Study Guide

The Two Towers Loyalty

Loyalty

WILDMAN: We will fight for you.

SARUMAN: Swear it. [A close up of the greedy smile that takes over his face. He looks on with immense satisfaction as the wildman cuts open the palm of his hand with a dagger.]

WILDMAN: We will die for Saruman.

SARUMAN: The horse-men took your lands; they drove your people into the hills to scratch a living off rocks. Take back the lands they stole from you. Burn every village!

Go back and just look at the disgusting smile that Saruman has as the Wildman cuts his hand. He's obsessed with the power he has over people, he needs it and he wants more. But this isn't some spell he places over them; it sounds like the wildmen have reason for discontent. Saruman is simply using the deeds of Rohan's past against them.

ORC: [Staring hungrily at the juicy hobbits.] Just a mouthful, a bit of the flank.

URUK-HAI LEADER: [He cuts off the head of the Orc to stop him from harming the hobbits.] Looks like meat's back on the menu, boys.

Well, there's not a whole lot of loyalty amongst the orcs. Men and elves are very concerned with traditions regarding death, but the orcs don't have a problem with pounding down flesh of their own kin when it's available.

PIPPIN: And whose side are you on?

TREEBEARD: Side? I am on nobody's side because nobody's on my side, little orc. Nobody cares for the woods anymore.

Loyalty is a reciprocal thing. Pippin expects the ents to have some stake in the war, but Treebeard doesn't see why he should care for the world of men and elves when they haven't cared for the trees.

GOLLUM: It tries to chokes us! We can't eats Hobbit food! We must starve!

SAM: Well starve then, and good riddance!

GOLLUM: Oh, cruel Hobbit. It does not care if we be hungry, does not care if we should die. Not like master; master cares; master knows. Yes, Precious. Once it takes hold of us it never lets go.

Frodo has earned Gollum's loyalty by caring about him. But why does Frodo care? Gollum seems to know the genesis of Frodo's empathy better than Frodo does. It's the Ring. Gollum and Frodo have both been taken hold of by "the Precious," although we'd hardly call their obsession with it loyalty.

GANDALF: Do not regret your decision to leave him. Frodo must finish this task alone.

ARAGORN: He's not alone. Sam went with him.

GANDALF: Did he? Did he, indeed? Good, yes, very good.

Gandalf is very pleased by the news that Frodo has a companion. Gandalf was the one who made Sam accompany Frodo in the first place and knows how loyal he is to Frodo. This close bond between the two hobbits is going to be more and more important as Frodo is pulled deeper into the lonely hold of the Ring.

GOLLUM: There's another way, more secret. A dark way.

SAM: Why haven't you spoken of this before?

GOLLUM: Because master did not ask.

SAM: He's up to something.

FRODO: Are you saying there's another way into Mordor?

GOLLUM: Yes. There's a path, and some stairs, and then… a tunnel. FRODO: He's led us this far, Sam.

SAM: Mr. Frodo, no.

FRODO: He's been true to his word.

SAM: No.

FRODO: Lead the way, Sméagol. 

GOLLUM: Good Sméagol always helps.

There are so many things at play here. First, we have Sam questioning Sméagol's loyalty to Frodo in contention with his loyalty to the Ring (it is a bit suspicious that Sméagol hasn't mentioned this alternate route). Then we have Frodo deciding to trust Sméagol based on the fact that he's been loyal so far. In doing this, Frodo ignores Sam's counsel and seems to be himself more loyal to Sméagol than to Sam. But is Sméagol really trying to help, or has he already developed a plan to bring them to her? And what about Frodo? Is he delaying his venture into Mordor because he has grown fonder of the Ring? His loyalty is still to his mission and the fellowship and all of the free world, right?

ARAGORN: Dolen i vâd o nin. [My path is hidden from me.]

ARWEN: Si peliannen i vâd na dail lîn. Si boe ú-dhannathach. [It is already laid before your feet. You cannot falter now.]

ARAGORN: Arwen...

ARWEN: Ae ú-esteliach nad estelio han. Estelio ammen. [If you trust nothing else, trust this, trust us.] […]

ARAGORN: Ú-ethelithon.[I will not be coming back.] …Edra le men, men na guil edwen. Haer o auth a nîr a naeth. [You have a chance for another life. Away from war, grief, despair.] …I am mortal. You are Elf-kind. It was a dream, Arwen. Nothing more.

This is all part of Aragorn's flashback. At first we see him doubt his way, his purpose, and Arwen tells him that, if he cannot trust anything else, he can trust their love of each other. But then we flash to before Aragorn's departure, after Elrond has convinced him to forsake Arwen for her own good. Is Aragorn more loyal to Elrond than Arwen? Is this a sacrifice he makes for Arwen? In what can Aragorn now trust if he removes himself from her? Loyalty to a person and that person's desires don't always match up.

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