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The Two Towers (1954)

by J. R. R. Tolkien

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Lord of the Rings (2)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
48,63530928 (4.4)1 / 533
The Two Towers is the second part of J.R.R. Tolkien's epic adventure, The Lord of the Rings. Frodo and the companions of the Ring have been beset by danger during their quest to prevent the Ruling Ring from falling into the hands of the Dark Lord, Sauron, by destroying it in the Cracks of Doom. They have lost the wizard Gandalf in a battle with an evil spirit int he Mines of Moria; and at the Falls of Rauros, Boromir, seduced by the power of the Ring tried to seize it by force. While Frodo and Sam made their escape, the rest of the company was attacked by Orcs. Now they continue their journey alone down the great River Anduin---alone, that is, save for the mysterious creeping figure that follows wherever they go.… (more)
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 2019 Category Challenge: Lord of the Rings Group Read34 unread / 34ironjaw, April 2021

» See also 533 mentions

English (277)  Spanish (10)  French (4)  Swedish (2)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Hungarian (1)  Greek (1)  Slovak (1)  Danish (1)  Lithuanian (1)  Finnish (1)  Polish (1)  All languages (301)
Showing 1-5 of 277 (next | show all)
Read through part of this book in 2020 but quit at the halfway mark. Still hoping to restart the series at a later date.
  libraryofemma | Apr 18, 2024 |
This is an enjoyable read. Though the characters split here it's easy to follow the adventures of everyone. ( )
  mlstweet | Mar 12, 2024 |
Personally, I've always found this book much weaker than the first one in the trilogy. It's not bad, by any means, but it lacks that great sense of adventure and exploration of Middle-Earth that the first one haw. This one mostly takes place entirely in the southern half of the map of Middle-Earth provided in the back of the book, but the first one covers much greater distances and explores many more land forms and locations. That aspect always made the first one the strongest out of the bunch, in my opinion. Nevertheless, this entry still has some good moments. The battle of Helm's Deep is a noteworthy one, though I always felt that it became great due to the adaptation, not the actual source material. It's a bit shorter than you'd expect in the book, and it really doesn't have much that distinguishes it from the other major battles that take place in this series. The movie makes it a lot darker and lot more interesting, in my opinion.

The best part about this entry is the final two chapters. While I love the exploration of Middle Earth and the vivid details of its geography, I personally feel that it takes up too much of this 1,349-page story. As a result, not much time is spent on intense character drama and raw emotional moments that truly suck you in. That is precisely why I love the final two chapters of "The Two Towers". They are extremely raw and gripping. The part where Gollum grabs Sam from the back after selling Sam and Frodo out to Shelob, and Sam gets filled with an otherworldly rage that causes him to run like a madman towards Gollum after his escape had me on the edge of my seat. Afterwards, an intense battle between Sam and Shelob occurs, and Sam finds Frodo, presuming him to be dead. He goes through a harrowing ordeal in his mind as a result of it, and he makes the brutal decision of taking the Ring and head into Mordor all alone to destroy it. It is a phenomenal scene, and it is probably my favorite part of the entire 4-part book series (with possibly the only other exception being Boromir's fall into evil, another incredible character drama moment.)

Unfortunately, the incredible scene is undercut by one of the weakest aspects of this entire storyline: the lack of lasting stakes. Frodo turns out to be alive because of the convenient reason that Shelob doesn't like to eat dead meat (even though Frodo would only be dead for a few minutes if Shelob had killed him before beginning to feast on him and wouldn't have begun to decay). It sucks that heart-wrenching elements of this story are almost never permanent, and very few important characters we love truly end up dying in the struggle. The same thing happens with Gandalf in this book, despite there being virtually no reason to bring him back.

Another thing I dislike about this book is its pacing. While I thought the first book had good pacing, this one has very long stretches of nothingness in it that are filled with characters either traveling from one place to another or talking to each other about what's going on in the world.

Now, I wouldn't mind this if I found the characters and dialogue genuinely interesting and gripping, but, as I mentioned in my last two reviews of this series, that's not the case. One character I want to rant about is Faramir. I'm sorry, but I've always found him to be one of the most boring characters in all of fiction. He feels like a carbon copy of Aragorn, and Aragorn feels like the most generic good guy of all time. As I've stated several times before, the Men of this story are extremely uninteresting to me. They don't feel real or unique. They all talk and behave the same, with the exception of maybe one or two distinct personality traits that set them apart from each other. This is the reason why I've always found Gollum, Gandalf, Sam, and Boromir to be the only characters I genuinely enjoy reading about. They're ACTUALLY INTERESTING PEOPLE WITH INTERESTING CHARACTER TRAITS. Crazy concept, huh, Tolkien?

Lastly, I have to mention that I dislike how much Tolkien constantly relies on "saying rather than describing" in these books. This is one of the aspects that makes the characters so boring to me. It is most apparent, however, whenever Tolkien tells us the grand scale of the story he's telling. Instead of letting us decide how epic we find this story, he constantly outright states how large the stakes are and how important this story is. There's even a part where Sam and Frodo are sheltering in the path to Cirith Ungol and talk about how the future inhabitants of Middle-Earth will tell tales and songs about Frodo and Sam's grand adventures. It's like, would you care to have some subtlety for once, Tolkien? Good lord.

When I read about Gollum's depressing life and history and his wretched, pitiable, villainous state that unfortunately comes to a tragic ending in "Return of the King", I actually FEEL something. When Tolkien tells me how tall, majestic, and kingly Aragorn is in some epic confrontation for the millionth time, I feel nothing.

Anyways, I've rambled on long enough. I don't hate this book by any means, but I also see many things about it that I simply can't stand and that other people almost never talk about, for some reason. Maybe, these things don't bother them as much, but I just find that they really drag the story down several levels below the movies, which actually got these things right. ( )
  Moderation3250 | Feb 24, 2024 |
Listened on audio. As I said with the first 2, this was read by Andy Serkis and he does an excellent job. An excellent read that finishes up the trilogy. This time around (probably the 3rd time I've read the series), I made it the furthest into the appendices that I've ever gone, but I ultimately tapped out about 25% the first one. I love LOTR, but I don't LOVE, LOTR. Maybe I don't need to read The Silmarillion 😊 ( )
  mahsdad | Feb 10, 2024 |
The hero's quest continues . . . ( )
  bschweiger | Feb 4, 2024 |
Showing 1-5 of 277 (next | show all)
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 (91 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
J. R. R. Tolkienprimary authorall editionscalculated
Andersson, ErikTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Beagle, Peter S.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Blok, CorCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
DomĂšnech, 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
Krege, WolfgangTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lauzon, DanielTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ledoux, FrancisTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lee, AlanIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marshall, RitaCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mokrovolsky, OlexandrTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ohlmarks, ÅkeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Olsson, LottaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Palencar, John JudeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pennanen, EilaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Remington, BarbaraCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rodrigues, Fernanda PintoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schuchart, MaxTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Serkis, AndyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sweet, DarrellCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Taylor, GeoffCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Westra, Liuwe H.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Epigraph
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.
Dedication
First words
Aragorn sped on up the hill.
Quotations
"Not asleep, dead".
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
J.R.R. Tolkien's complete work The Lord of the Rings consists of six Books, frequently bound in three Volumes:
  • Volume 1: The Fellowship of the Ring, consisting of Book I, "The Ring Sets Out" and Book II, "The Ring Goes South";
  • Volume 2: The Two Towers, consisting of Book III, "The Treason of Isengard," and Book IV, "The Ring Goes East"; and
  • Volume 3: The Return of the King, consisting of Book V, "The War of the Ring," and Book VI, "The End of the Third Age," with Appendices.
This LT Work consists of Volume 2, 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.

CAUTION: It appears that most copies of the title O Senhor dos Anéis: As Duas Torres in Portuguese translation are the complete Volume 2 of "The Lord of the Rings," published in English as The Two Towers. However, a Brazilian edition of the same title reportedly includes only the first part (of two) of Volume 2, roughly corresponding to Book III of the larger Work, The Treason of Isengard; see O Senhor dos Anéis. Please be mindful of the difference, and only combine records for Works having the same content. Thank you.
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Canonical LCC
The Two Towers is the second part of J.R.R. Tolkien's epic adventure, The Lord of the Rings. Frodo and the companions of the Ring have been beset by danger during their quest to prevent the Ruling Ring from falling into the hands of the Dark Lord, Sauron, by destroying it in the Cracks of Doom. They have lost the wizard Gandalf in a battle with an evil spirit int he Mines of Moria; and at the Falls of Rauros, Boromir, seduced by the power of the Ring tried to seize it by force. While Frodo and Sam made their escape, the rest of the company was attacked by Orcs. Now they continue their journey alone down the great River Anduin---alone, that is, save for the mysterious creeping figure that follows wherever they go.

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Book description
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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