The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Two Towers

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 o...

Title:The Two Towers
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:0618346260
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Paperback
Number of Pages:322 pages

The Two Towers Reviews

  • Jason Koivu
    Nov 23, 2008

    suffers from the Jan syndrome. It's the middle child, and one that wasn't even meant to exist. Tolkien didn't intend

    to be a trilogy, but rather one whole book, so inevitably the second volume was doomed to have no true beginning nor a satisfying finish.

    When I first read it as a teen I didn't enjoy it much at all, and it's still not my favorite of the three, but having read it again recently I warmed to it. It provides an admirably strong bridge between the f

    suffers from the Jan syndrome. It's the middle child, and one that wasn't even meant to exist. Tolkien didn't intend

    to be a trilogy, but rather one whole book, so inevitably the second volume was doomed to have no true beginning nor a satisfying finish.

    When I first read it as a teen I didn't enjoy it much at all, and it's still not my favorite of the three, but having read it again recently I warmed to it. It provides an admirably strong bridge between the first and last book, while including some very memorable moments and revealing interesting background details. Who could forget the Ents or the creepy Dead Marshes? The fight with Shelob was quite exciting. The struggle with Saruman and the Battle at Helms Deep is a great primer for things to come.

    All of these things and more are sometimes forgotten when comparing the quality of the three books side by side. Personally I love the first book when the four hobbits are on their own in the Old Forest, evading black riders and picking their perilous way through the Barrow Downs. And of course the final book is the satisfying pay off with the added bonus of all those info-laden appendixes, great for the hearty fan.

    may not get its due, but it is a fine book.

  • K.D. Absolutely
    Aug 23, 2009

    Tolkien did not design

    to be read as three separate books. However, since the book is flawless, there is just no boring moment. Even if you chop it further to 6, 12 or 24 books, I think all of them deserve 5 stars. I am not a big fan of fantasy genre but this one is just over the top. It is about good vs. evil and the nature of evil. With a universal theme like that, the non-stop action, the memorable characters, the extricate design of the fictional world, Middle-Earth and

    Tolkien did not design

    to be read as three separate books. However, since the book is flawless, there is just no boring moment. Even if you chop it further to 6, 12 or 24 books, I think all of them deserve 5 stars. I am not a big fan of fantasy genre but this one is just over the top. It is about good vs. evil and the nature of evil. With a universal theme like that, the non-stop action, the memorable characters, the extricate design of the fictional world, Middle-Earth and the lyrical prose, Tolkien wrote a book that will outlive all of us here on earth.

    The story begins with the four hobbits separated into two,

    and

    who will later meet

    on their way to Mordor and

    and

    lost in Fangorn and later meeting the

    and the rest of the Ents. This is after the death of

    who is one of the members of the Fellowship (Book 1). He is killed by the Orcs after his attempt to steal the ring from Frodo and Sam. If Book 1 was mostly about the four hobbits, in this Book 2, Tolkien put them on a sideline and the focus here is the Fellowship fighting the Orcs. For most of the story in this book, the hobbits are at the sideline. They only came into action when the Ents with Merry and Frodo on top of Treebeard are destroying the first tower where

    resides: ORTHANC. Then the other two, Frodo and Sam battle with

    on their way to the second tower, CIRITH UNGOL where the other villainous wizard, the ultimate evil,

    lives.

    So, the two bad wizards stay in those two towers overlooking the Middle-Earth. Some crazy people say that the title "Two Towers" is a metaphor for two penises and there is a homosexual relationship between Frodo and Sam. Go to hell, I tell them. The book is so good and the movie is at par so please spare these works of art from your shallowness. I pity these people for not being able to appreciate good literature.

    On to Book 3. I am hoping that the third and final book will be as exciting as the two. Tolkien, sir, you are just so brilliant I'd like to open your grave and kiss your hands as a sign of my admiration and respect for you sir. There is just no other fantasy writer like you. Although I enjoyed

    and has a plan of reading the series where it belongs,

    , I am sure that despite George Martin having the hindsight advantage, still your LOTR is better. I will not even say that yours is original. That could mean that his is better and yours are

    the original. All of their works will not be able to top yours. Yours is simply incomparable and will always be better than all of their works. LOTR cannot be outranked. It will always be THE BEST epic high fantasy. Ever.

  • Kane
    Feb 08, 2011

    After

    , my agent BBMed me and said that people still thought I was a bitter a-hole. He suggested that I learn to deal with my situation by talking with some likeminded people who have faced similar frustration. So he signed me up for Dark Lords and Villains Anonymous. At least that’s what it's called on the website. When I send out a FB invite to my peeps I usually use the subject line "Hatas Beware". B

    After

    , my agent BBMed me and said that people still thought I was a bitter a-hole. He suggested that I learn to deal with my situation by talking with some likeminded people who have faced similar frustration. So he signed me up for Dark Lords and Villains Anonymous. At least that’s what it's called on the website. When I send out a FB invite to my peeps I usually use the subject line "Hatas Beware". Because General Zod is still trapped in that ridiculous Phantom Zone, we can't really meet in person so we IM. Every week a member discusses his or her public failure. This is the transcript from my week.

    Sauron: Hello, my name is Sauron, and it's been 56 years since the publication of my defeat.

    Group: Hello Sauron!

    Sauron: I'm…I'm not sure where to start. I just don't think I've been given a fair shake. I recently emailed an op-ed piece to the editor of the Times. In it, I argued that the name of Tolkien's "masterpiece" should be renamed "An Unprovoked Attack On Sauron the Merciful" and that the second book should be entitled "Saruman F*cks The Pooch". Crusty old cracker. It looked like my email was blocked so I tried another. None of them worked: frodosucksballs@yahoo.com; bitemearagorn@gmail.com; theresnowayanelfcouldfireabowandarrowlikethat@hotmail.com. Nothing. Anyways, my point is that none of this was my fault. I mean, things started off fine. That Boromir got what he deserved. I've never tried to destroy someone who cared more about their hair!

    General Zod: Can anyone help me!!??

    Agent Smith: Shut the hell up windowboy!

    Sauron: Thank you. Ahem.

    Darth Maul: Bllllllaaarrgghhh.

    Darth Vader: You'll have to excuse my associate. He's…useless.

    HAL 9000: Just what do you think you're doing, Dave?

    Agent Smith: OMG! Can anyone stop this light bulb from saying that every week!

    Moby Dick: Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrhhhhhhhuuuuuuuuuuuuflllllllllllllllllll

    Agent Smith: Jesus, now the whale is talking.

    Randall Flagg: Let…Sauron…talk.

    [silence]

    Sauron: If I may continue. Helm's Deep. My grandma could have tossed that joint before breakfast. But instead of sending her wheelchair-bound ass in to lead the charge I chose an Uruk-hai. In retrospect, since I took the time to hatch those suckers, I could have included some dolphin or chimpanzee in the mix to boost the IQ a little. Or at least supplied them with better loincloths. One Uruk-hai had a bad habit of talking to me while his leg was up on the table. We don't need to see that. Oh, and why don't I put all my faith in Gríma Wormtongue, he sounds reliable. Every time I looked at his multi-coloured eyes I wanted to puke.

    General Zod: That was pretty dumb.

    Khan: [shouts] THIS IS CETI ALPHA FIVE!

    Sauron: OooooK. I also regret relying on that damn Palantir for global communications! That freakin snowglobe basically told me that everything was going just fine. These days Saruman would have just texted me something like, "Yo, Sauron, we may have an issue." Instead his ass is whooped by trees. You know, man invented fire like 10,000 years ago. Trees.

    Jabba the Hutt: Sorry, I got here late. Has that loser Sauron started yet?

    [silence]

    Khan: I shall avenge you.

    Sauron: Thanks. Anyways, where was I? Oh yeah, Shelob. Stephen King's made me afraid of clowns and spiders. I don't want to discuss that bitch.

    Khan: You see, their young enter through the ears and wrap themselves around the cerebral cortex. This has the effect of rendering the victim extremely susceptible to suggestion. Later, as they grow, follows madness and death.

    Sauron: STOP! A-hole. That's why Kirk can beat you while simultaneous boinking a green chick. You're pathetic. Go back to selling coffee or whatever you've been doing. This is getting me nowhere. I never should have signed up for this. And there's no fracking way I'm writing a review of my demise in The Return of the King.

    [end transmission]

    Moby Dick: Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrhhhhhhhuuuuuuuuuuuuflllllllllllllllllll

    [end transmission]

  • Bookdragon Sean
    Jan 17, 2014

    Another Tolkien review? Yep, I’m putting out another Tolkien review. I’m on a mission, a mission to review everything written by Tolkien. And I literally mean everything. I’ve read most of his works, so I’m starting with those first before I move on to the few I haven’t read (there’s not many).This is all preparation, and a readdress of his writings, before I delve into Christopher Tolkien’s twelve book

    later on this year. Yep, I’m that much of a Tolkien nerd.

    I’ve be

    Another Tolkien review? Yep, I’m putting out another Tolkien review. I’m on a mission, a mission to review everything written by Tolkien. And I literally mean everything. I’ve read most of his works, so I’m starting with those first before I move on to the few I haven’t read (there’s not many).This is all preparation, and a readdress of his writings, before I delve into Christopher Tolkien’s twelve book

    later on this year. Yep, I’m that much of a Tolkien nerd.

    I’ve been meaning to tackle it for years, and it will likely take me even longer to get through, but I know it will be worth it. For now though, as I did with my review for

    , here are a series of ten points to explain exactly why I love this particular book:

    Gandalf the Grey was charming and quirky; he was everybody’s friend and advisor. But he was also a great wonderer and a great quester. He was an unearther of dark secrets and mysteries. And Middle-Earth no longer needs such a figure, darkness is now on her doorstep; it is no longer hidden. So Middle-Earth needs a man (or Istari) with far sight that can unite the scattered forces of Rohan and manipulate events in order to ensure that the King does, indeed, return. It needs a methodical man of great wisdom and intelligence; it needs a stagiest: it needs a new white wizard now that Saruman has changed his colours. And he has come.

    I just love the entire country of Rohan. Tolkien based much of their culture and background on Anglo-Saxon tradition, and I just love it. Did I say that already? I don’t care. It doesn’t lessen it. The Riders of Rohan are awesome, and Gandalf the White comes just in time to save the poisoned mind of their King. I think this entire side-plot is very clever. I would love to see what happened if Saruman would have won here. Could Wormtongue have become the new leader of Rohan, in effect, siding with the forces of darkness? Food for thought. He did want to marry Eowyn after all. Had his plan gone to fruition, he would have been regent.

    Boromir has always been one of my favourite characters from Tolkien, simply because he was one of the most human. He was a flawed hero, but I don’t get that sense from Faramir:

    He was a better man that his brother, and why his farther didn’t see it I will never no.

    Talking Trees? Trees that throw rocks and kill evil orcs? What’s not to rave about. The Ents are old even by Middle-Earth standards. They must have seen so much in their lifetimes. When I read about how all their wives disappeared I had a good laugh. Was Tolkien trying to be funny? They clearly wondered off and got chopped down by someone who wanted to make a house or something.

    So we have nine undead Kings. They wear cowls of black and are pretty much invincible. To call them bad-ass would be to do a massive disservice to their awesomeness. So how do we make them even cooler? Give them flying beasts of death, obviously.

    Gollum, for me, is an image of what Frodo could become. If he tried to keep the ring for himself, and went into hiding, he could become this way. Having him around, no doubt, helped to strengthen his resolve and remind him exactly why he can’t keep this for himself.

    Now the movie really capitalised on this and gave the film a stronger ending, but it was still fun to read about here. It was intense and bloody. Haldir and the elves of Lothlorien saved the day. Without them the men of Rohan would have died before Gandalf and Eomer showed up.

    Sam really starts to realise how important his role is in this adventure. He may not have any songs sung about him, and nobody will remember him as the hero, but he is the one who will have to get Frodo to Mordor. Frodo has the ring, and Sam has Frodo. He has a big task on his hands.

    Also Gimli and Legolas know that they must stay close to Aragorn because his role is also very important. The fellowship, through broken, must remain resolute.

    Aragorn has many moments to shine in the first book, but it here that his real capabilities are displayed. He leads part of the defence of the Helm’s Deep, and he is instrumental in the final victory. It is here that we begin to see the first glimpses of the man that will one day become the king of Gondor.

    Mordor’s full strength has not been seen as of yet. We’ve had glimpses, and the tension is really increased as this book finishes. The Witch King’s hour draws near.

    Tolkien’s

    was meant to be one entire book, so when writing a review of this I did really consider the structure of the book. There’s no beginning or end per say, but that’s because it is the middle of the story. And the middle of the story is just as grand as the rest of it.

  • Alejandro
    Jul 31, 2014

    So much for the fellowship made of representative of the races of good in the Middle-Earth with the task of destroying The One Ring in the hellish fires of Mount Doom, located right inside of Sauron’s domains.

    Members fell, member got tempted by The One Ring, members got trapped, the journey now has two roads and it’s not certain which way is the right one. Maybe

    So much for the fellowship made of representative of the races of good in the Middle-Earth with the task of destroying The One Ring in the hellish fires of Mount Doom, located right inside of Sauron’s domains.

    Members fell, member got tempted by The One Ring, members got trapped, the journey now has two roads and it’s not certain which way is the right one. Maybe no one is, but they need to take decisions, keep in movement and to trust that they are doing what is right.

    While they knew each other (in some cases) barely before the start of the mission, they now have a bond, a camaraderie, a friendship that it will be put to test to the maximum.

    New allies will rise but also the dark forces are getting stronger.

    And yet,

    surprises are ahead of them. Since it seems that in Middle-Earth certain things aren’t definitive.

    Something that I liked while reading the book(s) (since I noticed it since the first one) is that Saruman is a servant of Sauron. Yes, the powerful wizard of Isengard wants The One Ring

    not for giving to the Dark Lord or Mordor, oh no, no, no, Saruman knows that who gets The One Ring will rule in the Middle-Earth and since he is already one of the most powerful beings in that realm, it’s only logical to get The One Ring and with that key advantage, he will be able not only to challenge the armies of men, dwarves and elves but also the dark forces of Sauron.

    I have huge respect for the good King Théoden,

    dang it! How can you have as your personal advisor somebody running with the name of Grima Wormtongue! Geez! It’s like the Green Lantern Corps: “Oh, who would think that SINESTRO will resulted a bad guy.” Geez!

    In the movies is understood that Saruman “works” for Sauron but in the books, at least in my humble analysis is quite clear that Saruman is a third column in this dangerous game in the Middle-Earth. And anybody who was not only member of The White Council but its leader and having forces trying to get control of the Middle-Earth, it’s never wise to underestimate his potential of causing destruction, suffering and pain.

    You don’t know the courage of men until they are tested against a challenge without hope.

    Some war strategists would say that battling a lost battle is pointless and it’s better to flee for fighting another day.

    But what happen when there isn’t another day?

    When there is nowhere to run away?

    When accepting that it’s a lost battle isn’t an option?

    It’s when you know of what you are made of.

    It’s obvious that the saga of

    have many heroes, many awesome characters, but many of them have training, skills, education and powers to help them, but…

    …Samwise Gamgee shows one of the most amazing heroism of all, not matter that you can say that he everything against him.

    First of all, Sam is a Hobbit, not the most useful species in the Middle-Earth in matters of war, and even between Hobbits, he may not being the “best example” of his kind.

    Sam wasn’t as old as Frodo, Pippin and Merry, therefore less mature.

    Sam didn’t share a family bond like Frodo, Pippin and Merry shared.

    Sam wasn’t even of the same social status in The Shire as Frodo, Pippin and Mery, since they were from respected Hobbit families with lineage, while Sam was the son of Bilbo’s gardener.

    While Merry and Pippin were traveling with Frodo out of a family thing, for Sam was basically a unpaid job imposed on him.

    So, when the things got tough (and trust me that things couldn’t get tougher than what they got!!!), Sam could easily flee, throwing to hell that awful job, and getting back to safety, back to The Shire.

    Not Sam.

    Sam keeps walking, keeps looking out for his master (Frodo) and keeps to amaze due his honest loyalty, his unconditional friendship and his unbelievable willpower.

  • Glenn Sumi
    Mar 05, 2016

    I liked

    , but this book made me

    Tolkien’s Middle-Earth epic. Some of the writing is astonishing (see quotes below). The author handles various storylines – the fellowship has scattered, after all – gracefully. And after having two of its main characters (and their slimy guide) spend a lot of time climbing up

    I liked

    , but this book made me

    Tolkien’s Middle-Earth epic. Some of the writing is astonishing (see quotes below). The author handles various storylines – the fellowship has scattered, after all – gracefully. And after having two of its main characters (and their slimy guide) spend a lot of time climbing up a cliff, the book ends on one whopper of a cliffhanger.

    • The

    and Ent scenes are magical, if overly long. I love the ecological theme – destroying the countryside to fuel industry and war has consequences! – and the way the Ents are described.

    (means fewer songs and poems to read while eyes are glazed over). With the exception of...

    : simply adorable.

    .

    • Loved the

    . And really, people trusted Gríma Wormtongue? Wasn't his, you know

    , a clue?

    at Isengard, when he tries to use his evil wizard powers to win over Théoden et al: brilliantly written. Shame they had to cut down the exchange for the movie. And I love Saruman's coat-of-many-colours, which would have been too gaudy or campy for the film, I guess.

    wasn’t as sharply written as I expected. It went on forever and I had a hard time getting oriented. I was bored enough here to put the book down for a few days. (Now that I’m in partway through

    , I think Tolkien’s battle-writing skills improved for the Minas Tirith fight.) Re: Helm’s Deep: Peter Jackson was smart to end the film with it.

    . Now that we’ve met most of the major players, there are fewer of those “Hi, I’m X, son of Y, and here’s my story” passages.* But of course Gandalf gets one, cuz everyone needs to know what happened after he battled the Balrog in Moria, right? And I guess these monologues are meant to be stories told over firelight, good roasted food and mead. (People weren’t as distracted by things like social media back then.)

    : I’m not even a horse lover, and I kinda fell in love with the gorgeous, noble steed, the pride of Rohan.

    • It took some major cajones to go

    . Talk about keeping us in suspense! And while we're talkin' Hobbits, Pippin gets way more to do than Merry in this book, including his scenes with that cool "seeing stone," the palantír.

    . After all the stories other people told about him in Book One, we finally meet him, and wow. He’s the work's single tragic character. I’m sure there are PhD theses about how he represents the dark or greedy side of human nature. (Frodo knows he has to accept him.) I suppose he could withstand a psychiatric diagnosis, too. Schizophrenic? Addict suffering from withdrawal? Whatever, he’s fascinating, and earns our suspicion, fear and also pity.

    . Nearing Mordor, after they’ve survived the spooky Dead Marshes, Frodo and Sam come to another landscape that’s as bleak and desolate as death itself:

    , a brave man who knows how to speak, not just act! We’ve seen heroic warriors, funny Hobbits, gruff dwarves, arrogant wizards, and those damn elves deliver all their words with a mischievous twinkle. But Faramir impresses with the sheer graciousness and nobility of his character. When he meets Sam, Frodo and Gollum, and learns to trust the first two, he delivers this lovely speech about war, honour and what he's doing all this for:

    No spoilers, but I love learning the backstory of this character. The way Tolkien sets up the finale, from the stairs of Cirith Ungol, the cave, the smells, etc., and then seeing everything from the character’s point of view? Just masterful.

    , the bickering orcs in the cave in the final pages. They’re minor characters, but I love not just their awesome names but their complaining about what to do. Sure, they dispense information we (and Sam) need to know, but they’re also drones bitching about their jobs, as commonplace in Middle-Earth as it is on earth itself.

    ---

    * Spoke too soon. Now that I'm reading

    , there are a bunch more people being introduced. And so many place names! Glad there won't be a Middle-Earth geography quiz afterwards.

  • Alex Farrand
    Dec 16, 2016

    is the second novel of the trilogy The Lord of the Rings. The companions are split to do their own bidding for the cause against darkness that is coming over their world. One group fights Saruman. The other group searches their way to Mordor with the ring's burden. What perils await? Will they come out on top?

    *Smacks face with book and cries out "I LOVE YOU"*

    This is one of the greatest novels that I have ever read. I bet everything has been said about this trilogy, so I will try t

    is the second novel of the trilogy The Lord of the Rings. The companions are split to do their own bidding for the cause against darkness that is coming over their world. One group fights Saruman. The other group searches their way to Mordor with the ring's burden. What perils await? Will they come out on top?

    *Smacks face with book and cries out "I LOVE YOU"*

    This is one of the greatest novels that I have ever read. I bet everything has been said about this trilogy, so I will try to keep it as short as possible. J.R.R Tolkien has another huge fan. Furthermore, I never want to watch the movies ever again, because this book is GREAT. From the first chapter I was under Tolkien's spell. It was a lot more actioned pack and a lot more fun to read compared to the first book. I did not find it parts boring unlike in

    . The writing did make me sleepy, which caused me to only read two chapters at a time. His writing is very detailed, but beautify written. I could imagine every crook and nanny, all the fields of battlement, the lush forest, and whatever in between. I will say this again that Tolkien has an amazing imagination, and he made an entrancing world for his characters. It still amazes me.

    I love all the companions. I would love to hug them all. All of them play to their strengths and have the moral courage to fight back against the evil that lurks. They all put a smile on my face. I love Sam and Frodo's relationship. Sam would do absolutely anything for Frodo. As I recall, Frodo is a lot more weaker in the movie than in the novel. I like Frodo in the novel, and I wish the movie made him a little bit more stronger. BUT there is a new race that tops over them all, and it is the Ents. I love the Ents. I love how relax they are, and how passionately they feel for their fellow trees. "Do not be so hasty." I would love to meet an Ent, if they were real. Even Smeagol I have pity for.

    Sorry to go back to science, but I can't help but notice sometimes. Thinking about science makes me happy. I started thinking about natural selection and what traits were being passed down to the races. I noticed this when Treebeard was asking Merry and Pip about Entwives. Legolas has far sight, great hearing, fair skin, and soft feet. The Hobbits short, light footed, and good hearing. Those traits were passed on from generation to generation, and it is helping them survive. NATURAL SELECTION FOLKS! The Hobbits are not the greatest fighters, so they can hide easier in smaller places to avoid the enemies. Elves protect their homes, so they have qualities of fighters in night or day. GOSH that made me very happy.

    I can't wait to read the

    next month, but I will be really sad for it to end. The series has been amazing so far and I just don't want it to end. I absolutely love it! This review and the one on my blog are practically the same, but incase you forgot visit my site. haha

    . If not, oh well. Read well folks!

  • Whitney Atkinson
    Feb 15, 2017

    I feel guilty rating this book because I kid you not, I just BARELY absorbed anything in this book. I listened to it on audio, and I was maybe only attentive for 50% of that experience. It doesn't help that my professor gets so off track during class that we never actually discuss what we've read, so I don't have any incentive to read what we've been assigned. This series is definitely something I want to revisit in the future when I'm not skim-reading it out of a 10-pound series bindup and I do

    I feel guilty rating this book because I kid you not, I just BARELY absorbed anything in this book. I listened to it on audio, and I was maybe only attentive for 50% of that experience. It doesn't help that my professor gets so off track during class that we never actually discuss what we've read, so I don't have any incentive to read what we've been assigned. This series is definitely something I want to revisit in the future when I'm not skim-reading it out of a 10-pound series bindup and I don't have to read the entire series in 4 weeks. I love Frodo and Sam and Gollum. So much. I wanted to love this, but reading it was unbearable because of the size and page requirements, so hopefully when I reread this one day from the box set I already own, I will enjoy it and see its merit enough to rate it higher.


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