The Two Towers
How we cite our quotes:
He gazed back along the way that they had come towards the night gathering in the East. "There is something strange at work in this land. I distrust the silence. I distrust even the pale Moon. The stars are faint; and I am weary as I have seldom been before, weary as no Ranger should be with a clear trail to follow. There is some will that lends speed to our foes and sets an unseen barrier before us: a weariness that is in the heart more than in the limb."
"Saruman!" muttered Aragorn. "But he shall not turn us back! Halt we must once more; for, see! Even the Moon is falling into gathering cloud. But north lies our road between down and fen when day returns. (3.2.69,71)
Because The Two Towers is the middle episode of a trilogy, we can't go straight to tackling Sauron. There has to be an intermediate villain that they can fight, someone dangerous, but not quite as bad as the actual Dark Lord himself. Someone with a lot of power, but not so much that it's overwhelming. That would be Saruman, who has some serious mental mojo. He is good at manipulating and influencing other people's minds, so it's no wonder Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas feel so exhausted, with the mind of Saruman pressing on them.
"An Ent?" said Merry. "What's that? But what do you call yourself? What's your real name?"
"Hoo now!" replied Treebeard. "Hoo! Now that would be telling! Not so hasty. And I am doing the asking. You are in my country. What are you, I wonder? I cannot place you." (3.4.25-6)
We know from the fairytale of the gnome Rumpelstiltskin that names have huge power in the world of folklore. Treebeard's reluctance to tell Merry what he calls himself suggests that the power of names endures in Middle-earth as well. This explains why it matters so much that many of the characters have multiple names—especially Aragorn son of Arathorn, a.k.a. Strider, a.k.a. Elessar, a.k.a. Estel, a.k.a. who knows what else. Keeping your real name secret is another way of keeping yourself safe from bad mojo.
"Yes, you may still call me Gandalf," he said, and the voice was the voice of their old friend and guide. "Get up, my good Gimli! No blame to you, and no harm done to me. Indeed my friends, none of you have any weapon that could hurt me. Be merry! We meet again. At the turn of the tide. The great storm is coming, but the tide has turned."
"Yes, I am white now," said Gandalf. "Indeed I am Saruman, one might almost say, Saruman as he should have been." (3.5.76,78)
This new Gandalf is a bit of a drama queen, emerging out of the woods dressed in rags so that he has the pleasure of watching the surprised faces of his friends once he reveals himself in all his shiny splendor. We have always had somewhat mixed feelings about Gandalf's transformation from Grey to White: on the one hand, it's cool to have an all-powerful wizard on your side. On the other hand, Gandalf no longer seems like the approachable, amusing wizard of Fellowship of the Ring. He's all high and mighty, with his "none of you have any weapon that could hurt me." He almost seems too powerful to be a proper character anymore, with the flaws that the other characters in the novel have, which can get a bit tiresome, if we're being honest.