Well, I have finished the second book in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Two Towers. I am so invested in this story and not just because I have been with these characters for over 800 pages but because these characters are so good. I mean it, they are truly good! They are honorable, brave, loyal, selfless, kind, generous, faithful, and patient. How can you not root for them?
Credit has to be given for the way Tolkien writes the "every man" character. Or in this case, the "every hobbit". He introduces us to Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin in their homes in the Shire, with their friends and family. They are eating and drinking together, celebrating, telling stories, singing songs and then eating some more. We are immersed in the setting of community, stability and camaraderie, and we find we like these people. We want their world to remain just like it is, a place of peace.
And then the unthinkable happens. The stable becomes unstable and the very existence of their land and their people is in jeopardy. The outside world begins to encroach on them. They are forced, by their very goodness, to take a stand; to begin a quest that they may not return from. The ordinary "every man" is forced to be extraordinary.
The Two Towers picks up the story of the extraordinary quest just after the split of the Fellowship and chronicles the happenings of both sides of the split. The first half of the book follows Merry and Pippin, Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli. The second half of the book follows Frodo and Sam. But of course we meet many new characters and some previous characters come back into play, but I won't give any spoilers here.
Tolkien does not scrimp on description and sometimes I found I was skimming through descriptive sections, rushing to get to some more information on my friends. I did find though, if I forced myself to slow down and think about the details being laid out by the author in regards to the physical geography or the history of the area being traveled through it helped to flesh out the story and give me insight into why the characters would make some of the choices they did.
I can't wait! I'm going to go now and start the third book, The Return of the King. I'll keep you posted!