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The Fellowship of the Ring

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In this first book of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, an aging Bilbo Baggins decides to leave the Shire and spend his remaining days at Rivendell. He leaves all his worldly possessions to his nephew, Frodo, including the magic ring he found on his earlier travels (see The Hobbit). Gandalf, the wizard, who has always been suspicious of the ring, later finds out that the ring is actually the one ring made by Sauron, the Dark Lord, to control all of the magic rings he made: three of which were held by the elves, five by the dwarves, and nine for men. If Sauron gets the ring, he will be able to bring his dark rule to all of Middle-earth Gandalf tells Frodo not to use the ring and makes plans to have Frodo take the Ring to Rivendell, where a council will decide how to put the ring out of Sauron's reach.

When Gandalf does not return to the shire at the appointed time, Frodo sets out on the road for Rivendell with three stalwart companions: fellow hobbits Merry, Pippin, and Sam. The road quickly becomes dangerous as the Hobbits are chased by dark men clothed in black on horses. Although they do not yet know it, these are the Nazgul, the dark spirits of the nine men who held rings from Sauron. After several adventures and close encounters with these dark men, the Hobbits meet up with a stranger called Strider, who comes with a referral from Gandalf. he helps them through the wilderness and by the skin of their teeth, with a dramatic rescue by Gandalf, they make it to Rivendell.

In Rivendell a council is held to decide what should be done with the Ring. After much discussion it is decided to secretly send the Ring into Mordor, Sauron's land, and destroy it where it was formed into Mount Doom. There are to be nine members of the Fellowship charged with destroying the ring to counteract the nine Nazgul. The members are to be Gandalf, Gimli, to represent the dwarves; Legolas, to represent the elves, Boromir of Gondor, to represent men, Strider, whom we now find out is really named Aragorn and is the rightful King of Gondor; and the four Hobbits who will not be separated.

The Fellowship sets out but soon runs into trouble as they enter the ruined Dwarvish Mines of Moria. There Gandalf is apparently killed by a monster called a Balrog. The others barely escape and take refuge in the Elvish kingdom of Lothlorien. There they get rest and advice. Finally they leave in boats on the River Anduin to continue their journey, but it is not long before the Fellowship is broken. The travellers reach a point where they need to decide whether to go directly to Mordor or to turn off to go to Gondor.

Boromir wants to go to Gondor, and he wants the Ring to use against Sauron, so he chases Frodo who is forced to use the Ring to become invisible in order to escape. Since Frodo has now seen that the power of the Ring can drive men like Boromir nearly mad, he decides to leave on his own for Mordor and heads down to get a boat to leave for Mordor. Meanwhile, Orcs attack the camp and Boromir, who is full of remorse for his treatment of Frodo, is killed while protecting Merry and Pippin from the Orcs. The book ends as Sam catches up with Frodo and says he will follow Frodo to Mordor. Merry and Pippin are taken by the Orcs and Boromir is dead. Legolas, Gimli, and Aragorn are now left to decide whether to go after Frodo and Sam or to try to rescue Merry and Pippin. The future of Middle-earth is in great peril.

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