The second part of J. R. R. Tolkien's, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers takes up the story of Frodo and Sam who are traveling to Mordor to destroy the ring of power while their friends, Merry, Pippin, and the rest of the fellowship, have their own adventures, meeting Orcs and battling the wizard Saruman. The story begins with Merry and Pippin who are captured by Orcs but escape into the forest where they meet an Ent—a tree-like creature who can walk and talk. At a meeting of Ents, it is decided that they must take part in the battle against Saruman who is destroying the forest.
At the same time, we discover that Gandalf isn't dead, as we thought in book one. He died as Gandalf the Grey but has been resurrected as Gandalf the White. When the fellowship, consisting of the elf Legolas, the dwarf Gimli and the human Aragorn, meet him, they are wild with joy to see that he's alive. Together, they all make their way to the hall of King Theoden where they expose the king's advisor, Wormtongue, as being hand in glove with Saruman. And finally, they confront Saruman himself.
Meanwhile, Sam and Frodo meet a distorted creature named Gollum who takes them to the gates of Mordor and later offers to conduct them, via a more circuitous but safer route, into Mordor itself. However, Gollum turns on them and delivers Frodo into the clutches of a large spider. Sam manages to kill the spider but he thinks that Frodo is dead, only to realize, when a number of Orcs come and take him away, that Frodo was still alive. The book ends with Sam's anguish at letting Frodo get caught but there is still hope because Frodo isn't dead yet.
J. R. R. Tolkien has created a wonderful world of elves, dwarves, humans who live longer than average, hobbits and orcs. There are scenes of battle as well as episodic adventures in this series. More than anything, there is a development of character and friendships, as Frodo learns who he can trust and who he can't.
J. R. R. Tolkien is best known for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit which have both been made into successful movies, with the second part of The Hobbit scheduled to open in December 2013. However, in his lifetime, Tolkien was a retiring man who did not seek out fame and fortune. A professor at Oxford, he taught English language and literature. He was married with four children and a great friend of C. S. Lewis, the writer of The Chronicles of Narnia, another great fantasy classic. He was a Roman Catholic and influenced Lewis' decision to convert to Christianity although he was disappointed to find that Lewis chose to become a Protestant. They both critiqued each other's works and formed part of the literary group known as the Inklings.
Download this BBC dramatised version of The Two Towers now and find yourself surrounded by elves, dwarves, hobbits and humans, all joined in a common cause - to destroy the ring of power and prevent the rise of Sauron, the dark lord.