the Little Red Reviewer

LOTR: The Two Towers readalong part one

Posted on: October 15, 2011

Welcome to our read along for J.R.R. Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings. Most of us just started reading The Two Towers (some of us, who messed up the dates, started reading it 2 weeks ago, and finished the section yesterday).  This week’s questions were supplied by Clint of Geeky Daddy, and he came up with some great ones!

What is your favorite part of The Two Towers, thus far into the book?
What were your thoughts of Boromir trying to defend Merry and Pippin from Orc archers?
Would thoughts would have been going through your mind if you were approached by Treebeard?
What were your thoughts and reactions of the battle at the Hornburg?
Do you like it that Tolkien has split the Company into three mini-quests? Do you wonder if the company will be together throughout the quest again?

Answers and discussion after the jump!

Other Blog discussions:
(post your link in the comments, or tweet it with #LOTRreadalong, and I’ll add your link)
Geeky Daddy
Stainless Steel Droppings
The Written World
The Blue Fairy’s Bookshelf
Lynn’s book blog
Book Den


What is your favorite part of The Two Towers, thus far into the book?

Treebeard!  I always enjoy creatures like this, and it seems my favorite parts of the book are the smallish ones, where you meet someone who you are probably never going to meet again. That, and I have a major weakness for all things tree and tree-ish in general.  I love the ents, they remind me a little bit of Tom Bombadil, they’ve been in their own corner of the world for so long, and never left it, that while they slowly forgot about the rest of the world, the rest of the world forgot about them. And the song about the entwives? so heartbreaking. I want to read a prequel that’s about the ents and the entwives.

Lego Ents!

What were your thoughts of Boromir trying to defend Merry and Pippin from Orc archers?

I know I’ve been very mistrustful of Boromir, but he’s not a bad guy, or an evil guy at all. When push comes to shove, he wants to do the right thing, and that’s exactly what happened here. I also wonder that he wasn’t feeling a little guilty for approaching Frodo the way he did, and is trying to make up for it by being extra helpful to the other Hobbits.

Would thoughts would have been going through your mind if you were approached by Treebeard?

First I would wonder what kind of drugs I was on.  Then I’d probably ask him if I could climb him, since I always loved climbing trees as a kid.  One I realized I wasn’t stoned or hallucinating, I’d probably think it was the coolest thing ever.   What could be better than having an army of trees, some of them very angry, on your side?  Treebeard seriously rocks!

What were your thoughts and reactions of the battle at the Hornburg?

This is going to sound very silly, but my favorite part of the battle was Gimli and Legolas’ little competition. I remember from the movies that they were always counting their Orc kills and competing to see who could kill more. I figured that was put in just for the movie to give those supporting characters more lines.  So when they started that competition in the book, I was just laughing my head off!

Do you like it that Tolkien has split the Company into three mini-quests? Do you wonder if the company will be together throughout the quest again?

I don’t mind that it was split. It seems to give us a better chance to getting to know the characters, and the world.  I’ve noticed this is a bit of a classic fantasy trope, collecting needed characters at the beginning, having them split up voluntarily or by force, each group has a separate adventure, and then everyone who is left alive comes back together at the end. I have to wonder if Tolkien inadvertently started that fantasy trend, or if it was something that existed in story telling, epic poems, or mythology beforehand?

but back to the actual question – I sure hope everyone comes back together at the end. Would be a waste of a balrog otherwise.

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12 Responses to "LOTR: The Two Towers readalong part one"

Post! http://bluefairysbookshelf.blogspot.com/2011/10/lotr-read-along-two-towers-part-one.html

The Ents are awesome, no argument, but I love Rohan, and happily there’s more of that to come!

I certainly think the answer to your last questions is “a little of both”. There can be no doubt Tolkien was influenced by the types of stories he loved and studied so closely in his study of languages. At the same time it appears he started a lot of trends in fantasy.

I love Treebeard as well, and the ents in general. I have always been a fan of anthropomorphized things in general and like the idea of nature being “alive”, if that makes sense. The idea that there are these very old caretakers looking out for the forest and in some way keeping the forest in line, because otherwise it becomes dangerous and out of control) is just wonderful. I also like the ents for the same reason Tom Bombadil grew on me a bit this time, which is because we are only given a small glimpse of them and their lives/history before we are whisked off elsewhere. There is something a bit sad about the fact that there is some great history there, especially in regards to the entwives, that we can never know. While Tolkien was writing a story in which so much knowledge has been lost to history and time, he was also creating that same kind of story because his death meant that all knowledge of the ents and Tom Bombadil, other than the scraps that survived, have all passed out of knowing. Sort of like art imitating real life.

It has been so long since I’ve read these books that I am constantly amazed at how much the film makers worked to be faithful to the story. Sure there are some big changes, but not nearly as many as I would have believed.

Hey everyone
Just posted my response at
http://lynnsbooks.wordpress.com/2011/10/15/lord-of-the-rings-read-along-book-2-the-two-towers/
Totally agree with you about the Legolas/Gimli competition – it just introduces such a note of humour, otherwise it would be too dark. And, again, totally agree, I thought that bit had just been added for the film. I love the way the film makers repeated such a lot of the dialogue.
Lynn

I thought of Tom Bombadil, too, during the Treebeard chapter. It seems Treebeard is older than Tom Bombadil.

The Gimli/Legolas relationship was also my favorite part of Hornburg.

You make a good pondering – did Tolkien start the trend of splitting characters into their own journeies within a story.
I never pondered that but now that you bring it up – I am pondering. It is true – many of the fantasy books that I read do indeed give us a host of characters to only break them apart for their own journey.
I do believe that everyone will come back together. That usually does happen. Although, I do not expect it to be an easy task of reuniting.

I loved the competition between Legolas and Gimli. I agree with Lynn that it did a bit of humor to an otherwise dark story.

I posted my thoughts in the comments section of Carl’s post. I want to participate in the discussion but most likely will not be able to put a post every week.

I am glad that we are in agreement with what type of drugs we might have taken to see a tree talking to either one of us. I also thought that Jackson added the Orc killing completion between Legolas and Gimli. I thought that it was great for Tolkien to put humor into his serious quest to Middle Earth.

Speaking of thinking Jackson added things, I also assumed Jackson added the bit about the Uruk-hai head being on the spike after Eomer’s men killed them and yet there it is, right in the book.

I’m laughing my head off that we all agreed we’d think we were on pretty good drugs if a tree starting talking to us. You gotta wonder what mushrooms those hobbits were eating!

thinking about the little things that were kept in the films, it makes me wonder how much more of the little things Jackson could have kept in there if he hadn’t spent like 4 hours in Rohan. don’t get me wrong, I love all the Rohan stuff, but it wasn’t the main part of the book. Now I understand why so many long time fans were frustrated with the movies. I’ll have to watch them all again when we’re done, so I can join the ranks.

[...] last discussion of the epic middle book in The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers. (click for parts One and Two) Focusing on the end of the book, our adventures center around Frodo and Sam, who with [...]

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