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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