The Two Towers, Chapters 1-10


Elliot White
Chapter 1 “The Taming of Sméagol”
1) Tolkien again presents the destructive force of nature; how is this storm similar to previous events? How does this sequence continue Tolkien’s water metaphors?

2) What does both the physical description of Gollum and his behavior tell us about him? Sam seems to be very wary about trusting Gollum whereas Frodo is more willing. Would you behave more like Sam of Frodo if you were in their position?

Chapter 2 “The Passage of the Marshes”
1) What could the lights be or symbolize? What does this passage say about mortality when the trio see elves, men, and orcs all rotting in the same place in the marsh?

2) Thinking back to Gandalf’s hope that even Gollum could be saved, is there evidence in Gollum’s monologue to suggest he can still change?

Will Richardson
Chapter 3 “The Black Gate is Closed”
1) How are the teeth of Mordor and their former use representative of Tolkein’s relationship between good and evil?

2) Gollum claims to have ‘sworn on the precious’ that he will help Frodo and Sam find a way into Mordor. Do you feel the hobbits should be more concerned about the fact that he is clearly still deeply influenced by the power of the ring or are they right in trusting him because they have no other way?

Chapter 4 “Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit”
1) When Sam is watching Frodo sleep, he notices that the Ringbearer is looking much more more weary and aged than he was just a short time ago. Do you think that this is a product of carrying the ring or is it just the exhausting nature of the quest they are on?

2) Is Frodo’s insistence on keeping Gollum alive despite Faramir’s distaste for the creature an example of care for the creature, or is it just because Gollum is their guide and is much more experienced in the wild than the hobbits? Do any examples in this chapter point to either answer?

Cristobal Lopez
Chapter 5 “The Window on the West”
1) From Faramir’s questioning of Frodo, is there any association between the acceptance of Aragorn as the true King of Gondor and what group a character belongs to? Are there any biblical undertones in this?

2) How are Faramir and Boromir different? How are they alike?

Chapter 6 “The Forbidden Pool”
1) What is the significance of the pool? Why would even looking at it subject someone to the penalty of death?

2) Does Frodo’s acceptance of Faramir’s “doom” have any bearing or is it more out of courtesy? Would he be more liable to believe Aragorn’s friendship gains him access to parts of Gondor?

Andrew Calhoun
Chapter 7 “The Journey to the Cross-Roads”
1) As Frodo, Sam, and Gollum approach the Crossroads leading to Cirith-Ungol, the terrain around them becomes more blasted and desolate. How did the land come to be this way? Is this its natural state? Is this desolation a product of mere barbarism on the part of the Orcs or is the state of the terrain indicative of a deeper corrupting power?

2) At the Crossroads, Frodo sees a statue of an old king, defaced and beheaded by the servants of Mordor. However, a crown of blossoms decorate the fallen head of the statue. How is this shattered effigy significant in regards to the kingly line of Gondor?

Chapter 8 “The Stairs of Cirith Ungol”
1) Frodo and Sam witness a great host pouring forth from Minas Morgul. However, rank-and-file soldiery and brute force are not the greatest weapons of the enemy. What weapon do you believe is the strongest of Sauron’s arsenal? How does it serve him better than simple strength of arms?

2) While Frodo and Sam are discussing the possibility of a story being written about them in the future, Frodo asks Gollum if he’d like to be a hero. Unfortunately, he doesn’t answer as he is sneaking around elsewhere at the time. Do you believe Gollum still has the capability of being good? Or has the Ring well and truly consumed him?

Dr. B
Chapter 9 “Shelob’s Lair”
1) What is Shelob? Why does Gollum lead Frodo and Sam to her lair?

2) How does Frodo fight Shelob? What happens to Frodo? How does this event change Sam’s identity?

 Chapter 10 “The Choices of Master Samwise”
1) How does Sam defeat Shelob? Describe his strategies and weapons.

2) What mistake did Sam mistake when considering Frodo’s plight after Shelob attacked? How does Sam realize his mistake? What does Sam decide to do about it?



The Two Towers, Book 3, Chap. 6-11


Keri Hosler
Book III, Chap. 6 “The King of the Golden Hall” 

1) Throughout the chapter, Theoden slowly begins to return to himself. By what power is he being restored? Is it Gandalf? Or his own will?

2) Theoden was overcome by the evil words of Wormtongue, which aged and weakened him. What does this signify when we consider Tolkien’s view on giving advice?

Book III, Chap. 7 “Helm’s Deep”

1) During the battle of Helm’s Deep, lightning falls upon the attacking orcs, breaking their defenses. Do you think the lightning is natural –or sent? If sent, from whom?

2) Throughout the battle, Gimli and Legolas call the number they have killed to each other. Why did Tolkien put this in?

Shira Baskind
Book III, Chap. 8 “The Road to Isengard”

1) What does Gimli and Legolas’ discussion about caves vs. trees represent on a deeper level? What does this reveal about how they are different/similar?

2) There is little time to rest in between everything that happens in this chapter. What does this say about the urgency of the journey that the fellowship is on?

Book III, Chap. 9 “Flotam and Jetsam”

1) The Ents are presented as slow moving, sleepy creatures who do not stand up for themselves. Explain how the underestimation of the Ents ended up aiding them in their attack against Saruman.

2) How does the flood of Isengard reflect biblical imagery? Does it represent a new beginning?

Andrew Calhoun
Book III, Chap. 10 “The Voice of Saruman”

1) Upon their arrival in Isengard, Gandalf warns the others of Saruman’s magic, advising them not to approach Orthanc with a “light heart.” Tolkien takes great strides to describe Saruman as a deceitful villain who uses magic to aid his deceptions. How are Saruman’s arcane abilities similar to the power of the Ring and how are they different?

2) In the heated parley between the two parties at Orthanc, Theoden says he wishes to see Saruman dead, but Gandalf is not so vengeful. Have Gandalf’s naturally generous ways blinded him to the crimes of his former friend and counselor, or does he truly recognize some reason to leave Saruman alive?

Book, III Chap. 11: “The Palantír”

1) Gandalf describes the palantiri as ancient tools which were created to serve a good purpose but were later corrupted by Sauron. How is Aragorn’s reclamation of the Orthanc Palantir significant in regards to the coming of the new age?

2) In this chapter, we are given some insight to the dealings between Orthanc and Barad-dur. Is Saruman a servant of Mordor, or is he his own master? Before his defeat at Isengard, was Saruman in control of his own fate?





The Two Towers, Book 3, Chap. 1-5



Patrick Pagenhart, The Two Towers, Book 3, Chap. 1 “The Departure of Boromir”:

1) Close to death Boromir says, “I tried to take the Ring from Frodo … I am sorry. I have paid.” Was sacrificing himself for Merry and Pippin a fair price to pay for trying to take the Ring?

2) Boromir blows the horn of Gondor when leaving Rivendell, in the Mines of Moria, and finally at Parth Galen. What is the significance of the horn in Tolkien’s story? How could it be an inspiration from Tolkien’s life?

 The Two Towers, Book 3, Chap. 2 “The Riders of Rohan”:

1) From the encounter between Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, and the Riders, what can we gather about the people of Rohan? How do they differ from the Men of other kingdoms in Middle Earth in their philosophies, culture, and relation to other races?

2) How has Rohan’s perception of strangers, sorcerers, and wizards changed over time? Why have the people of Rohan as well as their King become so focused on isolating themselves from the outside forces around them and the conflicts therein?

Keri Holsler, The Two Towers, Book 3, Chap. 3 “The Uruk-hai”

1) The orc Ugluk seems to be in charge of the orc hoard. Why is that? What makes him different from the others?

2) Merry and Pippin were able to escape using a clever lie about the Ring. What does this say about the Ring’s corruptive powers?

3) There were two different foods that where spoken of in this chapter, orc-draught and lembas bread. What are the differences between the two, not just physically but emotionally or spiritually?

The Two Towers, Book 3, Chap. 4 “Treebeard”

1) Tolkien often likes to personify his forests. What does Treebeard seem to represent thematically?

2) Treebeard explains that many Ents are becoming “sleepy.” What do you think he means by this? Why do you think this is happening?

Dr. B, The Two Towers, Book 3, Chap. 5 “The White Rider”

1) Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli enter Fangorn looking for Merry and Pippin. Instead of finding them, they encounter an old man, cloaked in gray. Why do you think that the old man’s true identity is hidden from them when they first see him and speak with him?

2) Gandalf says of Sauron: “That we should wish to cast him down and have no one in his place is not a thought that occurs in his mind. That we should try to destroy the Ring itself has not yet entered into his darkest dream.” Why is Sauron incapable of imagining this?

3) What is the “long sorrow” (as Legolas puts it) of the Onodrim (Ents)? How does their experience relate to Tolkien’s thematic concerns with married love and the necessity of self-sacrifice (vs. selfishness) in defense of a shared land or country?

Fellowship of the Ring, Book II, Chap. 6-10


Uni Kim – FOTR, Book II, Chap. 6 “Lothlórien”

1) Frodo says that Lorien is a world out of the past. Explain why you think he believes this. Does that make the Elves living in Lorien trustworthy?

2) Frodo says that when he walks through Naith, he feels that he has entered the lost world of the Elder days, even though he can not see anything. Why do you think he feels this way, and do you believe it is the world of the Elder days?

Christine Danielsson – FOTR, Book II, Chap. 7 “The Mirror of Galadriel”

1) What happened when Galadriel took Frodo and Sam to the basin? What did they see?

2) What did Frodo find on Galadriel’s hand? What does she tell him about that ring? How does Frodo handle the situation?

Iliana Hernandez – FOTR, Book II, Chap. 8 “Farewell to Lorien”

1. Galadriel presents gifts to each member of the company, all of which will aid them in their journey, except for the gifts of Sam and Gimli. Why are these gifts so different than the other gifts? What is the significance in the dust for Galadriel’s garden for Sam and the three golden hairs for Gimli?

2. What is the significance in Boromir’s behavior and his comment about throwing away the ring? What is his reasoning behind this? Is he an actual threat or is this just Frodo’s possessiveness over the ring taking over?

India Rangel – FOTR, Book II, Chap. 9 “The Great River”

1) In “Farewell to Lorien,” Galadriel’s ship is carved in the likeness of swan – a bird which is often associated with beauty and grace.  However, in the beginning of this chapter, large black swans fly over the fellowship, adding to the mournful appearance of their surroundings.  Why do you think Tolkien used swans in both of these instances, and what could they represent?

2) Throughout the story, many characters say the name “Elbereth Gilthoniel” in the presence of great evil. In this chapter, Legolas calls out the name before he shoots the “great winged creature” of the sky. Do you think Tolkien intended these words to be prayer-like or to have some other special meaning?

Dr. B – FOTR, Book II, Chap. 10 “The Breaking of the Fellowship”

1) What breaks the Fellowship?

2) When Frodo puts on the Ring, what does he see? What sees him?

3) Does Frodo succeed in going on alone? Toward Mordor? Why not?