My wife had never read these books or watched the movies, the latter because she wanted to read the books first. So to assist her with her most worthy goal I have been reading them aloud to her. She loved The Hobbit and The Fellowship of the Ring but The Two Towers was not her favorite. Like most people she enjoyed the first half with Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli, but when it came to Sam and Frodo’s journey she was completely bored. Up until they meet Faramir it is pretty boring, but I think Sam’s battle with Shelob certainly makes up for it. In my opinion, it’s one of the best scenes in all three books.
So here’s the real question: do I really need to tell everyone what the book is about? The amount of people who have not read the books, have not watched the movies, and have no idea what the story is about can’t be many. Especially not if you’re reading a blog about books. But, just in case there is someone reading this who really doesn’t know anything about the story, I will be brief.
Continuing directly from where we left off at the end of The Fellowship of the Ring Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli strike out in pursuit of those who have captured members of the fellowship. Their journey will bring them into the middle of a conflict that could push the tide irreparably in favor of evil, and although all seems lost they will find hope in the most unlikely of ways. Meanwhile Sam and Frodo continue their journey toward Mount Doom, and leading them is the ever-cunning Gollum who may have ulterior motives for helping them get past the Black Gate.
This is my least favorite of the trilogy, but I still love it. Reading it outloud to my wife has not only revitalized the story, but has brought it to life in a way that it hasn’t in a long time. There are some stories that should always be read aloud as a general rule and this is one of them.
I understand why The Two Towers can be a difficult read. Not because it’s complex in dialogue and description, but because it is tedious and underwhelming. The first and third book contain the biggest events of the story, and although there are some really good scenes in The Two Towers (the battle of Helms Deep, the companies confrontation with Saruman, and Sam fighting Shelob to name a few) a lot of the book is about the heroes getting to important destinations. It’s the next book where the story really gets good.
Though this is an impressive epic fantasy, there is one important question that must be addressed: what is it about The Lord of the Rings that entices such a wide variety of people? It has an enormous fan base and has been placed with a number of other works known as “timeless classics”. Don’t get me wrong – I love this trilogy as much as the next fan, but for the sake of discussion what is it about Tolkien’s work that is so amazing that it has amassed a following of epic proportions? I honestly can’t say why The Lord of the Rings has become the fandom it is, but if you have any theories or personal opinions about why they have been given an almost sacred status, please feel free to share them in the comments. I’m interested to hear everyone’s thoughts!