This is one book where I'm glad I have a nice fabric bookcover for my paperbacks; I really dislike this cover. Frodo on my copy of FotR is almost as cheesy, but at least he's not Saruman.
Anyway, time for another LotR Read-Along post; I'm all sorts of delayed in posting this, though, so I'm combining two Read-Along posts into one. Sorry about that! Like always, the questions were supplied by this month's host of the read-along.
1. Where are you in the trilogy right now? What do you think of the books so far?
I just started the second half, so I'm back with Frodo and Sam. I call TTT one of my favorite books, but really that's because I love the first half, what with the Ents and Merry and Pippin (I love how unaffected and cheerful they are, even after being kidnapped by orcs), and I even enjoy following Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli. And the Rohirrim! I love the Rohirrim, so I love when the books involve Rohan. :)
The second half of the book... not so much. Long before I finally get to RotK I'm already bored of following Frodo and Sam. Trek trek trek, rocks, rocks, rocks, orcs, Shelob... ugh. Can I go back to Fangorn Forest, please? Sam is definitely the best part of the second half of TTT, though. Even with all that bad going on, he's still loyal and strong.
I'm honestly tempted to just skim the last chapters of this book, though.
2. What’s your past experience with The Two Towers? If you’re rereading, how does it stack up against the other two books?
I'm extremely familiar with the first half of the book; back when the movies were out (and I was in college and needed to take a break from writing essays) I wrote a parody of the first few chapters (I can't remember why I started with TTT- maybe that was after that particular movie came out?). Maybe someday I'll get around to finishing it- or putting it back online, for that matter. I grew up with MST3k so I'm a pretty good parodist. ;)
Anyway, like I said, love the first half (that makes Book 3 my favorite of all the books in the trilogy), but the second half (Book 4) is my least favorite.
3. If you’re a first-time reader, what big questions do you have at this point? What are you hoping to see Tolkien deal with in The Two Towers? If you’re a rereader, what are you most looking forward to?
Merry becoming an esquire of Rohan and he and Dernhelm kicking butt, but that's in RotK. I'm not really looking forward to much in TTT- I guess Sam being the Ringbearer for a bit and rescuing Frodo (that is in this book, right? The books kinda blur together).
4. What about the movie? If you’ve seen it, what did you think of it, and how much do you think it will color your experience with the book?
I definitely see the characters as how the actors portrayed them (appearance-wise, anyway; not necessarily the way they're portrayed in the movies). I much prefer the books, though, except in one scene I noticed in TTT- after Pippin looks in the palantír and Gandalf is forced to flee with him. I really liked that in the movies Merry and Pippin had a parting scene, which showed how much Pip looks up to Merry and always needed his guidance, but Merry couldn't help him. It's just heartbreaking to see them separated. In the book, Gandalf just grabs Pippin and rides away, and Merry and Pippin aren't able to talk, and, if anything, Merry is annoyed that Pip gets to ride off with Gandalf like it's a reward. That just seems weird to me now that I've seen the movies; Merry and Pip are so close that the movie version seems more in-character.
And now onto the Midmonth check-in questions (told you I was behind). Some of these questions are like the ones I just answered, so I'll skip those.
In Book 3, we visit lots of new places and meet lots of new characters. There’s Fangorn and the Ents, the riders of Rohan, Saruman at Isengard. Which are your favorites? Least favorites?
Fangorn! Ents! The Rohirrim! See, that's why Book 3 is my favorite- I love all of it. (Why'd we have to switch back to Frodo and Sam? Yeah yeah, fate of the world resting on their shoulders, but it's far less interesting.) I really like Quickbeam (yay for a hasty Ent!) and Eomer, and we get to meet Eowyn, who is probably my favorite female character in any fandom. Least favorite... I guess Wormtongue or Saruman, since, you know, bad guys and all.
Have your opinions of the main characters from Fellowship changed at all in The Two Towers?
Well, Legolas is slightly less annoyingly perky and emotional, so that's good. ;) Really, though, I still love all the characters I loved in FotR.
Are there any scenes that strike you as particularly memorable? Anything you could do without?
As you can guess by now, here's where I give "the entire Book 4" as my answer to "what I could do without". It's just such a let down after Book 3! As for memorable, that scene would be Merry and Pippin meeting Treebeard. I swear I have that entire chapter memorized.