Week 11: Lord of the Rings, Book III (The Two Towers)

two-towers-cover

Write about ONE theme in Book III, demonstrating how it occurs with three pieces of literary evidence. Write TWO  questions on your assigned chapter. You must write the questions on your assigned chapter. Make comments in response to TWO questions.

Chapter 1: Carolyn, Eric
Chapter 2: Jessica, Diana
Chapter 3: Kristen, Sonja
Chapter 4: Carmen, Jaime
Chapter 5: Emily, Heather S.

Chapter 6: Jason, Heather G.
Chapter 7: Sierra, Lexi
Chapter 8: Miranda, Mysti
Chapter 9: Nuha, Chris
Chapter 10: Katelyn, Meredith
Chapter 11: Tarah, Anna

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58 thoughts on “Week 11: Lord of the Rings, Book III (The Two Towers)”

  1. CHAPTER 11 REVIEW: THEME AND DISCUSSION

    THEME OF POWER:
    The theme of Power comes to mind obviously with the Ring, but also with the powers unseen at work in the story. As evil strives to overcome, good also rises to the challenge to deliver hope and provide a turn of the tide. In essence, Tolkien marks again and again the concept of ‘eucatastrophe’, victory when all seems lost. In Book III, one example consists of Pippin’s encounter with the Palantir–when he falls under the influence of its power and communicates with Sauron, he is brought back to reality by Gandalf, who recognises the stone’s power for what it is and the potential for good or ill that it brings. Though Pippin was unaware of the disaster he could have unleashed for himself and for others, Gandalf knew full well that the consequences could have been worse for all. Thus, despite the danger, Pippin escapes dire peril and imminent danger through the efforts of Gandalf, who is wise enough to counsel him against such things of curiosity.
    The unique aspect of Power is that when help is truly needed, it comes unlooked for in an hour of despair. The intervention of figures such as Gandalf, the Valar (when invoked by characters as a declaration against evil), and ‘chance’ encounters further prove that there is a larger framework at hand than what the immediate threat displays. The fate of Middle Earth is decided by the choices of the small, the actions that often go unnoticed in the wide world except by those who are looking for such connexions.

    The following passages from Chapter 11 demonstrate how objects of power can be turned for good or evil, depending on the purpose of those who wield them:

    ‘What are you saying, Gandalf?’ asked Pippin.

    ‘I was just running over some of the Rhymes of Lore in my mind,’ answered the wizard. ‘Hobbits, I suppose, have forgotten them, even those that they ever knew.’

    ‘No, not all,’ said Pippin. ‘And we have many of our own, which wouldn’t interest you, perhaps. But I have never heard this one. What is it about – the seven stars and seven stones?’

    ‘About the palantiri of the Kings of Old,’ said Gandalf.
    ‘And what are they?’
    ‘The name meant that which looks far away. The Orthanc-stone was one.’
    ‘Then it was not made, not made’ – Pippin hesitated – ‘by the Enemy?’
    ‘No,’ said Gandalf. ‘Nor by Saruman. It is beyond his art, and beyond Sauron’s too.

    The palantiri came from beyond Westernesse from Eldamar. The Noldor made them. Feanor himself, maybe, wrought them, in days so long ago that the time cannot be measured in years. But there is nothing that Sauron cannot turn to evil uses. Alas for Saruman! It was his downfall, as I now perceive. Perilous to us all are the devices of an art deeper than we possess ourselves. Yet he must bear the blame. Fool! to keep it secret, for his own profit. No word did he ever speak of it to any of the Council. We had not yet given thought to the fate of the palantiri of Gondor in its ruinous wars. By Men they were almost forgotten. Even in Gondor they were a secret known only to a few; in Arnor they were remembered only in a rhyme of lore among the Dunedain.’

    How long, I wonder, has he been constrained to come often to his glass for inspection and instruction, and the Orthanc-stone so bent towards Barad- dur that, if any save a will of adamant now looks into it, it will bear his mind and sight swiftly thither? And how it draws one to itself! Have I not felt it? Even now my heart desires to test my will upon it, to see if I could not wrench it from him and turn it where I would – to look across the wide seas of water and of time to Tirion the Fair, and perceive the unimaginable hand and mind of Feanor at their work, while both the White Tree and the Golden were in flower!’ He sighed and fell silent.

    ‘I wish I had known all this before,’ said Pippin. ‘I had no notion of what I was doing.’

    ‘Oh yes, you had,’ said Gandalf. ‘You knew you were behaving wrongly and foolishly; and you told yourself so, though you did not listen. I did not tell you all this before, because it is only by musing on all that has happened that I have at last understood, even as we ride together. But if I had spoken sooner, it would not have lessened your desire, or made it easier to resist. On the contrary! No, the burned hand teaches best. After that advice about fire goes to the heart.’

    ‘It does,’ said Pippin. ‘If all the seven stones were laid out before me now, I should shut my eyes and put my hands in my pockets.’

    ‘Good!’ said Gandalf. ‘That is what I hoped.’

    DISCUSSION QUESTIONS, CHAPTER 11:
    1. What is interesting (and therefore significant, and not by coincidence!) to note is that Gandalf and Pippin thus far have been twice paired together: the foolishness of a Took and the wisdom of a wizard (think of the instance in the Mines of Moria). What purpose would Tolkien have for doing this?

    2. Why are objects of power imbued with the qualities that lead to either corruption or redemption?

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    1. Gandalf and Pippin are placed together in contrast to show that “goodness” can come in many different forms. The wisdom of Gandalf puts him in a place a leadership and he is a good leader as he looks out for those that are following him. He takes counsel and considers many options. Pippin, on the other hand, is child-like, but brave and loyal. His goodness is seen in his creativity and willingness to be called to action. Gandalf is often slow to action and thoughtful in purpose, where Pippin is “a fool of a Took” but honorable in deed. Pippin and Gandalf are both good guys, yet are as different cats and dogs. I think Tolkien shows this so the readers can imagine themselves as a hero, whether they are slow and wise or foolish (though good-natured) and quick to act.

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    2. Especially in terms of corruption, going back in history, power has almost always led to corruption. The power, whomever gets it, it goes to their head and they become impulsive and go off of their base instincts, which tends to be selfishness, and so they let the power control them. Man doesn’t understand how to wield power correctly, he’s too selfish and too self-involved to be able to do this correctly.

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    3. The object imbued with power would absolutely have to be the ring. It is full of power and especially corruption. Anytime anyone gets their hands on the ring, the power does not seem to be good enough for them. It seems that the characters become so corrupted with the power that they are always left with wanting more and they are never satisfied with what they have.

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    4. I’m not sure if it has something to do with the dichotomy of any race of being, be it man, wizard, or hobbit, or elves or dwarves. All are capable of being corrupted, and all are capable of being redeemed. Is this Tolkien’s way of saying there is always the path of redemption? That no one path is set in stone? I think Gollum is proof of that, however stretched. Maybe the objects of power are just that – objects. The true power is within the individual to choose.

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    5. Power is almost a tell-take sign of impending corruption. Even those with the best intentions fall under the spell of power and use it to their advantage, just as Bilbo did in the Hobbit, even though his corruption was minimal in comparison to others.

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    6. When it comes to power there really is only those two extreme options especially when dealing with something so heavy as power it really can only be seen as those extremes just as the success or failure aspect of it. The wielding of power can go of the two ways, the power to do good or the the power to do evil (the power to do nothing is iffy, would that be good or evil? maybe circumstantial). Man truly faces internal struggles when in possession of power, sometimes the want outweighs the duty or lines are blurred when decisions are made. Either you do or you don’t, there is no between, redemption and corruption go hand in hand with that too.

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    7. I thinks it’s to show how those who have opposite qualities even with being Nobel can still make a great team. I think he does this to demonstrate the great team work that they possess together and yet highlight the distinctions that make them each a crucial role to Tolkien’s story. Gandalf is a representation of wisdom and tradition however, pippin represents innovation and kindness. They both share the same intentions yet have distinct ways in demonstrating their intentions. I think that they each have their own personalities yet they are both good and kind. As characters they share a good chemistry to reach their objectives and this is why Tolkien continues to present them together throughout the story’s. This also brings the element of a partnership and teamwork into his books it’s almost like a reoccurring theme he presents to his readers. It also shows that old traditions and new innovative ideas are both good and can work well together.

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  2. Week Eleven
    Isolation is a theme in book three of LOTR, though subtler than some of the other themes. Many try to isolate themselves from the impending war, such as Treebeard and Theoden. They seem to want to keep their noses out of “other” peoples problems but eventually join the war effort as they realize that they are going to be drawn into it eventually. By attacking rather than defending, it is believed that more will survive and they will find a more favorable outcome. In addition to not wanting to fight (other than to avoid a dictator who will destroy their way of life), isolation is also seen by the ring-bearer. Frodo often feels alone and keeps many of his thoughts to himself. He is distrustful of others and seems to be in a state of depression. The Ring has caused him to separate himself from his Company and he does not share his ideas with Sam. He feels alone even though Sam is with him. Smeagol is also very isolated. He speaks to himself as if others are not worth his time or he does not see them. He seems especially lonely to me, which I attribute to the amount of time he had with the Ring.

    “The Departure of Boromir”
    Question One: Was is selfish of Aragorn to continue up to the high seat rather than continue the search for Frodo? If he had chosen differently, would it have changed Boromir’s fate or was Boromir doomed to die?

    Question Two: Was Boromir’s death punishment for his last dealing with Frodo? Was Boromir simply at the hands of fate or did he will his own death (possibly not fighting as hard as he could) from the guilt he felt?

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    1. Aragorn basically abandons Frodo, the way I’ve always seen it. He promised he would do this quest with Frodo and the rest of the Fellowship, but he decides to leave for his own reasons. Boromir’s death likely would have happened regardless, but with Aragorn at his side, it could have prevented it for a longer amount of time. We may have been able to see Boromir redeem himself with Aragorn around.

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    2. I think that the theme of isolation is important because everyone is trying to keep their personal darkness from spreading. For example, Frodo and Sam going to Mordor on their own was a choice to stop the darkness of the ring from infecting his friends. I do not think that Aragorn was selfish for choosing to go to Gondor. He does this because he has faith that the Frodo’s heart is stronger and more durable than that of mans. I think that Aragorn choosing to go to Gondor was for the betterment of the race of man, he was trying to heal the darkness the poisoned Gondor and Rohan in the absence of his lineage.

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    3. I do not think that Boromir’s death was a result of punishment. In my opinion, this whole novel is about fate and every character seems to unknowingly end up where they were meant to. With that being said, I believe his death could have been a result of fate. I do not think it really matters how hard he fought, the turn out would have probably been the same.

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    4. I would say that Boromir’s death may have been partly fate (as it does set off another chain of events later on–which I will not spoil for those who have not read the rest of the trilogy–but also partly due to his own conscience. The Ring had him under its influence, even from the beginning at the Council of Elrond. Despite obvious warnings from the Wise, he still considered using it as a weapon against the very one who created it–never was there more a lack in judgement than in that instance! Even after his error was revealed and he was given the facts of the matter, Boromir did not lay down his pride. Pride goes before a fall they say, and never more was this true. He thought himself immune to the power of the Ring once the answers to his riddle-dream were revealed, and I believe it was his attitude that brought him down. I would say it was less guilt than awareness that he fell into the trap of the Ring without the least bit of resistance. And he was unable to overcome the consequences of the fallout he caused, and paid for his actions regardless of fate.

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    5. Q 2 is an excellent question. I think you’re right; he became consumed with guilt immediately after realizing what he had done (broken the fellowship and betrayed his companions). This was still in his mind as he fought off the orcs and much of his previous bravado that had given him his strength was diminished. Death was a gift for him because he could never have lived with the shame of what he had done.

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    6. I wouldn’t say that Boromir was doomed to die but both events had to happen in order for the greater story to gain more in terms of hope and power. Aragorn taking power was fate as he was already the heir to the throne and his time was coming no matter how he or anyone else felt. I wouldn’t say that Frodo was abandoned but rather forced by fate to go at his journey without needed much support. Life can help you along the way with people who support you and a strong friendship, but there are those moments where one must overcome their obstacles alone so that they can truly become the person they are meant to be.

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  3. A theme within Book 3 is this sense of loyalty that many characters have towards their allies. Early on, Boromir dies, telling Aragorn that he tried and failed to take the Ring from Frodo. Instead of telling this to Gimli and Legolas, he tells them of Boromir being a hero, rather than them think ill of Boromir for a mistake he made. Aragorn shows loyalty to Boromir because he wants his friend remembered in a good and heroic light, how Boromir would have wanted, and not in the exact opposite, even though that’s how he behaved. Another instance of loyalty is shown throughout the story as Aragorn, Gimli, Legolas, and eventually Gandalf, search for Merry and Pippin. The Hobbits are still new to these people, and they’re not necessarily the “important” Hobbits, but the group is willing to find them, even though their mission is to help Frodo destroy the Ring. They’re more worried for the other two, not trusting they’ll be okay in comparison to Frodo and Sam, and so they sort of abandon their original quest to help the Hobbits. Finally, loyalty is also shown when Gandalf, now Gandalf the White, returns to the party. Gandalf always disappears from the storyline, doing the same in “The Hobbit,” but he always comes back just in time, helping his friends.
    Funny enough, we also see a theme of disloyalty on the other side of the spectrum, when we learn that Saruman is no longer in league with Sauron, but actually solely in it for himself. Disloyalty is also seen within the Orcs, who constantly fight and kill each other, as well as betray Saruman or Sauron for the other team.
    Ch. 8 Questions:
    1. Is there any significance of the conversation between Gimli and Legolas about the woods vs. caves? What is it?
    2. What’s the significance of Saruman’s stronghold being baren and dead, when it was once the exact opposite?

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    1. The significance in Saruman’s stronghold being barren and dead is the symbolism of Saruman. Saruman has no love for others and his selfishness has made his heart and life barren and dead. Saruman used to be good, he used to be full of love and a wise counselor, but his selfishness and greed spoiled his soul and therefore the land directly reflects this spoiling. The land is now only a waste, just like Saruman.

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    2. I think that the description of Saurman’s stronghold is a testament to the consequences of obsession. I think that Saruman grew so obsessed and selfish that it was reflected in the earth surrounding him. This imagery can also be a testament to greed and the hunger for power. Saruman fell victim to the temptation of the ring in the first novel, watching his land waste away as a result of that, is a physical manifestation of that fall within Saruman. He was once the most power of the Great Ones, and now he is failing. His health, his mind and his power. I think it is incredibly important to mention that once Gandalf the White appears, Saruman’s defeat happens quickly. Gandalf replaces Saruman’s position in his order and leaves him with nothing but his obsession. The imagery of this whole scene is very attuned to the imagery of failing mental health, and inability to see through clear eyes after some obsession (ie: addiction, war brain, etc.) has taken over.

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    3. Sarumon’s stronghold is representation of himself. The outward, desolate appearance mirrors how his hold over others is being destroyed, leaving him alone. It is also foreshadowing on what is to come to Sarumon.

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    4. The conversation between Gimli and Legolas, and the promise that they make to each other is significant because it not only shows their growing bond and respect for one another, but it shows that they have hope for a good future in which the evil of Sauron will be defeated. The eucatastrophic victory at Helm’s Deep strengthens their hearts, their will, and their bond. And the willingness for both of them to explore one another’s passions and cultures shows a growing tolerance and unity in the world. The conversation also emphasizes what can come from good actions and courage. While the allies of evil deceive and betray one another, and only work together to achieve their own ends, the members of the company fight alongside one another with loyalty, friendship, and honor, which ultimately brings about unity and balance within their characters and throughout middle-earth.

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    5. The conversation between Gimli and Legolas shows that they have their differences but they also have their similarities. They both share a “meaningful” conversation showing that their bond and friendship is growing and that their fellowship is far greater than a divide. This highlights the greater group as they all come from different backgrounds and in different circumstances, they may dislike one another, but this journey and the turmoil around them has brought them much closer together. This growth among them is simply a reflection of the greater comradery among the group.

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  4. There is an incredible sense of duty that permeates the thematic ideals of the Lord of the Rings as a whole. In chapter two of “The Two Towers” you see the fellowship of the ring after it has been broken and split apart. The thematic ideal of duty is seen in Aragorn in this chapter after he finds Boromir dying in the forest. As the heir to the throne of Gondor, Aragorn has a sense of duty to the race of man, to try and keep the spirits of men high and the inclinations of man good. Aragorn choosing to share the death of Boromir as a hero’s death, shows his sense of duty to man. After this death is processed with Gimli and Legolas, Aragorn has to then decide who is best to follow and accompany; the Hobbits that were kidnapped by orcs, or the Hobbits that have gone to Mordor. In choosing to follow and find Merry and Pippin, Aragorn is following his sense of duty to help keep light in Middle Earth, AND respecting Frodo’s sense of duty to destroy the ring on his own. I think that this is an incredible distinction that emphasizes the fact that Aragorn was truly born a king.

    Question One: Do you think that Aragorn is actually being true to the mission that he and the fellowship were given during the council of Elrond, when he chooses to follow and rescue Merry and Pippin?

    Question Two: What is the significance of the Eomer and the riders of Rohan following and accepting Aragorn after he pulls out Elendil? Do you think that the reforged blade of Gondor gave hope to Womer and the riders of Rohan?

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      1. I’d like to think Aragorn sees the strength and resilience both Sam and Frodo have against the ring, and Tolkien might have written the Fellowship’s split as an example of having two dire situations and having to choose between them. Merry and Pippin are in more immediate danger and are perhaps the more vulnerable of the four hobbits.

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    1. Aragorn is definitely true to the mission. He expresses deep regret in himself for not being a better leader to the Fellowship in trying to find Frodo, and him deciding to look for Merry and Pippin despite the gravity of their situation around them shows that he understands the value of two Hobbits. He’s going after them and not the two that have the Ring.

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  5. A major theme I have noticed throughout the novel would have to be power, and everyone’s lust for it. Power can corrupt even the most morally good person in this story. Of course, the ring is the main symbol that represents the corrupting power in this novel. Everyone (well, almost everyone) that comes across the ring seems to be infatuated by it and cannot get enough of it. It seems as if the characters feel like the only way they can accomplish their duties is through the help of the ring. Unfortunately, the power is not always used for the right things or in the right way. Normally, once someone comes in contact with the ring, it basically ruins them because they grow so much lust for the power, we see this a lot through Frodo. We can also see the power of the ring through Gandalf. He knows what the ring is capable of and he basically wants nothing to do with it because he has seen it change people from good to bad. One aspect I found interesting is the fact that no one has the power to control or tame the ring, only the ring has the power to control itself. With that being said, the title of the novel is rather ironic. The title is as we all know Lord of the Rings, yet, who has the power to be the lord of the ring without the rings power itself? I found that to be rather comical and interesting.
    Chapter 7 Questions
    1. Do you think that Tolkien uses the description of the defense of the Hornburg to represent the expresses of the struggle for the Ring?
    2. Does the depiction of the battle symbolize the characteristics of narrative suspense?

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  6. A major theme in the first book of The Two Towers is isolation and what it does to those who suffer it. The first book, of course being called “The Fellowship of the Ring” has the values and themes of fellowship, comradery, brotherhood, etc. These feelings are destroyed to Frodo by Boromir’s selfishness. If Boromir got the Ring, he’d isolate himself because he’d be on another power plane than them, and even just the temptation is isolating as because of it, he has fallen to a lower plane, and this leads to his death. Frodo and Sam, the supposed main characters, are not present in the first book of The Two Towers and this shows the reader how truly isolated Frodo feels, that he does not even want to be in the same book as the other members of the Fellowship. The other members of the Fellowship are isolated because their leader is dead, and without Gandalf, they are broken and confused. Gandalf shows up again, and they all begin to bond once more. Pippin and Merry are isolated from Aragorn and the others as well, and while they despair, once they find companionship in the most unlikely of places, in the trees, they become celebratory and light-hearted again, as shown when Aragorn and his men meet them at Saruman’s tower. Pippin giving Gimli his pipe is a sign of brotherhood and shows that their fellowship is being restored between the hobbits and the others with Gimli saying it “leaves [him] to [Pippin’s] debt.” (Tolkien, 172). This appears a bit much for just a pipe, but to Gimli, who has seen how crippling isolation can be, the value of friendship and sharing is worth unspeakable wealth.

    In terms of beyond characters, Theoden isolates his kingdom due to the power of Wormtounge, being reluctant to aid in the War of the Ring and the Ents are isolated as well, not only from their love lives as their Wives have left, but also from the outside world that wants to destroy them. Thanks to the words of the Fellowship, Gandalf and Pippin and Merry respectively, they join in on the fight for the greater good, and are healed as a result. The villains are isolated as well, as Saruman is stuck in his tower with only Wormtongue, who serves more as a metaphor than a real companion, and Sauron stuck in his own tower. When talking about Saruman in chapter 5, Gandalf says “he does not yet know his peril. There is much that he does not know” (104). By cutting himself off from everyone, Saruman cannot learn. Even Gollum is a victim of isolation, as having the Ring for so long made him despise all others and vice versa. This directly counters the heroes, who, while isolated, heal themselves thanks to the goodness in one another. Theoden, in his rising speech to the men of Rohan on Chapter 8, says they all “cared little for what lay beyond the borders of our land” and failed to see how they have harmed the world due to their indifference, especially the Ents. (158).
    Questions on Chapter 1

    1. Did Boromir deserve his fate?
    2. This is the first chapter in the entire series without hobbits. Why is that significant? What purpose does it serve?

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    1. I believe that Boromir deserved his fate; he paid with his life for the choices he made regardless of the influence of the Ring–he was a prideful person who refused the wisdom of others until his error in judgement was too obvious for even him to ignore. In terms of the chapter without hobbits, I believe it shows a different side to the story–it is not from the perspective of four hobbits without battle experience, and totally reliant on the other members of the Fellowship to protect them. It shows the cracks in the Fellowship that perhaps the hobbits didn’t see–except for Frodo, who was able to do so by nature of the Ring. Readers need to see the events unfold from more than one perspective and showing a situation in chaos makes the danger more real and present.

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  7. Chapter 9 has within it the trade or exchanging of items between the characters. A theme that plays here is that of hope and optimism. One key part of this chapter is when Pippin gives Gimli a pipe so that he could smoke tobacco. In a way, it is the exact opposite of the Ring. The pipe as small of a gesture as it may seem is what shows the compansion, companionship, and hope among them. This exchange brings hope and light to some of the darkest parts of the story and also traces back to how the fellowship began. This is also a great example of the selflessness that embodies the story showing that its strength can far outway the evil that surrounds them. There is hope and a far greater optimistic outlook that what may seem.

    Questions:
    1) Exchanging of goods and items is central in this chapter, how is the exchange between Gimli and Pippin significant to the story?

    2) What does the flooding by the Ents that wipes out the Orcs symbolize and how does this relate to other instances of flooding and drowning that Tolkien has in this story?

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    1. The flooding symbolizes that there are grounds for hope of overcoming evil. This theme is similar to the Bible story of Noah and the great flood. In both stories, evil is cast out, and hope remains. This instance of flooding differs from other instances in LOTR where flooding and drowning brought on terrifying thoughts and death. Drowning in the story always reverts back on Froto’s fears of drowning and how that relates to his parents’ demise. This flood would have both terrified and mystified Froto because it would force him to see that only good remains after the flood, and to not lose hope.

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    2. I think the exchange between Pippin and Gimli is significant because it shows the level of camaraderie between members of the fellowship. Even though Pippin and Marry are just sort of extra, they serve a purpose within the group, and Tolkien was trying to showcase that.

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    3. The exchanging of goods is important because it is a bonding moment, which is something that the Fellowship desperately needed after the end of Fellowship of the Ring.

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  8. A major theme in Book III is the decay of civilization and the idea of “the end of life as we know it”. Members of the fellowship view the area that they are traveling through, and it is not a pretty one. Places that were once peaceful and quite beautiful, now threatened by warlords and dullness. Areas such as Isendor and Gondor in particular, are described as formerly lush and beautiful, imagery that evokes the Garden of Eden. Now, however, everything from the lack of greenery to the smell has become absolutely horrible. Landscape is not the only thing that seems to suffer from this degradation, morals have also fallen. Eomer uses the excuse of “dark times” when explaining why he doesn’t use common courtesy with the hobbits.

    Chapter 11
    Question 1: Pippin looks into palantir, and Gandalf later admits that Pippin may have accidentally saved them all because Gandalf was planning on looking in it, which would have revealed that he is alive. What is the purpose of having it an “accident”? Is there more meaning to it than just a simple accident?
    Question 2: The palantir was the source of Pippin’s restlessness that night. His curiosity drove him to look into it. Is curiosity a negative trait? Does it show corruption within Pippin?

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    1. As for your first question, the purpose of having it be an accident is to show how child-like and seemingly coincidental Pippin’s actions were. Pippin did not plan to reveal anything to Sauron or have any sort of plan other than to avoid getting into trouble with Gandalf (which failed miserably). Pippin’s actions may seem accidental and even dumb luck, but that is not the case. Pippin’s actions could also be the work of a higher power which occurs throughout Tolkien’s works. As for your second question, Pippin’s curiosity drove him to risk the safety of his Company. I do see his curiosity as a bad trait only because he was letting it get the best of him. He did not consider the fact that Gandalf may have had it covered and in his protection for a reason. This lapse in judgement was potentially dangerous. Curiosity in general is not always negative. It can be a wonderful thing in moderation. But when one allows it to completely consume inhibitions, that is where it becomes harmful.

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  9. Chapter 9: Amidst all the chaos, Merry and Pippen decide to throw a little party boost up everyone’s spirits for a change. This chapter shows that athough things are not so great, hobbits still find away to celebrate the goodness of being together. The hobbits tell stories of battles while sharing pipe tobacco and reminding themselves the importance of having one another.

    Question 1: Much of this chapter revolves around the symbol of pipe tobacco, will its importance be brought up again throughout the poem in a symbolic way? Or is it only to be perceived as exactly what it is, a pipe?

    Question 2: While the hobbits and ents have a little party, where is everyone else? Would they approve of Merry and Pippens actions?

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  10. The theme of loyalty is constant in Two Towers. Loyalty is presented at this point of the story as being able to recognize one’s own faults and still maintain their good standing in the opinion of others and with themselves. One instance where this occurs is when Boromir is tempted by the ring, and tries to take it from Froto. At this moment, one might think that his temptation would change him and his outlook on the task at hand. Boromir redeems himself at the end of his life when he dies trying to protect Merry and Pippin from Orcs. Another instance in this section where loyalty is seen is in chapter six when the corrupted Theoden still has many men who are willing to serve him despite being under the control of Saruman’s slave, Wormtongue. While it may seem that they are serving Saruman they are, in actuality, still loyal to their king. For example, Eomer defies the corrupted Theoden by pursuing the Orcs which saved the Company and the Ring from getting into Saruman’s possession. By defying these orders, Eomer shows that he is still loyal to his king’s morals before they became corrupted. Towards the end of the section, Pippin also shows his loyalty. Pippin comes into contact with the palantir which puts him into direct contact with Sauron himself. He is asked many questions by Sauron and is overwhelmed by his power. Pippin proves himself as being loyal when he truthfully tells Gandalf about everything that Sauron said and what Pippin revealed. Even though Pippin made a huge mistake by exposing himself and the entire Company to Sauron, Pippin redeems himself by owning up to his mistake, and revealing everything despite the disappointment of Gandalf.

    Questions for Chapter 6:
    1) Why do you think Theoden was corruptible by Wormtongue? Does it have anything to do with Gandalf’s reasons for why a man comes upon “evil tidings”? If so how?
    2) This is the chapter where we meet Eowyn. Based on the description of her and what we know from this chapter would you say she could also be considered a powerful woman? What is significant about the way she sees Aragorn?

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    1. Éowyn is definitely seen as a powerful woman from the start. She is worried about her Uncle and does not hesitate to run to his aid. She is given a sword by Théonden and the position of being in charge while they men are fighting. Aragorn notices there’s something different about her, the way her eyes were shinning. As the men depart, we see how Éowyn is disappointed because she stands alone watching the weapons. This shows how she is powerful and longs for more.

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  11. One of the big themes that I saw in book III of The Two Towers was this idea of loyalty and honor that the fellowship has to each other. Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli go on a quest by foot to find Merry and Pippin, because they are honor bound to protect them and because as their friends they have a loyalty to find them while they live. This idea of loyalty and honor does not stop at trying to help rescue their friends. Both groups of friends, the hobbits and Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli meet new people on their journey and create new loyalties to these people. Merry and Pippin find Treebeard as if fated to do so. Treebeard talks of this idea of not being able to trust the people that you meet because you never know who they really could be. He takes on the hobbits anyways and talks with them about the past and the future. Treebeard decides that they have to go to war with Saruman because he lacks honor. He has cut down the forests that he should have been helping. Treebeard has a loyalty to his trees in the forest that he protects. He should have tried to help them sooner. He is honor bound to help the trees as Aragorn is honor bound to find the hobbits.
    This idea of loyalty leads to Eomer, Theodred and Wormtongue. Wormtongue has no honor which is shown through his corrupting the mind of Theodred so that Womrtongue may control him. And his loyalties leave much to be desired. He is loyal to Saruman because he fears Saruman and thinks that he will win the war. Fear does not keep loyalty though, as we will find out later in the books. Eomer has loyalties to Theodred even when he does not agree with him and does not think that Theordred is in his right mind. Eomer has honor though that gets in the way of his loyalties sometimes. Eomer leaves Rohan to go kill all of the orcs that are crossing Rohan with out leave from Theordred because of his honor to his people and to the safety of his land his much greater them his loyalties to Theordred.
    Saruman’s biggest down fall is that he has no loyalties to anyone. He has tortured Gandalf and defied the white council for his own gain. He has built up an army of monsters who have no loyalties to him except that he feeds them. He has no loyalties to Sauron, he only deals with Sauron so that he can steal power from him. There is no honor in anything that Saruman does. He kills for sport and for power. He has no friends or allies and in the end that will be his undoing.
    Questions Ch. 10:
    1. Why does Gandalf try to get Saruman to come out of the tower and join the side of good when he knows that Saruman will not?

    2. Did Saruman gain anything by refusing to leave his tower?

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    1. I don’t necessarily think Saruman gained anything by staying in his tower, I believe he stayed because he could. He has the ability to send others to do his dirty while he can sit back and watch it all go down, out of harms way. So maybe what Saruman gains is safety and victory.

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  12. So much sacrifice led up to book three that now we are starting to see things shifts, grow, and evolve into the bigger picture. We know from the previous book that Frodo decided to go on his own with loyal Sam following him but the rest of the fellowship was unaware until they realized the amount of boats and packs that were missing. This led them to the difficult question of which hobbits they should follow, the Ring Bearer or the captured Merry and Pippin. The quest suddenly takes a turn into a rescue mission for the captured hobbits while Frodo and Sam are on their own to complete the task at hand. Unknowingly the rest of the fellowship are setting out to prepare the rest of Middle Earth for its war on Sauron.
    A character evolution in book three was definitely Aragorn. He took the lead in the chase of the Orcs that had Merry and Pippin, he made the decision to go after to them and when to rest or keep going, he was a strong man for the Gimili and Legolas to keep up to. His character further develops when they reach some riders of Rohan in their hunt for Merry and Pippin and he at first introduces himself as Strider which was a bit insufficient so he then introduces himself with his titles and heritage, “I am Aragorn son of Arathorn, and am called Elessar, the Elfstone Dúnadan, the heir of Isildur Elendil’s son of Gondor” (3.2.126). With this he assumes a different authoritative kingly posture that both Legolas and Gimli have not seen of him. This was a great growth for Aragorn’s character.
    Another character that has grown is Gandalf. He paid the ultimate sacrifice in FOTR in the Mines of Moria when he fought the Balrog but is back more powerful and wiser. He provides great insight and knowledge on how Saruman is not expecting the ring to be destroyed and how his focus and forces are into Middle Earth prepping for war. The return of Gandalf brings back hope and a guardian like figure. The company is ready to face the dark forces and to help Frodo in any way they can.

    Book 3 Chapter 2:
    1. Was there any significance of the old man appearing on Gimili’s watch or would he have appeared regardless of who was on watch? What was his purpose of showing up and then disappearing?

    2. If Gimili had not lost his temper and Aragorn did not need to intervene would he have still revealed his true identity , why didn’t he introduce himself with that to begin with?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The purpose of the old man showing up and disappearing was to prevent the company from leaving. The old man wanted to talk to them and wanted them to stay so that they would not keep going into the forest trying to find Merry and Pippin. That is also why he released the horses. It prevented the group from going anywhere in a hurry and leaving before the old man could talk to them. I think that the old man appeared during Gimili’s watch because it was the first watch and the old man wanted everyone to know that he was there. If the old man had shown up during a different watch I don’t think that everyone would have woken up because they would have been fast asleep or not watching as intently.

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  13. Week 11 Theme: Preservation of Innocence

    In chapter 1, while preparing to pursue the Uruk-hai, Legolas comments on the needless mess that the beasts have left when taking Pippin and Merry.

    “No other folk make such a trampling,” said Legolas. “It seems their delight to slash and beat down growing things that are not even in their way.”

    Seemingly a random bit of speech, but I immediately thought of the destruction of all things green and growing. This destruction can be due to war, industrialization, construction, or deforestation for a different crop. In addition to this, look closely at Aragorn’s poem, located in Chapter 2:

    “Gondor! Gondor, between the Mountains and the Sea! West Wind blew there; the light upon the Silver Tree fell like bright rain in gardens of the Kings of old. O proud walls! White towers! O winged crown and throne of gold! O Gondor, Gondor! Shall Men behold the Silver Tree, or West Wind blow again between the Mountains and the Sea?”

    I see a religious connection between the Silver Tree, Gardens of Kings of Old, Proud Walls, White Towers, Winged Crown, and Throne of Gold – all pointing to a Christ-like visual. While Minas Tirith does match these descriptions, I also see a Kingdom of God. Does Aragorn question whether or not he will see Gondor again, or is this a plea of a man whom is entrenched in war and wonders if he’ll ever see a celestial city or his home.

    My third point is also located in Chapter 2, in a dialogue between Aragorn and Eomer.

    “But they [halflings] are only a little people in old songs and children’s tales. Do we walk in legends or on the green earth in the daylight?”

    “A man may do both,” said Aragorn. “For not we but those who come after will make the legends of our time. The green earth, say you? That is a mighty matter of legend, though you tread it under the light of day!”

    My translation: A man may walk in legends, or walk the green earth in the daylight, but it will not be these men. And the green earth IS the matter of legend, while we carelessly walk upon it in the daylight.

    All of this ties into the theme of Preservation, because the innocence of Middle Earth, the nature of Middle Earth, and the preservation of Middle Earth are all at risk.

    Questions – Chapter 3:

    1. In the books, the Uruk-Hai are eloquent and quite capable of expressing themselves just as well as humans. This is in stark contrast with their horrible exteriors (being a goblin/man crossbreed). Is there any significance to this?

    2. Grishnakh says, “Little people should not meddle in affairs that are too big for them.” This is interesting, considering his existence is the result of these affairs and he was created for the sole purpose of slaughter. How would he have this belief? Is he not aware of his own pointless existence?

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    1. I find your first question so interesting. Maybe Tolkien was trying to show us something about the human race. This horrible monster-like exterior may symbolize how he views some of his fellow humans – monsters.

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  14. Book III Chapter 10:
    The theme of this chapter is fidelity and truth. Almost all of the Fellowship is back together and then some. Gandalf, along with Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, Merry, Pippin, Théodan, and his men approach Sarumon. When Sarumon speaks of peace, Gimli is the first one to see past his farce and point out the truth to Théodan. This keeps the fidelity with those under Gandalf’s watch, “It was Gimli the dwarf who broke in suddenly. ‘The words of this wizard stand on their heads,’ he growled gripping the handle of his axe. ‘In the language of Orthanc help means ruin, and saving means slaying, that is plain. But we did not come here to beg’” (570). Théodan sees the truth in Gimli’s words and does not become corrupted by Sarumon again. He then shows fidelity to his men by promising them peace: “’Yes, we will have peace,’ he said, now in a clear voice, ‘we will have peace, when you and all your works have perished – and the works of your dark master to whom you would deliver us. You are a liar, Sarumon and a corrupter of men’s hearts. You hold out your hand to me, ad I perceive only a finger of the claw of Mordor. Cruel and cold! [ . . . ] turn elsewhither. But I fear your voice has lost its charm’” (580). The last fidelity shown in the chapter is when Merry and Pippin leave the Ents with a heartfelt goodbye, and the Ents promise to watch over Sarumon. This shows their bond of friendship and how the harsh times produced strong bonds to obtain an ultimate goal: be gone of all the evil in Middle Earth.

    Questions

    Why do you think Gimli is the first one to speak up against Sarumon’s “charm”?

    Was Gandalf really “condescending”, as Sarumon stated, or would was he really going to give Sarumon a choice/second chance?

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    1. I think the fact that Gimli speaks before anyone else shows that he is not susceptible to Saruman’s powerful rhetoric. Gimli has a very good memory. In many ways, Gimli lives in the past, and he comes to life as he speaks of his race’s history, and his own past experiences. He consistently brings up the struggles of his people, and their losses, which shows that he has vengeance in his heart. I think because the dwarves have suffered so much loss in middle-earth, Gimli is less tolerant of his enemies and he does not forget what they have done to his people, and his friends, easily. He is very loyal and passionate, and after seeing all of the destruction that Sarumon brings to his friends and companions, he makes up his mind that Sarumon is an obvious enemy and a traitor. Because Gimli is vengeful, no amount of wordplay can deceive him. And while his capacity towards vengeance is sometimes a weakness, like when he encouraged Legolas to bring down the man in grey in Fangorn forest (who was actually Gandalf), in this instance, it proved a strength.

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  15. Fellowship was a big theme in book three of the LOTR. Fellowship has a stronger connotation than friendship, and encompasses the loyalty the characters have to each other even when they are separated. This is also the first book where Tolkien ditched the title “The Fellowship of the Ring,” but the sentiment is still there. When Boromir dies, he tells Aragorn about how he tried to take the Ring from Frodo. Instead of dragging Boromir for his moment of weakness, Aragorn tells the hobbits and co. that Boromir was heroic and brave. The kindness that he showed Boromir in death belies a kind of loyalty that is portrayed many times over the course of the book. Gandalf, in resuming his leadership over the group, doesn’t act like he is superior to the others. He sees them as his equals, or as his fellows. Pippin shared his precious pipe with Gimli once they are reunited. Its vaguely reminiscent of a family, but reminds me more of how soldiers act with each other during war.

    Chapter 5 Questions:

    What is the significance of Gandalf changing from Gray to White?

    Do you think that Frodo, and by extension the rest of the fellowship are the underdogs in the story?

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    1. The color white is a symbol of purity (kind of like a rebirth) and I think in Gandalf’s case it is a sign of how great his power is. He had stated that he “found himself in white” because after fighting the Balrog he was naked and injured. It was Galadriel who chose the white robe for Gandalf , I think it was her way of declaring that Gandalf has taken charge over the White Council and Saruman is clearly out.

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    2. Gandalf the white is a more powerful leader than Gandalf the grey. As Gandalf the white, his powers are not as limited and they are stronger than before; Gandalf the white is a far more notable leader.

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    3. I do think that Frodo and the rest of the fellowship are the underdogs. There are four hobbits that never go on adventurers and who seem to lack common sense. Frodo imagens going on these great adventures with Bilbo and doing all of these wonderful things and at the end of the day he had never left the Shire before the first book. Sam is a gardener who only came on the adventure because he was found listening under Frodo’s window. Merry and Pippen were to be left behind at Rivendell if Gandalf had not intervened. There is Aragorn who is great at leading and tracking in the wild, but he has no power, he is just someone who should have been king. Boromir is easily corrupted and Gimli and Legolas have centuries of race hatred between them. It does not look like the makings of a winning team.

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    4. I think the significance of Gandalf changing from grey to white is the distinction that he had made a return in a new form. This new form to me symbolizes wisdom that he is at a level that is superior to the rest and that he is a character of more importance. I also think that this color draws more attention to him and his persona. The white in my opinion also symbolizes honor which is something that gandalf deserve after all he’s done and the sacrifice he made. White is a color that to me is earned so after all his actions he’s earned this color as a form of reward. It also represents his return as something great and epic. Strength is another quality I associate with white so him returning in this color is a great element that tolkein presents to his reader with the intention that they recognize the meaning and significance of this.

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  16. Nature is a theme in Book III of The Two Towers. The traveling of the Orcs and the spreading of evil that is taking place in Isengard is continuously placed in opposition to nature and the natural world throughout Book III. While tracking the Orcs and the Hobbits, Aragorn relies on the earth to guide him. He states, “where sight fails the earth may bring us rumor…the land must groan under their hated feet” (416). The Orcs are portrayed as a corruption of nature, and are therefore not only morally evil, but a threat to the natural processes that transcend all life in middle-earth.
    The natural environment is continuously portrayed as having a healing effect on the characters within the story, and the industrialism that Sauron and the Orcs represent is placed in direct contrast to their mental, physical, and emotional health. In order to release Theoden from Wormtongue’s spell, Gandalf takes him outside to look at his kingdom. Gandalf tells Theoden to “Breathe the free air again!” A ray of sunshine appears and, “the falling showers gleamed like silver, and far away the river glittered like a shimmering glass” (504). The natural beauty of Theoden’s kingdom and beyond has a sublime affect on him, and he suddenly feels “awakened.” Theoden is then able to think clearly, and he returns to his natural state. Many of the different races and characters in middle-earth have intimate relationships with nature, and they are consoled and affected by its powers, which suggests that nature in itself orders and balances all life.
    In order to emphasize the importance of the natural world and its processes, Tolkien personifies nature through Treebeard and the Ents. The environment is given agency and sovereignty through a race that is equal to all other races in significance and history. By giving the trees in middle-earth a shepard, a mythology, and a language, Tolkien invites feelings of compassion and care for the natural world, and a desire to preserve what is threatened by growing industrialism. The story of the Ents and their disposition is inherently sad and tragic, despite the fact that they want nothing more than to rule over themselves. The Ents provide life and care to middle-earth, yet they are exploited and destroyed at no fault of their own.

    Questions for chapter 4:

    1. The story of the Ents and the Entwives is introduced in chapter 4. Can this story be related to any other story in LOTR, or another Tolkien work that we have read? Or is this a unique story?

    2. Treebeard tells Merry and Pippin that some trees have “bad hearts.” What corrupts the trees in middle-earth?

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    1. Treebeard states that trolls were made from Ents long, long ago. However, I think what he meant is that after so many years of witnessing your family “murdered” in front of you by orcs and other creatures, but basically being helpless to stop it (ROOTED to the spot as it were) their hearts became sick with the need for vengeance, which creates the Huorns that possess a monstrous lust for revenge on the orcs. Of all the races who have suffered tragically, Ents have suffered most.

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  17. The two main themes I see in chapter 5 is rebirth and wisdom. Gandalfs return was a huge surprise since he returned in an alternate form. When I read this chapter I couldn’t help but think of the famous saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” because, had it not been for Aregon the group would’ve tried to kill him without truly knowing who he is. This also demonstrates how Gandalfs presence is crucial to the group in terms of guidance. Aregon has shown to be more wise than the rest of them but still not up to par with Gandalf.
    Wisdom is represented in Gandalf it’s evident that no matter how many forms he takes he is still wise. Gandalf enlightens them on his visions demonstrating that he is still the same Gandalf and with time he seems to grow in wisdom. This wisdom that he posses is what the group needs in order to have guidance and protect the ring. Gandalf is the main protector of the ring and the group is his partnership in this quest. Gandalf also represents strength that he has the strength to still come back and be the same man he once was just in a new form. This chapter mainly revolves on Gandalf and what he brings to the group and how his visions have helped them to get as far as they are. It was in my opinion a very unexpected return. However, we also see in this chapter the growth in Aregon and his improvement in judgement as he was more precaution when making a decision on how an unknown should be treated when approaching the group.
    1. Is Gandalfs return the climax of this book?
    2. Why does Gandalf come in the form of an old man ?

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    1. I don’t know if I would say Gandalf’s return was the climax of the book, but it definitely moved the plot forward. Gandalf came back to the group with information regarding their quest, and if possible with more power to stop Saruman. I think the individual books serve as pieces of a whole, and I don’t feel like Gandalf’s return was a turning point in the story so much as some lead up to a bigger moment.

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