Author: J.R.R. Tolkien
Translator: Beon Kim, Bo-won Kim, Mi-ae Lee
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About This Book
Book I in The Fellowship of the Ring begins with Bilbo's hundred-and-eleventh birthday party, about 60 years after the end of The Hobbit, and his subsequent disappearance using his magic ring. Leaving to journey once more, he left many of his belongings, including the ring, to his cousin and adoptive heir, Frodo Baggins.
After seventeen years of investigating, their old friend Gandalf the Grey revealed that the ring was in fact the One Ring, the instrument of Sauron's power, for which the Dark Lord had been searching for most of the Third Age, and which corrupted others with desire for it and the power it held.
Sauron sent the Ringwraiths, in the guise of riders in black, to the Shire, Bilbo and Frodo's native land, in search of the Ring. Frodo escaped, with the help of his loyal gardener Samwise "Sam" Gamgee and three close friends, Meriadoc "Merry" Brandybuck, Peregrin "Pippin" Took, and Fredegar "Fatty" Bolger. While Fatty acted as a decoy for the Ringwraiths, Frodo and the others set off to take the Ring to the Elven haven of Rivendell. They were aided by the enigmatic Tom Bombadil, and by a man called "Strider", who was later revealed to be Aragorn, the heir to the kingships of Gondor and Arnor, two great realms founded by the Numenorean exiles. Aragorn led the hobbits to Rivendell on Gandalf's request. However, Frodo was gravely wounded by the leader of the Ringwraiths at the hill of Weathertop. With the help of his companions and the Elf-lord Glorfindel, Frodo managed to enter Rivendell's borders by crossing the Ford of the river Bruinen. The Ringwraiths, in close pursuit, were swept away by an enchantment of the river when they entered its waters. The book ends with Frodo losing consciousness.
Book II in The Fellowship of the Ring reveals that Frodo managed to recover under the care of the Half-elven lord Elrond, master of Rivendell. Frodo meets Bilbo, now living in retirement, and sees Elrond's daughter Arwen, Aragorn's betrothed. Later, much of the story's exposition is given during a high council, attended by representatives of the major races of Middle-earth (Elves, Dwarves, and Men) and presided over by Elrond. Gandalf told them of the emerging threat of Saruman, the leader of the Order of Wizards, who wanted the Ring for himself. In order to fulfil an ancient prophecy about the return of the King of Gondor and Arnor, Aragorn was going to war against Sauron, armed with the royal sword Narsil, which had cut the Ring from Sauron's finger. After pondering several options, the Council decided that the only course of action that could save Middle-earth was to destroy the Ring by taking it to Mordor and casting it into Mount Doom, where it was forged. Frodo volunteered for the task, and a "Fellowship of the Ring" was formed to aid him ? this consisted of Frodo, his three Hobbit companions, Gandalf, Aragorn, Boromir of Gondor, Gimli the Dwarf, and Legolas the Elf. Since Narsil was broken, Aragorn had it reforged and called it Anduril.
The company journeyed through plains and over mountains, and ultimately to the Mines of Moria, where they were followed by the wretched creature Gollum, whom Bilbo had met years before (as detailed in The Hobbit). Gollum was once "of hobbit-kind" but the Ring had corrupted him while he had possessed it, and Gollum desperately sought to regain his "Precious". When they were almost through the mines the party was attacked by Orcs. Gandalf battled a Balrog, an ancient demon creature, and fell into a deep chasm, apparently to his death. Escaping from Moria the Fellowship, now led by Aragorn, took refuge in the Elvish wood of Lothlorien, the realm of the Lady Galadriel.
After the Fellowship travelled along the great River Anduin, Frodo decided to continue the trek to Mordor on his own, largely due to the Ring's growing influence on Boromir; however, the faithful Sam insisted on going with him. At the end of the book, the Fellowship were attacked by orcs and, during the confusion, Sam and Frodo made their escape. Unbeknownst to them, Boromir was killed and Merry and Pippin were kidnapped by the orcs because their commander, the traitor Saruman, had ordered them to capture the hobbits and bring them to him alive, knowing that one of the hobbits has the Ring.
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