The Two Towers

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He is in great fear, not knowing what mighty one may suddenly appear, wielding the Ring, and assailing him with war, seeking to cast him down and take his place. That we should wish to cast him down and have no one in his place is not a thought that occurs to his mind. That we should try to destroy the Ring itself has not yet entered into his darkest dream.

The Two Towers is the second volume of The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien, containing Book III: The Treason of Isengard and Book IV: The Ring Goes East.

For quotes from the 2002 movie adaptation see: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers page

Book III[edit]

The Riders of Rohan[edit]

  • [At Aragorn's mention of their pursuit of his friends the Halflings, a rider, Eothain, laughs and says in disbelief:] 'Do we walk in legends or on the green earth in the daylight?' [Aragorn responds] 'A man may do both. For not we but those who come after will make the legends of our time.'...." 'Time is pressing,' said the rider, not heeding Aragorn."
  • 'How shall a man judge what to do in such times?'
    'As he ever has judged,' said Aragorn.
    'Good and ill have not changed since yesteryear; nor are they one thing among Elves and Dwarves, and another among Men. It is a man's part to discern them, as much in the Golden Wood as in his own house.'
  • 'The counsel of Gandalf was not founded on foreknowledge of safety, for himself or for others,' said Aragorn. 'There are some things that it is better to begin than to refuse, even though the end may be dark.'
Ent the earthborn, old as mountains.

Treebeard[edit]

  • Do not be hasty, that is my motto.
  • Learn now the lore of Living Creatures!
    First name the four, the free peoples:
    Eldest of all, the elf-children;
    Dwarf the delver, dark are his houses;
    Ent the earthborn, old as mountains;
    Man the mortal, master of horses
  • Not so hasty! You call yourselves hobbits? But you should not go telling just anybody. You'll be letting out your own right names if you're not careful.
  • My name is growing all the time, and I've lived a very long, long time; so my name is like a story. Real names tell you the story of the things they belong to in my language, in the Old Entish as you might say. It is a lovely language, but it takes a very long time to say anything in it, because we do not say anything in it, unless it is worth taking a long time to say, and to listen to.
  • Many of those trees were my friends creatures I had known from nut and acorn; many had voices of their own that are lost for ever now. And there are wastes of stump and bramble where once there were singing groves. I have been idle. I have let things slip. It must stop!

The White Rider[edit]

The Dark Lord has Nine. But we have One, mightier than they: the White Rider. He has passed through the fire and the abyss, and they shall fear him.
  • 'Yes, I am white now,' said Gandalf. 'Indeed I am Saruman, one might almost say, Saruman as he should have been.
  • I was talking aloud to myself. A habit of the old: they choose the wisest person present to speak to; the long explanations needed by the young are wearying.
  • He is in great fear, not knowing what mighty one may suddenly appear, wielding the Ring, and assailing him with war, seeking to cast him down and take his place. That we should wish to cast him down and have no one in his place is not a thought that occurs to his mind. That we should try to destroy the Ring itself has not yet entered into his darkest dream.
  • It is a comfort not to be mistaken at all points. Do I not know it only too well!
  • The Dark Lord has Nine. But we have One, mightier than they: the White Rider. He has passed through the fire and the abyss, and they shall fear him. We will go where he leads.
  • Deep is the abyss spanned by Durin's Bridge, and none has measured it. Yet it has a bottom, beyond both light and knowledge.
  • I threw down my enemy, and he fell from the high place and broke the mountain-side where he smote it in his ruin. Then darkness took me; and I strayed out of thought and time, and I wandered far on roads that I will not tell. Naked I was sent back — for a brief time, until my task is done. And naked I lay upon the mountain-top.

The King of the Golden Hall[edit]

  • Where now the horse and the rider? Where is the horn that was blowing?
    Where is the helm and the hauberk, and the bright hair flowing?
    Where is the hand on the harpstring, and the red fire glowing?
    Where is the spring and the harvest and the tall corn growing?
    They have passed like rain on the mountain, like a wind in the meadow;
    The days have gone down in the West behind the hills into shadow.
    Who shall gather the smoke of the dead wood burning,
    Or behold the flowing years from the Sea returning?
  • We are all friends here. Or should be; for the laughter of Mordor will be our only reward, if we quarrel.
  • Yet in doubt a man of worth will trust to his own wisdom.
  • “I owe much to Éomer,” said Théoden. “Faithful heart may have forward tongue.”
    “Say also,” said Gandalf, “that to crooked eyes truth may wear a wry face.”

The Road to Isengard[edit]

  • I have lived to see strange days. Long we have tended our beasts and our fields, built our houses, wrought our tools, or ridden away to help in the wars of Minas Tirith. And that we called the life of Men, the way of the world. We cared little for what lay beyond the borders of our land. Songs we have that tell of these things, but we are forgetting them, teaching them only to children, as a careless custom. And now the songs have come down among us out of strange places, and walk visible under the Sun.
  • So that is the King of Rohan. A fine old fellow. Very polite.

The Voice of Saruman[edit]

  • The guest who has escaped from the roof, will think twice before he comes back in by the door.
  • 'The treacherous are ever distrustful,' answered Gandalf wearily.
  • Often does hatred hurt itself!

The Palantír[edit]

There is nothing that Sauron cannot turn to evil uses.
  • Oft evil will shall evil mar.
  • There is nothing that Sauron cannot turn to evil uses.
  • Perilous to us all are the devices of an art deeper than we possess ourselves.

Book IV[edit]

The Taming of Sméagol[edit]

  • Be not too eager to deal out death in the name of justice, fearing for your own safety. Even the wise cannot see all ends.
  • We promises, yes I promise!' said Gollum. 'I will serve the master of the Precious. Good master, good Sméagol, gollum, gollum!

The Passage of the Marshes[edit]

  • If the One goes into the Fire, and we are at hand? I ask you, Sam, are we ever likely to need bread again? I think not. If we can nurse our limbs to bring us to Mount Doom, that is all we can do. More than I can, I begin to feel.

The Black Gate is Closed[edit]

  • It had always been a notion of his that the kindness of dear Mr. Frodo was of such a high degree that it must imply a fair measure of blindness. […] Gollum in his own way, and with much more excuse as his acquaintance was much briefer, may have made a similar mistake, confusing kindness and blindness.
  • He had all the injured air of a liar suspected when for once he has told the truth, or part of it.

The Window on the West[edit]

  • I would not snare even an orc with a falsehood.
    • Faramir to Frodo
  • It's a pity that folk as talk about fighting the Enemy can't let others do their bit in their own way without interfering. He'd be mighty pleased, if he could see you now. Think he'd got a new friend, he would.
  • 'For myself," said Faramir, "I would see the White Tree in flower again in the courts of the kings, and the Silver Crown return, and Minas Tirith in peace: Minas Anor again as of old, full of light, high and fair, beautiful as a queen among other queens.
  • War must be, while we defend our lives against a destroyer who would devour all; but I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend.
  • Better mistrust undeserved than rash words.
  • We are truth-speakers, we men of Gondor. We boast seldom, and then perform, or die in the attempt. Not if I found it on the highway would I take it I said. Even if I were such a man as to desire this thing, and even though I knew not clearly what this thing was when I spoke, still I should take those words as a vow, and be held by them.
  • I am wise enough to know that there are some perils from which a man must flee.
  • The praise of the praiseworthy is above all rewards.

The Forbidden Pool[edit]

  • 'We are lost, lost,' said Gollum. 'No name, no business, no Precious, nothing. Only empty. Only hungry; yes, we are hungry. A few little fishes, nasty bony little fishes, for a poor creature, and they say death. So wise they are; so just, so very just.'

Journey to the Cross-roads[edit]

  • They cannot conquer forever!

The Stairs of Cirith Ungol[edit]

  • Who can now hold the fords when the King of the Nine Riders comes? And other armies will come. I am too late. All is lost. I tarried on the way. All is lost. Even if my errand is performed, no one will ever know. There will be no one I can tell. It will be in vain.
  • Frodo raised his head, and then stood up. Despair had not left him, but the weakness had passed. He even smiled grimly, feeling now as clearly as a moment before he had felt the opposite, that what he had to do, he had to do, if he could, and that whether Faramir or Aragorn or Elrond or Galadriel or Gandalf or anyone else ever knew about it was beside the purpose.
  • The brave things in the old tales and songs, Mr. Frodo: adventures, as I used to call them. I used to think that they were things the wonderful folk of the stories went out and looked for, because they wanted them, because they were exciting and life was a bit dull, a kind of a sport, as you might say. But that's not the way of it with the tales that really mattered, or the ones that stay in the mind. Folk seem to have been just landed in them, usually — their paths were laid that way, as you put it.
  • I never thought of that before! We've got — you've got some of the light of it in that star-glass that the Lady gave you! Why, to think of it, we're in the same tale still! It's going on. Don't the great tales never end?
  • 'No, they never end as tales,' said Frodo. 'But the people in them come, and go when their part's ended. Our part will end later — or sooner.'
  • 'I wonder if we shall ever be put into songs or tales. We're in one, or course; but I mean: put into words, you know, told by the fireside, or read out of a great big book with red and black letters, years and years afterwards. And people will say: "Let's hear about Frodo and the Ring!" And they'll say: "Yes, that's one of my favourite stories. Frodo was very brave. wasn't he, dad?" "Yes, my boy, the famousest of the hobbits, and that's saying a lot."'
  • 'To hear you somehow makes me as merry as if the story was already written. But you've left out one of the chief characters: Samwise the stouthearted. "I want to hear more about Sam, dad. Why didn't they put in more of his talk, dad? That's what I like, it makes me laugh. And Frodo wouldn't have got far without Sam, would he, dad?"'
  • 'We're going on a bit too fast. You and I, Sam, are still stuck in the worst places of the story, and it is all too likely that some will say at this point: "Shut the book now, dad; we don't want to read any more."'
  • Even Gollum might be good in a tale, better than he is to have by you, anyway...I wonder if he thinks he's the hero or the villain?
  • For a fleeting moment, could one of the sleepers have seen him, they would have thought that they beheld an old weary hobbit, shrunken by the years that had carried him far beyond his time, beyond friends and kin, and the fields and streams of youth, an old starved pitiable thing.
  • The fleeting moment had passed, beyond recall. 'Sneaking, sneaking!' he hissed. 'Hobbits always so polite, yes. O nice hobbits! Sméagol brings them up secret ways that nobody else could find. Tired he is, thirsty he is, yes thirsty; and he guides them and he searches for paths, and they say sneak, sneak . Very nice friends, O yes my precious, very nice.'

The Choices of Master Samwise[edit]

  • The Ring'll be found, and there'll be no more songs.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

The first volume of Tolkien's greatly acclaimed epic was first published July 29, 1954, the second on November 11 of the same year, and the final volume on October 20, 1955. They have inspired generations of readers ever since, and millions of new admirers are growing acquainted with the story because of the very popular motion picture adaptations directed by Peter Jackson.
These selections of quotations are designed to give but a taste of the what many hail as the magnificence of the tale, and some of the striking language employed within it.
Like many great books it is a work that many read many times for the beauty of its language and its themes, and these quotations are intended to provide a rich sampling as to why, without providing too extensive an indication of the plot of the story itself — and also to provide those who have read it with a collection of small reminders of what makes it so memorable. Like all the greatest literature it is full of both triumphs and tragedies, with complex connections and associations that do not always become apparent on the first reading, nor even with many readings thereafter. To emphasize the fair use nature of these quotations this footnote and links to the official publishers of the books occur on all the pages for quotations from The Lord of the Rings