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WOLFNOTE SUMMARY OF…

J.R.R. Tolkien’s
LORD OF THE RINGS

Context

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 précis, 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.




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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 Lorién 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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The Author – J. R. R. TOLKIEN (1892 – 1973)

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born in Bloemfontein, South Africa, and after his father died when he was
still comparatively young, his mother returned home to England. He was educated in Birmingham and after
his mother’s death when he was 12; he was cared for by a Roman Catholic Priest.
His studies at Oxford University were interrupted by World War I. He enlisted for the Lancashire Fusiliers
and served throughout the war until the Armistice was signed. During this time he was also married. He
completed his studies and received his Master of Arts Degree in 1919.
He was involved in the production of the Oxford English Dictionary, which complemented his interest in
languages. He was a Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Pembroke College, Oxford and became a Fellow of the
College after 20 years service. He also received an Honorary Fellowship from Exeter College, and was
awarded a C.B.E.
Almost as a sideline, he dabbled in writing, which stemmed from his study of the medieval works of Chaucer
and Beowulf.
His first major book The Hobbit was published when he was 45 and was an immediate success. This is
because at that time it was wholly original and appealed to all ages.
The 1st volume of The Lord of the Rings was published in 1954 and was closely followed by the 2nd and 3rd
volumes. Since that time, sales of these books have been very high, on both sides of the Atlantic. Another
book in this series is The Silmarillion, published in 1977 after Tolkien’s death, and which was edited by
Christopher Tolkien, his son.
Tolkien’s works soon attracted a cult following and there has been numerous spin-off items of merchandise
from posters, to maps and other publications.
Work on The Lord of the Rings had occupied Tolkien over a long period of time from 1936 until 1949.
On his death in 1973, he left behind a store of manuscripts concerning his creation of Middle Earth and
developing its history.


List of Characters and Races

Elves
Elves have been part of Middle Earth from the very beginning.
They do not age although they can be killed or lose their immortality by marrying a member of Humankind.

Despite recent traditions, they are not small and although they are close in height to Men, they are more
graceful and possess a noble bearing. They have a great affinity for nature, in particular trees, and they
also have a special relationship with the Valar, who created Middle Earth.
Their influence in Middle Earth has waned and during the time covered by The Lord of the Rings books,
many of the Elves have passed out of Middle Earth and gone to the Blessed Realm.
Those that remain still possess great power, however, and their part in the destruction of Sauron was
crucial.

Dwarves
Renowned for their mining ability, and their lust for precious metals and gems, Dwarves are as much at
home above ground as they are below. They are shorter than Men, but are stout and tough.
They do not share the love of nature possessed by the Elves, and they are more prone to exploit nature and
its resources rather than to protect it.
Despite their size, they are formidable in battle and their chosen weapon is the axe.
Their materialistic nature brings out a strong sense of justice in them, and they will take risks in protecting
their own interests.
They possess great courage and their exploits on the battlefield are famed.

Ents
At one time, these creatures could be found in all wooded areas of Middle Earth, and they are regarded as
guardians of the trees. They are now mainly concentrated in the Forest of Fangorn, and their leader,
Treebeard, managed to rouse his fellow Ents and they took part in two significant battles against the forces
of evil.
Just as there are numerous forms of trees, so it is with Ents. Some are almost indistinguishable from trees,
and others almost akin to Trolls.
Treebeard for example, was around 14 ft. high and helped Merry and Pippin return to their colleagues.


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When roused, they can move with incredible speed, and have superhuman strength.

Hobbits
We have already discussed Hobbits in the Prologue, and the story of their endeavors in The Lord of the
Rings never ceases to amaze the reader.
It is certainly true to say that appearances can be deceptive, and despite their diminutive size, they can
possess great courage.
Certainly the five (not including Gollum), that traveled out with the Shire surprised those that they met with
their steadfastness, ingenuity and determination.
As it has been mentioned before, they possessed an inner strength, and it should be remembered that three
Hobbits bore the Ring for a considerable length of time, Gollum, Bilbo and Frodo, and withstood corruption
for a long period.

Men
Man’s influence in Middle Earth has grown in prominence through the ages, but initially their place was
behind Elves and Dwarves.
Man’s prominence will now increase as the Elves decrease, and this has been accelerated by the events
documented in The Lord of the Rings.
It should be noted that their leaders are fine and honorable Men.

Orcs
Orcs, or Goblins, are not natural creatures, but they were bred by the Dark Lord as a mockery of the Elves.
Most are ape-like in appearance, but like the Dwarves, they are skilled in mining, and they are also adept at
making weapons of destruction and torture. Their preferred weapon is the curved sword or scimitar. They
have no conscience and their purpose is to deface and destroy.
They are argumentative and often fight amongst themselves.

Trolls
These creatures come in various sizes, and are formidable foes on the battlefield.
Some shun daylight and can be turned to stone when exposed to the sun’s rays.
In Sauron’s battles with the west, he produced a black smoke to help mask the sun in order that he could
utilize Trolls in the battles.

Aragorn
Also known as Strider, he was the last surviving heir of Isildur and rightful King of Gondor and Arnor. He
was also Chieftain of the Rangers, or Dunedain, who unknown to the Hobbits, guarded the Shire and
maintained order in this part of Middle Earth. Like the other Rangers, Aragorn was long-lived and he was to
regain his throne in the story.

Arwen
Daughter of Elrond the Elf, she gave up her immortality when she married Aragorn.

Balrog
A beast of flame and shadow that lived in the Mines of Moria. Gandalf challenged the Balrog and passed
through death as a result, obtaining more power.

Barleyman Butterbur
The absent-minded Innkeeper of the Prancing Pony at Bree.

Barrow-wights
These were evil spirits from the Land of Angmar whose King was the Lord of the Ringwraiths.              They
captured the Hobbits as they crossed the Barrowlands. Tom Bombadil ultimately freed the Hobbits.

Bilbo Baggins
He obtained the Ring of Power from Gollum. This story is told in The Hobbit. He bequeathed this prize to
his cousin, Frodo.

Tom Bombadil



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Known the by Elves as the oldest and fatherless, he rescues the Hobbits on two occasions, and is suspected
as being one of the Valar – those who created Middle Earth. His partner is Goldberry, who is the daughter
of a River Woman, and not of the race of Men.

Boromir
He is the eldest son of Denethor II, Steward of Gondor, and part of the Fellowship of the Ring. He tries to
extract the Ring from Frodo, but fails. However, he dies heroically, protecting the other Hobbits.

Merry Brandybuck
One of Frodo’s closest friends in the Shire, he was part of the Company, and fought heroically against the
Chief of the Ringwraiths.

Celeborn
An Elf-Lord who fought against Morgoth, Sauron’s predecessor in the First Age of Middle Earth, he and
Galadriel lived in Lothlorien and created a haven and refuge from Sauron. He remained in Middle Earth
after Galadriel’s departure to the Blessed Realm.

Elrond
Half human and half-Elf, he lived in Rivendell, another refuge against Sauron. His daughter, Arwen married
Aragorn, King of Gondor.

Éomer
Nephew of King Theoden of Rohan, he fell out with the King, through his friendship with Gandalf. He
reigned long as King of Rohan, and was ever friendly to the Hobbits in the Shire.

Éowyn
Sister of Éomer, she killed the Chief of the Ringwraiths.

Fangorn
Also known as Treebeard, he was the oldest living Ent in Middle Earth, a guardian of the trees. He was
instrumental in winning the war in the west against Saruman and his army.

Faramir
Denethor II’s second son, who became Steward of Gondor for a very short period, until Aragorn was
crowned.


Frodo
A brave Hobbit who takes responsibility for destroying the Ring of Power so that freedom can be maintained
in Middle Earth.

Galadriel
She originally came to Middle Earth to fight Morgoth and remained to set up a refuge in Lothlorien with her
consort Celeborn. She was instrumental in assisting the Company of the Ring in their quest.

Gandalf
A member of the Wizards originally called, the Grey, and then becoming the White, after his battle with the
Balrog. The Lord of the Rings culminates in a battle of wits between Gandalf and Sauron.

Gilmli
A representative of the Dwarves in the Company of the Ring.

Gollum
Originally a Hobbit known as Smeagol, he was turned into a grotesque creature due to his possession of the
Ring of Power over a long period of time. For many years he searched for the Ring in order to possess it
again.

Gwaihir



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Lord of the Eagles, he appears as a rescuer in the Hobbit, and later in The Lord of the Rings, coming to
Gandalf, and Frodo and Sam’s aid.

Legolas
The Elves’ representative in the Fellowship of the Ring.

Morgoth
Known as the Great Enemy, he stole from the Valinor, silmarilli from which he made the Rings of Power. He
was defeated in the First Age, but his servant, Sauron, continued his evil work.

Nazgul
Nine Men wore Rings of Power in Sauron’s service. The price they paid was losing their humanity and they
became permanently invisible to the human eye. They were then known as Ringwraiths, and Sauron used
them to gather information and control his forces.

Pippin Took
Close friend of Frodo, he was one of the Fellowship of the Ring. He became a Knight of Gondor and fought
valiantly killing a giant Troll in front of the Black Gate.

Sam Gamgee
Frodo’s loyal servant and faithful friend throughout his journey to Mordor, he received high honor in Gondor
and enjoyed a long career as Mayor of the Shire. He was a Ring bearer for a very short time, and like his
master, was taken to the Blessed Realm.

Saruman
Originally Saruman the White, he was corrupted by his desire to obtain the Ring of Power, and as a result
lost his powers and became mortal.

Sauron
Servant of Morgoth, he was driven by the acquisition of absolute power, which would be obtained by
regaining his Ring of Power. He lost this in his battle with Isildur who cut his hand off and thus the Ring
was lost.

Shilob
A giant spider which guarded the back entrance to Mordor, she would paralyze her victims and suck their
blood.

Valar
The Valar were instrumental in the creation of Middle Earth. They live in the Blessed Realm, also known as
the Undying Lands. They assumed the physical bodies of Elves or Men, and Wizards were apparently Valar
who came into Middle Earth to give assistance against the evil Sauron.




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PART 1 – The Fellowship of the Ring
The Prologue

Before embarking on the tale itself, it is important to obtain some background about the Hobbits.
At the time of this story, the Hobbits lived mainly in the Shire, and Bree. They are called Halflings by Man,
to whom they are distantly related, and Periannath by the Elves.
Although they originally had their own language, they have adopted the Common Speech so that they can
trade with their neighbors.
During this age of Middle Earth, the Hobbit race were to produce a few individuals who were to have a
great influence on the ways and future of all the other races in Middle Earth. Normally, Hobbits love peace
and quiet, and to work the land. They are little folk who barely reach the height of 4 ft., apart from
Bandobras Took, who was actually
4 ft. 5 in. and able to ride a horse. Two other Hobbits, Merry and Pippin, also grew beyond 4 ft., but the
reason for that was the influence of Treebeard, the Ent, covered in the story.
There are three main breeds of Hobbit, Harfoots, Stoors and Fallohides, the latter being more adventurous
and usually adopting the role of leader. One of the famous families of the Fallohides was the Tooks, to
which Bilbo and Frodo were related. They enjoy wearing colorful clothes, mainly yellow and green, and
most are barefoot as Hobbits have tough, hairy feet. They have good-natured faces with rosy cheeks and
bright brown eyes, and they love festivities involving good food and ale.
As will be seen in the story, there is something special and different about the Hobbits. It is mixture of the
courage of Men, the mysticism of the Elves, and the stoicism of Dwarves. This mixture was particularly
obvious in Frodo, making him a natural choice to be the Ring bearer.
How the Ring came into Bilbo’s possession is described in detail in The Hobbit. It came to Bilbo Baggins
initially by accident, but it is clear that Frodo, through Bilbo, was destined to be the final possessor of the
Ring.
This Ring had for many years been in the possession of Gollum, once a Hobbit, but now a creature warped
and twisted by the power of this Ring. Although he lost the Ring many years earlier, he still yearns to
repossess it and is driven accordingly.
The prologue also gives information concerning the Shire where the bulk of Hobbits live, and their other
pastime of smoking pipe-weed.




BOOK 1

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 restless.
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,


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         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.


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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.




BOOK 2
Frodo regains consciousness, safe in Rivendell, and Gandalf tells him what has happened.
He meets Elrond and his daughter Arwen Evenstar plus a Dwarf called Glóin. He also learns that their
guide, Strider, is one of the Dûnedane, called Aragorn, the last surviving heir of Isildur, and therefore the
rightful King of Gondor and Arnor, kingdoms in the south.
Unknown to the Hobbits, he and his fellow Rangers have protected them over the years. Elrond calls a
Council to decide the fate of the Ring of Power, and all the races of Middle Earth are represented, including
Boromir, heir to the High Steward of Gondor, who has come in response to dreams he and his brother
Faramir have had concerning a broken sword, Isildur’s Bane, and a Halfling. Isildur’s Bane refers to a
broken sword that Aragorn bears and is the proof of his rightful claim to the Throne of Gondor, which has
been unoccupied for centuries, but cared for by the Stewards of Gondor. Frodo is, of course, the Halfling.
At the Council, it is revealed that Gandalf had captured Gollum and turned him over to the Elves, but he
subsequently escaped. He has also had dealings with the Chief Wizard, Saruman the White, who has
yielded to the Ring’s power, and desires it, and who tried to persuade Gandalf to reveal its location. As well
as Sauron’s search for the Ring, there is now Saruman’s part in this intrigue, and Gollum too, will have a
part to play.
Gandalf had been imprisoned by Saruman, but was rescued by Gwaihir, the eagle.
It is clear that the Ring must be destroyed. It cannot be hidden indefinitely. It cannot be wielded by
anyone else, as it will corrupt the bearer. The only way to destroy the Ring is for it to be consumed in the
Mountain of Fire in Mordor. Frodo agrees to take on this task, and the Council appoints Sam his servant;
Gandalf; Legolas the Elf; Gimli, Gloin’s son; Aragorn; Boromir; Merry and Pippin to accompany Frodo and be
the counterforce to the Nine Ringwraiths.
Frodo has a brief meeting with Bilbo and he updates the old Hobbit concerning events in the Shire. Bilbo
gives Frodo a gift.
The Elves reforge Aragorn’s sword, and Gandalf leads the Fellowship of the Ring south, towards Gondor and
Mordor. Their journey will be perilous and they must first cross over the mountain range, and join up with
the River Anduin.
On the mountains they are faced with supernatural storms and they are forced back, and must therefore go
underground through the Mines of Moria. In these tunnels, Balin and a company of Dwarves had
disappeared years earlier. Gimli hopes to discover their fate. The entrance into the mines is through a
magic doorway, which only opens in response to a secret password. There is great drama at this point and
we will explore this in detail later, but the party eventually gains entrance to the tunnels. These were
constructed ages ago by the Dwarves who are great miners, and who searched for a precious metal called
mithril. As they travel deeper into the tunnels, they realize that they are not deserted and they can hear
distant drumming. They must carry on, as they cannot pass back through the entrance, which is closed to
them.
It transpires that the tunnels are occupied by Orcs, Cave Trolls, and a malevolent creature called a Balrog -
a thing of shadow and fire.
The Fellowship escape from the Mines of Moria at the cost of Gandalf’s life, who faces the creature and
hurls it into a chasm, being, dragged himself down with it.
The Company is shattered at the loss of their leader, but they must proceed, and do so under Aragorn’s
guidance. He has discussed fully with Gandalf the plans for their journey.
They come across another haven of the Elves, Lothlórien, where they can rest for a few days. Celeborn and
Galadriel rule this beautiful and mysterious forest refuge. She wears one of the three magical rings.
Frodo is embarrassed by the respect she shows him, but it is because, like her, he is elite and is a ring
bearer. She confides in Frodo that she has used her ring in order to probe Sauron’s mind, and hide from
him their plans. She tells Frodo that whether he is successful or not in his quest, the age of the Elves will
be over. Instinctively Frodo offers her the Ring of Power, but like Gandalf, she is immediately repelled at
this offer.



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Galadriel also possesses a magical ‘mirror’, which is a basin filled with water, which can reveal what is to
happen, and what has happened. She invites Frodo and Sam to look. Sam sees himself and Frodo on a
high cliff, and then he sees the Shire, torn up, trees uprooted. He turns away, distressed. When Frodo
looks, he sees a variety of changing scenes. He sees someone like Gandalf (Saruman), but his vision ends
with a single eye fiercely searching, and he knows the eye is searching for him.
The Elves provide the Company with boats to sail down the Anduin River, and they finally reach the Falls of
Rauros, where they must decide whether to go to Gondor or Mordor. Not realizing the true nature of the
Ring, Boromir urges that the Ring must go to Gondor, and aid them in their fight against Sauron’s army.
Frodo is mindful of what Gandalf had told him, that the Ring must be destroyed without delay. He goes off
on his own to consider the options. Boromir follows him and comes under the corrupting power of the Ring
and tries to take it by force from Frodo. In order to escape, Frodo slips the Ring on and vanishes. Boromir
comes to his senses and cries out in grief, but Frodo has already gone.
Just then, a band of Orcs attacks the Hobbits. These are in the service of Saruman, and have been ordered
to capture the Hobbits alive and bring them back to him. Boromir valiantly comes to their aid and loses his
life. By the time Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas return to the scene, Merry and Pippin have been captured, and
Boromir is dead. They place his body on one of the boats and send it down the River.
Sam, in the meantime, is never too far from his master, and he is able to prevent him escaping on his own.
The two depart, not realizing what has happened to the rest of their Company.
Aragorn realizes that they cannot help Frodo any more. The task of destroying the Ring was always going
to be for a small party. They decide to try and rescue Merry and Pippin.
Since their departure from Lothlórien, Gollum has trailed them.



COMMENTS
Humor:
Tolkien’s description of the Hobbits provides a humorous picture of these curious characters.
The opening Chapters are designed to project the cozy life of these Halflings as they till the earth and enjoy
frequent parties involving large quantities of food and drink.
The whole point of the forthcoming battles and conflict against Sauron is to maintain a world where such as
Hobbits can live out their lives in peace. In fact, the Rangers, led by Aragorn, have protected unknown to
the Hobbits, their way of life up until now.
So, right at the start, we have a humorous view of the Hobbits. Once Frodo and his companions have left
the Shire, they meet many hazards, and they enjoy a brief respite at the Prancing Pony in Bree, another
Hobbit stronghold. The four Hobbits are quick to revert back to their party-going ways and they enjoy
reveling with the locals in the Inn. Frodo cannot resist, no doubt with the assistance of alcohol, getting up
onto a table and singing a song. It is Tolkien’s brilliant play on the Nursery Rhyme “Hey Diddle, Diddle”
…….
          “There is an inn, a merry old inn
          Beneath an old gray hill
          And there they brew a beer so brown
          That the Man in the Moon himself came down
          One night to drink his fill.

         The ostler has a tipsy cat
         That plays a five-stringed fiddle;
         And up and down he runs his bow,
         Now squeaking high, now purring low,
         Now sawing in the middle. ……………
         …………..
         With a ping and a pong the fiddle strings broke!
         The cow jumped over the moon,
         And the little dog laughed to see such fun,
         And the Saturday dish went off at a run
         With the silver Sunday spoon.”

.. that provides a comic break amidst the trials that the Hobbits have faced.
Of course Frodo gets so carried away that he cannot resist using the Ring to disappear in front of the crowd
gathered there.


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To get the full effect, the poem should be read in its entirety.

Tension:
Chapters 4 and 5 of Book 2 provide the reader with a slow increase in tension as the Company of the Ring
pass through the Mines of Moria and are forced into conflict with Orcs, Cave Trolls and then the Balrog.
Tolkien is also at his descriptive best in these Chapters. The Company has been forced to take this route
due to the supernatural weather on the mountain passes. When they arrive at the door to the mines, they
require a password in order to cause the door to open. The door’s threshold is next to a lake in which there
is a many-tentacled creature. Just as they manage to release the door, the creature attacks and although
they gain entrance to the mines, they lose their beasts of burden and the doors are sealed and they cannot
return that way.
The mines are huge and Gandalf is not sure of the correct way. They also know that a party of Dwarves
entered these mines and were never heard of again. As they travel further, they hear a tom-tom-tom beat
from deep below them. Eventually, the Company comes across the bones of the Dwarves and the remnants
of their diary, which provides ominous reading. It is clear that the room that they are in was the scene of
their last battle, and now suddenly, the Company is caught in the same trap.
The reader has some inkling of what an Orc is, but a Cave Troll is a new creature, and Tolkien provides a
great description …..
“There was a blow on the door that made it quiver; and then it began to grind slowly open…….a huge arm
and shoulder with a dark skin of greenish scales was thrust through the widening gap. Then a great flat
toeless foot was forced through below. Boromir leaped forward and hewed at the arm with all his might;
but his sword rang and glanced aside and fell from his shaken hand. The blade was notched. ………. Frodo
felt a hot wrath blaze up in his heart. He stooped and stabbed with Sting (his sword) at the hideous foot.
There was a bellow, and the foot jerked back nearly wrenching Sting from Frodo’s arm. Black drops dripped
from the blade and smoked on the floor.”
Again the Troll attacked together with a number of large Orcs, and they burst in. Some were slain by
arrows from Legolas’ bow, and Gimli struck lethally with his axe, but they were outnumbered. Frodo was hit
with a lance and thrown against the wall. Aragorn picked him up assuming he was dead, and the Company
made a hasty exit through the other door. Gandalf sealed the door with a spell, and the Company fled
away down the stairs. Frodo told Aragorn that he was able to run, and Aragorn nearly dropped him with
surprise. Frodo had been saved by Bilbo’s gift. Underneath his clothes he wears a waistcoat made out of
the finest mithril.
The book is littered with scenes like this, which provide authenticity to the action, and help fuel the reader’s
imagination.
Part of the tension is released with this climax, but it is soon piled on again as the reader realizes that there
is a further evil to be faced in this place.
Gandalf and the Company are confronted with the Balrog on the Bridge of Khazad-Dum, the only exit. The
tension is fully released, but at the cost of Gandalf’s life.




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PART 2 – The Two Towers
BOOK 3
Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli follow the trail that the Orcs have left, which isn’t difficult. They are in great
haste, and they have to cross open ground from the River to their sanctuary at Saruman’s stronghold at
Isengard.
After several days of chase, the three are intercepted by Éomer and a band of horsemen from Rohan. They
are fresh from the slaughter of a band of Orcs near the Forest of Fangorn, but they have seen no Hobbits.
The three plead with Éomer for the loan of horses to assist them in what appears a vain search for the
Hobbits. He agrees, although it is contrary to the laws that his uncle Théoden, the King, imposes in his
land.
The three travel on to the scene of the battle, but can find no trace of the Hobbits, so they camp for the
night at the edge of the forest. They observe an old man near their camp and he scares their horses,
which flee.
The story returns to Merry and Pippin and describes their ordeal at the hands of the Orcs. They can run at
a terrifying pace, and soon the Hobbits, despite being dragged and cajoled, are unable to keep up. In the
end, they are carried unceremoniously by the Orcs. Orcs seldom travel in the open during the day, but their
need is great, so they take the gamble. However, they are spotted by the Riders of Rohan, who hunt them
down and cause them to split into various groups. The band that hold Merry and Pippin have two leaders,
one who is loyal to Saruman, and the other who serves Sauron. The Hobbits play the two leaders off
against one another and they squabble. When the Rohirrim attack, the Hobbits take the opportunity to
escape into Fangorn Forest.
It should be explained that Hobbits can easily blend in with their surroundings, and the fact that they wear
Elvin cloaks, and that the light is fading, means the Riders did not spot them.
In the forest, the two Hobbits meat Treebeard, who says he is the oldest living thing in Middle Earth and is
guardian of the forest. (It is not clear whether Treebeard or Tom Bombadil is the oldest – both have claims
to this distinction).
Treebeard gives them hospitality including Ent drafts, which will have an effect on their height, as explained
in the prologue.
The Ents are concerned about their neighbor, Saruman, and they have a meeting called an Entmoot and
decide to march on Isengard.
The story returns to Aragorn and his two companions who are unable to locate the Hobbits. They meet the
old man again, who reveals that he is now Gandalf the White, and he has new powers acquired after
passing through death. He explains that he fought long and hard with the Balrog, and he eventually cast
the Balrog off a high place to its destruction. He has acquired the legendary horse, Shadowfax, from
Théoden, King of the Rohirrim, rather reluctantly. It was his presence earlier that had frightened the other
horses. With their mounts returned, Gandalf leads them to Edoras, the stronghold of the Rohirrim.
In the King’s court is an agent of Saruman, Grima, also called Wormtongue, and he has an adverse effect
over the King. Gandalf breaks this bond, and Wormtongue flees back to his master, and the King is
restored to his former vigor and judgment.
Théoden and Gandalf lead an assault on the nearby stronghold of Isengard, while leaving Éowyn, Éomer’s
sister in charge of Edoras. When they arrive at Isengard, the fortress lies in ruins, destroyed by the Ents,
and there in the midst of the chaos are the two Hobbits who have brought together some vitals out of the
mayhem, and offer hospitality to the King.
Saruman is still untouched in his Tower, Orthanc, with his new servant Wormtongue. Gandalf makes one
last attempt to turn him back from the evil road that he has taken, but Saruman hurls abuse back at those
below. Wormtongue throws a stone at Gandalf, much to Saruman’s dismay, as the stone is a special seeing
stone, or palantiri. These stones enable their possessors to communicate with one another over vast
distances. Sauron has one, and there is also one in Gondor.
Gandalf deposes Saruman as Head of the Wizard Order, and Saruman’s wand is broken.
The Ents will watch over him in his self-imposed imprisonment.
That night, Pippin cannot resist looking into the palantiri, and of course, he contacts Sauron himself, who
assumes that this Hobbit has been captured by Saruman. Pippin is shocked by the experience, and Gandalf
breaks off the encounter before any further damage is done. However, it will put doubt into Sauron’s mind
as to the location of the Ring, and he must suspect that Saruman possesses it, and he poses a much bigger
threat with the Ring of Power than any army of Men and Elves.
Gandalf hands over the stone to Aragorn who is the rightful owner, being the last of the line of Kings of
Gondor.




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They notice a Nazgũl (Ringwraith), high overhead and Gandalf urges the King and Aragorn to return to
Helm’s Deep, the stronghold in Edoras. Gandalf and Pippin will ride directly to Gondor and the city of Minas
Tirith.



BOOK 4
Frodo and Sam make their way towards Mordor. They suddenly feel alone and vulnerable and are aware
that they are being followed. They decide to take the initiative and they capture Gollum.
Frodo makes Gollum promise by the Ring itself, to guide them to Mordor. He agrees with the hope that he
will be able to regain “his precious” during the journey.
They must cross the Dead Marshes wherein lie the bodies of those killed in battles long ago, their faces can
still be seen just below the surface of the water. Gollum has been this way many times, and without him,
Frodo and Sam would have become hopelessly lost. They have sufficient supplies if these are rationed, but
Gollum will not partake in their food, and he disappears to find his own food, which would no doubt turn the
stomachs of the two Hobbits.
They eventually arrive at the Black Gate of Mordor, Morannon, but it is well guarded and they will not be
able to gain access to the Dark Land by this entrance. Gollum says he knows of another secret way, and it
is called the Pass of Cirith Ungol. This brings them back into territory still controlled by Gondor, and they
are captured by Faramir, Boromir’s brother, although Gollum is not apprehended as he is on one of his
hunting trips at the time.
Just after their capture, they observe a battle between the Men of Gondor and some of Sauron’s allies from
the south, who use Oliphaunts much to Sam’s amazement. He has heard of these giant gray creatures in
old songs and stories, but never thought to see one in the flesh. The Men are successful in the battle and
afterwards they return to their secret hiding place behind a waterfall.
Faramir is amazed to see the Halflings, especially as he dreamt about them, which prompted his brother,
Boromir going north to Rivendell. Faramir already knows of the death of his brother, but uses this fact in
trying to trick Frodo into revealing the nature of his quest. Although Frodo steers clear of revealing this, he
does reveal that Aragorn, heir to the Throne of Gondor is returning home to claim his crown.
Gollum is also captured by Faramir’s men and at first they want him imprisoned for being a spy of the
enemy, but then they make him renew his promise to guide Frodo and Sam towards Cirith Ungol.
Soon the three are on their own again heading towards the Dark Pass, but Gollum has a plan to betray the
two Hobbits and regain the Ring. There resides in the Pass a huge spider, Shelob, which will consume the
Hobbits, but leave the Ring alone. We will study this chapter in detail later.
Frodo is paralyzed by Shelob and his body is taken by Orcs to the Tower. Sam has taken the Ring from
Frodo thinking him dead, but then overhears the Orcs saying that Shilob only paralyses her victims. Sam,
therefore, decides to forego destroying the Ring and rescue his master.



COMMENTS

Humor
The first three Chapters in Part II deal with the ordeal suffered by Merry and Pippin as they are dragged
across the Plains of Rohan by the Orcs who torment them every step of the way.
These unsavory creatures get their just deserts and Merry and Pippin escape into Fanghorn Forest.
Chapter 4 provides the reader with light relief and this delightful Chapter introduces us to the Ents and in
particular to Treebeard. Ents are a cross between trees and men and Tolkien tries to create an individual
language for them based on the common tongue. Treebeard has been around since the dawn of Middle
Earth and is, therefore, not in any particular rush to do anything. One of his first tasks is to recall what
Hobbits are, and he refers to a poem, which contains all the lists of creatures that live in Middle Earth. He
recites ….
          “Learn now the lore of living creatures!
          First name the four, the free peoples!
          Eldest of all, the Elf-children;
          Dwarf the delver, dark are his houses;
          Ent the earth born, old as mountains;
          Man the mortal, master of horses:”



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Then the poem goes on to deal with creatures like beavers, bears, hounds, hares, eagles and so on, but
there is no mention of Hobbits.
Pippin makes a suggestion, “Why not make a new line?
           ‘Half-grown Hobbits, the hole-dwellers.’
Put us in amongst the four, next to Man, and you’ve got it.”
Again we see an illustration of Tolkien’s poetry and there is more later on in the Chapter when Treeboard
broaches the subject of the Ent wives. It seems very careless of the Ents, but they have lost their wives,
and Treebeard asks if the Hobbits have seen them, and if not, keep an eye out for them in their travels.
Tolkien cleverly changes the mood throughout his story, and this is necessary so that the reader can catch
his breath between the periods of action.
Descriptive writing
I have said at the very beginning how descriptive Tolkien’s writing is, and this is evident throughout The
Lord of the Rings. His ability to transfer his thoughts onto paper and to fire the reader’s imagination is
exceptional and I choose Chapter 9 – Shelob’s Lair as an example.
For a moment we think the Hobbits have escaped this giant odious creature, but Shelob has a labyrinth of
passages, and she soon has her prey in sight again.
“A little way ahead and to his left, Sam saw issuing from a black hole of shadow under the cliff, the most
loathly shape that he had ever beheld, horrible beyond the horror of an evil dream. Most like a spider she
was, but huger than the great hunting beasts, and more terrible than they because of the evil purpose in
her remorseless eyes. Those same eyes that he thought daunted and defeated, there they were lit with a
fell light again, clustering in her out-thrust head. Great horns she had, and behind her short stalk-like neck
was her huge swollen body, a vast bloated bag swaying and sagging between her legs; its great bulk was
black, blotched with livid marks, but the belly underneath was pale and luminous and gave forth a stench.
Her legs were bent, with great knobbed joints high above her back, and hairs that stuck out like steel
spines, and at each leg’s end there was a claw.”
The reader can have no doubt as to the appearance of Shelob, and in the end, it is the Hobbits’ small size
that enables one of them to get underneath Shelob and when she lowers herself to crush him, her own
weight causes the sword to stab her deeply.




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PART III – The Return of the King
BOOK 5
Gandalf and Pippin arrive at Minas Tirith and they tell the Steward of Gondor, Denethor, the events leading
up to the death of his son, Boromir.
Pippin offers himself in service to the Steward as compensation for the loss of Boromir. Denethor quizzes
Pippin concerning the exact mission of the company, but Pippin is cautious. He is eventually dismissed and
is looked after by Beregond who tells Pippin about the expected siege.
Meanwhile, Aragorn meets up with thirty of his Rangers, or Dúnedain, who have come from Rivendell
together with Elrond’s sons, Elladan and Elrohir. They have a message from their father reminding Aragorn
about the Paths of the Dead. They also have a gift from their sister, Arwen.
Merry becomes the Squire of King Théoden whose army must now make haste to Gondor in order to help
fight Sauron’s vast army.
Aragorn tells the King that he must go a different way to Minas Tirith using the Paths of the Dead. He
explains that he has used the palantir and revealed himself to Sauron. He showed Sauron his sword, which
was the same sword that defeated Sauron centuries earlier. His aim was to put doubt into Sauron’s mind
for a second time.
Legolas and Gimli volunteer to go with Aragorn.
It is Aragorn’s intention to call upon the spirits in the Paths of the Dead to fulfill their oath, which they had
failed to do in Isildur’s time, and who cursed them that they would never find rest until his heir called on
them again.
Éowyn begs Aragorn to let her go as well, but he refuses. Unknown to anyone, she disguises herself as a
man and takes on the name of Dernhelm. Merry, too, is to be left behind, but Dernhelm takes the young
Hobbit on her horse.
A great cloud of darkness originating from Mordon now quickly spreads westwards.
Back at Gondor, Pippin looks out from the city walls, Faramir is returning and is being pursued by five of the
winged Ringwraiths.
Gandalf and Denethor are intrigued with Faramir’s story and how he helped Frodo and Sam. It gives
Gandalf some hope that the quest is still possible. Denethor is angered that Faramir did not bring the Ring
back to the city to aid its defense. He orders Faramir out again to man the front line.
A vast army is approaching the city driven on by the Lord of the Nazgũl, Chief of the Ringwraiths who,
Gandalf warns, cannot be killed by the hand of Man. Denethor scoffs at Gandalf’s warning stating he has
much knowledge concerning the plans of Sauron (he possesses a palantir).
Faramir is forced back into the city severely wounded. Hope is fading and there now seems no way through
for the Rohirrim to the city.
Denethor is unable to marshal his troops and he stays by his son’s body. Gandalf takes control of the
situation. While Gandalf is busy, Denethor has a funeral pyre prepared for Faramir, although he is not
dead.
Pippin desperately searches for Gandalf to try and prevent this tragedy, but the Chief of the Ringwraiths has
approached the outer gates and shattered them, and Gandalf confronts him, ordering him back to the
abyss. The Dark Rider throws back his hood revealing a crown set on an invisible head. Just then, the
horns of the Rohirrim are heard. They have arrived thanks to the Wild Men of Druadan Forest, who showed
them a secret way to the battlefield through the Stonewain Valley. Their arrival diverts the Chief of the
Ringwraiths and he comes to meet this new challenge.
King Théoden leads the attack against the Ringwraiths, but his horse is struck with a dart from the Dark
Rider. The King falls beneath his horse, but the Lord of the Nazgũl receives a fresh challenge from the
young warrior Dernhelm, and Merry is prepared to do battle as well. The Dark Rider sneers that no living
Man can harm him, but Dernhelm removes her disguise and the winged creature leaps at her, but she
decapitates the steed, which crumples into a black heap. Emerging from this, the Dark Rider moves to kill
the stunned Éowyn, not even noticing the Hobbit. Just as he stands over her, Merry thrusts his sword into
the Dark Rider’s back just as Éowyn with her last effort stabs him in the front. The Rider vanishes with a
wailing cry, and Merry stands paralyzed.
The dying King names Éomer his heir, and the Rohirrim move forward into the host of Mordor.
The battle is at a critical stage, but Aragorn comes to the rescue. He was successful in bringing the spirits
out of the Paths of the Dead and they defeated Sauron’s southern army, which comprised Men from Harad
to the south. Taking their boats they sailed up the River falling upon Sauron’s main army from the south.
Aragorn unfolds the gift received from Elrond’s daughter, which is the insignia of Gondor with the emblems
of the house of Elendil. This signifies the return of the King.
Sauron’s control over his army is waning. With the loss of his Captain and now the return of the King,
defeat comes within hours.


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Meanwhile, back in the city, Pippin tells Gandalf concerning the madness of Denethor. He refuses to give
up his Stewardship, and he sets a torch to the pyre, leaping onto it carrying his palantir.
Foolishly, the Steward had tried to probe Sauron’s mind, which only brought about Denethor’s madness.
In the Houses of Healing, Éowyn and Merry join Faramir. Aragorn comes and greatly aids their recovery
using forgotten herbs and fulfilling their proverb that the Kings of Gondor were great healers.
The Company catches up on the events that they have faced.
Gandalf advises them that victory is not won. Sauron still has another army inside Mordor, and they must
now face this foe and march to the Black Gate. In this way, they hope to avert Sauron’s eye away from
Frodo and his quest.
Little over 6,000 Men arrive at the Black Gate, and Sauron’s lieutenant rides out and mocks them. He
produces Frodo’s cloak and Elvin brooch, much to the dismay of Pippin. Gandalf drives the lieutenant back
with a blaze of white light and snatches the objects from him. The Black Gate opens wide and out streams
the armies of Mordor. The combined armies of Gondor are outnumbered, and Pippin prepares to meet his
death fighting beside his new friend Beregond. He is killed by a Troll and Pippin tries to save him, but loses
consciousness, being crushed by the monster’s body, which contains Pippin’s sword.

BOOK 6
We rejoin Sam outside the Tower of Cirith Ungol. Inside is the paralyzed Frodo. Typical of Orcs, they have
argued over the prize they have found, and this enables Sam to enter the Tower using the Ring of
Invisibility. He manages to rescue Frodo and they continue their trek towards the Mountain of Fire. They
disguise themselves in Orc uniforms and their journey is long and hard, as they are suffering from
exhaustion and hunger.
The closer they get to Mount Doom, the more oppressive the Ring becomes to Frodo. Towards the end of
their journey, Sam is forced to carry Frodo on his back.
Suddenly they are attacked by Gollum, and Sam fights Gollum while Frodo reaches the top of the Mountain
into which he must cast the Ring. However, he cannot bring himself to do this, and he puts the Ring on.
Suddenly, Sauron is aware of him, and the imminent loss of the Ring.
Gollum breaks free of Sam and leaps at the now invisible Frodo, biting off the Ring finger and falling into
the fire of Mount Doom, being finally reunited with his Precious. This causes Sauron to loose all his power;
his armies are suddenly left without direction and they retreat in terror.
Gwaihir, Chief of the Eagles, and two other Eagles rescue Frodo and Sam from the mountainside.
Back in Minas Tirith, the patients in the House of Healing are returned to health, but they have new
customers in Frodo and Sam.
Faramir yields up his Stewardship, although only briefly held, to the true King, Aragorn. Aragorn marries
Arwen Evenstar, who has arrived from Rivendell. In doing so, she gives up her immunity from natural
death.
Gandalf and the Hobbits begin their trek homeward. On the way, the meet Saruman and Wormtongue, and
Gandalf offer them one last chance of redemption, which they refuse. They stop off at Rivendell and Bilbo
passes over to Frodo all his notes and papers on the history of times, telling Frodo to make an account of all
the recent events. They then travel on to the Prancing Pony at Bree, and hear disturbing news from the
Shire, that it has been made into a police state.
Gandalf tells the Hobbits that they will soon be able to return things to normal in the Shire. He leaves them
in order to visit Tom Bombadil.
When the Hobbits return to the Shire, they find that Saruman has taken over, using the Hobbits as slaves,
and Men to administer discipline. The Hobbits organize a Counter-Revolution, and there is a brief battle,
and the Men are overthrown and expelled from the Shire.
Saruman has treated Wormtongue harshly, to the point of breaking, and Wormtongue cuts Saruman’s
throat. As Wormtongue makes his escape, he is cut down by Hobbit arrows. Over the body of Saruman, a
mist gathers in the form of a figure. It faces west towards Valinor and then dissipates.
The Shire has been ravaged; many of the big trees have been chopped down. Saplings are used to replace
these, and Sam spreads the fine dust that he received as a gift from Galadriel, which causes a miraculous
growth of vegetation the following Spring.
Sam marries Rosie Cotton and they live with Frodo at Bag End. Rosie has the first of many children, named
Elanor.
Some years later, Frodo tells Sam that they have another journey to make, but it is not to Rivendell. They
travel west, and meet with Elrond, Galadriel and Bilbo. They are bound for the Grey Havens where they will
take a boat across the sea to the Blessed Realm. Sam is joined by Merry and Pippin, and they make a
tearful farewell to Frodo. Frodo will be borne towards the beauty and peace of the Blessed Realm.
Sam returns to the Shire and he is elected Mayor.


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COMMENTS

We have discussed Humor, Tension and Descriptive Writing at the end of Parts I and II of The Lord of the
Rings.
Write down examples of all three, which can be found in Part III.




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Later events concerning members of the Fellowship of the Ring
Sam and Rosie have thirteen children and Sam was Mayor of the Shire seven times, ending his office at the
age of 96. After the death of his wife, Rosie, Sam left the Shire and went over to the Blessed Realm, being
the last of the Ring bearers in Middle Earth.

Merry and Pippin, after many years in the Shire, left, and traveled back to Gondor to live out the rest of
their years. After their deaths, they were buried alongside other heroes of Gondor.

Legolas built a gray ship in Ithilien, sailed down the River Anduin, and over the sea with his companion,
Gimli, the Dwarf.




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Questions for study with some ideas for answers

Q:       The main theme of The Lord of the Rings is the attainment of power, which can usually be found in
three forms – personal – political – spiritual. What are your thoughts on this?

Ideas: The one main symbol of power is the Ring in Frodo’s possession. Whoever possesses the Ring is
eventually corrupted. Depending on the individual, the corruption can be in different forms.
For Gollum, it was more a physical corruption.
For the likes of Sauron, Gandalf, Saruman and Galadriel, the corruption would be for them to become totally
evil. Saruman lusted after the Ring, and Sauron possessed the Ring, and both were corrupted to evil.
Gandalf and Galadriel rejected ownership of the Ring for fear of this evil corruption.
For Frodo and Bilbo, the Ring did not have a great influence over them at first. They viewed it as a trinket
and only used it as a joke or when they were in real danger and needed to disappear. In this way, the
forces of good deny the Ring maker possession of the power. Part of the Ring’s power was dissipated
through love and freedom.
Tolkien’s experiences in World War I must have affected him. The soldiers were powerless on both sides.
Their lives were lost in their millions by the power struggle between the warring factions.
Tolkien recreates this to a certain degree in the battle scenes, but the difference is that Sauron’s army is
driven by fear through him and his Ringwraiths, whereas the forces of good were there fighting to preserve
their way of life and they love they have for Middle Earth.
It is interesting to note that Tolkien started to write The Lord of the Rings during World War II where the
rise of an ambitious evil dictator in Germany was spreading a cloud of subjugation over Europe similar to
the cloud Sauron sent out from Mordor.
One of Tolkien’s main points was that the innocence of the Shire had been preserved by the Rangers as
Hobbits symbolized all that is good and free about Middle Earth. It is ironic to note that the Hobbits in the
Shire were oblivious to this, and were largely unaware of the wars taking place in the south of Middle Earth.
Of course when Saruman wished to have power over them they had a rude awakening.


Q:    Part III of The Lord of the Rings concerns the tactical abilities of Sauron against Gandalf.
Comment on both.

Ideas: Sauron’s whole strategy revolved round possessing the One Ring. All his efforts were geared to
capturing the Hobbit who was the Ring bearer. Unfortunately, he did not know what this Hobbit looked like,
and when one showed himself to him using Saruman’s palantir, he assumed that this was the Ring bearer.
Later, when Aragorn, Isildur’s heir reveals himself in the same palantir, Sauron incorrectly assumes again
that he now has the Ring.
He makes the tactical error of bringing his armies out of Mordor in order to capture the Ring. He hopes that
through weight of numbers and using psychological warfare (black clouds), he will overcome his foes. His
armies are led by the Ringwraiths, the Captain of whom cannot be killed by Man, but he is lost to the sword
of Éowyn, a woman. The loss of this being is a severe blow to Sauron and is a turning point in the battle,
especially when his army in the south has been defeated by supernatural means, the spirits from the Paths
of the Dead.
Gandalf’s task is to keep Sauron’s attention beyond his borders so that Frodo and Sam can make the
dangerous journey to the Mountain of Fire in order to destroy the Ring. This is achieved through the subtle
use of the palantir.
The siege of Minas Tirith is broken with a classic pincer movement. The King of the Ringwraiths has already
broken the outer gates of the city when the first arm of the pincer, the Rohirrim announce their entrance
with their horns. They have obtained help from the Wild Men who have shown them a secret route through
the Stonewain Valley. The second pincer comes from Aragorn. He has roused the spirits from the Path of
the Dead who have defeated Sauron’s southern army. The spirits have returned having at last fulfilled their
oath and Gandalf and Aragorn and his Rangers, have manned the ships and sailed up the River closing a
trap on Sauron’s main army. Although they are low in numbers, Aragorn uses the gift from Arwen, which is
a banner announcing the return of the King. This causes the army to panic and leave the city walls.




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