Here you will find a The Fellowship of the Ring summary (J. R. R. Tolkien's book).
We begin with a summary of the entire book, and then you can read each individual chapter's summary by visiting the links on the "Chapters" section.
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This epic tale unfolds within an imaginary universe known as Middle-earth, where a malevolent being, Sauron, who lost the One Ring that is the source of much of his power, is determined to recover it and use it to enslave the entire world. The saga begins when Bilbo Baggins, a humanoid creature known as a hobbit, discovers the Ring in a cave and innocently brings it home, unaware of its significance. For many years, Bilbo uses the Ring for its ability to make him invisible, oblivious to its true nature and the fact that Sauron is relentlessly searching for it. During Bilbo's 111th birthday celebration, he reluctantly passes the Ring to his cousin, Frodo Baggins, under the watchful eye of Gandalf the Grey, a powerful wizard. Recognizing it as the One Ring, Gandalf advises Frodo to leave their homeland, the Shire, as Sauron begins to regain his power. Frodo embarks on this perilous journey with three other hobbit companions, Sam, Merry, and Pippin. Their journey is fraught with danger as they face Sauron's sinister servants, the nine Ringwraiths, while also encountering both malevolent and benevolent entities. They eventually arrive at the town of Bree, where they meet Aragorn, a Ranger and heir to the Kings of ancient Men of Westernesse, who assists them in avoiding their pursuers. The group, guided by Gandalf's letter, heads to Rivendell, a realm of Elves, where Frodo's wound inflicted by a Ringwraith is healed. Elrond, the master of Rivendell, holds a council where it's decided that the Ring must be destroyed where it was forged, in the fiery mountain Orodruin, located in the heart of Mordor, Sauron's realm. A fellowship is formed to assist Frodo, including his hobbit friends, Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas the Elf, Gimli the Dwarf, and Boromir, a Man from the south. Their journey takes them through countless dangers, including the Mines of Moria, where Gandalf falls while fighting a demon. They continue their voyage, with Galadriel, the wise Elf-lady of Lórien, providing aid. As they approach Mordor, the power of the Ring begins to corrupt Boromir, but Frodo and Sam decide to continue the quest on their own.
The prologue serves as a detailed overview of the Hobbit race's history and customs. The narrative tells us that Hobbits, known for their love of crafts, gardening and their hearty appetites, have their tales recorded in the Red Book of Westmarch. Written by Bilbo Baggins, a Hobbit who embarked on an expedition to the East, the book documents his ventures. Hobbits largely reside in the Shire, a region in Middle-earth where they settled over a millennium ago. They are renowned for their shoeless feet, simple outlook, and the introduction of pipe tobacco. Despite their peripheral role in history, they can be unexpectedly brave and tough when required. Bilbo Baggins was the first Hobbit to gain recognition beyond his homeland. In ‘The Hobbit’, Bilbo, under the guidance of Gandalf the Grey, joins dwarf Thorin Oakenshield on a quest for lost wealth. Amidst escaping Orcs, Bilbo stumbles upon a ring in the dark mines of the Misty Mountains. The ring's owner, a pitiful creature named Gollum, forces Bilbo into a riddle game. With victory, Bilbo would be guided out of the mines, and with defeat, he would meet his demise. Despite his last riddle being questioned in validity, Bilbo emerges victorious. However, upon realizing Bilbo possessed his ring, Gollum was enraged. Bilbo, while running from Gollum, found out that the ring granted invisibility to its wearer, aiding his escape. Interestingly, Bilbo claimed that Gollum gifted him the ring, only revealing the actual events under Gandalf's persistent probing.
Bilbo Baggins, a wealthy and renowned hobbit known for his peculiar ways and friendships with Elves, Dwarves, and the wizard Gandalf, lives in Bag End. Ever since he returned from his adventures with a secret ring, he hasn't aged a day, even at 111 years old. Preparations for his grand “eleventy-first” birthday bash pique the curiosity of everyone in the Shire, and the celebration day finally arrives with an abundance of food, drink, and Gandalf's incredible fireworks. Towards the end of the feast, Bilbo addresses the gathering. His speech is brief, and just as it starts to bore the crowd, he stuns them by announcing his departure and vanishing right before their eyes. The guests, although disgruntled, resume their merrymaking. Invisible, thanks to his ring, Bilbo returns to Bag End to pack for his journey. He confides in Gandalf, who visits him, about his excitement for his travels and his sense of weariness, “like butter that has been scraped over too much bread.” Gandalf reminds him of his pledge to leave the magic ring to his favorite cousin and adopted heir, Frodo Baggins. Initially reluctant to part with the ring, Bilbo eventually agrees and departs with a trio of Dwarves, but not before Gandalf has to remind him one last time to leave the ring behind. Frodo enters the house soon after Bilbo's departure. Gandalf enlightens him about the legacy of the ring and urges him not to use it, but keep it hidden and safe. The following day, Frodo busies himself distributing Bilbo's gifts among the Hobbits and dealing with intrusive visitors. Gandalf reappears, seemingly troubled, and abruptly leaves after questioning Frodo about his knowledge of the ring and reinforcing the warning to not use it.
For seventeen years, Frodo has infrequent encounters with Gandalf, until Frodo is almost fifty. The Shire is abuzz with unusual tales of a growing Enemy in Mordor, and of Orcs, Trolls, and dreadful creatures. Sam Gamgee, a young gardener at Bag End, takes great interest in these tales. Gandalf reappears bearing worrying news. The ring Bilbo gave Frodo is more potent than he initially thought. Gandalf suspected it was one of the Rings of Power, but he grew troubled when he observed its peculiar impact on Bilbo. To verify his suspicions, Gandalf throws the ring into the fire. When he retrieves it, it's cool, with fiery Mordor script that reads, “One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, / One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.” Gandalf reveals that the ring is the One Ring of Sauron, the Dark Lord, and it possesses much of Sauron’s strength as it can control the other Great Rings. If Sauron were to reclaim it, he would rule Middle-earth. The Ring disappeared ages ago when Elendil's son, Isildur, took it from Sauron during a great battle. It was then lost in the Great River, Anduin, when Isildur was killed by Orcs. Centuries later, the Ring reemerged. Déagol, a Hobbit-like boy, found it in the river. His friend Sméagol, killed him for it. The Ring turned Sméagol into Gollum, who later lost it to Bilbo. Gandalf believes the Ring wanted to return to Sauron but didn't foresee Bilbo. After leaving the Shire, Gandalf found Gollum and extracted information from him. He mistakenly released Gollum, leading him back to Mordor, enabling Sauron to link the Ring to the Shire and the name Baggins. Sauron now seeks the Ring. Frodo is scared and resentful after hearing Gandalf's tale, wishing Bilbo had killed Gollum. Gandalf corrects him, suggesting that Bilbo's mercy contributed to his resilience against the Ring's power. Gandalf also believes that Gollum has a role to play in the Ring's fate. When Frodo suggests destroying the Ring, Gandalf encourages him to try. Frodo fails and instead puts the Ring back in his pocket. Gandalf refuses to take the Ring, fearing its corrupting power. Frodo understands the Shire is no longer safe, and he offers to protect the Ring until someone else can destroy it at the Cracks of Doom in Mordor. He's scared but also excited by the upcoming adventure, aware that the Ring could influence him. Gandalf praises Frodo's bravery and suggests he bring companions. He catches Sam eavesdropping and decides that Sam should join Frodo.
A couple of months later, Gandalf departs from the Shire to investigate alarming news he has received. Consequently, Frodo readies himself to leave, albeit at a slow pace. As per Gandalf's guidance, Frodo intends to journey to Rivendell, the house of Elrond Halfelven, the sage. To proceed further, he parts with his home, Bag End, selling it to Lobelia Sackville-Baggins, a discontented relative of Bilbo's who has long coveted the house. Assisted by Sam, Pippin (Peregrin Took), and Merry (Meriadoc Brandybuck), Frodo begins his departure that fall. He bids farewell with a modest party, a ritual for his and Bilbo’s annual birthday celebration on September 22nd. His friend Merry and another companion, Fatty (Fredegar) Bolger, advance to Frodo’s new quarters across the Brandywine River in Buckland, carrying a cartload of baggage. Meanwhile, Frodo, Sam, and Pippin decide to tread on foot, camping in the forest at night, and taking a few days to reach their destination. Upon their departure, Frodo overhears a peculiar voice conversing with Sam’s father, Ham Gamgee (the Gaffer), who resides nearby. The voice inquires about Mr. Baggins, but the Gaffer responds that he has already departed. Uneasy about the increasing curiosity surrounding him, Frodo makes a quiet exit. On their second day of the journey, the hobbits hear hoofbeats trailing behind them. An odd urge to conceal themselves grips Frodo, leading Sam and Pippin into the woods. The rider, a lofty figure on a large, black horse, cloaked in black, halts near the hobbits' hiding spot, his face obscured. He seems to be sniffing the air for a scent. Frodo experiences a sudden temptation to wear the Ring. The rider abruptly leaves, and Sam reveals to Frodo that the rider bears a resemblance to the Black Rider who interrogated the Gaffer the previous night. The hobbits continue their journey with increased vigilance, always alert to the sound of hoofbeats. At dusk, they hear a horse approaching, and they see a Black Rider again as they hide in the trees. However, the singing voices of Elves interrupt the Black Rider, who quickly mounts his horse and leaves. The elves come forward, ceasing their song. One of them, Gildor, greets Frodo. When Pippin inquires about the Black Riders, the elves exhibit concern and decide to safeguard the hobbits for the night. That night, they halt in an enchanted glade for a feast. Frodo, who is recognized by the Elves and understands some of their language, probes Gildor about the Black Riders. Gildor simply warns that the Riders are the Enemy's servants, to be avoided at all costs. The party then settles down to rest for the night.
Awakening to find the elves had departed, the hobbits learn their journey to Rivendell has been shared with allies. Frodo opts for a quicker path across the fields from Woody End to the Brandywine River ferry, seeking to avoid visibility from the road. Shortly after diverting, they spot a Black Rider on the road they've just abandoned. Hindered by thick undergrowth, their journey is slow. They later hear eerie cries, believed to be from the Black Riders. Trudging through marshes and thorns, they eventually reach Farmer Maggot's lands. Frodo, who feared Maggot since being caught stealing his mushrooms as a child, is surprised when welcomed and fed by the farmer. Farmer Maggot shares that a mysterious, dark stranger had been asking for a 'Mr. Baggins'. Frightened, the hobbits gladly accept Maggot's offer of a ride to the ferry in a covered wagon. On their way, hoofbeats raise their alarm, but it's only their companion Merry, prepared to guide them across the river to Buckland.
Merry guides the remaining hobbits to Crickhollow, a small house purchased by Frodo under the guise of a permanent move. This was a tactic to conceal his exit from the Shire. Crickhollow, located in Buckland, is distinct from Hobbiton or Bag End. It is enclosed by the Brandywine River and the mysterious Old Forest, making it slightly hazardous. Hobbits from Hobbiton have an inherent fear of water as they cannot swim, and the Old Forest's eerie, almost predatory trees don't help. Bucklanders safeguard themselves by constructing a hedge and locking doors at night, a practice unusual in Hobbiton. The tired hobbits are treated to a bath and a meal. Frodo realizes it is time to inform Merry and Pippin about his eternal departure from the Shire, which he presumed was a secret. He is taken aback when Merry claims they've known about his plans and the ring's danger all along. The hobbits, including Sam who was eavesdropping, have deduced much about Frodo's predicament. Despite Frodo's reluctance to involve his friends in his perilous journey, Merry and Pippin insist on accompanying him. They comprehend the dangers as much as Frodo does. Frodo is pleased his friends want to stick with him. Given the threat of the Black Riders, he decides they should leave the road and traverse the Old Forest bordering Buckland the following day. Despite the forest's ominous nature, it is deemed safer than encountering the Riders. Fatty Bolger, their friend, agrees to stay back and maintain the illusion of Frodo residing at Crickhollow. That night, Frodo's dream places him looking out a window over a dark forest, filled with creatures sniffing around in search of him. The dream transitions to a desolate field where he hears the sound of the Great Sea, a sound he has never heard before, and smells the scent of salt. He visualizes a tall white tower, struggles to climb it, and then witnesses a light in the sky accompanied by the sound of thunder.
Early in the morning, the group embarks on their journey amidst a thick fog. Guided by Merry, they take the main trail into the forest, intending to follow the road but keep their distance. However, shortly after entering the Old Forest, they lose sight of the path. The Forest feels oppressive and boiling hot, with trees appearing to be sentient, impeding the hobbits' journey. Despite finding the path again, it veers off course, leading them deeper into the forest instead of the intended north-east direction. They eventually arrive at River Withywindle, located in the Forest's heart. An aged willow tree by the river makes them feel so lethargic and warm that they succumb to sleep, except for Sam. He goes to retrieve their wandering ponies, hearing strange noises of a splash and a locking sound. Returning, he finds Frodo trapped in the river by the tree's roots and helps him out. They then discover Merry and Pippin trapped inside the tree when it suddenly closes around them. In a desperate attempt to free their friends, they attack the tree and even try to set a fire nearby. But the tree reacts by squeezing Merry more tightly. At the threat of being crushed, the group extinguishes the fire. In a state of panic, Frodo seeks help along the river and is stunned when he hears a cheerful song in response. A rotund man in vibrant clothes, introducing himself as Tom Bombadil, approaches them. Unfazed by the predicament, as he seems acquainted with the old willow tree's mischief. He sings a song to the tree, compelling it to release Merry and Pippin, which it does immediately. Invited to join him and his wife, Goldberry, for a meal, the puzzled hobbits follow Bombadil. They leave the eerie forest and reach a pleasant clearing, then proceed to a hill where Bombadil's house is located, and a woman's song greets them.
Tom Bombadil's home brings comfort to the hobbits, and his wife Goldberry's presence stirs Frodo in a homely yet magical way. When Frodo inquires about Tom's identity, Goldberry refers to him as the “Master of wood, water and hill.” After settling down for the night, Frodo, Pippin, and Merry experience disturbing dreams, yet find solace in the reassuring voice of Tom Bombadil. The following day is met with rain, and the hobbits gratefully accept Tom's offer to extend their stay. The day is spent listening to Tom's tales about the Old Forest, its disdain for the creatures that harm it, the rise and fall of nearby cities, and the spirits known as Barrow-wights that haunt the ruins. Eventually, Tom's narrative travels back to the dawn of Middle-earth. When Frodo questions Tom about his own origin, Tom claims to be the “Eldest,” precursory to all of Middle-earth, with recollections predating even Sauron. The group indulges in a sumptuous dinner, after which Goldberry sings for them. Tom, already informed about Frodo's journey by Gildor and Farmer Maggot, requests to see the Ring. Notably, Tom does not vanish when he puts the Ring on and even playfully makes it disappear before returning it to Frodo. Frodo, suspicious of Tom, verifies the Ring's authenticity by slipping it on his finger and disappearing. Nonetheless, Tom seems to be able to spot him and prompts him to remove the Ring. Tom promises a sunny day ahead and instructs the hobbits to avoid the burial mounds, providing them a rhyme to recite if they encounter any trouble.
The dawn sees Tom Bombadil bidding farewell to the hobbits as they venture into the Barrow-downs' hilly landscape. They pause at a peculiar hill with a lone stone at its heart and dine on Tom's food. The combination of a hearty meal, fatigue and possibly the hill's mystic power makes them doze off. Awakening to a setting sun and enveloping mist, they descend the hill, believing they are headed north. Frodo, thinking he spots an exit, dashes ahead, only to find himself separated from the others. On reaching a hilltop, he sees a barrow and hears a voice claiming it was awaiting him. Suddenly, a chilling entity seizes him, causing him to black out. Coming to, Frodo finds himself in a barrow, captured by a Barrow-wight. Panic grips him at the sight of the unconscious trio, adorned with jewels and a gigantic sword looming over them. A spectral hand reaches for the sword, prompting Frodo to sever it with a nearby knife. The resulting shriek shatters the sword and provokes a growl from the Barrow-wight. Remembering Tom's song in the ensuing chaos, Frodo starts to sing, prompting Tom's entrance. Tom rescues them, destroys the Barrow-wight's lair and helps them recover in the open air. He uncovers the Barrow-wight's hoard, leaving it for wanderers to discover, and gifts each hobbit a dagger from it. He also shows them a brooch, reminiscing about its former owner. Tom escorts them safely to the East Road, advising them to head to Bree. He gives back their ponies and supplies, but stops short of leaving his territory. Before reaching Bree, Frodo advises his fellows to refer to him as Mr. Underhill amongst strangers, a safety tip provided by Gandalf.
Bree is a hub where the Shire and the rest of Middle-earth intersect. Hobbits and humans coexist peacefully here, with a constant flux of various travelers. Frodo is disturbed when the guard at Bree's gate exhibits unusual interest in them. Upon entering the Prancing Pony, the local tavern, they introduce themselves to Barliman Butterbur, the pub owner, who appears to be vaguely reminded of something by the hobbits. Once settled in their room by the innkeeper, Frodo, Sam, and Pippin make their way to the main pub area post-dinner, leaving Merry behind to rest. The locals, starved for news from Hobbiton, quickly focus their attention on the hobbits, causing Frodo to grow wary of a few shadowy figures intensely observing them. Butterbur introduces Frodo to a rugged man named Strider, identifying him as a Ranger who roams the northern territories. Strider's cryptic remarks incite curiosity in Frodo about his knowledge. Frodo panics when he realizes Pippin, intoxicated by beer, is dangerously close to revealing the Ring story to the crowd. Frodo, eager to divert attention from Pippin, jumps onto a table and starts belting out a lively tune. His tactic succeeds, but he accidentally puts the Ring on when he tumbles off the table during his second performance. The onlookers are stunned as Frodo disappears, leaving a tense silence behind. Frodo manages to stealthily remove the Ring, but his reappearance does little to quell the crowd's suspicions. Strider, however, appears knowledgeable about the Ring and requests a private conversation with Frodo. Despite Frodo's feeble explanations, suspicion pervades the atmosphere as everyone retires to their rooms, sparking a flurry of rumors.
Strider, a wanderer, escorts the hobbits to their quarters. His knowledge about their quest and the Black Riders, recent and ominous visitors in Bree, raises suspicion among the hobbits. Strider also cautions them against trusting certain locals, like Bill Ferny, a suspicious character they met earlier. Suddenly, they're interrupted by Butterbur, who has a long-delayed letter for Frodo from Gandalf. The letter reveals Gandalf's premonitions of danger and his advise for the hobbits to expedite their journey to Rivendell. Most importantly, it vouches for Strider, revealing his real name, Aragorn, and his role as a trusted ally. Any lingering doubts in Sam are put to rest when Strider argues that he could have harmed them already if he had malicious intent. Thus, they agree to accept Strider as their guide. The alarming return of Merry, who encounters a Black Rider, prompts Strider to change their sleeping arrangements. To mislead any potential attackers, they mimic sleeping figures with pillows under the blankets and move to the parlor, while Strider stands guard.
Fatty Bolger, back in Frodo's Crickhollow home, sees shadowy figures coming towards the gate. He manages to escape right before three Black Riders storm the house, finding nothing. Fatty sounds an alarm, causing the Riders to retreat. In the meantime, at the inn, Strider rouses the hobbits early. The state of their room reveals an intrusion—beds are torn apart and their ponies have been set loose. Their only option is to purchase a weakened pony from the dubious Bill Ferny, drawing the attention of townsfolk. Strider guides the hobbits through the forest, away from potential pursuers. But this alternate route leads them to the Midgewater Marshes, making them deal with constant insect bites and damp feet for three days. Upon safely emerging, they spot Weathertop hill ahead. Strider shares tales of a grand watchtower that once stood there, erected by the Men of Westernesse but now lies in ruins. Reaching Weathertop, they find signs indicating that Gandalf has been here, possibly attacked during his stay. They settle in a hollow on the hillside, lighting a fire. Frodo feels the presence of the Black Riders far below. Strider advises they should stay put as moving could expose them. To lift their spirits, Strider shares ancient legends and sings of Lúthien Tinúviel, an Elven princess who chose mortality for the love of a Man. Suddenly, Sam, who had wandered off, returns feeling an eerie dread. The group huddles around the fire, watching dark shapes ascend the hill. Panic grips Merry and Pippin, while Sam clings to Frodo. Overcome by an irresistible urge, Frodo puts on the Ring. Invisible to the others, Frodo sees the Black Riders more clearly—their ghost-like faces, terrifying eyes, grey robes, and blades. The tallest, wearing a crown, lunges at Frodo, who instinctively calls out Elven names Elbereth and Gilthoniel and thrusts his blade at the figure. An icy pain shoots through his shoulder as he sees Strider attacking with burning logs. He removes the Ring and collapses unconscious.
Frodo regains consciousness with his fellow hobbits around him. They explain they saw him vanish when he wore the Ring, then reappear in a collapsed state. The Black Riders have fled, deterred by Strider's defense and the elven names uttered by Frodo. Frodo's injury and his account of the attack worry Strider, especially after he finds the knife that wounded Frodo. Strider confides in Sam that the wound could prove fatal as it’s likely to infect Frodo with an evil spell. He gathers athelas leaves with healing properties to treat Frodo's spreading cold numbness. As dawn breaks, Strider guides the hobbits from Weathertop, across the road, and into a forest to the south on hearing distant cries. The journey over the next few days is tough and Frodo's health deteriorates. Strider's discovery of a green elf-stone believed to be left for them and the sight of stone trolls from Bilbo's previous adventures lift their spirits. To reach Rivendell, they must return to the road. They are startled by the sound of hooves, but it turns out to be Glorfindel, an Elf-lord and Strider's friend, not a Black Rider. Glorfindel was sent from Rivendell to aid them. Frodo is put on Glorfindel's horse and instructed to ride ahead. Despite reluctance to leave his friends, Frodo is reminded that he is the Black Riders' target. On the journey, Frodo experiences dark dreams. The group continues through the night, resting briefly before setting off again. Despite Strider and Glorfindel's wishes to keep moving, they must stop for the tired hobbits. Approaching the Bruinen River's Ford, close to Rivendell, Glorfindel hears the Black Riders. Frodo is urged to race for the Ford. Four Riders try to stop Frodo, but Glorfindel's horse gets him across the river in the nick of time, leaving him stranded on the opposite bank. As the Black Riders attempt to cross, Frodo challenges them to go back to Mordor, met with scornful laughter. Suddenly, a surge of water engulfs three Riders. Frodo sees the remaining black horses carrying their Riders into the torrents before losing consciousness again.
Frodo recovers from his injuries in a bed in Rivendell, to the surprise of seeing Gandalf by his side. He learns from the wizard that Elrond, Rivendell's master, removed a sliver of the Black Rider's blade from his shoulder which was moving dangerously close to his heart. Gandalf explains that if it reached his heart, Frodo would have become a wraith like the Riders. Gandalf further reveals that the Black Riders are Ringwraiths, the Nine Servants of the Lord of the Rings who were once mortal kings. They were given Rings of Power by Sauron, which enabled him to manipulate them. They have temporarily been held at bay by a flood in the Bruinen River, the result of Elrond's magic and Gandalf's aid. Once recovered, Frodo joins his friends for dinner at Elrond's table, where he meets the enchanting Arwen Evenstar, Elrond's daughter. There, he also sits with Glóin, one of Bilbo's former companions, who educates him on dwarves' history. Post dinner festivities are held in the Hall of Fire, where Frodo unexpectedly meets Bilbo. They have a lengthy conversation, but when Bilbo asks to see the Ring, Frodo hesitates seeing a change in Bilbo. Bilbo quickly realizes his mistake and apologizes. Frodo, later lulled to sleep by Elven music, is awakened by Bilbo's singing and they continue their discussions in Bilbo's room. On Sam's advice, Frodo retires to bed early to prepare for the Council meeting the following day.
Gandalf gathers Frodo and Bilbo for a council with Elrond, joined by messengers from different regions. Glóin, a Dwarf, expresses concern about the disappearance of Dwarf-king Balin and an alliance proposition from Mordor in return for information about a specific Hobbit. Elrond shares the history of the Rings of Power and the One Ring, made by Sauron to control all others. He speaks about Isildur, who cut off Sauron's ring-bearing hand, and how the Ring was lost when Isildur died. This led to the decline of the Men of Westernesse as Sauron's forces regained territory. Boromir, a warrior from Gondor, shares about the increasing strength of Mordor and a dream he had. His dream's meaning becomes clear when Strider reveals himself as Aragorn, descendant of Isildur and keeper of the broken sword. Frodo, the Halfling from the dream, shows the Ring. Bilbo, Frodo and Gandalf recount their tales of the Ring. Gandalf reveals Sauron's resurgence in Mirkwood and Saruman the White's initial resistance to confront him. By the time the Wizards decided to challenge Sauron, it was too late. Gandalf also mentions his visit to Minas Tirith, where he discovered the inscription on the Ring. Aragorn adds that he found Gollum, who likely gave Sauron information about Bilbo and the Shire. Legolas, an Elf, interrupts with news of Gollum's escape. Gandalf narrates his encounter with Saruman, who wished to align with Mordor or control the Ring himself. Gandalf's refusal led to his imprisonment, from which he was rescued by Gwaihir, the Great Eagle. Gandalf then obtained Shadowfax, the fastest horse, and returned to the Shire, later fighting the Nazgûl at Weathertop and arriving in Rivendell. The council deliberates what to do with the Ring. Erestor suggests entrusting it to Tom Bombadil, but Glorfindel objects. Boromir's idea to use the Ring against Sauron is dismissed by Gandalf and Elrond due to its inherent evil. Glóin's suggestion to use the Elven rings is also rejected, as their power would likely fade if the Ruling Ring was destroyed. Gandalf argues against Erestor's pessimistic outlook, stating that their best chance lies in doing the unexpected: destroying the Ring. Elrond concurs, adding that strength and wisdom may not ensure success. He notes that the weak often make a significant difference when the powerful are distracted. Bilbo jokingly suggests he should take the Ring to Mordor, but Gandalf disagrees. Amidst the silence, Frodo volunteers to take the Ring, even without knowledge of the way. Elrond approves, believing Frodo to be destined for the task. Sam, who was hiding, insists on accompanying Frodo, to which Elrond graciously agrees.
Elrond dispatches his scouts to keep tabs on the Enemy, while the hobbits keep occupied. Bilbo seeks Frodo's aid in putting together a book about his past exploits, and initiating another about Frodo's journey. Elrond finalizes the team to accompany the Ring-bearer - Frodo, Sam, Gandalf, Legolas, Gimli, Aragorn, Boromir, Merry, and Pippin, making it a team of nine. Despite second thoughts about the inclusion of the final two, Gandalf convinces Elrond by emphasizing the importance of loyalty over power. Two months later, after the scouts return, the Fellowship prepares to leave. Bilbo presents Frodo with his old short sword, Sting, and a well-crafted coat of mail. Aragorn gets his shattered sword remodeled, renaming it Andúril. They also take with them a rejuvenated pony named Bill, originally bought from Bill Ferny. With that, the group embarks on their mission. The Fellowship journeys south from Rivendell, skirting the Misty Mountains. They spot a flock of birds that Aragorn suspects to be Mordor’s spies. To cross the obstructing Misty Mountains, they choose the pass of Caradhras, despite Gandalf's concerns about its safety. Gandalf suggests a more concealed route which Aragorn is disinclined to consider. Their route becomes perilous as they ascend, with a cliff-side path and falling snow. Legolas is the only one unfazed as his elven nature allows him to tread lightly over the snow. As the snowfall intensifies, so does the danger with falling boulders. Eventually, they have to retreat, digging a path through the deep snow for the hobbits. The snow eases after their retreat. Gimli observes that the maliciously reputed Caradhras seems determined to block their passage.
Gandalf suggests the only available route left for the team is via the Mines of Moria, located underneath the mountains. The group is afraid to journey through Moria, known for its malice, except Gimli who is enthusiastic to find traces of Dwarf-king Balin. Aragorn warns Gandalf about Moria, but the Company agrees to proceed due to the threat of nearby wolves. They successfully fight off the wolves that night, each member showing bravery. The next day, they reach Moria's western door at the side of a mountain by a dark lake. They have to release Bill the pony, disappointing Sam. Gandalf struggles to decipher the ancient magic that seals the door until he realizes the password is hidden as a riddle on the door itself. As they are about to enter, a creature from the lake attacks, trying to pull Frodo into the water. They rush in, and the creature barricades the door, forcing them to continue through Moria. Inside, the vastness and complexity of the mines make Gandalf's guidance essential. He lights the way with his staff, having traversed Moria before. Frodo believes he hears soft, distant footsteps. At a path junction, they stop for the night, letting Gandalf ponder over the route. Pippin annoys Gandalf by dropping a stone down a deep well, which seems to stir something far below. Gandalf later takes over Pippin's watch, lighting a pipe to calm his nerves. Upon restarting their journey, Gandalf chooses a path that leads to an extravagant hall filled with large pillars and a shining wall; he confirms he has made the right choice. Gimli and Gandalf share Moria's history, talking about how the Dwarves extracted mithril, a near-magical metal, from the caves. Gandalf recalls that Thorin gave Bilbo a mithril mail shirt, which Bilbo passed onto Frodo. That night, Frodo thinks he spots luminous eyes in the distance. The following day, they enter a large, dimly lit chamber with a tombstone in the center, revealing it to be Balin's resting place. Gandalf thinks he knows the way forward, but wishes to explore more. Gimli mourns Balin's death, covering his face with his hood.
Frightened and in grief, the Fellowship prepares to vacate the area when the sound of a drum and rushing footsteps echo from below. They quickly seal the west door prior to the arrival of Orcs and a formidable cave-troll. Frodo successfully fends off the troll with his sword, Sting, and the group manages to fend off the Orcs. With the east door unprotected, Gandalf guides the group to exit, but not without Frodo getting wounded by an Orc-chieftain. The Fellowship is astonished to find Frodo still surviving. To secure the group's escape, Gandalf uses a spell to seal the door, only to face a counter-spell that results in the collapse of the doorway, and subsequently the entire chamber. Exhausted, Gandalf reassembles with the Fellowship and takes them down to the lower halls, eventually reaching the Second Hall that's opposite the exit gate of Moria. The group then crosses the Bridge of Khazad-dûm, a thin stone arch over a deep abyss. When they look back, they witness a horrifying scene, causing Legolas to scream in terror and Gimli to shield his sight. A Balrog, a terrifying figure cloaked in flame and shadow, jumps out from the Orcs. Gandalf takes a stand at the bridge, urging the others to run while he faces the Balrog. Despite a powerful spell that cracks the bridge and causes the Balrog to plummet, it manages to ensnare Gandalf's legs with its whip and drags him down. As he falls, Gandalf yells at the Fellowship, “Fly, you fools!” Aragorn swiftly guides the group out of Moria's Great Gates. They manage to distance themselves from the mountain before collapsing in sorrow.
Gandalf is gone, so Aragorn steps up to guide the group. Despite their despair, he leads them from the Misty Mountains to the elf-ruled Lothlórien. On a quick pause to check Frodo's injury, Aragorn sees the mithril coat from Bilbo that protected Frodo from his Moria injury. As they continue, they reach a well of clear water. Aragorn and Legolas are glad to be in Lórien, but Boromir is suspicious due to odd tales about the forest. Legolas shares Lothlórien's past; the Dwarves woke an evil in Moria that threatened Lórien. Gimli is unhappy with this reference. The group proceeds into the forest and are halted by elves, including Haldir, who have been observing them. Fortunately, they identify Legolas and have knowledge of Frodo's mission, so they escort the group to their tree-platforms. During the night, a group of Orcs pursuing the Fellowship are intercepted by the elves. Another peculiar creature is spotted but it vanishes into the darkness. The following day, the group continues through Lórien, arriving at the Silverlode river. The elves insist Gimli be blindfolded due to historical tensions between the Dwarves and Elves. Gimli protests and a fight almost ensues. Aragorn proposes that everyone be blindfolded, which Gimli agrees to. Everyone is thus led, blindfolded, into the core of Lórien, the Naith. Upon arrival, they receive news from Haldir that Galadriel, the forest queen, permits their blindfolds to be removed. The blindfolds are removed and they find themselves in an ancient-looking forest of unmatched beauty, filled with golden and green hues. They are in Cerin Amroth, the "heart of Elvendom on earth". Haldir takes Frodo and Sam to a tree-top platform, where they take in the magical landscape and the ominous regions beyond. Descending, they find Aragorn deep in a blissful reverie.
During the night, the Fellowship arrives at Caras Galadhon, Lórien's main city. They meet the city's leaders, Lord Celeborn and Lady Galadriel, in their grand hall built atop the forest's largest tree. The leaders possess a timeless beauty. After learning about Gandalf's tragic fate in Moria, Celeborn mistakenly blames Gimli, but Galadriel quickly corrects him. She expresses her knowledge of the Fellowship's mission and of Frodo's burden. She scrutinises each member of the group, making them feel like she's read their thoughts and offered them their deepest desires. Some members, notably Boromir, are hesitant about revealing their desires. The Fellowship enjoys a period of rest in Lórien, losing track of time in the timeless forest. Gimli and Legolas form a strong friendship. They all mourn Gandalf, and Frodo composes a song to honour him. As their departure nears, Galadriel brings Frodo and Sam to her mirror: a basin in a secluded garden which shows future visions. Sam sees Hobbiton being destroyed and dark smoke billowing from a factory. He momentarily longs to return home, but overcomes the urge. Frodo sees various images, ending with a flaming, dark eye searching for him. Galadriel then consoles Frodo, revealing her ability to sense Sauron's thoughts and resist his prying into hers. Frodo notices a ring on her finger, and she explains that it's one of the Elvish Rings of Power, and she is its guardian. She warns that if Frodo fails, she'll fall to Sauron. Even if he succeeds, the Elves' power will diminish. Despite both outcomes leading to sorrow, Galadriel prefers the latter. Overwhelmed by her wisdom and power, Frodo offers her the Ring, but she refuses, fearing the corruption it would cause.
The Company decides to press forward from Lórien. Although the Elves give them the choice to stay, all prefer to continue. However, they are uncertain about their next stop. Boromir suggests Minas Tirith, but it's on the opposite side of Mordor - their ultimate destination. The Elves lend them boats to travel down Anduin, the Great River, delaying their decision for a while. When they can't continue on the river, they will need to decide their direction. Frodo stays quiet during their discussions, and Aragorn speaks sparingly. The Company remains indecisive, with Boromir showing odd unwillingness to destroy the Ring. The Elves bestow various gifts upon the Fellowship, including lembas (nourishing wafers), ropes, and magical cloaks with properties of insulation and camouflage. They share a final meal with the Elven Lord and Lady by the river. Galadriel, too, gives each member special gifts. She offers Aragorn a sheath for his sword, Andúril, and a silver brooch with a green gem. Boromir, Merry, and Pippin get silver or gold belts, whereas Legolas receives a sturdy, lengthier bow. Sam is given a box of fertile dirt from Galadriel’s garden. When Galadriel asks Gimli to make a wish, he surprisingly asks for a single strand of her hair, symbolising harmony between their races. She happily consents. Galadriel also hands Frodo a phial containing the light of Eärendil’s star. The time to depart from Lórien has come. They proceed down the river, with Galadriel's song trailing them, and set their sights on their forthcoming journey, hearts weighed down.
The Fellowship travels down the Anduin River with the bleak landscape of Mordor to their east. Sam spots a log with glowing eyes heading for Gimli's boat and tells Frodo, who believes it's Gollum tracking them. During his watch, Frodo sees a dark figure approach the boats, causing him to draw his sword and the figure to retreat. Aragorn verifies that the figure was Gollum, admitting his failed attempts to catch him. Wanting to get away quickly, the Fellowship row faster, worried Gollum will reveal their location. Their fear becomes reality when they end up in Sarn Gebir's turbulent waters and have to evade Orc arrows. As they reach the shore, a terrifying shadow flies towards them from the south, reviving the pain in Frodo's old wound. Legolas shoots it down, but Frodo doesn't share his thoughts on what it could've been. Despite Boromir's proposal to head for Minas Tirith, they continue along the river. After carrying their boats past dangerous waters, they sail to the Gates of Argonath, enormous statues of Aragorn's forefathers marking Gondor's old northern boundary. They pass the gates, reaching three hills before the Rauros waterfall. They dock at the foot of Amon Hen, and now have to choose between going west to Minas Tirith or east to Mordor.
Aragorn wakes up fearfully one night, noticing the faint glow of Frodo's sword, Sting, hinting at the close proximity of Orcs. The subsequent day, Aragorn gives Frodo the responsibility to choose the Ring's path, while the others can decide their own course. Alone in the woods on Amon Hen for contemplation, Frodo is stealthily followed by Boromir. Boromir attempts to persuade Frodo to take the Ring to Minas Tirith for safety, arguing its potential use against Sauron. However, Frodo's disagreement provokes anger and an irresistible craving for the Ring in Boromir. As he lunges at Frodo, the hobbit uses the Ring to vanish, sending Boromir into a remorseful breakdown. Escaping to Amon Hen's summit, Frodo is granted with visions of impending wars through the Ring. He gazes upon Sauron's Dark Tower, Barad-dûr, and feels the tyrant's Eye seeking the Ring bearer. Just as the Eye nearly locates him, a voice urges Frodo to remove the Ring. Torn between the voice and the Eye, Frodo finally understands that the decision is his. He takes off the Ring, saving himself from being discovered by the Eye. It becomes clear to Frodo that he must journey to Mordor solo to avoid corrupting his beloved companions with the Ring, exemplified by Boromir's recent breakdown. He uses the Ring once more to hide himself in the forest. Meanwhile, the group by the shore grows anxious and debates over the Ring's destiny and Frodo's delayed decision. A dejected Boromir returns admitting his scare away of Frodo, but omits his attempt to snatch the Ring. In response, the group splits up to search for Frodo. Aragorn partners with Sam, alerting him of nearby dangers and deciding to scout from Amon Hen. Sam loses Aragorn's trail and deduces Frodo's plan to secretly venture to Mordor. Rushing to the shore, he spots a boat drifting away. In his pursuit, Sam almost drowns, forcing Frodo to reveal himself and rescue Sam. Sam firmly insists on accompanying Frodo, to which Frodo agrees with a sigh of relief. Sam collects his belongings and the two set off towards Mordor.