Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Book Review: The Two Towers by J. R. R. Tolkien

The second volume in The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers focuses on the disintegration of the Fellowship, as Frodo and Sam go off on their separate journey towards Mordor whilst Merry and Pippin are taken captive by some Orcs. Meanwhile, Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli decide that they will attempt to pursue and rescue Merry and Pippin.

"It's like in the great stories, Mr Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end... because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it's only a passing thing... this shadow. Even darkness must pass."

As a child, The Two Towers was always my favourite movie, and I think I used to say it was my favourite book too, but as I've gotten older my favourite movie is now The Return of the King. I'm still unsure as to whether my favourite book will change as well, we'll soon see! I loved this reread though, there's so many great quotes and events jammed into The Two Towers, but I do have my complaints too.

Firstly, the positives! My eyes brim with proud tears as I reflect over how Aragorn has grown - it is in The Two Towers that he really starts to demonstrate his leadership skills at the Battle of the Hornburg. You can quite literally see me standing at the sideline waving my huge Aragorn flag. MAKE THIS MAN KING. I fear that every LOTR review will basically just be me rambling on how about how much I love Aragorn, but the heart wants what it wants. I mean, can we just...


Another positive - in the second half of the book we get so much Gollum and that greatly pleases me. He is such an incredible character that no scene can possibly be boring when he's there. He cracks me up by how he constantly refers to Frodo as the good master, whereas Samwise is the nasty one! We've already observed how strong and brave Samwise is, and that's built upon in this volume, where at times he literally carries and drags Frodo onwards in their journey. Also *potential spoiler alert* the scene where he thinks Frodo is dead and decides that he'll carry on with the mission of destroying the ring... MY HEART. Samwise just wants to be at home with his feet up, but here he is, with the whole weight of Middle Earth on his shoulders.

Also, young Johann was a complete moron. I used to complain all the time about how much I hated the Ents and how those chapters were so boring that I wanted to cry. It's strange to observe how your reading tastes change as you get older, because I was ALL OVER those chapters this time around. The Ents are awesome! You also can't talk about The Two Towers without referring to Shelob's lair. I find that chapter so uncomfortable and unsettling to read, because... spiders, man. But the tension and dread that Tolkien builds is terrifying. 

I guess my main problem with this book is the separation of the two storylines into Book 3 and Book 4. I mean, we don't get to see what Sam and Frodo are up to until halfway through, and then that also means we don't get to check in with Aragorn etc for the remainder of the book. I personally am not a fan of this, I'd rather we moved back and forth between the two storylines, because I start to miss characters when I don't get to see them for a while. And dare I say it, but it meant the second half of the book can slightly boring at times... it's just Sam and Frodo walking basically - but thank god for Gollum!

If you had to force me to chose, I would perhaps rank The Two Towers over the Fellowship. I think. Gah, this is too difficult! But I'm really intrigued to see how I feel after my reread of Return of the King. This one, however, gets 5 stars out of 5! It's sad that my journey through Middle Earth is coming to an end soon, but we can always go back, can't we?


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