N.T. Embe's Reviews > The Two Towers

The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien
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May 25, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: fantasy
Recommended to N.T. by: My Best Friend, many years ago.
Recommended for: Absolutely Everyone. It is a Must-Read and well worth it, I promise.
Read from May 25 to 28, 2011 — I own a copy

Perhaps more than last time, we have now a shifting of perspectives in many ways. For, in many ways, The Two Towers is much more different than the Fellowship of the Ring was. We have the book split into two "books" as last time, but this time the meaning is far more significant as one half of the story follows one part of the broken fellowship, and the other follows the other part. It makes for a very interesting read, for while you follow one half, you wonder about the other, and vice versa. Yet though there are many things to wonder at in this book as well, the delight we had in the first book of wandering through Middle-Earth has been hastened. No longer do we stroll, even swiftly, through places of wonder. Oh, we have moments! But they are like brief glances at beauty and grandeur that are quickly taken away from us as we are rushed elsewhere. And in the second half of the book, we have nearly none! For there we are heading deeper and further into the gloom and death of Mordor, with only one brief span of beauty--a gasp of air and wonder in Ithilien, which is a land I take to with love of forest and mountain both. But there is the essence of The Two Towers! Great things happen, and suddenly the Quest we were started on has rushed forward like a stream become a great roaring river! Things are happening every which way in the first half of the book, and we hardly have a moment to spare to let it all catch up before other things are happening. Indeed, this book is much more fast paced than the last! And the only time it slows, we dread it to, because the second half of the book is -not- what we want long lasting experiences of. Yet Tolkien shows his skill, shows first the world as it is in peril, with the beauties we are fighting to protect and the peoples of it! And in the second he slows us down, to fully ingrain in us the mirthless, horrible stretch of the journey into Mordor.

Ah, and friends, it gets worse. Speed and battle grow the greater in the next book, and horrible twisted adventures are ours to suffer through along with the other half of the fellowship in the lands of Mordor--in the very midst of those miseries! Alone we have growing the sensation now, which we'll feel even greater in the third and final book: the battle within our hearts and minds of Hope against Despair. It has tinged our thoughts, wormed its way into our beings as we read further and further through The Two Towers...but what we have now will only peak and sear our minds in the next book. Great and terrible things must be done still, and I at least am so caught up in the tale that I could not wrench myself away from it now if I tried with all my strength. I want to know, and I cannot bear to leave them all here!

But let me take an aside. The story started off this time with sorrow. And yet, unexpectedly it was filled with lasting and cheering flashes of wonder! We lose people we care about...that I will not hide from you, but we are ever gaining others. Yet still things are twisted, and things are hard. The people we love are now more beautiful, because they can still shine and make us laugh--make us smile!--even amidst all that is crashing down around them. It makes them wonderful and brings them closer to our hearts. They are, perhaps not unlike any other characters that have followed in the years since the Lord of the Rings trilogy was written, but they are the first I know who captured my heart with Hope, and were themselves the light that we so desperately sought for. They give us, as readers, that hope in a way that is purer and cleaner than any other way I have experienced. ...for they too are pure, and unblemished. They touch the heart in a way other characters are unable to, and make them all the more cherished.

For here now, I think I will end my commentary. It is much shorter than its first, but that too may be understood best by those that read the book. It is an in-between, but unlike so many that we know today, it is not a failure in capturing the attention and the mind. It holds its own, marvelously and great. And though it is not the climax or the steady, wondrous beginning, it is potent and full of things that fill the head with whirlwind thoughts, and awaken in us a complex web of emotions that we cannot disentangle without reading onward. For reading onward is what we seek most to do, at the end of both the "books" in The Two Towers. We are left with bated breath, and an eager clenching of teeth, hoping and desiring to know what will happen next! And yet for those of you who have never read this series, you do not know the things that are yet to unfold. They will take the air from you, and will leave you staggering and in disbelief. You will feel everything you are now experiencing rising into a tumultuous cascade of wonder and awe and fear and a last desperate hope and confusion! Great things will happen. Great things. And I will go on with you to meet them. We "are still stuck in the worst places of the story, and it is all too likely that some will say at this point: 'Shut the book now, dad; we don't want to read any more.'" (Pg.364) But I tell you this...move on, readers. Every thing we will come to now will be worth more than you know yet. But...you will know it then. *Smiles with warmth* Go on. I will go on with you and before you. You have the people you care for waiting for you there already, waiting for you to meet them.


Now! For those who have seen the movie...
There are a great many things that I could say here, but I will not go into all of them. For those of you who have read my review on the Fellowship of the Ring and saw the movie section of my review there, you know my thoughts on the movies altogether. However, there are a couple of things about this movie in particular that I would like to comment on.

One of the things that people will notice, in fact, the thing that most people notice immediately when they watch the movies after reading the books, is that the sections in the books where you know things to happen are placed differently in the movies. The start of this book, just the first few pages, is put in the end of the first movie instead. And, the end of this book, is pushed ahead to the first part of the third movie, along with the flashback and explanation of Gollum's, Smeagol's, past. I will not criticize this, because it was kept true to the main storyline, and movies have to run differently than books as a rule. If they do not, they lose the purpose of being a movie and fail, which is something I would not want for any movie. The music and the features of Middle-Earth are wonderful, as always, but there are places where I feel things were a bit lacking, and to two of these I will address here. The first is the way Rohan was portrayed (just in a few minor details) and the second has mostly to do with the character of Faramir.

Now for those of you who have read my status updates, you will say to yourselves, "Oh these are her pet-peeves. She obsesses over them so much it's obvious she was going to nitpick about them now." But, I will be fair and will not criticize unjustly, I promise you. I will also say, first and foremost, that I do love Rohan and its people, and I love Faramir greatly. That is why I pay great attention to them. That is how people act. We deal most with what we care for most. And so I wanted to make a few notes.

About Rohan I have much less to say than might be expected. They are minor things I was reminded of while reading the book. I thought of its hilly, green lands, and they were still beautiful in the movies! Lovely, in fact, but they fell, I feel, short of the glory that I imagined. I will not condemn them for this, because they worked wonders in the story, and considering they had a time limit in which to use that particular area of New Zealand for the filming of Rohan's scenes, I do not blame them for doing it as much justice as they could muster. Another thing most horse and animal lovers will note, is the fact that Shadowfax was a white horse in the movie, and not silver like he was described ever in the books. I must say I was a little disappointed too. I wanted to see a horse of silver and majesty! But the steed they got for it was still gorgeous by any man's means, and though I remember thinking, "Well they could have put in some kind of animation to -make- him silver-ish!" I didn't hold it against them in the end. The great house of Rohan, Edoras, I think fell much shorter of the mark than anything else. Then again, I could say this is the same note I had about Lothlorien in the last movie. It was not as great or charming as I thought it. But all reader interpretation is up to their own, and I will not bash them for this. I will say, I was a little disappointed, and still am, at how Rohan was portrayed. But the movie itself carried the tale well, and that I feel is the most important thing, especially since they got so many other places right.

Now for Faramir.... *Pauses to muse for a time* ...I am more lenient about the differences in artist portrayals of the same thing. As someone who designs and draws as a hobby, I know the way images can conflict. That is why Rohan does not upset me as much as it might seem. But changing a character around...so that he is -not- himself... *Clenches her teeth a little and knits her brows together as though in agony* That was unjust! That was wrong! They made Faramir a secondary character where in Tolkien's work there are no secondary characters, and that I do not mind, IF they had kept him as HIMSELF. But he was NOT himself! He was selfish, he went against his true word and intentions in the book! He redeemed himself in the end of that part, you may say, but I cannot forgive it! They RUINED him! They made him seem like he could be bent by the power of the Ring to do evil! He became just another Man with his own greedy desires, instead of the noble and king-like man, soft and clear with words, unshakable and kind in actions, even when they must be swift and hard. They reduced him, in the movie, to what every regular guy would do: trying to get a promotion by selling out someone below him. *Cries out!* He was fair and generous and good and they put him under the sway of Evil as though it could reach him! Every man can be corrupted, or so it is said. But he WASN'T!

That's my big deal! He DIDN'T get corrupted! He WASN'T gotten to by the Ring! He ENDURED almost -flawlessly!- ...and then they go and have him take them captive, bring them to Osgiliath, and then change his mind?! IT. NEVER. HAPPENED! I don't MIND the movie people changing things around to make the story flow and get it across to its watchers! It doesn't bother me! But THIS?! To RUIN a character so great! So wonderful! ... *Shakes her head* ...it was terrible. It was worse than seeing what happened in Moria unfold. ...you who have read and watched know what I'm speaking of. *Sighs heavily* ...I do not like it when movies take characters and sacrifice them for their own ends. Sometimes, sometimes I can see why. But this? ...this I cannot accept lying down, or even at all. And it will remain a great blemish on this movie, every single time I watch it. It was terrible. I cannot forgive it, except to say that I -do- love the movies. I just wish they had not done this.

For those of you who watched the movies, my recommendation is this again: Read the books, then watch the movies, again if you must. When you see these things in their original forms as the book intended them, you will perhaps understand my grievances better. It was still a great movie. The battle at Helm's Deep was fantastic, even if they -did- stray from the mark there a little too. However, keep in mind: the movie must be held accountable for its deviations by the books. That's the way to judge the movies. And this one has many things lacking which the book makes much more fantastic. My final thought: book definitely surpasses the movie this time. Unlike the book, the movie could -not- hold its own in the trilogy. The book did.
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Reading Progress

05/25/2011 page 0
0.0% "Joy and delight and WHEE! I am EXCITED that I have come at last to the second book! So many great and amazing things happen in this book! If I did not love all three, I would say this is my favorite one simply because of Rohan! Rohan, Rohan! Were I of the men of Middle-Earth, Rohan would ever keep my heart! For there it springs wild and untamed! But come, there is much yet. I will be patient, and begin."
05/25/2011 page 4
1.0% "WARNING! THIS UPDATE CONTAINS A SPOILER! -- ...I am sorry that of all we know of Boromir, is the steady corruption of his beautiful person. He was a man of great heart and strength...but the evil was just too much for him. I once did not like him, but ever afterwards, I have loved him. He was a -good- man...and he was taken from us too soon. Boromir, we all forgive you, and we honor your memory with our love."
05/25/2011 page 12
3.0% "And so the first part truly ends and the next begins. And the next, the next! Though it does not follow two, it is where my heart springs forward with fire! For here come the things that alight in me fierceness and love for a people I adore unabashedly! To Rohan and to great battles!"
05/25/2011 page 22
6.0% "I love this one note on the Elves and their ways. To walk open-eyed and dream, and yet sleep! How amazing! I love that Tolkien should include it here! It's an incredible piece of information, and gives this fair race even more awe and astounding."
05/25/2011 page 35
9.0% "*Laughs* Eomer! You are charming and wonderful! A man as ever there was, and your humor and faith are hard-gotten but well-kept. <3 I love this land and its people! <3 Such great, simple men live in Rohan as would warm my heart! They are kingly without being too overdrawn and formal, and they are warm. Warm to my heart! <3"
05/26/2011 page 87
22.0% "*Laughs!* Treebeard, Merry, and Pippin together are one of the funniest batches of characters I've seen in this book! I -love- them! Treebeard and his talk of "hastiness" and then! Then! >X'D "Bregalad stood for some time surveying the hobbits solemnly; and they looked at him, wondering when he would show any signs of 'hastiness'." >XDDDDD!! Adorable! These two are priceless! <3333333"
05/26/2011 page 92
23.0% "It is wonderful to read about all these characters. Though you know some are great and some quaint, you have from each of them at unexpected times great moments of wisdom, moments that induce awe in you. For you see them and you love them while they are plain as day, but when that hidden strength comes out, it is enough to stir one's heart quietly, to feel respect grow, and to know you love great things and people."
05/26/2011 page 98
25.0% "So many people do not understand what real friends are like. Today "friendship" is an idle word that doesn't carry the same meanings or love that it once did. They mistake it for other things, coarser and uglier, more -base- things. But I look at Aragorn here, with his response to Gimli's comment of going to their friends only to starve at their sides, and I know that is friendship. The True Friendship of all people."
05/26/2011 page 103
26.0% "Because in tears I first said goodbye, now in tears...even this many read-throughs in...I always cry, such an unbelievable joy it is to have you back! *Embraces character* You mean a great deal to all of us. And though we had signs before, I still never thought this would come. ...thank you, Tolkien, for letting this happen. You have a way of taking my sadness...and always turning it upright, giving me joy. <3"
05/26/2011 page 113
28.0% "XD Ohhhh Gimli~ <3333 If it's possible, he's even MORE precious than the dwarves I've come to love through my many journeys in The Hobbit! >XD What a wonderful character!! And he only gets more hilarious and fun as time goes on! "...let us find one that is right to cleave," indeed! >X'D"
05/26/2011 page 179
45.0% "X3 See?! Merry and Pippin like the King of Rohan too! *Giggles!* He's such a wonderful man! <333 He does presume to know too much, takes well the council of others, and his heart is great and not easily shaken. His people are amazing! Even without being grand like those of Gondor. And I love them dearest of men besides those of the Westernesse. <3"
05/26/2011 page 183
46.0% "It's interesting.... Here they mention some part, about the weed they smoke, but too soon in the story it is to even think of what it means. When it comes to that part, people may then know. I had forgotten about this, but now I remember, and now I think of how far we have yet to go before we come to that nearly last part of the story. *Smiles faintly* At the very least, our hobbits always carry through."
05/26/2011 page 194
49.0% ">XDDDDDD!!!!!! Pippin's answer to Aragorn! Oh my goodness! *Laughing at the hilarity!* How I have MISSED a hobbit's great humor! They are WONDERFUL! >X'D Priceless and joy-bringing unlike many peoples!! <3333"
05/26/2011 page 213
54.0% "*Laughs!* Oh I love that comment! Every wizard SHOULD have a hobbit by his side! XD It would be most refreshing for them, I'm sure! Bothersome in probably quite a few cases, but oh! How cheery and pleasant nonetheless! I love Merry's comment about putting a question a second time! XD Hoorah for the persistence of hobbits in search of good beds to sleep in! XD <3"
05/26/2011 page 228
57.0% "And so we come to the break of the books. One half of The Two Towers' story is told, and the other now...we go to. *Muses* ...I had hoped for more, but this book flies swift as Shadowfax in its first half. The second part now begins, Book IV. And this half...is slow and trying. But...not yet so terrible...not until its end. Well, onwards! I now go to two others I am fond of."
05/28/2011 page 257
65.0% "It's funny. I do feel pity and disgust over Gollum. He's a miserable creature, and was wrought and tormented by the Ring to become this. Yet he still brings to me a tender smile, because of things he says, things he does, that make me feel that had he been himself, he would have been a great companion and friend to them. Yet now, all I can say is that my heart cares for him, but it cannot find room to trust/love him."
05/28/2011 page 265
67.0% "Here I remember it...the dread and concern, like a plague, rising up to fill my heart with an emotion so very close to fear. Fear for Frodo, for what he carries...but mostly for how it affects him. It is startling, and mortifying to think of how even now, so powerful, the Ring bends and twists him, trying to break him...always gnawing away at him. If it wasn't for Sam...how could he ever have hope to survive?"
05/28/2011 page 266
67.0% "*Gags and turns her face away, covering her mouth* Oh God.... That place! *Shudders and feels sick* ...Tolkien has a way of making you -feel- your environments, and oh God! Did he do a job of this! *Shudders again* ...this vast, disgusting wasteland.... I never thought any -land- could instill me with -hatred-, but this place is vile and terrible. How miserable! That they have to BE in it!"
05/28/2011 page 277
70.0% "I always wondered at this change in Frodo here.... He seemed...not like himself, and yet still held a fragment of the hobbit I knew and cared for. But he has changed...changed strangely. When he is not pressed in on all sides by darkness and weariness, his moments of speech are -strong-...strong and unquenchable in their force. He...to this day, I don't know if it is the Ring, but I feel it is perhaps an inner power."
05/28/2011 page 294
74.0% ">XD!! Best. Scene. With Gollum. EVER!!! *Laughs warmly* I could almost embrace the poor creature! At least I know it brings genuine warmth to me. Oh, what a funny moment! So much needed after that first long reach of their journey! It's a shame he is so wretched, Gollum, because he -is- dear in some ways, I think even to other readers. *Smiles and shrugs* Perhaps it is only me."
05/28/2011 page 297
75.0% "*GASP* EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!! FARAMIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIR!!!!!! -- Can you tell we've come to a point where there's yet ANOTHER character I love?! >XD OH. MY. GOODNESS, THOUGH! Faramir perhaps captures my heart as strong as do Aragorn and Gandalf!! They are wonderful, but Faramir! Faramir!! He is noble and strong and true to his word, and caring and tender, wonderful and kingly. He is a man amongst Men. <3"
05/28/2011 page 327
82.0% "*Bows her head in respect and adoration* Faramir, it is for things like this that you have captured my heart, only the second Man to do so in this great series. But it makes my heart weep and despair! They did not do you as near the justice you deserved in the movies! No, they ruined you, I feel, though they tried to repair you in the end. Still, for this moment, you are great in my love, at the end of Chapter Five."
05/28/2011 page 340
85.0% "And now he leaves! Faramir, even in parting your words are of sunlit days and warm meetings. You, noble as kings, and fair in your trust and concern, will ever be in my heart. *Lowers her head in respect* You are worth the praises unsung, and I wait endlessly for the time in which we meet again. But that will not be till the next book.... Till then, in that case! We will meet once more. Now, I follow Frodo."
05/28/2011 page 351
88.0% "I remember this part. Of all the horrible and terrible things they passed through, this small, chance scene is one of the ones that gives me hope, and great strength. I don't know why... I don't feel even they know, and yet, it is warming, and gives hope in the midst of terror and despair. *Smiles with warmth* The King again has a crown...yes, soon... Until then, thank you, and farewell, fair vision!"
05/28/2011 page 366
92.0% "*Lowers her head and gently feels a sting in her eyes* ...I want, in this small moment, more than anytime else, to save this poor creature. He has been wrought and tormented beyond his asking, changed from the warm and loved folk we give so much heart to, into this: into Gollum. But in this moment... *Inhales deeply* ...pity turns to love, and I care for him. Poor Smeagol...poor thing. Thank you again, Tolkien."
05/28/2011 page 398
100.0% "And there it ends! And the greatest cliffhanger yet! Tolkien, you are great at these! But now, still my speech! Let me review this, for my mind is full of many, many thoughts. Much has been done, and much still needs be done. And I am eager...eager to meet those I love once more. So! To the review!"

Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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message 1: by Rain (new)

Rain Misoa Sexy! I am soooo falling behind! XP I will catch up soon enough! X3


N.T. Embe I know you will. <3 And I am done with it now. So at least you can get an overall idea of my thoughts on it before you get to it yourself! ^__^


message 3: by Rain (new)

Rain Misoa Oh, Lord of the Rings... how I wish I were reading you instead of crap. *Sighs* Man, it sounds so bloody epic! Why haven't I read this series yet? *Slams head against the wall* I will one day. However, I need a break from reading. My brain can no longer sustain all the crappy books I have been reading lately. >_<


N.T. Embe *Embraces* Don't worry. The pain will go away soon. You have one stupid book in your way. After that, you'll get on to newer, or if not that then at least far more -respectable- pieces of actual -literature-. *Rolls eyes* Whores and sluts comes in many forms. Looks like you landed yourself in the midst of one of them.


message 5: by Rain (new)

Rain Misoa Yeah... this is why I am taking a break from reading for a while. But I will get to these bad boys soon enough! ^_^


N.T. Embe I'm sure you will! And it will be wonderful when you do! ^__^


Kaila I don't think I've ever gotten over Faramir's portrayal in the movie either.

What about Moria were you alluding too?


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