J.R.R. Tolkien’s ‘The Two Towers’ is made up of parts 3 and 4 of ‘The Lord of the Ring’ compendium, The Treason of Isengard, and The Ring Goes East. The first book, which makes up ‘The Two Towers‘ revolves around the fall from grace of the once-great wizard Saruman the White, his actions against Rohan, and its far-reaching consequences which culminated in the siege of the Rohirrim fortress of Helm’s Deep. The second book revolves around the perilous and difficult journey East to Mordor by the Hobbits Frodo and Sam, guided by the wretched creature Gollum.
Use of Reoccurring Themes in The Two Towers
J.R.R. Tolkien’s story ‘The Two Towers‘ is a legendary work of fantasy fiction, and it has inspired many genres and mediums of modern media, including films, stage performances, and in the literary field. While the book presents some unique ideas and themes, it also contains reoccurring themes from Tolkien’s legendarium.
Tolkien’s work centers around concepts like the goodness of heart, innocence, purity, duty, honor, and perseverance, even in the face of daunting odds. It also explores dark concepts like evil, greed for power, and control over the wills of others. In ‘The Two Towers,‘ these concepts are constantly being tested, and the characters are challenged by them. Boromir, in his desire to protect his home, dishonored his vow to protect the Ringbearer when he tried to take the Ring away from Frodo but redeemed himself by trying to protect the Hobbits Merry and Pippin from the band of Orcs.
Shortly after Boromir’s death, Aragorn chose honor over famous deeds by choosing to chase after the kidnapped Hobbits instead of going after Frodo and the Ring, and perhaps winning himself some renown. On the other hand, Saruman, a being powerful and older than time, allowed his greed for power and dominion over the wills of others to corrupt him and lead him down the path of evil and ignominy. He was cast down and lost his place as the leader of the 9 Istari and of the White Council.
Knowledge remains an important aspect of ‘The Two Towers‘ in other parts of ‘The Lord of the Rings‘ trilogy and other books of Tolkien’s legendarium. When Gandalf returned from Valinor as Gandalf the White, he is even more powerful than he was before, and most of this power comes from his increased knowledge and wisdom. The Dark Lord Sauron and the pretender Saruman were both defeated by their lack of knowledge.
At the beginning of ‘The Two Towers,’ both Sauron and Saruman knew that the Ring was still out there in the world, and after the capture and torture of Gollum, they both knew the general direction where it was located, but they had no idea of its exact location. In their greed for power and control, they also lacked the deep knowledge of their enemies, the forces of good, that would have aided them in discerning that Gandalf and his associates would prefer to destroy the Ring rather than use it as a weapon of war and domination.
Most of the knowledge of the quest in ‘The Two Towers‘ comes from the legends and songs; characters are at an advantage if they know the prophecies. Though what we find quite often is that those who know the songs and legends are nonetheless surprised when they learn that the characters and creatures mentioned in the songs do exist.
The Two Towers Review
Lasting Effect on the Reader
The Two Towers: A gripping continuation of Tolkien's legendary masterpiece.
‘The Two Towers’ is the second installment of Tolkien’s ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy. It is divided into two parts with the first part revolving around the Three Hunters, Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas, as they chase the trail of the Orc band that kidnapped their friends, and the second part of the book revolves around the Hobbits Frodo and Sam as they make their dangerous journey toward Mordor.
- A rich and immersive world-building.
- Epic and engaging plots.
- Great character development.
- Fragmented narrative that can be hard to follow.
- Slow pacing.
- Limited female representation.