J.R.R. Tolkien Reads From The Two Towers, the Second Book of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

Tolkien fans, tell me: were you disappointed with the first installment of Peter Jackson’s Hobbit film trilogy? Did you find it as lumbering and clumsy as a trio of cockney trolls, or as ugly as a bug-eyed and be-wattled goblin king? Pining away for the days when The Lord of the Rings films were the go-to pop-culture fantasy references—before, say, Twilight harshed that buzz? Well, I could recommend to you some of the fan-made films that stepped in to fill the LOTR void in recent years. There’s the not-very-good Born of Hope and the very much better The Hunt for Gollum. I’ve seen them both because, well…. I just needed to is all.

But there is another way. I know it’s perverse, possibly subversive, and maybe, just maybe, even dangerous. Turn off the computer and open the books up again—your yellowed, crumbly paperbacks, your Barnes & Noble economy re-issue editions (I won’t judge), hell, turn on the Kindle. Savor the languages Tolkien invented and the English that he re-invented, immerse yourself in a literary world at once utterly fantastic and perfectly morally serious. Do that, and your craving for spectacle may vanish, maybe replaced by a craving for more Tolkien—like his retelling of events in the Norse Edda saga in his Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun.

And while you’re reading up on that one, listen to the audio above of Tolkien himself reading from Chapter IV of The Two Towers. The richness of his English voice makes me wish we had recordings of him reading all three novels, but we must work with what we’ve got, and it is good. Enjoy.

Related Content:

Discover J.R.R. Tolkien’s Personal Book Cover Designs for The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

Listen to J.R.R. Tolkien Read Poems from The Fellowship of the Ring, in Elvish and English (1952)

Listen to J.R.R. Tolkien Read a Lengthy Excerpt from The Hobbit (1952)

Download Eight Free Lectures on The Hobbit by “The Tolkien Professor,” Corey Olsen

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Washington, DC. Follow him at @jdmagness


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Comments (7)
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  • Blackjackshellac says:

    With this audio, some enterprising audio engineer could probably synthesize his voice to automate the reading of the entire series.

  • Bob says:

    The Hobbit movie was good. We must watched different movies.

  • toze says:

    The Hobbit was really good. Your opinion reflects the ignorant haters of Peter Jackson

  • Marie Griffiths says:

    Note the correct West Midland accent of the hobbit Sam rather than the vaguely Irish ones of the film.

  • JFlores says:

    What a good film The Hobbit was!

  • Erin says:

    if we’re comparing the movies to the books, the movies were garbage. The first one was the most honest to the book. that being said, i loved the movies and the liberties Jackson took, EXCEPT FOR THE ADDING OF TAURIEL, LEGOLAS, AND THE LOVE TRIANGLE

  • chris says:

    Lotr movies were close enough to the books to enjoy. 9/10
    The Hobbit, first time through, turned my stomach
    Having said that,on rewatching and disassociating it from the book, apart from the goblin king, tauriel and Legolas, it’s quite entertaining 5/10.

    I don’t know all the the reasons for the Hobbit’s inferiority, but I trust Peter Jackson had his reasons.

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