The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien

details
Title: The Two Towers.
Series: The Lord of the Rings #2.
Writer(s): J.R.R. Tolkien.
Publisher: HarperCollins.
Format: Hardcover.
Release Date: October 19th, 2017.
Original Release Date: November 11th, 1954.
Pages: 456.
Genre(s): Fantasy.
ISBN13: 9780008264079.
My Overall Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Previously in The Lord of the Rings series:
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien.
The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien.

thoughts

In the midst of immeasurable terror plaguing the lands, where does one turn to if they are to find respite and peace of mind? With only faith in their own human agency, their plight is the ultimate test of bravery and honour, with nothing but themselves and the alliances that they’ve forged along the way to keep them going. While nothing is guaranteed, suffice to have hope, trust, and belief in not only ourselves but the friends around you, to keep one standing, despite the chaos and madness that pervades our world. For Frodo and his trusted companions, their quest has only begun, now having suffered through loss and betrayal, as they fight for what they believe in, hoping that it will be enough to stop the Dark Lord from achieving his evil desires. Although it is the second part of The Lord of the Rings, this fully corrected and revised edition is comprised of books three and four of J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic fantasy adventure.

What is The Two Towers about? Ambushed by Saruman’s Uruk-hai and Sauron’s Grishnákh-led legion of Orcs, Merry and Pippin find themselves captured by this merciless enemy. With Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas on their tail, tracking their way to these little companions in the wilderness of Middle-Earth, their journey lead them to cross paths with unexpected allies as they brace hopelessly for war against the terrifying evil of Sauron. Meanwhile, Frodo and Sam escape the assault and make their way to the Great River Anduin, unbeknownst to the terrors that lurk in the shadow and especially one mysterious creeping figure that will do anything to retrieve his precious. While the journey remains perilous, they must continue their way east to prevent the Ruling Ring from falling into the wrong hands.

“War must be, while we defend our lives against a destroyer who would devour all; but I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend.”

J.R.R. Tolkien

If you were looking for nuance, a critique of this beloved classic, a scrutinizing dissection of this continuation of an epic fantasy adventure, this isn’t it. Split into two distinct narratives, each part delves deeper into the shattered fellowship’s quandary as J.R.R. Tolkien masterfully infuses his exquisitely written and beautifully-detailed prose with the riveting lore of Middle-Earth, brimming with rich history, fabled figures, and profuse traditions and customs. While the story offers little respite for its heroes and does not end with any form of resolution, it continues its march down toward an impending war as the fractured groups meet new allies and face old foes, always trying to survive the wrath of the evil afoot. From the trio of Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas encountering the Riders of Rohan, or Merry and Pippin meeting the slow and ancient Ents, or even Frodo and Gimli taming a wild psychologically-distressed beast in their quest to reach the Cracks of Doom, these heroes skillfully showcase their solidarity and profound virtue in each and every action taken or word spoken.

With an organic conception and comprehension of Middle-Earth—he is the brains behind this engrossing realm after all—J.R.R. Tolkien also effortlessly describes this mesmeric and lively fantasy world, breathing life into the smallest of details. Through his poetic writing style, his ability to describe the environment and give readers a sense of direction and location, further perfected by the integrated map of Middle-Earth, also accentuates the immersion, embarking on a treacherous journey they’ll never forget. The hovering sense of despair and eternal torment is also thoroughly captured in the writing, in the dialogue, and in the words unspoken. As these characters simmer on the knowledge that the maestro of evil watches over them, this campaign into perilous lands simply confirms the one and only truth for each and every one of these heroes: this is the beginning of the end. however, it is through trust and loyalty that they can strive toward their goals.

The Two Towers is an entrancing and incontestable tour de force with enchanting and masterful epic prose that captures the dreadful presence of the growing threat and the scattered fellowship’s resilience in their quest for hope through faith, friendship, and fortitude.


EXHIBITA

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37 thoughts on “The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien

  1. I’m so very glad to hear you’re continuing to enjoy this series. I think it may have been the second fantasy series I ever read, so I was fairly young when I first read it, and to this day it continues to be my favorite, one of those I’d wish for if trapped on a desert island. I hope to reread it again this year while listening to the audio. I’d started that at one point but put it aside to get through some other books, so I want to make enough time to go through the entire series that way. And soon I’d like to start reading the enormous History of Middle-Earth collection, though I know they’re not written in the same way as LotR, being more history than entertainment. I look forward to reading your thoughts on The Return of the King.

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      1. I’ve read the Silmarillion. And at one point I did begin reading the first volume of the Histories, and I can confirm that at least what I read was much more akin to the Silmarillion. If the rest of the Histories are the same way then they’d tend to mostly be for the hardcore geeky fans or folks in academia, and not someone just looking for a well told story. I suspect they’ll take me a while to get through, not exactly easy reading. 🙂

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      2. I finished it both times I read it. I read it once in highschool so it isn’t recorded and then again in ’19. I did not enjoy it at all either times. It was history and as far as I was concerned, Tolkien did his best to make it as dry and dusty as real historians of his time did.

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    1. I’m surprised that I’ve waited so long to keep going when I adored Tolkien’s stuff so far. And ever since finishing The Two Towers, I’m on a Tolkien mission now. Don’t be surprised if there’s more and more Tolkien content popping up in the next months now hahah! I also recently got my hands on the History of Middle-Earth books and would love to dive into those somewhere further down the line. Based on a couple of articles I’ve looked up by Tolkien-heads, there might be a couple of other books I should read before trying HoME though. One thing’s for sure, After Return of the King, I’m diving into Silmarillion next! I hope you get around to rereading soon, Todd. If not, hopefully my upcoming reviews will make you want to do the same! 😀

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      1. Just understand the Silmarillion is a very different beast to the Hobbit or LotR. I very much enjoyed it. I thought it enriched the world and history and I enjoyed the stories it told. But the writing style is very, very different and doesn’t work for some people. It’s been a very long time since I’ve read it and I’ve reread LotR a few times since then so I’d like to reread it and see what else I pick up. I don’t know the exact order I’ll read them in but I’m thinking of rereading LotR, Silmarillion, maybe Unfinished Tales, then the History. I do have a few others that I might fit in before History, like The Children of Hurin. I believe some of these stories are told multiple times with different volumes showing different versions as Tolkien created them.

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      2. That’s how I’ll approach it too. A way to expand on the lore and world, without expecting the same prose style as the trilogy, and even less like the Hobbit! I’d like to pick up the Unfinished Tales after Silmarillion too. I’m so excited to dive into those and hopefully, my experience with Silmarillion won’t deter me from doing so hahah I’ve read some people online mention that reading Silmarillion and then LotR will help readers easily appreciate the hidden lore within the trilogy, things that we gloss over, not knowing what exactly they refer too. I also heard about stories being contained in multiple volumes. That’s a bit frustrating, especially if it’s the exact same story with no changes whatsoever…

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      3. You mentioned some folks recommending reading the Silmarillion before LotR to better appreciate all that’s in LotR, and while I can see where they’re coming from I completely disagree with them. I think if most folks started with the Silmarillion they’d never even try LotR thinking it’s written the same way. Personally, I think either The Hobbit or LotR is a good place to start for most folks. If you like what you read you can then try his more erudite works and see if you also enjoy those, and if you don’t at least you got some enjoyment out of the more popular and approachable ones. If, however, you like challenging and archaic works then by all means try the Silmarillion first realizing up front it’s very different from the more popular works.

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      4. Oh no, I agree with you there. What people recommended was to start with The Hobbit, read the trilogy, then Silmarillion, and then revisit the trilogy with silmarillion fresh in your thoughts hahaha I don’t think I’ll do that reread after Silmarillion though, everything is already so fresh in my memory right now that I just want to keep going 😂

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  2. I seem to remember that the Two Towers was my favorite book out of the three. Part of that was the resurrection of the Rohirim but also the battle of Helm’s Deep, even though as an action scene it was glossed over in large part by Tolkien 🙂

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    1. It’s definitely an amazing book and you’re right, Tolkien does not spend numerous pages describing his action scenes, yet, somehow, every action scene was just so perfectly described that I saw it all play it out in my head. I personally loved when Gimli and Legolas were trying to beat each other’s kill count when they faced orcs. It made me smile hahaha

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      1. It’s amazing what a master of language can convey with just the exact right words. It’s a skill I wish more authors today would practice before launching out with their 1000 page tomes that go on and on and on.

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      1. Oh yes, the Return of the King is another epic, and quite long instalment as a I recall. I really like Peter Jackson’s films as well. I think Fellowship of the Ring was the best movie as it totally captured the tone of the books perfectly. Two Towers and Return of the King kind of overlapped elements and shuffled the narrative around slightly, but I still really love the film trilogy.

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  3. It’s always wonderful to see so much love for the LOTR, which I discovered in my late teens and still love deeply now that I’m an old lady – maybe even more now than then… One of these days I must get to the re-read (my 15th? or 20th?) I’ve been promising myself for far too long.
    Thank you so much for sharing!!! 🙂

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  4. The Fellowship will always be my favourite of the books but I can’t really criticise any of them either! I do remember going to see The Two Towers movie when it first came out and the posters had to be edited because of 9/11.

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  5. Great review, Lashaan! I read the Fellowship in French many years ago but can’t remember if I finished it (I think the problem was probably a bad translation), but I read the whole LOTR series when I finished university as I studied invented languages in my master’s thesis, so it felt like a *duty* – one that I was really happy to do though! 😁 I’m glad you’re enjoying it, and now I’m thinking I should re-read the whole series soon!

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    1. Thanks, Juliette! I can imagine how translations could play a big role in how much you can enjoy this trilogy. The writing is sooooo good in English that I have a hard time imagining it being any better or as good in any other language hahaah Did you read them in English after? I’m currently binging my life with Tolkien stuff now and will probably stay on it for a while now hahah!

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      1. Yes, I ended up reading them in English afterwards and loved it! It is beautifully written though very detailed (both when it comes to the words chosen or the description) so I was sometimes a bit lost ahah! Enjoy all the Tolkien stuff! He truly was a great writer and linguist!

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    1. There are also BBC audio dramas if you want a shorter version, in fact those are probably easier to find than a full audio book. Ian Holm, who plays Bilbo in the LOTR movies, is Frodo in the 1981 version.

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    2. There’s always the BBC radio drama from 1981 as well, which is much closer to the books than the movies, but still not quite as long as a full audiobook. It helps that Ian Holm voices Frodo in the drama (he played Bilbo in the LOTR movies).

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  6. It’s been way too long since I’ve read these books (was in the middle of The Two Towers when its movie released on VHS back in summer 2002). Pretty sure I’d enjoy them more now than I did back then, and I enjoyed them back then.

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  7. Yay, glad you enjoyed it! It has been a while since I read it, but I remember loving all of the series very much. Since I’ve watched the film adaptations numerous times, I tend to remember the story from the film rather than the book. Maybe a reread would be in order.

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