The Two Towers, Book 4 #LotRreadalong

The Two Towers, Book 4 #LotRreadalong

Thanks to Jenni and Kami for hosting this readalong!

My Reading Process. I read all of Book 4 and didn’t listen to any of it.

My Thoughts on Book 4. I really liked Book 4, and I didn’t have high hopes after I found out that it was just Sam and Frodo the whole time.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from Book 4:

Sam shook his head and did not answer. He was passing the rope through his fingers thoughtfully. ‘Have it your own way, Mr. Frodo,’ he said at last, ‘but I think the rope came off itself – when I called.’ He coiled it up and stowed it lovingly in his pack.

‘Very well,’ he answered aloud, lowering his sword. ‘But still I am afraid. And yet, as you see, I will not touch the creature. For now that I see him, I do pity him.

In fact with every step towards the gates of Mordor Frodo felt the Ring on its chain about his neck grow more burdensome. He was now beginning to feel it as an actual weight dragging him earthwards.

For a while they stood there, like men on the edge of a sleep where nightmare lurks, holding it off, though they know that they can only come to morning through the shadows.

What’s taters, precious, eh, what’s taters?’ ‘Po – ta – toes,’ said Sam.

‘But fear no more! I would not take this thing, if it lay by the highway. Not were Minas Tirith falling in ruin and I alone could save her, so, using the weapon of the Dark Lord for her good and my glory. No, I do not wish for such triumphs, Frodo son of Drogo.

War must be, while we defend our lives against a destroyer who would devour all; but I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend.

‘So it seems,’ said Faramir, slowly and very softly, with a strange smile. ‘So that is the answer to all the riddles! The One Ring that was thought to have perished from the world. And Boromir tried to take it by force? And you escaped? And ran all the way – to me! And here in the wild I have you: two halflings, and a host of men at my call, and the Ring of Rings. A pretty stroke of fortune! A chance for Faramir, Captain of Gondor, to show his quality! Ha!’ He stood up, very tall and stern, his grey eyes glinting.

‘Yes sir, and showed your quality: the very highest.

Faramir smiled. ‘A pert servant, Master Samwise. But nay: the praise of the praiseworthy is above all rewards. Yet there was naught in this to praise. I had no lure or desire to do other than I have done.

‘Ah well, sir,’ said Sam, ‘you said my master had an Elvish air; and that was good and true. But I can say this: you have an air too, sir, that reminds me of, of – well, Gandalf, of wizards.’ ‘Maybe,’ said Faramir. ‘Maybe you discern from far away the air of Númenor. Good night!

The hobbits’ packs were brought to them (a little heavier than they had been), and also two stout staves of polished wood, shod with iron, and with carven heads through which ran plaited leathern thongs. ‘I have no fitting gifts to give you at our parting,’ said Faramir; ‘but take these staves. They may be of service to those who walk or climb in the wild. The men of the White Mountains use them; though these have been cut down to your height and newly shod. They are made of the fair tree lebethron, beloved of the woodwrights of Gondor, and a virtue has been set upon them of finding and returning. May that virtue not wholly fail under the Shadow into which you go!

The brave things in the old tales and songs, Mr. Frodo: adventures, as I used to call them. I used to think that they were things the wonderful folk of the stories went out and looked for, because they wanted them, because they were exciting and life was a bit dull, a kind of a sport, as you might say. But that’s not the way of it with the tales that really mattered, or the ones that stay in the mind. Folk seem to have been just landed in them, usually – their paths were laid that way, as you put it. But I expect they had lots of chances, like us, of turning back, only they didn’t. And if they had, we shouldn’t know, because they’d have been forgotten. We hear about those as just went on – and not all to a good end, mind you; at least not to what folk inside a story and not outside it call a good end. You know, coming home, and finding things all right, though not quite the same – like old Mr. Bilbo. But those aren’t always the best tales to hear, though they may be the best tales to get landed in! I wonder what sort of a tale we’ve fallen into?’ ‘I wonder,’ said Frodo. ‘But I don’t know. And that’s the way of a real tale. Take any one that you’re fond of. You may know, or guess, what kind of a tale it is, happy-ending or sad-ending, but the people in it don’t know. And you don’t want them to.’

Still, I wonder if we shall ever be put into songs or tales. We’re in one, of course; but I mean: put into words, you know, told by the fireside, or read out of a great big book with red and black letters, years and years afterwards. And people will say: “Let’s hear about Frodo and the Ring!” And they’ll say: “Yes, that’s one of my favourite stories. Frodo was very brave, wasn’t he, dad?” “Yes, my boy, the famousest of the hobbits, and that’s saying a lot.

‘Why, Sam,’ he said, ‘to hear you somehow makes me as merry as if the story was already written. But you’ve left out one of the chief characters: Samwise the stouthearted. “I want to hear more about Sam, dad. Why didn’t they put in more of his talk, dad? That’s what I like, it makes me laugh. And Frodo wouldn’t have got far without Sam, would he, dad?

I have something to do before the end. I must see it through, sir, if you understand. ‘But what can I do? Not leave Mr. Frodo dead, unburied on the top of the mountains, and go home? Or go on? Go on?’ he repeated, and for a moment doubt and fear shook him. ‘Go on? Is that what I’ve got to do? And leave him?

‘What am I to do then?’ he cried again, and now he seemed plainly to know the hard answer: see it through. Another lonely journey, and the worst. ‘What? Me, alone, go to the Crack of Doom and all?’ He quailed still, but the resolve grew. ‘What? Me take the Ring from him? The Council gave it to him.’ But the answer came at once: ‘And the Council gave him companions, so that the errand should not fail. And you are the last of all the Company. The errand must not fail.

ANSWERS TO DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. Has your favorite character changed in The Two Towers? If yes, why?
Not really. But kind of. Aragorn is my favorite character in the books, hands down. But The Two Towers has made me appreciate Sam on a whole new level. He’s kind of a rock star.

2. Which do you like more, The Fellowship of the Ring or The Two Towers? Why?
I don’t know. I can’t pick! I felt like Fellowship flowed a bit better, but I ended up really liking Two Towers too.

3. Do you think Frodo and Sam should have killed Gollum?
No. I mean, I know what part he plays in the end, so that comes in to it. But I do think he should be pitied. And I think Frodo identifies with him.

4. What do you think about Book Faramir vs. Movie Faramir?
Sigh. Why oh why did they do that to movie Faramir?!? I feel like the movie still could have had a good suspenseful bit with Faramir, even playing off of the differences between Boromir and Faramir, without completely changing Faramir’s character.

5. Why do you think Frodo trusts Gollum?
I think Frodo wants to trust Gollum and is kind of forced to. There really isn’t anyone else available to guide them to Mordor, right?

6. If you were in Sam’s place, would you have made the same choices if you thought Frodo was dead?
Yes. I think so. In any case, I think it was very brave and noble of Sam. But I agree with Kami that I would not have left Frodo’s body out in the open like that.

7. Frodo is very blessed to have Sam with him on his quest. He is a great support and companion, and Frodo even admits he wouldn’t have made it far without Sam. If you could choose one person to take on a epic quest with you, who would it be and why? (Choose anyone! They can be fictional, family, role model, etc.)
Aragorn! No need to say anything more, right?

8. On the flip side, do you think Frodo should have had a different member of the fellowship with him instead of Sam?
There are certainly people that would have been more helpful guiding and protecting Frodo, like Gandalf and Aragorn, but I think Sam was the right choice. There is no one more loyal, and Sam, Frodo, and Gollum were able to move without attracting too much attention.

9. How has the ring affected Frodo so far in the story?
It definitely weighs on him. I like, though, that he is aware of its power and is therefore able to control it a little. He even used his power as the master of the ring to command Gollum.

10. What was your favorite moment in Book 4?
I think it was Faramir figuring things out about the ring and letting them go. Followed closely by Sam taking the ring.