Thursday, December 11, 2008

My Experience Reading the Two Towers

It is no secret that I had a wee hard time getting through The Two Towers. It took me over two and a half months to finish it. This is not a reflection of how much reading time I have had, I took a bit of a break in the middle of the book and read 6 books before I picked it up again. I didn't hate the book, in fact I liked probably 65% of it. There are just certain characters I am having a hard time getting into and caring about their journeys. The characters are as follows: Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli.

I think I have figured out why. They kind of encompass my preconceived ideas I have of fantasy novels. Just like men on quests doing stuff. I don't know how to further explain that, but I think that is it.
I realize that my experience with Fantasy stuff is fairly limited, therefore most of my ideas about it are perhaps misconstrued. In past posts I have explained a little about what I like about fantasy "magical objects, etc." So maybe I will explain a little about what I don't like about fantasy -men on quests doing stuff. My brain just naturally shuts off. Having magical powers or senses doesn't help at all (they don't hurt, just don't help.) Having a noble reason for the quest also doesn't help. Anyway, for whatever reason, that is what I think of when I think of fantasy and I just go -blah.

I also don't have a lot of concern with "the ring" I know it is powerful, I know it has some bad guy's spirit in it or something and if it falls into the wrong hands, life as all of these people know it in Middle Earth will be destroyed. I also know that it is the crux of this series. I care that Frodo has to destroy it and I am totally with him there, but the whole idea of the ring isn't that interesting to me.

Ok, now that that is done, I really like Frodo and Samwise. I liked all of the story with them and Gollum traveling to Mordor, that was good stuff. Shelob was freaking cool and I wasn't expecting her. It had a good ending too, cliff hanger-ish. I also am liking Pippin and Merry too. They are funny and hold my interest nicely. Treebeard was really cool and I found his whole part really interesting. Rohan was boring to me and gave me flashbacks of Rivendell. But that was the three people I was talking about before, so perhaps my brain inadvertently shut down.

I have a bit of a beef with Mr. Tolkien about something. Why in the world did he name his two bad guys, "Sauron" and "Saruman" this confuses me greatly! They are so similar in spelling and sound, I have great difficulty telling them apart and figuring out who we are talking about at any given time. What is up with that?

I have one more point to bring up, which doesn't have to do with plot or storyline. Sue, in your review of "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" under your dislikes category, you state:

The line in the book "celebrity is as celebrity does". I think Lockhart says it to Harry. When I read the line I almost threw the book across the room in disgust. The Forest Gump people should sue her.
Is this on account of plagiarism or something? If so, I would like to draw your attention to Pg. 624 of my copy of The Two Towers (the last few pages of The Window on the West) :
"You've spoken very handsome all along, put me off my guard, talking of Elves and all. But handsome is as handsome does we say."

So, should Tolkien's people sue the Forest Gump writer first? Or is this a legitimate saying that has been tossed around for centuries where you throw in the proper word for the situation?

So in conclusion, all in all, I liked the book. I struggled a bit through parts, but am left with a desire to read the last book so I can see how it all works out. I think I am going to attempt to see the first two movies first. Sue watched a few Harry Potter movies and it may do me some good. Maybe I will understand or care more about the three I am having a hard time picturing. Plus, I must say I am curious to see some of the things I read about come to life. It will also be interesting to see the first movie again and see if anything comes back to me.


Sue said...

Very good. I'm glad you finished it so you can start The Return of the King.

First, I never noticed that handsome is as handsome does comment! Haha! Perhaps since Tolkien says more eloquently? Anyway, perhaps the Tolkien people should sue the Forest Gump people. Or you are probably right, it must be a saying that has always been used.

I can't believe you don't like the Three Amigos! Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas! I get your hang up with hating fantasy because it is mostly men being on some sort of quest and stuff. And I know I'll never convince you otherwise, but their quest is noble. They could have turned around after Frodo and Sam went off, and the orks took Merry and Pippin, but they were not going to turn their backs on the halflings! Merry and Pippin have the future king of Middle Earth trying to save them, that is dang cool.

I have the same problem as you with the whole Sauron and Saruman thing. It took me reading the series twice and seeing the movies a couple of times to get the names straight. Here is my trick: 2 syllables bad, 3 syllables good. He does the same with the 2 women in Aragorn's life Eowyn and Arwen? Say them out loud, both sound almost exactly the same.

Rohan is very important. They play a big part in the Return of the King. Theodon, "I know your face", King of Rohan, is a good, important part of Return of the King.

Treebeard is great. I love that scene where Merry and Pippin are all frustrated at how long their meeting has taken and Treebeard tells them they have only said hello! You really should see the movies. I have the extended versions if you want to borrow them! Peter Jackson did such a great job with treebeard and the other ents. And I think you will like Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas if you can see them in action. The LOTR movies are so much better than the HP movies! I promise!

And Em, I promise Return of the King will be so much better! The Two Towers is pretty typical of any second act. Kind of boring, but moves the story along. It introduces characters that get more important towards the end. I'm really excited you get to read Return of the King. I love that book so much! I think you'll care about the ring more, Rohan will make more sense, you'll love the hobbits even more, and I know you will appreciate Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas so much more.

Emily said...

Hee hee. I laughed when I found that "handsome is" comment. I just thought that was so funny it was in LOTRs. I think I'll pass on your extended versions..... I will just rent the 4 hour long normal ones, thank you.
I thought that wizard guy was evil the "S" dude the white or whatever. I'm so confused!
I will make a strong effort on behalf of the 3 amigos while watching the movies.

Sue said...

I realize I did't do a good job at all when I explained the Sauron/Saruman thing. What I meant by Saruman "good" is that he is the wizard that was good at one time. Sauron has always been bad. He is the one that keeps his eye on the ring. Saruman was a good wizard at one time and then fell under the evil influences of Sauron. He is the Anakin Skywalker of the LOTR series. (heehee I'm such a nerd!)

Marcus and Haley Crook said...

Legolas is the best!

megandjon said...

i love this Em! it's all true. I am a fantasy freak, but i've never loved this series mainly because it is just MAN MAN MAN. Blah. It's only redeeming qualities are the hobbits (I would really love to be a hobbit, actually!) and the section where THE TREES GET REVENGE. I always kind of wished they would do that in real life.

also, it's good to hear from you again! I hope you are ok!


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