Review: The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien

Did I talk about how I read this series because one of my best friends would not stop pestering me until I did? That while I was reading this, he kept asking if I had made any progress each time he saw me?

I'm glad I read it because he kept bugging me about it, but sometimes I wonder if I would have experienced it differently if I chose to pick up the series without his influence.

Publication Date: 1954 (my edition: November 3, 1997)

Again, N/A because I still can't put the summary into words. You're also better off going into this blind.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I started this back in July. I brought it with me on a 10-day trip to the Philippines, back home, and ended July having read 18 pages of the book. I'm not even joking, I seriously only read 18 pages.

I did a little better in August and read 71 pages, which put me around a quarter of the way through the book, but it still wasn't great.

When September drew nearer, I decided that it would be the month for me to finally finish the book. Three months was making me feel ridiculous. It's not even like the book is boring or bad, it's just that I didn't want to read about Frodo because I seriously don't like him. When I say it out loud, it's kind of silly. Not wanting to finish a legitimately good book because I don't like the main character.

To be completely honest here, I think that my dislike of Frodo plays a big part in how slowly I've read the book. Part of the reason why I go through it so slowly is because I don't look forward to reading about him. I feel bad that my opinion of him is affecting how I read this book, but it's something I've seriously struggled with since the beginning of the series.

Okay, I don't really know what to say about this because it's the second book in a "series" and also because it's taken me so long to get through it. I did really enjoy the plot and I liked how it was different from the first book. The way that the story is told here is much more interesting to me and helped me to get through it faster when I fully realized how it had been written.

There is definitely more world-building in this book, though I still struggle with the names and the locations. I was talking to my friend while I was reading this and we started talking about locations in LOTR. He's read the entire series and The Silmarillion as well, which meant that he found it so easy to talk about the world and the history behind everything while I kept asking him to remind me which place was where. Some of that is due to the fact that I read these books so slowly, but also because the names are insane and I can't pronounce over half of them.

Yeah, let's take a moment to talk about the names in this book. More than half of the locations here require me to do a double or triple take when reading and spend minutes at a time trying to figure out how it's pronounced before I give up and move on. The fact that I struggle to pronounce these names mean that I often forget that location, or in various cases, even characters. I mean, when words have intonations, I often try to pronounce it in the way that its language would be spoken, but I can't do that here. While the book is written in English, there are so many languages that Tolkien created, none of which I speak, which makes pronunciation so much more complicated. I don't know what the intonation marks imply, and I don't know if there are silent letters in a word and generally, I just don't know anything.

I feel like I'm going to spend the entire year pronouncing names a certain way, only to watch the movies and realize that I've been pronouncing everything wrong. I mean, I know how to pronounce Mordor, Gandalf, Frodo, Legolas, Gimli, Aragorn, and a fair number of the more simplistic names, but other than that, I'm going to have to rewire my brain to the correct pronunciation of words after I watch the movie.

Here's a question I have, mostly directed to those of you who have read the books - why do these characters not sleep? Literally, they can go for days and days on such little sleep and still function just fine. Is it because they're mythical? Is it because no one sleeps in the midst of a battle/war? Someone please explain this to me. Myself, I'm a night owl and I function pretty well on less than 4 hours of sleep, but that doesn't mean I can walk for miles and miles or fight people taller than me (I can't do that last one on a normal day anyways). Come on, I love sleep and I have yet to meet someone who says that they don't like it (if you don't, you're in denial), and it pains me to read about how little sleep these poor characters get.

One aspect of the series that I really like is that there isn't actually a romance. Sure, there are some tiny, minuscule hints in this book, but there is legitimately no romance at all. At least as far as this book. And I really like that. I like it when books and series don't have a romance because it's so different from a lot of books out there. I can't think of another book I've read this year that doesn't have a romantic aspect in it, though I'm pretty sure I've read a couple of books like that. It's rare to find a good series that doesn't focus on romance at some point, and I like that this is different.

Once I started to push myself, I did manage to get a lot of this book done. But I told myself that I would not be moving on to the third book in October, and instead devote November to finishing up the series and its prequel.

When I finally came to the last few chapters, I was determined to finish it and stop putting it off. So, on Sept 26, I finished the last page of the book and the urge to do a happy dance was so incredibly strong.

The only thing I'll say about the ending is that I was finally beginning to like Frodo more, and then I was like, "Oh come on, I was just starting to like you better."

Oh, and after reading this, I think my disgust with spiders has grown immensely. But only certain spiders though. The ones with really big bodies. Everything else I can probably deal with decently.

It's no secret that I don't really like Frodo. So far, I've found that he's depended a lot on everyone else to make decisions for him and to come up with plans. I did begin to like him a bit more during this book, but it didn't last very long.

I think Sam is my favorite hobbit so far. I don't really know.

Merry and Pippin, well, I've never really known how I feel about them, and that hasn't changed.

The bromance between Legolas and Gimli is so amusing, I wish there was an entire book dedicated to that. And I love that despite their different species (is that the right word?), they've managed to cultivate a strong friendship.

Aragorn has to be my favorite person in the series right now. I'd rather read about him than about the hobbits. Just give me a book with his adventures with Legolas and Gimli, please.

Oh, and can we take a moment to talk about Gollum? Firstly, he scared me so much when I saw him on TV as a child. He actually gave me nightmares for awhile. But that's not what I wanted to bring up. Am I the only person who reads his dialogue in his voice from the movies? Please tell me I'm not.

4 stars. I did really enjoy it, but the fact that I spent 3 whole months reading it has somewhat dampened the experience for me. By no means is it the book's fault (we'll blame Frodo for this), but I just had a hard time getting through it.

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