The second film in The Lord of the Rings trilogy covers a lot of ground, especially considering that the second book is 447 pages long. I’ve been watching the films after reading the books, and boy does Peter Jackson outdo himself. The score soundtrack, the acting, and the scenery of New Zealand brings the books to life. I’ve seen the films many times over, but after reading The Two Towers, as well as The Fellowship of the Ring, I appreciate how the films compliment the original source material.
In the second installment of the high fantasy trilogy, we as readers follow first Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas as they bury Boromir, then run fiercely for several days and nights to rescue Merry and Pippin. The kin of Frodo end up going into Fangorn forest–just missing the trio of the Company coming to help them–an ancient place where Ents still live. With Treebeard as their companion and guide, the two Hobbits help bring down Isengard with the Ents. (Okay, they mostly watch, but still, they witnessed the rousing of the Ents, which is pretty cool.) Pippin grabs one of the palantir, one of the few remaining stones that let’s you see far and wide. He touches it and has omens about what is currently going on in the world. He ends up riding off with Gandalf–as protection from the Eye–to Minas Tirith.
Frodo and Sam, meanwhile, are on their way to Mordor to destroy the One Ring. They encounter Gollum as their guide, and with the former Hobbit’s help, they make their way closer to the end of their long journey.
One thing I loved about the book is how closely the movie follows it. There are beautiful small details, like some of the dialogue or how the set reflects the novel. Tolkien’s prose can be a bit windy, but he sets the stage for a masterpiece of a novel.
The Two Towers is one of my favorites in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, partly because it shows how the Fellowship continues on even when it is broken. I love how the Company form their own little groups, and soldier on despite the breaking of the Fellowship. I love the battle for Helm’s Deep, even though I find the movie one to be pretty epic and moving. Tolkien is very good at writing hope, especially when you need hope the most. Sam’s speech is a good example of this:
‘Yes, that’s so,’ said Sam. ‘And we shouldn’t be here at all, if we’d known more about it before we started. But I suppose it’s often that way. The brave things in the old tales and songs, Mr. Frodo: adventures, as I used to call them. I used to think that they were things the wonderful folk of the stories went out and looked for, because they wanted them, because they were exciting and life was a bit dull, a kind of sport, as you might say. But that’s not the way of it with the tales that really mattered, or the ones that stay in the mind. Folk seem to have been just landed in them, usually–their paths were laid that way, as you put it. But I expect they had lots of chances, like us, of turning back, only they didn’t. And if they had, we shouldn’t know, because they’d have been forgotten. We hear about those as just went on–and not all to a good end, mind you; at least not to what folk inside a story and not outside it call a good end. You know, coming home, and finding things all right, though not quite the same–like old Mr. Bilbo. But those aren’t always the best tales to hear, though they may be the best tales to get landed in!’The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, pg. 407
This passage reminds me that not all heroes choose their paths, that sometimes they are thrust into danger and must weather an outcome. Sam is full of hope, even in the bleakest of times, as they climb the stairs of Cirith Ungol. He’s a source of light and hope for Frodo, who continues to struggle as the One Ring gets heavier. To quote the book and the movie, “Frodo wouldn’t have gotten far without Sam.”
This is a rousing book, full of courage, bravery, and friendship. Tolkien is a master at building worlds, and at giving his reader’s hope and his character’s courage to continue the journey set before them. I definitely recommend this book!