This is the second part of The Two Towers.
FOTR: Part One Part Two Part Three
Bonus One: Photos of Books
TT: Part One Part Two
TT: Part One Part Two
Here we are at the end of The Two Towers! It's kind of nice to be taking the time to savor each part of the book, because left to my own devices, I'd probably have kind of skimmed this section in my hurry to get back to the other characters. And that would be a shame, because following Sam and Frodo is wonderful.
Faramir strikes me as a noble, intelligent fellow, especially concerning powers beyond his control. Had he gone to Elrond's Council instead of Boromir, how might the story have changed?
Faramir is awesome. He goes on the short list of people who are not really affected by the Ring (and yes, they basically changed this up in the movies because they wanted the Ring to seem more dangerous). I think it's because he's calm, and sure of himself, sure of who he is. He'd like to help win the war for his people, but he's studied enough to know that the One Ring is no way to do it. Thinking of him at the council is sort of odd: yes, he probably wouldn't have forced the split in the party, but in the end everyone got where they were most needed, so who knows how things would have turned out without that?
What did you think of Shelob and her lair? Would you willingly go in there? Yes, I know Gollum says "this is the only way", but Frodo could have demanded they explore and attempt to find another way.
To be fair, Gollum doesn't say "this way, through the lair of the giant evil spider, is the only way," and any way into Mordor is likely to be fraught with danger, so I think we can accept that Frodo and Sam push on despite their instinctive misgivings. Given what they've seen and heard, it does seem like the only choice, so I'm not about to second-guess it from here.
When Sam saves Frodo from Shelob, he finds himself in the vision he saw in Galadriel's mirror. Knowing the future isn't always as helpful as one would think, is it?
Knowing the future is never helpful. Ever. Unless you are a time-traveller, then I guess it's important to know where you're going. Without a time-machine, knowing the future is a tangled mess of self-fulfilling prophecies and moments of "too late" de-ja-vu.
Having always been a sidekick/helper of sorts, Sam reluctantly realizes he may have to become the Ringbearer. What do you think Sam will do with the Ring of Power? If you were the sidekick of the hero, and suddenly had the opportunity to become the hero, to finish the quest, what would you do with the Ring of Power?
I'll be interested to see answers to this question from those who haven't read the books. Note that in this last section, Sam uses the Ring to hide from the Orcs, and while he feels an effect, his loyalty to Frodo and to the Quest is unchanged. His innate goodness is just that awesome. Now, I don't have quite enough trust in my own innate goodness to use a Ring of Power (or even, in all honesty, to put on any of the replicas that came out with the movies) but I would certainly try to finish the quest.
The conversation between the two Orcs at the end was highly amusing for me. Yes, it serves to educate Sam on Frodo's condition, and Tolkien could have just left it at that, but he didn't. The Orc's commiserating could have been any soldiers in any war. To me, it felt like Tolkien was humanizing the enemy, instead of the traditional dehumanizing of the enemy that you usually see in war stories. What do you think?
There is some of that human sympathy, and it's welcome here, since in general the Orcs get very little of it. They're certainly not nice people, but neither are they unthinking beasts. I don't remember how much that sense is continued when we pick up this plot thread in the second half of ROTK, but I'll be on the look out for it.
The book ends on a cliffhanger. Are you excited to finish up the trilogy and see how it all turns out?
Well, I know how it turns out, but I am anxious to read it again anyway.
No Read-Along post next week, but stop by next Saturday anyway for
more LOTR bonus content!