About the Book

Book Protagonist: Frodo Baggins
Publication Date: 1954
Genre: Action and Adventure, Fantasy

Historical Context

The Two Towers

By J.R.R. Tolkien

'The Two Towers' was part of 'The Lord of the Rings' compendium written by J.R.R. Tolkien between 1937-49. It has gone on to influence the formation of the fantasy genre and has had a profound effect on literature itself.

The Two Towers‘ is the second installment s one of the most influential works of fantasy ever written. It has been adapted into film and stage productions and has had a deep impact on literary culture. Tolkien’s work created the most important aspects of the fantasy literary genre that readers know and love today, including expansive world-building, in-depth character development, and creating stories proliferated by fantastical creatures and magic.

Influence of Philology on The Two Towers

The author J.R.R. Tolkien was a philologist and specialist in studying languages, particularly ancient and medieval ones. As a child, he would make up languages with his cousins. This deep love and knowledge of language played a crucial role in the development of his fictional languages, such as Elvish and Dwarvish, which are important parts of his literary works.

Tolkien’s languages were not mere inventions but were constructed with linguistic depth and authenticity. His expertise in philology helped him create complex and fully-formed languages with their own grammar, vocabulary, and linguistic history. The attention to linguistic detail added a sense of realism and richness to Tolkien’s world-building, making it feel like a living, breathing realm.

His background in philology also influenced his approach to storytelling and narrative. He believed that language and mythology were closely intertwined, and he considered mythology as the “creative language” of a culture. Tolkien drew immense inspiration from various mythologies, folklore, and medieval literature. He incorporated elements from Old English, Norse, Finnish, Welsh, and other languages and mythologies into his writings. His engagement with these sources enriched the rich and diverse cultures of Middle-earth.

Influence of Christianity on The Two Towers

Christianity provides a backdrop for J.R.R. Tolkien’s storytelling in much of his work, including the story of ‘The Two Towers.’ It also provides the motives behind the characters and their fight against evil in Middle-earth, often with great personal cost. the characters are also guided by Christian principles like honor, goodness, and self-sacrifice. These themes are shown numerous times through the actions and behaviors of the characters; Frodo’s volunteering to take the Ring to Mordor even though it might mean his death, Aragorn showing humility even though he was the rightful king of Gondor, and Samwise showing duty and steadfast love for his master Frodo.

Other biblical motifs appear in ‘The Two Towers.‘ Iluvatar, the creator of the Tolkien universe, was partly modeled after the Christian God who created angelic beings, called Ainur, through who he formed the physical universe. The concept of sin is represented by the One Ring, which was brought into being by the Dark Lord Sauron, a tool that he used to tempt, taint, and corrupt Dwarves and Men.

Influence of the Edda on The Two Towers

J.R.R. Tolkien relied heavily on the motives, characters, and tropes from the Viking Edda to develop his world. there are many examples, but one striking aspect is the resemblance of certain names. Many of the Dwarves that featured in ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘The Lord of the Rings‘ trilogy including Dwalinn, Bifur, Bafur, and GlĂłinn, Gimli’s father, originate from The Edda. Even the name Gandálfr appears in the book, though he was a dwarf.

The concept of Iluvatar, the almighty being who created Tolkien’s universe, originated from The Edda’s Alföður, the Norse god who created the world out of Ginnungagap, the “absolute nothing”. His name means “all-father”. Middle-earth was also derived from the Norse Midgard, a world where Men and Elves lived. Another resemblance is, of course, the name Middle-earth which is the translation of the word “Midgard”, the world of Men and Elves.

Several creatures in Tolkien’s works are also inspired by Norse myths. An example of this is the Nazgûl, who resembles the original notion of the Valkyries. The Valkyries were not originally Odin’s “warrior maids” that chose dead fighters to dwell in Valhall, but they were cruel and bloodthirsty demons who rode on bat-like dragons or horses, just like the Ringwraiths.

Sauron’s One Ring also has its roots in Norse mythology. In The Edda, Norse god Loki forced the dwarf Andvari to give him all his great treasures, among which was a magical ring that produced gold. Andvari put a curse on the ring that should ruin every bearer. Like the One Ring, it caused great trouble, and every one of its bearers was killed in some way.


Which Christian motif had the most impact on The Two Towers?

Gandalf’s resurrection by the Valar after he died fighting the Balrog had the most impact. This allowed him to complete his mission against Sauron and influenced Sauron’s final fall. After his return, Gandalf gathered the scattered armies of Rohan under the exiled general Eomer, organized a rescue for the fortress of Helm’s Deep which was under siege by Saruman’s Orcs, aided in the defense of Minas Tirith, and joined the free peoples at the siege of the Black Gates.

What role did Wormtongue play in The Two Towers?

Wormtongue was the chief counselor of King Theoden of Rohan. He was recruited by the corrupted wizard Saruman the White as a spy. He coveted Eowyn, the niece of the king, and stalked her. He corrupted Theoden by giving him wrong advice and feeding him poisonous substances, which he disguised as remedies for old age.

What are Mearas in The Two Towers?

The Mearas are a race of highly intelligent wild horses which originate from Rohan. They were originally descended from the horses of the Valar Orome, which he brought to Middle-earth during the Wars of Wrath in the First Age. The founder of Rohan, Eorl the Young, tamed the lord of the Mearas of Rohan. Since then, the Mearas only bore the Kings of Rohan and their families.

Why did Saruman become corrupted?

Saruman was a Maiar of the Valar Aule the Smith, the same master the Dark Lord Sauron served, and desired the power of his former peer. He also desired to control the Council of Wizards and the White Council. This hunger for power led him to study Ring lore to discover Sauron and how he made the rings of power. In his search for Sauron’s secrets, he was caught by Sauron and ensnared by Sauron’s deceit and lies.

About Michael Chude
Michael Chude graduated with a BSc in Parasitology and Entomology. He has years of experience writing flash fiction and dissecting books with his book club members. He is also an avid reader who loves great stories and breathtaking world-building.
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