‘THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE TWO TOWERS’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
The Battle For Middle-Earth Begins
I enjoyed the second part of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ radio series very much!
After enjoying ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’ in the radio series, it didn’t take long to look for the next instalment of the trilogy. It was on a trip to Cardiff in September 2004 when I sought for ‘The Two Towers’. I again enjoyed every minute of it when I got home, finding it an amazing audio experience.
The cast is brilliant with Ian Holm as Frodo (who played Bilbo Baggins in the ‘LOTR’ movies). There’s also Michael Horden as Gandalf, Robert Stephens as Aragorn, Peter Woodthorpe as Gollum, Bill Nighy as Sam, Jack May as King Théoden of Rohan and Peter Vaughan as Lord Denethor of Gondor.
The second of the ‘LOTR’ radio series, ‘The Two Towers’, is spread out on a four-disc CD set. Inside, there is a sleeve notes booklet that contains the cast list, the track listings and production notes by producer Jane Morgan. The track listings with time durations are so well-planned and are as follows.
1. PROLOGUE (3m 51s)
Disc 1 of ‘The Two Towers’ begins with a male choir singing ‘The Road Goes Ever On…’ I like this beginning to ‘Two Towers’ and it’s also given to the beginning of ‘The Return of the King’ radio series. I could not help feel I was traversing through the Misty Mountains whilst I was listening to that song.
We then come to Frodo Baggins, who continues to write his story in the Red Book at Bag End after the events of ‘LOTR’. I like Frodo’s comments on the Red Book being given so many titles by Bilbo Baggins. These book titles include ‘My Diary’; ‘My Unexpected Journey’ and ‘There And Back Again’.
Frodo then gives a recap of what happened in ‘Fellowship’ and how he reflects on what happened during that instalment. He laments on the loss of Gandalf and how the noble Boromir succumbed to the power of the Ring and sought to take it. This all occurs before Frodo and Sam set off to Mordor.
2. THE DEPARTURE OF BOROMIR (6m 59s)
The story begins proper in this chapter where we return to the events following the end of ‘Fellowship’. Robert Stephens as Aragorn hears the horn of Boromir blowing and he goes off to try and find him. He runs into a number of orcs before using his sword Andúril to fight and kill them off.
Aragorn eventually finds Michael Graham Cox as Boromir who tells him that the hobbits have been captured. He also admits to Aragorn that he tried to take the ring from Frodo and he’s sorry for it. The scene was pretty moving between Aragorn and Boromir, especially since Boromir abruptly dies.
It isn’t clear to Aragorn whether Frodo and Sam were captured with the orcs or if it was just Merry and Pippin. David Collings as Legolas and Douglas Livingstone as Gimli then turn up and see that Boromir is dead. They are regretful they did not help out much with killing orcs where Boromir was.
Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli eventually decide to lay Boromir in a boat with his weapons; send him over the Falls of Rauros and give him to the river Anduin. They soon discover that the orcs that attacked them are not from Mordor and that they’re come from Isengard in the service of Saruman.
They also discover that one of the Elven boats is missing and Aragorn assumes that Frodo and Sam took the boat to get to Mordor. After dealing with Boromir and sending him over the waterfall, Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli eventually decide to go off; follow the orcs and rescue Merry and Pippin.
3. THE URUK-HAI (5m 36s)
The three hunters pick up the trail of the orcs. Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli chase after the Uruk-Hai in order to rescue the hobbits. This leads them entering into the land of Rohan. Aragorn soon spots something on the ground. It happens to be Pippin’s hobbit footprint and a broach of an Elven cloak.
Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli keep on chasing the trail of the orcs but find that they are getting nowhere and no closer. This matches to the non-stop chase by the three companions to save Merry and Pippin in the movie version. Although in the radio version, it is stated they rested for one night.
We then cut to Richard O’Callaghan as Merry and John McAndrew as Pippin where they are prisoners of the Uruk-Hai. There’s only scene of Merry and Pippin in the captivity of the Uruk-Hai. It is brief compared to film and book. The leader of the Uruk-Hai wants to keep Merry and Pippin alive.
The Uruk-Hai then become afraid as ‘white-skins’ on horses are coming. They’re soon attacked by the riders of Rohan, giving Merry and Pippin a chance to escape whilst the Uruk-Hai are being slaughtered. I feel that this scene takes place in daylight as opposed to night-time in the film version.
After Merry and Pippin break free of their bonds by the Uruk-Hai whilst the Rohan riders attack, they make their escape. They enter into Fangorn Forest, where they were warned against going into by the Elves of Lothlórien. I know that’s in the book, but it was not made clear in the ‘LOTR’ radio series.
4. THE RIDERS OF ROHAN (7m 29s)
Back with Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli, their pursuit to finding the hobbits with the Uruk-Hai stops them from seeing the riders of Rohan in the distance. I liked it when Legolas is able to see how many riders of Rohan there are. There happens to be 105. “Keen are the eyes of the Elves”, Aragorn says.
Aragorn says for him and his companions to wait for the riders of Rohan to come and meet them. They’re not sure what news to get when the riders come. Eventually the riders arrive, but do not surround Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli with spears as they do in the film version and also in the book.
I suppose that would have been tricky to do for audio anyway. The riders of Rohan are led by Anthony Hyde as Éomer. Aragorn vaguely tells Éomer why he and his friends are in Rohan and even tells him his name’s ‘Strider’. Éomer suspects Aragorn’s words and he even angers Gimli and Legolas.
A lot of lines of dialogue featured in the radio version echo from the movie version as in the book. Aragorn eventually tells Éomer who he really is, revealing he’s the heir of Gondor. Éomer soon tells Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli about their attack on the Uruk-Hai group and they burned the carcasses.
Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli then tell Éomer about the hobbits that they’re looking for. Éomer shares Rohan’s misfortune with Saruman at Isengard and the attacks they get. He eventually lets Aragorn and his friends go to find their friends. Éomer also asks Aragorn to come to Edoras to help them out.
5. TREEBEARD (13m 38s)
Meanwhile in Fangorn Forest, Merry and Pippin find their way through the forest before they meet Treebeard the Ent. Stephen Thorne voices Treebeard in the ‘LOTR’ radio series and he’s brilliant. ‘Doctor Who’ fans will know him for the villains he plays in the TV series and in the Big Finish audios.
Treebeard’s entrance when Merry and Pippin are in Fangorn Forest jumped me out of my skin. Stephen Thorne’s boom when Treebeard appears startled me as it did for my Mum when she heard this radio series. In no way is it like the movie version, but Stephen Thorne is so superb as Treebeard.
I like Merry and Pippin get to know Treebeard and how they’re introduced to him. Treebeard is curious about the two hobbit and even shares his song of ‘Learn Now The Lore of Living Creatures’. Some of the dialogue is so amusing to listen to, especially when Treebeard is saying ‘not to be hasty’.
Eventually, Treebeard takes Merry and Pippin to his Dwelling Hall somewhere deep in Fangorn Forest. After taking a drink of Entwash by Treebeard, Merry and Pippin share their story about what happened to them in ‘Fellowship’. Treebeard become intrigued but is also angered about Saruman.
The moments when Treebeard is angry put me on edge, especially when Stephen Thorne voiced him. Eventually, Treebeard plans to overthrow Saruman. He takes Merry and Pippin with him as they go off to an Entmoot to decide what to do about Saruman. Treebeard even sings a song on the way.
6. GALADRIEL’S ROPE (4m 47s)
Meanwhile with Ian Holm as Frodo and Bill Nighy as Sam, they’re in the Emyn Muil hills before they get lost in a rocky maze. I like how the radio series doesn’t follow the narrative that was in the book. Like in the movie, they cut to Frodo and Sam scenes happening at the same time as Aragorn scenes.
Like in the movie, Frodo and Sam seem to be going around and round in circles in Emyn Muil. I like how frustrated Frodo gets when he keeps seeing the same hills. Frodo and Sam also get apprehensive about trying to get to Mordor, especially as they can’t seem to get there in these hills.
Frodo and Sam try to find a way out of the Emyn Muil hills by climbing down one of them. I like Sam’s remark to Frodo’s statement that climbing down one of the hills will be ‘easier’. Sam then realises that he has the Elven rope from Lothlórien. He uses it so that he and Frodo can climb down.
Eventually, Frodo and Sam get down to the bottom of the hill. Sam then can’t seem to get his Elven rope free from the stump up top. Sam claims that the Elven rope was made by Galadriel herself. The rope then comes free, giving Frodo amusement. They then hear the sound of a Black Rider in the air.
7. THE TAMING OF SMÉAGOL (10m 40s)
Later that night, Frodo and Sam are disturbed when Peter Woodthorpe as Gollum attacks them. I like how the build-up to Gollum’s attack on Frodo and Sam is portrayed. It starts from Frodo and Sam’s point of view as they see Gollum climb down a wall towards them like a nasty, crawling spider.
Gollum then slips and falls off the rock wall. Sam manages to grab him before Gollum fight backs. Gollum tightens Sam in a stranglehold. And like in the movie, Frodo uses his sword Sting to threaten Gollum or he will cut his throat. Gollum whines and cries as in the film, but not as Andy Serkis did it.
Frodo and Sam decide what to do with Gollum. Frodo then hears Gandalf’s words from ‘Fellowship’ about taking pity on Gollum. He decides not to kill Gollum as he does feel pity for him. But he also decides not to let Gollum either. They decide to rest for the night as Frodo tells Gollum not to move.
Next morning, Gollum attempts to escape before Sam uses his Elven rope to capture him. Sam keeps his grip tight on Gollum. Gollum then whines and cries. I love it when Sam tells Gollum the rope’s not that tight, but Gollum insists “It hurts us, it hurts us!” Frodo refuses not to take the rope off Gollum.
Gollum then tries to make a promise to protect Frodo by swearing ‘on the precious’. Frodo is outraged as the words of the One Ring are spoken in the background. Frodo tells Gollum to make his promise by swearing ‘by the precious’. Gollum agrees before he’s Frodo and Sam’s guide to Mordor.
8. GANDALF THE WHITE (5m 35s)
Back in Fangorn Forest, Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli try to find the hobbits as they’re nowhere to be seen. They then encounter a white wizard in the forest. The three companions believe that it is Saruman. I like how Gimli seems so convinced that it’s Saruman, despite the old wizard’s pleasantry.
It’s soon revealed that it’s not Saruman but it is Gandalf who’s appeared before Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli. Michael Horden is back and is now Gandalf the White. Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli are amazed to see Gandalf before them, as the last time they saw him was when he fell to his death with Balrog.
Gandalf tells his story of how he survived his fight with the Balrog. It’s interesting how the story he shares matches more or less to what was depicted in the movie version, although we don’t get flashback scenes of it. Gandalf also shares how the eagle, Gwahir the Windlord, had come to his aid.
He also mentions that he was taken to Lothlórien, not long after the Fellowship left and there he was clothed in white. Gandalf then tells Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli that they must head for Edora to help the people of Rohan. He then tells them that Merry and Pippin are safe with Treebeard and the Ents.
As Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli come out of Fangorn Forest, the horse Shadowfax comes to them. It’s interesting that Shadowfax makes his second appearance in the ‘LOTR’ radio series here since the first time he appeared was in ‘Fellowship’. The four companions then ride towards Edoras.
9. THE LAST MARCH OF THE ENTS (2m 25s)
Back with Merry and Pippin, they are waiting patiently for the Ents to make up their minds on what to do with Saruman at Isengard. It’s interesting how this version of the Entmoot in the radio series compares to the movie version of ‘Two Towers’. The Ents seem to make up their minds quickly here.
Treebeard eventually leads the Entmoot off to Isengard and invites Merry and Pippin to join them. There’s a sense of triumph as the Ents march off for Isengard, especially as they sing the song of ‘The Last March of the Ents’ from the book. I could not help think of the movie whilst that song was sung.
10. THE KING OF THE GOLDEN HALL (8m 48s)
Meanwhile with Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli, they eventually arrive at Edoras, the capital city of Rohan. They’re met at the doors of the Golden Hall by Michael Spice as Háma the door-warden. Gandalf tells Háma who they are, before he and his three friends hand over their weapons.
Thankfully, Gandalf keeps a hold of his wizard staff before he, Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli enter the Golden Hall. Upon entering, they meet Jack May as King Théoden who first appeared in ‘Fellowship’. There is also Elin Jenkins who first appears as Éowyn, Lady of Rohan and the niece of King Théoden.
There’s also the return of Paul Brooke as Gríma Wormtongue, King Théoden’s advisor, who also first appeared in ‘Fellowship’. In this chapter, Gandalf reveals Wormtongue’s true colours. I like how the tension increases when Gandalf and Wormtongue exchange words and the truth becomes clearer.
Eventually, Gandalf uses his wizard staff to cure Théoden from the whispering words given to him by Wormtongue. Théoden thankfully manage to come out of it rather quickly. This is pretty different compared to Saruman-possessing- Théoden scene depicted during the film version of ‘Two Towers’.
Théoden then goes outside of the Golden Hall where Gandalf joins him so that he can ‘breathe the free air again’. Théoden realises what’s happened to him and asks for Gandalf’s advice on what to do. Éomer gets sent for and Gandalf notices how Théoden looks towards Mordor, which ends Disc 1.
1. FOLLOW SMÉAGOL (4m 12s)
Disc 2 of ‘Two Towers’ begins with Frodo and Sam still following Gollum out of Emyn Muil. They stop for a rest and I liked it when Frodo offers some lembas bread to Gollum and he can’t eat it. It’s interesting that scene occurs in the radio version compared to the film version in the Dead Marshes.
Sam then suggests to Frodo that he should take some sleep whilst he keeps watch over Gollum. Sam then makes the mistake of falling himself when he drops off unintentionally. He wakes up to find Gollum going off to hunt for food. Sam calls for Gollum to ‘come back’, but Gollum refuses to return.
This in turn causes Frodo to wake up. Sam explains what’s happened but Frodo doesn’t seem too bothered about Gollum going off alone. I liked when Frodo and Sam talk about what to do next regarding the quest with getting the job done. It is well performed between Ian Holm and Bill Nighy.
Gollum then returns to Frodo and Sam, having found his food of worms and beetles in his mouth. Frodo and Sam are clearly disgusted by him. I found it amusing when Gollum appeared out of the blue when Sam wondered about him. Gollum escorts Frodo and Sam to head for the Dead Marshes.
2. THE DEAD MARSHES (2m 58s)
Gollum soon leads Sam and Frodo into the marshy bog-land of the Dead Marshes. These scenes of the Dead Marshes in the radio version are pretty eerie compared to the movie version. Frodo does get caught in a trance whilst in the Dead Marshes, but doesn’t fall in as he does in the movie version.
Here Gollum tells Frodo and Sam about the history of the great battle between the Elves and Men against the Orcs of Mordor. He tells them that their bodies fell into the waters of the marshes long ago. Gollum tells them not to look in and follow the lights. Frodo and Sam continue to follow Gollum.
3. FORTH EORLINGAS (8m 46s)
Back in Edoras in Rohan, Gandalf is still with Théoden following the scene where we left off at the end of Disc 1 of ‘Two Towers’. Éomer then comes and offers his sword to Théoden. After debating Éomer’s right to be in Edoras before the king, Théoden takes the sword as he calls “Forth Eorlingas!”
Everyone shouts back the Rohan war-chant in response as Théoden is back among his people. Théoden then asks counsel from Gandalf and is told to cast doubt aside. Théoden then deals with Wormtongue who is brought before him and happens to have his sword which he gave him to keep.
Wormtongue attempts to regain his control over Théoden. Even though Théoden encourages him to accompany him and the Riders of Rohan to fight Saruman, Wormtongue is deceitful and word-twisting. Gandalf sees through Wormtongue; calls him a snake and tells him to get down on his belly.
It soon gets revealed that Wormtongue tries to get the attentions of Lady Éowyn. Gandalf warns Théoden about Wormtongue’s lies. Théoden gives Wormtongue another chance by offering a choice. Wormtongue responds spitting on Théoden instead of Aragorn, as he runs off out of Edoras.
Théoden offers to give Gandalf a gift. Gandalf asks for Shadowfax the horse to which Théoden gladly gives. Éowyn then gives a cup of wine (I believe) for Théoden to drink before offering the cup to Aragorn. Soon Théoden and his riders with Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli ride out for a battle.
4. THE TWO GOLLUMS (7m 56s)
Back in the Dead Marshes with Frodo, Sam and Gollum, they’re still trying to get out of the place. I found it amusing when Gollum sniffed the air and Sam was like “What’s the need to sniff?” before saying “You stink; the master stink; the whole place stink!” Gollum retorts saying Sam stinks as well.
Frodo, Sam and Gollum then get hunted down by a Black Rider on wings. This of course is one of the Nazgûl on his Fell Beast as it appeared in the movie version. The three get down and hide as the Black Rider flies over. I found it funny when Gollum panicked and went “Wraiths! Wraiths on wings!”
After avoiding the Black Rider, Frodo, Sam and Gollum soon come to the desolation before Mordor. Frodo and Sam are clearly terrified of the place. They then settle down to rest for the night. During the night, Sam overhears Gollum talking to himself as both Sméagol and Gollum as done in the films.
I like how the two Gollums scene matches to those scenes featured in ‘The Two Towers’ film as well as ‘ROTK’. Gollum plans to get his ‘precious’ back. I like how Gollum hates Baggins; but Sméagol says “Not this Baggins!” and Gollum retorts saying “Yes! Every Baggins!” This highlights his dual personality.
It is surprising Sam didn’t wake up and accuse Gollum in the radio version as he did in the movie, especially when Sméagol and Gollum talking about taking them to ‘her’. Sam then makes out he’s waking up to Gollum before he wakes up Frodo too. Frodo and Sam then continue to follow Gollum.
5. THE RUMOUR OF WAR (5m 34s)
Back in Rohan, Théoden and the Riders of Rohan continue riding out on the plains before they come across another rider coming to meet them. The rider doesn’t realise King Théoden is with them. He makes his mistake. He assumed that the king was wizened and weak under Wormtongue’s influence.
Very soon, Théoden and his riders make for Helm’s Deep. Gandalf meanwhile rides off on Shadowfax to get some extra help. Everyone including Legolas and Gimli wonder where Gandalf’s gone off to. It’s interesting how this contrasts differently in the radio version compared to the films with Gandalf.
I like how on the way to Helm’s Deep, Gimli asks Éomer about what this place they’re heading for is. Éomer gives a history of Helm’s Deep to Gimli as they make their way over there, telling him that it’s the last defence for Rohan. It is interesting how Éomer is there for Helm’s Deep in the radio version.
In the movie version, Éomer was still banished by the time Théoden and the people of Rohan evacuated to Rohan. This is until Gandalf found Éomer and the Rohirrim to come to the aid of Helm’s Deep. In the radio version, there is no evacuation of Rohan and Gandalf seeks help from Erkenbrand.
Théoden and his men with Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli soon arrive at Helm’s Deep. Patrick Barr as Gamling is there. He turns out to be a completely different compared to the movies. The men of Rohan make arrangements to defend Helm’s Deep as there is quite a lot of strategic talking going on.
6. THE BATTLE OF HELM’S DEEP (15m 26s)
Later that night, Legolas and Gimli stand at Helm’s Deep. I like the scene between them as they wait for their enemies to come. It highlights the friendship that is between them in the radio series. They then see thousands of Uruk-Hai coming towards them. It’s intriguing that they come instantly in this.
We then cut to Isengard, where Treebeard, Merry and Pippin have already destroyed Saruman’s machines of war. It’s interesting that the Fall of Isengard isn’t depicted in the radio series. There isn’t even a flashback to it. Gandalf then comes, riding on Shadowfax, to ask Treebeard for some Hourns.
I must point out Merry and Pippin are surprised and amazed to see Gandalf alive. Gandalf hasn’t time to explain how he came back and where he’s been to the hobbits. Treebeard also doesn’t seem surprised by Gandalf’s return. This seems odd as Merry and Pippin had told him he was dead earlier.
Meanwhile, the battle of Helm’s Deep takes place. The radio version of this battle isn’t very impressive compared to the movie version. It doesn’t last for 45 minutes and the action scenes don’t action-packed, as they’re mostly covered with choir singing in the background and too much talking.
Eventually, the heroes win with King Théoden and his men riding out to defeat the Uruk-Hai at Helm’s Gate. Eventually, aid comes from Gandalf as Huorns attack and Erkenbrand arrives, although we do not get to hear an actor’s voice for him. Gandalf, Théoden and the others then go to Isengard.
7. THE ROAD TO ISENGARD (5m 13s)
The company of Théoden make their way to Isengard to deal with Saruman. This includes Théoden; Gandalf; Aragorn; Legolas; Gimli and Éomer. I like how a history of Isengard is given by Legolas and Éomer to Gimli on their way there. It matches to the history of Helm’s Deep given by Éomer to Gimli.
This of course is where we move into the ‘ROTK’ territory for those who are listening to the radio series from a movie perspective. Although ‘The Road to Isengard’, ‘The Voice of Saruman’ and ‘The Palantír’ chapters in the radio series are featured in ‘The Two Towers’ book, compared to the movie.
Théoden’s company arrive at the overthrown Isengard where they are welcomed by Merry and Pippin. I liked the reunion moment where Gimli and Legolas are overjoyed to see Merry and Pippin, although they’re angered to see them ‘feasting and smoking’. It matches to what’s in the ‘ROTK’ film.
There’s then some nice moments where Théoden gets introduced to Merry and Pippin and is curious about them breathing fire through their pipe-weed. Merry gives an account of the pipe-weed in the Shire to Théoden. It establishes the paternal relationship between Merry and Théoden in the series.
Gandalf then suggests they’d better get on with talking to Saruman who is inside his tower of Orthanc in Isengard. Gimli is curious about whether Saruman looks Gandalf. Gandalf implies that Saruman could look like him. He also warns everyone to be wary of his voice as they talk to Saruman.
8. THE VOICE OF SARUMAN (9m 24s)
This chapter is my favourite from the ‘LOTR’ radio series. I heard this version of ‘The Voice of Saruman’ scene before seeing the movie version in the extended cut of ‘ROTK’. It’s pretty lengthy and there’s a lot of talking going on, but Peter Howell’s performance as Saruman in this scene is brilliant.
I like how the chapter opens with Gandalf banging on the door with his staff (I think) and demanding for Saruman to come forth. Wormtongue is the one who answers first since he has now become Saruman’s footman. Théoden curses the day when he had first heard Wormtongue’s voice in Rohan.
Saruman then talks to Gandalf and his company on top of the tower of Orthanc, I believe. Peter Howell’s voice for Saruman is so mesmerising and hypnotic when he tries to be persuasive and seductive to those below. There’s plenty of dialogue in the radio version to film version of this scene.
Gimli is taken by Saruman, saying that his words of ‘help’ mean ‘ruin’ and ‘saving’ means ‘slaying’. Éomer is also not taken by Saruman, saying that he’s ‘an old lair with honey on his forked tongue’. Saruman tries to persuade Théoden to make peace with him. The King thankfully defies the old man.
Saruman then tries to tempt Gandalf, by persuading him to come up to meet him on Orthanc. Gandalf thankfully is not taken by Saruman and tries to persuade him to ‘come down’. Saruman defies Gandalf and kind terms. He’s then cast from the wizard order as his staff is broken by Gandalf.
9. THE PALANTÍR (8m 26s)
After the scene with Saruman, Wormtongue suddenly throws out a ‘stone ball’ from Orthanc. This startles everyone, just as Pippin goes over to fetch the ‘stone ball’. Bad idea, Pippin! Gandalf then announces ‘it is the end’ and that he won’t deal with Saruman. He doesn’t seem worried about him.
Gandalf then invites Théoden to join him as they go to talk to Treebeard. Treebeard is instructed for him and his Ents to keep guard of Saruman and Isengard. Pippin then screams out loud as he has touched ‘the thing Wormtongue’ threw down. Gandalf discovers it’s a palantír. He becomes shocked.
It’s interesting how Pippin looks into the palantír in the radio version compared to the movie version in ‘ROTK’. In the radio version, it’s out of curiosity but also done as an accident. In the movie version, it’s out of curiosity but is done deliberately. Gandalf does not treat Pippin a fool in the radio version.
Pippin is terrified and tells Gandalf that he has seen Sauron. There’s even a scene where Pippin recalls Sauron actually talking to him compared to the movie version. Not sure who the voice actor is, but Sauron doesn’t sound intimidating as in the movie version, since he sounds scratchy on audio.
Gandalf tells Pippin to rest before he gives the palantír to Aragorn. A Nazgûl on wings then flies by, but it’s not looking for Pippin. Gandalf then takes Pippin with him on Shadowfax to Minas Tirith in Gondor. Gandalf tells Pippin about the palantíri stones before Pippin wonders about Frodo and Sam.
1. THE BLACK GATE IS CLOSED (11m 48s)
The third disc begins with Frodo, Sam and Gollum arriving at the Black Gate of Mordor. Frodo is determined to go on and enter Mordor through the Gate. But Gollum suggests another way.
This section is mostly dialogue and reveals information about Mordor and Minas Morgul.
2. THE GREY COMPANY (7m 46s)
Meanwhile, Gandalf and Pippin continue riding on their way to Minas Tirith on Shadowfax.
With Aragorn, Théoden and the others, they ride back to Helm’s Deep. Very soon, Théoden and his men with Merry ride for Dunharrow whilst Aragorn takes on ‘The Paths of the Dead’.
3. THE STONE OF ORTHANC (4m 03s)
After Théoden’s company have gone, Aragorn tells Legolas and Gimli that has looked in the stone of Orthanc. Aragorn tells them he seen and revealed himself to Sauron, but he didn’t say anything.
Aragorn goes on to take ‘The Paths of the Dead’ and Legolas and Gimli agree to go with him.
4. OF HERBS AND STEWED RABBIT (15m 39s)
Back with Frodo, Sam and Gollum, they are now in Ithilien, a beautiful woodland place.
Frodo has a meal of rabbit stew with Sam by Gollum before they’re by caught by Faramir and his men. Faramir is Boromir’s brother and takes Frodo and Sam to Henneth Annun which is a waterfall.
5. FARAMIR SHOWS HIS QUALITY (6m 12s)
At Henneth Annun, Frodo and Sam share a meal with Faramir as they talk about Boromir and Lothlórien. Sam makes the mistake of mentioning the ring, and soon Faramir sees it for himself.
Faramir sees the ring and is almost tempted to take the ring for himself. But Faramir manages to resist. Frodo is overcome with weariness and slumbers into sleep with Sam looking after him.
6. THE PATHS OF THE DEAD (8m 35s)
With Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli, they arrive at the Haunted Mountain leading to the Paths of the Dead. There Eowyn meets them and tries to persuade Aragorn from his journey into the mountain.
Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli enter the mountain and journey onwards into the Paths of the Dead.
7. THE FORBIDDEN POOL (9m 29s)
Back in Ithilien, Frodo and Sam are summoned by Faramir to see Gollum swimming for fish in the Forbidden Ball. Frodo goes down to fetch him and Gollum gets manhandled by the Ilthilen rangers.
Gollum is interrogated by Faramir and soon Frodo is allowed to go free. Faramir asks where Frodo is heading and it turns out to be Cirith Ungol. Faramir tries to persuade Frodo not to go there.
8. THE STEWARD OF MINAS TIRITH (9m 05s)
At Minas Tirith, Gandalf instructs not to tell Denethor about Frodo; the ring and Aragorn.
Inside the citadel, they meet Denethor, steward of Gondor. Pippin tells Denethor about his son Boromir and is sworn into service by the steward. Gandalf reveals that he is also a steward.
1. MORDOR CASTS ITS SHADOW (10m 02s)
The fourth disc begins with Pippin and Gandalf after their meeting with Denethor.
At Dunharrow in Rohan, the muster of the Rohirrim takes place. With Frodo and Sam, they follow Gollum on the road to the Morgul Vale. The days are growing darker as Mordor casts its shadow.
2. FORTH RODE THE KING (6m 49s)
In Dunharrow, Théoden relieves Merry of his service to him. Merry protests and is frustrated for being left whilst everyone goes. He is then invited to join Dernhelm (Eowyn) to ride to Gondor.
At Minas Tirith, Pippin joins Gandalf to be summoned by Denethor and hear news from Faramir.
3. THE STAIRS OF CIRITH UNGOL (10m 51s)
Frodo, Sam and Gollum arrive at Minas Morgul. Soon the gate opens and the Mordor’s armies march out. Once Minas Morgul has emptied, Frodo and Sam follow Gollum up the stairs of Cirith Ungol.
Once climbed the second set of stairs, Frodo and Sam get to rest and have their last meal.
4. THE SIEGE OF GONDOR (2m 35s)
There’s no big battle sequence in this version of ‘The Siege of Gondor’. Denethor instructs Faramir to take charge at Osgiliath. Faramir objects at first, but not wishing to disappoint his father he agrees.
Leaving Denethor, Faramir then meets Gandalf who tells him not to throw away his life.
5. THE SHADES OF DUNHARROW (3m 50s)
With Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli, they have been journeying to Pelargir for some time with the Army of the Dead. They have been destroying the armies in alliance with Mordor, including the Haradrim.
Aragorn finishes with the Army of the Dead and soon he, Legolas and Gimli set for Minas Tirith.
6. GOLLUM THE SNEAK (5m 47s)
Back on the stairs of Cirith Ungol, Gollum disturbs Sam who wakes up to find him. Sam then wakes up Frodo. Frodo allows Gollum to go free. But Gollum doesn’t leave as he takes them to the tunnel.
They arrive at the entrance to the tunnel. Gollum insists that it is the only way into Mordor.
7. SHELOB’S LAIR (8m 17s)
Inside the tunnel, Frodo and Sam feel their way on the wall. They lose their way and realise that Gollum is gone. They hear a hissing sound and Frodo uses Galadriel’s star-glass to light their way.
They then see Shelob, a giant spider. Frodo is soon stabbed by Shelob and Sam fights her off.
8. THE CHOICES OF MASTER SAMWISE (6m 18s)
Sam checks on Mr Frodo and believes he’s dead. He then takes the ring from Frodo to Mordor.
No sooner has he left Frodo, Sam hears Orcs from Mordor coming and discovers that Frodo is alive.
9. EPILOGUE (4m 02s)
The CD ends with an epilogue set after the ‘LOTR’ story as Frodo writes his book at Bag-End.
This is a great second volume in the radio series of the ‘LOTR’. ‘The Two Towers’ is very different from the movie version with lots of chunks of the story derived from what was seen in the movie version especially the stuff with Shelob that was in the book version of ‘Two Towers’.
I relished this invigorating listening experience of ‘LOTR’ and made me notice all the various alternations; differences and comparisons in ‘LOTR’ from book to film to radio. With having listened to two volumes of this radio series, I couldn’t wait to hear the third and final instalment.
‘The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers’ (BBC) rating – 10/10
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