Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) Story Recap

The Fellowship of the Ring

There should be no doubt in one’s mind that the LOTR trilogy set an unprecedented standard in the fantasy genre that is yet to be matched. Sure, there have been numerous other quality franchises that have become largely popular.

Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Game of Thrones are some exemplary works that have a unique place in pop culture that no one can take away. But none have come even close to dismantling the LOTR trilogy from the top of the throne. Even the Hobbit series, released as a prequel to the franchise, made with far advanced technology and a bigger budget, can’t compare to the mythical charm of the original that at once puts you in a trance.

Amazon has recently commissioned a multi-billion dollar franchise based on Tolkien’s work set in the same universe. Although there is familiarity in some faces and the central idea of Tolkien’s story, it is set in the Second Age whereas the trilogy is set in the Third.

The response, however, has been one of disappointment. Aficionados of the original trilogy have lambasted the Prime production, calling it “unoriginal and a mockery of sorts”. Through this series of recaps, we want to take you back to the magical experience of watching and re-watching the greatest trilogy ever made (sorry Nolan fans!); the most epic cinematic experience that no filmgoer can ever forget. This is the story recap for Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, part 1 of the trilogy.

*cue Howard Shore’s spine-chilling theme as the opening credits roll and the movie’s title is plastered on the black screen¬†

One Ring to Rule them All

Galadriel (Cate Blanchett) explains how the One Ring to rule them all was forged in the darkness of Mordor. It coincided with the nineteen Rings that were forged among Men, Elves, and Dwarves. When Middle-Earth becomes a battleground, Sauron’s forces prove to be too heavy for the scattered factions. All of them, looking after their own interests and enamoured with the power of the rings, were no match for Sauron’s humungous armies and might alone. It was only when they came together as allies that they were able to defeat them.

Isildur of Gondor was the one who cut the Ring off of Sauron’s finger, thereby defeating the evil and winning the war. But as fate would have it, Isildur gave in to the charms of the Ring. He was taken by its beauty and limitless power which ended up destroying him.

He was killed by Orcs and the Ring was lost forever. For centuries, it lingered in the depths of a river, waiting to be found. It hadn’t been found for so many years before it struck its next victim – Smeagol. The unsuspecting fisherman was instantly charmed over by the Ring which he held on as his dear precious for many decades.

An adventurous Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, finally took it off him and kept the Ring for himself. Although it did not have too much of a devastating effect on him, Bilbo sure was burdened by its presence and never aged a day, as Gandalf the Grey, a noble Wizard, remarked when he saw him for his 111th birthday.

The Shire, The Ring, and an Unexpected, Cursed Burden

Gandalf arrives at The Shire, a peaceful and quite majestic place where the Hobbits of middle-earth live. It has an ineffable quality; one that is so picturesque and pristine, that you’d rather see it every time than read about it. Frodo jumps in Gandalf’s wagon and expresses his fondness for the Wizard. Celebrations are in place for Bilbo’s long-awaited birthday and Gandalf seeks to make it a carnival.

Amidst the festivities and joyous mood, the Wizard discovers the shocking truth about the Ring in Bilbo’s possession. Bilbo considers Gandalf a dear friend and trusts him with his life. He hands over the Ring to him before departing for one final adventure. Gandalf is to give the Ring to his nephew, Frodo, and the burden will be his to carry.

Frodo is warned by Gandalf about the Ring’s true nature, and reveals to him that his life is in danger. Gollum (previously Smeagol) was forced to give the torturous Orcs something and he gave them two words: “Baggins” and “Shire”, which is enough for Sauron’s servants to follow up on.

Nazgul, who are the Nine Men King cursed forever by the Rings given to them, have been set on a hunt by Sauron to retrieve the Ring. Sauron, who was defeated in the Great War, survived in the spiritual form and has been rewoken now. Gandalf gives Frodo instructions to leave at once and meet him at an Inn some cities away while he searches for answers. Samwise Gamgee, Frodo’s Gardner, eavesdrops and accompanies Frodo on his journey.

Saruman’s Isengard, Aragorn, and the Hunt

Gandalf is surprised to find that Saruman, Sauron’s brother, and a noble wizard, has been taken by Sauron’s dark temptations. The wizard offers Gandalf all the answers about the enemy growing in Mordor but takes him captive after giving him a chance to join their alliance.

Saruman is himself preparing to ready a front from his Isengard, as Sauron plans to raise an army from Mordor. The Nazguls are fervently looking for the Ring, being called out by it. Bear in mind, that it wants to be found and return to its master. Sam and Frodo encounter Merry and Pippin, their Hobbit cousins, who join them on their journey. They narrowly avoid the Nazguls and reach the Inn. But there is no sign of Gandalf there.

A mysterious, hooded man, known as the Strider, keeps watch on them and approaches Frodo after the little Hobbit mistakenly wore the Ring and disappeared. While wearing it, he reaches a void where Sauron’s Eye’s scourge burns him and the Ring moves closer to its master. The Strider says he will protect the Hobbits from the arriving Nazguls and does so. They run from the Inn with the Nazguls firmly in the hunt.

While they rest for the night at the Great Watchtower of Aman-sul, the Nazguls catch up with them. The Strider is caught off guard but returns in time to wade off the Nazguls but not before the Witch-King strikes Frodo with a Morgul blade. He is on the verge of dying and Aragorn, son of Arathorn, must get him to Rivendell to give him a chance.

An Unfinished love story and the Fellowship

With the Nazgul hot on their trail, Aragorn calls out for help to Arwen, his love interest and Lord Elrond’s daughter. She arrives on her white horse and takes Frodo from the group. The Nazgul give a chase through the forests but Arwen’s magical spell to conjure tidal waves in the water washes them away.

Gandalf is kept at the top of Isengard’s tower by Saruman and calls for help by asking a small insect to summon his eagles. They arrive without fail and take Gandalf out of the tower. At Rivendell, the council is summoned by Lord Elrond, who says that the Ring cannot stay there as the Elves are themselves leaving the shores.

The council is attended by representatives of all factions. Boromir (on behalf of Gondor), Legolas, Gimli, son of Gloin, and Aragorn attend, as well as Gandalf. As they all quarrel among themselves as to who will take the Ring, Frodo steps up and says that he will take it to Mordor. That is the place the Ring was forged in using its fire and that is the only place where it can be destroyed once and for all. The above-mentioned men – and the Hobbits – swear an oath to protect Frodo in his journey and thus, the Fellowship is formed. Aragorn and Arwen express their love for one another and she gives him her Even star and declares herself a mortal.

Elves can choose between mortal and immortal life and Arwen chooses the former. At Rivendell, Bilbo also meets with Frodo. After losing the Ring, he has aged naturally and seems at peace. He has almost finished his book, although a few chapters are yet to be written.

As a gift to Frodo and to protect him from unseen evils, he hands over his sword, Sting, which turns blue when Orcs are close, and a mithril chainmail. It is said that this material is stronger than dragon scales and can protect the wearer from heavy attacks.

The Journey for Mordor begins

With battle facing the mortal realm on two fronts – Isengard and Mordor – the urgency to destroy the Ring grows. For now, the Fellowship must follow the course west of the Misty Mountains for 40 days. That leads to the Gap of Rohan. Heading east from that path leads to Mordor.

In the midst of their journey, Crebain from Dunland, spies of Saruman intercepts them. Gandalf deduces that the passage to the South is being watched. They turn towards the Pass of Caradhras through the mountains. But Saruman has powers to wield nature at his will. He chants a spell from a distance in Isengard and the mountains over Caradhras tremble and block the Fellowship’s path.

Boromir, whose father is the Steward of Gondor, says that they can go through his city, which will protect them. But that path will be too close to Isengard where Saruman and his raging army can take them captive. There is also some acrimony and in-fighting within the Fellowship as Boromir learns that Aragorn is from Isildur’s lineage and the true heir to the throne of Gondor.

With no options left, Gandalf reluctantly takes them through the Mines of Moria, a dreaded, dark place that houses an ancient demon beyond the power of many spells and weapons. Gimli expects to see his cousin Balin lavishly living in the great city of Dwarrowdelf, from where they pass through. As they stand at the gates of Moria, Frodo helps in identifying the passcode and the door opens.

They do not like the look of the place and decide to turn away but before they can, a sea monster grabs ahold of Frodo. The Fellowship is able to free him but cannot turn back and is forced to go in. Legolas looks at the slew of skeletons on the ground and calls it a tomb, deducing that the Orcs have taken over the mines. They discover Balin’s tomb in the Chamber of Mazarbul and Gimli breaks down crying. Pippin mistakenly falls over a heavy object down the well in the chamber and attracts hordes of Orcs. The Fellowship is quickly guided by Gandalf’s light through a side door and toward the Bridge of Khazad-Dum, from where they can escape Moria.

The Battle with Balrog – a final goodbye?

Gandalf explains Balrog is a demon of the ancient world who hid deep into the roots of Caradhras after Morgoth was defeated in the War of Wrath. His power is almost unmatchable and the Fellowship must do their best to avoid him. The Orcs are still in pursuit as the Fellowship nears the bridge. Once they reach it, the Balrog reveals himself Рa huge monster whose body burns in the flames of Udun. Gandalf stands in front of him, denying him passage any further, as the rest of the Fellowship is able to cross the bridge.  He breaks the bridge in half and his strong spell dismantles Balrog from it.

But as he falls down, Balrog’s whip catches Gandalf’s knee, who falls down with him into the depths of Moria, presumed dead. As he does, he tells the Fellowship, “Fly, you fools!”, and they’re able to escape Moria. Frodo is inconsolable, like most of the other Fellowship, but the journey must continue. Gandalf’s sacrifice must not go in vain. But is it a final goodbye, or will the Wizard return once again for the mission?

The Curse of the One Ring and Lady Galadriel

The remaining Fellowship then make their way through the Woods of Lorleith, where Legolas asks them to stay attentive. A Lady Witch resides there who can cast powerful spells even the most capable wizards cannot break. They are intercepted by Haldir of Lorien and taken to the Lady of the Woods, Galadriel. It was her voiceover at the start of the film that explained to us the origins of the One Ring.

In the latest Amazon series Rings of Power, Morfydd Clark can be seen playing her. The character has a pivotal role to play in the series, so keep an eye on her. She even prophesies the journey ahead for Frodo. She warns that Bromoir will try to take the ring from him for his kingdom and he must be wary.

From the Woods, the Fellowship is to go through Emyb Muil and then the marshlands towards Mordor. After they depart, Galadirel’s prophecy comes true.

At Isengard, the Orcs unearth Morgoth’s great warriors, the Uruk-hai, from the depths of the ground to fight the war. They are stronger, more agile, and more intelligent than the Orcs and will be tough to defeat. Saruman sets them free and asks them to hunt down the Hobbit with the One Ring.

They relentlessly pursue the Fellowship and Legolas and Aragorn are alert to that danger. Boromir and Frodo wander off on their own and Boromir is overcome by the avarice attached to the Ring, trying to take it from him.

Fearful, Frodo wears the Ring and disappears, suddenly bringing Boromir out of the trance. When Frodo wears the Ring, he gains consciousness in another place across the forest, where Aragorn swears to protect him and asks him to make the journey on his own. The temptations of Men cannot be trusted and the Fellowship will do their best to hunt down the enemy hunting him. Samwise is close on his trail and joins Frodo in his journey, as the pair separates from the others. The gardener is bound to Frodo by Gandalf’s promise and will not leave his side.

A battle between the Fellowship and Uruk-hai ensues, where the chosen warriors put up a brave fight. Eventually, they are outnumbered and Boromir, who is his normal self, is killed by Orc arrows. Aragorn comforts him and says he will do his all for Gondor. Along with the rest of the Fellowship, Aragorn must now hunt down the Uruk-hai, who have taken Merry and Pippin prisoner, not realizing which Hobbit actually has the Ring.

 


Thanks for reading our story recap for Fellowship of the Ring. What do you think of Lord of the Ring’s story? Have we missed any crucial details in this recap? Do let us know in the comments below!


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