Note: This review was originally published on Goodreads.com here. May contain spoilers.
The Two Towers by John Ronald Reuel Tolkien is an amazing read. It is one of the two shortest, that is, slimmest novels (under 450 pages) out of the whole Lord of the Rings trilogy. Besides that, it keeps the reader’s attention span longer than the other books do without losing any detail or depth. It is simply more exciting, more engrossing. This makes an even quicker and more entertaining story. J.R.R. Tolkien was a devout Catholic man, and his writings exude the concepts and virtues of his Christian faith. So the modern reader might learn a few morals along the way.
In the first half of the book, we witness the death of Boromir in a battle against a number of foes, the emergence of the newly-born Uruk-hai, the introduction of characters such as Treebeard, King Theoden, and Grima, and of course the battle for the stronghold of Helm’s Deep. I think another reason I enjoy this novel so much is that the Fellowship has been scattered. Thus, the book pursues groups of characters now separated from one another, and the story does not focus on any particular party for too long of a time. The scenery, faces, and voices constantly change. It is much like life: things fly by at times, but life can be exciting.
We see the most of Gollum’s active character in the second part of The Two Towers, the middle installment of the fantasy trilogy, as he acts as a guide for Frodo Baggins, the Ring-bearer, and his faithful comrade Samwise Gamgee. The once Hobbit-like creature is now a treacherous murderer whose fiercest desire is to have the evil Ring of Power in his grasp again. The task he is expected to carry out is to lead the pair of Hobbits to the Mountain of Fire, Mount Doom, which lies in the land of Mordor, the very stronghold of Sauron whose life force is connected to the Ring.
Frodo and Sam know they must destroy the Ring, but as the journey drags on day after day, the Ring-bearer’s strength wavers. Gollum takes them through dark and dangerous places. They travel in the reeking Marshes of the Dead, pools where dead warriors of a time long forgotten still lie in sleep. The three climb up Cirith Ungol, a steep stretch of stairs, and soon after that Gollum takes the naive little Frodo into the sickly cave where there dwells a hideous giant spider known as Shelob, a “pet” of Sauron, the Lord of the Rings. Tolkien briefly notes that Gollum worships this unnaturally large arachnid and that he is supposed to bring prey to Shelob. For the most part, The Two Towers was an enthralling read with a cliffhanging finale.