Thread: Which Two Towers?
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I thinks that it is Orthanc and Cirith Ungol, those are really the only towers that play a part in TTT
The Two Towers gets as near as possible to finding a title to cover the widely divergent Books 3 and 4; and can be left ambiguous - it might refer to Isengard and Barad-dur, or to Minas Tirith and B; or Isengard and Cirith Ungol.
I am not at all happy about the title 'the Two Towers'. It must if there is any real reference in it to Vol II refer to Orthanc and the Tower of Cirith Ungol. But since there is so much made of the basic opposition of the Dark Tower and Minas Tirtith, that seems very misleading.
So it would seem, even the postAuthorID was not really sure of which towers the title refers to.
As for why I think that PJ is an idiot you will find my disgruntled ramblings scattered throught out the forums, so I am a bit loth to discuss it as alot of people have already heard my arguements (Glorfindel, Tom Bombardil etc.)
My vote goes for Orthanc and the Tower of Cirith Ungol; however, Orthanc and Barad-Dur make more sense, as the forces of both Sarumen and Sauron were trying to capture the ringbearer, that their master could then become ultimate Overlord of Middle-earth.
Why do you think that PJ is an idiot?
Don't encourage him...
Good answers, I like the fact that JRR had no idea either, it's like another Balrog wings argument, hooray!
But other than Boromir's quotes about the White Tower - there was NO mention of the White tower - and it was so important to the book - as like - a beacon of hope! Well, now I am just complaining about the writing of the script...
Anyway, since the postAuthorID himself didn't know, it's a moot point. Pick two towers... any two towers.
Some have pointed out the possibility that Tolkien himself might not have written or even approved the published note, but thanks to some investigation, we now know more. It's a bit out of context here, but in brief...
23 February 1954: 'He also returns, rewritten, the note for the last page of FR.' Hammond and Anderson JRR Tolkien: A Descriptive Bibliography pp. 91-2
This may be becuase in the second book Orthanc is the main focal point of the fellowship in the Wrst, whereas Minas morgul is in the East to Frodo and Sam.
'Here ends the first part of the history of the War of the Ring. The second part is called The Two Towers, since the events recounted in it are dominated by Orthanc, the citadel of Saruman, and the fortress of Minas Morgul, that guards the secret entrance to Mordor; it tells of the deeds...' Fellowship of the Ring
The Tower-names are actually in capitals in my edition, but I didn't want to appear to shout.
'4 January 1954 Rayner Unwin sends Tolkien a rough draft of the note about TT and RK that follows the text at the end of FR.'
22 January: ... 'In response to the draft note sent by Unwin on 4 January, he has had 2nd thoughts about the title 'The Two Towers'. "It must if there is any real reference to volume II refer to Orthanc and The Tower of Cirith Ungol . But since there is so much made of the basic opposition of the Dark Tower and Minas Tirith, that seems very misleading. There is, of course, actually no real connecting link between Books III and IV, when cut off and presented separately as a volume. "
23 February 1954 ...'He also returns, rewritten, the note for the last page of FR.' Hammond and Anderson - JRR Tolkien: A Descriptive Bibliography
Anyway I am getting a bit off topic here...
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I like that it is isn't 100% sure what towers Tolkien ment. I like the uncertainties in Tolkien's world. Instead of being told how everything is, it inspires you to think and wonder. Maybe, perhaps and what if.
The fact that we have 'behind the scenes' matter to confuse the issue doesn't change what JRRT himself ultimately decided, and published. We know, for (different) example, that Tolkien changed his mind concerning the numbering of the Rings with respect to the Elves, Dwarves, and Men, but that doesn't mean he never decided, or never 'found out the truth' of the matter and made it part of Frodo's world.
There are plenty of things in Middle-earth to wonder and muse about. But there's no doubt as to what Tolkien decided to explain to his Readers concerning the title (as opposed to letters and rejected drawings that most people were never meant to see). A different question might be: despite Tolkien's explanation, which towers do you (anyone) think best fit the title? Basically putting the author's ultimate decision aside for the sake of discussion.
And nothing wrong with that of course but it's a different approach.
thank you. thankyou. you are a hero.
I figured it was Orthanc and Cirith Ungol, for those were the two towers where the action took place.
The action in Cirith Ungol doesn't really get going in the main (at least) until book VI though, which begins with the chapter The Tower of Cirith Ungol of course. As far as book IV is concerned Minas Morgul is more 'present' in my opinion, despite that no Hobbits are taken within: the description of Minas Morgul, or the force that issued from it... or the description of a luminous tower fascinating Frodo, for example, and that he fought the desire to run up the gleaming road towards its gate. It might be said that the Reader isn't 'properly introduced' to the tower of Cirith Ungol until book VI.
All this, I think, contributed to Tolkien's ultimate decision (reconsidering what he said in letter 143 I would guess).
The Two Towers are undoubtably Orthanc and Minas Morgul.
Movie-wise the two towers were Orthanc and the Hornburg, because Frodo and Sam wouldn't reach the Morgal Vale with its City of Minas Morgal and its Tower of the Moon until RotK. However, they reached there in the book with some fifty pages yet to read. This was another of PJ's devices to fit the story into three good movies without leaving Frodo the captive of Orcs for a whole year rather than for less than a day. He knew that a year long cliff-hanger would be just too much.
Book-wise the two towers were Orthanc and the Tower of the Moon; as that was from whence emanated the dastardly deeds the free peoples of Middle-earth were subjected to, with puppet strings extending back to the Iron Tower of Barad-dŻr, which we don't really see until the third book. IMHO
In this instance Tolkien's letters might confuse the issue a bit, and indeed JRRT was a world class niggler in general. But he did make up his mind here for publication, and so the letters and earlier drawings essentially become 'draft material' by comparison.
Or maybe the question is 'Which two towers do you think should be the Two Towers?'...
... despite what Tolkien published
I believe 'The Two Towers' refers to Orthanc and Minas Morgul. This is becuase on my edition the cover which was illustrated by JRR himself it has Orthanc on the right and a tower on the left with a moon over it. It is two narrow to be Minas Tirth and seeing as its got a moon it does seem to fit Minas Morgul best.
You're right Lord of All, The Two Towers are Orthanc and Minas Morgul. I've always thought that the Two Towers were Orthanc and Barad Dur before this thread.
Of course we wouldn't even be having this discussion if it wasn't for the stupid publishers insisting that it had to be a trilogy. Tolkien never really wanted that, he intended for it to be six books. And (as Rednell quoted from Letter#143) Tolkien wasn't too happy about having to come up with the three titles either.
I'm glad that the publishers eventually started doing some of the editions the way JRRT intended: as 6 books plus a separate appendix (mine happens to be one of those, and it's pretty cool to see seven separate volumes).