Monday, May 6, 2013

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Book Review

Rawr Reader,

    Has it really been over three weeks? I'm sorry.  I studied for my finals for two weeks and this past week I've just been relaxing and hanging out with family. But I've missed discussing books and so glad to finally have finished this one! This is The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien. The synopsis was typed from the back of the book: 

Frodo and his Companions of the Ring have been beset by danger during their quest to prevent the Ruling Ring from falling into the hands of the Dark Lord by destroying it in the Cracks of Doom. They lost the wizard Gandalf in a battle in the Mines of Moria. And Boromir, seduced by the power of the Ring, tried to seize it by force. While Frodo and Sam made their escape, the rest of the company was attacked by Orcs. 
Now they continue the journey alone down the great River Anduin — alone, that is, save for the mysterious creeping figure that follows wherever they go.

   I heard of this book from the first book! 

(no spoiler section so below contains some spoilers!)
   I'd like to start off by saying that I'm waiting to rewatch these movies until after I finish the book. So as we speak I'm watching the 2nd movie and I'm so excited! (Even if it's about my 50th time watching it.) ^^
   The Two Towers was structured a little differently than its predecessor. With the fellowship divided, the attention doesn't alternate between Aragorn's party, the two Orc-napped hobbits and Frodo and Sam like it does in the film's adaptation. The movie was structured for all the events to occur ultimately simultaneous. However Tolkien decided to separate the book into two separate parts, the first concerning Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli and at some times Pippin and Merry and the second part centering on how Frodo and Sam fare. 
   On the grand scheme of things, I have to respect this book. The locations and sometimes the character names are off-putting and confusing since they can look so similar, but this is Middle-earth and therefore Tolkien made it just as geographically and politically accurate as someone would Earth. The slow parts are when he is describing the adventure aspect of the book, such as the day-to-day events and the descriptions of the landscape of the marshes or the stairs of Cirith Ungol, but I'd have to say none of it is disappointing.
    In fact, I really admired Frodo in this book. He had more of a spine in this book than in The Fellowship of the Ring in regards to standing up to Gollum and when meeting Faramir and then defending Gollum. When I figured out how the first part of the book would be split between Aragorn and the Orc-napped hobbits and the last part would be solely on Frodo and Sam, I was worried. On the second page of the last part Frodo was already complaining. I already didn't like him so I was already tired reading about him when there was still 150 pages left. However I'm glad that Tolkien let him change from his childish dependent character as was in the first book into a more independent hobbit. While the development wasn't gradual, at least there was a change and I'm content with that.
    Aragorn wasn't really one of my favorites in this book. I don't see how he could develop into the next book as taking the throne as king. He doesn't seem as humble to me as he did in the movies and I don't see how it would be chosen as the name for the last book.
   Actually it's ironic, most of the scenes in the first part of the book I was excited to read about turned out boring (Helm's Deep and Edoras) turned out boring while the parts that I found were my favorite were the chapters with Treebeard, Saruman and Gollum. (Though I will argue that I prefer Treebeard's introduction in the movie a hell of a lot more. ("Gnawing, biting, breaking, hawking, burning! Destroyers and usurpers curse them!") xD
    As for my favorite character, it'd have to be Gollum/Smeagol. Every scene that concerned him was so enjoyable to read and I found his diction so characterized, if characters were genres, he'd be his own. Sometimes characters no matter what book you read can begin to blend together that you need to read back to remember who's speaking, but Gollum is so unique. Before reading this book and being introduced to Gollum I didn't really take note of his character other than that he was the creepy bad guy. But in the book I felt I sympathized for him (ex: at the pool before Faramir catches him and after when he feels he was betrayed by Frodo), well at least for the Smeagol part of him. I belive Andy Serkis's performance in the movies did an incredibly fantastic job emulating Gollum/Smeagol and I now respect his character 1000x more for it. Actually, I'd say Gollum/Smeagol becomes one of my favorite literary character of all the books I've read. 
    Alright, my favorite scene/chapter in the book was with the Ents. Oh my gosh I love how badass they are. Particularly when Treebeard and the other Ents decide to attack Isengard. I was just fist-pumping the air cheering them on. And I also enjoyed the chapter when Aragorn, Gandalf, and King Theodan come to Isengard after the battle of Helm's Deep and they speak with Saruman. He was always just a character out of sight and I was happy Tolkien gave him at least one chapter to act and think.  
    Final thing, I was surprised when I learned that the title wasn't referring to what I had always thought it was. For near a decade now, "Two Towers" had always been in my mind the tower in Isengard and the other tower in Mordor. But in the book I believe when Frodo, Sam and Gollum reached the Black Gates of Mordor, Tolkien described them as the Two towers of Teeth. So unless I'm just looking too much into it, I was surprised.
    If you've read this book, you'll know that the book is very different compared to the movie. And if I had to pick, I honestly prefer the movie for the structure (and also it's hilarious). However one thing that bothered me from the movie was in the beginning when Legolas said "The Uruks have turned north-east. They're taking the hobbits to Isengard!" Yeaaahhh, no. Geographically, whether in the movie or book, they were northeast of Isengard. So no matter what he should have said they're taking them south-west. But only I would be bothered by that. ^^
I give this book 5/5 stars. I liked it a little more because it didn't take half of the book to start getting good. (Fellowship of the Ring *cough* *cough*)

Author's Quote:
"I'll look for thee, and wait for thee, until we meet again:"
-Treebeard, Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

My Goodreads:

Next To Read:
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien

Until Next Time,
Nicole Ciel

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