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This article refers to the novel. For other namesakes, see The Two Towers (disambiguation).

The Two Towers: Being the Second Part of The Lord of the Rings is a novel written by J.R.R. Tolkien. It is preceded by The Fellowship of the Ring and followed by The Return of the King.


The-Two-Towers-1999ed-digest paperback cover

A 1999 edition cover of The Two Towers novel

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.

Loosely, any pair from a set of six towers in the story could plausibly fit the title: Cirith Ungol, Orthanc, Minas Tirith, Barad-dûr, Minas Morgul, and the Hornburg.


Because The Two Towers is the central portion of a longer work, its structure differs from that of a conventional novel. It begins and ends abruptly, without introduction to the characters, explanations of major plot elements or a satisfying conclusion. The first section follows the divergent paths of several important figures from The Fellowship of the Ring, but tells nothing of its central character, on whose fate so much depends, enabling the reader to share in the suspense and uncertainty of the characters themselves. The narrative of the second part returns to the hero's quest to destroy the evil that threatens the world. While the first section tells of an epic battle, the struggles in much of the second are internal.


Book III: The Treason of Isengard[]

Route taken in the two towers middle earth

Map of the routes taken

The Hobbits Merry and Pippin escape from the Orcs who captured them when the Orcs themselves are attacked by the Riders of Rohan. Merry and Pippin head into nearby Fangorn Forest where they encounter treelike giants called Ents.

The forest generally keep to themselves, but are moved to oppose the menace posed to the trees by the wizard Saruman, who has been chopping down trees in the forest to fuel fires for his furnaces.

Aragorn, Gimli the Dwarf, and Legolas the Elf, tracking Merry and Pippin, come across Éomer of Rohan and his riders who tell them that they attacked the Orcs the previous night and left no survivors. However, Aragorn is able to find small prints and they follow these into Fangorn, where they meet a white wizard who they at first believe to be Saruman, but who turns out to be their wizard friend Gandalf, whom they believed had perished in the mines of Moria. He tells them of his fall into the abyss, his battle to the death with the Balrog and his reawakening. The four ride to Edoras and persuade King Théoden that his people are in danger. In the process, Saruman's agent in Edoras, Gríma Wormtongue, is expelled. Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas then travel to the defensive fortification of the Hornburg, while Gandalf goes north in search of Erkenbrand's men to bring as reinforcements. At the Hornburg, they resist an onslaught of Orcs and Men sent by Saruman, and Gandalf arrives the next morning with the Westfold army led by Erkenbrand just in time. The fleeing Orcs run into a forest of Huorns; half-tree, half-ent creatures and none escape. Aragorn, Gimli, Legolas, Théoden, Éomer, Gandalf and some guards then head to Saruman's stronghold, Isengard. There, they reunite with Merry and Pippin and find the fortress overrun by Ents, who had flooded it with the nearby river and besieged Orthanc, where Saruman hid in refuge. After giving Saruman a chance to repent, Gandalf casts him out of the order of wizards. Wormtongue throws something from a window at Gandalf and those with him. This turns out to be one of the palantíri. Pippin, unable to resist the urge, looks into it and has an encounter with Sauron. Gandalf and Pippin then head for Minas Tirith in preparation for the upcoming war.


  • I - The Departure of Boromir - Aragorn finds Boromir hit with many arrows, who tells him that Orcs took Merry and Pippin, and that they were still alive. Boromir dies, and his body is set down over the Falls of Rauros on a 'funeral boat'; Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli decide to follow the Orcs who had captured Merry and Pippin, rather than following Frodo and Sam. The three of them set off to chase the Orcs.
  • II - The Riders of Rohan - They follow the trail of the Orcs and find several clues as to what happened with the hobbits, then meet an éored of Rohirrim led by Éomer, who tell them that the Orcs were destroyed and none were left alive. They camp near the site of the Orc massacre.
  • III - The Uruk-hai - This chapter begins further back in time, telling the story of Merry and Pippin being captured by the Orcs, who are led by Uglúk from Saruman's army, and Grishnákh from Mordor. The two parties of Orcs argue constantly. The Orcs camp near Fangorn Forest and Grishnákh attempts to take the hobbits away with him. The hobbits escape as Grishnákh is killed by an arrow. They flee into Fangorn Forest as the men of Rohan attack the Orcs.
  • IV - Treebeard - Merry and Pippin meet Treebeard the Ent, who calls an Entmoot, a gathering of Ents in Derndingle. The hobbits meet another Ent, Quickbeam. After three days of deliberation, the Ents decide at the Entmoot to attack Isengard.
  • V - The White Rider - The chapter goes back to the story of Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli, who discover signs that the hobbits escaped the Orcs into the forest. They meet an old man, who they at first presume to be Saruman, but who turns out to be Gandalf. They set off for Edoras.
  • VI - The King of the Golden Hall - The four of them reach Edoras and talk with King Théoden. Gríma Wormtongue is expelled. Théoden gives Gandalf the horse Shadowfax.
  • VII - Helm's Deep - Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli are at the Hornburg with the Rohirrim, defending the people of Rohan from attack by the army of Saruman. The Battle of the Hornburg is fought and won.
  • VIII - The Road to Isengard - They travel to Isengard, and see that it has been destroyed. At Isengard they find Merry and Pippin.
  • IX - Flotsam and Jetsam - Merry and Pippin tell the story of how the Ents attacked Isengard, in amongst the ruins or 'flotsam and jetsam' of the fortress.
  • X - The Voice of Saruman - Saruman has a very persuasive voice, which he almost uses to persuade Théoden and the others until Gandalf casts him from the order of wizards. Wormtongue throws the palantír of Orthanc from the tower, which misses Gandalf, and is picked up by Pippin.
  • XI - The Palantir - Pippin looks into the palantír and is seen by Sauron. Gandalf explains the origin of the palantír; Gandalf sets off with Pippin for Minas Tirith, riding on Shadowfax.

Book IV: The Journey of the Ringbearers / The Ring Goes East[]

Frodo and Sam discover Gollum stalking them as they try to reach Mount Doom to destroy the One Ring. Gollum hopes to reclaim the Ring. Sam loathes and distrusts him, but Frodo pities him. Gollum promises to lead them to a secret entrance to Mordor and for a time appears to be a true ally. They first stop at the Black Gate of Mordor, where Gollum persuades them not to go in, where they would surely be caught. They head south into Ithilien, and are captured by Faramir, the brother of Boromir. Faramir learns from Frodo of his brother's death and the plan to destroy the Ring, and eventually allows them to go on their way. Gollum leads them up the stairs of Cirith Ungol away from Minas Morgul and into the lair of Shelob, an enormous spider-like creature, who inflicts her poisonous bite on Frodo. Sam resolves to finish the quest himself and takes the Ring. However, when Orcs take Frodo's body, he follows them and learns that Frodo is not dead but unconscious and now their prisoner. The last line of the book is "Frodo was alive but taken by the enemy."


In adaptations[]

Some of the events of The Two Towers were depicted in a 1978 film of The Lord of the Rings by Ralph Bakshi and the 2002 The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers by Peter Jackson. Both films abandoned the parallel storytelling of the book in favour of a more chronological presentation. The first chapter from the book actually appears at the end of Jackson's The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Later events of The Two Towers were filmed for Jackson's The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. Various games also adapt The Two Towers, including online role-playing games like The Two Towers MUD and graphically-oriented console games.


Small Wikipedia logo This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at The Two Towers. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with The One Wiki to Rule Them All, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Commons Attribution-Share Alike license.


Foreign Language Translated name
Afrikaans Die Twee Torings
Albanian Dy Kullat
Alemannic German Die zwei Türme
Amharic ሁለቱ ሕንጻዎች
Armenian Երկու ամրոց
Assamese টাৱাৰ দুটা
Azerbaijani ایکی بورج (South Azerbaijani) İki qala (Latin)
Belarusian Cyrillic Дзве вежы
Bengali দুই টাওয়ার
Bosnian Dvije kule
Bulgarian Cyrillic Двете кули
Burmese ရဲတိုက်မျှော်စဉ်ကြီးနှစ်ခု
Cambodian ប៉មពីរ
Catalan Les Dues Torres
Cebuano Ang Duha ka mga torre
Chinese 雙城奇謀
Colognian De Zweij Törm
Corsican Dui Torri
Croatian Dvije kule
Czech Dvě věže
Danish De To Tårne
Dari دو برج
Dutch De Twee Torens
Esperanto La Du Turoj
Estonian Kaks kantsi
Faroese Tey bæði tornini
Finnish Kaksi tornia
French Les Deux Tours
Frisian Dön Tau Törner (Northern) De Twa Tuorren (Western)
Galician As Dúas Torres
Georgian ორი ციხე-კოშკი
German Die Zwei Türme
Greek Οι Δύο Πύργοι
Gujarati ધ ટુ ટાવર્સ
Hindi दो टावर्स
Hungarian A két torony
Icelandic Tvær turnarnir
Indonesian Dua Menara
Italian Le due Torri
Japanese 二つの塔
Javanese Menara loro
Kannada ದಿ ಟು ಟವರ್ಸ್
Kazakh Екі мұнара (Cyrillic) Eki munara (Latin)
Korean 두 개의 탑
Kyrgyz Cyrillic Эки мунара
Latin Duae Turres
Latvian Divas torņi
Lithuanian Du bokštai
Lombard I Dò Torr
Luxembourgish Déi Zwee Tierm
Macedonian Cyrillic Двете кули
Malagasy Ireo Tilikambo Roa
Malayalam ദ റ്റു ടവേഴ്സ്
Malaysian Dua Menara
Maltese Iż-Żewġt Torrijiet
Marathi द टू टॉवर्स
Mongolian Cyrillic Хоёр цамхаг
Nepalese दुई टावरहरू
Norwegian Den To Tårn
Occitan Las Doas Torres
Pashto دوه ټاورونه
Persian دو برج
Polish Dwie Wieże
Portuguese As Duas Torres
Punjabi ਦ ਟੂ ਟਾਵਰਜ਼
Romanian Cele două turnuri
Russian Две башни
Sardinian Sas Duas Turres
Scots The Twa Touers
Scottish Gaelic An Dà Thùr
Serbian Две куле (Cyrillic) Dve kule (Latin)
Sesotho Mehaho e 'Meli
Sindhi ٻن ٽاورز
Sinhalese කුළුණු දෙක
Slovak Dve veže
Slovenian Stolpa
Spanish Las Dos Torres
Sundanese Nu Dua munara
Swedish Sagan om de två tornen (Old) De två tornen (New)
Tajik Cyrillic Ду манора
Tamil இரண்டு கோபுரங்கள்
Tatar Ике манара
Telugu ది టు టవర్స్
Thai หอคอยสองแห่ง
Tigrinya እቲ ኽልተ ግምብታት
Turkish İki Kule
Turkmen Iki diň
Ukrainian Cyrillic Дві вежі
Urdu دو ٹاورز
Uyghur ئىككى مۇنار
Uzbek Икки қалъа (Cyrillic) Ikki qal’a (Latin)
Vietnamese Hai tòa tháp
Welsh Y Dwy Tyrau
Yiddish די צוויי טאָווערס
Yoruba Awọn ile iṣọ meji
Previous novel:
The Fellowship of the Ring
The Lord of the Rings
Next novel:
The Return of the King

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