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The Two Towers Trivia Quiz

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The fact that J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings was published in three volumes of two “books” each did not reflect the author’s original intention. Tolkien had proposed to present the six books in a single very thick volume, but for logistical reasons the publisher chose the three-volume format instead. This approach presented a new problem, however: what titles should the three volume be given? The first and third proved easy to name, but the distinct themes and plotting of the two books of the second volume were hard to encapsulate in a pithy phrase.

Heating plant towers in Moscow, reddened for sinister effect

Heating plant towers in Moscow, reddened for sinister effect
Original source: The Guardian

Tolkien eventually settled on The Two Towers as a satisfactory title, but he then had the difficulty of deciding which particular towers it referred to. There are at least five towers that figure prominently in the story: Minas Tirith (capital of Gondor), Orthanc (Saruman’s tower), Barad-Dûr (Sauron’s), Minas Morgul (the Nazgûl’s), and the tower of Cirith Ungol (home of Shelob). Then there are several others that are mentioned along the way, such as the Towers of the Teeth near the Black Gate of Mordor, and the tower at Helm’s Gate. At first sight the title of the second volume could refer to almost any pair of these.

The author’s decision on the matter appears at the conclusion of The Fellowship of the Ring. There he specifies that the towers of the title are Orthanc and Minas Morgul. Only a month before making it final, however, Tolkien had mentioned considering several other possible combinations, including Orthanc and Barad-dûr, Minas Tirith and Barad-dûr, and Orthanc and the tower of Cirith Ungol.

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