Lord of the Rings read along, The Two Towers, The Road to Isengard to of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
This week seems to have completely run away from me. I’ve had a few days off from work and so was expecting to get lots of reading done and for this part of the read along to be a breeze but the best laid plans, etc, etc. So, I’ve only just caught up! I’ve not checked out everyone’s comments yet but will do so shortly – didn’t want to be influenced before I’d sorted my answers. Thanks to Carl of Stainless Steel Droppings for providing the questions this week.
1. The Glittering Caves of Aglarond; Fangorn Forest: Which of the two would you be most excited to visit once the war was over?
I actually like the sound of the caves but I think I would not like to be under the earth for any great length of time and so I would definitely prefer Fangorn Forest. I like the idea of exploring Fangorn, even though it’s very strange, creepy and old it still sounds fascinating. I love the descriptions of the forest not to mention the moving trees – you would go to sleep under a tree and wake up in the morning and it would be gone – you’d just be totally lost. (Well, maybe being lost isn’t such a brilliant idea – better remember to take lots of provisions!)
2. How did you like the reunion of at least part of the fellowship at Isengard? Did any part of it stand out to you?
I personally enjoyed the ‘part’ reunion at Isengard although I thought it was more low key than I anticipated. That being said I thought all the bits with Merry and Pippin smoking their pipes and foraging for food added a really good injection of humour. Yet again, I really like the way that Tolkien manages to make you smile. I think his ability to add humour is one of the big pluses of this book for me and stops it becoming too dark.
3. What are your thoughts about Galdalf’s confrontation with Saruman?
Again, I found this particular scene strangely low key. I think there was a decent build up of tension with everyone being warned beforehand about how to act in the face of Saruman but somehow I think I would have liked more flash and fireworks between the two wizards, although I suppose on reflection, they had already had a face off earlier on in the novel. For me, I think I would have liked to have had the satisfaction of Gandalf kicking some wizard butt (although I knew that didn’t happen so what am I going on about here??) Gandalf is clearly a lot more grown up than me!! And, he just took it all in his stride.
4. We learn a great deal about the Palantir in this section. How do you feel about Saruman given Gandalf’s speech about the use of the Palantir? Would you, like Pippen, be tempted to look in to see what you could see?
I think Saruman showed a surprising lack of common sense throughout the novel not to mention a huge amount of arrogance. The very notion that he was going to side with Sauron is just naïve to the maximum given all his years’ of experience and what he knows of the enemy and also there is this element to his behaviour where he actually believes he can get the better of Sauron which again just seems unbelievable. It makes you see though that not only Boromir succumbed to the power of the ring after all. I think I would be tempted to look into the Palantir but I don’t think I would have had the nerve to go and take it from under Gandalf’s nose! But, in the end, Pippin’s mistake probably turned out more helpful than harmful and also saved Gandalf from a potentially dangerous confrontation.
5. What are your thoughts about Smeagol/Gollum in this first part of his journey leading Frodo and Sam? For those of you who’ve seen the film, are you hearing Andy Serkis in your head when you read Gollum’s lines?
Strange as it may seem I can’t help but like Gollum. He certainly has a one track mind and pursues his own goal relentlessly – it’s a pity he’s such a strange and lonesome little critter – he could really be quite helpful to have on your team, he virtually doesn’t need to eat or sleep, he’s dedicated and he’s an adept tracker! I also can’t help just reading all Gollum’s lines in the voice of Andy Serkis. I think he just made the role his own and it’s now impossible for me to imagine this character in any other way. Again, I like the way that Gollum manages to add quite a bit of light heartedness with his little songs, his sulking and his comical dialogue – ‘give me fish now, and keep nasty chips!’
6. Sam and Frodo are not traveling in the most picturesque part of Middle-earth. Which would you find worse, the seemingly impossible to leave mountains or the Dead Marshes?
No thought necessary for this one – I would find the mountains the worse. I don’t have any head for heights and the notion of having to peer over the edge of a cliff or scale down it brings out the goosebumps for me! Give me the marshes any day! Plus, imagine having to sleep on the side of a mountain – I’d probably roll over the edge during a dream or something. Terra firm is definitely my choice, boggy and full of dead people and strange lights or not!
7. Tolkien introduces us to a lot of places in this section of The Two Towers, many just getting a mention in passing. What do you think of Tolkien’s place names (Minas Morgul, Isengard, the Emyn Muil, and on and on)? Do any stand out to you? Are there any that you don’t care for?
I think Tolkien did a great job of naming such a lot of places – I genuinely don’t know how he did it because I think it’s not as easy as it sounds coming up with random names. Also, I feel that his name places quite often give a strange sense of what the place is going to be like – although I would say that because I’m already familiar. But, just by way of example, the Shire, you imagine this to be farmlands, rich and green with cottages, Rivendell – lots of water and falls, Fangorn – just sounds creepy as though the forest has teeth (I know I’m being overly simple here!!). But, I think Tolkien does a great job of not just conjuring the places but also naming them – he makes it look easy.
Thanks Carl for the questions this week. 😀
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