Study Guide

The Two Towers

The Two Towers Summary

One does not simply give a brief summary of the extended edition of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers… but we'll try. To aid us in this venture, let's look at each of our three journeys one at a time, starting with Merry and Pippin.

Held captive by Saruman's orcs, our two hobbits are headed by to Isengard because they think they've found the Ring bearers. After almost being eaten, the orcs are attacked by Éomer's company of Rohirrim riders, allowing Merry and Pippin to escape their bonds and head into the treacheries of Fangorn Forest. Again, they're almost eaten by an Orc pursuer, but Treebeard, an ent (or large, humanoid tree) squashes him and grabs Merry and Pippin, taking them to the White Wizard to determine whether they are orcs or not—uh oh. Wait, it's okay. The White Wizard is actually Gandalf who, after falling into the depths of Moria, defeated the Balrog, and came back stronger and shinier than before.

Turns out, Merry and Pippin are not orcs (phew, we were worried), so Treebeard takes them to his home where they'll get to sleep through an ent council during which the ents very slowly decide, again, that Merry and Pippin are not orcs (you can never be too sure, those tricksy hobbitses). Then they decide not to go to war against Saruman. Pippin, thinking on his feet—or on Treebeard's back anyway—tells Treebeard to carry them south, toward Isengard. He obliges and upon reaching the edge of the forest, sees the massive amount of his brother trees that have been burned to the ground. Enraged, the ents assault Isengard, breaking the dam and bringing Saruman's domain to ruin.

Our second storyline follows the journeys of Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas, who begin by tracking the orcs carrying Merry and Pippin so they can save their friends. They follow them into Fangorn where they instead meet Gandalf. Gandalf assures them that the hobbits are safe, and together the four head toward the Rohan capital of Edoras, where they overthrow Saruman's hold of King Théoden and banish the wicked Wormtongue.

We learn that Saruman has been brewing up quite the orc army in Isengard, and seeks the destruction of Rohan. The newly livened Théoden orders his people to retreat into the fortress Helm's Deep, where they might stand a chance against the orc hordes. On the way, they're attacked by warg riders and Aragorn falls off a cliff (but don't worry, he's okay).

Saruman's orcs march on Helm's Deep and even with the elf reinforcements that show up, Saruman's magical black powder is enough to destroy the wall and turn the tides in favor of the White Hand. The keep is all but taken when Aragorn convinces Théoden to ride out one last time. As they do, Gandalf appears with Théoden's nephew, Éomer, and the Rohirrim riders. They converge on the orcs and the battle is won.

  

Finally, we can't forget about Sam and Frodo. Aware that Gollum is following them through the rocky Emyn Muil, they capture him and drag him along until he promises to lead them toward Mordor. Sam doesn't trust him but Frodo has pity on him and he does, in fact, lead them out of Emyn Muil, through the Dead Marsh, and to the enormous Black Gate of Mordor. But when they get there he can't let them go. Too afraid they'll be caught, he tells them there is another way, so they divert their path—only to be captured by Faramir and his Gondorian soldiers.

Gollum was able to evade capture but they find him later, fishing in a sacred pool. Frodo is able to save his life by coaxing him out, but when the men bag and beat Gollum, all trust he had in Frodo is gone. Faramir takes his captives to Osgiliath where he plans on handing them to his father, the steward of Gondor. But after hearing of Boromir's fate and seeing how the Ring affects Frodo (the Ring's strength grows as Frodo's willpower fails), he decides against it, letting them go. As they travel back to Mordor, we hear Gollum making plans for "her" to kill the hobbits so he can take back his precious. With an ominous shot of Mordor, the movie ends.

  • Scene 1

    Scene 1

    • Gandalf stands on the bridge of Khazad-dûm and delivers his famous line, "You shall not pass!"
    • The Balrog breaks the bridge under its weight but its whip catches Gandalf's leg as it falls, dragging him down.
    • The fellowship watches in horror.
    • We've seen this all before, but not what follows.
    • Gandalf grabs his sword as it falls through the air and speeds his way toward the Balrog.
    • He latches on to it and begins stabbing it with his blade. The Balrog doesn't like that, and he fights back.
    • This last for some time and we start to wonder if this is a bottomless pit.
    • Finally, the crevice opens to a vast cavern with a watery bottom. Still locked in combat, the two Maiar plunge into the underground lake and…
  • Scene 2

    Scene 2

    • It turns out it was all a dream. Frodo wakes with a start.
    • He and Sam and traveling through the rocky crags of Emyn Muil and while their elven rope and elven lembas bread are helpful, they have no idea how to get to Mordor.
    • To make matters worse, they're being followed by Gollum, who wants nothing more than to regain the Ring—his "precious."
    • Frodo and Sam set a trap for Gollum by pretending to sleep. After a bit of a scuffle Frodo pulls out Bilbo's elven dagger, Sting, and subdues Gollum.
    • The drag him along by the rope but Gollum can't stand the burn on his neck.
    • Afraid that tying him up would kill him (and releasing him would kill them), they decide to make a pact. They let Gollum go and he will lead them to the Black Gates of Mordor.
    • Gollum is more than a little conflicted, but for the moment he keeps his word.
  • Scene 3

    Scene 3

    • Merry and Pippin are being escorted to Isengard by orcs and uruk-hai. Merry doesn't look like he's doing so well.
    • They pick up the scent of "man-flesh" and pick up their pace. Pippin drops his elven broach as a sign to their pursuers.
    • And sure enough, not far behind are Gimli, Legolas, and Aragorn.
    • They find the broach and know that they are gaining on the hobbits.
    • As they pause and survey their surrounds, they can see the kingdom of Rohan, the horse lords, and realize that Merry and Pippin are being taken to Saruman.
  • Scene 4

    Scene 4

    • Saruman is back at it again. We get a quick tour of Orthanc as orcs dig uruk-hai from the giant pit in the ground, smiths turn out weapons, and armor and Fangorn Forest is burned to keep up with the industrial needs.
    • Saruman is also enlisting the help of some unruly men—he's encouraging them to burn the peasant villages on the outskirts of Rohan.
    • It seems the horse lords are his next target.
  • Scene 5

    Scene 5

    • Éomer and company come across the slaughter left by Saruman's orcs. They find the barely-living body of Théodred, son of Rohan's king, Théoden.
    • Éomer returns and, along with his sister Éowyn, tries telling his uncle Théoden that they must take action to stop Saruman's armies.
    • But Grima Wormtongue, a fellow as slimy looking as his name sounds, speaks to the very old and tired King, telling him that Éomer is a war-mongering fool.
    • In fact, Théoden has already signed a document banishing Éomer, although this seems to be wholly Wormtongue's doing.
    • Éomer is dragged away by Rohan guards.
  • Scene 6

    Scene 6

    • Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas are still huffing and puffing after the orc squadron who are apparently moving pretty fast.
    • Finally, they have to stop. Wanting fresh meat instead of maggoty bread, the orcs want to have some hobbit-flesh. Luckily the uruk-hai aren't having any of it. They think Merry and Pippin have the Ring.
    • Suddenly, the orcs are attacked by human horsemen. Just as it seems they might be saved, a horse rises above Pippin and looks like it will stomp him to death… but the scene cuts.
  • Scene 7

    Scene 7

    • The following morning our three travelers run into these horsemen, who are led by none other than Éomer.
    • While the meeting is a bit hostile at first, eventually they warm up a bit and Éomer even offers them two horses after telling the story of Théoden's corruption by Saruman, which resulted in his own banishment.
    • Unfortunately, he also tells them that they left none alive when they slaughtered the orcs. Oh, and they didn't see any hobbits.
    • So Gimli, Aragorn, and Legolas ride to the pile of burning orc corpses and, while at first dismayed by the smoldering hobbit belt, Aragorn sees signs of their struggle in the earth.
    • They follow this path and realize Merry and Pippin escaped into Fangorn Forest.
  • Scene 8

    Scene 8

    • Merry and Pippin did indeed make it into Fangorn, but they're still followed by their disgusting orc buddy.
    • They climb a tree to evade him but he catches Merry by the foot and drags him down.
    • As Pippin calls after him, the "tree" they climbed wakes up. Turns out it's no tree at all; it's an Ent.
    • The Ent stomps on the orc before catching Merry and Pippin each in one of its giant limb hands.
    • It thinks they are orcs and decides to take them to the White Wizard to find out… uh oh.
    • Merry and Pippin are thrown at the feet of a man they believe is Saruman.
  • Scene 9

    Scene 9

    • Finally. Gollum has managed to lead Frodo and Sam out of Emyn Muil… and into a place called the Dead Marsh. Even better.
    • Gollum warns them not to follow the lights. The lights are the pale dead faces of men and elves and orcs within the shallow murky waters of the swamp. This appears to be the old battleground of the War of the Last Alliance.
    • Frodo somehow manages to do the one thing he's not supposed to do, and falls in the water where he's surround by the dead bodies and their spiritual manifestations. They reach out for him before Gollum pulls him out.
    • That night, Frodo is up late petting his Ring when he hears Gollum reciting a verse. He calls Gollum Sméagol, and Gollum barely recognizes the name.
    • A Ringwraith riding some nasty winged beast flies overhead, calling for the Ring.
    • The three hide from it under some bush. The Nazgûl's calls hurt Frodo's wound, because he was sliced by a morgul blade.
  • Scene 10

    Scene 10

    • Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas enter Fangorn and follow the trail of the orc and hobbits.
    • The ents begin speaking to one another. Apparently Gimli upset them by raising his axe.
    • Legolas senses Saruman's approach and they prepare to fight him before he's able to speak.
    • But it's no use. He deflects their attacks and disarms them immediately.
    • But wait a minute. It's not Saruman at all; it's Gandalf.
    • Gandalf recounts the story of how he defeated the Balrog and then spent many lifetimes away from Middle-earth before awakening as a white wizard. We take it he's more powerful now.
    • He tells them not to worry about Merry and Pippin, who have a role to play in the awakening of the ents.
    • He calls his horse, the majestic Shadowfax, and they ride toward Rohan.
  • Scene 11

    Scene 11

    • Pippin and Merry are carried by Treebeard toward his home, which lies deep within Fangorn.
    • His recites them some poetry, which puts them to sleep.
  • Scene 12

    Scene 12

    • Gandalf and Aragorn talk at night as they camp on their way to Rohan.
    • Gandalf tells Aragorn that Sauron fears the return of the heir of Numenor.
    • He says that the enemy does not know about Frodo carrying the Ring to Mordor. Frodo is their hope in the war, and their one advantage.
  • Scene 13

    Scene 13

    • Gollum has managed to lead Frodo and Sam all the way to the giant Black Gate of Mordor.
    • Some Easterling Men are entering and Sam falls down the hill they're hiding on.
    • Using his elven cloak, Frodo rushes down to cover them both, barely evading detection.
    • They decide to make a break for it before the gate closes but Gollum stops them.
    • He doesn't want them (or really, the precious) to be caught. He tells them there is another, secret way in.
    • Sam doesn't like the sound of it, but Frodo says that Gollum has been true to his word so far, and that he should continue to lead the way.
  • Scene 14

    Scene 14

    • Back in Fangorn, Pippin is messing around with some sketchy forest water that may or may not make them taller and able to speak entish.
    • Merry takes the water from him and begins drinking himself when they are beset upon by a… tree.
    • It buries them in its roots until they are completely covered. Luckily, Treebeard is there to tame it. He tells them the forest is growing dangerous as the trees have much hate.
  • Scene 15

    Scene 15

    • Gandalf, Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas reach Eodras, which is the capital of Rohan and home of the Golden Hall of Meduseld.
    • Before they enter the hall to great Théoden, the guards remove their weapons, but leave Gandalf with his "walking stick."
    • As soon as they enter Wormtongue greets them with harsh words, but Gandalf merely brushes him off and heads for the King.
    • Wormtongue's thugs begin to attack Gandalf but Gimli, Legolas, and Aragorn defend him.
    • He tries to force Saruman, who is in a sense possessing Théoden, out of Théoden's mind. Théoden merely laughs.
    • Then Gandalf throws of his gray shawl, revealing he is a white wizard. Using his new strength he throws Saruman out and we see him literally cast to the ground somewhere in Orthanc.
    • Théoden is alive again, and immediately looks much better.
    • He recognizes his daughter Erwin and then sees Wormtongue cowering in Gimli's grasp.
    • He takes his sword and goes to kill his deceiver, but Aragorn stops him, saying enough blood has already been spilled.
    • As Wormtongue flees, Théoden looks for Théodred, his son, who he finds has died in his absence.
    • A funeral is held for Théodred and afterward we see Gandalf and Théoden standing near the burial mounds.
    • Théoden weeps for the loss of his son and laments of the ends of times when the old linger and the young are lost.
  • Scene 16

    Scene 16

    • Back inside the hall, Gandalf council's Théoden to ride against the armies of Isengard, but Théoden doesn't want to risk open war.
    • He thinks his people have shed enough blood and decides to move them all to the fortress of Helm's Deep, where they can defend themselves.
    • As they prepare the horses to leave, Aragorn helps calms Brego, who may have been Théodred's horse. Erwin is surprised to hear him speak elvish.
  • Scene 17

    Scene 17

    • Wormtongue has returned to Saruman and tells him of Gandalf the White.
    • He also mentions the dwarf, the elf, and the man who traveled with him.
    • He describes a Ring worn by Aragorn in great detail. Saruman recognizes it as the Ring of Barahir.
    • He knows Gandalf thinks he's found Isildur's heir, but he doesn't believe it.
  • Scene 18

    Scene 18

    • As everyone prepares to leave Edoras, Théoden says that this is not a defeat—they will surely return.
    • Erwin is swinging a sword and Aragorn is impressed by her skill.
    • Erwin is obviously someone who doesn't want to stand idly by. She may be a princess, but she's no damsel in distress.
    • We see a long line of peasants moving out of Edoras. They have young and sick and aren't going so fast.
    • Wormtongue tells Saruman that Théoden will likely flee to Helm's Deep.
    • Saruman orders the warg riders be sent out to cut them off.
  • Scene 19

    Scene 19

    • Sam is saying mean things to Gollum again and Frodo is tired of it.
    • He tries to defend Gollum but ends up sounding a little obsessed with the Ring himself.
    • That night, Gollum has a debate with himself. There seems to be a self that's loyal to Frodo and wants to do good by him, and another self that doesn't trust anyone and only wants the Ring.
    • The tamed self tells the other to "leave now and never come back." It seems to work.
    • The next morning Gollum finds a brace of conies (translation: a bunch of rabbits) and Sam proceeds to "ruin them" by cooking them in a stew. Gollum likes his meat raw. Yum.
    • Meanwhile, Frodo's alerted by the calling of some birds and finds a company of Easterling men traveling to Mordor.
    • There are some Oliphants (that's a giant elephant for you Gondorians) among them, which the hobbits marvel at until the company is suddenly beset on either side with a barrage of arrows.
    • Gollum slinks off and Sam and Frodo try to make a run for it before they're detected by the rangers.
    • Unfortunately, it's too late. They run right into Faramir who, not convinced by the whole "we're on your side" thing, has them bound and held captive.
  • Scene 20

    Scene 20

    • The citizens of Edoras are still making their way to Helm's Deep. Aside from Erwin's cooking, everything seems to be going fine.
    • Aragorn remembers (or dreams? we're not really sure) of meeting Arwen. They kiss and stuff, it's happy.
    • Then he's with Elrond, who tells him to let go of Arwen. She wants to stay in Middle-earth for Aragorn when she should be heading across the sea to Valinor with the rest of her people.
    • He tells Arwen he won't come back for her and tries to return the Evenstar necklace. She isn't having any of it.
    • Back in the present, Saruman's warg riders have finally met up with the company. The men jump on horseback and prepare for battle.
    • Erwin wants to fight but Théoden tells her to lead the women and children to Helm's Deep, and she obliges.
    • Warg riders and horsemen fight. People die but it seems to generally go well for the Rohirrim.
    • However, Aragorn takes a tumble off a high cliff and into a fast moving river below.
    • No one can see him and they have to move on.
  • Scene 21

    Scene 21

    • The women and children make it safely to Helm's Deep, where they're greeted by some guards and peasants already living there.
    • Erwin runs around getting things in order when Théoden and company rides in.
    • There are so few of them, she says, but Théoden is just happy their people are safe.
    • Then Gimli has to deliver the bad news: Aragorn has fallen.
  • Scene 22

    Scene 22

    • The preceding scene ends with a close up of a sewer underneath the great wall of Helm's Deep.
    • We hear Saruman's voice and then see Saruman speaking to Wormtongue about this sewer, which he says is Helm's Deep's one weakness.
    • We see him pouring out some black powder, making sure Wormtongue gives it a wide berth with the candle he's holding.
    • Wormtongue insists that it would still take an army of thousands or tens of thousands to breach the impenetrable fortress.
    • Saruman agrees, and then walks out to the balcony of his Orthanc and addresses the enormous army of orcs and uruk-hai he's been gathering. Wormtongue is stunned.
    • He tells them to march to Helm's Deep and leave none alive. We have a feeling this is going to be a long night.
  • Scene 23

    Scene 23

    • Merry and Pippin are still being carried by Treebeard. He wasn't kidding about ents being slow.
    • To the south, they see smoke and Treebeard laments of a time when Saruman would walk in his woods before he had a "mind of metal."
    • Below the smoke, Merry and Pippin see the massive orc horde marching out. They know the war has begun.
  • Scene 24

    Scene 24

    • Aragorn is floating down the river and comes to rest on the bank.
    • As he lies there, we see Arwen lean down and kiss him.
    • And so does Brego, the horse he set free earlier. Brego wakes him and bends down so that Aragorn can climb on his back and ride barely consciously toward… wherever Brego is taking him.
    • But back to Arwen. We see in conversation with her father, Elrond.
    • She wants to stay with Aragorn and he is trying to dissuade her.
    • He describes a future where, even if everything goes as best it could, Aragorn will still grow old and die and she'll be left alone with her grief.
    • This seems to do the trick because we see a hooded Arwen walking in a procession of elves presumably going to the Gray Havens.
    • Then Galadriel starts speaking to the mind of Elrond. She tells him that all hope depends upon the Ring bearer, but even now his strength grows weak and the will of the Ring grows stronger.
  • Scene 25

    Scene 25

    • Faramir, captain of Gondor, son of the Steward, Denethor II, and brother of the late Boromir, is camping with his soldiers in a cave. They're reviewing a map and the placements of their men. It doesn't look hopeful.
    • When Faramir questions the hobbits, Frodo tells him their real names and that they left from Rivendell with a company of seven.
    • When he speaks of Boromir, Faramir tells him he is dead. Frodo is taken aback, unaware that he fell.
    • Then Faramir begins to reminisce. First we see him in a dream, watching the dead Boromir float by in his funeral boat.
    • Then we see Boromir giving a speech at the retaking of Osgiliath. He greets his brother warmly as they celebrate their victory… until their father shows up.
    • Denethor II is very pleased with the achievements of his eldest born, but looks on Faramir with disdain.
    • Boromir tries to speak up for his brother but Denethor wants none of it. Instead, he speaks of a council in Rivendell.
    • He suspects this council will be about the One Ring and whishes Boromir to claim it for Gondor.
    • Boromir doesn't want to go but Denethor definitely doesn't want to send Faramir, so he has no choice.
  • Scene 26

    Scene 26

    • We're back with Faramir and the hobbits in the present. Gollum has been found and he's traipsing around in a sacred pool.
    • Faramir threatens to kill him but Frodo tells him to wait.
    • He goes down to Gollum and coaxes him out of the water, asking Gollum to trust him.
    • As soon as Gollum gets out, Faramir's men bag him and rough him up a bit, then Faramir starts asking questions.
    • Through Gollum's inner struggle with his second self (yup, Evil Gollum is back in action) Faramir learns that the hobbits have the Ring.
    • Sam begs him to help Frodo, tells him they're going to Mordor to destroy it.
    • But this is Faramir's chance for redemption. He says the Ring will go to Gondor.
  • Scene 27

    Scene 27

    • Brego carries Aragorn to Helm's Deep, and along the way they spot Saruman's massive army headed there as well.
    • Everyone is glad to see Aragorn arrive. Erwin is especially glad but the Evenstar necklace reminds her of his other lady friend.
    • Aragorn delivers the bad news of the approaching army and Théoden begins preparing his people for battle by nightfall.
    • Aragorn asks Théoden to call for help, but Théoden says no one will come. They are alone.
  • Scene 28

    Scene 28

    • Merry and Pippin are still on Treebeard.
    • They reach a clearing and Treebeard tells them that something is about to happen that has not happened in a very long time: an entmoot (a kind of ent council).
    • The ents normally stay out of the wars of men and elves, but now they'll decide whether they'll go to war.
  • Scene 29

    Scene 29

    • In Helm's Deep, Erwin runs to Aragorn, upset that she's being sent to the caves to lead the women and children and elderly. Aragorn says this is an honorable position and there's nothing he can do.
    • We see the giant caves filled with tons of old people and children. Some being taken from their families to fight… even if they're kind of aged or kind of still a kid.
    • Legolas isn't optimistic about what will happen with ten thousand against three hundred, but Aragorn says that he will die as one of them if he must.
    • As Théoden is getting suited up, he recites a verse about Rohan being alone in the war.
    • During this we see glimpses of the savage uruk-hai approaching and the meager defenses being set in the fortress.
  • Scene 30

    Scene 30

    • Everyone's getting ready for battle when a horn blows. It's the elves!
    • Haldir has come with a company of elves from Rivendell, who are ready to honor their past allegiance and fight alongside men.
    • As they wait on the wall, it begins to rain.
    • The orc army approaches and stops before the wall. They yell and stamp their lances upon the earth. It's freaky.
    • When an old man accidentally releases an arrow (which kills an orc—score) the orcs charge and the war begins.
    • Legolas and Gimli are playing a morbid game where they see who can kill the most enemies. So far Legolas is winning.
  • Scene 31

    Scene 31

    • The ents have decided that Merry and Pippin are not orcs.
    • So uhh, we guess that's a start.
  • Scene 32

    Scene 32

    • The war rages on and, much like Théoden predicted, the orcs crash upon the walls of Helm's Deep like water on rocks.
    • "Is that the best you can conjure, Saruman?" taunts Théoden. Well, no, it's not.
    • Orcs set giant containers of black powder under the wall at the sewer gate. When lit, the entire midsection of the wall is blown to smithereens.
    • Things are suddenly looking a lot worse for the Rohirrim.
  • Scene 33

    Scene 33

    • The ents have decided not to go to war. Merry is none too pleased.
    • Pippin suggests that Treebeard is right. Maybe they should just go back to the Shire—this world is too big for them.
    • But Merry says the "fires of Isengard will spread." There might not be a Shire.
  • Scene 34

    Scene 34

    • Now that the wall's down, Théoden orders Aragorn and the elves to retreat to the keep. But before Haldir can fall back, he's struck down and dies.
    • Meanwhile, the main gate is being attacked with a battering ram until it finally breaks.
    • In order to buy some time, Aragorn and Gimli jump out on bridge and hold off the orcs so the gate can be re-braced.
    • Unfortunately, it's just too little too late. The Orcs have gotten in and now everyone is in full retreat.
  • Scene 35

    Scene 35

    • Treebeard is taking Merry and Pippin back home when Pippin tells him stop. He wants to go south.
    • Treebeard says this will take them past Isengard and Pippin goes on about how being closer to danger is more safe because they'll be unnoticed… yeah, it doesn't make sense to Treebeard either (or Merry for that matter), but Pippin seems to have something up his sleeve.
    • When they make it to the southern edge of Fangorn, Treebeard is stunned.
    • All of the trees he's known have been burned to the ground. There is nothing left but ash—the burnt remains of trees.
    • With a cry of anger and sorrow, Treebeard summons the ents. They will march on Isengard and on Saruman.
    • We get a sense that this just got personal.
  • Scene 36

    Scene 36

    • We're finally back with the Ring bearer and company, and things are not looking up.
    • They've reached Osgiliath, which is under attack from Mordorian orcs. It seems they'll soon be overrun.
    • Faramir orders the hobbits to be sent to his father, with the message that he sends a mighty gift.
    • Sam finally tells him about what happened to Boromir—before he died the Ring drove him mad and he tried to take it from Frodo.
    • Just then, Frodo feels the effects of the Ring greatly, and a Nazgûl riding its beast appears.
    • Faramir grabs him and Sam and tells them to stay out of sight while the men try to deal with this new threat.
  • Scene 37

    Scene 37

    • Flags of the white hand now dress the walls of Helm's Deep. The fortress is all but lost.
    • Inside the halls, Théoden despairs but Aragorn hasn't given up. He asks the King to ride with him one last time as they try to give the women and children enough time to escape further into the mountains.
    • Théoden suits up and mounts up. He and our heroes ride out of the gate, bowling over orcs just as the sun rises.
    • We see Gandalf crest the hill to the east, with Éomer and his company of Rohirrim riders behind him.
    • With Gandalf in the lead they charge down into the valley and begin cutting through the orcs. It seems the tides may have finally changed.
  • Scene 38

    Scene 38

    • In Isengard, the assault of the ents is in full stride. They're squishing orcs left and right.
    • Then they break the dam and let the river Angren flow through Isengard, quenching its fires as it uproots infrastructure and floods Saruman's pit of industry.
    • Merry and Pippin throw some rocks. Good job, hobbits.
  • Scene 39

    Scene 39

    • In Osgiliath, Frodo walks toward the flying Nazgûl.
    • He stands on a bridge and holds out the Ring as the Nazgûl rises directly in front of him.
    • Just before he can put it on (and just before the Nazgûl catches him in the talons of its fell beast), Sam tackles him to the ground.
    • But as they fall, Frodo pulls out Sting and places it at Sam's throat.
    • "It's me," says Sam. And slowly the crazed look fades from Frodo's eyes. He says, "I can't do this, Sam."
    • Cue Sam's most inspirational moment yet—he compares their journey to the stories of old, stories filled with so much darkness that you don't want to hear the ending.
    • But the heroes of those stories held on to something and kept going. Frodo and Sam have to hold on to the fact that there's some good in this world, and that it's worth fighting for.
    • Faramir approaches and he finally understands what the Ring can do.
    • Putting his life on the line, he releases them.
  • Scene 40

    Scene 40

    • In Isengard Merry and Pippin find a storage room of Saruman's food. It's even got some of the South Farthing's best Longbottom leaf tobacco.
    • In Rohan things are also happy, with the battle over and the orcs fled into the angry forest.
    • But Gandalf, ever the stormcrow, reminds us that while the battle for Helm's Deep is over, the Battle for Middle-earth has just begun.
  • Scene 41

    Scene 41

    • Back on track toward Mordor, Sam wonders if their journey will ever be made into a tale. Ha.
    • They pretend to be hobbit children wishing to hear the one about Frodo and the Ring.
    • But let's not forget Sam, Frodo says, "Frodo wouldn't have made it very far without Sam."
    • Then we see Gollum, crawling ahead of them, speaking to himself.
    • Master betrayed him and now he wants to kill them both and take his precious. But no, it sounds too risky.
    • But what if he got "her" to do it? Yes, this sounds like a very good plan to Gollum. Then once they're dead, he'll take the precious back.
    • Excited by his new plan, he leads them on, toward Mordor, which flashes red and dark before us as the movie ends.