A few months ago, I read The Fellowship of the Ring (FotR) for the very first time while live-tweeting every step of the way. When I started The Two Towers(TTT), I didn’t know what to expect this time around. After all, Book 2 left us with Frodo and Sam making like Fleetwood Mac and going their own way while the rest of the Fellowship were getting abducted, fought, or killed. This book had a lot to do and a good many less pages to do it in.
What a fool I was to think that The Two Towerswould somehow NOT ROCK HARDER THAN ANY SEQUEL IN EXISTENCE. Yes, it’s even better than The Empire Strikes Back That’s right. I said it.
It certainly helped that I had forgotten almost everything from Peter Jackson’s film version except for Legolas surfing down an Oliphaunt. Still trying to figure that one out. This allowed me to read TTT free from the burden of forgetting what I already knew. From Boromir’s departure to Shelob’s Lair, almost every event was a surprise. And WHAT a surprise! I mean, Riders and Uruk-hai and Ents – oh my! Not only did we get to see the members of the Fellowship develop, but we get introduced to an exciting new batch of characters who manage to take the adventure from a ten to Mach 10.
Every chapter was marvelously written, with the progression of our heroes’ journey not only taking us closer to Mordor, but further embellishing this world called Middle Earth. More than once I found myself frustrated at not being able to snuggle into my reading chair and devour the book all at once. Of course, toward the end of the book I found myself dragging my feet to finish, once again loathe to let go of this thrilling tome.
What made this installment so good was the constant action and unpredictability. I constantly tried to predict what would happen, only to be surprised at the turn of events. The pacing was excellent, first taking us with Legolas, Gimli, and Aragorn as they race to find Merry andPippin before whisking us to join Sam and Frodo, who eventually take on Gollum as their guide into darkness. We briefly meet Faramir, bro of Boromir and the smart one of the bunch before moving onto a squirm-inducing battle with a spider the size of a tank. Before I knew it, I was left with a cliff-hanger ending and what felt like a tiny aneurysm – a combination of the disappointment I felt that it was over so soon and the frenzied anticipation at what’s sure to be an epic conclusion.
The presence of my LOTR-lovin’ Twitter friends and followers once again made this fun ride even moreso, as I learned just how deep the dedication of the fandom goes. We’re not just talking Weta trinkets and overpriced DVD box sets (looking at you, Warner Bros.) Did you know you can get a Master’s in Tolkien Studies? This fandom is serious, y’all.
On Oct. 3rd I started The Return of the King. I am less excited, not because I didn’t like(read: hated) the movie version or because I don’t think it’ll be good. My heart is already hurting at the thought that soon the journey will be over. Reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy is like riding a bike without the training wheels or kissing in the rain – you can only do it for the first time once, and there’s hardly a better feeling than that.