The Two Towers - which towers are they?

Discussion in '"The Lord of the Rings"' started by Ged, Feb 16, 2002.

  1. Ged

    Ged Retired

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    I was driving my son to a friend's house this morning when he suddenly asked: "Dad! Which are the Two Towers? Are they Barad-Dur and Isengard?" I immediately replied "yes". Then I got to thinking that the two towers Tolkien was referring to may have been Barad-Dur and the Tower of Ecthelion in Minas Tirith.

    Would be in interested in any views on this.
     
  2. Harad

    Harad Guest

    Symmetry seems to make it the White Tower (Tower of Ecthelion) and the Dark Tower (Barad Dur), but the book mainly discusses the Tower of the Moon = Tower of Sorcery and Orthanc.
     

  3. Gnashar_the_orc

    Gnashar_the_orc Registered User

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    I was always under the impression that it is Minas Tirith and Minas Morgul. Besides it makes sense to assume that these are the twin towers as one was made to guard the East (Minas Morgul) and one the West (Minas Tirith). They were also build at the same time so it makes more sense to refer to them as Twins.
     
  4. Harad

    Harad Guest

    There is somewhere in LOTR where it says something to the effect: If someone from the West used the Ring he would set up the White Tower in strength against the Dark Tower, and there would be two (twin???) towers of Evil grinning across from each other (or am I hallucinating this passage?)

    As far as the book, TTT, is concerned, how can you leave out Orthanc, which is at the center of 1/2 of the book?
     

  5. Gnashar_the_orc

    Gnashar_the_orc Registered User

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    Harad: I think Orthanc is excluded as I can't really see any connection it has with any other tower. I am trying to be as logical as possible. Maybe too?
     
  6. Harad

    Harad Guest

    GTO,

    The book is not TTT, its TTT.

    (The Twin Towers, its The Two Towers)
     
  7. Bill the Pony

    Bill the Pony Registered User

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    A paragraph at the end of my paperback FOTR says it's orthanc and minas morgul, since that's where all the action takes place in book III and IV. But, on this thread, there are two letters cited. In one, Tolkien says he's not happy with the title two towers, since logically it should refer to orthanc and cirith ungol, but people take it to be minas tirith and barad dur. In yet another letter he says it can be left ambiguous, and two towers can refer to three options: isengard/barad dur; minas tirith/barad dur; or isengard/cirith ungol. (with thanks to Cian and RW). It seems you can pick whichever towers you like best.
     
  8. Ged

    Ged Retired

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    Bill The Pony,

    Thanks for the post. I didn't realise this topic had been discussed in such detail before. I'll read through the earlier thread before I post again.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2002
  9. Eonwe

    Eonwe Upper Class Twit

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    I always thought it was Minas Morgul and Minas Tirith. But oh stupid me. Obviously it should be Orthanc, as Harad says. The other tower?? Because I am under the impression that Minas Morgul and the tower of Cirith Ungol are not the same??
     
  10. Beorn

    Beorn In the shadows Staff Member

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  11. Wonko The Sane

    Wonko The Sane Aredhel Ar-Feiniel

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    Then I pick Amon Sul and the tower at the Grey Havens. :eek:
     
  12. Noldor_returned

    Noldor_returned New Member

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    My wisdom shall settle this. It is Orthanc and Minas Morgul. Why? I'll give a few reasons:
    1) I know I've read or heard that those are the towers of which the events revolve around. Why would it be Minas Tirith? It is barely mentioned in TTT. And Barad-Dur? Yes it plays a prominent role, but not a centrepiece. No-one goes there, no-one really talks about it, and no-one has anything to do with it, except Saruman. There is of course Cirith Ungol, but since that is no longer a tower, it can't be.

    2)In book three, what is the main tower which events are based upon? Orthanc. In book four, what is the main tower which events are based upon? Minas Morgul.

    Does this clear everything up?
     
  13. Wonko The Sane

    Wonko The Sane Aredhel Ar-Feiniel

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    Probably not. Even given good evidence people will usually believe what they want to believe.

    There are very few Tolkien questions that any of us can claim to solve for anyone but ourselves.
     
  14. Noldor_returned

    Noldor_returned New Member

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    Yes, but this is not one. I have read somewhere which towers they are, and one of them is definetely Orthanc. The other is either Barad-dur or Minas Morgul. Which others could they be?
     
  15. Wonko The Sane

    Wonko The Sane Aredhel Ar-Feiniel

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    If you want people to just take your word and believe what you believe then you need to, at the very least provide quotes or evidence that you are right.

    And you have to accept that even then people will believe what they want to believe.

    I'm not saying I disagree with you. I happen to believe the two towers are Orthanc and Minas Morgul as well. I'm just saying that there are others who will choose one of the other options no matter what you or anybody else says.
     
  16. Noldor_returned

    Noldor_returned New Member

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    I will try and find the quote, so until then, just take a breath.
     
  17. Wonko The Sane

    Wonko The Sane Aredhel Ar-Feiniel

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    It might be worthwhile to note that regardless of what was intended in the book in the movie the two towers are definitely Orthanc and Barad Dur.

    That, to me, further strengthens the position that the two towers in the book are Orthanc and Minas Morgul. Barad Dur features very little in TTT book and Minas Morgul does play an integral part.

    In the movie Barad Dur is featured fairly often, especially towards the beginning there's a cut from Orthanc and Saruman to Barad Dur and the armies marching forth from the tower and then a panning shot up to the great eye.

    I think it's also worthwhile to note that the title The Two Towers is not one that Tolkien liked or chose for his book. It was pressed upon him by the publishers. So what Tolkien intended can't really come into play. And what that publisher intended is anybody's guess. :rolleyes:

    (please correct any accuracy problems my post may have)
     
  18. Walter

    Walter Flamekeeper

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    I'm not sure Tolkien ever made a final statement which towers represent "The Two Towers". In a letter to Rayner Unwin (the publisher) from Aug 17, 1953 (Letters #140) he states:

    and the note [1] explains:

    in the "subsequent letter" from Jan 22, 1954 (Letters #143) mentioned in the footnote , Tolkien wrote:


    So, according to chronology (Tolkien's cover-drawing is the latest) it would be Orthanc and MinasMorgul, whereas from the textual information it would be Orthanc and the Tower of CirithUngol, but there is no certainty, IMO...
     
  19. Voronwë

    Voronwë Western Shores

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    I assumed it was Orthanc and Barad-dûr, due to the uneasy union between the two via the palantirs. I still think this.
    However, the idea of Orthanc and Minas Morgul also makes sense (since each 'section' in TTT is all about one of these towers, Morgul for the ring-bearer, Orthanc for the rest of the company).
     
  20. Wonko The Sane

    Wonko The Sane Aredhel Ar-Feiniel

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    Your point is valid, and I can certainly see the sense in the argument for Barad Dur, considering that the two evil factions in the book are based in Orthanc and Barad Dur...
     

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