Lord Of The Rings Summary

J. R. R. Tolkien

Lord Of The Rings

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Lord Of The Rings Summary

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When Tolkien first published his magnum opus,The Lord of the Rings, early reviews seemed oddly mixed, and yet, the trilogy is now widely accepted as the beginning of all modern fantasy, winning awards all over the globe, including several countries’ “best-loved book.” In 1999, Amazon customers declared The Lord of the Rings as their favourite book of the millennium. Originally written as one immense tome, for publishing purposes it was divided into three texts: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King, the first of which is covered here.

The Fellowship of the Ring is the book that began a legend. It has been the reference of every fantasy or epic book to come after; it, like Shakespeare, invented whole languages, such as Elvish, and words, such as Tolkienian, that are now canon in the Oxford English Dictionary. Religions, languages, and myths (notably Norse mythology) from all over the world influenced the novel, and though denied, it clearly took inspiration from Tolkien’s real experience in WWI. It is the catalyst that created fantasy role-playing games(Dungeons and Dragons), influenced music (numerous explicit Led Zeppelin references and at least one Black Sabbath song to name a few), and endless references in pop culture to this day. Thematically it would be impossible to list everything, but significant themes include: race, social class, religion, good versus evil, morality, catholic ideals, conservatism, the monomyth, friendship and loyalty, and home. The Fellowship of the Ring, and the entire masterpiece of The Lord of the Rings, is easily one of the most famous modern novels of all time.

Bilbo Baggins throws a party on his“eleventy-first”(111th) birthday, where he announces he is leaving the Shire for what he calls a permanent holiday. He is leaving all of his belongings to his young cousin, heir, and fellow birthday boy, Frodo. After disappearing mysteriously in a puff of smoke, Bilbo meets Gandalf the Grey, a powerful wizard and close friend, who insists Bilbo leave the Ring to Frodo. Bilbo does not want to give up his most cherished possession, which he found during his adventures, chronicled in The Hobbit. The most obvious power the Ring has is invisibility to the wearer, but Gandalf suspects it to be the very dangerous Ring of Sauron, the Dark Lord. Bilbo reluctantly agrees, and leaves. Gandalf then warns Frodo to keep the Ring a secret, and leaves to find out more information.

Frodo lives at Bag End for many years, seemingly without aging, as Bilbo had lived. One day,Gandalf appears to warn Frodo about his confirmed suspicions, including the corrupting power of the One Ring. Sauron is after the Ring to conquer the world, and has sent Gollum and many other frightening creatures to search for it. The Ring will always destroy and corrupt the wearer and anyone close by, Gandalf says, but Frodo can and must destroy it by throwing it into the volcano at Mount Orodruin. It cannot be done by anyone else because it is Frodo’s fate.

Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin (fellow hobbit friends) set out, and are pursued by Sauron’s Black Riders, or Nazgûl, bodiless evil horsemen. In the village of Bree, the hobbits meet and team up with a man who calls himself Strider. They do not trust him until they receive a letter from Gandalf. Strider reveals his real name is Aragorn, a friend of Gandalf and heir to Isildur. They travel to Rivendell, eluding the Ringwraiths, where Elrond saves them. Frodo is reunited with Bilbo, who finally understands the danger of the Ring. There is a council to discuss what to do with the Ring, during which Gandalf explains his visit to Isengard. He asked for Saruman’s help, but the great wizard has been corrupted by Sauron’s evil. The council decides the Ring must be destroyed because of its intrinsic evil, and the Company of the Ring is formed.The group consists of two men, Aragorn and Boromir; an Elf, Legolas; the great wizard, Gandalf; the Dwarf, Gimli; and the four hobbits. Bill the Pony comes too.

When the group’s plan to cross over the Misty Mountains fails because of heavy storms, they have no choice but to take a dangerous path under the mountains, through the ancient Dwarf mines of Moria. They are attacked by Orcs and must flee, but just before they escape, they encounter a Balrog, an evil demon of fire and shadow. Gandalf turns to defend them, but both the wizard and the demon fall into an abyss.

The group continues on. In the Elf-haven of Lothlorien, Lady Galadriel of the Elves gives them magical items to help them. After leaving Lothlorien, the group plans its next move. Boromir, clearly corrupted by the Ring’s dark power, says Frodo should give the Ring to his father, and thus fight the evil Sauron. Boromir tries to take the ring for himself, and Frodo puts on the Ring to escape and disappear. Boromir is suddenly ashamed of his actions; he had been under the power of the Ring, but understands his error. He admits to the rest of the Fellowship what he did, and they search for Frodo frantically. Frodo, however, has fled, believing the burden of the Ring must be his and his alone. Demonstrating an understanding of his friend that the others clearly did not possess, Sam finds Frodo and refuses to leave his side. The two hobbits continue down the river in a little boat. They are more determined than ever to destroy the Ring. The action continues in the second book, The Two Towers.