LOTR Read-Along! The Two Towers Part Three

The Hobbit and LOTR Read-Along is hosted by Little Red Reviewer and Geeky Daddy

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

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.

Discussion Topics:
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!


  1. I am really looking forward to delving into The Return of the King. It has been many years since I have read the book and although I am very familiar with the story of the films, I can't wait to rediscover all those things I forgot about in the book.

    I'm with you on not second guessing too much about "the only way" to Mordor. Obviously all the ways are dangerous, but the events of the story prove that this is the "least" dangerous way in that it is largely presumed that Shelob is a great deterrent and that that way can be less guarded. Gollum certainly had his own ends in mind in taking them there, but with that in mind he was still taking them the safest route he knew because he himself didn't want to be hurt nor did he want the Precious to be captured and taken to Sauron.

    Love Sam's goodness. It is such a powerful part of the story. While I believe long term exposure to the ring would ultimately effect him negatively like it did Bilbo and does Frodo, it is great that his sense of duty and love of Frodo are what are foremost on his mind even when he puts the ring on.

    Faramir is awesome and while I don't entirely like the idea that he is so completely unaffected by the ring, I do like that he is a good, noble and heroic character. I agree with the film makers that the Ring has to be tempting to be a representation of such powerful evil, I didn't like them having Faramir aid and abet the cruel treatment of Gollum while he was in their care.

  2. I also think Sam is great - he is just so consistent! The fact is, he's a simple guy, he wants to get back to his garden, but he's with Frodo to the bitter end and he just wants to protect and help him - I don't think the whole battle between good and evil hardly pops into his brain, he seems more content thinking on the everyday things such as keeping alive and moving forward. He is lovely and innocent - almost childlike.


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