J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic
fantasy novel The Two Towers
(1954) is the second book in the fantasy saga, The Lord of the Rings
. Two hobbits must journey into Mordor and destroy an ancient and evil ring before it destroys Middle Earth. The Lord of the Rings
is now a major motion picture trilogy. Tolkien was a writer and university professor with an interest in languages. He also served in the British Army during WWI. Critics believe that he is responsible for reinvigorating the fantasy genre. He is one of the most significant twentieth-century fiction writers.The Two Towers
picks up where The Fellowship of the Ring
, the first part of the saga, left off. A motley crew of warriors called the Fellowship of the Ring must destroy a powerful ring before an ancient dark lord, Sauron, seizes it for his own use. The Ring can only be destroyed by casting it into the fires of the powerful mountain Mount Doom. If the Fellowship fails, the world of Middle Earth will fall into darkness forever. Frodo, a hobbit from the Shire, is the Ringbearer.The Two Towers
opens with Frodo leaving the Fellowship behind. Not wanting to put them in danger, he thinks it is best if he destroys the Ring alone. His best friend, Sam, sees him leaving and follows him. Sam confronts Frodo and tells him that they will go together. Frodo reluctantly agrees, and they make for the city of Mordor.
Meanwhile, a band of vicious orcs under Sauron’s command attacks the Fellowship. The orcs kidnap two hostages, Merry and Pippin, and take them away. Another member of the Fellowship, Boromir, sees the orcs attacking Merry and Pippin, and he defends them. The orcs fatally wound Boromir, and he dies quickly. Merry and Pippin disappear.
Three members of the Fellowship remain—Aragorn, a man, Legolas, an elf, and Gimli, a dwarf. They go after Merry and Pippin because they know that these hobbits are defenseless. Frodo and Sam at least stand a chance on their own. They track Merry and Pippin to Rohan.
In Rohan, Eomer tells Aragorn that his soldiers killed the orcs. There are no survivors. Aragorn insists on looking for the hobbits anyway, and Eomer offers to help. An expert tracker, Aragorn looks on the ground for signs of the hobbits. He sees a patch of flattened grass, and he works out that the hobbits crawled into a creepy old forest.
Scared and vulnerable, Merry and Pippin traverse the forest. They meet the Ent, Treebeard, a giant talking tree. Treebeard has his own grudges with a wizard called Saruman. Saruman is destroying the forest for his own uses, and he will kill the hobbits, too. He is working with Sauron and raising an army to support the orcs. Merry and Pippin want to warn the others, but they don’t know where the rest of the Fellowship is.
Meanwhile, Frodo and Sam make for Mordor. One night, a creature called Gollum appears. Gollum once possessed the Ring and he wants it back. He poses as a good creature who wants to help Frodo destroy the Ring. He plans to kill Frodo to steal the Ring for himself. Sam doesn’t like Gollum, but Frodo doesn’t listen to him.
In the meantime, Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli traverse the woods. They reunite with the wizard Gandalf. Gandalf once led the Fellowship, but he disappeared during a brutal fight. He spent weeks regaining his strength and now he is ready to fight again. He takes control of the Fellowship.
Outside Mordor, Gollum leads Frodo and Sam into a deadly trap. He plans to sacrifice the hobbits to a hungry spider. The spider stings Frodo and he loses consciousness. Thinking that Frodo is dead, Sam despairs. He fights the spider and vows to kill Gollum. Before Sam gets the chance, orcs find Frodo and steal his body.
Although Sam still thinks that Frodo is dead, he can’t watch the orcs take Frodo away. Sam carefully follows the orcs, leaving the spider behind. He follows the orcs towards a high tower where they plan to give Frodo to Sauron. Tolkien describes Sam’s struggle to free Frodo in the third part, The Return of the King
Meanwhile, Gandalf and the Fellowship set out for Rohan again. In Rohan, they find the king behaving irrationally and unable to control his own body. Someone is controlling his mind. Until the Fellowship frees the king from this mind control, they can’t convince him to fight. They need his army to defeat the orcs.
Finally, Merry and Pippin reunite with the Fellowship. The hobbits explain what happened with the giant trees. The trees plan to attack Saruman because he destroyed their forest. Without Saruman, Sauron will be less powerful. Finding Frodo and destroying the Ring are the most important tasks right now. The Fellowship journeys to Mordor.