The Lord of the Rings

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796 lordof the ringsThe Lord of the Rings is the third best-selling novel ever written, with over 150 million copies sold, while the fourth best-selling novel is Tolkien's The Hobbit. The story began as a sequel to Tolkien's earlier, less complex children's fantasy novel The Hobbit , but eventually developed into a much larger work. It was written in stages between 1937 and 1949, much of it during the Second World War.

The story takes place in the context of historical events in North-West Middle-earth. Long before the start of the novel the Dark Lord Sauron forges the One Ring in the year 1600 of the Second Age to gain power over other rings held by the leaders of Men, Elves and Dwarves. He is defeated in battle in the year 3434 of the Second Age, and Isildur, son of Elendil cuts off the One Ring and claims it as an heirloom for his line. Isildur is later killed by Orcs, and the Ring is lost in the river Anduin.

Over two thousand years later, the Ring is found by a river-dwelling hobbit called Déagol, but he is strangled by his relative Sméago, who takes the ring. Sméagol is banished from his community, and hides under the Misty Mountains, where the Ring transforms him over the course of hundreds of years into a twisted, corrupted creature called Gollum. Eventually he loses the Ring which, as recounted in The Hobbit, is found by Bilbo Baggins.

 

Items in the storyline's chronological order: 

 

The Fellowship of the Ring

Sauron, the Dark Lord, has gathered to him all the Rings of Power -- the means by which he intends to rule Middle-earth. All he lacks in his plans for dominion is the One Ring -- the ring that rules them all -- which has fallen into the hands of the hobbit Bilbo Baggins.

In a sleepy village in the Shire, young Frodo Baggins finds himself faced with an immense task, as his elderly cousin Bilbo entrusts the Ring to his care. Frodo must leave his home and make a perilous journey across Middle-earth to the Cracks of Doom, there to destroy the Ring and foil the Dark Lord in his evil purpose. 

 

 

The Two Towers 

Frodo and the Companions of the Ring have been beset by danger during their quest to prevent the Ruling Ring from falling into the hands of the Dark Lord, Sauron, by destroying it in the Cracks of Doom. They have lost the wizard Gandalf in a battle with an evil spirit in the Mines of Moria; and at the Falls of Rauros, Boromir, seduced by the power of the Ring, tried to seize it by force. While Frodo and Sam made their escape, the rest of the company was attacked by Orcs.

Now they continue their journey alone down the great River Anduin -- alone, that is, save for the mysterious creeping figure that follows wherever they go.

 

 

The Return of the King

The Companions of the Ring have become involved in separate adventures as the quest continues. Aragorn, revealed as the hidden heir of the ancient Kings of the West, joined with the Riders of Rohan against the forces of Isengard and took part in the desperate victory of the Hornburg. Merry and Pippin, captured by the Orcs, escaped into Fangorn Forest and there encountered the Ents. Gandalf returned, miraculously, and defeated the evil wizard, Saruman.

Meanwhile, Sam and Frodo progressed toward Mordor to destroy the Ring, accompanied by Smeagol -- Gollum, still obsessed by his "preciouss." After a battle with the giant spider, Shelob, Sam left his master for dead; but Frodo is still alive -- in the hands of the Orcs. And all the time the armies of the Dark Lord are massing.

 

 The Lord of the Rings was originally published in three volumes on 1954-55.

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