The Two Towers: The Palantir & A Recap of Book III (Week 6)
Every Monday, our Facebook group has been discussing one or two chapters from The Lord of the Rings, and so I'm happy to be sharing a little bit of our conversation and reflections as we go! If you'd like to read along with us, join our Facebook group! Otherwise, leave your comments below and we can continue the discussion! We're currently reading through The Two Towers, the second part of The Lord of the Rings. Want to journal through The Two Towers with us? Grab your journal here!
The Turn of the Tide
This summary is an excerpt taken from our Two Towers companion journal. Grab yours here!
Book Three of The Lord of the Rings brings about many changes for the members of the broken Fellowship. Boromir confesses that he tried to take the Ring from Frodo and defends the hobbits against the Orcs, costing him his life. Frodo and Sam escape but Pippin and Merry are captured by Orc soldiers. After being held captive for days, Pippin and Merry escape into Fangorn Forest and are brought to safety by Treebeard. In their search, Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli are met by an unexpected friend: Gandalf the White, risen from the dead. They journey to Rohan where Gandalf frees King Théoden from the influence of Saruman through Wormtongue, and they ride to battle at Helm’s Deep.
After battle and unexpected victory, Théoden journeys with Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli to Isengard. There, the men are surprised to see Pippin and Merry sitting at the gate! They come to learn that Treebeard has ‘taken over management of Isengard’ and Saruman is being held prisoner in Orthanc.
Gandalf offers counsel and mercy to Saruman. However, his efforts are fruitless and Gandalf is forced to assert his authority over Saruman — breaking his staff and leaving him safe but powerless in Orthanc. As they are speaking with Saruman, Wormtongue throws a mysterious stone down towards Gandalf. He quickly wraps it in his cloak, but not before Pippin takes notice of it.
Overwhelmed with curiosity, Pippin takes the stone (which is revealed to be one of the Palantíri) while Gandalf is sleeping. As Pippin looks into it, he suddenly finds himself in the presence of Sauron who now believes he is the bearer of the Ring. Soon, one of the Nazgûl is seen flying above them, and Gandalf quickly rides with Pippin towards Minas Tirith.
"Be at peace! Minas Tirith shall not fall!" - Aragorn to Boromir as he lay dying
"Good and ill have not changed since yesteryear; nor are they one thing among Elves and Dwarves and another among Men. It is a man's part to discern then, as much as in the Golden Wood as in his own house." - Aragorn, Chapter Two: The Riders of Rohan
'Do not be hasty, that is my motto." - Treebeard
"For behold! The storm comes, and now all friends should gather together, lest each singly be destroyed." - Gandalf to Theoden, Chapter Six: King of the Golden Hall
"None knows what the new day shall bring him." - Aragorn, Chapter Seven: Helm's Deep
"I do not wish for mastery." - Gandalf, Chapter Ten: The Voice of Saruman
"Often does hatred hurt itself!" - Gandalf, Chapter Ten: The Voice of Saruman
“But at this time we have been strangely fortunate.
Maybe, I have been saved by this hobbit from a grave blunder.”
bOOK cLUB mUSINGS
- Reflect on some of the major themes from Book III: discernment, vigilance, control versus cooperation (seen in the differences between Saruman and Gandalf), the power of nature over the machine... Which stood out to you as most important or influential? What other themes would you add to this list?
- Which characters did you identify most with throughout this book?
- In what ways can you seek to grow in 'hobbitness and holiness' inspired by these chapters?
What would you add to this discussion?