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The Two Towers

The Two Towers

by J.R.R. Tolkien

Race Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

"Gondor! Gondor!" cried Aragorn. "Would that I looked on you again in happier hour! Not yet does my road lie southward to your bright streams.

Gondor! Gondor; between the Mountains and the Sea!
West Wind blew there: the light upon the Silver Tree
Fell like bright rain in gardens of the Kings of old.
O proud walls! White flowers! O wingéd crown and throne of gold!
O Gondor, Gondor! Shall Men behold the Silver Tree,
Or West Wind blow again between the Mountains and the Sea?
(3.2.17)

We don't want to generalize, but it does seem to us as though much of The Fellowship of the Ring is dedicated to the elves. In that novel, we see both Rivendell and Lothlórien, and we learn that these fair things will fade once the Ring quest is over, never to appear in Middle-earth again. As Aragorn's momentum picks up in The Two Towers, the attention of The Lord of the Rings moves away from the elves and towards the Men of Númenor, specifically, Aragorn and the return of glory to Gondor. While time may be close to done for the elves in Middle-earth, Aragorn represents the continuation and rebirth of men, which is a much more cheerful subject.

Quote #2

"But what are we going to do at sunrise?" said some of the Northerners.

"Go on running," said Uglúk. "What do you think? Sit on the grass and wait for the Whiteskins to join the picnic?"

"But we can't run in the sunlight."

"You'll run with me behind you," said Uglúk. "Run! Or you'll never see your beloved holes again. By the White Hand! What's the use of sending out mountain-maggots on a trip, only half trained. Run, curse you! Run while night lasts!" (3.3.48-52)

This moment of tension between Uglúk and the other orcs as they try and carry Merry and Pippin to Isengard reveals a bit more about the differences among orcs themselves. Sure, orcs may be universally evil, but they are also not all the same. Not only do the orcs sometimes serve different masters, since Uglúk follows Saruman and many of the other orcs follow Sauron, but some of them appear to serve no one at all except evil itself. We also can't pass over this reference to "Whiteskins," by which Uglúk means human beings. There isn't a lot of racial differentiation among the people of Middle-earth. They are all pretty European in appearance, so far as we can tell. Why do the peoples of Middle-earth have so little racial or even cultural differentiation? Do the different peoples of Middle-earth—the elves, dwarves, hobbits, etc.—substitute somehow for different human races in our world?

Quote #3

They found that they were looking at a most extraordinary face. It belonged to a large man-like, almost Troll-like, figure, at least fourteen foot high, very sturdy, with a tall head and hardly any neck. Whether it was clad in stuff like green and grey bark, or whether that was its hide, was difficult to say [...] But at the moment the hobbits noted little but the eyes. […]

"One felt as if there was an enormous well behind them, filled up with ages of memory and long, slow, steady thinking; but their surface was sparkling with the present; like sun shimmering on the outer leaves of a vast tree, or on the ripples of a very deep lake. I don't know, but it felt as if something that grew in the ground—asleep, you might say, or just feeling itself as something between root-tip and leaf-tip, between deep earth and sky had suddenly waked up, and was considering you with the same slow care that it had given to its own inside affairs for endless years." (3.4.20-1)

Ah, Pippin the poet. What's so great about his description of the Ents is how much it emphasizes the otherness of non-human creatures in Middle-earth. Even the Treebeard's consciousness appears different. Unlike that of humans, it's timeless and immediate, and very, very deep. The differences between the peoples of Middle-earth seem to go far beyond the physical.

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