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The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien - Barron's Booknotes
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PART TWO: THE TWO TOWERS
BOOK III, CHAPTERS 1-5

Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli set out to rescue Merry and
Pippin, who have been captured by orcs (referred to as
goblins in The Hobbit).

Orcs attack while the rest of the fellowship is still scattered,
searching for Frodo. Boromir is mortally wounded as he
defends Merry and Pippin, who are bound and carried away
by the orcs. Before he dies, Boromir tells Aragorn that he
tried to take the Ring from Frodo. But instead of criticizing
him, Aragorn praises his bravery in defending the hobbits.
Boromir is given a hero's funeral by Aragorn, Legolas, and
Gimli. Like Thorin Oakenshield in The Hobbit, Boromir
has made up for his evil deeds through an act of great valor.

Aragorn faces a dilemma: should he follow Frodo into
Mordor, or try to save Merry and Pippin? Have you ever
had to make a choice between doing what you thought you
should do, and doing what you felt you had to do? This is
Aragorn's dilemma. He chooses to follow his feelings and
try to rescue his friends. (Although Sam and Frodo are his
friends too, they have chosen to go on alone, and Aragorn
decides to respect that choice.) Do you think Aragorn made
the right choice? Why?



As Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli follow the trail of the orcs,
they are heartened at the discovery of hobbit prints and a
fallen clasp from Pippin's cloak. They meet a troop of
horsemen led by Eomer, a marshal of Rohan, and learn
from him that the orcs they were tracking have all been
killed by the men of Rohan, but that the hobbits weren't
seen. Eomer agrees to lend the three companions some
horses so that they might continue their seemingly hopeless
quest.

The next two chapters return to the scene when Merry and
Pippin were captured by the orcs. The orcs are actually
from three different places and constantly fight among
themselves. It is characteristic of Tolkien's evil creatures
that they cannot cooperate. The orcs from the mines of
Moria in the Misty Mountains are seeking vengeance.
Sauron's orcs want to take the hobbits back to Mordor. The
strongest band, Saruman's orcs, have orders to take the
hobbits to their master in Isengard. Fortunately, the orcs are
intercepted by the men of Rohan, and during the ensuing
battle Merry and Pippin manage to slip away. They hide in
the forest of Fangorn, where they meet Treebeard, an Ent.

Ents are another of Tolkien's creations that have captured
the imagination of readers. Like Tom Bombadil, they are
part of the natural world and show the power of nature.
They are shepherds of trees and look like trees themselves.
Their chief is Treebeard. Some people call him Fangorn,
which is also the name of the forest. He is very ancient, the
oldest living thing still to walk the earth. When Merry and
Pippin tell him their story, Treebeard realizes that Saruman
is trying to make himself into a rival power to Sauron.
Treebeard decides that Saruman must be stopped, but not
because of the danger he poses to the people of Gondor and
Rohan. (Nor does Treebeard take sides in the battle against
Sauron. This is consistent with the idea that nature is
neutral in the struggle between good and evil.) He bases his
decision on the fact that Saruman's orcs have been cutting
down trees on the edge of Fangorn, leaving the land
desolate. (This wanton destruction of nature is an important
sign of evil in Tolkien's world.)

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