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Notes on The Two Towers Themes

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The Two Towers Topic Tracking: Sacrifice

Book 3, Chapter 1

Sacrifice 1: Boromir gives his life trying to prevent the orcs from taking the hobbits. In his last words he admits his wrong against Frodo to Aragorn. Aragorn keeps this secret until he speaks to Gandalf. The entire company is traveling with the tacit knowledge that at any moment they may be required to lay down their lives for the quest.

Book 3, Chapter 4

Sacrifice 2: The ents become enraged about the treachery of Saruman. Their forest is threatened and they slowly begin to realize that much more hangs in the balance than their own forest. The gather and consider their options and decide to rouse the forest and attack the fortress of Saruman. In this, Treebeard is fully aware of the risk and willing to die to rid the world of the evil menace.

Book 3, Chapter 5

Sacrifice 3: Gandalf's sacrifice in Moria was profound. He fought the Balrog so that the quest to destroy the Ring could continue. He fell into fire and darkness but struggled to eventually defeat the creature. This struggle resulted in a death of his original form, and he returns to the world as Gandalf the White.

Book 3, Chapter 7

Sacrifice 4: The Riders of Rohan rush to the aid of their countrymen against a great force with little care for their own lives. Aragorn and Eomer repeatedly risk their lives at the walls. At dawn, Theoden rides out to defend his people and rally them to an unlikely victory with the help of the mysterious trees. The young guard, Hama, dies in the battle defending his people.

Book 3, Chapter 9

Sacrifice 5: Even though he was willing to risk the lives of his army of orcs and men, Saruman is unwilling to risk his own life in battle and he merely retreats into his impenetrable tower after his forces have been overcome. His servant Grima also shuns sacrifice and he joins his master in the tower.

Book 3, Chapter 10

Sacrifice 6: Unwittingly, Saruman, who wished not to risk his own life even while his armies were being slaughtered, sacrifices everything in his desire for the ultimate power. He is given a chance to retain his power and position if he will only trust Gandalf, but his descent into evil prevents him from doing this.

Book 4, Chapter 4

Sacrifice 7: Sam's love for Frodo exhibits itself in the sacrifices he is willing to make for his friend. He watches over him while he sleeps and makes food for him when he is hungry. Frodo's endeavor is not without sacrifice. His health and life suffer for the quest. Each of the hobbits gives according to his ability.

Book 4, Chapter 7

Sacrifice 8: Frodo's empathy for Gollum is shown through the act of blindfolding himself. He gives up his own right to see the way from the secret forest so that Gollum will be comfortable. This right is a token of Faramir's deep trust for the hobbit. He makes a commitment to Gollum that parallels the blindfolding of the companions when they are in Lothlorien and the elves want to just blindfold the dwarf (The Fellowship of the Ring).

Book 4, Chapter 8

Sacrifice 9: Sam is shown once again sacrificing his comfort for the comfort of his friend. He knows that while they both suffer the dangers of their quest, Frodo, as the bearer of the Ring, must bear a burden greater than he could ever imagine. He speaks of songs that will be sung about them, understanding that fame is the only payment they may ever get for their suffering. These thoughts bring them little comfort.

Book 4, Chapter 9

Sacrifice 10: For Gollum, the hobbits are a suitable sacrifice to Shelob. She gets their flesh and for his troubles in leading them to her lair, he gets the Ring. He has thought of nothing but their sacrifice since he found them. All that is important to him is the Ring.

Book 4, Chapter 10

Sacrifice 11: I the final moments of this book, there are many sacrifices. Sam sees that Frodo has sacrificed his life for the quest and he throws himself at Shelob with unparalleled strength, risking his own life to try and save his friend. When Frodo is presumed dead, Sam is prepared to carry on the quest. When he finds out that Frodo might be alive, he sacrifices the quest to try and rescue his friend.

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