I love how Tolkien has beautiful chapter titles that are complete nonspoilers for those reading all the chapter titles at the beginning of the book but make total sense and describe the chapter to those who have already read the books and are looking back.
The Two Towers, Book 3, Chapter 5: The White Rider
Chapter synopsis: Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli search the site of the battle between the Orcs and the Rohirrim and find a leaf of mallorn and some crumbs of lembas. With this evidence of the hobbits’ presence they continue their search into the forest and reach the hill where the hobbits had met Treebeard. Then they meet an old beggar-man whom they believe to be Saruman at first, who turns out to be Gandalf. The wizard tells them that the hobbits met Treebeard and that the Ents are heading towards Isengard; he advises them to go to Rohan and help in the war that is preparing there. He calls his horse, Shadowfax, and with him come the horses Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas lost the night before. Apparently Saruman spooked the horses away but they met Shadowfax and stayed with him. Gandalf and the three companions ride to Edoras, the court of Théoden the King of Rohan.
You’ll never guess who makes his first appearance in this chapter!
The Two Towers, Book 3, Chapter 4: Treebeard
Chapter synopsis: Merry and Pippin continue their way into Fangorn Forest, and meet Treebeard the Ent. Ents are strange, tall, very old creatures whose appearance resembles that of the trees. They talk about a great many things: the hobbits tell Treebeard about their journey, and he tells them about the Ents, their history, and the Forest of Fangorn. The Ents are threatened by Saruman, whose orcs are destroying the forest and felling trees. Treebeard feels it is high time that something be done about it, and he assembles an Entmoot, a gathering of the Ents, where they debate this issue. Since Ents are never hasty, the assembly lasts for two days and two nights, but in the end they decide to attack Isengard (the ring of rocks in the middle of which the Tower of Orthanc, the dwelling of Saruman, is set). Treebeard takes the hobbits along on his march, and a great many Ents join it on the way.
Dude, did you read what Christopher Tolkien just had to say? With Comic-con happening right now it’s really interesting he’d be saying this now:
“[J.R.R.] Tolkien has become a monster, devoured by his own popularity and absorbed by the absurdity of our time,” Christopher Tolkien observes sadly. “The chasm between the beauty and seriousness of the work, and what it has become, has gone too far for me. Such commercialisation has reduced the esthetic and philosophical impact of this creation to nothing. They [the filmmakers] eviscerated the book by making it an action movie for young people 15 to 25. There is only one solution for me: turning my head away.”
Yeah, well, I doubt Comic-con is really Christopher’s thing. (Especially considering he’s like 157 years old or something.) Anyway, the son of J.R.R. Tolkien is right in that Peter Jackson made an action movie. He’s wrong in saying that Jackson did anything to The Lord of the Rings books. They’re sitting on my shelf right now, and they look the same as they did fifty-five years ago.
There’s an interesting article about James Cameron in the LA Times here that mentions Tolkien, Roddenberry, and Lucas. (That was enough to get my attention!) In short, James Cameron doesn’t want his Avatar world to be “one and done” and wants it to live on like Middle-earth and the Star Trek and Star Wars universes. Of note, he says:
Tomorrow the hit TV show Lost comes to an end. I’ve been a fan of the show since the first season for a number of reasons, but perhaps mostly because of the show has broken new ground with it’s format/formula. I love a good story, whether it’s told on TV, in a book, on stage, or on the radio. What really turns me on, though, is when a storyteller finds a new way of telling stories; when someone weaves together a tale in such a way that the audience has never seen anything like it. Here are some examples:
With this post, I begin the new category of “oops”. This will be the category I will use when someone (or even I) realize that I have made a mistake regarding my book (or books, as I hope to say someday.)
So, with regard to The Lord of the Films,, and specifically concerning Pp. 27 where I explain that the buildings of Bree were inspired by Exeter, where Tolkien went to school, a member of the Tolkien Society set me straight:
“Although Exeter does indeed have some impressive old buildings, which may very well have been the basis for the set design of Bree, Tolkien did not go to school there, but rather in Birmingham; you may have been confusing this with his time as an undergraduate at Exeter College – which is in Oxford, not Exeter – but that doesn’t have any buildings of the Bree sort”
He is correct, and I apologize for the error. If you know of any mistakes I’ve made, feel free to e-mail me, and I’ll post the correction here.