‘The Two Towers‘ by J.R.R. Tolkien is the second installation in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Gimlo, Aragon, and Legolas descend the hills of Emyn Muil into the land of Rohan hot on the trails of a band of Orcs to rescue their friends Merry and Pippin. Far to the east, Frodo and Sam are lost in the hills till they notice they are being followed by the creature Gollum. They set a trap and capture him, and then made him swear by the Ring to guide them to Mordor.
Frodo Baggins is the main protagonist and the Ringbearer. At the end of ‘The Fellowship of the Ring,’ he decided to travel on to Mordor alone to save the rest of the Fellowship from the temptation of the Ring but was followed by his servant Sam. Frodo, though small and unassuming like most Hobbits, is a heroic figure in the book. His disinterest in the power promised by the One Ring and his willingness to enter a dangerous quest to strange lands sets him apart.
By the time he encounters Gollum in ‘The Two Towers,’ he was much changed from the Hobbit who wished Bilbo had killed him. He treats Gollum with kindness and sought to protect him from Sam and his bright Elven sword, earning him Gollum’s adoration. He also treats his servant Sam as an equal, earning him Sam’s loyalty and devotion. Because of his disinterest in the Ring, it could not readily corrupt him but soon proved a physical and mental burden. A shadow of despair and depression soon descended on the Ringbearer, and he depended on Sam to care for him and cheer him up.
Aragorn was a Chieftain of the Dúnedain of the North and the rightful heir to the throne of Gondor. A skilled ranger, Aragorn takes on a leadership role in ‘The Two Towers,’ guiding the scattered members of the Fellowship. He is forced to decide between following Frodo and rescuing Merry and Pippin from a company of Orcs. Aragorn decides to pursue the Orc company, leading Legolas and Gimli on a chase across the fields of Rohan. Despite the hopelessness of the situation, Aragorn refuses to give up and abandon the Hobbits.
After reuniting with Gandalf, Aragorn assisted in the defense of Rohan during the battle of Helm’s Deep. Humble and level-headed, Aragorn longs for the day he can return to Gondor but trusts the counsel of Gandalf and goes where he’s needed most.
Gandalf the White
After his into the chasm with the Balrog and his death in ‘The Fellowship of the Ring,’ the wizard Gandalf is mysteriously sent back to Middle-earth to complete his task. Now Gandalf the White, he’s more powerful than before and better equipped to aid the Fellowship and their allies in defending Middle-earth from Mordor. Gandalf finds friends wherever he goes; ‘The Two Towers’ reveals his close relationships with Treebeard the Ent and King Théoden of Rohan, among others.
After he reunites with Aragorn, Gimli, Legolas, Merry, and Pippin, who are overjoyed by his return, he assists Rohan in defeating the armies of Isengard. After replacing Saruman as the White wizard of Middle-earth, Gandalf banishes him from the Order of Wizards entirely, greatly diminishing his power. Gandalf plays a vital role in ‘The Two Towers,’ bringing reinforcements to the hopeless battle of Helm’s Deep. Though more grave than he was before he fell into the chasm in Moria, Gandalf remains a powerful ally, a wise mentor, and a kind friend.
Sam is Frodo’s loyal servant and closest friend. Sam perfectly performs his role in the Fellowship, given to him by Gandalf; staying with Frodo wherever he goes. In ‘The Two Towers’ Sam is eager to protect his master from danger, even at personal cost, including protecting him from Gollum, Shelob, and Orcs. As Frodo is worn down by the grueling travel and the burden of carrying the Ring, Sam makes it his mission to feed him, make sure he gets enough sleep, cheer him up, comfort him, and remind him of home. Like Merry and Pippin, Sam finds joy in silly jokes and poems, simple meals, and little daily rituals.
Though Frodo is skeptical that they’ll survive their quest, Sam, steadfast and stoutly optimistic, quietly rations their lembas and makes plans for a return trip. After Frodo was attacked by Shelob, leaving him seemingly dead, he rationalizes to himself that he must take up the Ring and complete Frodo’s quest for the good of the world, but his heart protests leaving Frodo. When Frodo turns out to be alive, Sam realizes that he should have listened to his heart all along.
Known as Merry by his friends, he joined the Fellowship to accompany Frodo, to destroy the Ring. ‘The Two Towers,’ Merry remains bold and sarcastic in the face of danger, maintaining cheer and keeping his wits about him both when he and Pippin are captured by Orcs, and later when Pippin is frightened by his confrontation with Sauron when he gazed into the palantír. Merry and Pippin are eager to do their part to protect Middle-earth, joining the Ents as they march on Isengard, but still enjoy the comforts of a good meal when they’re able.
Known to his friends as Pippin, he is the youngest of the hobbits and the adventurous and curious cousin of both Merry and Frodo. His tenacity in ‘The Two Towers’ helped him and Merry to escape from captivity with the Orcs and aid the Ents in attacking Isengard. However, his curiosity frequently causes him trouble, as it does when he looks into the palantír and accidentally speaks to Sauron. Though the experience disturbs Pippin, he once again shows the resilience typical of Hobbits and quickly recovers.
A Sindarin Elf, Legolas was the son of Thranduil, King of the Woodland Realm. As one of the Three Hunters in ‘The Two Towers,’ he accompanies Aragorn and Gimli to recover Merry and Pippin from the Orc band that kidnapped them. Though they initially mistrust each other because of an ages-long quarrel between their races, Legolas becomes Gimli’s staunchest defender and closest friend. During the battle of Helm’s Deep, they make a contest out of how many Orcs they can kill and later plan to travel together to their favorite places on Middle-earth.
Gimli was the son of Glóin and a Dwarf of Durin’s line. He is the playful and volatile companion of Aragorn and Legolas as they hunt down the orcs who’ve kidnapped Merry and Pippin. In ‘The Two Towers’ Gimli is frantic to recover the Hobbits and is overwhelmed with joy and frustration to find them jovial and unharmed when they’re reunited. Though he is easily insulted and quick to draw his axe, Gimli also has a passionate love of beauty—both that of Galadriel and of the caverns of Helm’s Deep.
Boromir was the older son of Denethor II, the last Ruling Steward of Gondor, and also the Captain of Gondor. Near the end of ‘The Fellowship of the Ring,’ Boromir falls prey to the Ring’s corrupting influence and tries to take the Ring from Frodo to use in the defense of Gondor. At the beginning of ‘The Two Towers,’ Aragorn finds Boromir dying from numerous arrow wounds after attempting to protect Merry and Pippin from a band of orcs.
Though Boromir is rash and often arrogant, his sacrifice was born out of his love for the Hobbits. As he dies, he confesses his crime against Frodo to Aragorn, begging him to protect Gondor. Aragorn keeps the secret of Boromir’s betrayal, and he, Gimli, and Legolas give him a hero’s funeral.
The antagonist and title character of ‘The Lord of the Rings.‘ Originally a servant of the dreaded Valar Morgoth, the Dark Lord Sauron took his master’s place after he was captured by the rest of the Valar in the last War of Wrath. The enormously powerful Sauron is never seen at any point in the novel; he is represented only by images of his Great Eye or the Dark Tower where he resides. He fervently desires the One Ring, which he created long ago and which holds a great portion of his power.
Saruman is a wizard and the former leader of the White Council. While he used to be just and fair, he has been corrupted first by his desire for the One Ring, and then by Sauron, who communicates with him through the Stone of Orthanc, a palantír. Now, he seeks to betray his new ally Sauron by taking the Ring for himself.
Despite his massive Orc armies and his many spies, Rohan defeats Saruman’s forces in ‘The Two Towers’ at the battle of Helm’s Deep, and the Ents take over Isengard. Saruman is bitter in defeat, attempting to influence Gandalf and his companions with his enchanted voice, but Gandalf breaks Saruman’s staff and expels him from the Order of Wizards, leaving him trapped in his tower.
A hunched, miserable creature who was once in possession of the One Ring, which corrupted and twisted him. In ‘The Two Towers,’ Frodo and Sam capture him and compel him to guide them to Mordor. The dreams the Ring tempts Gollum with are uncomplicated: he longs to be powerful enough that no one can take the Ring from him and have plenty of fish to eat. Gollum’s years with the Ring warped both his body and mind, giving him two distinct personalities: the conniving Gollum, who would do anything to reclaim the Ring, and the cringing, fawning Sméagol who wants to be loyal to Frodo.
Gollum acts more like Sméagol around Frodo, who shows him kindness and shares some kinship with him as a bearer of the Ring. Though Frodo believes Gollum can be saved, ultimately, the Ring’s temptation is too strong, and Gollum wins the argument with Sméagol. Gollum leads Sam and Frodo into Shelob’s lair and offers them up as a meal, planning to take the Ring from Frodo once he’s dead.
The nephew of Théoden, Éomer is dedicated to Rohan, protective of his family, quick to anger, and quick to forgive. When he meets Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli in ‘The Two Towers’ hunting the Orc band, he challenges them and nearly comes to blows with Gimli before Aragorn intervenes and reveals his identity. Éomer is also the only man of Rohan willing to oppose Wormtongue, who then has him imprisoned. When Théoden eventually frees him, Éomer reaffirms his loyalty to Théoden and rides into battle without resentment.
Faramir is the Captain of Gondor and the son of the Steward Denethor. He meets the Hobbits Frodo and Sam in Ithilien as he prepared to fight the men of Harad. Though initially suspicious of the hobbits, who know more than they’re telling him and might be implicated in his brother Boromir’s death, Faramir eventually decides to trust and assist them.
When he learns that Frodo bears the Ring, he laments Boromir’s weakness in attempting to steal it to protect Gondor and swears that he doesn’t want it for himself. Faramir is more thoughtful than his brother and has no love for war or power. When Gollum is caught trespassing, Faramir shows mercy, allowing him to live, and gives the Hobbits supplies for their journey.
Théoden is the aging king of Rohan. At the beginning of ‘The Two Towers,’ he’s under the influence of his treacherous counselor Wormtongue, who’s secretly a servant of Saruman and who dulls Théoden’s senses and corrupts his judgment. When Gandalf exposes Wormtongue, Théoden is returned to his former vigor and discernment, but Rohan has suffered in his absence. Théoden determines to ride into war against Saruman, proving himself a capable leader and inspiring his disheartened men.
Treebeard is a tall treelike Ent and one of the oldest creatures in Middle-earth. Wise and thoughtful, Treebeard assists Merry and Pippin in ‘The Two Towers‘ when they flee into Fangorn forest, allowing them to stay in his house and bringing them to a great gathering where the Ents decide to march to war against Saruman. Treebeard has a great concern for the environment, and though the Ents are dying out, he recognizes their potential power as he leads them to seize Isengard.
An ancient evil creature of insatiable greed in the shape of a giant spider, Shelob lives in the tunnels near Cirith Ungol, where Sauron allows her to remain as a guard for a secret path into Mordor. Gollum, who occasionally brings her food, leads Sam and Frodo into her lair, planning to let her kill the Hobbits and then take the Ring from Frodo’s body. Though Shelob has never before been mortally injured, Sam manages to stab her with an Elf blade and drive her back into her lair with the help of Galadriel’s vial.
Wormtongue is Théoden’s advisor. He attempts to corrupt and deceive Théoden on behalf of Saruman, his secret benefactor, who has bribed him with promises of wealth and marriage to Éowyn. When Gandalf reveals him as a spy, he flees to Isengard, where he later throws Saruman’s palantír out the window at Gandalf.
Witch King of Angmar
The Witch King is the leader of the Nazgûl, Sauron’s nine servants, and the bearers of rings of power. When Frodo passes by Minas Morgul on the way to Mordor, he sees the Witch King leading an army to invade Gondor. The Witch King senses the presence of the Ring but continues to Ithilien when Frodo resists the temptation to put it on.
Shadowfax is the Lord of the Mearas, an exceptionally swift and intelligent breed of horses descended from the horses of the Valar. He’s a friend of Gandalf and carries him into battle. While still under the influence of Wormtongue, Théoden is angry with Gandalf for taking Shadowfax, but he later gifts Shadowfax to Gandalf in thanks for exposing Wormtongue as a spy for Saruman.
Why Did Gimli and Legolas dislike each other at first?
Legolas’ grandfather Oropher was in the court of Doriath in the First Age when the Elven King Thingol of Doriath contracted some Dwarves to set Beren’s Silmaril on a prized necklace of the Dwarves called Nauglamir. It was originally given to the Noldor High King Finrod Felagund as a gift but was retrieved and given to Thingol after the death of Finrod. The Dwarves were consumed with greed after they had completed the work, so they killed King Thingol and stole the necklace, sparking a war between Elves and Dwarves.
How did Gandalf come back to life?
Gandalf was a Maiar, a powerful spiritual being related to the Valar, so he cannot die. After his body was destroyed in the battle with the Balrog, his spirit went back to Valinor. Seeing that his work was not done and the One Ring was yet to be destroyed, he was sent back by the leaders of the Valar. He was allowed more power than he previously had, even more than Saruman’s at his peak.
Where did Shelob originate from?
Shelob was a descendant of a great evil spirit called Ungoliant, who lived in the form of a monstrous spider. It consumed Light and belched a deep darkness powerful enough to confuse and blind even the mightiest of the Valar. With Ungoliant’s help, the evil Valar Morgoth destroyed the Two Trees of Valinor.
Why did Pippin stare into the Palantir?
Pippin was a curious and adventurous Hobbit, often letting his curiosity get the best of him. In the ‘Fellowship of the Ring’, he showed this unheeding curiosity by touching a bucket in Balin’s burial chamber, causing it to noisily fall into a deep well, and alerting the Orcs and Goblins. In ‘The Two Towers’ he nearly put Frodo’s quest in danger once again, but that was averted by Gandalf’s quick reaction.