‘The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers’ (Audio)



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 ‘LOTR’ radio series, it didn’t take me long to check out the next instalment of the trilogy. It was on a trip to Cardiff in September 2004 that I sought ‘The Two Towers’. Again, I enjoyed every minute of it when I got home after purchasing the 4-disc CD set.

I found it an amazing audio experience. It’s incredible this was a 26 episode series before it was reissued into a three volume trilogy, matching the original books by J. R. R. Tolkien and the film trilogy by Peter Jackson. I wonder how the 26-episode series would have been presented in 1981. 😀

Once again, the cast of actors are brilliant here. There’s Ian Holm (Bilbo Baggins in the ‘LOTR’ films) as Frodo, 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 4-disc CD set. Inside, there is a sleeve notes booklet which 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’. It’s also given to the beginning of ‘The Return of the King’ radio version. I couldn’t help feel that I traversed 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 about the Red Book being given so many titles by Bilbo Baggins. The 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 occurred before Frodo and Sam set off for Mordor.


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. He goes off to try and find him before running into a number of orcs. He uses 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 dies abruptly.

It isn’t clear to Aragorn whether Frodo and Sam were captured by the orcs or if it was just Merry and Pippin. David Collings as Legolas and Douglas Livingstone as Gimli then turn up and they see that Boromir is dead. They’re regretful they didn’t help out much in killing the 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; they come from Isengard and they’re 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 into the land of Rohan. As they run, Aragorn soon spots something on the ground. He spots Pippin’s hobbit footprint as well as a broach from an elven cloak.

Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli keep on following the trail of the orcs, but find that they’re 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. Though 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, as they’ve become prisoners of the Uruk-Hai. There’s only one scene of Merry and Pippin in the captivity of the Uruk-Hai. It’s brief compared to film and book. The leader of the Uruk-Hai wants Merry and Pippin alive. 🙂

The Uruk-Hai soon 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, they make their escape whilst the Rohan riders attack. They enter Fangorn Forest, where they were warned against going into by the elves of Lothlórien. I know that’s in the book, but it wasn’t made very clear in the ‘LOTR’ radio series.


Back with Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli, their pursuit in 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”, says Aragorn. 🙂

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 as well as in the book.

I suppose that would have been tricky to do on 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 is ‘Strider’. Éomer suspects Aragorn’s words and he even angers Gimli and Legolas.

A lot of dialogue featured in the radio version echoes from the movie version as well 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’ve had. He soon lets Aragorn and his friends go to find their friends. Éomer also requests 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 had me jump 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 brilliant as Treebeard. 🙂

I like how Merry and Pippin get to know Treebeard and how they’re introduced to him. Treebeard is curious about the two hobbits 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 becomes intrigued, but is also angered about Saruman.

The moments where 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 to an Entmoot to decide what to do about Saruman. Treebeard also 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, lost in a rocky maze. I like how the radio series doesn’t follow the narrative that was in the book. Like in the film, the radio series cuts to Frodo and Sam’s scenes occurring at the same time as Aragorn’s scenes.

Also like in the film, Frodo and Sam seem to be going around in circles within the 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 aren’t able reach it whilst in the 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, which amuses Frodo. They then hear the sound of a Black Rider as if in the air.


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 else he’ll cut his throat. Gollum whines away as in the film, but not like how Andy Serkis did it.

Frodo and Sam decide on 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 go either. They rest for the night, hoping Gollum will not 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 loved it when Sam told Gollum the rope’s not that tight, but Gollum insists “It hurts us, it hurts us!” Frodo refuses not to take the rope off him.

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 and is Frodo and Sam’s guide to Mordor. 😐


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’s Saruman. I like how Gimli seemed so convinced that it was Saruman, despite the old wizard’s pleasantry.

It’s soon revealed that it’s not Saruman, but it’s Gandalf, who appears 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 Edoras to help the people of Rohan. He 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.


Back with Merry and Pippin, they’re waiting patiently for the Ents to make up their minds up on what to do with Saruman at Isengard. It’s intriguing how this version of the Entmoot in the radio series compares to the film version in ‘Two Towers’, as the Ents make up their minds quite quickly. 🙂

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 to Isengard, especially as they sing the song of ‘The Last March of the Ents’ from the book. I couldn’t help think of the movie whilst that song was sung. 🙂


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 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’s 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. Thankfully, Théoden manages to come out of it rather quickly. This is pretty different compared to the Saruman-possessing-Théoden scene depicted in the film version of ‘Two Towers’. 🙂

Théoden goes outside the Golden Hall where Gandalf joins him, so that he can ‘breathe the free air again’. Théoden realises what’s happened to him and he asks for Gandalf’s advice on what to do next. Éomer is sent for and Gandalf notices how Théoden looks towards Mordor. 😐 This 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. I liked it when Frodo offered some lembas bread to Gollum and he couldn’t eat it. It’s interesting that this scene occurs in the Emyn Muil on radio as opposed to the Dead Marshes in film.

Sam then suggests to Frodo that he should take some sleep whilst he keeps watch over Gollum. Sam then makes the mistake of falling asleep himself as he dropped off unintentionally. He wakes 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 has happened, but Frodo doesn’t seem too bothered about Gollum going off alone. I liked it when Frodo and Sam discussed what to do next regarding the quest and getting the job done. It’s 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 this. I found it amusing when Gollum appeared out of the blue once Sam wondered about him. Gollum escorts Frodo and Sam, heading for the Dead Marshes.

2. THE DEAD MARSHES (2m 58s)

Gollum, Sam and Frodo soon end up in the marshy bog-land of the Dead Marshes. These Dead Marshes scenes in the radio series are pretty eerie compared to the film version. Frodo gets caught in a trance whilst at the Dead Marshes, but he doesn’t fall into them like he did in the film version. 🙂

Here, Gollum tells Frodo and Sam about the history of the great battle between elves and men against the orcs of Mordor. He tells them that their bodies fell into the waters of the marshes long ago. He also tells them not to look and follow the lights. Frodo and Sam continue following Gollum. 🙂


Back in Edoras in Rohan, Gandalf is still with Théoden, following on the scene where we left off at the end of Disc 1 of ‘Two Towers’. Éomer then arrives, offering 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 cries out the Rohan war chant in response once Théoden is back among his people. Théoden then asks for counsel from Gandalf and is told to cast doubt aside. Théoden deals with Wormtongue, who is brought before him. He has his sword, which Théoden gave to Wormtongue. 😐

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 go down on his belly.

It’s soon revealed that Wormtongue tried to attract the attention of Lady Éowyn. Gandalf warns Théoden about Wormtongue’s lies. Théoden gives Wormtongue another chance by offering a choice. Wormtongue responds by spitting on Théoden instead of Aragorn, running off out of Edoras.

Théoden offers a gift to give to Gandalf. Gandalf asks for Shadowfax the horse. Théoden gladly agrees. 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 battle. 🙂

4. THE TWO GOLLUMS (7m 56s)

Back at 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 are then 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 was panicking, “Wraithses! Wraithses on wings!”

After avoiding the Black Rider, Frodo, Sam and Gollum soon arrive at 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 the scenes featured in the film versions of ‘Two Towers’ and ‘ROTK’. Gollum plans to get back his ‘precious’. I like how Gollum hates Baggins; Sméagol says “Not this Baggins!” and Gollum retorts, “Yes! Every Baggins!” This does highlight his dual personality.

It’s surprising Sam didn’t wake up and accuse Gollum in the radio series like he did in the movies, especially when Sméagol and Gollum talked about taking them to ‘her’. Sam then makes out he’s waking up to Gollum, before he wakes up Mr. Frodo. 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’s intriguing how Éomer is there for Helm’s Deep in the radio version. 🙂

In the film, Éomer was still banished at the time Théoden and the people of Rohan evacuated to Helm’s Deep. This was before Gandalf found Éomer and the Rohirrim to come to Helm’s Deep’s aid. In the radio series, no evacuation of Rohan takes place and Gandalf is seeking help from Erkenbrand.

Théoden and his men, Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli soon arrive at Helm’s Deep. Patrick Barr as Gamling is there. This Gamling is different compared to the one in the film trilogy. The men of Rohan make arrangements to defend Helm’s Deep, and there’s quite a lot of strategic talking going on here.


Later that night, Legolas and Gimli stand at Helm’s Deep. I like this 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 earlier he was dead.

Meanwhile, the battle of Helm’s Deep takes place. The radio version of this battle isn’t very impressive compared to the film version’s. It doesn’t last for 45 minutes and the action scenes aren’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 don’t get to hear an actor’s voice for him. Gandalf, Théoden and the others then go to Isengard.


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. It matches to the history of Helm’s Deep scene with Éomer and 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. However, ‘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’re 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 is introduced to Merry and Pippin and is curious about them breathing fire through their pipeweed. Merry gives an account of the pipeweed 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’s inside his tower of Orthanc in Isengard. Gimli is curious about whether Saruman looks like Gandalf. Gandalf implies that Saruman could look like him. He also warns everyone to be wary of his voice as they talk to Saruman.


This chapter is my favourite from the ‘LOTR’ radio series. I heard this version of ‘The Voice of Saruman’ scene before seeing the film 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’s 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 from 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 a lot of dialogue in the radio version compared to the film version.

Gimli isn’t taken by Saruman, saying that his words of ‘help’ mean ‘ruin’ and ‘saving’ means ‘slaying’. Éomer also isn’t 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 and meet him on Orthanc. Gandalf thankfully isn’t taken by Saruman. He tries to persuade him to ‘come down’. Saruman defies Gandalf and his kind terms. He is then cast from the wizard order and 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 concerned about him.

Gandalf then invites Théoden to join him as they go and talk to Treebeard. Treebeard is instructed for him and his Ents to keep guard of Saruman and Isengard. Pippin then screams out loud, since he touched ‘the thing’ Wormtongue threw down. Gandalf discovers it’s a palantír and he becomes shocked.

It’s interesting how Pippin looks into the palantír in the radio version compared to the film version of ‘ROTK’. In the radio version, it’s out of curiosity, but also done as an accident. In the film version, it’s out of curiosity, but it’s done deliberately. Gandalf doesn’t treat Pippin as a fool in the radio version. 🙂

Pippin is terrified and tells Gandalf that he’s seen Sauron. There’s even a scene where Pippin recalls Sauron actually talking to him compared to the film version. I’m not sure who the voice actor is, but Sauron doesn’t sound intimidating here 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 soon 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.


Disc 3 begins with Frodo, Sam and Gollum arriving at the Black Gate of Mordor. Frodo is determined to go on and enter Mordor through the Black Gate, but Gollum suggests another way in. Frodo is surprised Gollum never mentioned this before, but Gollum was only told to take them to the gate. 😐

This chapter is mostly dialogue and it reveals information about Mordor and Minas Morgul. This is different compared to ‘The Two Towers’ film where Sam accidentally fell down the mountain and Frodo rescued him from some Easterlings. I’ll need to check the book to see if it’s different there. 😀

Frodo is willing to trust Sméagol once more as their guide to enter Mordor, but he warns him about the danger he’s in. Sméagol said about Frodo giving back the ring to him, to which Frodo threatens to use the ring on Sméagol to do his will. Interesting how Frodo is fiercer when he’s treating Gollum.

During the exposition about the other way into Mordor beside Minas Morgul, Sam suspects Gollum isn’t being sincere when he talks about whose inside the tower beside the winding staircase. Sam makes snarky jokes and quips about it, to which Gollum gets annoyed and calls him ‘stupid hobbit’. 🙂

When asked whether Minas Morgul is guarded, Gollum say ‘yes’, but the hobbits must try or go home. Frodo agrees to take the other way into Mordor and asks what the pass of the winding staircase is called. Gollum doesn’t tell, but Gerard Murphy the narrator tells us that it’s Cirith Ungol.

2. THE GREY COMPANY (7m 46s)

Meanwhile, Gandalf and Pippin continue to ride on their way to Minas Tirith on Shadowfax. Pippin wonders if Sauron is watching them, but Gandalf reminds him they don’t have the palantír. Gandalf also shares with Pippin that there’s a palantír at Minas Tirith, but it’s considered long and forgotten.

Elsewhere with Aragorn, Théoden and the others, they ride back to Helm’s Deep. They’re soon met by a Ranger of the North who comes bearing a gift and tidings from Arwen of Rivendell to Aragorn. The Ranger also gives a message to Aragorn from Elrond about him taking on the Paths of the Dead.

Back at Helm’s Deep, Aragorn informs Théoden and Éomer that whilst they ride for Dunharrow, he’ll take on the Paths of the Dead. Théoden and Éomer are shocked and saddened that Aragorn is leaving them via that road, but Aragorn insists that he must go in order to achieve an important task.

Merry then asks what’s to be done for him. Aragorn had forgotten about Merry, but it’s soon arranged that he should be Théoden swordthain, as he and his men ride for Dunharrow. I like how this is set up in the radio version of ‘LOTR’ and how Merry considers Théoden to be quite father-like.

It’s also intriguing that the ‘ROTK’ stuff we’ve seen in the film trilogy happens early by this point in the radio series, coinciding with the end part of Frodo and Sam’s story in ‘Two Towers’ as in film in radio. Not sure which chronology is correct, as the Helm’s Deep battle in film is longer than on audio.


Once Théoden’s company have ridden off for Dunharrow, Aragorn shares with Legolas and Gimli that he looked into the stone of Orthanc. Gimli is worried about Aragorn doing this thing, but Aragorn reminds him that he’s the owner of the palantír and that it’s his right to look into the seeing stone. 🙂

Aragorn shares with Legolas and Gimli what he saw, as he revealed himself and the sword Andúril to Sauron. Andúril was once Narsil, the sword that cut off the One Ring of power from Sauron’s finger. Sauron didn’t say anything to Aragorn however. This is a contrast to when Sauron spoke to Pippin. 😐

It’s also different compared to the film version of the scene in ‘ROTK’ as Aragorn revealed himself to Sauron, but Sauron showed an image of Arwen dying. I wonder if that aspect of the Aragorn/Sauron scene via the palantír was a thing in the film, as opposed to what’s in the book as well as on audio. 😐

Aragorn shares his decision to Legolas and Gimli that he’s to take on the Paths of the Dead. Legolas and Gimli agree to go with him. It’s interesting that Elrond didn’t ride all the way to meet Aragorn to tell him about the Paths of the Dead challenge. Then again, Aragorn had his Andúril sword by then. 🙂


Back with Frodo, Sam and Gollum, they’re now in Ithilien, which is a beautiful woodland place. Gollum tries to give a meal of ‘rabbitses’ to Frodo and Sam. Frodo is asleep whilst Sam decides to ‘stew the conies’. Gollum is upset and angry with Sam for not eating the rabbits raw like he wants to.

I found this scene between Bill Nighy as Sam and Peter Woodthorpe as Gollum very entertaining, echoing much in the same style as featured in the film version of the scene. I’m still amazed that Bill Nighy manages to sound like Sam from the ‘LOTR’ films, as he sounds quite different in other things.

Whilst Gollum’s away, Frodo wakes up and has his meal of rabbit stew with Sam. Once they’ve finished and Sam has the fire put out, they soon hear a bird cawing. But it doesn’t sound like a real bird cawing. It’s more like someone’s mimicking a bird. They’re soon caught by a group of rangers. 😮

The rangers are led by Andrew Seear as Faramir, Captain of Gondor. Frodo shares who he and Sam are and that they had friends, one of whom was Boromir. Faramir reveals to Frodo and Sam that Boromir is dead and he happens to be his brother. 😐 He also reveals how he knows Boromir is dead.

It’s interesting how the flashback scene of Faramir finding Boromir in a boat on the Great River is told to Frodo and Sam on audio compared to how it’s presented in the film version. Faramir soon takes Frodo and Sam to Henneth Annûn (the Window on the West). This happens to be a waterfall. 🙂


At Henneth Annûn, Frodo and Sam have a meal with Faramir. They talk about Boromir and Lothlórien, before Sam makes the mistake of mentioning the ring. Soon, Faramir sees it for himself. It’s intriguing how this scene plays out in the radio version of ‘LOTR’ compared to the movie version.

Faramir sees the ring and is almost tempted to take it himself. But Faramir gradually overcomes the temptation and he manages to resist. This is different in the film, as Faramir was almost about to take the ring to Gondor, as he and his men escorted Frodo, Sam and Gollum to the ruins of Osgiliath.

That doesn’t happen here. Whilst I like Andrew Seear’s performance as Faramir in the ‘LOTR’ radio series, I think the movie version of Faramir is better compared to the book and the radio series. At least we understood why Faramir wanted to take the ring to Gondor in the film version of the story.

He wanted to please his father Denethor and ‘show his quality’. Here, it feels too quickly handled, as Faramir doesn’t seem to have grown as a character like he did in the films. It doesn’t match to how Boromir was tempted by the ring, as surely Faramir would have at least wanted the ring for himself.

Frodo is soon overcome with weariness and he slumbers into sleep with Sam looking after him. As Faramir is about to leave, Sam tells him that he’s ‘shown his quality’. I like how the radio series echoes some of the dialogue featured in the film version of ‘LOTR’, which is how I remember it well.


Back with Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli, they arrive at the Haunted Mountain which leads into the Paths of the Dead. There, Éowyn meets Aragorn and tries to persuade him from his journey into the mountain. I like how this scene plays out, especially with showcasing Éowyn’s love for Aragorn here.

It’s not as good as what was shown in the film trilogy between Éowyn and Aragorn, but at least it’s better than depicting the love story between Aragorn and Arwen in the radio series. There are also very familiar lines of dialogue echoed from ‘The Two Towers’ film between Éowyn and Aragorn here.

This includes dialogue from scenes featured in the Golden Hall of Edoras and at Helm’s Deep. Very soon, Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli venture into the mountain and journey onwards through the Paths of the Dead. There’s a creepy eeriness regarding the Paths of the Dead sequences in the radio series.

The incidental music helps. The Paths of the Dead sequences on audio aren’t like the ones featured in the ‘ROTK’ film. I’m not sure if Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli are on horseback when riding on the Paths of the Dead compared to the film where their horses fled in air and they journeyed on foot. 😐

Legolas and Gimli also hear and see the Army of the Dead following them, as they make for Aragorn’s meeting place. There, Aragorn uses ‘the horn of silver’ to summon the Dead. The Army of the Dead seem willing to assist Aragorn compared the ‘ROTK’ film, as they were hard to persuade. 😐


Back at Henneth Annûn, Frodo and Sam are summoned by Faramir to see Gollum swimming for fish in the Forbidden Pool. Frodo prevents Faramir from shooting Gollum and tells him that he’s his and Sam’s guide to Mordor. Frodo soon goes down to fetch Gollum to bring him to Faramir and his men.

I found it funny when Frodo persuaded Gollum from eating his fish and come with him, or else “Precious will be angry”. I wish that had been in the film version of that scene in ‘Two Towers’, as Ian Holm as Frodo plays it off well against Peter Woodthorpe’s Gollum. I could easily visualise the scene.

Gollum soon gets captured and manhandled by the Ithilien rangers. He’s later interrogated by Faramir. Gollum shouldn’t have been swimming for fish in the Forbidden Pool. Once Faramir is satisfied with Gollum’s answers to his questions, he allows Frodo and Sam to continue their journey.

Faramir asks where Frodo is heading, and Frodo tells him. Faramir tells Frodo that the name of the pass that Gollum is taking him and Sam on is called Cirith Ungol. It was interesting to hear this scene take place at Henneth Annûn in the radio series as opposed to taking place at Osgiliath in the movie.

Faramir tries to persuade Frodo not to go via the path of Cirith Ungol, but Frodo is very determined to go in order to destroy the ring in Mordor. I do like how the scene is played out between Ian Holm and Andrew Seear as their characters, and they each weigh the argument for and against this journey.


The last chapter of Disc 3 of ‘Two Towers’ has Gandalf and Pippin arriving at Minas Tirith in Gondor. Pippin is curious about the White Tree of Gondor in the courtyard of the kings. Interesting how Pippin described the tree not being white, but black, rotten and dead compared to the film version.

As they’re about to enter the citadel of Minas Tirith, Gandalf instructs Pippin not to tell Denethor about Frodo, the ring and Aragorn. Pippin is quite surprised to hear that Aragorn is meant to take up the kingship of Gondor. Gandalf is annoyed that Pippin has had ‘closed ears’ and ‘mind asleep’ here.

Inside the citadel, Gandalf and Pippin meet Peter Vaughan as Denethor, the steward of Gondor. It was nice to hear Peter Vaughan play Denethor in the ‘LOTR’ radio series, as he later appeared in the 1998 BBC adaptation of ‘Our Mutual Friend’. He plays Denethor really well in the ‘LOTR’ radio series.

Once Pippin sees the cloven horn of Gondor that once belonged to Boromir in Denethor’s hands, he tells him about his son and what happened when he got killed. Pippin soon offers his service in payment of his debt. He’s soon sworn into service quite quickly by the steward compared to how it is in the film.

After Pippin tells more to Denethor about Boromir, he and Gandalf are soon provided lodgings in Minas Tirith. Denethor tells Gandalf that the rule of Gondor is his and no other man’s, unless the king should come again. Gandalf also tells Denethor that he’s a steward. He and Pippin then leave. 🙂


The fourth disc of ‘Two Towers’ begins with Pippin and Gandalf coming out of the citadel of Minas Tirith after they’ve had their meeting with Denethor. Gandalf tells Pippin that he’s free to move about the city of Minas Tirith, but reminds him that he’s under Denethor’s command whilst in the city.

At Dunharrow in Rohan, the muster of the Rohirrim takes place. Éowyn meets up with Théoden and Éomer who’ve arrived. She tells them that Aragorn passed by and went on to venture the Paths of the Dead. She also tells them Gondor has summoned for help. Théoden agrees to answer their call. 🙂

With Frodo and Sam, they follow Gollum on the road to the Morgul Vale. It’s interesting how Disc 4 of the radio version of ‘Two Towers’ is now in ‘ROTK’ territory as it would be in the films, Although with the Frodo and Sam segments, they happened during the second half of ‘The Two Towers’ book. 😐

It seems the days are growing darker as Mordor casts its shadow. Théoden and Éomer notice it when they’re in Dunharrow. Théoden also says a familiar line Gandalf said in the ‘ROTK’ film, “So, we come to it in the end. The great battle of our time!” Intriguing Théoden said it on audio as opposed to Gandalf in film.

Back in Mordor, Sam wakes up, trying to find his pipe and discovers he can’t really use it without much pipeweed. He then notices Frodo’s still awake, and their dialogue almost echoes the opening of the ‘ROTK’ film. Gollum also pops up out of nowhere and urges Frodo and Sam to move forward.


In Dunharrow, Théoden is about to ride off to war with the Rohirrim. He relieves Merry of his service to him. Merry protests, as he wants to be by Théoden’s side. Théoden gives his reasons before he and his men set off. This particular scene is eerily similar to how it’s interpretated in the ‘ROTK’ film.

Merry is frustrated for being left behind whilst everyone goes off to war. He’s soon invited to join a Rohan rider named Dernhelm (who’s Éowyn in disguise) to ride off to Gondor. Merry is overjoyed and grateful. Interesting that Merry doesn’t recognise Éowyn behind the helmet that she’s wearing.

As the Rohirrim ride off to Gondor, the song ‘Forth Rode the King’ is played in the background. Back at Minas Tirith, Pippin joins Gandalf as he’s been summoned by Denethor to hear news from Faramir. Faramir is amazed to see Pippin, telling him that he’d seen Frodo and Sam pretty recently. 🙂

As Faramir shares his news to Denethor, Gandalf and Pippin, Denethor expresses how distressed he is that Boromir’s dead as he believes he would have brought the ring to him. Gandalf contracts him, saying that he wouldn’t have recognised his son, as Boromir had been corrupted by the ring’s power.

Denethor doesn’t listen to Gandalf of course. Gandalf asks Faramir where Frodo and Sam headed for, and Faramir tells him that Frodo sought the pass of Cirith Ungol. Gandalf is distressed to hear this news and fears treachery of the miserable creature Gollum. But he hopes good will come of it. 🙂


Meanwhile, Frodo, Sam and Gollum arrive at Minas Morgul. Just as they’re about to climb up the stairs of Cirith Ungol, Frodo seems drawn to Minas Morgul when under the influence of the ring. Sam and Gollum pull him away whilst he’s under a trance. Frodo comes out of it, but in great pain. 😐

Soon, a sky portal opens (I believe – it’s how it sounded from watching the film as well as hearing the crack of thunder) and the gate opens. Soon, the armies of Mordor march out from Minas Morgul. Frodo, Sam and Gollum hide from the armies of Mordor seeing them as it was depicted in the film. 🙂

Frodo is tempted to put the ring on whilst he, Sam and Gollum are hiding. Frodo tries to resist as he knows the ring will betray him as it did on Weathertop back in ‘Fellowship’. The voice of the ring becomes persistent, but Frodo manages to resist. The gate soon closes once Minas Morgul is empty.

Soon, Frodo and Sam follow Gollum up the stairs of Cirith Ungol. It’s a struggle to climb the first staircase, as it’s more like a ladder than a staircase. Gollum also encourages Frodo and Sam to climb up the next staircase which is the winding staircase. Thankfully, Frodo and Sam manage to climb it. 🙂

On top of the second staircase, Frodo and Sam have their meal before they get some rest before venturing on the last leg of their journey. I like how the dialogue between them about ‘songs and tales’ echoes the end of ‘The Two Towers’ film, which is really fitting as this is Disc 4 of ‘Two Towers’.


There’s no big battle scene that occurs in the radio version of the Siege of Gondor. I found this disappointing, especially from seeing the battle scenes in the ‘LOTR’ films. But again, like with the Battle of Helm’s Deep, I imagine the Siege of Minas Tirith would’ve been challenging to put on audio.

Denethor instructs Faramir to deal with the defence of Osgiliath. Faramir objects at first, but doesn’t wish to disappoint his father and soon agrees. There’s similar dialogue echoed from the ‘ROTK’ film in this scene and in the scene between Gandalf and Faramir, who tells him not to throw away his life.


Meanwhile, with Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli, they and the Army of the Dead have been journeying to Pelargir for some time. They’ve been destroying the armies that have worked in alliance with the armies of Mordor, including the Haradrim. I found this disappointing when listening to it on audio. 😦

Again, like with the Battle of Helm’s Deep and the Siege of Minas Tirith, the scale of the battle doesn’t feel so epic compared to the film versions. Most of it is just talking between Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli as well as the narration provided by Gerard Murphy when describing what’s happening. 😐

Aragorn soon finishes with the Army of the Dead and tells them to depart and be at rest. This is difficult compared to when Aragorn needed the Army of the Dead to help them fight outside the walls of Minas Tirith. Very soon, Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli continue their journey to Minas Tirith. 🙂

6. GOLLUM THE SNEAK (5m 47s)

Back on the stairs of Cirith Ungol, Gollum returns to Frodo and Sam who are currently sleeping. He as Sméagol and Gollum talk about their plans in bringing the hobbits to ‘her’ in the tunnel. Gollum’s talking soon wakes up Sam, who asks him where he’s been and calls him a sneak. Gollum’s offended!

The dialogue about Gollum being called a ‘sneak’ by Sam echoes what was in the ‘ROTK’ film. The difference however is that Gollum doesn’t get rid of the lembas bread by throwing it over a cliff and he doesn’t split Frodo and Sam up like he did in the film. This was fascinating to listen to on the audio. 🙂

Sam then wakes Frodo up. I found it amusing when Gollum kept complaining about being called a ‘sneak’ by Sam to Frodo. Sam gets annoyed with Gollum, as he said ‘sorry’ to him a few times. Frodo doesn’t get angry with either Sam or Gollum, and he soon allows Frodo to go free and be on his way.

There was a moment where Gollum might have considered Frodo’s option to go free when a moment of silence ensues. But Gollum doesn’t leave, as he soon takes them to where the tunnel is. They arrive at the tunnel entrance, and Frodo and Sam are put-off by the terrible stench coming from it. 😐

Gollum insists to Frodo and Sam that this is the only way to enter into Mordor. Frodo soon agrees that they must take it as the way in. Again, it’s interesting how Frodo and Sam go together in the tunnel leading into Mordor, as opposed to Frodo going in alone as it was depicted in the ‘ROTK’ film.

7. SHELOB’S LAIR (8m 17s)

Inside the tunnel, Frodo and Sam feel their way along the walls in order to try and find their way in the dark. Apparently, the tunnel is darker than the mines of Moria. Frodo and Sam soon lose their way and come to a fork in the tunnel, before realising that Gollum has gone and abandoned them. 😐

Sam is angry, suspecting Gollum meant to abandon them. They soon hear a hissing sound in the dark. Frodo and Sam become afraid, until Marian Diamond as Galadriel’s voice echoes in the background. The two hobbits remember the star-glass given to Frodo to light their way in the dark. 🙂

As Frodo uses the star-glass, he and Sam soon see Shelob, the giant spider (voiced by Jenny Lee). Frodo and Sam manage to scare Shelob off for a bit when using the star-glass on her. They try to get out, but find themselves caught in giant cobwebs. Frodo uses his sword Sting to cut their way out. 🙂

But on their way out, Shelob encounters them again. Frodo is soon stabbed by Shelob and Sam gets caught by Gollum. Sam manages to fight Gollum off who runs away, before he gets to fight off Shelob, using his sword (or he could’ve been using Frodo’s sword Sting) and the star-glass upon her.

The fight scene between Sam and Shelob is brief, but it gets the point across in Sam defending Frodo’s life like he did in the ‘ROTK’ film. The sounds when Shelob gets injured and shrieks in pain are horrible to listen to when Jenny Lee voices her. Pretty soon, Shelob retreats into her lair to be seen no-more.


Sam soon returns to check on Mr. Frodo and finds he’s cold as ice once he’s torn the webs he’s bound up in. The dialogue Sam has in order to wake up Frodo is eerily similar to what he said in the ‘ROTK’ film. When Frodo isn’t responding, Sam believes him to be dead and becomes upset, not knowing what to do. 😐

Debating with himself, Sam decides to leave Frodo with his sword Sting and his mithril coat, but decides to take the star-glass as he’ll need it to see in the dark from now on, and hopes the Lady Galadriel will understand. He soon takes the ring from Frodo, deciding to continue to Mordor alone.

No sooner has Sam left Frodo, he hears the orcs from Mordor coming down from Cirith Ungol. Sam puts the ring on his finger. Thankfully the orcs don’t see him. It’s interesting that the ring doesn’t alert Sauron to its presence once Sam has put it on, especially when in close proximity to Barad-dûr. 😐

The orcs that come down from Cirith Ungol include Chris Fairbank as Shagrat and David Sinclair as Gorbag. They soon find Frodo in the bound-up webs created by Shelob and examine him. Sam hides away, as he watches the orcs about to take Frodo back up to Cirith Ungol in order to interrogate him.

It’s revealed through Shagrat’s conversation with Gorbag that Frodo is still alive. Sam is upset at this. Despite being pleased Frodo isn’t dead, Sam has allowed Frodo to be taken into the captivity by the orcs. ‘The Two Towers’ story closes with Sam berating himself as the orcs take Frodo up to Cirith Ungol.

9. EPILOGUE (4m 02s)

Disc 4 ends with an epilogue taking place after the ‘LOTR’ story, with Frodo writing his book at Bag-End. Frodo feels sorry for Sam with the terrible choice he had to make concerning leaving his master and going off to Mordor alone, before learning his master’s alive, about to be taken by orcs to Cirith Ungol. 😐

I imagine for those who heard the radio series back in 1981, they wouldn’t have realised Frodo was still alive, unless they’ve read the ‘LOTR’ books. With the ‘prologues’ and ‘epilogues’ featuring Ian Holm as Frodo in the three volumes of the ‘LOTR’ radio series, it’s not really that much of a surprise.

And of course the same applies to those who’ve seen the films (like me) as they know what’s going to come up next concerning Frodo’s fate. It’s interesting the radio version of ‘The Two Towers’ concludes with Frodo alive and well, as he narrates ‘The Two Towers’ ending, following Sam’s upset upon learning the truth.

There’s then the end credits read out by Brian Sibley, who details who’s who in the cast as well as the behind-the-scenes crew of the ‘LOTR’ radio series. These end credits for ‘The Two Towers’ radio version are similar to how ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’ radio version’s end credits are handled, which is consistent.

‘The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers’ is a great second volume in the ‘LOTR’ radio series. This radio version of ‘Two Towers’ is different from the film version, with chunks of the story derived from what was seen in the films, especially the Shelob stuff which was featured in the original ‘Two Towers’ book.

I relished the invigorating listening experience of the ‘LOTR’ in ‘Two Towers’, since I noticed the various alternations and differences in the ‘LOTR’ from book to film to radio. Having listened to the first two volumes of the ‘LOTR’ radio series, I was looking forward to the third and final instalment of this. 🙂

‘The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers’ (Audio) rating – 9/10

Previously in

The story continues in

Return to Middle-Earth

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.