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BookWolf Wolfnotes, available at http://Bookwolf.com. 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. Bookwolf.com, Copyright 2001-2002, All Rights Reserved Distribution without written consent of BookWolf.com is strictly prohibited. BookWolf Wolfnotes, available at http://Bookwolf.com. 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. Bookwolf.com, Copyright 2001-2002, All Rights Reserved Distribution without written consent of BookWolf.com is strictly prohibited. BookWolf Wolfnotes, available at http://Bookwolf.com. 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. Bookwolf.com, Copyright 2001-2002, All Rights Reserved Distribution without written consent of BookWolf.com is strictly prohibited. BookWolf Wolfnotes, available at http://Bookwolf.com. 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 Bookwolf.com, Copyright 2001-2002, All Rights Reserved Distribution without written consent of BookWolf.com is strictly prohibited. BookWolf Wolfnotes, available at http://Bookwolf.com. 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 Bookwolf.com, Copyright 2001-2002, All Rights Reserved Distribution without written consent of BookWolf.com is strictly prohibited. BookWolf Wolfnotes, available at http://Bookwolf.com. 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. Bookwolf.com, Copyright 2001-2002, All Rights Reserved Distribution without written consent of BookWolf.com is strictly prohibited. BookWolf Wolfnotes, available at http://Bookwolf.com. 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, Bookwolf.com, Copyright 2001-2002, All Rights Reserved Distribution without written consent of BookWolf.com is strictly prohibited. BookWolf Wolfnotes, available at http://Bookwolf.com. 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. Bookwolf.com, Copyright 2001-2002, All Rights Reserved Distribution without written consent of BookWolf.com is strictly prohibited. BookWolf Wolfnotes, available at http://Bookwolf.com. 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. Bookwolf.com, Copyright 2001-2002, All Rights Reserved Distribution without written consent of BookWolf.com is strictly prohibited. BookWolf Wolfnotes, available at http://Bookwolf.com. 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. Bookwolf.com, Copyright 2001-2002, All Rights Reserved Distribution without written consent of BookWolf.com is strictly prohibited. BookWolf Wolfnotes, available at http://Bookwolf.com. 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. Bookwolf.com, Copyright 2001-2002, All Rights Reserved Distribution without written consent of BookWolf.com is strictly prohibited. BookWolf Wolfnotes, available at http://Bookwolf.com. 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. Bookwolf.com, Copyright 2001-2002, All Rights Reserved Distribution without written consent of BookWolf.com is strictly prohibited. BookWolf Wolfnotes, available at http://Bookwolf.com. 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:” Bookwolf.com, Copyright 2001-2002, All Rights Reserved Distribution without written consent of BookWolf.com is strictly prohibited. BookWolf Wolfnotes, available at http://Bookwolf.com. 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. Bookwolf.com, Copyright 2001-2002, All Rights Reserved Distribution without written consent of BookWolf.com is strictly prohibited. BookWolf Wolfnotes, available at http://Bookwolf.com. 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. Bookwolf.com, Copyright 2001-2002, All Rights Reserved Distribution without written consent of BookWolf.com is strictly prohibited. BookWolf Wolfnotes, available at http://Bookwolf.com. 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. Bookwolf.com, Copyright 2001-2002, All Rights Reserved Distribution without written consent of BookWolf.com is strictly prohibited. BookWolf Wolfnotes, available at http://Bookwolf.com. 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. Bookwolf.com, Copyright 2001-2002, All Rights Reserved Distribution without written consent of BookWolf.com is strictly prohibited. BookWolf Wolfnotes, available at http://Bookwolf.com. 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. Bookwolf.com, Copyright 2001-2002, All Rights Reserved Distribution without written consent of BookWolf.com is strictly prohibited. BookWolf Wolfnotes, available at http://Bookwolf.com. 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. Bookwolf.com, Copyright 2001-2002, All Rights Reserved Distribution without written consent of BookWolf.com is strictly prohibited.
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