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"The Two Towers" Book Discussion and Honey Biscuit "Lembas" Recipe

I wish to inspire readers, teachers, and book clubs to bake along with their reading and promote discussion about the books we've enjoyed.

the-two-towers-book-discussion-and-recipe

The company of the Ring has been dispersed—by deception, orcs, and the lure of power. Frodo and Sam have begun the arduous journey to Mordor. Merry and Pippin are captured by orcs who are under orders to keep the Halflings alive and unsearched, and bring them to the wizard Saruman in Isengard. Gandalf was lost at the bridge of Khazad Dûm in the mines of Moria battling an ancient, mighty evil. While searching for the captured hobbits, Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas cross paths with the riders of Rohan, the great horsemen of the Riddermark, whose king’s mind is shadowed by a devious counselor.

A new cast of creatures and characters will reveal themselves—some as guides, some as hindrances—to what remains of the fellowship. But always there remains hope, even during the mighty battle at Helm’s Deep, a premonition of the wars that have been and remain to be fought in Gondor, who yet requires the aid of more than just men.

The Two Towers is the second book in the Lord of the Rings, filled with gripping action, wondrous scenery, and deeper revelations of the characters of men when tempted with great power. This book is perfect for fans of suspenseful, epic fantasy adventures.

Perfect for fans of

Discussion Questions

  1. Why did Frodo flee from the company and what happened with Boromir to set it in motion? How did Boromir redeem himself with his last act?
  2. Why were the prisoners Merry and Pippin ordered by Saruman not to be plundered or touched? How did this order cause dissemination among the orcs?
  3. What are the Onodrim, or Ents? What happened to the Ent-wives?
  4. How is Treebeard Fangorn? How has he grown to despise Saruman and what did this lead to at the Entmoot?
  5. Trolls are “counterfeits, made by the enemy in the Great Darkness, in mockery of _____”? What beautiful creatures are Orcs made in mockery of? What is this concept an allegorical spiritual representation of?
  6. Why is it that the fellowship should wish to cast down Sauron and have no one in his place to wear or wield the ring not a though that had occurred to him? What human temptation is he wagering on?
  7. How is Fangorn dangerous, and Gandalf more dangerous than anything you will ever meet, save the Dark Lord himself?
  8. How did Gandalf fare with the Balrog?
  9. Why are arrows no use against Ents? What can their fingers and toes do to rock? What did Merry mean “It was like watching the work of great tree-roots in a hundred years, all packed into a few moments”?
  10. What was the Orthanc-stone or palantir of Orthanc from the treasury of Elendil that Saruman had and Wormtongue threw at the company/what did it do? How was it better that Pippin looked into it rather than Gandalf?
  11. By what paths did Gollum choose to take Frodo and Sam to Mordor? Why?
  12. Why was it that Frodo, “a little halfling from the Shire, a simple hobbit of the quiet countryside” could go “where the great ones could not go, or dared not go”?
  13. What reasons were there why wouldn’t Gollum move “under the Yellow Face”?
  14. What was a Mumak of Harad (oliphaunt) and why had Sam always longed to see one? Of what animals does it remind you?
  15. Why had it always displeased Boromir as a child that his father was the steward of Gondor, and not king? What is the difference?
  16. How did Faramir prove himself different from, and perhaps even stronger than his brother?
  17. Why did the men of Gondor face west in a moment of silence before a meal? What traditions did the hobbits and men both have when they were guests at a meal? What world religions have traditions like these?

The Recipe

Often in their hearts, the company of the Ring thanked the Lady of Lorien for the gift of lembas, an elvish honey bread or waybread which gave them new strength.

When Merry and Pippin were found among the "flotsam and jetsam" by the Tower of Orthanc where Saruman hid, the hobbits offered their friends "butter and honey for your bread."

This is a very simple recipe for a honeyed American biscuit or soft bread. If you would like something a little denser and more authentic to the books, you can remove the baking powder.

It can be served with butter slathered on top or inside, or drizzled with honey, or with honey butter (recipe in the note below the biscuit recipe).

Fluffy Honey Biscuit "Lembas" Bread

the-two-towers-book-discussion-and-recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, cold
  • 1 tbsp baking powder, (can be omitted for denser bread)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3/4 cup whole milk

Baking/measuring tip for honey

Baking tip: to measure honey and have it all slide out of the vessel easily, lightly oil the scoop or measuring cup on all sides before adding honey. Then all the honey should pour out easily.

the-two-towers-book-discussion-and-recipe
the-two-towers-book-discussion-and-recipe

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F. Measure out flour and baking powder and pour into a large bowl. Cut butter into 8 pieces, and using a pastry cutter, a potato masher, or a fork, cut butter into flour until it is in small pieces, about the size of a pea. Then add the honey and milk and stir together with a large spoon until a thick dough is formed.
  2. On a clean counter, pour about 1/2 cup flour in a small pile and dump the dough onto it. Using a wooden rolling pin, roll dough out to about a quarter inch thick. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into triangles, or into rounds using a cup, if preferred. Place onto baking sheets, and bake for 8-10 minutes or until the tops begin to turn golden and the sides look fluffy and not raw. Allow to cool 2-4 minutes before serving (you can also drizzle extra honey on top of the biscuits at this point, if you'd like). Serve with more butter or honey or honey butter.

Honey butter recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp butter, softened to room temperature (I prefer salted)
  • 1 tsp honey (I prefer raw, local honey)

In a small bowl, use a spoon or small whisk to whip together butter and honey.

Serve immediately at room temperature with biscuits, rolls, or cornbread. Can be refrigerated for later use, but is best (and easiest to spread) at room temp.

Fluffy Honey Biscuit "Lembas" Bread

the-two-towers-book-discussion-and-recipe

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Similar Reads

The last book in this trilogy is The Return of the King. More can also be found about the history of Middle Earth in the factual representation The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien and his son, Christopher. More works by Tolkien include Unfinished Tales of Numenor and Middle Earth, The Children of Hurin, Beren and Luthien, The Fall of Gondolin, Tales from the Perilous Realm, The Road Goes Ever On, and more.

One of Tolkien’s best friends, C.S. Lewis, also wrote several fantasy series, and he and the two often met with a group of fellow writers for inspiration called The Inklings. Lewis’ fantasy (science fiction) series were the adult Out of the Silent Planet trilogy, which begins with the same title, and the famous high fantasy Chronicles of Narnia children’s series.

Trees with bad hearts, a magic wood, an old powerful wizard, a mighty battle, and a long journey are all elements of the delightful fantasy novel Uprooted by Naomi Novik.

Foul servants of a Dark Lord, magic, the battle of good and evil, and the might of a young small person to overcome it is in the Harry Potter books. The one perhaps most like The Two Towers would be Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

Notable Quotes

“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.”

“Together we will take the road that leads into the West.

And far away we will find a land where both our hearts may rest.”

“A habit of the old: they choose the wisest person present to speak to; the long explanations needed by the young are wearying.”

“For imagining war he has let loose war…”

“Where now are the Dunedain, Elessar, Elessar?

Why do thy kinsfolk wander afar?

Near is the hour when the Lost shall come forth,

And the Grey Company ride from the North.

But dark is the path appointed to thee:

The Dead watch the road that leads to the Sea.”

“Legolas Greenleaf long under tree

In joy thou hast lived. Beware of the Sea!

If thou hearest the cry of the gull on the shore,

Thy heart shall then rest in the forest no more.”

“The wise speak only of what they know.”

“What is your counsel?...To cast aside regret and fear. To do the deed at hand.”

“Yet dawn is ever the hope of men.”

“It was like watching the work of great tree-roots in a hundred years, all packed into a few moments.”

“The burned hand teaches best. After that advice about fire goes to the heart.”

“War must be, while we defend our lives against a destroyer who would devour us 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…”

“Fair speech may hide a foul heart.”

© 2019 Amanda Lorenzo

Comments

Dina AH from United States on May 26, 2019:

Ah. I miss the Lord of the Rings books. Those characters will always be treasures from my literary journey. I am loving your use of memorable quotes and discussion questions to enrich the reading experience of The Two Towers. Do you have a specific favorite moment from Frodo's story? And, do you have any favorite female characters from Lord of the Rings? I am due for a reread, definitely, and a rewatch of the films.

Naude Lorenzo on May 21, 2019:

His books are awesome and this recipe looks easy to make and delicious, I hope I'm right, one more time thanks Amanda for your dedication, you are amazing.