The Fellowship of the Ring Book summary

J.R.R. Tolkien



The Fellowship of the Ring is the first of the three books written by J.R.R. Tolkien in the legendary series called The Lord of the Rings. The author published the work in 1954 after he had already published The Hobbit in 1937, which features a lot of the same characters from The Lord of the Ring Series. Tolkien's books are set in the fictitious and sprawling world of middle earth, which is why these books are considered to be the founding books of the High Fantasy Genre. This book series has witnessed significant commercial and critical success, as all of the books have been adapted to feature films. They are widely considered to be classic works of literature, and as a result have inspired college courses, scholarships, and even academic circles. The true extent and depth of Tolkien’s Middle-Earth can be gauged by reading his encyclopedic book, called The Silmarillion, which was published by his son in 1977 after the author’s death.


Plot Summary


Bilbo Baggins, an eccentric and rich hobbit of the shire celebrates his 111th birthday with a magnificent feast. He invites people from all over Middle-Earth, along with his old friend, Gandalf. Bilbo informs Gandalf of his plan to leave the Shire for a final adventure, leaving everything behind to his nephew, Frodo, including the magical ring of invisibility that Bilbo had brought back from his previous adventure with Gandalf several years ago. Bilbo plays a prank on his guests during his birthday speech, as he disappears from in front of them by putting on the ring. Gandalf becomes suspicious about the nature of the ring, after he witnesses the difficulty Bilbo has in leaving the ring behind. He leaves the ring with Frodo and goes on a long journey to research the ring. He returns to Frodo seventeen years later with dire news. Frodo learns that the ring is the One ring that had been forged in the Second Age by Sauron and that it was deeply connected to his power. Sauron has learned about the ring from its previous holder, Gollum, and learned that it was in Bilbo’s possession. Gandalf himself cannot hold on to the ring since the power of the ring for corruption is too great, and they agree that the only safe course is to find a means to destroy the ring. Frodo decides to leave the Shire forever, but before they can leave, Gandalf is called away by pressing matters. 

Frodo leaves the shire with his friends, Samwise, Pippin, and Merry. They come to realize that some suspicious-looking black riders are searching for Frodo in the Shire. Just as Frodo is preparing to part with his friends, he learns that they have known about the ring and his plan of leaving the shire for a good long while. They refuse to part from him, and they all begin traveling to Rivendell, where Gandalf had intended for them to go. They have several close calls with dangerous perils on the road, but they are aided by a primordial spirit, Tom Bombadil, and the Elves. The Hobbits reach the town of Bree, where they are joined by Strider, a Ranger of the North. He wins their trust and convinces them that he is a companion of Gandalf, and had been tasked to accompany the hobbits to Rivendell. The Hobbits travel to Weathertop with Strider, and there they come face to face with the Black riders. Strider tells them about the origins of the Black riders, who are Ringwraiths. They had been men with Rings of Power but they had been twisted by the power of Sauron and transformed into his lifeless servants. The leader of the Ringwraiths manages to stab Frodo with his blade, but the hobbits save themselves with Strider’s help. A severely injured Frodo survives the wound because of Strider’s aid, but he nearly succumbs to it as they try to reach Rivendell.

Frodo reaches Rivendell in the nick of time. He is reunited there with Gandalf and a severely more aged Bilbo. King Elrond of Rivendell calls a council with representatives of all races to discuss the matter of the One ring. The council members discuss the rising force of Sauron, his attempts at discovering the One ring, and the havoc he had wrought with the One ring in the second age until he had been defeated by the last alliance of men and Elves. No worthwhile solution can be found for the ring until Frodo volunteers to carry the ring to Mordor on his own. The council members decide this may be the only way, and a fellowship is formed to accompany Frodo. The members of the Fellowship include the Hobbits, except Bilbo, Boromir, Aragorn, Legolas, Gimili, and Gandalf. The Fellowship meets a roadblock in the form of a storm as they attempt to cross the Misty Mountains, and are forced to find a way through the ancient and abandoned homeland of the dwarves, the mines of Moria. Inside the mines, the fellowship is attacked by Orcs and a powerful creature called the Balrog. The company manages to find the exit out of Moria, but Gandalf sacrifices his life for the safety of the group during the fight with the Balrog.

The weary and mourning company rests with the Elves of Lothlorien, where they are hosted by Lady Galadriel, a possessor of one of the three Elven rings of power. The Elves of Lothlorien aid the Fellowship, but the fellowship is severed soon after they leave the golden woods. Boromir becomes covetous of the power of the One ring, and he attempts to gain control of it for the sake of the people of Gondor. Frodo puts on the ring to escape and realizes that the Enemy is looking for the ring with all its resources. He decides to go to Mordor on his own without his friends so that they can remain protected, but Sam figures out Frodo’s intentions. He forces Frodo to take him along, and Frodo is happy for the company of his friend. 

  • Author(s)

    J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Publication date

    July 29th 1954

  • Language


  • Classification

    High Fantasy

  • Pages



The Lord of the Rings


George Allen & Unwin

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