There is great excitement in the Shire as the day approaches when the joint
birthday parties of Bilbo Baggins (111) and his cousin Frodo (33) approaches. Invitations have been sent out far and wide and much food and drink will be consumed by all the guests. On the day, Bilbo
joins in with the entertainment and using the magic ring, disappears in front of all his guests, who assume it is a party trick. Little do they realize that none of them will see Bilbo again, for he has
decided to leave the Shire and go to Rivendell.
Bilbo reappears back at his home where Gandalf the Wizard awaits him.
The two will make the journey to Rivendell together, but before they leave,
Gandalf reminds Bilbo regarding his last resolution – to give the magic ring to Frodo.
Suddenly Bilbo is overcome with reluctance to part with the ring that he has held for so long. He accuses Gandalf of wanting the ring for himself, but as soon as this madness had appeared, it disappeared, and Bilbo realizes that it is time to give the ring up before it totally consumes him.
Frodo lives on in the Shire for another 17 years and then starts to feel
Gandalf returns knowing now that this ring is the One Ring of Power, and
that Frodo is in great danger and must leave the Shire at once.
Sauron, the Dark Lord of Mordor and maker of the Ring, has sent out Nine
Ringwraiths (Black Riders) to scour Middle Earth in search of the Ring. So starts Frodo’s adventure.
“The road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with weary feet,
Until it joins some larger way,
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.”
Frodo learns that Sauron needs the Ring in Frodo’s possession in order to
enslave all of Middle Earth through its power. Sauron had captured Gollum and learned from him that a Hobbit has the Ring, so the Shire will be the first place that the Black Riders will come to.
Frodo wishes to relinquish this burden and offers the Ring to Gandalf.
The Wizard responds violently saying that if he possessed the Ring all that would happen is that Sauron would be no more, but Gandalf the Great would sit on the Dark Throne. Whoever possesses the Ring is eventually enslaved by it, but it is clear that the influence on Hobbits, Gollum, Bilbo and now Frodo, is very slow, and he alone can bear the Ring and must take it to Elrond’s house in Rivendell where further decisions will be made. Frodo agrees to go immediately in order to protect the Shire. He will go under the pretence of moving house to the far east of the Shire from where he can discreetly slip away without causing too much fuss.
Sam Gamgee, Frodo’s gardener, has been listening to this conversation from
outside, and Gandalf pounces on him. He is extremely loyal to Frodo and will go with him on his journey.
There are two other Hobbit friends, Merry and Pippin, and they make up the four that travel through the Shire.
Gandalf has to leave them in order to find out where the Dark Riders are.
It is not long before the four Hobbits realize that they are not traveling
alone in the Shire, and they notice the presence of Dark Horsemen on the roads.
During their trip across the Shire, they meet with some Elves who give them
some assistance. The leader of the Elves, Gildor warns them not to travel in the open, and to go as quickly as possible.
They obtain further assistance from Farmer Maggot, who reveals that he has
seen and talked with one of the Dark Riders.
At Crickhollow where Frodo’s new home is, they hope to meet Gandalf, but he
is nowhere to be seen. Sam, Merry and Pippin have no intention of leaving their friend to journey alone, and in order to evade the Dark Riders, the Hobbits agree to enter the Old Forest.
This is a mysterious and dangerous place, and they are lured to Old Man Willow at the center of the forest, who makes them drowsy and attempts to consume them, until Tom Bombadil rescues them. Tom is a mystery and is known as “Master of Wood, Water and Hill. Eldest, that’s what I am.” He takes the stunned Hobbits out of the wood to his home where they meet his wife, Goldberry, who is the daughter of a River woman and, therefore, not of the race of Men.
The Hobbits enjoy a few days of hospitality and Frodo confides in Tom
regarding his quest.
Tom handles the Ring, but it has no power over him, and soon Frodo realizes he must leave and face the perils of the outside world. They must travel through the Barrow Downs and Tom has told them that they must pass through this land before nightfall, but they stop for a picnic and fall asleep in the sun, and before the realize it, night has fallen and they come under the power of the Barrow-wights. They awake to find themselves inside one of the Barrows where there are spirits, but again Tom manages to rescue them, and he sets them on their way to the town of Bree. This is an important town, being at the crossroads of two main highways. They stay at the Prancing Pony, which is busy, being full of travelers and locals.
The Hobbits should have kept a low profile, but they could not resist
joining in the festivities, and Frodo was singing and dancing with his hands in his pockets, then he let the Ring slip on his finger and he disappeared, much to the consternation of the revelers.
Back in their room, they meet with a tall travel-worn Man, named Strider,
and the Hobbits are suspicious of him. However, the innkeeper, Barliman Butterbur passes a letter to Frodo from Gandalf advising that Strider will guide them to Rivendell.
There is an incident at the inn concerning the Dark Riders, and on their
journey from Bree, they are aware and sense that the Dark Riders are close by, searching for them. They make for a tall hill called Weathertop, which has a commanding view of the countryside, and they will be
able to spy out the land from this vantage point. At Weathertop, they find a message that could be from Gandalf scored on a stone, and it indicates that there is evil abroad in the surrounding countryside.
That night at their campfire, they are attacked by some of the Dark Riders,
and Frodo is unable to resist the temptation of wearing the Ring during the attack.
When he does this, he enters the world of these evil spirits, and is able to see them more clearly. He is stabbed by one of the Dark Riders with a poisoned dagger. He shouts out the name Elbereth Gilthoniel. (She was a Valar Queen who lived in the Blessed Realm at the dawn of time, and who created Middle Earth, and even her name brought dread to the servants of Sauron). This causes the Dark Riders to retreat, and Strider with the aid of fire, hastened their departure. The poison that Frodo has received is deadly, but slow acting, and they must get him to Rivendell so that he can be treated properly. In the meantime, Strider obtains some herbs to help Frodo. Although the Dark Riders have been halted, they will try again, and they now know the location of the Ring, and no doubt they will all be together when they next attack.
As they come closer to Rivendell, they meet an Elf, Glorfindel, who has been
sent to look for them. In order to get to Rivendell, they must cross a River, and just when they think they are safe, the Dark Riders appear. It is Frodo that they are after, and so he makes a bolt for
it on his fast horse. He crosses the River, closely followed by the Dark Riders, who are overcome by a flood and swept away. This was created by Gandalf.
Frodo loses consciousness.