The first three Chapters in Part II deal with the ordeal suffered by Merry
and Pippin as they are dragged across the Plains of Rohan by the Orcs who torment them every step of the way.
These unsavory creatures get their just deserts and Merry and Pippin escape
into Fanghorn Forest.
Chapter 4 provides the reader with light relief and this delightful Chapter
introduces us to the Ents and in particular to Treebeard. Ents are a cross between trees and men and Tolkien tries to create an individual language for them based on the common tongue. Treebeard has been
around since the dawn of Middle Earth and is, therefore, not in any particular rush to do anything. One of his first tasks is to recall what Hobbits are, and he refers to a poem, which contains all the lists
of creatures that live in Middle Earth. He recites '.
“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 earth born, old as mountains;
Man the mortal, master of horses:”
Then the poem goes on to deal with creatures like beavers, bears, hounds,
hares, eagles and so on, but there is no mention of Hobbits.
Pippin makes a suggestion, “Why not make a new line?
‘Half-grown Hobbits, the hole-dwellers.’
Put us in amongst the four, next to Man, and you’ve got it.”
Again we see an illustration of Tolkien’s poetry and there is more later on
in the Chapter when Treeboard broaches the subject of the Ent wives.
It seems very careless of the Ents, but they have lost their wives, and Treebeard asks if the Hobbits have seen them, and if not, keep an eye out for them in their travels.
Tolkien cleverly changes the mood throughout his story, and this is
necessary so that the reader can catch his breath between the periods of action.
I have said at the very beginning how descriptive Tolkien’s writing is, and
this is evident throughout The Lord of the Rings. His ability to transfer his thoughts onto paper and to fire the reader’s imagination is exceptional and I choose Chapter 9 – Shelob’s Lair as an example.
For a moment we think the Hobbits have escaped this giant odious creature,
but Shelob has a labyrinth of passages, and she soon has her prey in sight again.
“A little way ahead and to his left, Sam saw issuing from a black hole of
shadow under the cliff, the most loathly shape that he had ever beheld, horrible beyond the horror of an evil dream.
Most like a spider she was, but huger than the great hunting beasts, and more terrible than they because of the evil purpose in her remorseless eyes. Those same eyes that he thought daunted and defeated, there they were lit with a fell light again, clustering in her out-thrust head. Great horns she had, and behind her short stalk-like neck was her huge swollen body, a vast bloated bag swaying and sagging between her legs; its great bulk was black, blotched with livid marks, but the belly underneath was pale and luminous and gave forth a stench. Her legs were bent, with great knobbed joints high above her back, and hairs that stuck out like steel spines, and at each leg’s end there was a claw.”
The reader can have no doubt as to the appearance of Shelob, and in the end, it is the Hobbits’ small
size that enables one of them to get underneath Shelob and when she lowers herself to crush him, her own weight causes the sword to stab her deeply. .