The Two Towers
by John Ronald Reuel Tolkien
Reviewed by Monica Hurd

"He floated by them, and slowly his boat departed, waning to a dark spot against the golden light; and then suddenly it vanished. Raorus roared on unchanging. The river had taken Boromir son of Denethor, and he was not seen again in Minis Tirith, standing as he used to stand upon the White Tower in the morning."
 (The Two Towers, The Departure of Boromir)

 

And so the next book in the trilogy of the Rings, The Two Towers begins -- with Boromir's death, and the departure of his body down the Raorus falls. Those who have seen or read The Fellowship of the Ring know that Merry and Pippin were carried away by orcs; Frodo and Sam courageously fled from the Fellowship to go on to Mordor alone; and the last of the sundered Fellowship of the Ring (Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli) determined to rescue Merry and Pippin. 

Middle-Earth was in chaos. Gondor was hard set to maintain its power; Mordor, ever a danger and threat, now grew in darkness, casting a fierce shadow across the eastern sky; and Ithilien, long held with great valor by the men of Gondor, was suddenly taken again. 

Gondor's position worsened still. The Easterlings and the cruel Haradrim cast in their lot with Mordor, and yet another fear was added: strange black horsemen, before whom all fell away in terror causing horses to be maddened, their riders powerless and afraid. The men of Gondor were driven back, destroying the last bridge in Osgiliath behind them. 

The land of Rohan, introduced in the The Fellowship of the Ring only in casual speech, was inhabited by the Rohirim -- the Horse-Masters. Their capital was the golden hall of Edoras. They lived in a country of green fields surrounded by the Misty Mountains and the dark forest of Fangorn on the West; Lothlorien, Isengard, and Mirkwood to the North; The Wilderland at the north-east; Gondor at the South; and Mordor at the South-East. They were hard pressed as Saruman threatened from Isengard, Sauron from Mordor, and orcs from the Misty Mountains and Moria. However, they were a courageous folk, and held their own. Aragorn described them as "...proud and willful, butů true-hearted, generous in thought and deed; bold but not cruel; wise but unlearned, writing no books but singing many songs, after the manner of the children of Men before the Dark Years." They were "tall and long-limbed; their hair, flaxen-pale, flowed under their light helms, and streamed in long braids behind them; their faces were stern and keen. In their hands were tall spears of ash, painted shields were slung on their backs, long swords were at their belts, their burnished skirts of mail hung down upon their knees." Through this land of Rohan, lay the path of the orcs who had captured Merry and Pippin. 

To sum it all up, Boromir was slain at Amon Hen, and Faramir, the second son of Denethor, Steward of Gondor, was absent, patrolling the northern frontiers of Mordor with his men. Rohan, Gondor's one remaining ally, was also in difficult straights. Theoden, in the capital of Edoras, was old and enfeebled; Isangard was a vague but growing threat; and orcs were constantly hunting on their borders. 

Another strange folk are Ents. These creatures are oldest of the old, and have watched the world grow from its beginning. They resemble trees, though they are bare of leaves. Their skin is thick and leathery, and cannot be pierced by arrows, which are only as pin pricks. The Ents inhabit Fanghorn forest, northwest of Rohan, and are the shepherds of the trees. Between them and the orcs and Isangard runs a fierce feud, for Saruman sent many orcs with axes to gather the wood of Fanghorn. 

Those of you who have seen trailers of The Two Towers (which can be found at www.lordoftherings.net) know that Gandalf, everyone's favorite character, didn't die after all, but returns "with the turning of the tide." Through the turmoil of Middle-Earth, he is the flash of illuminating light - the hope of a world to come. He alone has the power to awaken Middle-Earth's kings into hope and action. 

So much for what happens in the book, now for the movie news. After rifling through various web-pages featuring interviews, "spy-news", and odds and ends including pictures (!!), a fairly hopeful view of the next movie can be seen. First and foremost, most of you will exult with the news that the battle of Helmsdeep is rumored to be at least 45 - 55 minutes long. Rejoice! That is the major issue. It is also rumored that new scenes are to be added that are not of the books, as The Two Towers is not long enough. Hum. We also are not going to see the actual siege of Isangard (so they say), simply the results. Lastly, Arwen, our modest, demure, womanly, stay-at-home, elf-princess, is rumored to lead elf-warriors to Helmsdeep. Oh boy, there she goes again. 

The movie looks to be grand. However, I beg that thou take heed to read the book first, for the book is the classic, not the movie. However wonderful Peter Jackson may make it, one cannot see the full beauty of Tolkien's creation until the book has been read.

 

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Patrick L. Hurd
Weatherford, Texas
PHurdWford@AOL.com

EST. 01/01/01