Believe it or not, it’s March already, which means the Lord of the Rings Readalong is focusing on The Two Towers. If you’ve fallen behind, or are just joining us, don’t worry—just read at your own pace and, most of all, have fun!
To get the discussion going, I have a few questions that you can answer as desired, either on your own blog, or in the comments here.
- Where are you in the trilogy right now? What do you think of the books so far?
- What’s your past experience with The Two Towers? If you’re rereading, how does it stack up against the other two books?
- 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?
- 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?
If you’re writing a post with your answer, please share your link in the Mr. Linky below:
Here are my answers:
1. Where are you in the trilogy right now? What do you think of the books so far?
I’m just starting The Two Towers today, reading at lunchtime as I did with the last two books. I’m enjoying the series, as I always do, and I’m really enjoying seeing other people’s thoughts on it!
2. What’s your past experience with The Two Towers? If you’re rereading, how does it stack up against the other two books?
The first time I read The Two Towers, I was incredibly exasperated with the first half because I understood that the most important thing that needed to happen was for Frodo to get the ring to Mount Doom. The single most important thing. But the whole first half of the book is about everyone else. I did like the Ents, but the rest of the first half felt like a waste of time. It wasn’t that I didn’t like the other characters, but I couldn’t understand why Tolkien wasn’t taking us to Mordor with Frodo.
On subsequent readings, I’ve come to love the other characters more. I still think, though, that both halves of the book might have been better served if Tolkien had gone back and forth between the various groups, as Peter Jackson did in the movie. We’d get to see what’s happening to Frodo earlier, and the last half wouldn’t be quite the dark march that it is. (I know a couple of people who gave up on the series at the end of The Two Towers because it was so very grim for so long.)
3. What are you most looking forward to?
Faramir! I love Faramir. In fact, on rereadings of Fellowship I always end up grumbling about the fact that Boromir went to Rivendell instead of Faramir. What a bone-headed decision that was. And not just because I want more Faramir, but because he would have shown more sense.
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?
Well, given that Faramir is my favorite character, I can get all kinds of ranty about the character assassination that was the film version of The Two Towers. The Faramir of the book would never in a million years have taken Frodo all the way to Osgiliath. Peter Jackson gave what I consider a lame defense of his decision to have Faramir to do in the commentary on the DVD, but it was a lame defense. Something about needing to show how much power the ring had over Men and to create more dramatic tension, blah, blah, blah. In the book, the ring had power over Men who lacked understanding. Aragorn was not the only Man capable of resisting that temptation. But apparently in Jackson’s mind Aragorn is the only Man with any serious inner strength and true understanding.
Okay. Rant over. In general, I thought that The Two Towers the movie was a little too Hollywood. I liked parts of it and thought the casting and performances were generally very good, and the set design was amazing, particularly in Rohan. However, both the second and third movies relied too heavily on comic one-liners, the hotness of Orlando Bloom and Viggo Mortenson, and big showy action scenes. Maybe you need that for a movie to be the success these movies needed to be to justify the cost of making them, but I could have done with less Jackson and more Tolkien.
And don’t forget to check back around March 15, for mid-month discussion starters and a Mr. Linky. Because The Two Towers is handily divided into two parts (Book III and Book IV), those questions will focus on the first part (or Book III of the trilogy).