The Fellowship of the Ring

The Fellowship of the Ring

by

J.R.R. Tolkien

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The One Ring Symbol Icon

The titular Ring was created by the Dark Lord Sauron to command all nineteen of the great rings of power that he gifted to the elves, dwarves and men in Middle-earth. It contains immense power and answers only to Sauron—it is a direct manifestation of the Dark Lord’s will to dominate all life on Middle-earth, and therefore symbolizes the desire for power that conditions evil. The One Ring features heavily in Tolkien’s The Hobbit, where it is found by the most unlikely of characters when Bilbo stumbles across it in the Misty Mountains. In The Fellowship of the Ring, Bilbo gifts it to his nephew Frodo. Frodo is horrified when Gandalf reveals its true nature, and embarks on a quest to destroy the Ring in Mordor to protect the Free Peoples of Middle-earth from Sauron’s terrible domain. Yet the Ring corrupts those around it, including one of Frodo’s trusted allies—in Boromir’s desire to command the Ring’s power to protect his homeland of Gondor, Boromir eventually betrays the Fellowship by trying to take the Ring by Force from Frodo. The Ring’s influence suggests that power of any kind, even if held with the best of intentions, is susceptible to corruption. The Fellowship reveals that Frodo—although a traditionally unheroic character—is most suited to bearing the Ring to its destruction due to his humility and his genuine lack of desire to wield power over others.

The One Ring Quotes in The Fellowship of the Ring

The The Fellowship of the Ring quotes below all refer to the symbol of The One Ring. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Random House edition of The Fellowship of the Ring published in 1954.
Book 1, Chapter 1 Quotes

“I feel I need a holiday, a very long holiday, as I have told you before. Probably a permanent holiday: I don’t expect I shall return. In fact, I don’t mean to, and I have made all arrangements.

I am old, Gandalf. I don’t look it, but I am beginning to feel it in my heart of hearts. Well-preserved indeed!” he snorted. “Why, I feel all thin, sort of stretched if you know what I mean: like butter that has been scraped over too much bread. That can’t be right. I need a change, or something.”

Gandalf looked curiously and closely at him. “No, it doesn’t seem right,” he said thoughtfully. “No, after all I believe your plan is probably the best.”

Related Characters: Gandalf the Grey (speaker), Bilbo Baggins (speaker)
Related Symbols: The One Ring
Page Number: 32
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation long mobile
Book 1, Chapter 2 Quotes

For some years he was quite happy and did not worry about the future. But half unknown to himself the regret that he did not go with Bilbo was steadily growing. He found himself wandering at times, especially in the autumn, about the wild lands, and strange visions of mountains that he had never seen came into his dreams. He began to say to himself “Perhaps I shall cross the river myself one day.” To which the other half of his mind always replied “Not yet.”

[…] He took to wandering further afield and more often by himself; and Merry and his other friends watched him anxiously. Often he was seen walking and talking with the strange wayfarers that began at this time to appear in the Shire.

Related Characters: Frodo Baggins (speaker), Meriadoc (Merry) Brandybuck, Bilbo Baggins
Related Symbols: The One Ring
Page Number: 42
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

“A mortal, Frodo, who keeps one of the Great Rings, does not die, but he does not grow or obtain more life, he merely continues, until at last every minute is a weariness. And if he often uses the Ring to make himself invisible, he fades: he becomes in the end invisible permanently, and walks in the twilight under the eye of the dark power that rules the Rings. Yes, sooner or later – later, if he is strong or well-meaning to begin with, but neither strength nor good purpose will last – sooner or later the dark power will devour him.”

“How terrifying!” said Frodo. There was another long silence. The sound of Sam Gamgee cutting the lawn came in from the garden.

Related Symbols: The One Ring
Page Number: 46
Explanation and Analysis:
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"So now, when its master was awake once more and sending out his dark thought from Mirkwood, it abandoned Gollum. Only to be picked up by the most unlikely person imaginable: Bilbo from the Shire!

Behind that there was something else at work, beyond any design of the Ring-maker. I can put it no plainer than by saying that Bilbo was meant to find the Ring, and not by its maker. In which case you also were meant to have it. And that may be an encouraging thought."

Related Symbols: The One Ring
Page Number: 54-5
Explanation and Analysis:
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Book 1, Chapter 4 Quotes

“If you don’t come back, sir, then I shan’t, that’s certain,” said Sam. “Don’t you leave him! They said to me. Leave him! I said. I never mean to. I am going with him, if he climbs to the Moon, and if any of those Black Riders try to stop him, they’ll have Sam Gamgee to reckon with, I said. They laughed.”

Related Symbols: The One Ring
Page Number: 85
Explanation and Analysis:
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Book 1, Chapter 8 Quotes

There is a seed of courage hidden (often deeply, it is true) in the heart of the fattest and most timid Hobbit, waiting for some final and desperate danger to make it grow. Frodo was neither very fat nor very timid; indeed, though he did not know it, Bilbo (and Gandalf) had thought him the best Hobbit in the Shire. He thought he had come to the end of his adventure, and a terrible end, but the thought hardened him. He found himself stiffening, as if for a final spring; he no longer felt limp like a helpless prey.

Related Symbols: The One Ring
Page Number: 137
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Book 1, Chapter 10 Quotes

"They come from Mordor," said Strider in a low voice. "From Mordor, Barliman, if that means anything to you."

"Save us!" cried Mr. Butterbur turning pale; the name evidently was known to him. "That is the worst news that has come to Bree in my time."

"It is," said Frodo. "Are you still willing to help me?"

"I am," said Mr. Butterbur. "More than ever. Though I don't know what the likes of me can do against, against –" he faltered.

“Against the Shadow in the East,” said Strider quietly. “Not much, Barliman, but every little helps. You can let Mr. Underhill stay here tonight, as Mr. Underhill, and you can forget the name of Baggins, till he is far away.”

Related Symbols: The One Ring
Page Number: 165
Explanation and Analysis:
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Book 2, Chapter 1 Quotes

Slowly he drew it out. Bilbo put out his hand. But Frodo quickly drew back the Ring. To his distress and amazement he found that he was no longer looking at Bilbo; a shadow seemed to have fallen between them, and through it he found himself eyeing a little wrinkled creature with a hungry face and bony groping hands. He felt a desire to strike him.

The music and singing round them seemed to falter, and a silence fell. Bilbo looked quickly at Frodo's face and passed his hand across his eyes. “I understand now,” he said. “Put it away! I am sorry: sorry you have come in for this burden: sorry about everything.”

Related Characters: Bilbo Baggins (speaker), Frodo Baggins, Gollum / Smeagol
Related Symbols: The One Ring
Page Number: 225-6
Explanation and Analysis:
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Book 2, Chapter 3 Quotes

“It is true that if these Hobbits understood the danger, they would not dare to go. But they would still wish to go, or wish that they dared, and be shamed and unhappy. I think, Elrond, that in this matter it would be well to trust rather to their friendship than to great wisdom. Even if you chose for us an Elf-lord, such as Glorfindel, he could not storm the Dark Tower, nor open the road to the Fire by the power that is in him.”

Related Symbols: The One Ring
Page Number: 269
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Book 2, Chapter 7 Quotes

“You are wise and fearless and fair, Lady Galadriel,” said Frodo. “I will give you the One Ring, if you ask for it. It is too great a matter for me.”

[…] She stood before Frodo seeming now tall beyond measurement, and beautiful beyond enduring, terrible and worshipful. Then she let her hand fall, and the light faded, and suddenly she laughed again, and lo! she was shrunken: a slender elf-woman, clad in simple white, whose gentle voice was soft and sad.

“I pass the test,” she said. “I will diminish, and go into the West, and remain Galadriel.”

Related Characters: Frodo Baggins (speaker), Galadriel (speaker)
Related Symbols: The One Ring
Page Number: 357
Explanation and Analysis:
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Book 2, Chapter 8 Quotes

[Aragorn’s] own plan, while Gandalf remained with them, had been to go with Boromir, and with his sword help to deliver Gondor. For he believed that the message of the dreams was a summons, and that the hour had come at last when the heir of Elendil should come forth and strive with Sauron for the mastery. But in Moria the burden of Gandalf had been laid on him; and he knew that he could not now forsake the Ring, if Frodo refused in the end to go with Boromir. And yet what help could he or any of the Company give to Frodo, save to walk blindly with him into the darkness?

Page Number: 359
Explanation and Analysis:
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Book 2, Chapter 10 Quotes

"We of Minas Tirith have been staunch through long years of trial. We do not desire the power of Wizard-lords, only strength to defend ourselves, strength in a just cause. And behold! in our need chance brings to light the Ring of Power. It is a gift, I say; a gift to the foes of Mordor. It is mad not to use it, to use the power of the Enemy against him. The fearless, the ruthless, these alone will achieve victory. What could not Aragorn do? Or if he refuses, why not Boromir? The Ring would give me power of Command. How I would drive the hosts of Mordor, and all men would flock to my banner!"

Related Characters: Boromir (speaker), Frodo Baggins, Gandalf the Grey, Aragorn / Strider, Sauron
Related Symbols: The One Ring
Page Number: 36
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Misty Mountains were crawling like anthills: orcs were issuing out of a thousand holes. Under the boughs of Mirkwood there was deadly strife of Elves and Men and fell bests. The land of the Beornings was aflame; a cloud was over Moria; smoke rose on the borders of Lórien.

Horsemen were galloping on the grass of Rohan; wolves poured from Isengard. From the havens of Harad ships of war put out to sea; and out of the East Men were moving endlessly: swordsmen, spearmen, bowmen upon horses, chariots of chieftains and laden wains. All the power of the Dark Lord was in motion. Then turning south again he beheld Minas Tirith. Far away it seemed, and beautiful: white-walled, many towered, proud and fair upon its mountain-seat; its battlements glittered with steel, and its turrets were bright with many banners. Hope leaped in [Frodo's] heart. But against Minas Tirith was set another fortress, greater and more strong. Thither, eastward, unwilling his eye was drawn. It passed the ruined bridges of Osgiliath, the grinning gates of Minas Morgul, and the haunted Mountains, and it looked upon Gorgoroth, the valley of terror in the Land of Mordor.

Related Characters: Frodo Baggins, Sauron, Saruman the White
Related Symbols: The One Ring
Page Number: 391
Explanation and Analysis:
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"But I must go at once. It's the only way."

"Of course it is," answered Sam. "But not alone. I'm coming too, or neither of us isn't going. I'll knock holes in all the boats first."

Frodo actually laughed. A sudden warmth and gladness touched his heart.

[…] “ So my plan is spoilt!” said Frodo. “It is no good trying to escape you. But I'm glad, Sam. I cannot tell you how glad. Come along! It is plain that we were meant to go together. We will go, and may the others find a safe road!”

Related Characters: Frodo Baggins (speaker), Samwise (Sam) Gamgee (speaker)
Related Symbols: The One Ring
Page Number: 397
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
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The One Ring Symbol Timeline in The Fellowship of the Ring

The timeline below shows where the symbol The One Ring appears in The Fellowship of the Ring. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Prologue
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...event that happened on his journey to the Lonely Mountain. Bilbo stumbled upon a magic ring in the tunnels under the Misty Mountains, and partook in a game of riddles with... (full context)
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...to trusted friends, Bilbo alters some of the details about his finding of the magic ring and his encounter with Gollum. This does not sit well with Gandalf, who is surprised... (full context)
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Upon his return to the Shire, Bilbo keeps the ring’s existence quiet and lives a long and happy life in his homeland. Only Gandalf and... (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 1
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Meanwhile, Bilbo has slipped on his magic ring to become invisible at the climax of his speech. He exits the party and returns... (full context)
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...has left everything he owns to Frodo, although Gandalf calls the hobbit out on the ring that remains in his pocket. (full context)
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...deeply. Confirming that Bilbo has left as planned, Gandalf also draws Frodo’s attention to the ring that is waiting for him on the mantelpiece. The wizard advises Frodo to keep the... (full context)
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...stopped by to wish Frodo farewell and to repeat his grave warning to keep the ring secret. Again, he will say no more on the subject. As Gandalf walks off into... (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 2
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...the hedges in the garden. Frodo presses the wizard to tell him information about the ring that Gandalf had refused to comment on in the darkness of the previous night. Gandalf... (full context)
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Gandalf says that he has spent these last seventeen years searching for information about the Ring, which Sauron lost during his defeat in the War of the Last Alliance in the... (full context)
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The Ring’s true nature is confirmed when Gandalf casts it in the fireplace. The flames reveal script... (full context)
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After being momentarily frozen in terror at this new knowledge of the Ring, Frodo seeks advice from Gandalf about what to do in response to the threat of... (full context)
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Gandalf reveals that the only way to destroy the Ring is to cast it into the fires of Mount Doom in Mordor, which is where... (full context)
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...admits that he is frightened, but he knows it is his responsibility to carry the Ring away from the Shire so that he doesn’t endanger his homeland. Despite his terror, Frodo... (full context)
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Gandalf suddenly stops speaking, listening to the silence that envelopes them. Suddenly springing to the window sill, the wizard reaches outside and hauls an eavesdropper into view—the gardener,... (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 3
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Frodo is frightened by the appearance of this strange Black Rider, and is considering putting on the Ring when the Rider suddenly moves away down the road. Frodo describes... (full context)
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...is another Black Rider, and once again Frodo feels a strong urge to use the Ring to disappear. However, the sudden sounds of song and laughter drive the Black Rider away. (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 5
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...shocked to find that his friends already know. Furthermore, they are fully aware of the Ring’s existence and the danger it brings its bearer. Frodo is flabbergasted to learn that his... (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 7
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...his friend Farmer Maggot, whom he holds in high regard. Tom demands to see the Ring and even puts it on, but he is immune to its power of invisibility, shocking... (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 8
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...from a passage behind the hobbits, Frodo panics even further and considers putting on the Ring and running away. But his loyalty to his friends stops him, and his growing courage... (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 9
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...Frodo become alarmed when they realize that Pippin is close to revealing Frodo’s and the Ring’s identities as the young hobbit tells a crowd about Bilbo’s eleventy-first birthday party. (full context)
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Frodo steals the crowd’s attention with a few words of thanks for their hospitality, during he which he resists a strong and sudden urge to put on the Ring. His... (full context)
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Frodo crawls to the edge of the room and removes the Ring, feeling immensely foolish and uncertain as to how it suddenly ended up on his finger.... (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 11
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...in terror, while Sam huddles at Frodo’s side. As five Black Riders advance on the Ring-bearer, Frodo cannot resist the overwhelming urge to slip on the Ring. He does so, and... (full context)
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Still wearing the Ring, Frodo leaps downward to stab the feet of his attacker, meeting the crowned... (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 12
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When Frodo regains consciousness, he is clutching the Ring in his hand and lying beside the fire. His friends are overjoyed that he is... (full context)
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...his friends, but Glorfindel reminds him that the Riders are focused on pursuing only the Ring-bearer—the others will be safe. (full context)
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...escape. Sauron’s nine servants race after the hobbit, and their power over Frodo and the Ring wills the hobbit to pause and look back after he has crossed the Ford of... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 1
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...Shire on his eleventy-first birthday. However, Frodo’s delight disappears when Bilbo asks to see the Ring. As he asks, Bilbo suddenly seems to transform into an unrecognizable, obsessive creature, and Frodo... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 2
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...to the Council of Elrond. Many individuals from far-off lands have recently arrived to Rivendell bearing news and seeking counsel. Elrond, the Lord of Rivendell, has convened the meeting to address... (full context)
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Next, Elrond shares the history of the Ring with the gathered Council. This is not news to Frodo, for Gandalf had already revealed... (full context)
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...lineage as the direct descendant of Isildur, the ancient king of Gondor who cut the Ring from Sauron’s hand during the War of the Last Alliance. Bilbo also relays the Riddle... (full context)
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...of Gondor. Bilbo then tells the Council of his part in the story of the Ring, followed by Gandalf’s account of how it is that the Dark Lord Sauron has come... (full context)
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...wizards and formerly a trusted ally of Gandalf and Elrond. Saruman desires to wield the Ring, and he prevented Gandalf from aiding Frodo on his journey to Rivendell by imprisoning him... (full context)
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With everyone having spoken their piece and heard the combined story of the Ring, the Council considers what to do with the dangerous weapon. The elf-lord Erestor suggests they... (full context)
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Boromir suggests they take the Ring to Gondor to wield its immense power against the gathering might of Sauron, but Elrond... (full context)
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...the only hope is to send messengers into Sauron’s stronghold of Mordor to destroy the Ring. Sauron is unlikely to suspect such a quest, as he cannot imagine anyone wanting to... (full context)
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Finally, Frodo—although he is very frightened—tells the Council that he will shoulder responsibility for delivering the Ring into Mordor, though he does not know the way. Elrond admits that he... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 3
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...Merry and Pippin are offended that Elrond has confirmed that Sam will accompany Frodo the Ring-bearer, but that they have not been considered for the journey. Gandalf joins their gathering and... (full context)
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...that they need to take action. He appoints Nine Walkers to the Company of the Ring that will oppose Sauron’s nine Black Riders in a quest to destroy the Ring in... (full context)
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...flocks of black crows that scour the landscape, likely looking for any sign of the Ring-bearer, Frodo. (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 4
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...far mightier and more complex feats. However, Frodo feels certain of evil ahead, and the Ring weighs heavily around his neck. He also hears the possible patter of faint footsteps tracking... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 5
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...that Frodo is pinned to the wall. Aragorn smites the orc, and picks up the Ring-bearer. As the Company flees through a door to an eastern passage, Aragorn is amazed to... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 6
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...who are led by an elf named Haldir. They know something of Frodo’s quest as Ring-bearer, and welcome their Northern cousin Legolas. The Fellowship is grateful to be invited into the... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 7
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Through her powers, Galadriel has also experienced the visions Frodo has seen. She comforts the Ring-bearer against the seemingly undefeatable might of Sauron, revealing that she actively resists Sauron’s psychological attacks.... (full context)
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Frodo is so awed by Galadriel’s power and wisdom that he offers her the Ring, feeling that she is more appropriate to bear it than he is. Despite her desire... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 8
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...reach unpassable falls, where they will have to decide whether to move east or west. Considering the Fellowship’s future path, Aragorn feels torn between protecting Frodo on a direct quest to... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 9
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...However, by the time Sam rubs his tired eyes, the strange apparition has disappeared. Upon sharing this story with Frodo, the Ring-bearer is disturbed by its similarity to the earlier times... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 10
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Meandering about the hill, Frodo finds himself climbing to a pretty spot on the hill of... (full context)
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They discuss the Ring-bearer’s looming decision, with Frodo admitting that he knows the difficult road he must take, although... (full context)
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...the ancient Seat of Seeing, taking in the views around him. The hobbit is still wearing the Ring, which allows him to view regions near and far; everywhere there are signs... (full context)
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Meanwhile, in his wild lust to take the Ring from Frodo, Boromir has tripped onto his face. The fall shocks him into reality, and... (full context)
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...glad to accept Sam’s firm declaration that he is going with him to destroy the Ring. (full context)
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...a range of grey hills before them, they begin seeking a path to take the Ring into perilous lands toward Mordor. The Fellowship is broken, but the quest to destroy the... (full context)