The Fellowship of the Ring is the first novel in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. It was written by J.R.R. Tolkien and published by Allen & Unwin in the middle of 1954. The plot is set years after The Hobbit, where Bilbo Baggins adventured to the Lonely Mountain and found a magic ring. Bilbo is the most famous hobbit in the Shire and has kept his discovery of the ring secret. The Fellowship of the Ring begins during Bilbo’s one hundred and eleventh birthday.
Everyone is having a grand time at Bilbo’s party. Gandalf launches off some fireworks that explode over the nighttime sky. Bilbo gives a speech during the climax of his celebration and slips the ring on. He disappears from sight. The guests are shocked, but resume their merrymaking. Invisible Bilbo sneaks back home and takes off the ring. Gandalf appears and Bilbo tells the wizard he is worn out and thrilled to go on another adventure. Gandalf reminds him the he promised to leave his prized ring to his cousin Frodo Baggins. Bilbo reluctantly departs with the small golden circle and begins his journey with some dwarves.
Frodo comes back to Bag End (Bilbo’s house) and Gandalf gives him the ring. He tells the young lad to keep it secret and safe. Frodo says no problem. Frodo is a good boy. Gandalf stops by the next day and is troubled. He tells the hobbit to not use the ring and departs. Frodo complies. Seventeen years pass. Rumors about a growing evil in Mordor swirl throughout Middle-earth. The grey wizard returns.
Big G tells Frodo that the ring has more power than he anticipated. He throws it in the fireplace and pulls it out. Strange markings from Mordor appear throughout the band. Frodo can’t read it. Gandalf can. He translates the markings for Frodo: One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them, One ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them. Frodo shrugs. The wizard sighs and continues on and explains that it is the one ring of the Dark Lord Sauron. The ring is capable of controlling the other rings of power and enslaving the universe. Frodo realizes that this is nothing to shrug about. He sighs, this is not good. Gandalf nods and clarifies that he hunted down Gollum, the owner of the ring before Bilbo. He extracted vital information, but the enemy did too and now Sauron is aware that the ring is hidden in the Shire. Frodo sighs again.
Frodo has a brilliant idea. He decides that they should destroy the ring. Gandalf implores him to try. Frodo fails. He thinks Gandalf should have it. Big G refuses and says he would gain too much power and become corrupted. The hobbit thinks and decides to hold onto the ring until it can be destroyed. The pair discuss a few things and come up with a plan. The first step is to leave the Shire in order to keep the other hobbits safe. Gandalf finds Sam Gamgee eavesdropping on their conversation. He chuckles and deploys him with Frodo.
A few months pass and Frodo sells Bag End to a relative. Afterwards, he begins his journey with Sam. Pippin Took joins them. Time passes and Frodo hears hooves. The trio clear off the road and a Black Rider soars by. Everyone is spooked. An elven song fills the air. The rider takes off. The elves greet the hobbits and they settle down for the night. Frodo asks about the riders and the elves tell him that they serve the enemy and should be avoided. Everyone sleeps.
The elves are gone in the morning. The hobbits stick to a path that deviates from the main road. They hear another Black Rider and stay out of sight. The fields of Farmer Maggot appear. Farmer M welcomes them and treats them to dinner. He offers to take them to the Brandywine River. They arrive at the river and meet up with their friend Merry Brandybuck. The hobbits progress towards Crickhollow where Frodo has purchased a house. The new purchase is to fake his departure from the Shire. Everyone cleans up and eats. Frodo tells Merry and Pippin about Sam and his true motives with the ring. They say they already know and agree to join them. They go to bed and Frodo has mysterious dreams.
The hobbits take off the next morning and enter the Old Forest. They lose the main path and fall asleep near an old willow tree. Sam stays awake and fetches their ponies. Frodo falls into a river and Sam pulls him out. Pippin and Merry are encased in the trunk of the tree. Sam and Frodo attempt to rescue them and fail. Frodo screams for help. Tom Bombadil answers his cries. He sings at the tree and it releases the hobbits. The hobbits thank him and he invites them to dinner. Everyone shrugs and follows Tom.
Dinner at Tom’s is delicious and they stay a few days. He tells them stories about the Old Forest and plays with the ring. Tom puts it on and does not vanish. He gives it back to Frodo. The hobbit tries it on to confirm it is the real ring. He disappears, but Tom can still see him. Tom is an enigmatic dude. He teaches them all a song. Song time with Tom is the best. The hobbits say goodbye the following day and head north.
The four best friends move over the hills and oncoming landscape. A dark figure grabs Frodo and he passes out. He wakes up under the hills. A barrow-wight has captured him and his friends. Frodo attacks the enemy with a dagger. The damage is not sufficient and the plot thickens. Merry and Frodo sing Tom’s song. Tom appears and saves them. He sorts through the barrow-wight’s treasure and gives each of the hobbits a dagger. Treasure time with Tom is the best. Big T sends the boys to the town of Bree. They head over to Bree and Frodo tells his friends that they should call him Mr. Underhill in order to avoid suspicion.
Bree is an amalgam of humans and hobbits. The hobbits book a room at the Prancing Pony and drink at the bar. Frodo spots some suspicious characters. A Ranger named Strider talks to Frodo. He seems to know a lot. Pippin gets wasted and entertains the crowd. He reveals some personal details and forgets the whole Underhill situation. Frodo intervenes and sings a song to distract the crowd. He accidently puts on the ring and disappears. Strider pops up and admits he knows about the ring. He requests Frodo’s presence later. The hobbits head up to their rooms.
Strider follows the friends and Sam is cautious. Frodo receives a letter from Gandalf. The wizard writes that the hobbits are in danger and should head to Rivendell. There is a part about Strider, whose name is Aragorn, and how he can help. Sam is still not convinced, but Strider declares that he could have already killed them and taken the ring. The sentiment resonates and they agree to hire him as their guide. Everyone has a slumber party with Aragorn (for safety).
The party wakes up and discovers their ponies are gone. They buy new ones and head out. They cross the Midgewater Marshes and settle in at an abandoned watchtower. Frodo senses danger and Strider tells the hobbits stories to calm them. Some time passes and the Black Riders show up. Frodo puts on the ring and sees their true form. Their leader stabs Frodo and he takes off the ring. He passes out and Strider fights them off.
Frodo is in pain. Stab wounds hurt. Strider tells Sam to care for his friend and heads out. He returns with some herbs and applies them to Frodo’s injury. The solution is ephemeral. Day approaches and they sprint off towards Rivendell for a permeant fix. They reach a river next to their destination. Some Black Riders ambush them. They make it across and the riders follow. A deluge gushes out and overwhelms the riders. Everyone is safe, but Frodo slips into unconsciousness.
Frodo wakes up in Rivendell. Gandalf is next to him. He tells him that Elrond (the Master of Rivendell) treated his wound and he is fine. They are both relieved and head to an elven dinner. Frodo reunites with Bilbo and everyone has a wonderful evening. The hobbits go to sleep. The sun rises and Gandalf fetches the hobbits. Elrond is hosting a meeting and several representatives from the various races of Middle-earth have arrived seeking his council.
Elrond tells the origin story of the one ring. A warrior named Boromir retells a relevant dream. Bilbo and Frodo each add their own context. Gandalf shares his recent escapades. He sought out his wizard buddy Saruman, but he joined forces with Mordor and kidnapped him. Big G was able to escape on an eagle, but it was a close call. Everyone voices their concern and opinion on what to do with the ring. They decide they should destroy it and Fordo volunteers to bear the burden. Sam speaks up and declares he will join his pal. Elrond smiles.
Frodo hangs out with Bilbo and Elrond forms the fellowship of the ring. Nine members are selected in total. The company consists of Frodo, Sam, Merry, Pippin, Gandalf, Aragorn, Boromir (a human), Gimli (a dwarf) and Legolas (an elf and connoisseur of Legos). The fellowship prepares for the oncoming adventure and gathers supplies. Bilbo gives Frodo a dagger named Sting and a coat of mail. The gang heads out.
Everyone trudges along the base of the Misty Mountains. A flock of birds soar by and they take cover. Aragorn assumes they are spies from Mordor. They continue up a mountain, but snow and avalanches deter them. They head back down the mountain. Gandalf suggests that they pass through the Mines of Moria instead. The party is hesitant due to Moria’s evil reputation, but it is the only option. Some wolves attack. The fellowship of the ring stops the assault and goes to sleep.
Morning breaks and they arrive at the Door of Moria. It is sealed with ancient magic. Gandalf figures out how to open it by speaking a password. A creature in a nearby lake attacks them before they can enter. Frodo is dragged into the water and the fellowship saves him. They scuttle inside Moria and the creature smashes the door, sealing their fate. Hours pass and the boys progress deep into the depths. A camp is formed and everyone rests. Gandalf smokes his pipe and thinks.
The wizard wakes up his friends and they move on. They arrive at the vast and splendid hall of Moria. Gimli and Gandalf fill everyone in on its dwarven history. Frodo spots two eyeballs in the darkness, but is unsure of their existence. The walk continues and a square chamber with a beam of light comes into view. The fellowship of the ring enters and learn that it is the tomb of the Dwarf-king Balin. Gimli is sad. Gandalf finds a diary of the dwarves last days before they were conquered by Orcs. Everyone else is sad. They hear the sound of a drum and realize it is the war cry of the Orcs. Everyone is angry.
The Orcs burst into the tomb and a fight breaks out. They kill several of the bad guys, but their numbers overwhelm them and they retreat. The fellowship of the ring moves into the lower bowels of Moria and the Orcs are in hot pursuit. They cross a bridge and a Balrog attacks. Gandalf fights the Balrog while everyone else escapes. He stops the enemy, but they both fall deeper into Moria. The group is traumatized and Aragorn leads them outside the gates. The mood is tense after losing Gandalf and Aragorn takes leadership of the fellowship. The remaining eight rest and tend to their wounds.
Night falls on the good guys and they enter a forest. A group of elves appear and recognize Legolas. They invite them to their home of Lórien. The elven city is vast and the gang recovers. Days roll on and Lady Galadriel speaks with Frodo about his plight. The elves offer the fellowship refuge, but everyone decides they must press on. They receive gifts and provisions and set off down a nearby river.
The landscape is quiet and the company makes significant progress. Days pass by and Sam spots two eyeballs one night. He tells Frodo about his discovery and they decide the owner of the eyes was also in Moria. The hobbits consult Aragorn and he has seen them too. Everyone raises their guard and continues down the river. They reach unpassable rapids and head to the shoreline. The fellowship of the ring takes their boats and gear and move on.
The gang enters the river again and sail on. The river ends and they are faced with a choice. Head east to Mordor or west to Minas Tirith. Aragorn lets Frodo choose. Frodo asks for a moment alone to contemplate and settles in the woods. Boromir joins him and tries to convince the hobbit to pick Minas Tirith. He continues and tells Frodo that the ring should not be destroyed and used to destroy Sauron. Frodo rejects the notion and Boromir attacks. Frodo puts on the ring and vanishes. Boromir collapses in depression. Frodo has a lurid vision.
The hobbit removes the ring and realizes that he needs to go to Mordor alone. The ring’s power will corrupt his friends and lead them to a certain death. Boromir returns to the others and tells them he scared the hobbit off. Everyone is worried and they form a search party. Sam recognizes Frodo’s intentions and finds him leaving on his own. He leaps into the water and swims after him. Sam can’t swim and Frodo pulls him into his boat. He acknowledges that they should go towards Mordor together. Frodo and Sam sail against the world. The Fellowship of the Ring concludes.