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  1. #1
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    I have a question: What are the 2 towers in "The Two Towers"?

    So I am kinda sure one is Orthanc, but the second one? Diffrent people say different things.

    can anyone give me an answer with a good explanation?

  2. #2
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    In letters to Rayner Unwin Tolkien considered naming the two as Orthanc and Barad-dûr, Minas Tirith and Barad-dûr, or Orthanc and the Tower of Cirith Ungol. However, a month later he wrote a note published at the end of The Fellowship of the Ring and later drew a cover illustration which both identified the pair as Minas Morgul and Orthanc.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Two_Towers
    Last edited by Neumi; Oct 24 2012 at 08:43 AM.

  3. #3
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    Tolkien never said what the two towers were, and there has been lots of different suggestions and speculations as to which two towers he was referring to. I'm going to forget a couple of the names here, but it could be Orthanc and Barad-Dur (Mordor). Others suggest Cirith Ungol since it's actually in the book and Mordor isn't. Still others put Minas Tirith in there.

    i did find the following quotes from Tolkien himself:
    Letter #140
    The Two Towers gets as near as possible to finding a title to cover the widely divergent Books 3 and 4; and can be left ambiguous - it might refer to Isengard and Barad-dur, or to Minas Tirith and B; or Isengard and Cirith Ungol.

    Letter #143
    I am not at all happy about the title 'the Two Towers'. It must if there is any real reference in it to Vol II refer to Orthanc and the Tower of Cirith Ungol. But since there is so much made of the basic opposition of the Dark Tower and Minas Tirtith, that seems very misleading.
    So even he didn't really know. In any case, "The Two Towers" was not a name for that volume that he chose- the publisher put it on.
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  4. #4
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    I always thought it was about Orthanc and Barad-Dur, at least the story suggested it. If I recall correctly, Saruman was talking of a "union of two towers" at some point, but I may be mistaken. Anyways, it doesn't make a big difference, basically it's Saruman and Mordor, whichever tower in Mordor you pick, you will be close to the general idea.
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  5. #5
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    Orthanc and Barad Dur

  6. #6
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    I always thought it to be Orthanc and Minas Morgul

    @poster above me: That is the movie poster.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by sirwillow View Post


    So even he didn't really know. In any case, "The Two Towers" was not a name for that volume that he chose- the publisher put it on.
    Pretty much this. Don't get too hung up with the 'trilogy' idea, it was just a marketing tool. Tolkien wrote 'The Lord of the Rings' as a single book, but was pretty much forced to split it up into three bite-sized volumes by his publisher. He wasn't particularly resistant to this, but he certainly didn't consider each 'book' to be a distinct entity.
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  8. #8
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    It is not specified anywhere exactly which towers are referenced in the title....but as people above have quoted, its quite ambiguous....

    But personally I always considered them to be Orthanc and Minas Morgul.....for 2 reasons....

    1] Because most of the story in that book happens around these two towers....the whole battle against Orthanc and Frodo, Sam and Gollum's journey through the Morgul Vale and around Minas Morgul....

    2] Because of the design of the original cover of the book -




    which pretty much I think is Minas Morgul (left) and Orthanc (right)
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  9. #9
    although never really thought about it that deeply - I always just took it to be Minas Tirith and Minas Morgul . .

  10. #10
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    On the last page of the Fellowship of the Ring it is written...

    "The second part is called The Two Towers, since events recounted in it are dominated by Orthanc, the citadel of Saruman, and the fortress of Minas Morgul that guards the secret entrance to Mordor;"
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  11. #11
    Pffft. It might not even be actual *physical* towers.

    It could refer to the staves held by Saruman and Gandalf. Or to those wizards themselves.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haunt123 View Post
    I always thought it to be Orthanc and Minas Morgul

    @poster above me: That is the movie poster.
    Orthanc and Minas Morgul is correct. Read your books people.

    "Tolkien came up with the title under deadline pressure and later expressed dissatisfaction with it. In letters and one sketch, he considered several possible sets of towers, including Minas Tirith and Barad-dûr, and even the possibility of leaving the matter ambiguous. However, he eventually settled on Orthanc and Minas Morgul and wrote a note to this effect which appears at the end of most editions of The Fellowship of the Ring. He also produced a final cover illustration showing these towers, but the publisher decided not to use it in order to save money on the production costs."

    ~~Source: http://lotr.wikia.com/wiki/The_Two_Towers_(novel)
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zombielord View Post


    Orthanc and Barad Dur
    Because when in doubt, the movies are always right :P

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Tarmuar View Post
    On the last page of the Fellowship of the Ring it is written...

    "The second part is called The Two Towers, since events recounted in it are dominated by Orthanc, the citadel of Saruman, and the fortress of Minas Morgul that guards the secret entrance to Mordor;"
    These words are not written in my copy of the Fellowship of the Ring.

    My last page ends with:
    Then shouldering their burdens, they set off, seeking a path that would bring them over the gray hills of Emyn Muil, and down into the Land of Shadow.

    There is four pages after the end of the story listing other works like "The Sword of Shanara" that are available from the publisher.
    Unless stated otherwise, all content in this post is My Personal Opinion.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yula_the_Mighty View Post
    These words are not written in my copy of the Fellowship of the Ring.

    My last page ends with:
    Then shouldering their burdens, they set off, seeking a path that would bring them over the gray hills of Emyn Muil, and down into the Land of Shadow.

    There is four pages after the end of the story listing other works like "The Sword of Shanara" that are available from the publisher.
    Please see the post above (below). You have a copy that doesn't have it in, but that was the final write that was sent to the publisher and published at the end of most publisher versions of The Fellowship...

    Edit: http://www.minastirith.com/cgi-bin/u...c;f=1;t=001157, go a bit down the page, you will see the cover art and the two towers, Orthanc with the white hand and Minas Morgul with the white star (referring to its origin as Minas Ithil) and a nazgul flying between them.

    Quote Originally Posted by lostinjapan2 View Post
    Orthanc and Minas Morgul is correct. Read your books people.
    "Tolkien came up with the title under deadline pressure and later expressed dissatisfaction with it. In letters and one sketch, he considered several possible sets of towers, including Minas Tirith and Barad-dûr, and even the possibility of leaving the matter ambiguous. However, he eventually settled on Orthanc and Minas Morgul and wrote a note to this effect which appears at the end of most editions of The Fellowship of the Ring. He also produced a final cover illustration showing these towers, but the publisher decided not to use it in order to save money on the production costs."

    ~~Source: http://lotr.wikia.com/wiki/The_Two_Towers_(novel)
    Even with all the sources though it is still not 100% set and sure, but the concensus is Orthanc and Minas Morgul...
    Last edited by Tarmuar; Oct 24 2012 at 10:18 AM. Reason: added link to original cover art by J.R.R. Tolkien
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erhnam View Post
    Because when in doubt, the movies are always right :P
    The PJ said it. So let it be written. So let it be done.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tarmuar View Post
    Even with all the sources though it is still not 100% set and sure, but the concensus is Orthanc and Minas Morgul...
    and yet even Tolkien himself didn't say that. In his own letters, which I quoted above, he says:
    Quote Originally Posted by sirwillow View Post
    Letter #143
    I am not at all happy about the title 'the Two Towers'. It must if there is any real reference in it to Vol II refer to Orthanc and the Tower of Cirith Ungol. But since there is so much made of the basic opposition of the Dark Tower and Minas Tirtith, that seems very misleading.
    So even in Tolkien's own words, Minas Morgul isn't even one that's in consideration, since the Dark Tower is Barad Dur, not Minas Morgul.

    So again, it all goes back to my original answer- there really isn't one. If Tolkien himself wasn't settled on it, then there certainly isn't going to be anyone else that is.
    Last edited by sirwillow; Oct 24 2012 at 11:44 AM. Reason: fixed a run on, confusing statement
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  18. #18
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    Orthanc and...

    some tower...
    over yonder...
    to the east...
    there...

    yep...
    no...not there...to the right...yep...
    right there

    But it's a great topic to discuss while waiting for the servers to come up...again...
    Last edited by Tarmuar; Oct 24 2012 at 11:55 AM. Reason: needed to clarify where there is...no...not there...there!
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by sirwillow View Post
    and yet even Tolkien himself didn't say that. In his own letters, which I quoted above, he says:


    So even in Tolkien's own words, Minas Morgul isn't even one that's in consideration, since the Dark Tower is Barad Dur, not Minas Morgul.

    So again, it all goes back to my original answer- there really isn't one. If Tolkien himself wasn't settled on it, then there certainly isn't going to be anyone else that is.
    This is correct, its not minas morgul in fact is closer to think its rather Barad-Dur because of of the alliance of Saruman and Sauron (thats the two towers)

    Also Tolkien never said it but LOTR also looks like a game of chess if you think about it, two towers, pawns, horses, bishops, kings, etc

  20. #20
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    As is made clear by the ambiguity of of what the two towers are, what I want to say is that they do not matter. The big idea for the book is that Saruman defects over to Sauron, and creates lots of bad things that happen in the book that are as a result of that alliance. Saruman lives in a big tower, and there are infamous big towers in Morder. It is merely symbolic if anything and doesn't really matter. I always thought that the title sucked, personally. If Tolkien had put the title there it might be better.
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  21. #21
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    Even though Tolkien eventully kind of settled - dissatisfied - with Orthanc and Minas Morgul, I don't think the version also the movies took is too bad. The Two Towers has very dark chapters in which the might and overwhelming power of Sauron and Saruman combined play a major role, as well as their own struggles and treacheries among themselves. So I guess in mymind a part will always say "Orthanc and Barad-dur".


    But, of course, it will never be a very great title... same and even more goes for the last one that Tolkien never liked. If I recall correctly, the title he wanted for TRotK was "The War of the Ring".


    For me, I try to look at it as it was intended - a single novel with sub-sections or "sub-books".

    And even for those Tolkien had several ideas for the titles... and never really decided on them (or never had to after the splitting):

    Book I - The First Journey or The Ring Sets out
    Book II - The Journey of the Nine Companions or The Ring Goes South
    Book III - The Treason of Isengard
    Book IV - The Journey of the Ring-bearers or The Ring Goes East
    Book V - The War of the Ring
    Book VI - The End of the Third Age


    I do not like the "Ring sets out/South&etc" titles... but the others really sound good without giving too much away.


    "The Treason of Isengard" would have been a great alternative to "Rise of Isengard", although I guess Turbine may not be allowed to use that phrase because it is also the title of parts of "The History of Middle-Earth".

    "Journey of the Ring-bearers" would be a great title for a Emyn Muil, Dead Marshes, Dagorlad and Ithilien update

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by anilthyre View Post
    although never really thought about it that deeply - I always just took it to be Minas Tirith and Minas Morgul . .
    This. They're the only two towers left standing at the end of the story. I don't think Orthanc even comes into consideration here, being as Saruman's intent was to be another Barad-Dur. The latter tower may be one of the considered for the title, but I really think it's the two that face each other across the river.
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    Quote Originally Posted by themateika View Post
    As is made clear by the ambiguity of of what the two towers are, what I want to say is that they do not matter. The big idea for the book is that Saruman defects over to Sauron, and creates lots of bad things that happen in the book that are as a result of that alliance. Saruman lives in a big tower, and there are infamous big towers in Morder. It is merely symbolic if anything and doesn't really matter. I always thought that the title sucked, personally. If Tolkien had put the title there it might be better.
    I have never realy read Saruman as a defector to Saurons side, rather as a rival, given the interaction between Sarumans Uruks and the orcs of Mordor. Having a nazgul land on his roof after Pipin revealed himself in the palantir always seemed to be Sauron demonstrating who was the real dark lord and who was the imitator rather than evidence of cooperation or aliance, for this reason I have never been comfortable with Turbines and PJs interpretation of the relationship beteen Orthanc and Barad Dur. For my own part I always thought the two Towers title infered a balance between the white of minas tirith and the black of Barad Dur like a chess set, but cant speak to what Tolkien intended it to mean.
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  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Morthaur View Post
    I have never realy read Saruman as a defector to Saurons side, rather as a rival, given the interaction between Sarumans Uruks and the orcs of Mordor. Having a nazgul land on his roof after Pipin revealed himself in the palantir always seemed to be Sauron demonstrating who was the real dark lord and who was the imitator rather than evidence of cooperation or aliance, for this reason I have never been comfortable with Turbines and PJs interpretation of the relationship beteen Orthanc and Barad Dur. For my own part I always thought the two Towers title infered a balance between the white of minas tirith and the black of Barad Dur like a chess set, but cant speak to what Tolkien intended it to mean.
    of course, there are no true allies among tolkien's evil doers. theyre our for themselves by nature. obviously, saruman perceives himself as sauron's rival in his grand plans (notice the similarity between saruman's ranting about the ends justifying the mean and boromir's rant about using the ring), but he ends up simply serving sauron in the end.

    tolkien was never really satisfied with any of the titles, because lotr was supposed to be a single volume. personally, i prefer the earlier title 'the treason of isengard'.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Abiyah View Post
    This. They're the only two towers left standing at the end of the story. I don't think Orthanc even comes into consideration here, being as Saruman's intent was to be another Barad-Dur. The latter tower may be one of the considered for the title, but I really think it's the two that face each other across the river.


    My problem with the interpretation of Minas Morgul and Minas Tirith is, that MT does not play a major role in the second volume. Sure, we encounter Faramir... but the real war between the sister cities really is much more part of the third volume.

    When it comes to "places of story" it should really be either Minas Morgul & Orthanc (covering both Frodo's and the war's storyline) or Orthanc & Barad-dur (covering the two evils attacking Middle-earth which does not exclude them plotting against each other).

 

 
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