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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
LOTR Unofficial Read Through - The Two Towers
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Eruonen
Valinor


Jun 19 2017, 3:38pm

Post #1 of 323 (4962 views)
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LOTR Unofficial Read Through - The Two Towers Can't Post

Hi all, back from vacation, I will be adding content soon. Please jump in and start if off if you want to.


Eruonen
Valinor


Jun 19 2017, 5:32pm

Post #2 of 323 (4586 views)
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The Departure of Boromir [In reply to] Can't Post

Just a few pages in - I did not recall Aragorn being the one so at a loss and Legolas stepping up on what to do.

Curious sentence" "The River of Gondor will take care at least that no evil creature dishonors his bones."

It appears Aragorn is attributing an active participation by he river.
Of course, if that is the case, I would think it would work to prevent orcs from crossing too. I have not found any reference to such supernatural powers. I suppose Aragorn means no land creature....the river will carrry the boat down over the falls, of course decay will still set in....or birds, fish etc.


(This post was edited by Eruonen on Jun 19 2017, 5:37pm)


Kilidoescartwheels
Tol Eressea


Jun 19 2017, 8:05pm

Post #3 of 323 (4569 views)
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Trying to read TTT myself [In reply to] Can't Post

Takes me for-freakin'-EVER to read a book, and now I'm trying to read "Beren and Luthien" as well. Anyway, I just finished the Helm's Deep chapter, and it's kind of funny to me how different PJ's movie was - and yet not so different. I'd love to discuss, but suppose I should wait until you get to that chapter. I'll keep my eyes open for future posts.

I'd say I've entered my second childhood, but I never left the first!


Eruonen
Valinor


Jun 19 2017, 8:20pm

Post #4 of 323 (4560 views)
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Sounds good - we move fairly quickly. [In reply to] Can't Post

 


noWizardme
Valinor


Jun 20 2017, 8:40am

Post #5 of 323 (4547 views)
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Aragorn at a loss [In reply to] Can't Post

Welcome back, and thanks for continuing this enjoyable series.

(I'm mostly summarising some nice points from earlier discussions here, especially the last 'official' read-through, which anyone can find through the links in my footer. I hope that's OK - it does mean that many of the ideas are not originally mine.)

Book-Aragorn has been at a loss since Rivendell, torn between going to Gondor and being Frodo's guide. He does not (and perhaps realised that he should not) advise Frodo what to do.

Everything is tied up more neatly for movie-Aragorn. He planned to lead the entire party to Mordor. He spoke with Frodo after Boromir's attack on Frodo, and closed Frodo's had around the Ring before turning to fight the orcs and allow Frodo to escape. Movie M&P also see and understand that this is what their task has become, and deliberately distract the orcs. The orc attack falls into the FOTR movie, but the TT book (Book Frodo and Sam have escaped from Boromir. There are odd noises, but no reason to believe they understand that the Fellowship is under attack from without).

I can see the merits of finishing the FOTR movie in the way the script-writers decided, but I like (better I think) the picture of confusion in the book. It also has the effect of starting TT on a low for Aragorn, with him lamenting his inability to choose well. A lot of Book III shows him rebuilding from that. It's notable that Legolas and Gimli don't seem to doubt his leadership, though they do appreciate that he needs support and offer it (in their different ways).

The Fellowship has now of course broken into three shards. Firstly, it gives Tolkien a practical plot advantage (we get one or more Fellows to follow in each of the main strands of action). Secondly there's a pretty compelling argument that this must happen for Sauron to be defeated (M&P must rouse the Ents, Aragorn must come to Gondor via Rohan, F&S must push on to Mordor as quickly as possible). Thirdly (and perhaps chiefly) I think it also allows an important theme: everyone blunders around in a fog of war, trying to make the best choices they can and unable to see a wider patterns - a wider pattern that we readers sometimes see because of the reading order, and can appreciate in full by the end of the tale.

~~~~~~
Where's that old read-through discussion?
A wonderful list of links to previous chapters in the 2014-2016 LOTR read-through (and to previous read-throughs) is curated by our very own 'squire' here http://users.bestweb.net/...-SixthDiscussion.htm

(This post was edited by noWizardme on Jun 20 2017, 8:40am)


Eruonen
Valinor


Jun 20 2017, 9:07pm

Post #6 of 323 (4528 views)
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Yes, thank you and all good points. [In reply to] Can't Post

So, after sending Boromir off down Anduin - we come to another moment when JRR Tolkien likes to use song - rather like a rap challenge - with Aragorn and Legolas making up a song on the spot.

The leaf shaped blades of Merry and Pippin evidently have "spells of Westernesse" wrapped in them....whatever that may imply.

Legolas has to restock his quiver with orc arrows, especially those of a new type - longer and more similar to his long bow arrows.
Orcs of Saruman are discovered (Uruk Hai I presume) and many others from multiple locations. Somehow, a real blended orc party.


(This post was edited by Eruonen on Jun 20 2017, 9:09pm)


Eruonen
Valinor


Jun 21 2017, 2:06am

Post #7 of 323 (4509 views)
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The Riders of Rohan [In reply to] Can't Post

Our brave trio are off on the chase, trying to follow the orc trail.

I wonder what is the significance of the Eagle that is seen by Legolas - it was heading north - to the Misty Mountains? On or returning from an errand or just observing the events of the world from on high?

Gandalf at some point returns but do we know where he first arrived?


Eruonen
Valinor


Jun 21 2017, 2:47pm

Post #8 of 323 (4481 views)
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As the companions are on the chase [In reply to] Can't Post

I find it interesting that what appears to be "the will" of Saruman can exert a depressing and hopelessness effect on them from hundreds of miles away.

It is also fascinating to see the reference to the "sleep" habits of elves...Legolas can achieve rest while still active. He never appears to be in a deep sleep, just a waking dream state.


Eruonen
Valinor


Jun 22 2017, 4:12am

Post #9 of 323 (4452 views)
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Eomer and the fantastic three have a longer dialogue than I recalled [In reply to] Can't Post

but this scene was played pretty close in the movie to the book.
Eomer lost 15 men in the battle with the orcs / Uruk Hai and he indicates they had come from different locations.

Fangorn looms on the edge and the tree near their fire seems to respond to it...and Gimli's axe.

A vision / phantom / projection of an old man (Gandalf) appears and their horses run off (drawn to Shadofax if I recall...we will soon read).

Another description of Legolas "sleeping"...he lies, hands folded across his body with his eyes open gazing into the night sky (that always looks creepy when you see someone who sleeps with their eyes partly open).


noWizardme
Valinor


Jun 22 2017, 11:57am

Post #10 of 323 (4433 views)
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binding [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
what appears to be "the will" of Saruman can exert a depressing and hopelessness effect on them from hundreds of miles away.


It is, perhaps like the will of Sauron that is said to draw all evil things towards him (you'll recall that this is one reason offered for Gollum ending up in Mordor.

Here the companions find the effect repulsive (in more than one sense, whereas the orcs travel with great speed (attracted perhaps?)


As regards thinking about how this magic of persuasion and will works, I like this article by Dan McCoy on magic as a thing in Norse and Germanic culture. While McCoy does not apply this to Tolkien, I like to Smile. After all, the Norse/Germanic culture produced many of the works that influenced Tolkien, so it seems a natural source from which he might get concepts about magic.


Quote

... in order to bind another – that is, to transform the desires of another so that they aid the fulfilment of one’s own desires – one must work with the other’s existing desires. To compel someone to believe or to do something in accordance with one’s own will, one must present the belief or action in such a way that the person feels it to be in accordance with his or her own will, thereby satisfying the desires of both the enchanter and the enchanted. Whether this ends up helping or harming the person upon whom the magic is worked is beside the point here; either can be the case depending on the context. The point is that magic can only be successful if it satisfies the desires of all involved in the working.

...Magic occupies as prominent a place in modern society as it ever has. We just prefer to call it things like “psychology,” “sociology,” “advertising,” “marketing,” and “personal development” rather than “magic.”

Dan McCoy on magic as a thing in Norse and Germanic culture http://norse-mythology.org/concepts/magic/


Here I guess the companions ARE weary and dispirited, so there is material with which Saruman could work.
Later at Helm's Deep we'll hear Gimli comment upon how unnaturally tired he feels - similar thing going on, I think.

~~~~~~
Where's that old read-through discussion?
A wonderful list of links to previous chapters in the 2014-2016 LOTR read-through (and to previous read-throughs) is curated by our very own 'squire' here http://users.bestweb.net/...-SixthDiscussion.htm


Eruonen
Valinor


Jun 22 2017, 1:55pm

Post #11 of 323 (4420 views)
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That also explains why The Ring does not work as well on some [In reply to] Can't Post

......Bilbo, Frodo, Sam and then of course Tom.

Gandalf's ring has the opposite effect of what Saruman is doing - and he does not possess a ring of Power - at least not a great one.

"Narya is described as having the power to inspire others to resist tyranny, domination and despair, as well as having the power (in common with the other Three Rings) to hide the wielder from remote observation (except by the wielder of the One) and giving resistance to the weariness of time. It is also thought to have magical properties."

""Take this ring, master," he said, "for your labours will be heavy; but it will support you in the weariness that you have taken upon yourself. For this is the Ring of Fire, and with it you may rekindle hearts in a world that grows chill."
― Círdan the Shipwright[2]


Kilidoescartwheels
Tol Eressea


Jun 22 2017, 3:48pm

Post #12 of 323 (4408 views)
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Gimli [In reply to] Can't Post

I Heart the way Gimli was portrayed in the Helm's Deep chapter - can't wait 'til Euronen gets there!

I'd say I've entered my second childhood, but I never left the first!


Kilidoescartwheels
Tol Eressea


Jun 22 2017, 3:49pm

Post #13 of 323 (4402 views)
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So what chapter are you on? [In reply to] Can't Post

Have you read the Treebeard chapter yet?

I'd say I've entered my second childhood, but I never left the first!


Eruonen
Valinor


Jun 22 2017, 4:52pm

Post #14 of 323 (4399 views)
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The Uruk Hai [In reply to] Can't Post

 


Eruonen
Valinor


Jun 22 2017, 6:13pm

Post #15 of 323 (4388 views)
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Orcs are not stupid dumb automatons [In reply to] Can't Post

The dialogue scene between the various orc factions reveals cunning, awareness, reward and punishment and sharp distinctions between the various tribes.

Did the Moria orcs just happen to meet up with Saruman's or were they summoned? Where did the Lugburz/Barad Dur faction come from? My impression was that Saruman sent his forces out and they must have combined by accident with the other forces during the battle that broke the company.


(This post was edited by Eruonen on Jun 22 2017, 6:14pm)


Eruonen
Valinor


Jun 22 2017, 8:41pm

Post #16 of 323 (4366 views)
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"Apes" [In reply to] Can't Post

So, it appears orcs are familiar with animals from the far south not seen in the northern area of action...."ape" is used as a derogatory term by Ugluk.

The Isengarders are unfamiliar with the Nazgul.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSMCVTMQap4

Orc medicine may be rough stuff but it works.


(This post was edited by Eruonen on Jun 22 2017, 8:43pm)


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Jun 22 2017, 9:32pm

Post #17 of 323 (4358 views)
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Orcs and Apes [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
So, it appears orcs are familiar with animals from the far south not seen in the northern area of action...."ape" is used as a derogatory term by Ugluk.


Perhaps Saruman acquired some apes from the South for experimental purposes.

"He who lies artistically, treads closer to the truth than ever he knows." -- Favorite proverb of the wizard Ningauble of the Seven Eyes


Eruonen
Valinor


Jun 23 2017, 1:00am

Post #18 of 323 (4347 views)
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Ah, who knows what kind of twisted cross species experimentation [In reply to] Can't Post

ala Dr. Moreau that Saruman and Sauron may have performed.

For orcs to have knowledge of apes they would have to have seen them as I don't think little orcs go to school or read books.

Yes, I am thinking too much about one of Tolkien's word choices in a way he probably did not give much though too in him trying to make rough conversation for orcs.


(This post was edited by Eruonen on Jun 23 2017, 1:01am)


Eruonen
Valinor


Jun 23 2017, 1:57am

Post #19 of 323 (4349 views)
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A great pleasure for me on this read through is re-discovering dialogue and even [In reply to] Can't Post

scenes that I had forgotten in the mists of time. The orc dialogue is far more intelligent than I recalled and shows them to be the hard to control but through fear creatures that they were. I can see how difficult it was for both Sauron and Saruman to effectively use them without a very strong hand near by...be it special orcs like Ugluk or the Nazgul.

The Rohan rider attack was more detailed than I recalled. They were able to defeat a force of at least 2 to 1 against them. They employed hit and run and hemmed them in like sheep.

I also am seeing far more subtle references to divinity than I recall and the charge that there is no "religion" in the LOTR is inaccurate. Yes, no organized religion per se but divinity is very present. The chapter ends with:

".....no news of it came ever back to either Mordor or to Isengard; but the smoke of the burning rose high to heaven and was seen by many watchful eyes."

These little references to the great powers who seem to have a window upon the world reveal that things can still be very subtly influenced.


(This post was edited by Eruonen on Jun 23 2017, 1:58am)


Ithilisa
Bree

Jun 23 2017, 4:36am

Post #20 of 323 (4322 views)
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Wow Eruonen, I didn't notice the heavenly reference before [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
.

I also am seeing far more subtle references to divinity than I recall and the charge that there is no "religion" in the LOTR is inaccurate. Yes, no organized religion per se but divinity is very present. The chapter ends with:

".....no news of it came ever back to either Mordor or to Isengard; but the smoke of the burning rose high to heaven and was seen by many watchful eyes."

These little references to the great powers who seem to have a window upon the world reveal that things can still be very subtly influenced.


Am I right in assuming you mean this passage is saying heavenly watchful eyes as in the watchful eyes of Iluvatar and/or the Valar?

"I name you Elf-friend; and may the stars shine upon the end of your road!" - Gildor

"If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world."- Thorin


Eruonen
Valinor


Jun 23 2017, 1:53pm

Post #21 of 323 (4269 views)
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I infer that - yes. However, some may infer other watchful eyes too that could have seen the [In reply to] Can't Post

smoke such as The Eagles, Ents (?), birds etc. It is one of those sentences that Tolkien constructs that seem to serve several meanings and is left to the reader to infer. We do know that subtle influences do happen because of the Valar. They seem to have a window on the world.

None of Sauron's or Saruman's birds or Nazgul for example saw the smoke. Yet both seemed to have such agents all over the area.


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Jun 23 2017, 2:57pm

Post #22 of 323 (4256 views)
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"...seen by many watchful eyes." [In reply to] Can't Post

I will admit that I favor the more prosaic interpretation of that passage. with the rising smoke catching the attention of: Eagles, crebain, other birds and beasts, spies and other agents of the White Hand, and perhaps most significantly, the Three Hunters (Aragorn. Legolas and Gimli).

"He who lies artistically, treads closer to the truth than ever he knows." -- Favorite proverb of the wizard Ningauble of the Seven Eyes


Eruonen
Valinor


Jun 23 2017, 4:21pm

Post #23 of 323 (4251 views)
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Treebeard [In reply to] Can't Post

People who have never read the books simply don't know what they are missing.
For example, this little sentence is something that only Tolkien would use (of authors I have read at least)

""The twigs of the trees at its foot were stretched out stiff and still, as if reaching out to the warmth......."

These little sentences regarding nature are what add up to the readers enjoyment and sense of being in Middle Earth. There are many, many similar lines that you read just like this that by themselves just seem to be descriptive floss - but they are not. They imbue Middle Earth into the readers consciousness. You see, feel and smell the landscape. Magical.


(This post was edited by Eruonen on Jun 23 2017, 4:25pm)


Eruonen
Valinor


Jun 23 2017, 4:22pm

Post #24 of 323 (4246 views)
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Yes, but no spies saw it. [In reply to] Can't Post

So, the reader has to fill in the meaning and it works various ways.

In Treebeard...pg 66 Merry and Pippin see "tall spires of curling black smoke went up, wavering and floating towards them."

So yes, some other eyes noted.


(This post was edited by Eruonen on Jun 23 2017, 4:28pm)


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Jun 23 2017, 4:30pm

Post #25 of 323 (4240 views)
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Possibly not. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Yes, but no spies saw it. So, the reader has to fill in the meaning and it works various ways.


Not that we know of, though not all of Saruman's spies were human--or even orkish (the crebain, for example).

"He who lies artistically, treads closer to the truth than ever he knows." -- Favorite proverb of the wizard Ningauble of the Seven Eyes

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