An Adventure in Tolkien: The Two Towers

Previously on An Adventure in Tolkien: I cried over so many damn people, and most of them weren’t even in the book.

SINCE AUGUST?! Look, if I don’t finish the trilogy this month, here is your unlimited permission to yell at me into eternity. One of my 2020 goals was to reread & review the trilogy and start the History of Middle-earth, and I barely even scratched that goal, so here we are, trying to get at least half of it done so I can start the History in January for Tolkien month. Thus, I’m going to be reading TT & ROTK fast because I’m supposed to have the reviews up biweekly this month, and I am not backing down from that challenge. VAMOS!

As before, I’m reading a second edition hardcover of the book, so that’s how my citations are noted.

Boromir
Art by Geoff

I totally forgot that this starts with how the first movie ends, and while I think it’s a better ending, it’s also throwing me immediately back into the action as a beginning.

HE STARTS WITH A SYNOPSIS????

Y’all, remember that time a potential publisher asked Tolkien to write a synopsis describing why The Silmarillion & LOTR had to be published together, and he sent them a TEN THOUSAND WORD letter? I love this man so much, and honestly! Why don’t we provide a synopsis at the start of a sequel anymore! That’s genius! I don’t remember anything, and though these books were published only a few months apart from each other, it’s so nice to be able to refer back to what happened previously. Also, I am truly amazed that he managed to make the synopsis only a page and a half long.

I can’t remember the exact ending of Fellowship, but I don’t think we saw Boromir fighting the Orcs. I could be totally wrong, but, either way, Tolkien literally skips all of the badass Aragorn & Legolas fighting and just skips straight to Boromir dying on the second page. And it’s so lackluster! He just dies, no grand speeches. Although, I guess that’s pretty standard fare for Tolkien, and it’s nice that the chapter title didn’t totally give it away like he usually does, but still:

aragorn x boromir | Tumblr

Ah, yes, here we go again, I’ve found an adaptation of the lament for Boromir! I really wish they’d let more of the songs happen in the movies, and I wish they’d let the appropriate people sing them. I love so much that we get Aragorn singing at his coronation, and it’s actually Viggo singing. It would’ve been so nice to hear Viggo sing more, and even Orlando in the lament, because men singing is such a big part of so many fantasy epics, and I would’ve liked to see/hear that. I mean, altogether, the men of Middle-earth are way better at expressing their emotions than men today, but them singing is just beautiful.

I just get so sad for Frodo & Sam. Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli have each other, which would have been enough, but they also encounter so many other people. They find Gandalf in the woods, they meet up with the Rohirrim, and they find their way back to fighting side by side with elves. Eventually, Merry & Pippin get to explore with the Ents, and they’re reunited with the rest of the Company. But Frodo & Sam are literally alone for the entirety of books two and three (not counting Gollum, obviously, since he just wants to murder them both). No wonder they have such a hard time. Not only are they traipsing through difficult, unknown land, their guide for much of their journey wants them dead, they’re carrying a massive burden that’s slowly destroying Frodo, and they’re alone! I don’t care what anyone says, and I’ve got to save some of this for one of my discussions next month, but Frodo & Sam are the bravest & strongest characters in this story by a long, long margin.

Best Lets Hunt Some Orc GIFs | Gfycat

I recognize that movie!Aragorn is a bit more aware of his badassery than book!Aragorn, but seriously, name one line you like better than this one. (I’m kidding, obviously, there are eight million better lines, duh, the Rohirrim are coming. TO THE KEEP!) No matter what, it always gets my house yelling.

OH HECK YES NEXT CHAPTER IS CALLED THE RIDERS OF ROHAN!

Ugh, there is a great discussion somewhere about the looks like meat’s back on the menu, boys line because menus? Does that mean there are restaurants in Middle-earth? And I love that the discussion does not point out that this a flub on Jackson’s part, but rather take it as face value, like there are actually restaurants in Middle-earth, and the orcs have been to enough to understand menus, and it’s hilarious, and I’m mad I can’t find it. Apparently, we don’t get Pippin & Merry’s POV in this–or not yet, at least–but they just stumbled across the fallen orcs, and it’s making me giggle.

Here the air was softer and warmer, and faintly scented, as if spring was already stirring and the sap was flowing again herb and leaf. Legolas took a deep breath, like one that drinks a great daughter after long thirst in barren places.

‘A! the green smell!’ he said. ‘It is better than much sleep. Let us run!’

The Riders of Rohan, pg 26

Y’all, I feel this quote from Legolas so much. There’s a bit of the trail near the summit of Chocorua that makes me think of Middle-earth every damn time, and I just breathe deep and thank the world for its beauty every time.

I am literally watching the movie in my head while reading this, which means I am currently wheezing over Gimli running, and it’s the best.

Éomer is chatting with Aragorn, and he mentions that Sauron tried to buy horses off of them, but they said no, and so, being Sauron, he decided to steal all the black ones because is a Goth menace, and he cannot be tamed. I also love Éomer letting Aragorn go, too, because it upholds the old promise of friendship between Gondor & Rohan that Eorl & Cirion struck all those years ago.

Oh, Pippin! Tudo bem, we do get their POV. I just love Pippin being all practical and “let’s eat and get warm before we start walking.” Same, Pip. Also, since they’ve come upon Treebeard, please enjoy this adorable hobbit trying to be an Ent:

jk he does a fantastic job and makes me giggle endlessly

Well, I just emailed my tattoo artist to start talking about my LOTR-themed sleeve, which I was talking about back in August, when I read FOTR, but I was waiting for cold weather so I wouldn’t be hiking while I was getting a new tattoo. I’m so excited to start this because I’ve already got a space arm on the right side and the LOTR one will be on the left side and basically growing out of a stack of books I’ve already got on my forearm.

And I know I just shared a song, but I’ve got to share this one, too:

It’s apparently more of a song adaptation than fanart day over here.

I’m drinking a rather earthy tea that’s got rosemary and lavender in it, and it’s an absolute delight. It’s inspired by Joan of Arc, and it’s just the perfect thing to be drinking while reading about the Entmoot. My music is at Gandalf the White, so I’m a bit behind, but also really good music for this scene. And the Entmoot reminds me–Tolkien is 100% to blame for why I put so many damn councils in my early books! I had a high fantasy series that, in its beginning, literally had dozens of dragons–it was later scaled down, but there were SO MANY at the start–and that was set in its own world with all sorts of different races, and one of my favorite things was to do these giant, unending council chapters. People would just talk and talk and talk, and though it was always useful stuff to talk about, and it moved the plot around, there were way too many, and it’s totally because Tolkien did them all the time, and I thought he was the bee’s knees at that age. (Well, at all ages, let’s be honest here.) Now that I’m thinking about it, too, I totally still do council-esque chapters in my current books. They’re all urban fantasy, but there’s always a chapter or two where everyone comes together, usually over food, and talks about everything. It just works so well!

I also adore this winding chapter of the Ents because it’s so very Tolkien. One of my favorite bits about his biography was how he got so upset at industrial progression that he wrote that into his books, giving the nature that was so beloved to him sentience so that it could fight back against industry, like Saruman.

hunters-Legolas,Gimli
Legolas & Gimli
Art by ilxwing

‘You are a Wood-elf, anyway, though Elves of any kind are strange folk. Yet you comfort me. Where you go, I will go. But keep your bow ready to hand, and I will keep my axe loose in my belt.’

The White Rider, pg 94

Just don’t even come near me with the slow friendship of Legolas & Gimli, they are adorable. They literally go from mortal enemies to “hey wanna ride with me if you’re nervous about the horse? NO I’M KIDDING NOT NERVOUS JUST–get on before I toss you.” And here’s Gimli, saying that Legolas comforts him, and he’ll go wherever Legolas goes, and I just? UGHHHH

Also, Gandalf being returned, again, to Middle-earth just breaks my heart. I think about him desperately wanting to stay with the Valar when he was a child and being forced to go to Middle-earth anyway to help stop the slow spread of evil, and here he is again, being plucked from his dreams and set firmly back in a horrible reality. I just want him to find peace again!

‘There dwells Théoden son of Thengel, King of the Mark of Rohan.’

The King of the Golden Hall, pg 111

Look, Théoden is one of my favorite characters, but that’s based purely on the movie, and I’m so curious to see what he’s like in the book since it’s been over a literal decade since I last read this. My favorite character is Sam, that’s never going to change, but there’s a whole slew of men & women that sneak right up behind him because Aragorn? Théoden? Beren? Eowyn? Morwen? I could keep going, but I’m too excited about literally everything, back to reading!

You know, Legolas just got all five hundred times have the read leaves fallen in Mirkwood in my home since then–who even talks like that, Legolas, chillllllll–and now I’m wondering how old Legolas is.

oh why am I doing this to myself I hate math

He was born sometime in the Third Age, which is not at all helpful, but one of the Wikis says around 185–I usually only use Tolkien Gateway for a reference, but alas, they only have the year he sailed West–and the Council of Elrond took place in 2018 TA, so closing in on 3000? Around 2800, to be specific, which is just nuts, wow. I don’t think I quite realized that.

‘Thus spoke a forgotten poet long ago in Rohan, recalling how tall and fair was Eorl the Young, who rode down out of the North; and there were wings upon the feet of his steed, Felaróf, father of horses. So men still sing in the evening.’

The King of the Golden Hall, pg 112

First of all, I just absolutely adore this adaptation of the Lament for the Rohirrim, but to find that it’s meant to call back to the memory of Eorl?

I am dyingggggg

One of my favorite non-elf friendships (because let’s be real here, I will scream endlessly about the Eldar over all other characters) is Cirion & Eorl because it’s just so dramatic and so profound and so UGH that I’m just going to quote myself from last year’s Why I Love the Race of Men:

“Okay, look, Cirion was so goddamn dead set on making sure that Eorl knew just exactly how much he appreciated him that Cirion brought Eorl to Elendil’s grave to swear an oath of friendship.  That sentence alone doesn’t really do this justice either because in true Tolkien fashion, it’s the most dramatic scene ever.  Like, Cirion doesn’t tell Eorl that’s what he’s doing, he just casually asks Eorl if he’ll accept a bunch of land to show his respect of their new friendship, and when Eorl says yes, Cirion asks him to come at a very specific time so they can make it official.  So Eorl shows up—ffs, it’s like at an 18% crescent moon on the fourth day of autumn when the wind is blowing east or some nonsense—and Cirion’s like, “Okay, follow me, we’re going to go through this forest that only kind of has a path because only my family’s ever gone on the path, and then we’re going to go up this mountain.  It’s just a mountain, nothing more.”  Except it’s literally the most sacred place in Cirion’s family, and it’s this hugely guarded secret because it’s ELENDIL’S GRAVE.  And he asks Eorl to swear an oath of friendship with him.”

SOMEONE SWEAR A FRIENDSHIP OATH WITH ME IN A CEMETERY, PLEASE! (Erin, I’m talking to you.)

Also, yup, still definitely a fan of Théoden.

r/ImaginaryMiddleEarth - Eowyn and the Nazgul by Bluefooted
Éowyn & Witch-king of Angmar
Art by bluefooted

I know I’m nowhere near this part, but I just love how non-misogynistic the world of Middle-earth is. Like, yes, it has its moments, and there’s definitely a women & children vibe that makes me want to roll my eyes, but Théoden literally doesn’t bat an eye when he asks who should stand as lord among the people while he’s away and Háma says, “She is fearless and high-hearted. All love her. Let her be as lord to the Eorlingas, while we are gone.” (pg 128) Instead, Théoden immediately agrees with Háma because it doesn’t matter that Éowyn is a woman–she’s the most capable of those not going to war, and that’s what matters to him.

I know people complain a lot about how few women there are in Middle-earth, and I agree, I do, but you also have to recognize that the women that are present are absolute badasses. I mean, just think of the great women of lore. Lúthien basically laughed in her father’s face, escaped all of his magical traps, tricked Morgoth so that she could help steal a Silmaril, and said a big ole fuck you to her dad once she had the Silmaril and instead went to live on her own. Galadriel is what everyone knows Lothlórien by; no one talks about Celebrand because he hasn’t done nearly as many amazing things as his wife, and if you’re a normal person, you forget his name pretty quickly because it’s only mentioned, like, once. Meanwhile, Galadriel is going up against the ring and winning, not to mention she’s got one of the elf rings. Éowyn slays a damn Nazgûl! Name a single other character that does that, I’ll wait! Oh right! You can’t! She’s also lord of Rohan, and she rides into battle with all the other Rohirrim. No matter who they are, the women of Middle-earth often outweigh all of the men, even though there are so few of them.

I paused to eat some dinner, and I got lost in Youtube for a bit, and I truly cannot say how I ended up on this video, but it was an absolute delight, and I a) screamed about Morgoth, b) wept over Sauron, and c) actually learned some new things!

Look, Helm’s Deep is only one chapter long, and even then, it’s really only 10 pages long, and I understand why the Tolkien family hated the movies so much because it glorified war, and that’s not at all what the story, or Tolkien, was about, but damn. The Battle at Helm’s Deep has forever remained my favorite piece of cinematic wonder, and all I can think about is this meme while I’m reading:

O UNILAD - 3 MIN READ Game Of Thrones Great War Will Be Bigger Than Battle  For Helm's Deep Dimitris Axis If Gandalf ain't coming from the East at first  light on

FACTS

Oh gosh, and here’s Legolas and Gimli keeping count of their kills. I love how quietly their friendship happens, tucked into the background, but still totally natural. It never feels like it’s sudden, or that it doesn’t make sense because Tolkien has just shifted a little thing here, a little thing there, enough each time that it feels like a new fact until, suddenly, they’re playing a game while in the middle of a war, and it’s just kind of adorable and also very telling of the friendships Tolkien had in his youth.

I’m listening to the soundtrack right now, obviously, and I just love horns so much. Strings are great, and percussion will always get me, but horns? The second a brass instrument starts playing in any song, I just start weeping. I don’t know what it is, it’s always going to crack me open and make me yearn for something bolder, something brighter. It just makes every instrumental song that much better, and the horns in Helm’s Deep? Be still my beating heart.

Look, I cannot, my music matched up perfectly while reading, so you deserve to witness the glory, too.

YOU’RE WELCOME NOW WE CAN ALL WEEP TOGETHER

Truly, though, it’s going to be Legolas & Gimli that destroy me. This whole passage in The Road to Isengard–it’s too long, so I’m not going to quote it–where Gimli is describing his love of caves and how careful the dwarves would treat the caverns of Helm’s Deep, for they would be struck with wonder in awe of them, and Legolas finally saying, ‘Let us make this bargain–if we both return safe out of the perils that await us, we will journey for a while together. You shall visit Fangorn with me, and then I will come with you to see Helm’s Deep.’ (pg 153) And all I can think about is the fact that Legolas practically sneaks Gimli onto one of the last boats to Valinor because he doesn’t want to leave his best friend behind, and now I just want an entire book of them adventuring through Middle-earth post-war, UGH.

Legolas & Gimli sail to Valinor with Galadriel
Art by heathlynnn

I’ll never cease to adore the scenes with the Ents. One of my favorite things about Tolkien was how much he hated industrialism, and I know I already talked about this earlier, but I’ve gotten to the part where the Ents destroy Isengard, and the fact that they break the dam is just so fitting for his character. It’s also so poignant right now, as we’re in the midst of absolutely destroying our planet. Because no matter how much awful, irreversible damage we do, the thing is–nature will outlast us. The earth will kill us before we kill it. Sure, it may become uninhabitable, but uninhabitable for who? Humans. And, after a long, long period of healing, maybe it’ll become habitable again for humans, but in that interim, the earth will survive. It is greater and fiercer and far more terrifying than we will ever be, and the Ents breaking the dam and bringing about the ruin of Isengard is a mirror of that. When humans have done the worst they can do to a portion of Middle-earth and nature sees the waste laid by those humans, nature fights back. The world rises up and says, Enough. Maybe we don’t have sentient trees, but Tolkien had the right of it. Much like the Ents taking back the land, the earth will someday take back that which we have stolen.

And I just love it, that Tolkien hated industrialism and the destruction of the beloved natural world that he’d grown up in that he said enough, as well and showed the new age of steel just what he thought of it. Hic sunt arboribus.

I just vibe so hard with Pippin in this scene. Gandalf says he’ll keep answering questions forever if only it keeps Pippin safe, but Pippin’s asked so many questions that Gandalf’s like my dude! what more could you possible want to know?

‘The names of all the stars, and of all living things, and the whole history of Middle-earth and Over-heaven and of the Sundering Seas.’

The Palantír, pg 204

SAME PIP

If you’ve survived this far into the post, I am so sorry to tell you that we’ve only just arrived at the end of Book III, and it’s now time for Book IV. It’s about 50 pages shorter, but it’s the Frodo & Sam section of TT, so it’s likely to be just as long.

Frodo Baggins
Art by duckydrawsart

‘Night will be on us soon. How beautiful the stars are, and the Moon!’

‘They do cheer the heart, don’t they?’ said Sam, looking up.

The Taming of Sméagol, pg 218

This is just so pure. They’re literally just wandering through Emyn Muil doing the LOOK AT THE MOON thing that all humans do, and it’s so cute. Like, they’re in the worst of worst situations, but they’ve managed to find a silver lining.

I can’t be the only one that’s constantly yelling at literally every single swampy land I see IT’S THE DEAD MARSHES! Right? I’m not the only one? I love the way they did the Marshes in the movie, but I love even more the lore behind them in the book. I should have realized, given their proximity to Mordor, that the Dead Marshes was the gravesite of Dagorlad, which is the battle where Isildur initially said nah to destroying the ring, the ass, but it just never occurred to me. And now I’m wondering if there’s somewhere in the world that might reflect back the dead from the First Age? Or does it only happen with the Marshes because it exists on “evil” land, and thus, there’s something foul and cursed that runs through the land that makes something like the Marshes possible. Which is just a whole other thing, but also makes sense given that Sauron is no longer capable of creating beautiful things, so why shouldn’t his land also be poisoned, as it were?

I wonder if anything like the Marshes ever existed in Beleriand. I guess it was probably sunk too soon for anything major to have happened to the land for it to be so transformed that something like the Marshes would occur. I really love that super flippant plot point that Tolkien keeps using, too–oh, there was some bad shit, might as well sink the land and pretend it didn’t happen. But I also think there’s something to be said for the Marshes. However horrible they are, they remind us of where we’ve been, where we shouldn’t go again, and though I 100% don’t want to see Fingolfin’s corpse floating in some murky water off the coast of the Bay of Belfalas, it would definitely be an interesting way to point at the past and say, See! We don’t like evil dudes! They do this!

Anyway, here’s some Fingolfin/Morgoth art because I can:

Fingolfin vs Morgoth
Art by Guillem H. Pongiluppi

I love when people draw Morgoth as this insanely giant monster, and can I please have more of Sauron like that?

Truthfully, we watched FOTR tonight (because my dad couldn’t understand just watching TT, so he said we had to watch FOTR if we were also eventually going to watch ROTK, and really, who am I to argue with that logic?), and all I could think about was how badly I wished Glorfindel had been in the movie. I totally understand the decision to swap him with Arwen because it creates less characters, and it gives her more of a role so she’s not just Aragorn’s love interest, but ughhhhhhh I miss the Silmarillion characters so much, and I want to reread that and just scream every other page. LOTR is so well done, don’t get me wrong, but it’s one cohesive story whereas Silmarillion is just a smorgasbord of lore and insanity, and that’s why it’s my favorite.

I just love all the Mordor names. The Black Gate is called Morannon, Barad-dûr is Sauron’s stronghold, Gorgoroth is the wastes leading up to Mount Doom, which, let’s not forget, is actually Orodruin, even the stairs around Minas Morgul, Cirith Ungol, both of which are great names–Tolkien is just fantastic with names (most of the time, still not over Shuddering Waters), and I love how inherently awful all of the Mordor names sound. What I don’t love is when he reuses old names because then you’ve got a possible Dúnedain Ranger from Gondor named Mablung that’s making me frantically Google to see if it’s the same Mablung who marched under Thingol and hung out with my fave boy, Beleg Cúthalion, but nope. Although, I should have realized nope on my own, given that Thingol was in the First Age, and there’s no way even a Dúnedain could live that long, not to mention that Mablung was an elf previously, so all of it doesn’t add up, but I was excited, okay!

Mablung & Beleg
Art by nevui-penim-miruvorrr

Look at those cuties!

I’ll be the first to compare Tolkien to a hobbit because that is 100% what he was. However, this quote from Faramir is just quintessential John Ronald Reuel, and I love it:

‘For myself,’ said Faramir, ‘I would see the White Tree in flower again in the courts of the kings, and the Silver Crown return, and Minas Tirith in peace: Minas Anor again as of old, full of light, high and fair, beautiful as a queen among other queens: not a mistress of may salves, nay, not even a kind mistress of willing slaves. 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: the city of the Men of Númenor; and I would have her loved for her memory, her ancientry, her beauty, and her present wisdom. Not feared, save as men may fear the dignity of a man, old and wise.’

The Window on the West, pg 280

So much of LOTR is a commentary on how much sorrow and anger Tolkien felt regarding both industrialism & war, and if there was ever a quote to pull out of the whole trilogy and say, this is it, this is what it’s about, it would be these lines because I see so much of him in them, so much of what he yearned for, so much of what he felt was slipping away as the world progressed. And yes, we do need to progress, but we also need to remember where we have come from and to maintain the beauty of those places. Build if you must, but leave the trees, and let them both be glorious without the stain of fury and war on them.

Minas Tirith
Art by Harpokrates

And wow, can we talk about Faramir for a second? ‘I could trust them to shut their eyes of their own accord, but eyes will blink if the feet stumble.’ I knew that I liked him, just given how wonderful he is in the movie, but he’s even more so in the books. That he would trust Frodo & Sam to keep their eyes shut without the blindfold is just so telling of his character, for–and don’t @ me in the comments, tudo bem, I know everyone loves Boromir, and I understand why, but he’s got issues beyond just the ring’s corruption–Boromir would have definitely not only blindfolded them, probably without even explaining why, but also bound their hands and had Mablung & Damrod lead them forcefully along the path. You know it’s true, too, don’t even try to pretend it isn’t. But Faramir says to keep their hands unbound, to not blindfold them so as to discomfort them, and even says he would trust them if not for the general human nature to open one’s eyes if you stumble, and I just?? I love this man, wow. If Tolkien wasn’t so obviously a hobbit, he would be Faramir.

Last night, while we were watching FOTR to prepare for TT next week, I got weepy over the scene where Aragorn kisses Boromir’s forehead and tells him to be at peace, son of Gondor because I just LOVE how much Tolkien allowed his men to feel. Granted, Tolkien was always a bit more on the emotional side, and he’d been so torn apart by the loss of his beloved friends in the war that I’m sure he wished, desperately, that he might have been able to tell them to be at peace and kiss them goodbye. But think about the time that Tolkien would have been writing this–men were even more not allowed to express their emotions in the early 1900s than they were now, and it would have been so powerful then to see men openly expressing their love for one another, never mind how powerful it is now as we’re continuing to plead for everyone to allow themselves to be fully in touch with their emotions. And I just really, really appreciate how openly Tolkien allowed his men to love. Sam outright says in the chapter previous that he loves Frodo, and Faramir sits at the edge of the Anduin in grief and sorrow at the loss of his brother, and they’re all just so good and fair and kind, and I love all of them.

Look, fangirl over the elves all you want, I’ll keep my men.

I just love having the knowledge of The Silmarillion now as I read it, particularly for lines like this:

‘Beren now, he never thought he was going to get that Silmaril from the Iron Crown in Thangorodrim, and yet he did, and that was a worse place and a blacker danger than ours. But that’s a long tale, of course, and goes on past the happiness and into grief and beyond it–and the Silmaril went on and came to Eärendil. And why, sir, I never thought of that before! We’ve got–you’ve got some of the light of it in that star-glass that the Lady gave you! Why, to think of it, we’re in the same tale still! It’s going on. Don’t the great tales never end?’

The Stairs of Cirith Ungol, pg 321

Like, that would have all been so meaningless to me back in middle school, when I was first reading these. I would have probably skimmed over half of that without any comprehension and just went on my merry way, but now, after finally having read the masterpiece that is The Silmarillion, this paragraph of Sam’s is so much different, and UGH, I JUST LOVE IT A LOT.

My favourite prop in the Lord of the Rings, the Phial of Galadriel, containing the light of Eärendil.
Phial of Galadriel containing the light of Eärendil
Art by Dashiell Silva

Well, here I am, somehow surprised that I’m about to shout about my Morgoth/Sauron love. Look, one of my favorite things about The Silmarillion is that Morgoth is basically responsible for an entire half of the terrible things that happen. (Fëanor is responsible for the other half, and that is a post I should write someday, about how good and “evil” will both do horrible things, sometimes equally.) But, if you just boiled down the plot of The Silmarillion to its most basic form, it’d pretty much just be “MORGOTH NO!” from Manwë and Morgoth giving a big ole cackle before he yeeted back “MORGOTH YES!”

Perhaps one of my favorite moments of this exchange is when Morgoth is so pissed at just literally everything–he’s decided that everyone and everything is dead to him, and he’s all set trying to impress anyone, he’s just going to steal and burn it all–that he decides to coerce Ungoliant into helping him just absolutely pillage & plunder to their hearts’ content anything that they fancy in Valinor. They make off with a hell of a lot of shiny things, and though Ungoliant is furious with Morgoth when he withholds the Silmarils from her–that was his original goal, but he promises Ungoliant she can have a share, too, and, of course, she wants the Silmarils, which he hides from her–they eventually part ways. Not amicably, of course, but that’s a story for another time.

And then, THOUSANDS of years later, after Morgoth has been banished–don’t forget, too powerful to be killed!–and Sauron is rising in his place–insert me cackling @ the “wait did Sauron really just create a cult to Morgoth?” question that always happens when people read The Silmarillion YES THEY WERE IN LOVE THIS IS WHAT I’M TRYING TO TELL EVERYONE–and it just so happens that Ungoliant had a heck ton of offspring, and one of them decided to make her lair in Cirith Ungol, right on the borders of Mordor. And what does Sauron do?

Sauron & Morgoth
Art by EPH-SAN1634

I–

wow

I just

I don’t know what to do with myself right now.

I was just going to find some art of Sauron & Morgoth being hella cute together, and then I stumbled upon this art gif of Morgoth’s spirit appearing to Sauron just before the ring is destroyed so he won’t be alone in his final moments, and I am going to be dreaming about this for probably the next several months. This is going to live rent free in my brain right alongside this art of a similar nature from Phobs that I truly don’t know how many times I’ve linked because it breaks my heart anew every damn time.

Wow, yeah, the Tolkien community has, again, proven my point without me having to do much work. Sauron had Shelob because Morgoth had Ungoliant, and that’s just the way the cookie crumbles, folks.

Well, that’s it! We’re going to watch Two Towers on Saturday, so this’ll go up before it, which means I’ll probably just discuss the last two movies in the Return of the King review. And that review is coming this month! It’s planned for the 23rd, and given that I’ve finished writing my book and now have a ton of free time, I’ll definitely have it read and reviewed in time. This honestly might still be my favorite of the trilogy, for though I normally love the beginning of a series the most, and ROTK is just such a good ending, TT is truly an outstanding middle book, and it’s got most of my favorite moments–a lot of the Samwise the Brave scenes, Rohan, Helm’s Deep, the hunters three. But, I guess we’ll see when the finale comes around in a few weeks!

How much do you love Two Towers?

Previously: The Fellowship of the Ring | Next: The Return of the King

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she/her | yoga teacher | Tibetan Buddhism | part-time witch | full-time author | astronaut in a previous life

8 thoughts on “An Adventure in Tolkien: The Two Towers

  1. Those trail photos are stunning! Even just viewing them on my PC, I can feel the Middle-earth atmosphere, haha. That’s a good point re: how alone Frodo and Sam are. It’s always hard for me to read their chapters, especially as they get closer to the end. (Sorry, I know you are not there yet in this post, but I just finished reading four chapters of RotK, up to Aragorn’s wedding, last night, so it is on my mind lol).

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    1. It’s an absolutely gorgeous trail! It’s definitely my favorite mountain to climb, for various reasons, but the Middle-earth vibes are right at the top of why.

      Oh, I’ve already read these before, I know how it ends! One of my friends fast forwards through their parts when watching the movies, and I get why, to a certain degree, but their story is so much more relatable than the others’, and I think it’s almost uncomfortable for some people to read/watch them because they can really put themselves in their place and image themselves doing what Frodo & Sam are. And the fact that they’re so alone is just heartbreaking, not only because they’re alone, but because they KEEP GOING. It’s truly miraculous.

      Like

      1. (My bad, what I meant by “I know you’re not there yet” is that I expected you might talk about Frodo and Sam more when you get to their part of the book, not that I thought you hadn’t read it before – if that makes sense haha, sorry for the confusion!)

        Well said!! I agree with all of this. Frodo and Sam are in some ways such everyday protagonists, we can relate to them so well, but it’s staggering what they push through. I finished the entire book last night and I swear I get weepier at the end every time, haha.

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