The Lord of the Rings Summary

  • Last updated on March 25, 2021
The Fellowship of the RingFrom WikiSummaries, free book summaries

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

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

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

The Fellowship sets out but soon runs into trouble as they enter the ruined Dwarvish mines of Moria. There Gandalf is apparently killed by a monster called a Balgrog. The others barely escape and take refuge in the Elvish kingdom of Lothlorien. There they get rest and advice. Finally they leave in boats on the river to continue their journey, but it is not long before the fellowship is broken. The travellers reach a point where they need to decide whether to go directly to Morder or to turn off to go to Gondor. Boromir wants to go to Gondor, and he wants the ring to use against Sauron, so he chases Frodo who is forced to use the ring to become invisible in order to escape. Since Frodo has now seen that the power of the Ring can drive men like Boromir nearly mad, he decides to leave on his own for Morder and heads down to get a boat to leave for Morder. Meanwhile, Orcs attack the camp and Boromir, who is full of remorse for his treatment of Frodo, is killed while protecting Merry and Pippin from the Orcs. The book ends as Sam catches up with Frodo going with him towards Morder. Merry and Pippin are taken by the Orcs and Boromir is dying. Legolas, Gimli, and Aragon are now left to decide whether to go after Frodo and Sam or to try to rescue Merry and Pippin. The future of Middle-earth is in great peril.

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The Two TowersFrom WikiSummaries, free book summaries

The Two Towers is the second book of J.R.R.Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy and picks up where The Fellowship of the Ring leaves off. The book begins as Froso and Sam have left for Morder and Merry and Pippen have been carried off by Orcs. Srider (Aragorn), Gimli, and Legolas go after Merry and Pippen. On the way they meet up with a detachment of soldiers from Rohan led by Eomer who oans them horses to continue on their journey. As they reach the edges of the forest, Fangorn, they meet up with Gandalf, who they thought had been killed in the mines of Moria. Gandalf tells them that the hobbits, Merry and Pippen, are safe with the Ents, the tree people of the forest. They go with Gandalf to overcome evil in Rohan and gain the support of Rohan against Saruman. The army of Rohan fights a great battle against Saruman which they win with the help of the Ents. At Saruman's stronghold of Isengard, Gandalf, Gimli, Legolas and Aragorn meet up with Merry and Pippen. Gandalf confronts the captured Saruman and casts him fromthe council of wizards. The whole party then begins to head back to Rohan, but Gandalf, recieving information about Sauron's increasing activity, takes Pippin and heads off for Gondor.

While all of this is happening in the West, Frodo and Sam are heading for Morder making their way through first razorlike rocks and then vile swamps. On their way they encounter Gollum, the creature from whom Bilbo had gotten the Ring in the Hobbit. Evidently the lure of the Ring had brought him to follow Frodo. Sam and Frodo capture Gollum and make him lead them to Morder. When he brings them to the main gates of Morder, they realize that there is no way for them to enter. Gollum tells them of another way and they start off on their long journey. They have some adventures on the way: seeing an Oliphant which amazes Sam, and meeting with a party from Gondor led by Faramir, the brother of Boromir. Sam slips telling Faramir about the Ring, but unlike his brother, Faramir is not tempted by the ring as he sees its dangers clearly. He gives Frodo and Sam supplies and allows them to leave.

Gollum leads Frodo and Sam to a long dark tunnel. After they have traveled some way in the darkness, Gollum disappears. He has betrayed them making an agreement with the evil spiderlike creature Shelob. He brought her the hobbits to eat and she will give him anything she finds on their bodies. However things do not go as Gollum planned. Shelob stings and poisons Frodo, but is killed herself, by Sam. Sam thinking Frodo is dead, takes the ring intending on completing the quest himself. Then orcs come to claim Frodo, and Sam, in hiding, realizes that Frodo is not dead, only poisoned. The book ends with Sam trying to figure out how to rescue Frodo. Middle Earth is in graver peril than ever before.

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The Return of The KingFrom WikiSummaries, free book summaries

The Return of The King picks up where The Two Towers leaves off. Saruman has been defeated and now the remaining members of the Fellowship turn their attention back to Morder. Aragorn, Stider, Legolas, and Merry remain with the Riders of Rohan as they muster their forces to head east to the aid of Gondor. Pippen is with Gandalf, racing for Gondor. Frodo has been taken by Orcs in Morder and Sam is alone with the Ring.

The story picks up with Gandalf and Pippen arriving in Gondor. They tell Denethor of the death of Boromir, and Pippen pledges his his services to Denethor in memory of Boromir becoming a guard of the city of Gondor. They had only been in Gondor a few days when Sauron begins his attack on the "Dawnless day" and Faramir is sorely hurt. The battle has begun and things look bleak for Gondor. They are so bleak indeed that Denethor, the steward, has lost hope and prepares to burn himself and his wounded son, Faramir. Pippen intervenes and later, with Gandalf's help saves Faramir, but Denethor commits suicide.

Meanwhile in Rohan, the invaders are put down and the soldiers of Rohan are regrouping to march to Gondor. Aragon is visited by relatives who tell him he should take the Path of the Dead. Aragon leaves to follow their advice with only Legolas and Gimli as companions. Merry is distraught to be left behind but a Eowyn, the niece of Thoeden, promises to take him secretely to Gondor.

In Gondor the battle continues to be fought and Sauron's forces push forward. just when it looks as if the city will fall, the Riders of Rohan attack. In the ensuing battle, Theoden is killed, and Merry and Eowyn manage to kill the Witchking, the leader of the Nazgul. They are gravely wounded in the process. Aragon finally saves the day with the armies of the Dead who have followed him to fulfill an age old oath. For the moment, anyway, Gondor is reprieved.

The remaining leaders in Gondor decide to put together an army to take to the Gates of Morder. They have no illusions that they can win a battle, but they are trying to direct the Eye of Sauron at themselves so that, if possible, Frodo can complete his Quest to destroy the Ring.

Now Tolkein turns his attention to Frodo and Sam. Sam sneaks into Morder, finds, and frees Frodo. They then begin to make their way to Mount Doom. It is a harrowing trip. They have little food or water, and the Ring is preying on Frodo's mind causing him great distress. The strategy of Aragon in bringing an army to the gates of Morder pays off for Frodo and Sam as nearly all the Orcs begin heading for the gate, clearing the path to Mount Doom. Frodo and Sam barely make it to the top. Sam has to carry Frodo the last part of the way. When they get there, Frodo finds he cannot part with the Ring and claims it as his own. At that moment Gollum attacks Frodo from the darkness cutting off Frodo's finger claiming the Ring for himself. The momentum of the attack carries him too close to the edge and he falls into Mount Doom destroying the Ring. Morder begins to crumble and Frodo and Sam lay down to die. They are rescued at the last moment by the Eagles.

When they awaken it is to a new age of Men. They are heroes and Aragon is king. Eventually the Hobbits begin to make their way home and they find that all evil is not gone from the world. The defeated Saruman had escaped and went to make trouble in the Shire. Sam, Merry, and Pippen become heroes as they free the Shire from his evil grasp. Then all four settle down to life in the Shire. That life is good for Merry, Pippen, and Sam, but Frodo cannot overcome the mental and physical injuries he sustained as the Ring Bearer. In the end, he joins Gandalf and Elrond and departs over the Sea.

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Categories: Fiction