Series: Lord of the Rings #2
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on September 15, 1999
he standard hardcover edition of the second volume of The Lord of the Rings includes a large format fold-out map. Frodo and his Companions of the Ring have been beset by danger during their quest to prevent the Ruling Ring from falling into the hands of the Dark Lord by destroying it in the Cracks of Doom. They have lost the wizard, Gandalf, in a battle in the Mines of Moria. And Boromir, seduced by the power of the Ring, tried to seize it by force. While Frodo and Sam made their escape, the rest of the company was attacked by Orcs. Now they continue the journey alone down the great River Anduin -- alone, that is, save for the mysterious creeping figure that follows wherever they go.
We begin with t he Fellowship broken, Sam and Frodo are off to Mordor, Boromir is dead, Merry and Pippen have been taken by Orcs with Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli following their trail.
In the first half, we flip-flop from the kidnapped hobbits and the three companions. Even though they are under brutal, orc smelling conditions, Pippen still manages to use his head and drops a clip the fellowship will recognize and warm the trail. Merry and Pippen manage to escape during an attack and run in with talking trees. Like Tom Bombadil, I could have forgone the Ents, I’m not saying they didn’t have their use as they help Saurman go bye-bye but at times I found them a little dull like winter bark on a tree. And don’t get me started on their songs…
Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli do discover the clip but stop to help the Rhoan army fight against a band of orcs. Aragorn is his usual cool self with Legolas and Gimli (who have now become BFFs) begin a contest as to who kills the most orc. It’s a little disgusting in my opinion but I like that Tolkien is showing that prejudice between elves and Dwarves are beginning to fade away. After battle they discover a white hooded figure and lo and behold, Gandolf didn’t die, the four then take a detour to Rhoan in ask of support before fleeing to discover the Hobbits. Of course Merry and Pippin are found in good health and spirits and are reprimanded in jest for all the fun they’ve been having. With Isengaurd captured and Saurman out-of-the-way, the group discovers a magic ball, palaantiri as powerful as the one ring, all of which Pippen finds out the hard way. With the grouping in as good of spirits as can be book three comes to a close.
Is it wrong to say I love Gollum? He is just so entertaining with his prolonged sssss and placating those tricksy Hobbites while screwing them over at the same time. Sick I know, but some times I feel he is the comic relieve at the end of a dark tunnel.
Frodo and Sam continue on the quest meeting up with that slinky Smeagol with Frodo’s trust being the only thing keeping him alive, but at this point it is obvious that precious is possessing Frodo and only keeps Gollum around out of compassion and a common interest i.e. The One Ring.
The two companions (Gollum slinking away at this point) meet Faramir, Boromir’s brother and as different as night and day. Faramir offers help without the threat of taking the Ring but Frodo, who foolishly feels he must carry the burden alone declines and continues on the perilous way.
While Frodo is becoming more and more pathetic, weakened by the Ring, Sam must take leadership tentatively stepping up from his position of servant. Samwise is a bad-ass. Frodo’s life becomes endangered, (due to his blind trust in Gollum I might add) leaving Sam to take his master’s sword Sting, killing a disgustingly foul beast, baring the Ring to continue on the quest his master started, and through loyalty is determined to save Frodo. It’s always the quite ones.
It is so common for the second book in a trilogy to fall flat and feel like “filler” in between book one and three; this was not the case with The Two Towers, in fact it was even more enthralling than The Fellowship of the Ring, which is a difficult feat. I loved the second installment of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, leaving me starving for more.