John R.R.Tolkien

The Two Towers: The Lord of the Rings: Part 2

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The Two Towers. The Two Towers is the second volume in J.R.R. Tolkien's epic adventure. The Company of the Ring is sundered. Frodo and Sam continue their journey alone down the great River Anduin — alone, save for a mysterious creeping figure that follows wherever they go.
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514 printed pages
Original publication
2009

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    Urtė Vainshared an impression10 months ago
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    👍Worth reading
    🚀Unputdownable

Quotes

    Michael Nockovhas quoted6 months ago
    Something has slipped.'

    'And what is it then?' growled Shagrat.

    'By all the signs, Captain Shagrat, I'd say there's a large warrior loose, Elf most likely, with an elf-sword anyway, and an axe as well maybe: and he's loose in your bounds, too, and you've never spotted him. Very funny indeed!' Gorbag spat. Sam smiled grimly at this description of himself.

    'Ah well, you always did take a gloomy view,' said Shagrat. 'You can read the signs how you like, but there may be other ways to explain them. Anyhow. I've got watchers at every point, and I'm going to deal with one thing at a time. When I've had a look at the fellow we have caught, then I'll begin to worry about something else.'

    'It's my guess you won't find much in that little fellow,' said Gorbag. 'He may have had nothing to do with the real mischief. The big fellow with the sharp sword doesn't seem to have thought him worth much anyhow – just left him lying: regular elvish trick.'

    'We'll see. Come on now! We've talked enough. Let's go and have a look at the prisoner!

    'What are you going to do with him? Don't forget I spotted him first. If there's any game, me and my lads must be in it.'

    'Now, now,' growled Shagrat. 'I have my orders. And it's more than my belly's worth, or yours, to break 'em. Any trespasser found by the guard is to be held at the tower. Prisoner is to be stripped. Full description of every article, garment, weapon, letter, ring, or trinket is to be sent to Lugburz at once, and to Lugburz only. And the prisoner is to be kept safe and intact, under pain of death for every member of the guard, until He sends or comes Himself. That's plain enough, and that's what I'm going to do.'

    'Stripped, eh?' said Gorbag. 'What, teeth, nails, hair, and all?'

    'No, none of that. He's for Lugburz, I tell you. He's wanted safe and whole.'

    'You'll find that difficult,' laughed Gorbag. 'He's nothing but carrion now. What Lugburz will do with such stuff I can't guess. He might as well go in the pot.'

    'You fool,' snarled Shagrat. 'You've been talking very clever, but there's a lot you don't know, though most other folk do. You'll be for the pot or for Shelob, if you don't take care. Carrion! Is that all you know of Her Ladyship? When she binds with cords, she's after meat. She doesn't eat dead meat, nor suck cold blood. This fellow isn't dead!'
    Michael Nockovhas quoted6 months ago
    'No, I don't know,' said Gorbag's voice. 'The messages go through quicker than anything could fly, as a rule. But I don't enquire how it's done. Safest not to. Grr! Those Nazgul give me the creeps. And they skin the body off you as soon as look at you, and leave you all cold in the dark on the other side. But He likes 'em; they're His favourites nowadays, so it's no use grumbling. I tell you, it's no game serving down in the city.'

    'You should try being up here with Shelob for company,' said Shagrat.

    'I'd like to try somewhere where there's none of 'em. But the war's on now, and when that's over things may be easier.'

    'It's going well, they say.'

    'They would,' grunted Gorbag. 'We'll see. But anyway, if it does go well, there should be a lot more room. What d'you say? – if we get a chance, you and me'll slip off and set up somewhere on our own with a few trusty lads, somewhere where there's good loot nice and handy, and no big bosses.'

    'Ah!' said Shagrat. 'Like old times.'

    'Yes,' said Gorbag. 'But don't count on it. I'm not easy in my mind. As I said, the Big Bosses, ay,' his voice sank almost to a whisper, 'ay, even the Biggest, can make mistakes. Something nearly slipped you say. I say, something has slipped. And we've got to look out. Always the poor Uruks to put slips right, and small thanks. But don't forget: the enemies don't love us any more than they love Him, and if they get topsides on Him, we're done too. But see here: when were you ordered out?'

    'About an hour ago, just before you saw us. A message came: Nazgul uneasy. Spies feared on Stairs. Double vigilance. Patrol to head of Stairs. I came at once.'

    'Bad business,' said Gorbag. 'See here – our Silent Watchers were uneasy more than two days ago, that I know. But my patrol wasn't ordered out for another day, nor any message sent to Lugburz either: owing to the Great Signal going up, and the High Nazgul going off to the war, and all that. And then they couldn't get Lugburz to pay attention for a good while, I'm told.'

    'The Eye was busy elsewhere, I suppose,' said Shagrat. 'Big things going on away west, they say.'

    'I daresay,' growled Gorbag. 'But in the meantime enemies have got up the Stairs. And what were you up to? You're supposed to keep watch, aren't you, special orders or no? What are you for?'

    'That's enough! Don't try and teach me my job. We were awake all right. We knew there were funny things going on.'

    'Very funny!'

    'Yes, very funny: lights and shouting and all. But Shelob was on the go. My lads saw her and her Sneak.'
    Michael Nockovhas quoted6 months ago
    Only a few steps; and now only a few more and he would be going down and would never see that high place again. And then suddenly he heard cries and voices. He stood still as stone. Orc-voices. They were behind him and before him. A noise of tramping feet and harsh shouts: Orcs were coming up to the Cleft from the far side, from some entry to the tower, perhaps. Tramping feet and shouts behind. He wheeled round. He saw small red lights, torches, winking away below there as they issued from the tunnel. At last the hunt was up. The red eye of the tower had not been blind. He was caught.

    Now the flicker of approaching torches and the clink of steel ahead was very near. In a minute they would reach the top and be on him. He had taken too long in making up his mind, and now it was no good. How could he escape, or save himself, or save the Ring? The Ring. He was not aware of any thought or decision. He simply found himself drawing out the chain and taking the Ring in his hand. The head of the orc-company appeared in the Cleft right before him. Then he put it on.

    The world changed, and a single moment of time was filled with an hour of thought. At once he was aware that hearing was sharpened while sight was dimmed, but otherwise than in Shelob's lair. All things about him now were not dark but vague; while he himself was there in a grey hazy world, alone, like a small black solid rock and the Ring, weighing down his left hand, was like an orb of hot gold. He did not feel invisible at all, but horribly and uniquely visible; and he knew that somewhere an Eye was searching for him.

    He heard the crack of stone, and the murmur of water far off in Morgul Vale; and down away under the rock the bubbling misery of Shelob, groping, lost in some blind passage; and voices in the dungeons of the tower; and the cries of the Orcs as they came out of the tunnel; and deafening, roaring in his ears, the crash of the feet and the rending clamour of the Orcs before him. He shrank against the cliff. But they marched up like a phantom company, grey distorted figures in a mist, only dreams of fear with pale flames in their hands. And they passed him by. He cowered, trying to creep away into some cranny and to hide.

    He listened. The Orcs from the tunnel and the others marching down had sighted one another, and both parties were now hurrying and shouting. He heard them both clearly, and he understood what they said. Perhaps the Ring gave understanding of tongues, or simply understanding, especially of the servants of Sauron its maker, so that if he gave heed, he understood and translated the thought to himself. Certainly the Ring had grown greatly in power as it approached the places of its forging; but one thing it did not confer, and that was courage. At present Sam still thought only of hiding, o

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