East"; and
Volume III: The Return of the King, consisting of Book 5, "The War of the Ring," and Book 6, "The End of the Third Age," with Appendices.

This LT Work consists of Volume II, The Two Towers; please do not combine it with any other part(s) or with Tolkien's complete work, each of which have LT Works pages of their own. Thank you.

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The Fellowship was scattered. Some were bracing hopelessly for war against the ancient evil of Sauron. Some were contending with the treachery of the wizard Saruman. Only Frodo and Sam were left to take the accursed Ring of Power to be destroyed in Mordor–the dark Kingdom where Sauron was supreme. Their guide was Gollum, deceitful and lust-filled, slave to the corruption of the Ring.
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The second book of the famous fantasy trilogy.

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