10 March 2010

Readalong 1: The Two Towers by J. R. R. Tolkien

As you know, I am participating in the Lord of the Rings Readalong. March is all about The Two Towers (by J. R. R. Tolkien). Our host, Teresa from Shelf Love, has already asked us the first set of questions for the month.

1. Where are you in the trilogy right now? What do you think of the books so far?

After hunting for the Hobbits across the Riddermark, Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli, travel to Edoras to meet with Théoden. They have just given up their weapons before entering the lord's hall. By the time you read this post, our heroes will have already had their meeting. Well, of course, I still adore the trilogy.

2. What’s your past experience with The Two Towers? If you’re rereading, how does it stack up against the other two books?

There are so many things to love about The Two Towers. Here we meet the Ents, the riders of Rohan, and the wonderful Éowyn. And on a darker path, we follow Frodo and Sam as they attempt to reach Mordor and learn to deal with the creature Gollum. We finally see real action in this novel, and each being's deeper character is beginning to be revealed. The Two Towers holds up well on its own, building from the first book and nicely leading us to the conclusion.

3. If you’re a first-time reader, what big questions do you have at this point? What are you hoping to see Tolkien deal with in The Two Towers? If you’re a rereader, what are you most looking forward to?

Right now, I am looking forward to meeting Éowyn again, the upcoming battles at Isengard and Helm's Deep, and the reunion of Gandalf's party with Merry and Pippin. As for Frodo and Sam, I am waiting to get back to them and to their first encounter with Gollum.

4. What about the movie? If you've seen it, what did you think of it, and how much do you think it will color your experience with the book?

Sigh. When I remember to keep the movie and the books in different categories, then I really like the movies. I've seen them several times and even own them. But when I re-read the books (this is my second time through since the last movie was released), I start to hate the films. I'm not as bad as Eva (from A Striped Arm Chair), but some things do bother me.

Right now, I'm upset by the treatment of the Ents. In the movie, they are not interested in the war or in helping Middle Earth until the Hobbits trick Treebeard into seeing the devastation at Isengard. In the books, Treebeard does say, "I'm not on anyone's side because no one is on my side," but once he hears the Hobbits' tale, he voluntarily arranges a meeting to inform the Ents of events outside the forest. The Ents willingly head for Isengard to put an end to Saruman.

Just after I finish writing this post, I will likely be upset by the goings on in Edoras because this is another area in which the movie departs from the novel. I'll wait to write about it until I've gotten farther along in the book. In both print and film, Wormtongue is kicked out of Rohan, but in the book, his relationship with Saruman doesn't end at the tower.

The descriptions of the Riddermark are beautiful, and I always thought it would be wonderful to be a Rohirrim.

To catch up on what other participants in The Lord of the Rings readalong are thinking, visit Teresa's first discussion post.


Eva 3/10/10, 6:54 AM  

YES! Share my Ent outrage! lol

I really need to pick this up in the next few days! I've been so distracted by other deadlines, haven't had a chance too. And I'll be a Rohirrim with you!

Nymeth 3/12/10, 3:46 AM  

The movies did get a few things wrong, but I still loved them because overall, I felt they were made with true respect for the source material. And that's so rare in movie adaptations.

J.G. 3/12/10, 8:15 PM  

I think I'm continuing to stay away from the movies because I'm a purist; not sure I could keep them in separate categories as you can.

Meanwhile, Book Three is my favorite! It has so much added depth, as you said, and plenty of action (in contrast to the Ents' lack of hastiness).

Alice Teh 3/14/10, 1:03 AM  

OK, I still need to finish THE HOBBIT (I'm that slow, yes...) but I'm enjoying all your thoughts about the trilogy!

kaye 3/24/10, 4:54 PM  

I haven't reread the books since I saw the movies. It has been so refreshing to be back in Tolkien's world and read his characters into life. I do love the music in the film and the music of the Rohirrim is my favorite--

love your post :)

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