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Lord of the Rings


Part 1 Prologue
Book 1
Book 2
Comments Books 1&2
Book 3
Book 4
Comments Books 3&4
Book 5
Book 6
Later Events




About this wolfnote:-

It is often said that there is no substitute for reading a book from cover to cover.

This is never truer than with Lord of the Rings, for Tolkien’s genius is making this epic believable. He does this through his descriptive power, and attention to detail, so the reader becomes lost in the intricate Middle Earth world of Tolkien’s imagination, and coupled with the reader’s own imagination, one can escape here time and time again.

In this note, we will start with a very brief pr'cis, followed by a look at the author and his talents.

We will then look at the journey of Frodo in his quest to destroy the Ring of Power.  This token has come to him, not totally by accident, but by some supernatural destiny.

When the Fellowship of the Ring breaks up, we not only follow Frodo’s journey, but also the adventures of the other members of this Company.

You should ensure that your copy of this book contains maps, as you will need to refer to these in order to follow the progress of all the parties.

Once we have dealt with the storylines, we will go back and focus on specific chapters in the book in order to highlight Tolkien’s flare and artistry, showing how he uses tension, drama, humor and poetry in the telling of this tale.

We will also look at the main characters and races, and touch on the lore of Middle Earth.

It is useful to look at the prequel to this book, The Hobbit, which serves as a very good introduction to the Lord of the Rings.  The Hobbit is more akin to a fairy tale, and although it lacks the depth and complexity of the Lord of the Rings, it mirrors many of the techniques that Tolkien’s applies in Lord of the Rings.  It can be easily read in a day.


 “Three Rings for the Elvin-kings under the sky,

 Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,

 Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die

 One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne

 In the Land of Mordor where the shadows lie.

 One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,

 One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them

 In the Land of Mordor where the shadows lie.”


Gandalf the Grey, a wizard, has found that the Ring that Frodo has in his possession is the One Ring described in the poem above. 

As it states, this is the most powerful of all the Rings of Power, more powerful than the three held by the Elvin-kings, who we will meet in this tale. 

He reveals this to Frodo and tells him that already the Dark Lord has sent out emissaries in order to seek him out and claim back his Ring. These emissaries are also mentioned in the poem above. They are Black Riders and the Mortal Men are doomed to die.

In order to save the people of the Shire where Frodo lives, he takes Gandalf’s advice and arranges to flee towards the safe haven of Rivendell, and the house of Elrond. With him he takes three companions, Sam, Merry and Pippin. 

Gandalf is not able to accompany them and they eventually make their way to Rivendell after many adventures, with the help of Strider, who will later be revealed as Aragorn, the rightful heir to the throne of Gondor.

At Rivendell, Elrond holds a council, where there are representatives of all the races, Elves, Dwarves, Men and Hobbits.  It is decided that the Ring must be destroyed, and casting it into the Mountain of Fire deep within Mordor, the Dark Lord’s domain, can only do this. 

Frodo realizes he must carry out this task, and with him will go Legolas an Elf, Gimli a Dwarf, Gandalf the Grey, Aragorn the Ranger, Boromir heir to the stewardship of Gondor from the race of Men who have long battled against the dark land, and the three Hobbits, Sam, Merry and Pippin. They leave Rivendell and must go by secret ways to their destination to avoid the spies of the Dark Lord.

The Hobbits were already being pursued by the Dark Riders on the trip to Rivendell.  They soon find that these undead Wraiths have new steeds that fly, and they have only one aim – to capture Frodo and the Ring. 

The company meets many obstacles on their way, from ferocious wolves, monsters, Trolls and Orcs (Goblins), but there are also another spy, Gollum who once possessed the Ring, and he too craves to possess it once more. Sauron has sent him, knowing that if he does obtain the Ring, he will be able to draw him back to his stronghold.

The Fellowship of the Ring plans to cross the mountains and reach the mighty River Anduin, which will take them quickly to the outskirts of Mordor.  However, they are unable to cross the mountains due to supernatural storms, and they are forced to travel underground through the Mines of Moria, which were carved by the Dwarves ages ago, and are involved in a running battle with Orcs and Cave Trolls and there is also a hidden menace.

Gandalf is lost when he confronts this evil, but the rest of the party escapes and is led by Aragorn.

They have a brief respite in the Land of Lori'n where the Tree Elves live, under the leadership of Galadriel and Celeborn.  They provide them with boats and the party travel down the river as far as they can until they reach a crossroads.  A decision has to be made whether to go to Boromir’s land and face the Dark Lord’s army, which will issue from Mordor, or to continue their journey into the Dark Land in order to destroy the Ring.  Boromir tries to persuade Frodo to come with him, so that they can use the Ring of Power in the battle, but Frodo is mindful of what Gandalf has told him, and decides to continue with his quest to destroy the Ring.  The huge man tries to force Frodo to give him the Ring, but he slips it on and disappears and decides to ‘go it alone’.

Meanwhile, the company is attacked by Orcs, and Boromir is killed valiantly trying to protect the Hobbits. Sam, suspecting Frodo’s intentions, manages to join his master on their quest.

The two Hobbits capture Gollum and he acts as their guide into Mordor, waiting for the opportunity when he will be able to steal the Ring for himself. On their journey, they face many adventures - capture by Orcs, giant spiders, and inhospitable landscapes.

The book also tells us of the adventures of the other members of the Fellowship.  Merry and Pippin, the other two Hobbits are captured by the band of Orcs that raided their party, and Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli are determined to save them, realizing that they cannot assist Frodo and Sam any more.

There is a battle between these Orcs and the Riders of Rohan, and during the confusion, the Hobbits escape into the woods where they meet Treebeard, the Ent. Gandalf returns to the scene and he is now known as Gandalf the White, and he will lend his newfound powers to the cause.

The head of the Wizards, Saruman, wishes the Ring for himself so that he can become the all-powerful Lord of Middle Earth. He is another element of this complex situation. The story switches back and forth, and there are several threads running at the same time. 

The focal point of the story revolves around the capital city of Gondor, Minas Tirith, where the Dark Side is also influencing Boromir’s father, the Steward of Gondor. Sauron has a mighty army and all the forces of Good must be rallied and organized to meet this threat.

Gandalf, Aragorn and Boromir’s brother, Faramir, are involved in bringing together elements that will help the side of Good. The aim is to distract the Dark Lord into thinking that they possess the Ring, and that they will need to be conquered before Sauron can retrieve it.  In this way, the Dark Lord will perhaps not notice two small Hobbits who struggle in his land to destroy the Ring.

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