Literature Study GuidesThe Lord Of The RingsThe Two Towers Book 3 Chapter 9 Summary

The Lord of the Rings | Study Guide

J.R.R. Tolkien

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The Lord of the Rings | The Two Towers (Book 3, Chapter 9) : Flotsam and Jetsam | Summary

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Summary

Aragorn, Gandalf, Gimli, and Legolas spend time with Merry and Pippin, catching up on what has been going on during their separation. They also seem to have grown a few inches—something Legolas attributes to drinking the waters of the Ents. Among the other goodies, the hobbits have also found some Longbottom Leaf, which is produced in the Shire.

Aragorn gives the hobbits the things of theirs he picked up along the way, and the hobbits fill the other three in on what has happened since they were captured by the Orcs. They explain the Ents "roused" themselves and began to march on Isengard to destroy it, and the huorns followed behind. At Isengard, the Ents tore into the rock and laid waste to the place—all except for the tower of Orthanc, which is protected by some magic Ents cannot overcome. The Ents then changed the flow of the Isen to fill in all the tunnels under Saruman's stronghold, and make escape impossible. Gandalf came and spoke with Treebeard about the situation at Helm's Deep, and when he left again, the huorns silently went toward Helm's Deep to form the mysterious forest.

The hobbits also note Wormtongue did indeed make it to Isengard and is currently trapped in Orthanc with Saruman.

Analysis

In good hobbit fashion, Merry and Pippin have found provisions among the destruction, have lit "a bit of fire" to cheer the place up, and soon have brought out "dishes, bowls, cups, knives, and food of various sorts" for Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli, who have stayed behind as Gandalf and the others went to see Treebeard. Not only is this a sweet moment of reunion for the friends, it also shows the quantity and type of supplies Saruman has been hoarding to feed his army. It is noteworthy that not all the provisions are for Orcs—some are for Men, which means Saruman has Men working for him as well.

Buried in this chapter is a mystery that will prove important later. A type of tobacco known as Longbottom Leaf, from the Shire, is found among Saruman's stores. Aragorn deduces that Saruman must have had dealings with someone in the Shire. But the identity of that someone is not yet known.

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