Flotsam, Jetsam, now I’ve got her boys, the boss is on a roll!
The Two Towers, Book 3, Chapter 9: Flotsam and Jetsam
Chapter synopsis: Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli stay with the two hobbits, who tell them about their adventures since the breaking of the Fellowship of the Ring: the journey with the Orcs; the meeting with Treebeard; the attack of the Ents upon Isengard. The Ents are not much afflicted by arrows or axes, and they have broken down the gates and walls of Isengard; they could not harm the tower of Orthanc, though, and Saruman was trapped therein. The Huorns have formed a ‘forest’ all around Isengard, where all Orcs fleeing from Isengard have perished. The Ents have built dams and dug trenches, and directed the water from the Isen river towards Isengard, where is has flooded the underground caves and suffocated Saruman’s fires. Gandalf has come and asked for help (hence the newly-grown forest after the battle of Helm’s Deep); and later Wormtongue came, pretending to be a messenger from Théoden. Treebeard, however, whom Gandalf had warned against Gríma, gave him a choice of entering Orthanc or waiting for the coming of Théoden, and Wormtongue waded through the flood and entered the tower.
It’s ketchup time. Or rather, catch-up time.
The great have gone off to discuss important matters, and happily we get a fun little break here where the Fellowship reunites and fill each other in on what has happened.
Later on, in The Return of the King, when Frodo and Sam reunite with the rest of the Fellowship, Tolkien tells us how they gathered in a room and talked about all that happened to them, but we don’t get any of the conversation. Tolkien just says something like, “And they talked long into the night.” It drives me mad, because I want to hear all they have to say! I also want a Faramir/Frodo reunion in The Return of the King, but that never happens. Fortunately, in this chapter, we get most of the conversation between Merry and Pippin and the three hunters – and Tolkien keeps it interesting by adding to the story and telling us exactly what led to Merry and Pippin being where we found them, and why Treebeard is on the north side.
I also like this chapter because it’s very “unmovie-ish”. You’d never see it in a film adaptation; it’s a very book kind of thing.
The movie actually shows the Ents’ battle as it happens, rather than in a flashback, and it is a spectacular CGI fest, with some impressive use of the “Massive” CGI engine to create the fleeing Orc soldiers.
Best Line: “Strider the Ranger has come back.” – Pippin