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The Fellowship of the Ring, being
the first part of The Lord of the Rings
Author J.R.R. Tolkien
Type of work Novel
Genre Epic; heroic quest; folktale; fantasy; myth
Language English, with occasional words and phrases from various languages
of Middle-earth that Tolkien invented
Time and Place written
1937–1949; Oxford, England
Date of first publication
Publisher Allen and Unwin
Narrator The whole of The Lord of the Rings is
told by an anonymous, third-person narrator. The Prologue and later
notes are somewhat academic in nature, and are presumably added
by the same narrator.
Point of view
The Fellowship of the Ring is narrated
in the third person, following Frodo throughout most of the narrative,
but occasionally focusing on the points of view of other characters. The
narration is omniscient, which means the narrator not only relates
the characters’ thoughts and feelings, but also comments on them.
Tone The narrator’s tone varies somewhat over the course
of The Fellowship of the Ring, though it maintains
an aura of myth and nostalgia throughout. During the opening episodes
in the Shire, the tone is light and casual, but it quickly becomes
more serious as the Company moves into the perils of the world beyond—especially
in the Mines of Moria, the darkest section of the novel. The episodes
in the Elven lands, most notably the forest of Lothlórien, feature
a more elegiac tone, seemingly mourning the inevitable passing of
the Elves and their beautiful creations from Middle-earth.
Setting (time) The end of the Third Age of Middle-earth
Setting (place) Various locales in the imaginary world of Middle-earth, including
the Shire, Bree, the Old Forest, Rivendell, Moria, Lothlórien, and
the Anduin River
Protagonist Primarily the hobbit Frodo Baggins, though the Fellowship
with whom he travels might be considered a single protagonist
Major Conflict Frodo struggles with the opposing forces of the Ring’s
corrupting influence and pull and the responsibility and burden
fate has placed upon him as the Ring-bearer. Frodo’s uncertainty, reluctance,
and perceived weakness work against his inner heroism and strength
of character. As he continues on the quest, he feels the burden
of his responsibility grow stronger, but also feels increasingly
resigned to the role fate has given him.
rising action Bilbo’s handover of his ring to Frodo; Gandalf’s identification
of the ring as the One Ring; the Council of Elrond and the formation
of the Fellowship; Gandalf’s sacrifice of himself in Moria; the
Fellowship’s debate about whether to take the Ring to Minas Tirith
or to Mordor
climax Boromir tries to seize the Ring from Frodo, causing
Frodo to realize that the Ring has the power to corrupt his companions and
compelling him to shoulder responsibility for destroying it on his
falling action Frodo and Sam’s departure toward Mordor; Boromir’s
shame and regret about betraying Frodo
Themes The corrupting influence of power; the inevitability
of decline; the power of myth
Motifs Songs and singing; the road; prophecy
Symbols The Rings of Power; the sword of Elendil; the mirror
Foreshadowing Gandalf’s prediction that Gollum still has a part to
play in the fate of the Ring; Elrond’s prediction that the quest
will only be completed successfully by someone weak and largely disregarded;
Aragorn’s warning that Gandalf, in particular, should not enter
Moria; the visions Frodo sees in Galadriel’s mirror
Ace your assignments with our guide to The Fellowship of the Ring!